PALE DIVINE / SINISTER REALM / THE GATES OF SLUMBER / ZEBULON PIKE / BACKWOODS PAYBACK / ADMIRAL BROWNING / SLEESTAK / KIN OF ETTINS
Date: 17th June, 2011
Venue: The P.L.A.V.
Ticket: $40 (€28) (two days)
Promoter: Days Of The Doomed Fest
Don’t you really love festivals like this one? Festivals that are not supported by famous sponsors and do not get the publicity promotion from the radio nor the TV, but are fueled by the passion of people who simply love this music. This was exactly the case with ‘Days Of The Doomed Fest’ that debuted in the nice city of Kenosha and obviously it was all about Doom!
The first day of the festival had an early start (17:00) and since it was a working day, it was impossible for METAL KAOZ to watch the first three bands. Skipping a couple of hours from work was not enough, since the traffic from Chicago to Kenosha did not care that we wanted to watch the entire billing of the fest but there was nothing to do...
DimK: Entering the pretty nice venue, we found a decent number of doomheads gathered in front of the stage watching BACKWOODS PAYBACK‘s show totally enjoying the loud and crystal clear sound. The stage arrangement was kept minimal with just the adequate lights but I don’t think anyone cared about it. There was a family atmosphere all around and everything was focused on the music and the bands were there just to have fun and see old friends and make new ones.
The band from Pennsylvania did not care about the early start and was already sweaty hitting us hard with the groovy Stoner music that also had some down tuned Doom guitar riffs. The vocals were soaked in the South US melody and I think the closest band that comes to mind listening to them was CLUTCH. Mike Cummings (vocals, guitar) and Jessica Baker (bass) were ‘responsible’ for the onstage action serving the groovy songs with a fitting energetic performance. This type of music can simply die if the band cannot support it with an eye catching performance and those two did exactly that. Even though we didn’t catch ‘em from the beginning, we enjoyed “Dirtbike”, “Mickey Morandini” and “Hates You” and got into our best moods for the rest of the festivities.
(click to enlarge)
DimK: I knew I would challenge myself getting to this festival, since there were bands unknown to my limited knowledge and hence I had to prepare myself for anything. But surely I was not prepared for the next band named ZEBULON PIKE. Ok, their name raised some flags since a strange name goes hand-in-hand with strange music. And my instincts were proven right! The band from Minnesota served us with 30 minutes of instrumental music that had nothing to do with the average Metal aesthetics. There was a lot of experimentation in their show with multiple music layers, many tempo changes and some ‘strange’ sounds. Hell, I did not know that one could use a slide on the bass guitar… Nevertheless, there was some organization in that music chaos and I found myself enjoy most of the long “Powers Of The Living Manifestations Of The Dead” that was about ghosts and had many sound layers making difficult to chew and not to mention to digest.
ZEBULON PIKE setlist:
01. "Echoic Worlds"
02. "Powers Of The Living Manifestations Of The Dead"
03. "And Blood Was Passion"
(click to enlarge)
MariaV: Well, after ZEBULON PIKE’s experimental/ prog Doom tunes that, in my opinion, had nothing to do with the rest of the fest’s heavy and traditional character, it was time for some really cool stuff - meaning, the demonic masters THE GATES OF SLUMBER. With a brand new record in their quiver, “The Wretch” (you can read METAL KAOZ review HERE), the heavy/ Doom Metal trio from Indianapolis nailed us down, giving us some of their best tracks ever, proving that the setlist was a total blast. The epic and up-tempo “The Scovrge Of Drvnkeness” that opened their 45 minutes’ set was the perfect choice to begin with, and Karl, Jason and Cool Clyde proved to the maximum their reputation of giving extraordinary shows, with simplicity and honesty having the main role. Watching very carefully to their moves on stage, I have to admit that they seem more bonded than ever, with Clyde fitting just perfect to the SLUMBERS’ lineup.
Except the well-picked setlist and the sincere presence that always tells if a performance is successful or not, THE GATES OF SLUMBER had even more aces up their sleeve: “Ice Worm” and “Coven Of Cain”, an old and a new song that stand in the same line to me, according the structure and the heavy feeling. Besides, it’s really cool to see other bands’ members to headbang during these two songs, and I tell you, those were definitely the two highlight moments of TGOS’ show. Overall, it was an awesome performance that I didn’t expect, equal to be a headline one as well.
PS: Two thumbs up for Jason’s tee! Long Live CENTURIONS GHOST!
