Metal Over Malta III

By Ton Dekkers

Photo By Ton Dekkers

Already half past six a small gathered in front of Bayview Hotel, to be picked at seven. Nice to meet already old and new friend. The weather was nice, only a strong wind made it a bit less comfortable. At exact seven the shuttle arrived but due to traffic we arrived at Chateau Buskett shortly before the first band. For Metal over Malta (MoM) this site, usually a wedding site, refurbished to a festival site. With a nice large stage, great sound system and pretty nice lightning system.

Most likely Friday is for the local visitors a normal working day. It was really crowded at the start. A pity for Animamortua. Maybe was partly the reason that they were local. You couldn’t say the Trash Metallers were not enthusiastic, however the number of hey-moments were limited during their not bad, but not refreshing set.

The change-over took longer than scheduled. With a little delay Desecrate started. The Italians, being around already quite some time, bring a heavy set Melodic Gothic Death Metal. The voice of Gabry Giorgi should suit you, just like the occasionally screams of guitarist Alessio Reale. Based on the enthusiastic response of the in the mean-time better filled venue, most people appreciated it. Eyecatcher was the frail, very dynamic key player Andrea Grillone with his often waving orange hair. Most songs were from the third album “ Orpheus”.

With the third band Forsaken all was on schedule again. They hail from Malta and are already active for over 25 years in this line-up. The fun being on stage is still there. Like singer Leo Stivala later said: “We still have a lot of fun bringing Old School Doom, but there also moment we would kill each other”. Not really Old school, Epic Doom fits better tot his more up tempo with strong riffs of Sean Vukovic. They surprised the exited crowd with a new song of an upcoming album after year that will be released this year.

I had to bring over regards to the Greeks of Poem, Textures did had a good time with on tour. After meeting them and seeing them, I definitely understand why. They played a strong set at a high musical level. Combined with dynamic interaction on stage and with the audience made this show for many (including me) the highlight of the evening. Progressive metal suits Poem best. Most songs are from the album “Skein Syndrome” released last year. It received great critics, live it might be even better. No wonder the crowd is keen to be on a final shot with the enthusiastic band.

For the change-over to Civil War a curtain is put in front of the stage. However, when opening nothing special was on the stage. The Swedisch played for the first time with new singer Kelly Sundown Carpenter. Compliment to him, he hardly needed the lyrics on paper in a folder in front of him. It was a dynamic show with a lot of action but with limited interaction. Civil War included quite some former Sabaton members so it’s not strange the music has quite some resemblance. And that’s the problem for the men dressed in old military uniforms. Copying Sabaton features (singer with sunglasses, toasting with beer) didn’t help. The late show time on a Friday might be the reason that the venue was less crowded at the encore. They ones that stayed definitely enjoyed the show.

Nice to see that sponsor Budweiser was in sync with the audience by Iron Maiden Trooper in their beer package. Anyway, most people went quite happy direction home, crash place or hotel ( very happy with the shuttle) to have some rest for day two.

Just like the first day, around 20 people were very well in time present at the pick-up location for the shuttle to Buskett. Everybody was “not amused” when the shuttle arrived a half hour late. It was forgotten when the driver managed to get (just) in time at the venue.

The day opener was a very nice surprise. The Greek Dimlight had quite some line-up changes. The new singer Eva Fourlanou is not really tall, but on stage she’s a boss. Very nice multi-style metal to start with. Most was from the latest album “ The Lost Chapters”. Peter “ Invoker” was impressive with his riffs and expressions. With this dynamic performance so early, the challenge was on the next bands.

Totally different was Loch Vostok. The men from Sweden provided a technically good and attractive extreme metal set. Their looks were in sync with what’s written on Facebook: “Most bearded band onstage that night somewhere sometime”. Led by guitarist/vocalist Teddy Möller the band went for it. Limited talking loads of roaring. With six albums, of which "From These Waters" is the last, they had no trouble to select a diverse set.

The “greatest” band of Malta, Abysmal Torment started furious. To use their own words ‘a violent death metal bullet destined to spread ear crushing brutality’. The enormous energy and immense passion of the two vocalist Nick Farrugia and Melchior Borg activated the audience. Even something that looked like a pit appeared. Despite this Brutal Death Metal band already is founded in 2000 their third (and last) album “Cultivate the Apostate “ dates 2014. Maybe the reason that a big part of, the most of, Maltese audience did ‘sing’ with the band.

Short on Belgium Saille. The sound until now was very good. Their own sound man made a mess. When it should be louder it was too loud and distorted, a big mash. Same with their own light man. OK, I assume that (Symphonic) Black Metal band don’t want to play in bright light, but there are limits. No photos.

‘Back to normal’ with Swedish Preach. A nice active show that recorded, so you might see it later on Youtube. Nevertheless, having released only one full album “Gasoline Veins”, they were already quite popular. They announced working on a new album, so it might be that there was already a new song in the set list.

Organizer Weeping Silence plays a home game. Although you could see that the activities did have impact, luckily limited and definitely accepted by the crowd. Most is from their latest album “Opus IV Oblivion” that was of my favorites of 2015. They work on a new album too and they surprised the enthusiastic audience with a new song “The Second Age of Death“. Just like at Doom over Gorinchem they convinced (me) with their music and (this time a little less) active show. Great to see them again at FemME in September. Their Gothic Doom is an own mix, sometimes more Gothic and sometimes more Doom. The duo vocals (Dario Pace Taliana and Diane Camenzuli) confirms this mix.

Just like the first evening a curtain is closed. Tonight with a similar late show time, most of the audience stayed for Orphaned Land. They were presented a very energetic and entertaining set, very appreciated by all. The Middle East Folk / Progressive Metal is very accessible and invites to join the party. They played for the first time on Malta and wanted to leave a good impression and interacted actively with the crowd. When they invited two local belly dancers the party was complete. For most the show ended (at about 2AM) still too early.

Already looking forward to next edition. Not only for the festival. Malta is also very nice this time of the year.

Ton Dekkers