Voice of the Soul + Thrashstorm + Deathlam
Band: Voice of the Soul, Thrashstorm, Deathlam
Author: Carmina Khairallah - 2014-10-22
On Saturday October 4th, Yukunkun Club in Beirut's district of Gemayzeh saw yet another piece of the Lebanese Metal history in the making: a performance by UAE based Progressive Death Metal band VOICE OF THE SOUL, alongside local Thrash and Black Metal bands THRASHSTORM and DEATHLAM. The concert also served as a release party for VOICE OF THE SOUL’s latest album "Catacomb". The album was released digitally a week prior to the event on BandCamp then made available as physical copies in the UAE, but the band’s Lebanese fans were offered the first ever show intended to promote the new release.
Prior to the event, the bands and organizers did some exceptionally good advertising on Facebook compared to previous gigs in the area. Each band would either share the Facebook event regularly or update the fans on a steady basis. Also, on the day of the event, the fans were informed by a picture of the stage that it had been enlarged (as the stage at Yukunkun is usually rather small), and a later post suggested that the bands were done with the sound check around 7 pm. The hype for the gig was thus made even bigger by the promise of enhanced technical conditions, and the hence created expectations were pretty high, which was a big risk.
The Facebook event suggested that the doors would open at 8 pm. They didn’t, and the fans were not ushered inside until about an hour later, when neighbors called the police to complain about the racket that they assumed signified conflict. The gig itself waited an extra hour before starting.
The first band on stage was DEATHLAM. They started off the night with the following playlist:
Reign of Terror
Let Kill Let Die
The Last March
As soon as the trio got on stage, one could immediately tell which genre they’d be playing. A combination of long hair (or in the case of guitarist Yeghig Aroyan, a shaved head), beards, black clothing and a not too engaging demeanor simply screamed Black Metal. Vocalist Sam Kasparian made sure to increase that impression by talking to the crowd with the same growling voice that he sang with, giving his words a malefic tone that suited the band’s character perfectly. Another nice touch to the ambiance was the red lights which were exclusive to DEATHLAM’s performance, being later replaced by the usual white spotlights and stroboscope lightings. It was obvious that the enlargement of the stage was a huge plus for the band’s stage presence. Also, the sound immediately appeared way clearer than that of the usual gigs in the same venue, as the bands had brought their own sound engineer: Karam Saad, who is also none other than THRASHSTORM’s front man. As for the band’s performance, each member played his role with evident professionalism and it was very enjoyable all in all.
After that, there was a rather long preparation time. Then came THRASHSTORM, who performed the following songs (alongside a few others):
To the Bone
Lust and Burning Desire
Blood of Sodom
THRASHSTORM also got the looks part of their performance down perfectly, except in their case the black outfits were replacedby more Thrash-adequate denim pants and ripped shirts. Their performance, technically and sound wise, was well mastered, but their songs tended to feel a bit repetitive after a while as the rhythm didn’t have many variations for a playlist of this length. What kept the fans moshing and headbanging almost all the way through was rather the band’s exciting stage presence and interaction with the crowd as well as Karam Saad’s enthusiastic, fast paced vocals. One could note that this was the part of the concert that saw the most people in front of the stage, as the standing area of the venue was well filled.
It didn’t take much time after that before it was finally time for VOICE OF THE SOUL. Their mostly original playlist of which the majority came from the new release "Catacombs" consisted of the following tracks:
Crystal Mountain (Death cover)
Cast Away in Betrayal
Look-wise, VOICE OF THE SOUL definitely won first place for most uniformity between the members: blue jeans and plain black shirts all over, which corresponded well to the not too visually involved genre that they play. Professionalism and chemistry were definitely part of the band’s backtrack-enhanced performance, which was even more impressive considering that Rudy Fares is only a live member of the band and that Samer Zouein was replacing bassist Bam Farra who couldn’t make it to Lebanon for the night. The band thus managed through their music to keep the fans excited after two bands’ worth of headbanging. Although, one slight piece of criticism could be attributed to lead vocalist Kareem Chehayeb’s crowd interaction: his addressing the fans in a calm and composed way between the tracks was deemed by some to be a mood breaker and when the crowd asked for more at the end, he offered to replay "Pendulum" and failed at getting the crowd pumped up for it before the band played it anyway. Although, his obvious excitement regarding finally performing in Lebanon partially counterbalanced the rest. Apart from that, the band’s performance was particularly pleasant and of pretty high quality regarding the local standards.
All in all, the organizers and bands wanted to take it to the next level with this concert, and they definitely succeeded. A better stage and sound alongside a very good coordination between the moods created by the different bands made for an exceptionally enjoyable night for newcomers and veteran headbangers alike, even though the attendance of about 80 paying concert goers was less than satisfactory. By paying careful attention to the technical aspects that generally fail our local gigs, they raised the bar again for the Lebanese Metal Scene and we hope that what’s next will satisfy our renewed appetite. Thank you DEATHLAM, THRASHSTORM, VOICE OF THE SOUL and Yukunkun Club for a great evening; we can’t wait to hear what’s coming next.