THE GATES OF SLUMBER setlist:
01. "The Scovrge Of Drvnkeness"
02. "Bastards Born"
03. "Ice Worm"
04. "Day Of Farewell"
05. "The Wretch"
06. "Coven Of Cain"
07. "The Jury"
THE GATES OF SLUMBER
(click to enlarge)
DimK: After the very good performance by THE GATES OF SLUMBER that I believe was better than the one in 2008’s ‘Keep It True’ festival in Germany, it was time for SINISTER REALM. Having listened to and liked the band’s debut album (in vinyl of course), I was really expecting their setlist since their sound was more into Heavy Metal and less into the slow Doom tempo. So, following precisely the timetable, the intro kicked in and SINISTER REALM entered with “(The Oracle) Into The Depths Of Hell”. Leaving aside the classic Doom lineup (one bass, one guitar and a drummer), the five piece band from Pennsylvania filled the stage running on high octane fuel. On the two wings of the stage were the two guitarists that I think drew most of the spotlight. Their super tight performance and the hearty guitar work created a solid sound wall serving with justice the band’s traditional Doom music. “The Demon Seed” sounded great even though the vocals were not coming out as clear as I would like. And in fact, I found Alex Kristof’s (singer) performance kind of disconnected with the rest of the band. No, he did sing well but there was something in his moves and onstage stance that was not that fitting (maybe more beers than necessary?). Everyone seemed to enjoy the band’s performance that was solid with less talking and more playing; taking full advantage of the given time, SINISTER REALM also included three tracks from their latest release and there I was regretting that I hadn’t done my homework by checking it.
SINISTER REALM setlist:
01. "(The Oracle) Into The Depths Of Hell"
02. "Machine God"
03. "The Demon Seed"
04. "The Circle Is Broken"
05. "Message From Beyond"
06. "At the Hands Of The Tormentor"
07. "The Nihilist"
08. "The Shroud Of Misery"
09. "The Crystal Eye"
(click to enlarge)
MariaV: I still remember my first contact with PALE DIVINE and the extraordinary “Thunder Perfect Mind” back in the beginning of 00s that blew my mind off. Since then, watching the Pennsylvanian duo (that for the show’s needs became a trio with John Gaffney’s contribution on bass who seemed to feel more comfortable on stage with these guys than with his mates SINISTER REALM) live was an unfulfilled dream, but who’s said that dreams don’t come true someday? So, few minutes before time stroke midnight, the three gentlemen took their position on stage and gave us an one-hour set, full of traditional Doom tunes that rattled the entire THE P.L.A.V. for good, sending away any marks of fatigue. “Nocturne Dementia” was the chosen track that opened their insane set, while “The Black Coven” followed right after, making our necks to completely surrender to the doom-y tempo. The highlight surprise of PALE DIVINE’s performance though was the extraordinary cover in MARMALADE’s “I’ve Been Around Too Long”, with Greg Diener being just a great performer for this classic song.
So, what about the rest of the setlist? Undoubtedly, PALE DIVINE kept the best for the end: the heavy-as-hell “Cemetery Earth”, my personal favorite “(I Alone) The Traveller” where everyone headbanged unstoppable during the 9 minutes (what a beautiful view to watch everybody happy and united, enjoying their favorite music), and the groovy and ‘amplifying’ “Amplified” hit us merciless without a pause (don’t forget the noise curfew of 01:00), and returned on stage after a small break for the encore of the night that belonged to “Soul Searching”. Greg and the rest of the team left the best impressions, based on the simplicity and the skills, in front of the small number of people who stayed till late at the end of a working day, with the strong majority being mostly others bands’ members who played earlier and have traveled through US to be ‘martyrs’ of ‘DOTD Fest’.
PALE DIVINE setlist:
01. "Nocture Dementia"
02. "The Black Coven"
03. "Broken Wings"
04. "I've Been Around Too Long" (MARMALADE cover)
05. "Cemetery Earth"
06. "(I Alone) The Traveller"
08. "Soul Searching"
(click to enlarge)
MariaV: Well, it’s not time about complaining, you know; Doom Metal has a great music scene and many styles to choose from, according to your taste, but mainly is a strong community, similar to a family. Friday was a Holy Day for everyone who stood there, drinking, talking and buying some cool stuff from bands’ merch and everything was so well organized after all. I just wished so many times to music’s God to unseal the ‘-core’ ears of the average Americans who are unfortunately absents from such fests. Europeans would kill for such gigs and billing, you know. And the best was about to come...