For many years the Dutch festival Eindhoven Metal Meeting and its organizers have made a good name among bands and metalheads. Thereby the event always has top bands as headliners, and the tickets for the fest are sold out in full and in advance.
A large attendance of the festival plays into the hands of everyone, including musicians, debuted on the small stage District 19. Named after the organizers’ booking and management agency, it always gathers a crowd of people, sometimes so dense that it’s not possible to squeeze into the hall. Because of this, Eindhoven Metal Meeting has become one of those events that are an excellent opportunity for young or little-known bands to present themselves to a wider audience.
This year, a similar chance was given to the Russian black metallers Todestriebe, who, despite one of the band members’ falling out, they didn’t disappoint the organizers and arrived in Eindhoven with the incomplete line-up. I paid my attention to this group a few years ago, after seeing their set at Metal Heads' Mission Festival in Moscow and noting a thoughtful stage image, a good performance of material and how vividly Moscow audience greeted the band. At the Eindhoven Metal Meeting, the audience accepted musicians quite warmly, the hall was full and the band, in my opinion, was in a good shape, although it was playing without a drummer.
Show at the festival
Cornerstone or, in contrast, the stumbling block of most today’s bands are live performances. Availability of music, opportunities for PR often level up when a group made a name of a boring performer with a poor performance. That’s why many bands, even with a good material under their belt, however, try to make a show out of their gig. Namely, I had the best impressions about the sets of such bands at the Eindhoven Metal Meeting, particularly of Friday's headliners — Behemoth and the main guests of Saturday — Samael. The first day was also remembered due to the performance of the Swedish veterans Nifelheim, the incredibly charismatic musicians who perfectly rocked the audience.
As for Behemoth’s set, from the day when I saw their show for the first time this summer at the CAMF (just six months after their album "The Satanist" release), the band has significantly improved their performing skills. And it’s certainly not about the musical component, which the musicians have proved a long time ago.
Gorgeous costumes and masks by the Canadian designer Toxic Vision, the backdrop, but the main thing is the absolute accuracy of the flue and movements of each group member, perfected by packed tour schedule. The performance, the final stage of which is leaving and then showing up of all the musicians wearing masks during the "O Father O Satan O Sun" — the strongest composition, each time causing a catharsis during a live performance. In my opinion, this track must complete any festival program, cause it leaves such a strong "aftertaste" which you do not want to interrupt by anything else: neither other groups nor the songs-allusions in the style of "This Is Over".
On the first day we were also able to talk with Nuclear Assault’s leader Dan Lilker. The musician had an autobiography "Perpetual Conversion: 30 Years & Counting In The Life Of Metal Veteran Dan Lilker"presentation at the lobby of Effenaar, he willingly photographed, signed autographs and kindly agreed to comment on the book for us:
"It’s a kind of the history of my musical career ever since I was a kid played the piano when I was 5 years old at my mother's house and then I’ve started playing metal and a lot of bands I played in. Funny pictures and stories. You know, if people like the bands I played in, they will probably find it interesting, if not maybe they will think it’s a shit, I don’t know," — Dan Lilker
The brightest performance of the second day was Samael’s set — an amazing show, mainly made by multi-instrumentalist Xy, who played alternately on the keys and drums. In general, if you want to know what a real groove looks like, go to Samael’s concert, where you wouldn’t be able to resist their music and so powerful performance. And, perhaps, the greatest dilemma can become a choice where to go: to Behemoth’s or to Samael’s show, if that happens, they will give concerts at the same time. As for me, the performances of this kind are worth visiting. There are no favorite metalcore fans’ twists, such as balls launching, flash-mobs, or singing songs by the crowd during the singer’s rest after simulations under the track, but there is a strong performance of professionals and a great live show.
Another one group of the evening for me was also Marduk — great black metal band, which does not involve dithyrambs or special representation. I saw their performance for the first time this summer, and then, and this time I was pleased: excellent material with good performance and permanently falling, due to the vocalist Mortuus’ movements, microphone stand.
The festival for musicians
Summing up both days, I can say that the Eindhoven Metal Meeting is a festival not only for visitors but also for musicians, with well thought out organization. A bit annoying manner of the Dutch people to throw plastic under their feet, but it is, unfortunately, "chip" many metalheads, hanging out at the fest. Otherwise, the professional approach was absorbed in many factors, from promptly replace the falling out groups (instead of Gama Bomb and Loudblast played Rompeprop group and Burn the Iris) to the courteous and adequate staff. Special contrast with native organizers was evident at the backstage. In many ways, of course, it’s a club merit: neat repairs, dressing room with lockable lockers, spacious elevator. But things, within the power of any organizer to provide, have been granted at the Eindhoven Metal Meeting: tasty hot food, plenty of refreshments, free drinks and a variety of snacks. The ability to drink free beer, relax and watch performances of fellow musicians. This attitude, of course, is a practice, not an exception at European concerts and festivals that I look forward to see in Ukraine.
Photo by Dmythro