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ennlfrdeitrues
Musis Sacrum, Arnhem, The Netherlands
26th November 2005
Destruction, Candlemass, Grave, Dismember, Enslaved, Ensiferum, Mercenary, Callenish Circle

The second edition of the Arnhem Metal Meeting is a fact, with many bands on one day. Not the wellknown names from the X-mass festivals, but some more diversity. Enough reason for  a real metalhead to travel to the east of the country. Altough it is not easy, because of the bad weather it is soon very crowed. For many people a good reason to meet old friends and have some fun together.


Callenish Circle

On the main stage the Dutch formation kick-off the festival. Many people are allready there to check them out. It goes fast with this band: their new record ‘Pitch.Black.Effects’ is good received and they are going on tour with Paradise Lost in Mexico. Enough reason to be curious. 


Music

Heavy and uptempo, but also easy to listen to: this Dutch band is more then just a technnical death/trash metal band. They mix a lot of elements together and produce a catchy sound. The frontman, totally dressed in white clothes, has a very dynamic sound. His grunts are not monotonous as some real technical bands can be, but has a real emotional side. The sound is perfect, what makes such a difference: the guitarlines are clear and al well balanced. Also there is a lot of light on stage: you even can see the emotions from the drumplayer far away in the back. When the end is there the last energy is given for more then twohundred precent and they blow away everyone with their aggressive and perfect sound.

Performance

Frontman  Patrick Savelkoul dares to make contact with the audience and looks them in the eyes. There is a fanbase in the front, but soon the hall is packed. All the hands are in the air when Patrick asked for it. He is running around, sometimes there is interaction with the guitarplayers. Most of the members are a bit static, headbanging and playing. Sometimes making poses, but most of the time it is Patrick who makes a show of it. After all they impressed by their strong, perfect sound and with a strong frontman this band really managed to be on the top of the list from today.

Rating

Music 8
Performance 8
Light 8
Sound 8
Total: 8 (8,0)



Mercenary

Then it is running to the other side of the theatre to be on time for the Danish band Mercenary. They are wellknown in the Netherlands and have a own fanbase also. They toured with Evergrey and Nevermore and their last album ’11 Dreams’ was for many the surprise of 2004.

Music
This room is quite the contrary of the other one: the sound is bad, the stage is much smaller and the lights are red and there is not that much frontlight. In those curcomstances it is hard for a band to produce a good sound. Also Mercenary has problems with it. Their sound is very dynamic, with two vocalists and backing vocals. Only the half of them is good to hear. It is a shame that you can see Kral pushing himself more and more, but the sound is still the same.
Frontman Mikkel is good to hear and also the guitarparts from Martin are heavy enough. Tehir setlist is a bit stange, because they start with the more midtempo song ‘Firesoul’ (maybe it has the deal with the heavy set of Callenish Circle that people expect a aggressive set). When they close their set with the hitsong ’11 Dreams’ finally the aggressive attitude and power is back. A bit too late for those people who didn’t had the patience to see the whole set.



Performance

It seems that the whole band has to grow into their set. Mikkel shows a lot of emotion with his distorted face, what reflects the emotion of his vocals. Also Kral gives everything, sometimes bend over his bass guitar and now and then really making contact with the audience. They greet the familiar faces in the audience. It is not boring at all to look at and all together they trying to make a good show of it. During ‘World Hate Center’they all stand with the back to the audience when the arrangements set in. With a adreline rush they start the heavy song and the power is back. Keyboardplayer Morten is hard to see, but he is moving a lot also. Shame that they could confince only in the end, because they can so much more then this.

Rating
Music 7
Performance 7
Light 5
Sound 6
Total: 7 (6,7)




Ensiferum

Switching to the mainstage again where a totally different band enters the stage. The Finish folk metal band is popular: the whole hall is totally packed for the first time this day. Outside the snow is a serious problem, but here a party is going on.


