This weekend was reserved for an extensive portion of doom metal music. In the Baroeg in Rotterdam (Rotterdoom), the fifth installment of the Dutch Doom Day festival took place. Fourteen bands played over a period of approximately sixteen hours.
The first day started at 17.00 sharp with the relatively new Dutch doom metal band Abysmal Darknening. The band consists of three women, one bass player (she also plays keyboards in Bunkur), a guitarist and a drummer, and two men, a second bass player and a singer, who is also the drummer in Sauron (which is slightly odd as he only has one hand). Anyway, the doom death metal played by this band is rather simple resulting is rather similar songs.
The second band was another Dutch band, Nymphea Aurora. Not a bad band, playing doom / death with some gothic overtones. One of the things apparent is that the sound quality is quite good (which also was already with the first band). Nothing original here really, but generally well-performed music.
The first of the three French bands on this day was Funeralium. A band that plays ultra sick doom as they call it themself. This is a band that contains two members of Ataraxie, but a different style. This band is slower and tends to lean to more extreme doom, yet still with enough melody and variation. Sometimes they lean a bit to the style of Esoteric. Specifically the vocalist needs mentioning as his delivery is very extreme and sound really tormented without effects. A fine addition to the doom scene with lots of originality. Their long songs resulted in only being able to play two songs. And they hadn’t released their debut album yet, which I will definitively check out once it is released (scheduled for January).
From Italy came the band Doomraiser. They play more traditional doom along the lines of St Vitus et al. Not something I am terribly interested in. At least the band was enthusiatic, in particular the bass player was very active on the stage.
The second French band was Inborn Suffering. This band was earlier in the Baroeg, with Swallow the Sun some time ago, but then failed to impress me, which I can now attribute to the terrible sound they then had. That was fixed this time and they did impress me with a melodic and sorrowful doom / death variant. The vocalist was barely able to speak any English, so his announcements were brief and stuttered, nevertheless he hadn’t that problem when he was singing. All in all a pretty good performance and definitively worth checking out.
The final French band was Ataraxie. Like said, the two members already played with Funeralium, viz. the guitarist and the singer (who switched from guitar to bass for this act). The band has only released a single album this far and most of the songs they played were from that album. Opening with the instrumental first track of the album, the band quickly established their style. Doom death with extreme vocals (tho not as extreme as with Funeralium). The band finalised their set with a blast beat giving many high-speed death metal drummers something to drool over. Ataraxie proves to be very good band and delivered a solid show, enthusing the audience very well. This leads me to argument that they should have headlined.
Instead the headliner of this first day was the Danish band Saturnus, who played their first show in the Netherlands. The band plays a rather mid-paced doom death variant with some gothic overtones. I really couldn’t get into their music much as it sort of just went on and on without much variation. This band is just a bit too generic for me.
The second day opened at 15.00, with the sludge doom band that was named after the British child-killer Mary Bell. The sound was not as good as the day before with too much bass guitar in the music in general. The band appeared to be little interested in the audience, most of them had their backs turned to the audience or standing side ways. One of the two singers sat half through the gig. Both singers sounded quite similar and this added little to their music. Well, I never was much into sludge and this band didn’t impress me at all. It was down right dull.
Season’s End is an English gothic band with very little doom influences, so they didn’t really fit in with the rest of the band. The band was fronted by a female lead singer who got some vocal help from two guitarist. The latter sounded awful. The only impressing thing here was the drummer, who was very good and brought a very expensive looking drumkit.
The third band was from Belgian: Insanity Reigns Supreme. For a band that exists for 17 years they have been very slow in producing music, with two albums (from 1998 and 2003). Nevertheless they stage show is very good and they made a really strong impression with their doom death metal (they made the same impression a few years ago when I saw them). The music generally mixes slow and fast parts and results in very strong material with a good balance and variation. Live their music is even stronger than on CD. Particularly the singer seems to give all for his performance. They started off with some technical difficulties in the form of a non-functioning keyboard. Eventually they simply played without it – this had absolutely no negative impact on the performance.
Apparently the band Season’s End were in a hurry to leave, and as such the drumkit they brought needed to be replaced. A much simpler kit was brought in an an hour or so later the Brits of Centurions Ghost started to play. They were a replacement for the band Thee Plague of Gentlemen that due to issues with their singer, fell apart. The music seems to be a form mostly inspired by older doom metal bands like St. Vitus (again) but different vocals, which was more shouted or screamed. I wasn’t really impressed by this band which showcased a mostly boring set; although some guitar parts hinted actually at interesting songs.
The only Americans on the bill were the Gates of Slumber who also fit more in the classic doom genre. This band also failed to impress me much. There is very little interesting in the music, most of the riffs are rather redundant.
Things changed when the Brits of The Prophecy appeared on stage. I had seen them twice before. The first time, they did impress me with a melodic is sorrowfilled doom / death style, not too far away from country-mates My Dying Bride. The second time they opened for MDB, but then they did fail to impress me. This time they were pretty good, and enthusiastic. It seems they had lost their second guitarist, which made the guitar sound a bit thin, especially with the bass-heavy sound that plagued most of the second day. Their set comprised mostly of new songs off their forthcoming album, and only the title track of their debut – Ashes – was included. Most of the new material sounded quite good, tho less melodic and sorrowful than the songs on their debut.
Was it the first time the headliner of Saturday played in the Netherlands, for the headliner of Sunday it was the last time they’d play in the Netherlands. Reverend Bizarre have decided to call it quits after one last album, which is to be released. Opening with the long track “Cirith Ungol” of their debut album, the band showed what they were all about. Slow doom metal that mixed with faster parts that resulted in long songs. They played a mixture of songs of their two albums plus a couple of new ones, which sound pretty much in the same vein as their debut album. The closer of the evening was the encore “Doom over the World”. A classic gig