Dutch Doom Day (Day 1), Saturday 5 November 2022, Baroeg Rotterdam

This year was already the 20th installment of the Dutch doom metal festival Dutch Doom Day. For me the first day was the only really interesting day. So I only went to the Saturday. The Sunday incidentally had three gigs I more or less wanted to go to, but from the line-up of DDD only Monolithe were interesting, so I opted to go elsewhere.

The first band started some 10 minutes earlier than planned, after some opening words of organiser Pim. That was of course awesome as Mourners Lament – named of course after the Candlemass song – could play an extra song. Chili has some really good bands and this is certainly one of them. I don’t think they played in Europe before, so it was the first opportunity to see them live. Doom death with cool riffs and very typical melancholic melody lines. The opened with what is probably their best song – Suffocating Hopes. They had recorded a new songs during the corona lockdowns in their homes and released it as a new EP. Changes features some more piano work than other songs. So it has a bit of a different feel too. The played it along with the Sadness Caress song which they re-recorded with a shortened outro on the same EP. Set closer was the title track of their debut album. Great gig to open the DDD festival this year.

Then it was time for Majestic Downfall – from Mexico. More doom death. But somewhat different. It was okay. I had seen them before a couple of years back. The songwriting is a bit haphazard and the songs tend to be too long. The singer / bassplayer never the less was super enthousiastic which is cool, and kind of uncommon in doom. Also he needs to go wireless as he had constant troubles with his stompbox and bass guitar wire.

Another Chilean band hit the stage, namely Poema Arcanus. I had seen them before too and I for me it was some of the lesser interesting bands from that country. They also play doom / death but nothing out of the ordinary. Frankly none of their songs stuck not live not when I listened to one of their albums.

Helevorn are from Mallorca, Spain, they play gothic oriented doom, so with quite some focus on keyboards. The vocalist ostensibly had issues with his voice so they had to cut the setlist short. Another band that wasn’t bad at all but neither did they make a big impression on me.

The other main interest that drew me to DDD this year was Esoteric and they newer fail to deliver live. Two new guitarist had joined the band. But this made no difference. They opened up with one of my favourite songs Dissident, from way back. And it sounded awesome. The multiple layers of guitar were held together by the rhythm section, with some of the soundscapes coming from laptop. Off their latest album they played Rotting in Dereliction. Which has a bit more dissonance but still the lead guitar is great in this song. Surprisingly they had added Stygian Narcosis to the set, an ever older song than Dissident, whilst ending the set with Cipher. The hour play time had passed way to quick – another awesome performance.

The headliner was Saturnus. A band I had seen a few times before but failed to impress me each time. And so it was this time. Much like Helevorn, the keyboards are pretty much in focus but it sounds quite forgettable. The riffs are quite basic. The lead guitar has some good moments though. Yet the main issue is the singer. He uses three types of singing. His grunts sound okay but they are very monotonic, his tough guy vocals are forgettable and his clean vocal style is more spoken word than singing and all with a thick Danish accent. This was the worst when they played a sort of acoustic version – basically piano and vocals – of one of their songs. So all in all this was the least interesting band of the evening.

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