Arnhem Metal Meeting 2006 - A festival in December?
The Arnhem Metal Meeting, an annual indoor festival with three stages in an awesome looking building, the Musis Sacrum, which usually is used for classical or pop events. Well the metal fans are completely different form the usual guests. Longhaired, drunk, loud, pot smoking and so on. But we, the metalheads don’t care what other people think of us. We are happy because of the great opportunity to see some awesome metal bands and want to party. Well, a party it was.
The first band of the day was Thronar, a dutch battle metal band. A nice kick off for a festival. I haven’t seen this band before, but I’d heard some good things about this battle metal band. Why is it called battle metal you might think. Well I guess most of you people have seen the movie braveheart with Mel Gibson, with the blue ‘corpse paint’. Thronar has the same look and of course, they sing about battle. It is as simple as that. Now you still don’t know what kind of music it is. I would say it is a combination of pagan, folk and Viking metal. It was a nice but very short performance, they played for only 20 minutes, a little short in my opinion.
Then it was time for the first big gig at the mainstage, time for Aeternus. I’ve never heard anything of this Norwegian band, but the I’ve read quite often about this band, so I was very curious, ‘cause mostly I read good things about them. Damn, their performance was great, it really was a great experience for me. For those who don’t know this band as well, it is a death blackish metal band. Strong and aggressive riffs, nice fast drumming, and some awesome vocals. I really loved the vocals, which sounded very sinister. After their performance I immediately had the urge to buy some of their albums. Unfortunately the sound of this stage wasn’t that great. The sound was better than most of the gigs last year at this stage, but it still wasn’t great.
Off to the next stage, time for Ancient Rites. For some reason I never checked out this band. I don’t know why, but I never heard a song of these Belgians. So I thought it would be ‘the’ moment to check it out. I’m sorry to say, but I didn’t really enjoy this show. The sound wasn’t good, and the band couldn’t convince me. I didn’t like the vocals. Ancient Rites started as a black metal band, but they developed. I liked the black metal element, but the folk-thing couldn’t convince me. So I went to the back of the stage and me and my friend took a nice large beer. Hmmm, beer. Last year we went by car, and I drove, so I couldn’t drink. So I really enjoyed that beer.
Because of the fact they‘d changed the running order I wasn’t aware of the fact that Flesh Made Sin played as well at the small stage. Instead of drinking beer at the Ancient Rites gig I could have been drinking beer while listening to the Dutch thrasher. Damn!! Sorry guys, I really would have liked to watch your performance.
Because of the fact me and my friend got bored at Ancient Rites we went to the mainstage, where Melechesh were warming up with their soundcheck. I really love this band. This is the band for me at the AMM. For those who don’t know this band: Shame on you! Melechesh just released their latest album Emissaries, which is the best album I’ve heard this year, and will always be one of my favourites. Mesapotamian metal is how they call their music. Great black metal with many eastern influences. Luckily we were treated by some of their new songs. The other songs they played of the album Sphynx rocked as well, but the new album is way better. The audience seemed to enjoy the show as well, lot’s of hair dancing in the air and some nice moshing in the pit.
Time for some death metal. Time for the sick Austrians of Pungent Stench. As they got on stage, I was a little confused. Is that Pungent Stench? I always imagined them as brutal killers covered in blood throwing guts off the stage. Perhaps I should see a shrink….. Dressed in a nice blouse and playing a Fender Telecaster (you know, the blues guitar), that was the frontman. The others didn’t look impressive as well. Until the moment they started to play. A huge amount of energy filled the room, while the band was playing with full passion. This is death metal I like. It didn’t take long for a pit to occur. Some managed to surf on the crowd or stagedive. This really was a show many people won’t forget.
Luckily, or perhaps unluckily I could see a fragment of Antaeus. These black metallers really couldn’t get my interest. The sound was crappy and the music missed something. Perhaps if I would have seen the entire gig it would be more positive, but that is not how it was.
In the meanwhile they were out of the large beer glasses, why????? Did we drink that much? Well, two small beers had to compensate.
