To review –for me- is to get so deep within the technicalities and the “how’s” and “when’s” of the matter in hand, but this time I tried another route.. to let the people review without withdrawing my own take on the topic completely and only taking each stage of the concert as a “stop and comment” stations, so here goes:
Place: Sakkia – as always.
Event: WALLS OF DEATH’s event 3rd anniversary.
This time the level of anticipation was roof high, too much hard-hitting bands in one place: ( Scarab, Sinprophecy, Ahl Sina, Mephostophilis, Veritatem Solam and Absolution), and I think you know them pretty much to know what their genres are. The new comers are Veritatem Solam (Melodic Death Metal) and Absolution (Progressive folk Metal) who put a decent show that was crashed to the ground by the appalling level of sound engineering and light system management. And this is our first station of the night…
Many times we mention straight forward and funny gestures that there is something defiantly wrong with sound engineering in Egypt that’s why I love to attend each concert’s sound check before it starts, the myth saying sound before the show is different than the one you setup with the sound engineer before your set are totally different is true ! Not never it was the same and always it is even worse once it is a go-live ! please people if you don’t know how to be a sound engineer, leave the job to those who can do it – if there is any!. The new devastation in line is the light system, what in the world made you believe that keeping the lights off for almost 3 seconds in a row is something badass when it comes to metal?. This brings us to the next part of the story: The spirit.
It is not right to sound-manage or light-manage a show that you are not even into by heart or mind, if you are not a metalhead or at least watched many concerts and more importantly LISTENED to live shows, then compared it to your own work and found a very big gap.. then please save us the tears and don’t accept the deal to hold the show! And please don’t expect music listeners to believe that “the avenue’s equipment is rubbish” cuz we have eyes and we can see that in such show like that one in hand there is no way for those amps and monitors to sound bad unless they are mistreated or the person leading them doesn’t have a clue what they are doing, because no one will rent such top-notch gear just to make sure they will sound bad. Kindly be professional enough to level up your game guys.
Moving on it was the latency in starting the concert, triggering the normal reason for the bands slowpoking as usual with no visible explanation to that even when I asked members of several bands the answer was just “ We are late because we are late.. We dunno! “, And this brings us to the next chapter: Audience, awareness and mutual respect.
Most of the bands in Egypt have a serious problem with creative thinking, marketing and passion with music itself, this is actually a reflection of how the musical scene itself in Egypt needs a serious lift by its own fans, those who attend gigs wrecking irreparable havoc then continue their kindergarten wars on cyber space. In several –if not all- occasions audience caused a horrible representation to one of the oldest and finally most respective music cults all over earth, Metal. No one can remember a gig getting cancelled for a vocalist dissing a fan or a drummer going onstage with a cig and a bottle ‘a’ beer, not never!, but yet A lot of fans do their best to turn the night of the bands’ lives to a shameful memory.
Talk about fan responsibility towards his band and his music and you will be like who is chatting with his own echo. This one night itself fans called the front man of “Absolution” kiddo and the showoff little guy , while some of the quietest and oldest in the scene and even foreigners saw great potential in the guy, he owned the stage with a super stage persona and a skilled musician’s attitude though the music was not that good, every one of them was perfect but on his own away of the mix. Myself I didn’t like the drum lines or the keyboards though the keyboardist is a part of a well-known band in Egypt Origin but as per the audience he sounded like he is playing “Mahraganat”. Very good show but let’s concentrate on the music boys.. the music itself not how to play it. Salute to the bassist and please use those vocal chords in a black metal or a doom metal bands, they were too extreme and out of line for this band.
Constructive criticism? Not even once! The guys played.. they left.. and like nothing happened, and yes it’s your duty as a listener and supposedly a fan of the music not a judge in America’s got talent to tell the bands how you feel about their work not just do the low-profile side-talk criticism, No!, that’s not right and not your right to do so!, If we have a bad band then it’s your fault that you didn’t direct them to the right path or even shared your take on their art, The majority just goes there drunk or high, begging for attention, looking like big shots while their only concern is to listen to the most underground bands to prove that they are so metal. You got that wrong boys!
You want an example? How about me telling you there was a boy wearing a hoodie with a full-frontal of a woman on both back and chest looking around him every second to make sure people are looking at him watching the BADASS he is, causing embarrassment and disgust to normal people attending the same event!
Awareness is a rare jewel when it comes to the familiar faces in the scene, many times organizers announce there will be regulative actions against who breaks the agreed rules and still people don't care, I can tolerate that a place like Sakkia bans mosh pits for safety and public image reasons.. i get that, so why in the world would you engage in such act causing the damage only to the people bringing the gig to you?
