Pascal (daiwel) wrote in disaonline,

Wacken Open Air Metal Battle at the Kulturfabrik in Esch-sur-Alzette (19th March 2016)

The Metal Battle is one of the events I try never to miss. I don’t really care about the competitive nature of such contests, but it is a perfect opportunity to see (often young) bands play under professional circumstances concise 20 minute gigs.
Tonight I arrived at 8pm and was surprised by the long queue in front of the Kulturfabrik. There had been no presale, and because of this strange Buddy List thing where you get in 2 euros cheaper when you’re on the list of one of the bands, the entrance process was really slowed down. This absolutely should be changed in the future, like for instance doing a presale and then let people decide on the inside whom they want to root for. Like one vote per ticket, for instance.
I tried my hardest to follow the shows of most bands, but some kept me more interested than others. So I allow myself to just briefly give a few short impressions, in chronological order.

  1. Heaven’s Scum
    I saw them a few weeks ago opening for Sleepers’ Guilt, and got the impression that tonight’s show was better. Their death thrash metal is mostly dwelling in mid-tempo territory, and that works ok for twenty minutes, but frankly I would like a wider dynamic range in their sound. The guitarists did good work though, and Ben is a truly impressive frontman with his 2m height.

  2. Elysian Gates
    I was really looking forward to seeing them play live, as I had always missed their shows before. Their music works really well on CD, but their live performance needs working on. The band started with their new single “Crossroads”, and the first minute or so you didn’t hear any vocals at all. This improved over the course of the song, but the sound was not optimal. The bass guitarist played some really great notes but was for instance too loud in the mix. Elysian Gates ended their set with the quarter hour long Northern Winds, possibly not the wisest choice under the circumstances. Four shorter tracks would have given the jury a better impression of the band.
    Elysian Gates were also the only band tonight that played a mellower kind of metal, and if you like progressive symphonic metal, they are just what you are looking for. Furthermore they were the only one with female members. New vocalist Noémie was quite the eyecatcher in her sexy evening gown, and guitarist Sue is probably one of the very few metal guitarists / songwriters in Luxembourg.

  3. Feradur
    They are one of the less visible bands in Luxembourg so far, which is why I was really grateful to see them play live tonight. Feradur play melodic death metal which is also open for other influences. One song for instance was incredibly groovy, but in a good way and not that tough motherfucker kind of attitude. Their German vocalist was your archetypical hipster, complete with lumberjack shirt and moustache. You had to see it to believe it. So this was no perfect set, but was intriguing enough to make them one of the best performances of the evening.

  4. Another From Above
    Everyone agreed that they had really great stage presence, but is this still metal? There was a lot of jumping around on stage, but I really felt thirty years too old for this really young band. Their fans probably averaged seventeen years, and were really into it, and I am happy for them, but they made me think if maybe we need two Metal Battles. One for old school metal and one for the metalcore kids?

  5. Soulhenge
    And what happened next was quite unbelievable. Soulhenge’s first EP a few years ago was already quite promising, and it was clear that these guys would improve, but tonight’s show really saw a strongly improved band. The two guitarists outdid themselves with their weird guitars. One played an eight string instrument with a really broad neck, while the other had one with strangely diagonal frets. Never knew something like this existed. So these djentlemen played an incredibly progressive take on metalcore, and at times they felt like the songs of early Eighties King Crimson digging into metal. Frankly no band tonight could outdo what Soulhenge did.

  6. Miles To Perdition
    And yet, sometimes fate is in favour of the more experienced bands, like Miles To Perdition, who played their third time on a Metal Battle, and tonight finally won. Deserved? Well, they are an incredibly tight playing band, and their melodic death metal is total destruction, but considering how often they participated already, I really would have liked one of the younger bands to win.

Cosmogon played as special guest before the result was announced, and I apologise to the band for missing them.
Maybe the Kulturfabrik should use both its stages for the Metal Battle, thus minimising the breaks between bands. Usually they were alright, but sometimes longer than the actual sets. Yet all in all, this was one of the better Metal Battle events in Luxembourg.
Looking forward to the next one already.

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