Music

Their sound is really clear and the keyboards are good to hear in the mix. The guitar and drums are not too loud and the raw voice of Petri Windroos are very strong and sometimes fragile. It is like a folk machine blowing away everyone and with their sound they create a real good atmosphere for a joyfull day. The double vocal lines gives a more unic moment to their sound. Uptempo they play a good set with a lot of interaction. ‘Treacherous Gods’ is played with some cumbrous bass- and guitarlines. They are just out of the studio and for the first time they play ‘Dracon Heads’ form the new EP. This song has some deep low riffs, but also the typical melodylines. Grunts are mixed with clean vocals and melodic keyboardparts. The midtempo song ‘Into Battle is there to calm down the audience. Also the other wellknown songs are not forgotten.


Performance

All marked with black lines under their eyes they enter the stage. The men are not wearing any shirt, like they want to show what some real power is for them. Petri is very natural on stage and doesn’t need to do many efforts to get the audience enthousiastic. The whole mass in the front is headbanging and singing along. He seems to be very calm and not impressed by that. On his right side there is Markus (the founder of the band)playing guitar and doing some clean vocals. All very professional and secure. The lady in the back, Meiju, is very static and there is no light what helps to discover some emotions. Sometims screaming and headbanging, but most of the time focussed on her parts. All together they act like a routinated band who knows very well how to play with the audience. That create a good atmosphere and when the sound is good, there is nothing more the complain.


Rating

Music 8
Performance 7
Light 7
Sound 7
Total: 8 (7,5)




Enslaved

The Norwegian ‘viking black metal’ band doesn’t tour a lot, so it is unic to have them in Europe. Many people are waiting in front of the stage to have a good view later on. I saw there for the last time on Metalmania in Poland where they played a very impressive gig. (I was too late to see them on Graspop festival this summer). The expectation ran high.


Music

With their last record ‘Isa’(2005) they surprised their fanbase with a even more blackmetal orientated sound. Personally I like the old style more, because that is more raw and technical orientated. Maybe that is the reason why they can’t fulfil my expectations. Also the fact that they play in the hall were the sound is horrible: the different guitar- and basslines were hardly good to hear. Only the fast drumbeat and the voice of Grutle are there to impress a bit. They play ‘Isa,’ but also songs from the Frost album. Those last songs give a bit the adreline back they had in the past. The one who excels is Ivar Peersen: he is not only doing the clean backing vocals, but also playin the keys and guitar. His sound is too far away in the mix, but his faces shows that he is given everything he has inside. It is really a shame that only Grutle has a perfect sound.



Performance
All eyes are focussed on Grutle. His attitude on stage is natural, but in a very energic and aggressive way. He screams, asks for support and makes the audience crazy. His eyes are twinckeling when the crowd wants to hear more songs. The aggressive emotion is there to push himself to a higher level, biting on his indent during the difficult bassparts, but still excited. There is nothing what doesn’t reflect the charism and joy he has on stage. The blond hair covering his eyes, but when he speek you can see his face: sweaty and with a big smile.
Also Ivar is moving a lot, playing guitar behind his keyboard and then suddenly changing from instrument or singing a part with Grutle. The other members are not moving a lot, so the centre is there for this natural frontman. He is for sure happy to see the audience and really give everything he got, but still the sound is a bit messy, but the question is if that also was happened when they played in the other hall. So I won’t blame them for it. It was a real underground show with a sweaty crowd and a even more tired frontman. They succeeded.


Rating

Music 7
Performance 8
Light 7
Sound 6
Total: 7 (7,3)




Dismember

They are called the Swedish inventors of the deathmetal. Officially they play melodic death metal, but they are very technical on stage. Their roots go back to 1988, so that shows how much they mean for this scene. After a long time they are back to play on this festival.


Music

Where Enslaved had difficulties, so easy it goes with Dismember. From the first beginning till the end it is like a real deathmetal machine with a good sound. Heavy guitarlines, a technical and strickt drumplayer and most of all the voice of Matti. His grunts are deep, low and aggressive. When you hear it they awake an aggressive feeling inside you. Not in a negative way, but he has the energy to put the whole gig on a higher level. This the moment that there is no space for standing still, but when you adore old school metal you must headbang the whole gig. The clean guitarlines are pure and the drumsound is perfect. Now and then a bit dry, like during ‘Tradegy of Faithful.’ More melodic guitars are there when ‘I saw them die’ is played. Never they get boring, no second: it is all technically perfect and they all enjoy to play for this audience. The end is there when ‘Reborn in Blasphemy’ and ‘Sin Her Alive is played: a heavy song where they all gave their last energy.