Back to the mainstage again, where Moonsorrow was about to play. Because of the fact my ears were already damaged because of the volume of the other bands, we decided to find some places at the end of the hall, where it still was loud enough. I like the genre of folk/Viking metal very much, but Moonsorrow never made it to my cd-collection. Perhaps I had an overkill of folk at that moment. But seeing them live was not bad at all. The fans were pleased, banging their heads off and kicking asses in the pit. Again a nice performance, but not superb if you ask me.
Necrofobic, another band I didn’t know, but this time I know why. It’s because I’m not a big fan of death metal, I only like the death metal bands that play with lots of groove, like Gorefest or Pungent Stench. So I never had any interest in Necrofobic. Seeing them live didn’t change my mind, it is just not my thing. But seeing the other metalheads going wild, I guess it was nice for the ones who like this band.
So I went downstairs to the small stage, where Skyforger was playing. And that is a band I really like. This folk metal band from Latvia looked like their music sounds: wild. Dressed in clothes Europeans used to wear some ages ago they played some nice catchy and strong songs. I don’t know all of their albums, but to me the live music sounded a little more aggressive than on the records. Which is a good thing. Another thing I noticed was the lead vocalist, that looked very different, and older as I imagined him. I don’t know how old he is, but he sure has to be a lot older than the rest. He remembered me of Gimly, the dwarf of The Lord Of The Rings saga, but a little bigger and less fat. I really enjoyed their show, but I must say that the sound was crap. You could see the one who was playing the flute was doing his best, but I almost couldn't hear it. A pity.
Do you like beer? Do you like metal? You will like Tankard. These sick Germans play some nice old school thrash metal. Last year I saw Dismember and Destruction on this stage, but I really could’t enjoy their shows because of the really bad sound. This year I really could enjoy the thrash. The show was very energetic and funny. The bassist really looked like he was drunk already before he got on stage, and what to say about vocalist Gerre. Jumping on the stage, his huge belly bouncing up and down, and a never ending smile on his face. The true party king. Party on the stage, party in the crowd. Singing along with Tankard drinking beer and some moshing, that is the way to party. For those who didn’t know: Tankard also plays black metal, because they sing about dying. Dying with a beer in your hand. Haha, I love their humor. If you like to party, you really should go to one of their gigs if you can.
After Tankard’s performance, me and my friend were getting a bit tired. That was at the time Anathema was about to get on stage. A good combination, we thought, tiredness + Anathema = chilling. So we found some free places against a wall and laid back. Anathema has never been one of my favourites. It is just not my kind of music. The gig wasn’t bad at all, but it was just not special for me. Another thing: I got more tired of their music, and my friend as well. We almost fell asleep.
To stay awake we went to the small stage again where General Surgery was playing, the very opposite of Anathema. But we didn’t stay for long. The band, covered in (fake?) blood was playing some very loud death metal. Like I told you before, I don’t like that, but I gave it a try….. for a short while. The sound wasn’t very good and the vocalist was drunk. Not my thing.
Time to pay the Wok restaurant across the street a visit. For only €3,50 I was able to fill my tummy. I have to remember that place…….. hmmm food.
Back in the Musis Sacrum.
Arch Enemy, I never really like that band. Or better, I never like that genre. I only got one album, and that is just because someone gave it to me. I’m aware many people would like to smash my head after reading this, but that is just my opinion, I don’t like their music, which doesn’t mean I think it is a lousy band. It was very obvious most of the metalheads did like this band very much, because the atmosphere in the hall was great, just like on stage. Arch Enemy did their thing, and they did it good. Again lots of headbanging and moshing. What else to say.
I was very curious about Immolation. Like I said before, I’m not a big fan of death metal, but these guys are some awesome musicians and I was really eager to see them showing their skills live. But ………during the day I had a growing headache. Next to that I was tired, like I am after running around the block (yes I know, my condition is very bad). Seriously, it was enough for me to go home. Sorry Immolation.
Overall I truly have to say it was a fucking awesome festival with a very big selection where any metalhead will find something he or she likes. See you next year!