Dutch Doom Day – Day 1 – 6 November 2021, Baroeg Rotterdam

After almost two years I went to a gig again. The Baroeg had the possibility to host the Dutch Doom Day once again, after last years cancellation. Entering a gig is a bit different, needs the corona pass and ID, as well as a ticket. I don’t think the reduced capacity of the venue was any issue for this gig, as it didn’t seem like it was sold out. It felt a bit strange entering a venue and being with many people is a small area after over a-years-and-a-half of keeping a distance from every one.

The first band was already playing as I entered the venue. It was the French band Conviction. They play mostly traditional doom. Musically they are quite interesting, solid riffs and some good lead guitar work. I wasn’t all that impressed by the vocals. The main singer who also played guitar wasn’t all that convincing and hit some false notes and doesn’t have a great voice. The backing vocals even though sparse, had the same problem. A pretty cool gig though.

The second band was Facade, a more or less local band. They play doom death, but venture a lot in a progressive direction in both riffing style as composition. Not entirely my liking when it comes to doom. Also I never like Ben’s vocals much in any band he sings, his grunts just aren’t very interesting and his vocal lines don’t fit the music too often. Decent gig.

The German band Wheel was next. The vocals in this band have an eerie resemblance to those of Robert Lowe from Solitude Aeturnus even though the singer looks more like he just stepped out of a hardcore band. He isn’t as versatile as Robert but quite good tho. Musically interesting, yet not much like Solitude Aeturnus, but more in the stoner direction of say like Cathedral. I’m not all that fond of the guitar tone but there is some interesting riffs and leads. They could use a second guitar to fill-out the sound more. Solid gig.

Also from Germany and in a similar style was Cross Vault. They were advertised as a cross between Bathory and Solstice, but I heard little Bathory, and some Solstice. The lead guitar was particularly dominant in the composition that was mostly like traditional doom metal. Nothing really slow, nothing all that exciting. Solid vocals. During the second or third song the singer went off stage and apparently missed his cue to sing another verse, so the guitarist took over the vocals. A bit of a strange thing. Nothing too exciting but pretty cool.

The main attraction for me was the French band Ataraxie. On albums they aren’t always all that convincing, but live… well that is a wholly different story. The twisted riffs, with dissonant chords played by three guitars create a tense atmosphere. The howling, tortured vocals of Jonathan just add to the atmosphere. And besides slower sections they aren’t afraid to speed up and add some blast beats in the unconventionally structured songs. The opening track was the more or less eponymic L’Ataraxie off their debut album – which I still consider their best. It was followed by the title track of their latest opus Résignés. Both tracks are already quite long, but for the final track they chose Nausée, which is nearly half an hour long. So yea only three songs in the set, for about an hour that flew by. Great gig.

The final band was the Romanian band Clouds. I had heard them a few times when they released their debut album, particularly because Jon of Hamferd sang a few songs on it. Nevertheless the album failed to impress me and so I didn’t follow them at all. They have released some 4 or 5 albums in the mean time. And now they are on the stage in the Baroeg. They took a long time to set up and started late. 7 persons filled the stage apart from the common 2 guitars, bass, drums and vocals, they added a violin player and a flutist. Well the major let down for me was that the guitar parts were really dull, mostly playing just repetitive chord progressions, the classical instruments just couldn’t fill in the gap. And in addition the structure of the songs were very much the same and on the same tempo and add the cliche lyrics and song titles. It just isn’t too interesting. They had two guest singers, one who I don’t know and the other was Pim Blankenstein of Officium Triste. This brought in a bit o variation that was o so necessary. Pretty dull gig. But maybe I was also bit too impressed by Ataraxie still. There was some confusion in the end if they could play an encore or not, but eventually they played another song.

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