Performance

Three guys with guitars (Johan is out of the band, but still plays some shows with them), wearing bandshirts and playing as fast as they can. Matti dressed in a simple basic black shirt is going full force during the show. There is no second that he is not giving everything. His voice is reaching everyone and keeps the attention just by being himself and begin some new tones for an other song. When Matti ask: “What do you want?” The whole  crowd answers: “Bleed for me” One of the oldest songs (1991)of the band is played. During the gig the guitarplayers are switching possions on both sides of the stage, making poses. Sometimes Matti whisphers something to leadguitarist David and an other song sets in. All far behind his drumkit there is Fred who easily play the heaviest drumparts like it is nothing. That all together guarantee a perfect metal show.


Rating

Music 8
Performance 8
Light 7
Sound 8
Total: 8 (7,8)




Grave

Also from Sweden is the deathmetal band Grave. Altough they are busy with writing a new record, they found the time to perform on this festival. Not on the mainstage, because the preperations for Candlemass are started, but in the other hall.

Music

Totally unexpected they have a perfect sound. It is as good as Dismember before them. This time also some real old school metal. Finally a band who managed to produce a good sound on this stage. A relief, because that makes it much more better to listen at. They have a totally heavy sound with the classical guitarlines: fast, melodic and very underground. Since their beginning in 1986 Grave was one of the raw and technical bands in the scene and today they prove that they are still a strong band with a good sound. Grunter and guitarplayer Ola Lindgren has a real own sound and his voice is full of agression. Then there is the amazing drumsound from Pelle: straight into your face, fast and very technical. Amazing to see them perform together. The whole gig the three men are giving the maximum from themselves.


Performance

What do you need more then a very old school feeling, sweaty faces, beer and a crazy audience. Nothing more in this case. Grave is here and everybody will know it. There is a special chemistry in the band what makes it exciting to look at this band. There is a certain tension between them, a feeling they have when they play their music. Ola with his long blond hair is making contact with the audience. Saying that he is thankfull to be here and to share the stage with all those bands. For the real fans they play a very old song ‘The Obsure Infinity’ from their first record (1991). The perfect drumparts are mixed with the chemistry of the vocals from Ola. His face is concentrated, but there is also a big smile when the crowd screams for them. There are not many movements on stage, but you can’t expect that from such a technical deathmetal machine. After ‘And here I die’ the last song’Into the Grave’ is played full force and selfsecure. After shaking hands, they leave. The silent returns. It is one of the most impressive gigs of this festival. That is for sure.


Rating

Music 9
Performance 9
Light 7
Sound 8
Total: 9 (8,6)




Candlemass

When you say Candlemass the first thing what comes up in your mind is doom metal. They are in that scene for more almost twenty years. In Sweden they an icon and also in the rest of Europe there is a lot of respect for this band. They stood on some summer festivals, but this band really needs the darkness to create a good atmosphere. White crosses and the frontman dressed in a cape: that is Candlemass. Their sound is perfectly balanced and the voice of Messiah Marcolin are very clear, altough sometimes a bit raw. Maybe the last symptom of the flue. His performance is dramatic and create the atmosphere this band really needs. Because of the weather it was not possible for me to see the whole gig. The snow was disturbing the traffic, so I had to leave early to catch my train. Shame, because now I wasn’t really into their gig.





Destruction

The trash metal gods from Destruction have the reputation of a perfect liveshow. On metalfest some years ago they were perfect, even on the summer festivals they have the best sound, an emotional performance. The voice of Marcel is one of the trademarks of the band and his appereance on stage is always the guarantee that you will have a real brutal sound. It is really a disapointment that I had no change to see this band in action. It was a long time ago that I saw them for the last time and it would be nice to have an other perfect memory about them. I am sure that the whole hall was packed, the sound was perfect and the show was as good as always. Blame the weather for the rest of it. Arnhem Metal Meeting was more then just a metal festival, all the bands gave all they got and the organisation was perfectly. Next year no X-mass but again a meeting in Arnhem.




Copyright pictures from http://www.metal-experience.com/
Grave, Dismember and Ensiferum copyright pictures: their official website.

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