|Dokk 'em Open Air - Holland|
June 12th 2010
|With Waldrock cancelled this year, Dokk 'em Open Air is the only Summer metal festival in the north of Holland. Another new festival with the name "Into the Grave" could not take place because the organization couldn't get a license from the local authorities. They buried it before it even got alive. After a one hour travel, we entered the festival-site and with the sun shining through a bit cloudy sky, it was going to be a nice day for the music we love and like. Together with us, there were about 1300 other metal fans that took the trip to the north. There were two stages, one in a tent and the other outdoors. In cooperation with the official Metal Female Voices Fest, there were going to play 8 bands in the tent, all with front woman. Because of that, this stage was called: 'Metal Female Voices Stage'. Fortunately the organisers of DOA didn't only contract gothic bands, but they succeeded in signing a wide variety of genres.
The first band to kick off on the Female Voices Stage was Skeptical Minds. I can't tell you a lot about their performance. I was just in time to shoot a few pictures before the show was over. Sorry for the band, but we couldn't drive any faster without being a danger for the population.
After the last tunes of Skeptical Minds, the outside show on the so called 'Main Stage' of local band Dr. Doom started. Indeed, with that name you can expect doom, but they have more influences. Death, grind and even some black can be heard in their songs. Without knowing any song, the music sounds very busy and chaotic. The guys did their best and had a good time and showed a lot of pleasure in playing as opening act on the Main stage.
I already saw some pretty pictures of Lahannya on the site of DOA, but I didn't know the music and had no idea what to expect from it. Lahannya plays a kind of industrial rock with gothic twists. She proved to be a good entertainer and got the crowd going even on this early afternoon. With her enthusiastic drive and devotion she made some impression on me, not that the music they play is that exciting, it is not my kind of thing, but the dedication and pleasure got my approval.
If you thought that the heaviest and most brutal band of the day was Dr. Doom, you were wrong. That price is for the band Inhume. The guttural bloodsplattering grindcore of these extreme brutal band can not be appreciated by all the visitors. Indeed it is a genre which you love or hate. Fans had the time of their live and could keep drinking beer the rest of the day.
A lot quieter was the band Dejafuse. The pop-rock with balls as they describe itself is much easier listening stuff. This is the band with ex Autumn vocalist Nienke de Jong. From behind big sunglasses (did she have a rough night or was it image?) she made quite an impression. With some jokes (if you can understand them), she talks along between the songs. Musically there is nothing wrong with this band, the only thing you could probably say is that they are too less metal, but who cares?
Right after Dejafuse, the Dutch old rockers of Picture gave their best outside. You could see that the band is very popular amongst the older heavy fans. The only bad luck they had, that for the first time today it started raining. A lot of people went inside the tent to get not too wet and to relieve their thirst. That it started to rain wasn't a surprise, what else do you want when you play the song "Eternal Dark"? Despite the rain, the fans got what they wanted and the old dogs showed that besides new tricks, they still control the old.
Next on stage was Stream of Passion, the Dutch band with Mexican singer Marcela Bovio. The ex-band of Arjen Lucassen showed that they can impress without Arjen too. The gothic based rock/metal songs are nice to hear and the band is in a good shape. The audience got excited and the band can look back at a successful performance.
Stream of Passion
Outside it already stopped raining a while ago and during the set of the black-metal band Trident, the sun came back. The music however is dark and aggressive, evil is another word that fits. In fact, Trident is a band that can better play in a club and not in the open air. The band however played their set, but I got the idea that the songs were a bit too messy and besides the vocals and the drums, the guitar could have been mixed more in front and the hard blowing wind didn't help sounding better either.
Back inside, the Belgian female fronted act Manic Movement already started playing. The music sounds steady, but the vocals get a bit bored after a while. There is too less variation in singing style, but the audience is excited and that is where the band is doing it for.
One of my favourite bands today is the French power metal act Nightmare. Too bad for the band, it just started to rain at the beginning of the show. Nevertheless the band showed that nothing could stop them from delivering a perfect performance. No storm, rain or whatsoever should have stopped them from playing. Together with Picture they are the oldest bands on this festival, but with a very good climbing act, singer Jo Amore could get the attention again from the metal fans that went inside hiding for the poring rain. Fortunately it didn't take that long and it became dry again. Their own songs are nice power metal tracks and the audience liked it very much, but when they started playing the song "Holy Diver" as a tribute to the 'Man on the Silver Mountain' they really took the crowd. They certainly didn't scamp their work!
