The Thrash Alliance
Band: The Thrash Alliance
Author: Carmina Khairallah - 2015-11-30
On Saturday, October 17th, Metal Bell Magazine reclaimed their place as event organizers with their first show since July 11th’s called “New Blood”. This new installment was called The Thrash Alliance, boasting a selection of local bands exclusively belonging to the genre that is dominating the Lebanese Metal scene by a long shot. The stage of The Quadrangle, located in Beirut's Hazmieh district, thus saw the likes of EDEN, MADJERA, BLAAKYUM and PHENOMY in a particularly thrashy night.
The event started very near the announced doors opening time of 8 pm, time when the venue was already rather full. Upon entrance, one could not help but be stricken by a few security measures that were highly atypical for The Quadrangle. A security guard was standing at the door in order to delimit entry and exit and chairs were placed around the area facing the stage to separate the concert-goers from those simply wishing to enjoy the bar and pool tables upstairs. Although necessary in order to avoid unwanted walk-ins, these measures proved to be somehow unnerving.
The first band on stage was EDEN. They performed the following playlist:
- Judgement Day Is Upon Us
- Phantom Antichrist (Kreator cover)
- Primal Concrete Sledge (Pantera cover)
- The Fall
- 5 Minutes Alone (Pantera cover)
The band displayed a good amount of technical efficiency as well as chemistry. Their stage presence and interaction with the crowd was alright, but they spoke a bit too much between songs, which tends to break the flow. Their reaction skills were on point, though, which was displayed when drummer Joe Nassar improvised a solo during a power cut, something that surprisingly few bands think of doing. The sound was overall not bad, although rather bassy, and the vocals were okay most of the time but tended to be swallowed by the instrumentals. The crowd was responsive as those right in front of the stage were head banging. When asked to comment about the event, band’s vocalist Charbel Haddad informed us that they were working on an EP and that they hope to share the stage with the other bands, especially PHENOMY, once again.
Next up came MADJERA with these tracks:
- Ecstasy of Gold (Metallica cover)
- Call of Ktulu (Metallica cover)
- Master of Puppets (Metallica cover)
- In the Name of
- The Unholy Call
- Dante’s Inferno (Iced Earth cover)
It’s safe to say the band’s choice of a first song was audacious, as it was an instrumental. Although it was enjoyable and well performed (despite recurrent screeching sounds), it didn’t do much to help the crowd’s enthusiasm, as everyone was mostly immobile. That was quickly fixed though as favorites such as “Master of Puppets” quickly resulted in mosh pits. The band obviously had a very solid technical background, yet mistakes were rather numerous. The sound was also deteriorating. Nevertheless, the crowd was relatively responsive for most of the show and seemed to enjoy it. When asked for a comment, band’s vocalist Ziad Baydoun said: “we faced a lot of unexpected technical sound problems for unknown reasons which caused us not to enjoy our performance and we didn’t leave the place satisfied. In all ways we were honored to share the stage with EDEN, PHENOMY and BLAAKYUM”.
Speak of the devil: BLAAKYUM's turn was up. Their almost all original playlist was:
- Lord of the Night
- Battle Roar
- Destined to Rise
- Rabih Deaibess Solo - with Peter Afif on drums, Majd Ibrahim on bass and Hassan Khoudor on drums
- Phobia (Kreator cover) - with Hassan Khoudor on drums
- Rip it Off
- The Last Stand
BLAAKYUM’s performance was pretty much the same as usual with no particular technical deficiency to report, as expected from a band with that amount of experience. Two main differences were the fact that they performed a cover while their playlists are usually all original and the fact that they collaborated with young musicians, which according to the band was to support the new generation. Apart from that, the sound was still rather weak. The crowd was head banging but rather passive at first, although vocalist Bassem Deaibess’ lively interaction with them promptly got them cheering and moshing. Also, it was interesting to see BLAAKYUM choose a playlist axed on more “thrashy” tracks rather than the more oriental ones that they’ve been focusing on for the past few events.
Last ones on stage were PHENOMY, with the following tracks:
- Backlash (A Call to Bloodshed)
- Under these Ruins
- The Haunting
- Unleash the Beast
- Once and for all
- Am I Evil (Diamond Head cover) - with Ziad Baydoun, Bassem Deaibess and Kevin Ghanem
- Seek and Destroy (Metallica cover) - with Ziad Baydoun, Bassem Deaibess and Kevin Ghanem
- Sealing Fate
As aforementioned on the event’s Facebook page, this was the band’s first event during which vocalist Adel Hasan was not wearing his mask. According to the band's statement, that stemmed from their decision to “(…) take off the mask and bring out what’s beneath it (…)”. Apart from that, the band’s performance was good when it came to technicalities, with a sound that was clearer than that of the rest of the concert. The crowd seemed relatively excited, although most people had left by then. The audience’s enthusiasm mostly flamed up during the METALLICA covers. Speaking of which, the obvious reference to The Big Four’s performance of “Am I Evil” and “Seek and Destroy” was a nice touch for a concert hosting four Thrash Metal bands. When asked to comment, vocalist Adel Hasan said that the gig took place a few days before the band’s first anniversary and that they dedicated the covers to the late Cliff Burton, who was METALLICA’s bassist in the band's first third albums.
Overall, it’s worth observing that the Lebanese Metal scene is evolving towards better organized, more professional events, and that Metal Bell definitely did their best to work around those lines, with extra efforts put towards every aspect of the gig’s technicalities. With 170 tickets paid and 170 people who very much seemed to enjoy their time, it’s safe to say that their objectives were met. So thank you EDEN, MADJERA, BLAAKYUM, PHENOMY Metal Bell and The Quadrangle for the night.