Sunday, and the second day of the third incarnation of Metal Gates Festival in Bucharest. After yesterday’s fantastic sets from Dark Tranquillity, Hamferd and Molybaron, today promises much with highly anticipated sets from Antimatter and Officium Triste.
The second day of the Metal Gates festival starts with the doom/death tunes by Pilgrimage. Pilgrimage is a doom/death band born of a collaboration between Sean Pollacco (ex-Weeping Silence), Eric Hazebroek (Vetrar Draugurinn, ex-Stream of Passion) and Dino Mifsud Lepre (Victims of Creation). Pilgrimage was formed in 2018 with the intent of playing metal without compromise. The band’s trio recruited Dario Pace Taliana (Weeping Silence) on vocals for live shows & studio, and Darryl Portelli on guitars for live shows. They played six songs including “Voyage to the End of Time”, “The Pilgrim” and “Nothing But Death”.
Descend Into Despair took the stage next. The band approach funeral doom.
I have always found that music’s worth cannot be determined entirely by its technicality. The simplest of riffs or melodies can have the greatest impact on one’s heart. Descend Into Despair understand this. I highly encourage anyone who is a fan of doom, symphonic, and atmospheric metal to check this band out. After the end of their show, an introspective feeling lingers. The vocals are haunting, beautiful and help create the atmosphere of a ghostly manner. Their musical and lyrical universe is developed around the inadequacy or imperfection of the world, or “Weltschmerz”, a brooding and ever-looming feeling that physical reality can never fully satisfy the demands of the mind, as the band stated.
The Netherlands has a habit of creating talented metal bands, specifically doom and doom-death metal bands; and Officium Triste is by far one of the best.
Officium Triste needs no introduction. An already familiar presence for our scene, the band showed us that their performance is a new experience every time. Settled in Rotterdam, the band is the author of no less than six full-lengths that were well received by the public. Originally formed as a death metal band under the name Reincremated, they split up and restarted as Officium Triste in April 1994. In late 1998, the band split up and some members continued under a new name: 11:59 or XILIX. However, after releasing a “goodbye” CD-single in 1999, they reversed this decision and reformed.
They opened the show with “This Inner Twist” and ended with “Like a Flower in the Desert”.
The show was so fitting, evocative, authoritative and full of harmonies that does the old metal Era justice. I can’t even type out my favourite song of the evening, as once I start I will find myself typing out the entire setlist. The vocals are another standout because they show Pims’ versatility as a singer. This goes from his rather original and distinct death growl to clean singing voice and the ratio between the two seems equal. This is a band that has long remained loyal to its heavily saturated atmosphere of sadness, and to that extent, I’d say they’ve put together another memorable show which should fascinate the fans. Over the years, Officium Triste has done numerous shows; amongst them, Dutch Doom Days, Doom Shall Rise, Dublin Doom Day, Belgian Doom Night, Madrid Is The Dark, Malta Doom Metal Festival. They played in cities such as Rotterdam, Paris, Moscow, Madrid, Berlin, Vienna, Dublin, London. They shared the stage with acts like Anathema, Candlemass, Hollenthon, Evoken, Esoteric, Forsaken, Pagan Altar, Procession, Mournful Congregation, Whispering Gallery, Isole, Ophis, Autumnal, Mourning Beloveth…the list goes on and on and will only get bigger.
On stage follows another amazing piece of doom. Clouds is an addictive kind of band. They combine clean vocals with the most amazing doom-laden vocals ever. Each song has its own life path. They perfectly represent the feelings of deep sadness, pain, and grief. It is an experience listening to this band as it drags you along this journey to find peace and acceptance. Each song portrays a different perspective on hurt and suffering. The compositions here almost feel lighter, still espousing the harmonies that define the atmosphere, but letting the heaviness shine through. The guitars thread along through more dynamic ideas, from darker sequences to elevated melodies. It’s relevant to note that they put some effort into their heavier rhythm guitar patterns, so they never feel generic. The bass lines crawl along on their own at some point, the guitars entirely vanishing or pausing just to create a simple, sad melody. The drumline is likewise good; it might not require much energy or aggression, but there are little details in the fills which constantly keep it interesting. They start the slot with the well-known song “You went so silent” and ended with “Even if I fall’. This is a band you better listen to in peace, to drag along in the heavy mid-tempo haze where sadness reigns unconditionally. Slow, intense and high class!
Liverpoool based dark prog rock band Antimatter is the project of longtime member Mick Moss. The project was formed in 1997 by Duncan Patterson (former bassist/songwriter of Anathema) and Moss. The pair released three albums together – “Saviour”, “Lights Out” and “Planetary Confinement”. Shortly after the completion of “Planetary Confinement”, Patterson left to start another band called Íon.
Acoustic guitar riffs and rhythmic sections helped to give this duo their unique sound. After the departure of Duncan Patterson from the project, the sound rapidly changed and evolved, now developing a more metallic based sound. The early atmospheric sounds are now mostly gone, replaced with a more guitar-oriented rock sound.
About Antimatter, Mick Moss stated that it “explores, amongst other topics, the nature of addiction and the loneliness of spirituality amongst depressingly unspiritual beings.”
The appeasing, melodic and timid guitar play, the smooth yet playful percussive work and the soothing and melancholic vocals complement one another and create an enchanting atmosphere in this enshadowed space in front of an intimate and welcoming crowd.
Known as an impressive live act, Dagoba is about to take the stage. The French band started the show with full force, with the song “I, Reptile” and the industrial/groove sound flooded the stage.
Hailing from France, they are one of the most interesting yet undiscovered band in metal. Their music may be technically associated with genres such as industrial, but, In my opinion, their music is defined by their ability to convert high levels of energy into audible waveforms.
On its own, this kind of music, I find it fairly dull, but when combined with anything else, the industrial elements really add another dimension to the band. Though bold industrial guitar lines and frontman vocals serve as the music’s basis and are intense, it’s the subtle electronic synths and clean vocal parts that truly elevate the show from good to great.
First things first, here the main element is power. The riffs overwhelming, and, despite the changing nature, I find them very catchy and easy to join in with. That’s the key to what Dagoba do here, they keep things simple. Nothing is complex and none of the songs is flooded with unnecessary work. Everything leads on from one thing to the next, but equally nothing ever tires. It’s impressive to listen to something like this.
Taake was there to close the night and also the festival.
There’s a profound, dangerous presence that looks back to the early Norwegian scene. The frontman, Hoest, resembles a tightly coiled entity of seething rage ready to collapse at any moment and he stalks and twists himself into all manner of contortions as the dense cacophony of black metal swirls around him. Their name (which translates as “fog”) couldn’t be more appropriate for this dark and tormented thing. In each song, there’s a primal rock’n’roll vibe lurking below. On the first chords of the song “Nordbundet”, the band displays a venom-esque fire that contrasts with the meditative state of the crowd.
A liberating delight sail through the crowd, as people are lost in their own ecstatic trance. You forget you’re watching mortal musicians as if you attend one of the greatest mysteries of the Universe.
Until next time, R’n’R!