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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Live review: My Dying Bride, Oceans Of Slumber, The Monolith Deathcult at De Neushoorn, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, 1-4-2016

There is no more fitting place for a metal concert than ‘De Neushoorn’ (The Rhino)? Like a rhino, a good metalconcert can bash you to pieces. The Monolith Deathcult is a good one to do that!

Unfortunately the communication about the starting time was a bit weird. While my ticket said 8:20PM, I came into the concerthall quite in time, but the band was already playing.
The crowd needed to loosen up a bit still, but musically the band did great. For this evening with My Dying Bride, they put together a special ‘doom-set’. I never heard the band before, but was impressed by their brutal basslines and deep growls. A high level of technical guitar playing really lifted my appreciation for the band. A weak thing in a live performance is when you play with a background tape for the synth/computer sound. Especially with their doomsongs, the space is filled with atmosphere and there is a good combination of light and sound. Their own ‘hardcore’-sound is well received by the audience once it is warmed up.

For me a surprise, for it was not announced, there was a second support band. Texan based band Oceans of Slumber did, in my opinion, not really fit in, though it was a nice and interesting band. With a female vocalist and –my god!- three male vocalists –all playing their instruments too, though- there was enough change in vocal styles. When the band played their first song, Winter, I was almost afraid it was a pop/rock band, and, being very honest, it was a bit strange to hear a relatively ‘accessible’ metalband, after the brutal THD and before the dark MDB.
Trying not to be too sexist, singer Cammie Gilbert is in her physical appearance and movements a sensual delight to see. Yet her vocal qualities, with breathtaking lows and great medium-highs, are a superb asset to the band. Although I really like the vocals, the music is too soft, too much made to please, for my taste. An interesting final song though is their Moody Blues’ cover Nights in White Satin. When the song started I thought it strange that no-one ever thought of making a heavier version of the song, that is so fit for it. The vocals are great, but something itches: It can be a bit heavier...And then, halfway it starts. Surprising heavy riffs, but it gets a bit muddy. The album version I listen to later, has a better balance.

Then, finally, after long stage changes, it is time for My Dying Bride, A bad thing is: I have to catch my last train from the North back home, It makes me miss more than half of the concert. Honestly I do not get the planning of this concert, where the main act starts shortly before a quarter to eleven. But hey, the impression the band gives totally blows the other bands away. A few things in this performance –it is my first MDB concert- are interesting to note. First of all, most of the band members play, even in the heavier parts, very concentrated, focussed on their instruments and in a way relaxed. Only singer Aaron – the only one wearing white instead of black- and keyboard player/violinist Shaun are moving to the music, where Shaun is contagiously headbanging, and Aaron merely expressing his haunting emotions.
Another thing is that the instruments are sounding relatively clean, giving a fresh sound, making it feel like not every sound is echoing and thereby pushing away the silence. On the contrary, the stillness is allowed very much on stage, making the heavy parts feel deeper, darker, heavier. “I will sing you this song of all my pain, so listen”, a line from the beautifully performed My Body, A Funeral, basically sums up the experience of this concert. One of the biggest pains I feel is having to leave way to early, catching my train taking me southwards through the dark night filled with little hopes of spring.

Written by Martijn Bakker

Official website My Dying Bride
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Official website Oceans Of Slumber
Facebook Oceans Of Slumber
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Official website The Monolith Deathcult
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