Metal Revive II - Kimaera + Benevolent + IV Dimensions + Highway 69
Band: Metal Revive
Author: Carmina Khairallah - 2015-06-10
On Sunday, May 24th, YMevent did it again with Metal Revive II. A few months after the first eponymous installation, they took Concrete 1994 (located in Beirut's Sen el Fil district) by storm yet again with a whole new set of local bands, with a twist. Not only were Lebanese Metal bands HIGHWAY 69, IV DIMENSIONS and KIMAERA part of the show but also, and for the first time in Lebanon, BENEVOLENT from Dubai. Moreover, Metal Revive I had left quite some noise brewing after it took place, so expectations for this time were pretty high from the start.
The doors were said to open at 7, and they did shortly after that. At the time, there were already a bunch of attendees gathered inside to the sound of a rather eclectic Metal playback playlist. The highly industrial, barely furnished venue, made only of a stage of decent size, a large, bare standing arena and a small indoor balcony, already screamed “Metal” right off the bat. An oddity in comparison to other local events was the particularly meticulous security system, set up by YMevent themselves: attendees were searched upon entry, and going out was required to be done by a side door, only to be searched again before reentering from the main entrance.
The first band up on stage at 8h20 was HIGHWAY 69, a band usually famous for their SYSTEM OF A DOWN (and sometimes SCARS ON BROADWAY) covers, who performed the following tracks:
Before I forget (SLIPKNOT cover)
Bring it Back (LIMP BIZKIT cover)
New Level (PANTERA cover)
Walk (PANTERA cover)
Obviously, SYSTEM OF A DOWN wasn’t the only band up HIGHWAY 69’s sleeve this time, and for the occasion they were joined by two guitarists instead of one: Sevag Hadjian and Elie Abou Nader, in replacement of their founding guitarist Yervant Meguerditchian. They also changed their vocalist: replacing Vicken Avakian was Kevo Kelougian, the band’s original vocalist who had not joined them in two years. One thing no one can deny regarding HIGHWAY 69 is their overflowing energy, portrayed in everything from the blasting instrumentals and vocals to the members’ performance, especially highlighted by that of Kevo Kelougian who went as far as doing pushups on stage or adorning himself with a NY Cap when it came to singing LIMP BIZKIT. Although, they did lack some technical mastery as musical and lyrical mistakes were not uncommon, but that did not trample the crowd’s enthusiasm. For the most part, the majority of the audience was up front, gladly head banging, jumping up and down, and singing along to their favorite tunes. There was definitely some overall confusion when the band performed “Bring it Back” as well as “New Level”, but such a choice of songs definitely shows that the band’s primary objective is having as much fun as possible, especially with the latter which brought some members of the audience back to the vocalist’s past with PRIMAL, a PANTERA cover band. All in all, HIGHWAY 69 made sure to pump up the crowd from the start and left a lingering stench of adrenaline behind them.
Next up was IV DIMENSIONS, an emerging local Metal band who made their first steps on stage with the following songs:
Stand Alone (GODSMACK cover)
I Tried (JAMES LABRIE cover)
Come Together (THE BEATLES Metal cover)
Last Call (THE KORDZ cover)
Face my Fear Alone
Somewhere in the mix, they also toyed with the Mario games soundtrack. Anyway, that was definitely not what marked IV DIMENSIONS’ performance from the start. What did, though, was their vocalist Yehya Hijazi’s grand entrance… on a motorcycle. This caused mixed feelings amongst the crowd, ranging from being impressed, to somehow amused, to doused in all around disbelief, as this is quite uncommon in the scene. Apart from that, the band’s sound was generally good, with an above decent level of technicalities. Their stage presence, however, was somehow lacking, and that reflected itself onto the audience: for most of the band’s performance, the front row was empty, and almost no one was head banging. Also, the band’s choice of songs was a bit eclectic, to say the least, which somehow altered the coherence of their overall emotional curve. Although, credit has to be given when credit’s due, as it is rare for local bands to cover other local bands, which IV DIMENSIONS did with THE KORDZ’s “Last Call”.
