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Metal Night Popcentrale
Written by Ton Dekkers   
Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Metal Night Dordrecht
April 6, 2013

The Metal Night is an initiative of Popcentrale Dordrecht. This was my first visit to this venue. And at the same time it was my last because they are moving to a new location. It's a small cozy venue where you really can get close to the band. The entrance fee couldn't be the reason why there was space for more people. It was a shame because the line-up with MindShade (NL), Ex Libris (NL) and Whyzdom (FR) deserved better.


Metal Night Popcentrale

All three bands can be qualified as 'female fronted metal'. The front woman of MindShade, the Dutch band that opened the evening, is Nienke Verboom. The combination mezzo-soprano and grunts (Jeroen van Noort - bass) positions this type of music often in the so-called gothic genre; however MindShade has created an own varied style that offers a mix of gothic rock/metal with a hint of doom. Most songs have a heavy sound with somewhat melancholic lyrics of MindShade that can put a shade over your mind. MindShade played the three demo songs [marked with a D] songs that are available on MySpace and songs that are more or less new and will be on the album that is scheduled. To complete the line-up of MindShade, there were two guitars (Norbert Veenbrink and Eli de Kruijf) and drums (Barry Scheepers).

Metal Night Popcentrale

The show opened with "Abyss of Twilight" that made immediately clear what to expect from the gig. Mid show they had a break with "Don't Walk Astray" [D] which proved that they not only can deal with heavy stuff, they can do softer and 'subtle' songs. And then they went full speed ahead with "Fire Demon", followed by an interesting song "Restrained in Solitude". The show closed with "In Life or Death" [D]. MindShade is a talented band, with potential to be more than a good support for the headliners.

Metal Night Popcentrale

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The Dutch Ex Libris was the second band to play. The music was introduced in the program as symphonic heavy metal, a combination of the melodic structure of classical music with progressive licks and hooks. On the band "business card" it says Progressive Operatic Metal. This band was for me a really pleasant surprise, maybe because of my (musical) origin in Symphonic / Progressive Rock. The overall sound of Ex Libris is heavier, but there is a lot of resemblance to such rock. The surprising moves in the composition and the structure of the music made me enjoy the set.

Metal Night Popcentrale

Operatic is an often used word but it fit Dianne van Giersbergen (not related to Anneke ...) almost perfectly not only because of her background, -- she has a master degree in classical music (as a Soprano) finished with a thesis related to metal – but also because of her performance on stage. Her great variety of expressions was amazing but never over the top. After the show I had a little word with her about her singing. She sees it like Top Sports, keeping up the capability of three octaves requires a lot of practice, training and learning. By the way, she offers singing lessons. I should not forget the other members of the band. This was the first gig with drummer Eelco van der Meer, but for me it sounded as he was in the band for ages. Ex Libris has in addition only one guitar player (Paul van den Broek), a bass (Peter den Bakker) and keyboard (Koen Stam).

Metal Night Popcentrale

ExLibris played a number of songs from the album "Amygdala" and also songs that are available as Medea Demo (free download) on their website. Their debut album is from 2008 but they played these old songs with a lot of energy and it was clear that they had fun on stage and enjoyed playing. The opening song was "Love Is Thy Sin". On stage it sounded much more mature than on the album. The interaction of classical and metal influences the duration of the songs; almost all songs lasted a little longer. The next song was Daughter of Corinth [D]. Again the variations keep your attention; it's like a bag with a lot of different exciting candy. All instruments have their role, and even the voice is not only present for the lyrics. As the last of the album songs they played "Sail" as an interlude to the other songs from the demo, "Murderess in Me" and the title song "Medea". For me this was an exciting set, and I’m looking forward to the new album scheduled for this year.

Metal Night Popcentrale

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The last band of the evening, or better the night, it became a real metal night, was Whyzdom. This French band said they were playing for the first time in the Netherlands. Although still a relatively new band, Whyzdom has played already at various festivals in France, often as headliner. They won the Metal Female Voices Fest Contest in Belgium (2008) to play in 2009 at MFV. As support they played at the presentation of the debut album of Delain (not in the Netherlands?). Maybe they meant in the new line-up with front woman Marie Rouyer. Two guitars (Régis Morin, Vynce Leff), a bass (Xavier Corrientes), keyboards (Marc Ruhlmann) and drums (Nico Chaumeaux) makes the band complete.

Metal Night Popcentrale

Whyzdom is also categorized as symphonic metal. It seems to be more of the same (what my wife also tells me). And yes to a certain extent it's true but if you're more into this genre, you (our audience) will agree, you find an enormous variety. Whyzdom is different from the other two bands. A more classical orientation on symphonic metal with their own flavor. They had a good solid show and confirmed that they were the most experienced. Maybe the venue and the limited space on stage influenced their show. For me they had to compete with Ex Libris and music is emotion and not always common sense. Whyzdom is a great band but this time Ex Libris was my favorite.

Metal Night Popcentrale

Most of the songs they played where from the second Album "Blind?". They opened with "On the Road to Babylon" followed by "The Spider", Two songs that showed the strength of Whyzdom’s cohesive 'symphonic' compositions, and then "Atlantis" from the first album "From the Brink of Infinity," the song had an easy reprise so it invites fans to sing with the band in with the band. They continued with new and old songs and the official show ended with "Dancing with Lucifer" and "Cathedral Of The Damned". Because Whyzdom was the last band they had the option to play an additional song. Not surprisingly this was "Daughter Of The Night", the song that started the success of the band. All the elements that makes the band popular and that give them good reviews are in that song. The audience members who left to catch the last train missed the great finale of an excellent evening.

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I had a great Metal Night and would love to see all three again. I hope also that Popcentrale continues the Metal Night in their new venue.
 

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