If the above indicates something it will be missing respect towards the bands at a dangerous level you cannot see in more advanced gigs outside Egypt, If you are not able to control your behavior outside the arena then don't bring the consequence to hurt only us because it will only cause you the ability to attend a concert for a while. Vast majority of fans proved at many occasions their no will to break a sweat to stand by their scene and its musicians, and this time it was more than enough to prove that the Egyptian metal scene's demise is caused heavily but not entirely by the fans.
Then came Sinprophecy with most of the old guard, Bar’oumi on bass and Amr Salah on lead guitars, it all went good but there was almost none of the old chemistry with the audience, did feel like they are afraid of the set falling apart, which was clear as it felt like there is something wrong with the all over melody that was murdered by the sound engineering of course, making the vocalist’s mic not hearable while pumping the guitars to the max, then raising the distortion and pulling the mic voice up then dropping the drums’ sound to the ground, it.. was.. a.. mess !. The band did okay in the first appearance after the sudden leave of Mohamed Saeid and Mostafa “Squertl” Khaled permanently to Destiny in chains for no –announced- reason. Most of the tracks were remixed to have a bit extended solos. They will need more time to re-gain the lost sync they before had.
Next was "Veritatem Solam" a new Old-School melodic death metal project of a fan-favorite artist, Omar Assem (Devour, THE) alongside some of the oldest names in the scene, Mohamed Osama and Bahaa Dahaby (Guitars) with the wandering drummer Aly El-Rawy. I wish i would've been able to speak about their music but the shitty sound system was at it's best (Not !) this time to the limit we didn't her one of the guitars, no drums at all, Just the bass and the vocals ! Bahaa's guitar was too high and the output was full of sound feedback, it was all buzz and squeaks, crowd loved them big time but still missing the chemical reaction with the fans.
Came up after that "MEPHOSTOPHILIS" with their DeathCore power surge that suddenly got the whole arena caught on fire, they can be summed in one phrase: " The improved ! ". finally their vocalist Mahmoud Aboul Komsan was able to control his vocal power throughout the whole set, as he was having massive problems with that in all their previous acts which lost him audience's trust as a front man. This time they mastered their tunes and breakdowns far better than before pushing the audience to call for more ! For the first time ever people in a metal concert ask for another track from a band that they used to not like before, but still they have a lot of work to do in regards to their harmony and how to get a jazzy oriental rock drummer like Mr. Ahmed Hesham to consume the soul of deathcore. The best so far.
Fans anticipated the upcoming band "Ahl Sina " with high hopes of listening to some classy easy-flowing oriental music, to be crushed upon the title of the next chapter of this wondrous day: Failure to deliver what's promised. This band has a history of propaganda of doing such really good music and having some high profile musicians, and having the credit of just one –maybe two- past performances made almost 90% of the audience await them, till it was the disaster we heard them play.. Simply the great composition and diversity of musical orientations was crushed by weirdly annoying vocal lines of Mostafa "Troll" Ali, and the new face in the jinxed position of the band's female vocal, Karma, it was not her best night and she sounded off-tune and shouting most of the time as per the whole audience. They absolutely hated them.
Headliners "Scarab " were up, the same good performance done with the same skill but this time without "Bombest" their genius bassist, and again without any explanation!.
To complete their bright image, some of the audience broke out a childish fight for no valid reason as i tried my best to investigate what the hell happened, and it turned out to be simply a children's fight to show who has the bigger... muscles!. Rumors say one of the sides of the fight was Omar the bassist of thrash band GORYNOV , just a rumor. As humiliating and disrespectful as it can be, those guys didn't even care to listen to the friendly attention grabs from SCARAB onstage trying to break them off, then it was Sammy Sayed''s attempt to use their fan base to order the brawlers to take it outside, and it went successfully, needless to say that Al-Shareif the band's guitarist tried the same approach but with a more aggressive way and you can understand why.
Finally the event ended and everyone went home not agreeing on one point of view towards this gig, making whoever has a mind wondering: Will it go any worse?.. and to which extent the fans' ignorance will continue banishing all the efforts to rise with the Egyptian metal scene?.. we still wonder yet we are almost out of solutions.
Thanks to all the fans, observers, listeners and even musicians who helped me create a whole image of the concert as it was too hard and will sound too ignorant to take it from just one perspective.
Till we meet again, hopefully.