Crossing the Line of Fear (Live In Lebanon)
Reviewer: Carmina Khairallah - 2013-04-04
Highlights: The whole show was amazing
On Wednesday March 27th, Yukunkun Gemmayze was shaken for the second time by the rumbling echoes of pure Metal. It wasn’t just your everyday Metal concert (even though those too are becoming a rarity); alongside VenemY and InSanity, iconic local band Blaakyum decided to take a stand against all the hardships that the media has been recently putting the Lebanese Metal scene through and show the world what a local Metal gig really looks like and thus “fight against ignorance”, as vocalist Bassem Deaibess pointed out in the event description.
It was announced that doors would open at 9 and that the event would start at 9:15. As usual, things got a bit out of hand, and doors didn’t open before 10, leaving the event to start at 10:30 pm. At that point, only a few people were already inside, with just as many people outside smoking. The first band up on stage was InSanity, known for their hilarious take on Heavy Metal. Insanity are: Chris Up on lead vocals, Johnny Maalouly on drums, Dany Al Achy on lead guitar, Tony "Tex" Al Achy on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, and last but not least Ramsey Khattar from the 80’s local Rock band Electric Warriors on drums. Their playlist for the night solely comprised originals, in the following order:
2- Bite Me
3- Dirty Track
4- Clown Of the Town
5- Last Man Standing Upside Down
6- Godzilla Train
7- She Wants My Sex
The sound was a bit muffled (again), but the band in itself had a great sound. However, although InSanity usually has its crowd, the audience was scattered and rather inactive. One thing that was a bit off about the band was its performance, delivered only by vocalist Chris Up and bassist Johnny Maalouly, and their interaction with the crowd was null. The music, on the other hand, was great, and I was personally pleasantly surprised by the band’s new originals, especially “Clown of the Town”, which was pretty different from their usual work and somewhat Avant-Guarde-ish. Overall, a good show, but maybe Yukunkun is a bit too small for the band’s explosion of energy. When asked about his opinion regarding the venue and gig, vocalist and front man Chris Up had to say: “As far as we were concerned, everything went well. The venue, being underground, was pretty awesome. The bartenders were cool. We had a lot of fun joking around and drinking. We got to meet other band members, came across old friends, and made new ones as well.”
Next up at 11:10 was long gone Djent/Metalcore/Experimental act VenemY. The band’s members are Vahe-Marc Marakian on Vocals, Chris Marakian and Raphael Gergi on guitars, Gilbert Gergi on bass, and Joseph Maalouf on drums. Having had little time to prepare, the band had a short playlist: originals Sirens, Ticking, Pendulum, My Path and Forgiven, as well as one cover of Bring me the Horizon’s Tell Slater Not to Wash His Dick. At that point, there were many more people inside, and the energy was palpable. The band’s sound and performance was very good, and vocalist/front man Vahe-Marc Marakian’s interaction with the crowd was impeccable, just enough to keep everyone psyched. There were a few controlled mosh pits (lit by a light stroboscope), as well as a nice helping of head banging coming from all sides. It wasn’t as energetic as what the scene was used to a few years ago, but pretty close. When asked about his opinion regarding the gig and venue, guitarist Raphael Gergi had to say: “The gig was well organized except for the sound that was poor and a very messy small stage that had lots of cables under our feet”.
At 11:45, it was finally time for Blaakyum. One thing I’d like to add before reviewing their part: the playback music between bands was quite irrelevant, except right before Blaakyum, with a healthy helping of Pantera. In any case, for those who don’t know them yet, Blaakyum are: Bassem Deaibess on vocals and guitar, Rany Battikh on bass, Rabih Deaibess on guitar and Jad Feitrouni on drums. Their playlist was almost completely made of originals, in the following order:
- Cease Fire
- Journey to Eternity
- The Last Stand
- Lord of the Night
- Destined to Rise
- Am I Black
- Improvised version of Pantera’s Revolution is my Name (after a lengthy guitar solo, courtesy of Rabih Deaibess)
- The Line of Fear
- The Land
- Rip it Off
The attendance was at its apogee, a bit more than a hundred people, who immediately started moshing when the band started playing. Their professionalism is unquestionable, so let’s move on from technicalities to talk about what really matters: the crowd’s enthusiasm, which was at a pretty high level, and constantly fueled by front man Bassem Deaibess’ energetic words. Some of the band’s material was new (Destined to Rise, Baal-Adon, Crossing and The Line of Fear) and, although deriving from the band’s style towards a more Thrash-y approach, was very enjoyable. When asked about his opinion regarding the gig and venue, front man Bassem Deaibess said: “We enjoyed ourselves; it was a bit tyring that it took forever to finish the sound check… The delay was exhausting, but we tried our best”.
The concert ended at 1:15 am, leaving all the attendees exhausted and content. The choice of bands, which was very well thought, enabled fans of different styles to attend, although it’s disappointing that the attendance was so low nevertheless; but we’ve gotten used to that by now. The venue, Yukunkun, might not be made for Metal gigs, but the owners were nice enough to accept us with “an open mind and an interesting heart”, as Bassem Deaibess stated, and that really is all we need. Thank you Blaakyum, InSanity, VenemY and Yukunkun for an amazing night, and let’s hope that it’ll be an encouragement for Lebanese Metal fans to keep their fists and their voice high!