Watching your favorite bands and discovering new talent performing their craft, making new acquaintances among the fan base, sharing stories and keeping some mementos. All in all having a great time whilst taking a break from the same rut you’re usually stuck with during the week. Most of all, it’s all about enjoying yourself whilst doing the one thing you truly cherish. That’s what a metal gig/festival is all about to me.
Metal festivals have become quite a mainstay in Malta over the past years. The diversity and dedication behind them is truly astounding, whether to give local bands some form of integrity and exposure or going out of their way to setting up major headliners. In the third edition of Metal Over Malta, it was time for the down to earth, inspirational and more than soulful Orphaned Land, headlining such a massive event.
Intact, ever present, co-operation at its finest. The organizers and promoters never missed a cue in delivering the ultimate experience to any fan, whether it’s security, assistance, transport services and meet and greets. All necessary factors in determining the seriousness and adherence to set up such initiative. Unfortunately I had to miss the first two editions (first time being for health reasons and second time due to being abroad, Septicflesh grrrrrrrrrrr) so one can understand the anticipation in experiencing what was meant to be nothing more than the ultimate joyride.
Needless to say, the audience makes it even better, whether reliving past moments or sharing recollections with you buddies or meeting with foreign fans coming from distant islands to live their dream. After all any fan base is the lifeblood of any promotion, not necessarily being a metal event, but anything in general. Gratuitously though, we are all fans of the genre. We live, sleep and breathe this thing 24/7, whether performing in a band or simply going through the motions via earphones. No use going through petty stuff or dick measuring. We do this because we believe in a happier tomorrow, that no matter what there is always something to look forward to in real life.
But hey, what is a festival without the bands? Once again this edition did not fall short on prowess and commitment. Over the span of two nights, one can say no that band (whether being the locals, foreign or the headliner themselves) missed a single step in general. It was a plethora of ass kicking acts, each with their respect genre (depending on your preferences, of course), making an impact and contributing into making this weekend truly memorable.
Animamortua– from the ashes of Relicuia, the emerging yet seasoned quintet opened the dances last Friday thanks to their hard pounding, thrilling, seven stringing thrash goodness. This was definitely not their first rodeo, as they already started amassing a decent amount of momentum from one gig to another. Now it plenty of gigs in the horizon and their debut EP State of Chaos, one hopes nothing for the best for another band making their bones. Indeed an Ear-splitting opener from you lads.
DESECRATE The first foreign act us Maltesers witnessed in the whole festival. The Italian based melodic death quintet with fair shades on gothic in their craft, did not fail the impress the audience in creating a daunting atmosphere. Monstrous material all the way, coupled with a soothing and resounding cover of ‘’Cloud Connected’’ by Inflames. Nice having you playing in our islands and we hope it’s not the last time we hear from you guys. Much respect and prospects!
Forsaken– Seriously? Do I need to say more about the men behind the legend? Their resume speaks for itself. The 25 year old veterans perform as passionate as ever. Perhaps one of the most respected and glistening gems from the entire scene. They are the epitome of devotion and intensity to the music. Even though doom is not one of my strong suits, one cannot argue the adrenaline rush this band can produce. Nothing but goodwill in this band. Blending from their classics to their new material, once again they were one of the show stealers among the entire festival. Hails!!
POEM– a particular band which I was looking forward to due to their intriguing blend of progressive riffage with a hefty grunge feeling (Imagine A Perfect Circle and Alice in Chains having a lovechild). The Greeks were quite the sensation. One definitely had to check out their material with more detail and consideration on the following day (One hell of an album The Great Secret Show is) . Loved watching them and definitely to keep them in mind. Kudos!!
Civil War (the band)– The eyes were all set on the Swedish warhorses. Materializing from former Sabaton members, incorporating nothing short than good old fashioned power metal, capturing the historical battles which are eponymous to their name. A noticeable highlight was watching the new vocalist sharing the stage with the band, giving his two cents with more than convincing fashion, judging also by the limited time he had at his disposal. The power metal enthusiasts surely did not come out disappointed from the whole set lists. Not the biggest power metal fan (being more tasteful to rather extreme acts myself) but still it was a blast having you in Malta with more fast paced and crusading melodies.
