Dutch Doom Day 18, Baroeg Rotterdam 2 and 3 November 2019

Already the 18th installment of the Dutch Doom Day festival annually held in the Baroeg in Rotterdam. Even the the line-up wasn’t all that exciting, I decided to go both days never the less.

Saturday, I skipped the first two bands as they were more in the direction of sludge metal which I don’t care much about. The first band I actually saw was the French band Lying Figures, who play doom death metal. And in a quite laid back and sort of light fashion, and they have been compared with Saturnus. Not all that impressive.

King Witch is a Scottish band that hardly play doom at all. It’s more classic heavy metal, and lots of Black Sabbath. I liked the guitar work over all which had some interesting riffs and melodies. The woman handling the vocals appeared quite nervous, especially in between songs. She sang alright tho, but the high pitched, clean vocals seemed to miss a bit of punch here and there. Interesting gig, although not entirely my style.

The Evangelist is a relatively new band from Poland who rather remain anonymous. Musically the are mostly classic doom and not really bad. The lead guitar parts were quite interesting but it just lacked in the riff department. However the vocals made me cringe, the guy just can’t sing at all. The final song was a cover from Candlemass, and the vocals just killed it. Some obvious mistakes in the song didn’t improve much either.

The last band was for me the reason to go actually. Ahab plays funeral doom metal. It’s heavy and it is slow. They build op lots of atmosphere with clean sections and just break out in a heavy riff. The main focus was on the latest album, but the brilliant Antarctica the Polymorphes was included. And the set ended with The Hunt of the debut. They didn’t play an encore as they had a stand-in guitarist who didn’t know any more songs.

The second day started for me with Rise and Shine from Sweden. They play heavy metal with some doom influences. Though they exist for many years – some 26, I had never even heard of them before. The female lead singer also plays some acoustic guitar in some songs which was interesting and not often seen live. They played only with one guitarist, so I guess one had other things to do. But it sounded quite okay. Not really my thing.

Then Monasterium from Poland. Musically not too far off from The Evangelist from the previous day. Which is all that surprising as they share a couple of members. What they also shared were the terrible vocals, so this might be the same guy. He just doesn’t have a good voice and it sounds quite forced. Musically a bit more interesting than The Evangelist with some interesting guitar parts.

Oceanwake is a Finish band that plays a mixture between various styles including some doom metal. Musically it sounds a bit fragmentary, with some heavier sections mixed with some clean and lighter sections. The dual clean vocals were interesting, although the voices were very similar. Decent gig.

October Tide had played in the Baroeg earlier this year, and now the Swedes are back as they are on tour with today’s headliner. Originally formed by two Katatonia members in the mid 90s, they have continued ever since albeit with a break in the early 2000s. I haven’t followed the much as I never could get into their music much. Live they sounded okay the last time. They sounded a bit tighter and confident this time. The older songs sound a bit different. But in general they tend more towards mid-paced death metal than doom. Not bad really, but not all that great either.

The last band of the festival is also from Finland. Swallow the Sun has just released a new album earlier this year. And they skipped the Netherlands for a tour date earlier to support it. Now they are here on the DDD fest. Naturally the focus was on the new album, which has shifted a bit more to some what lighter sound and more melancholy in comparison to the previous albums. The band played very tight and the music came across real well. Apart from the vocalist who was mostly hidden behind a hoody and hardly moved at all, the band was very active and energetic on stage. I missed Descending Winters on the set, or just anything from the second album. Every other album provided at least one song. Yet the 2 songs of the debut were the best. More melodic doom death and less of the progressive style the play nowadays. Still a very good gig.

A bit of an odd festival this year. The lineup generally was quite weak, with the exception of the two headliners. And for a doom festival there wasn’t all that much doom at all. Despite the many obscure bands, the turnout was quite decent this year.

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