The Last Blast 23rd August, 2013- Amman, Jordan
Author: Sama Shahrouri - 2013-08-23
During the past 18 months or so, the small Jordanian rock and metal scene had sprung into its prime, all due to the impressive support of the local fan base and most importantly the rising event planning managements like JoScene that celebrated the end of its reign on the night of the 23rd of August 2013 in The Last Blast.
It was the fourth of a series of events that first started in June of 2012. Blast Nights (BN) were renowned for their line ups; and as always true to the JoScene message, upcoming younger bands like Climoric, and Merciless Encounter were supported, as well as the more experienced and more well known bands like Dragonrider, Chalice of Doom, the Alaa’ Faqir Band were all seen sharing the Blast Night stages. There were the good, the bad, and the ugly moments,
but all very memorable in the end. JoScene had brought the community closer, and with every other show, you begin to notice the love that grows within it. Everyone went to The Last Blast to celebrate the sad yet virtuous end of an era.
The Last Blast by far, held the heaviest BN line-up to date. Opening with Tempest a death metal group whose members mostly belong to other local bands like Chalice of Doom, it was Mohammad Jaber (JoScene’s organizer and CoD’s drummer)’s final farewell to the Jordanian metal scene. It was his last time performing as a drummer on a local stage. The band presented 3 heavy tracks; two instrumentals and a cover of 6 Feet Under’s “War is Coming”. No one ever said that Blast Nights were easy on the ears- or better yet, the necks, the audience went mad. The passion they had sent to Jaber was something worth noting. Fares Swedan graced us with his death metal growls. Tariq Khasawneh skillfully played his guitars as always. Ex-Dragonrider drummer/bassist Hasan Qayet was a great addition to the band as well. And it was Omar Abu Rabei’s first time on the Blast Night stage, he held the lead guitar’s role in the band, and left a good first impression to the audience as well. It was excellent foreplay for what was to come…
Exile, a local thrash metal band were up next. During their stage time, the trio of Natsheh (guitars/vocals), Khatib (bass/backing vocals), and Tayyem(drums) performed tracks off their debut 2012 thrash album “Suspended Society/Mutilated Variety” and they threw in a cover of Sepultura’s ” Mass Hypnosis” as an easy crowd pleaser. Though unluckily for them, the technical part of the sound system was not working to their favour. The sound felt so compressed from where we were standing at all times, and at some point, the vocals were completely disconnected. But here’s the thing that makes our local fanbase the best of all, everyone kept cheering for the band regardless and encouraging them to continue their show. So a cheer goes to the audience members who were the ones who made that night what it was!
As for the band itself, disregarding the technical flaws, they played to impress. Though there’s this one detail I felt wasn’t exactly proper for a Thrash metal band; they used an electronic drum in their set. Now, I understand how different an electronic drum can be from an acoustic drum kit; it’s more difficult in piloting the sounds and getting the right effects for one thing, because your rudiments must be precise for the sensors to respond to them properly and whatnot. But why would you use a computerized beat in a live performance? Especially when you’re in a THRASH metal band that’s influenced by OLD SCHOOL thrash. Isn’t Thrash all about the raw sound of the instruments playing together? I felt it could have been much more authentic if all the effort made by the drummer had gone onto an acoustic drum set, with similar-if not even better- results instead. Don’t get me wrong, he was very good at what he did, but it was kind of a turn off compared to the other three bands that had used an acoustic drum set. But I guess it’s also kinda cool saying ‘there were two drum kits set up at the show’.
Up next were Nathrzeim who are not strangers to the BN stage. They stepped up their own plate with heavy throttling riffs. Vocalist Mutasem Barsiq showed huge development in his screeching vocals, which weren’t bad at all last time Nathrzeim were on the BN stage. They’re always crowd pleasers; drummer Mazen Ayoub was on full speed at all times, the guitar riffs never took a single break at any given point. If anything, it was tiring for the necks. Nathrzeim played some of their older tracks as well as their newer songs as the audience kept thrashing all around to the Symphonic black metal music.
The highlighted band of the evening though was Relics of Martyrs; another Jordanian thrash/death metal band that has never before performed its music in its homeland, which gives them one black point! JoScene really did save the best for last as brothers Mardirossian, Atieh, Sarayrah, and Mdanat completely destroyed the venue. They were all metal, all attitude, all the time. Every member showed excellent technique in his own area of expertise. The best part of their set though was probably when guitarist Hrayr Mardirossian went wild and knelt before his crowd as he performed his whiplash infecting riffs that ended the show the way the Last Blast deserves to end. The band as a whole felt united onstage. Their chemistry was evident in how they shared the spotlight, and that is the most important thing. Each member had his own way in communicating with the audience, and I feel other local bands lack that talent. Having good chemistry is what makes a group successful, and these dudes have good chemistry.
We’ll be missing JoScene and all the different events they had organized. If anything, they really did get the community closer. I remember one of their first shows they had a Pink Floyd- inspired atmospheric band (The Tent) sharing the stage with Dragorider which is a power/speed metal band. JoScene was diverse, and I guess that’s one of the things that let people anticipate their next shows. The Last Blast like any other local show definitely had its pros and cons, and we can’t always blame the technical part of event for the cons, because let’s face it, more than one element plays a part in making or breaking an event. As for the technical part of music shows, with this one for example (like the other BN before it) the event was held at a movie theatre which is as far from being well equipped for a metal show as humanly possible. Metal shows need special arrangements, and the lack of sponsorship as well as the increasing negativity from the non-metal community does not help in improvements one bit. But we try. And I’m glad we do. The Last Blast was a good way to wrap the BN series, the line-up was heavy, and there was a sense of goodbye in the atmosphere.
And as sad as the end of JoScene is, I keep wondering about what is to come.