Distillator, Villainy, Buzz Rockington, Doyle751
Steel Alliance Tour 2014
The music scene in Holland is dynamic and lively. Every weekend and often also during the week you can choose between many concerts of all kinds and sizes, so inevitably you have to give up on seeing a loved band to see another one you like more. Famous or less known bands come from almost every part of the world, from America and France or from the omnipresent England and Germany, or still from the near Belgium, from Italy, Spain, Austria... In the midst of all this artistic and musical fervor, it is the Dutch bands who have to keep up the national pride, and they do it without any effort, just think of Asphyx, Epica, Hail of Bullets, Pestilence, Within Temptation, just to name a few. And it is some of the most interesting and promising bands from Holland who participated in the Steel Alliance Tour organized by Staal Metal Management on 4th April this year. Doyle751, Buzz Rockington, Villainy and Distillator performed at Musicon of Den Haag in an evening where Metal and Rock were alternating on stage in an invincible alliance. The room is spacious, as well as the stage, in front of which, across the room, the bar fills almost the entire wall; two columns and a wooden floor give the place the atmosphere of a far-west saloon. The first band to go on stage are Doyle751: hard rock with country influences in Johnny Cash style, their sound is at times dark and aggressive, dynamic and soft, one of their favorite bands are Kyuss. Doyle751 was born 7 years ago, in 2007, and in 2009 they released their first album "Transient", and they are now working on a new album. They opened the concert with "It Takes Only a Minute", a song backed by the rhythm of the drums of 'The Beast' Frank R, followed by " Lovocaust ": the rhythm slows down and the drums gives way to the guitars of Joeke Knijft (vocals and guitar) and Frank Visser (lead guitar). Joeke's warm and slightly hoarse voice is perfect for this slow piece of great atmosphere. The following songs are "Dig It", "Deep In the Sun" and "Shameful Sinner". Joeke occupies the centre of the stage and often sings with his eyes closed, Visser is on his right while the bassist Gerrit Van Den Berg is on the left. Some slow and distorted guitar notes, to which is added immediately, forcing a drastic increase in speed, the drumming of Frank R., announce "Herotica", an almost instrumental song, before the last song of Doyle751, "The Machine". While the stage is being prepared for the next band, I have the occasion to exchange a few words with a tall and thin guy with a moderate voice, the singer of Buzz Rockington, whose tattooed drummer and founder Olaf I had just met. On stage, the position of the band is the same as Doyle751: Arendt (vocals) is in the center of the stage (but he will be there for short time considering all the “miles” he’s done on stage), the bassist Andy Borger, that I previously noticed thanks to his massive hair with curly fringe that seems to come directly from the ‘80s, is on the left and Roop (guitar and co-founder) on the right. Buzz Rockington are known for their energetic live performances, for their heavy guitar riffs, for the doom style of the bass and for the pounding drum rhythms. The first part of the tracklist is taken from their latest demo "RockBomb" released in August 2013: "Vampire Queen", "One Kiss" and "Secret". The rough and insistent sounds are well suited to this band that definitely has in Arendt an important element in live performances. The lanky and almost shy boy whom I spoke to just before has disappeared to leave space to an unleashed and unrestrained Mr. Hyde, that does not stop jumping, moving and singing with a vehemence that nearly leads him to disconnect from the world around him. Roop, Olaf and Andy follow in a concert that makes physical presence on stage one of the most important aspects. "Too Hot to Stop" and "Written All Over" anticipate "Funky Demons", whose sudden rhythm changes making it unique in its kind. The following "Sinners" should have concluded their performance, but it doesn't seem Buzz Rockington wants to leave the stage without 'fighting', so they ask and obtain a few more minutes, just long enough for us to hear a particularly passionate "Go Baby Go". With Buzz Rockington the rock part of the evening ends, in fact the next two bands, Villainy and Distillator, will dictate a clear change to a more metal sound. Villainy are hardly catalogued because of the many influences that blend into their music: death, doom, black, thrash are mixed without any peculiar characteristic overpowering the others. It has been three years since Reinier Vrancken (guitar and vocals), Jeroen Pleunis (bass) and Bram Keijers (drums) have been performing around Europe; they released their debut album, "Villainy I", at the beginning of 2014 after the 2011 and 2012 demos. Their shows are characterized by an almost absent front lighting on stage and by strong colored back lights, a stylistic choice in line with their music and that makes their words sounnnd true when they say they leave the stages where they perform in darkness. "Through Whispering Eyes" is the first track of "Villainy I" and also the first song they play on stage. It is a very fast song, that leaves you to recover only during the guitar riffs. The next "Maker" is not less pressing. Reinier's voice is hoarse and scratchy, and it fits the ride to the hell that is "Midnight Metamorphosis". "The View From My Ivory Tower" and "Planet Remnants" anticipate the song that Villainy have chosen to close their concert: "Charlatan", during which we have the opportunity to appreciate the beautiful guitar riffs and collecting energy for the attack unleashed in the final seconds of the song. Finally the main guests of the evening, Distillator, a true thrash metal band in which it is possible to notice the influences of Slayer, Testament, Destruction and many other bands that have made history. The band is formed by the typical 'Power Trio': Desecretor on guitar and vocals, Frankie Suim and Angel Eater on bass and drums. Distillator recently returned from their tour in Portugal following a series of concerts in Finland; they are working on a new album and they are engaged in an endless list of shows all over Europe. They perform dressed in black, with white sneakers and long belts of bullets on their shoulders. With "Bloody Assault" we are thrown straight in the middle of the battle: frantic pace, pounding drums, Distillator run up and down the stage exchanging positions, they play with their legs wide open, bending themselves on their instruments and shaking their heads to the rhythm dictated by Angel Eater. After "Sacred Indoctrination" it is the turn of "Warmonger" with its moderate speed and long guitar solos supported by passages of double pedal, while the rough voice of Desecrator leads us to "Sacrificed Souls". A strange expression appears on Frankie’s face during "Alcoholic" when he realizes that one of the cables is disconnected, the plug was probably torn during one of the wild shifts of location. This incident gives us the opportunity to listen to some virtuosity by Angel Eater on drums, who launches himself into a loud drum solo waiting for his mates to repair the problem. In a short while, demonstrating good skills and presence of mind, Desecrator and Frankie Suim fix up the situation and throw themselves with renewed enthusiasm, as if they wanted to recover time, to the tune of "Distillator": a fast and powerful track, that well describes the temperament of the band, during which Frankie joins Desecrator on vocals. Time has flown and we are close to the end, Distillator decide to greet us with a touch of class, honoring Slayer by playing a great version of "Black Magic". I am very curious to listen to their next album, after the review of which Rock and Metal in My Blood has already arranged for an exclusive interview. Stay tuned metalheads!