When asked to comment on the event, Yehya Hijazi replied on behalf of the band: “Well we loved the event; it was an amazing concert. The crowd was great and they loved the idea that I entered the concert on my Harley Davidson and my performance. YM’s management did a great job, the concert was very well organized, and we hope they continue in the next event in the same way and better. We want to thank Pierre Hayek for playing the concert with us because Cynthia [Maalouf], our bassist, couldn’t make it, and special thanks to you and to JorZine for writing a post about IV DIMENSIONS”.
Then, it was up to BENEVOLENT. This Extreme/Experimental Metal band performed in Lebanon for the first time, with the following all original playlist:
People, please bear with me on this one. Those of you who have read my reviews before know that they are generally as technical and objective as possible. But… let’s say that reviewers are human beings too, and that sometimes some bands make them drop their pens in awe. I’d love to be able to tell you about all the fine technical details that I usually relish in, but I was too busy head banging so hard that my neck may need yet more time to heal fully. I did try to regain my composure a few times for this review’s sake, and from the few times I managed to raise my head I can tell you that the band’s energy was breathtaking and that I definitely was not the only member of the audience to be taken by storm, as if everyone resonated to the core with the band’s sound. Violent, thrashy head banging was the norm, and mosh pits, which in closed venues are generally fragmented, never seemed to end. Some people even sang their hearts out to the band’s lyrics. Each member of the band definitely did his part to connect with the audience, as for instance when guitarist Hadi Sarieddine joined the crowd to play amongst them towards the end of the performance. Honestly, shows like that are what challenge me as a reviewer and as a Metal head, and I cannot be the only one who hopes to see BENEVOLENT back in Lebanon soon.
When asked to comment on the event, Hadi Sarieddine replied on behalf of the band: “Our show in Lebanon was really special to us all in BENEVOLENT and it was the result of incredible organization of the show from YMevent and the energies of every single person who was there to experience it with us. The vibe in the audience and backstage with all the bands was inspiring and it was epic to be a part of it. We are stoked to go back soon and play more shows. Much love to JorZine as well for being a great platform for all Middle Eastern Metal bands and artists”.
Last but not least, it was time for KIMAERA. The local Doom/Death Metal band had not graced the Lebanese stage for a while, and they did so with the following, almost all original playlist:
The Day Innocence Died/In a Dying Embrace
In the Shade of Nephilim
Lost Control (ANATHEMA cover)
The Taste of Treason
Among the Dead
Harvester of Sorrow (METALLICA cover)
Well… the band was definitely really good, as one would expect from a band with KIMAERA's technical mastery and experience. Their instrumentals and vocals were spot on, their stage presence was definitely as required and more, and their interaction with the crowd was highly sufficient. Although, I personally feel that they did not get nearly the attention they deserved. Again, KIMAERA is one of the country’s leading Metal bands, and they had not been around for a while, so putting them at the end of the concert seemed like it did them a huge disfavor. The crowd did stick along for the most part and they did seem to enjoy the show, but after such a heavy night anyone’s level of enthusiasm would’ve hit its peak, and apart from some vague head nodding, most of the audience seemed like they’d had their fill. Maybe the band could’ve done something more to connect with the crowd a bit further, but again the odds were definitely not in their favor.
When asked to comment on the event, band’s vocalist JP Haddad answered on behalf of the band: “We just think that YMevent did a great job and they are probably organizing the best local events in a long time, so kudos to them”.
To finish off with a few more technical details, it’s pretty obvious that YMevent did a great job when it came to organizing the event. The venue was spacious and well lit (with the exception of some lights that came from the stage especially during HIGHWAY 69’s turn, and that quite frankly blinded the band and the audience), security was spot on, and everything was generally arranged to make sure everyone had a great time.
If the excruciating length of this review is any indication (and trust me, I did my best to hack at it), YMevent managed yet again to get the buzzing going. We thus want to thank them, Concrete 1994, HIGHWAY 69, IV DIMENSIONS, BENEVOLENT and KIMAERA for a memorable evening, and cannot wait to see what’s next.
All photos are courtesy of Anthony Ghazel