After the French band Nightmare, we go a little more to the south and Spain is the country where Diabulus in Musica hails from. You can see that they are excited to play outside their own country for the first time. I think that a lot of people were surprised by this act. A lot expected a kind of whimpy gothic metal, but instead they came with a nice heavy performance. The grunts also see to that of course. You could probably say that this band is the Spanish version of Epica. A big applause at the end of the set was their reward and looking at the band members faces, they were very pleased with the reaction of the audience. In my point of view, their first foreign gig was a success!
Diabulus in Musica
The people outside that were waiting for some real original heavy metal with metalcore and some thrash-influences got finally what they wanted. The Canadians of 3 Inches of Blood started to 'Fire up the Blade'. The heavy mix of traditional heavy metal together with the fanatic podium-act, gets the pit in front of the podium going. Under the nice sunny sky, 3 Inches of Blood came, saw and conquered.
3 Inches of Blood
Those who thought that there are only whimpy female fronted bands inside the tent were wrong. The French of Dylath-Leen do not even come close. This is the most heavy act in the tent today. With only one album called 'Seme�on' they already play at a rather late time in the set. Immediately after the first tunes, the audience knew what to expect. With a grunt in Arch Enemy style, this female fronted act was the only one without high opera-kind of vocals and even the music has similarities with Arch Enemy. Sometimes the music sounded a bit overdone and a bit messy, but they did a proper job.
Our ears didn't get any rest because the Haunted already started playing outside. The band is rather popular and before you know it there was a big crowd standing in front of the stage. After a nice cigarette (or was it a joint?) Peter Dolving screamed his lungs out and that gave the reaction he wanted. The crowd created a nice pit in front of the podium and had a great time. The people in the back enjoyed this performance from a distance an they were convinced too. The set was heavy and tight, just as we want it to be and as we expect to get from such a skilled band.
The last act in the tent is Re-Vamp. When Floor Jansen quit with After Forever, she didn't sit at home whining, but she immediately started her Re-Vamp. They just released their debut-record and of course most of the songs they play are of that album. On the album there are guests like Bj�rn Strid from Soilwork or Russel Allen (Symphony X). Unfortunately they were not present to do their parts, but these vocals were filled in by the band self. Of course this appearance couldn't do without playing songs from her former band After Forever. This was highly appreciated by the audience and I have to say that I still regret it that they quit. Floor Jansen's voice is very powerful and I have to admit that of all the female vocals I heard this day, she was the best. The members of Nightmare stood almost front row and looking at their faces, they had a great time too. The winner on the Female Voices stage is in my opinion Re-Vamp, with Diabulus in Musica coming in second.
Just after 23.00, the intro-tape of Destruction started on the Main stage. A couple of years ago they also played Waldrock and now they have the honour to play last at Dokk 'em Open Air. The set is one that never has a lot of surprises, "The Butcher Strikes Back" and "Mad Butcher" are songs they always play. Destruction played a decent set and for the last time they got the leg-weary crowd going. Destruction never fails, but I always miss a second guitar player, it is a little empty on the stage and the sound could be much heavier with a second axe. But I guess they will always stay a 3-piece and I think they are right, everyone is used to that and why change a winning team?
DOA 2010 was a successful festival, I think that with Waldrock cancelled, the organization would have hoped for a larger crowd. With 16 acts for € 35,00 I don't think they are too expensive and the people who stayed at home, were wrong! They had a wide variety of acts and the festival was well organized. Thumbs up for all the people that made this festival happen, they all do it because of the love for our favourite music. If they decide to keep it a 2 years festival, I hope that we will be back there in 2012, but if Waldrock isn't going to be organized next year, maybe there will be a DOA 2011. They have my blessing and I will certainly be there again.
Special thanks to my old man (dad) for driving us back home in the middle of the night, you are the man!
Attending: Reinier de Vries