Wim went to the lovely town of Berchem to see a bunch of doom metal bands tribute the end of World War 1. With Pantheist, Marche Funebre, Rome In Monochrome, River Of Souls, Hudič, Svarthart and Voidian, the city dwelled in darkness for hours on end.
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A cold, drizzly Thursday evening, somewhere in a small town named Aarschot. We drove through kilometers of typical Flemish roads. We passed discotheques, shoe-stores and hifi-shops. We drove by a large warehouse with the weirdest statues, from Roman columns to Buddhas to odd pieces of plaster-erotica. But eventually, we arrived at De Klinker, an excellent and perhaps underappreciated venue.
We were among the first ones in and saw a mostly empty room. Although that would change in the hours to come, I can't help but think the organization had expected some more people to show up. I hope they weren't too disappointed. After all, they did deliver a highly enjoyable evening with a great sound and with three interesting bands. Eventually, Wanheda climbed on stage for a handful of people.
Some months ago Leuven based quartet Wanheda debuted with a promising album, titled 'The Cenozoic Implosion'. In my review (read), I wrote that Wanheda is a classic Dunk-band and guess what: with the band playing their music on stage, there was a small Dunk-festival feeling present. The guys picked a few tracks from 'The Cenozoic Implosion' to convince the audience and it did seem to work. Heads started nodding and there was a friendly applause.
It looked like most of the band was rather nervous for this performance, except the bass player who must have had a history in the hardcore scene. He is clearly the "metal"- part in the post-metal tag of Wanheda. While the guitarists were fully occupied with the technical pluckings, he walked round as if he was a Halloween version of Henri Rollins. I didn't mind. This was a decent post-rock gig from a young, skilled band.
Give time and plenty more gigs, Wanheda surely has the potential to become a serious player in today's Belgian post-scene. Sure I can still see them at Dunk! in the following years but they will have to obey to the golden rule of rock 'n roll: play, play, play, play and play again. Of course I bought the CD afterwards.
If that previous paragraph sounds somewhat criticizing, it's mostly because of the performance by Astodan. When these guys climbed on stage, I saw a different level of bandship. Here, there was more action, more power, more confidence. Astodan delivered an extremely solid set with immersive guitar passages and in-your-face post metal parts. Although I had seen them before, they had never impressed my like they did here in Aarschot.
Here, the drummer was the powerhouse of the band, furiously pushing forward his bandmates. Those bandmates did an awesome job as well. The stage was packed with activity. You didn't know where to look first. Oddly enough, the only point of critique I could write down is the volume level of the electronics and samples. Put them up, make them a full-fledged part of the performance. They fit perfect, just a little louder.
See, if I have to comment on the volume level of one tiny but not unimportant part of a post-rock performance, it must have been good. This was good. No wonder Dunk! Records signed these guys. In contrast to the somewhat shy performance of Wanheda, Astodan proved that they're ready for the big stages, the world tours and the post-rock history books. This was impressive.
After two intense gigs in Antwerp Music City and one earth-shattering passage at Dunk! festival, Telepathy was about to occupy a normal stage in Belgium. How they did that? Well, let's just say that Telepathy is one of those bands who do not just obey the golden rule of rock 'n roll, they live by the golden rule of rock 'n roll. From the very first second, Telepathy felt like one of those 16 ton megaweights Monty Python often used.
By now, there was a decent amount of people in the room but for Telepathy it doesn't matter if there's two people or twenty thousand, they just blast. Not only have they written stunning pieces of post metal, they also have an evincive stage performance. It's almost a choreography, legs wide, body moving along with the music. Of course, it's not rehearsed or anything, this is just Telepathy being a well oiled post metal powerhouse.
I saw the bass player in the lavatory after the gig. He even pisses in that same posture. How metal can you possibly get? They're nice people but on stage they will fucking kill you. So naturally, Telepathy pretty much won this evening, but it was a close call since Astodan was so impressive as well. In all, this was a near perfect evening of instrumental heaviness. Kudos to the organization and thank you.
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