Dimlight– opening up for Saturday where the female fronted Greeks. Appreciated their ‘’thinking out of the box’’ attitude, not simply abiding with one genre as they fused a lot of elements and developing quite the atmosphere in the afternoon. Warming up for what was meant to be a long satisfying night, their orchestral and obsidian fundamentals made them noteworthy in creating a gut reaction among the audience. What a delight this band was. Loved them and will definitely follow their material from now on.
Loch Vostok– Heavy duty, no days off, technical dexterity. The Swedes (why is it that there are so many freakin’ awesome bands coming out this country?) kicked things up a notch with their progressive capacity. Some of the best vocals from the entire festival, this band was another great discovery to add in my repertoire. Having a decent amount of material in the discography, one shall look into more deep in this band. Massive and notoriously awesome.
Abysmal Torment Finally!!!! (or as we say in Maltese, hekk mela!!!). It was time for the local brutal death giants. Perhaps one of my favourite Maltese acts, it was time to give a swift kick to the introvert in me and having a blast! The sheer destruction and aptitude in their composition always make my day in every single gig I attended to. Absolutely looking forward to their next album and never forgetting from where they started. The dual vocal once again delivered and will keep delivering. Everytime I hear Epoch of Methodic Carnage, I go nuts!. Kbar!
Saille. Time for some decay. The glaring symphonic black metal Belgians exceeded all expectations, enveloping some of the best lighting and presentation from the whole thing. Wicked and fiendish riffage which extorted an absolute, apocalyptic perception. With a new record recently released ‘’Gnosis’’, Saille were an amazing highlight from the entire ordeal. Positively receptive from the audience and a must listen among black metallers.
Preach– Once again another surprisingly good Swedish melodic death metal band (back to my Swedish theory). Their happy go lucky attitude quickly captivated the gathering. A big thumbs up for the organizers for inviting these amazing people. Doing this for over a decade, their album Gasoline Veins is a must listen, with nothing short than good old fashioned consonance. Living life to the fullest and being professional at the same time.
Weeping Silence– The people behind all of it. Their curriculum vitae speaks for itself, not just in being reputable but for their involvement in producing top notch material. Having a career stretching over 20 years, they quickly became one of Malta’s rising stars in the metal scene, sharing the stage with some of the greatest metal acts in festivals all over the continent. Starting from humble steps into becoming a constant in gothic/doom performances all over Europe, thanks to their conspicuous mix of sorrow, anger, inner demons and oblivion. Chapeau for their depth and much respect in their work. Wished I had more energy left in my body (after several hours standing, my feet screamed for mercy) but knowing it won’t be the last time I’ll be watching them, here’s for more and a big thank you in your performance and setting up the whole thing. You took the ball and ran away with it.
Orphaned Land. The headliners, the biggest reason why all this happened. Their unique amalgamation of oriental folk and progressive metal, amidst all religious controversy. I’ve been listening to the Israelis for a little over 5 years, admittedly not the daily cup of tea but once I hit play on anything stretching from Mabool to their latest All is One, the feeling is indescribable. Unity and peace is their message, breaking from the norm of engaging in petty arguments, which is often measured in bullets and blood. Their down to earth and kind nature attitude made the whole thing special. Prolonging with some of their best stuff such as Ocean Land and Norra el Norra, call me crazy but every time I hear ‘’Brother’’ is when emotion starts kicking in. Goosebumps and a sense of belonging at the same time, coupled with the tearful performance from Kobi Farhi who reminisced the harsh reality that their country has been enduring and inflicting at the same time.
I witnessed something way beyond belief, as the majority of the audience was hypnotized from beginning till end. I witnessed something spectacular. ‘’Brother’’ became a symbolic track for me ever since the first couple of times I heard it. Amidst the religious propaganda and shameful atrocities we witness every single day, it also gives a moment of meditation, as the slightest and most trivial thing can cause the most absurd disaster. One thing I learned from experience is that (with a tear in my eye) we all have problems; the utmost importance is learning to accept them, being able to live with them and ultimately making the best on every single occasion in such a seemingly short life, yet long enough to appreciate it. Thank you Orphaned Land! I want to see you again.
Concluding all this, I want to give proper credit to each and every one involved in this festival. From sound engineering , light equipment, promotion and other miscellaneous activities. The bar has been raised in local events standards. It’s all about enjoying ourselves at the end. Here’s for the fourth edition and a bunch of other noteworthy gigs and festivals on the way!