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R-Mine Metal Fest Hamont-Achel (Belgium)
Written by Ton Dekkers   
Monday, 22 July 2013

R-Mine Metal Fest
Friday 21 June 2013


Only a couple of weeks before the festival, the organization decided to move from outdoors to indoors. It was a good choice, looking at the weather this “summer” in Europe. Of course you miss the outdoor atmosphere, but the venue was nice and fit very well. Even inside they prepared two stages, the main “Nick’s” stage and the small “Moonlight” stage, which made the waiting time between the shows very short.

Ex Libris

This report is from the first day only and with the focus on Sonic Cathedral relevant bands, the Female Fronted Metal bands. In total there were scheduled five FFM bands on Friday, the first festival day and for some reason they were the first five in line.

Before going into details on the FFM bands, the line-up of the Friday was: Mental Circus, ScaRveD, Azylya, Ex Libris, Ethernity, Voodoo Highway, Fate, Nightmare, Jorn, Evil Masquerade and Rhapsody of Fire.

Azylya
Azylya

For the FFM scene the festival started not very well. Because of problems with the sound check of Rhapsody on Fire on the main stage, the schedule was under pressure and the organization decided to cancel the 4 PM (first) show to be able to get back on track. Unfortunately Mental Circus was the first one to start on the main stage and was cut. As a small compensation for them, the best selling CD was (at about 8 PM) the Mental Circus one, according to Veronique, the lady by merchandise desk.

ScaRveD
ScaRveD

The second band (the first to play) was ScaRveD on the small stage. It was not that crowded yet, late afternoon on Friday. Not all are willing to take time off to see the first bands playing. The small stage allowed close contact with the audience and for ScaRveD (Belgium) a great stage after a long absence. Carolina (Caro) Verboven was clearly happy to be on stage again. The show was good but clearly the break had an influence on their performance. That they were now the kick-off was maybe also a factor. It was mainly new material that was presented. The set list: “Eastern Treasure”, “Eternal Rush”, “A Vampire's Tale”, “Masquerade” and “Devil in Disguise”. Overall it was a nice starter for the Festival. It went OK but not as smoothly as when they would have played some more gigs. The balance in the band was good and Caro’s voice, warm and strong, fit well to the music on the edge of Rock and Metal. Other band members: Luc van Dessel (Guitar), Wim Wouters (Bass) and Geert Marien (Drums).

Azylya
Azylya

Up to the bigger stage, everything was set for Azylya to go for their show. With her long blond/white hair and her performance, Jamie-Lee Smit immediately gets the focus of the audience (and the photographers, including me). The show of this Belgian band is clearly built around Jamie-Lee. The Line-up: Polak (Bass), Anthony (Guitars), Yohanna (Guitars, Vocals) and Laurent (Drums). Azylya played 6 songs from their album Sweet Cerebral Destruction released this year. Full set list: “At the Beginning (Intro)”, “Woodscape”,”Azylya”, “Within my cell”, “Darkness Ascending” and “Electroconvulsive”. The story behind the album (read the CD review on Sonic Cathedral) also influences the performance on stage. You get on stage solid metal, good keyboard-based symphonics (sampled) and well-balanced female and male vocals.

Ex Libris
Ex Libris

Back to the “Moonlight” stage on the opposite side, where one of my favorites would play. Ex Libris (Netherlands) deserved to play and also preferred to play on the main stage; however Moonlight clothing is supporting Dianne van Giersbergen (vocals) so it’s obvious why they played at the Moonlight stage. Again some bad luck for the FFM Bands. Ex Libris had to go on stage without the bass player. Peter den Bakker arrived after the gig because of traffic inconveniences. The missing bass was compensated by Eelco van der Meer with excellent and straight drumming; he kept all on track. Paul van den Broek (guitars) told me after the show that he heard some things he usually didn’t hear. If you’re familiar with the music, it was a little bit different. The band sounded in the instrumental parts a little more transparent, almost fragile. Nevertheless the music, in the operatic progressive corner of metal, sounded great and it’s no surprise that they received very good reviews at the Dames of Darkness festival. They played songs from the EP Medea that will be most likely be part of the upcoming album. The set list had only 4 songs: “Love Is Thy Sin”, “Daughter of Corinth”, “Murderess in Me” and the future tittle track “Medea”. They had a lot of fun on stage, visible by the interaction in the band and with the audience, maybe because they knew this might be one of the last gigs this year. For the next period, the highest priority is the new album. To complete the line-up: Koen Stam on keybords.

Ethernity
Ethernity

The last of the FFM bands was Ethernity also from Belgium. Although they can be classified as FFM, it was/is not their objective to be classified as such. Nicolas Spreutels (Drums) told me after the show, Ethernity didn’t choose to be a FFM band, but when searching for a vocalist, a woman was the easiest way to meet the requirements; a metal voice capable also in the higher end. When they found the singer, it was agreed that the front lady should not go into the show with extravagant clothing and should follow the way male vocalist would dress. That’s why Julie Colin appeared on stage in jeans and t-shirt. It should be the music that is relevant. The set list included all songs from the upcoming album. The titles may change before release. The set list: ‘Fake Lamentations”, “Entities”, “Alone”, “Never Thought You Would Make Me Go” and “Shadows on the Wall”. To complete the band: Julien Spreutels (Keyboard), Gregory Discenza (Guitar), Francois Spreutels (Bass) and Thomas Henry (Guitar). The music of Ethernity can be described as progressive power metal. They have solid guitars with various great riffs and good alignment with the sometimes surprising keyboard. Ethernity brought a good show, but again for them focus on the stage performance is not key, only the music.

Ethernity
Ethernity

For me the “job” was done, all other bands were Male Fronted. My preferred ones from those were Nightmare, Jorn and Rhapsody on Fire. Except for the start, all went very smoothly and the gap between the bands was very limited because of the two stages. The organization created a nice line-up; however for next year's edition, the FFM bands should be programmed a little bit more mixed in the schedule. I really liked the Festival and hope to come back next year.

More and larger photos:

ScaRveD 
Azylya
Ex Libris
Ethernity

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