Review | Blynd-Level7 at Nova
Jan 5th 2011 Patrick Saad Event Reviews

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And off we went to Nova pub Sin El Fil for this series of late 2010 rock/metal events, from the Freak Show’s “If Rudolph Could Growl” to Negative’s show on Wednesday and Jay Wud’s event on Friday the 30th of 2010. I think speak for the majority when I say that although Nova pub has always supported all kinds of music events and metal in particular (well aside from those weeks where an ongoing anti-moshpit policy put the events on hold at the pub), we had quite enough of it. The reason behind this may just be the decision taken by the experienced and well-known local bands to support the idea of having a couple of big local events per year and ignore the ‘small scale’ events that usually launch new bands in the scene, with the kind support from the more experienced bands. Another main reason is the sound: I wish I can tell you that I don’t care about the sound as long as it’s loud and noisy (the general misconception of metal), but I would be lying straight to your face. For the 5th consecutive event at Nova, I have witnessed noisy sound, crappy distortion and bands who absolutely have no idea of what sort of sound they are playing to the crowd. It’s really damaging to be standing anywhere near that stage with that kind of loud sound system, it’ll literally cause ear damage (not to mention the repeated feedback from guitars throughout the show). You can confirm that when most of the audience sits way far out, at the bar and at the left/right corners of the place, and the majority of those who got excited at the beginning of the show simply draw out with time, to leave the later bands of the show with only a few devoted fans to actually interact with.

Speaking of devoted, Hamra metal fans suddenly gathered upfront to support Oblivion, one of the few local bands who live up to the the ‘old school heavy metal’ reputation. Their show was good, with some Judas Priest songs and originals from their EP “Dollared Lady”. I have always stated that they’re a good band, but I’ve never experienced anything new from their performances. I’m not against heavy metal, but I do admire anyone who took the genre and added something of their own to it, whether it’s folk (similar to Rhapsody of Fire) or symphonic (similar to Divine Fire) so I hope Oblivion will surprise us throughout the next few years with something that they can call their own, if they wish it.

Level7 were up next, with a new member and a headliners’ confidence. Unfortunately, they struggled with the sound and looked not at ease while playing, well that’s until they rolled up the breakdowns, and those were plenty. As usual, the issue of breakdowns is called upon in events with bands adopting the ‘new school’ slogan. I won’t dwell in that matter now, but I can’t say that they appeal to me personally. I don’t mind headbangable parts in metal songs but I don’t rate songs according to headbangable parts, since it’s generally ‘cheap’ to stop a progression in a song and insert some breakdown to get some energy into the performance, and it gets cheaper when implemented several times (sometimes within one single song!). I did manage to buy myself a copy of Level7’s EP that was being sold and I’m looking forward to giving it a listen.

Half way through the night, Blynd got up on stage to face a somehow empty ‘pit’ which quickly filled up as soon as they kicked off their first song. What’s obvious was the energy and musicianship which this band possesses as they fired everyone up again for their entire performance. Their setlist included several songs from their recent release “The Enemy” which was also being sold at the event, alongwith Lamb of God’s “Laid to Rest” and Machine Head’s “Imperium”. Everyone noticed the drummer’s technical work as well as the lead guitarist’s energetic riffs and melodic work. The band showed that you can adopt a ‘new school’ style without always referring back to cliche breakdowns and vocal patterns. Good luck for this band!

Relics of Martyrs (Jordan) went on stage at about 12:00 AM with a crowd of less than 50% the initial attendance. More technical issues emerged at this point in the event, more noise and less interest by the crowd, although Relics of Martyrs are technically a good band which plays thrash/death metal. It’s understandable that after 2 hours of noisy loud distortion, everyone had no energy left to properly show this band the kind of support a Lebanese band would get in Jordan. Given another location and an early spot in the event, we might have seen a good ol’ moshpit to such kind of music. However, I got to say that I wish every death metal band would incorporate strong melody in their songs: Relics of Martyrs lacked those catchy choruses that Chuck Schuldiner would have liked, with the lasting melody and roaring vocals. Their song structures were basically the same, with a repeated Slayer like solo from their lead guitarist, who in fact milked the whole ‘harmonics / tremolo’ action that’s heavily used in most Kerry King / Jeff Hanneman solos, and cared less to come up with anything that we could perhaps remember after the show ended.

This is my second time watching Ataxia perform, and quoting my last review of their performance “Still, as we all know it, groove metal isn’t about technicality, with little musicianship required, and with that noise dominating the sound (mainly from distortion pedals), they sounded a bit repetitive to my ears.”, I’ll stick to my opinion of the band, especially when they were basically goofing off on-stage for a long period due to ‘technical difficulties’ before they got their stuff back together and kicked off their show with, in my opinion, a bad cover of Sepultura’s Territory! Another song they were playing (seemed like a Soulfly song) had a ska part in it and that sounded horrible to everyone πŸ˜› And finally before the band could continue their performance, someone had to reclaim their guitar from the band’s guitarist: pure professionalism!

I wouldn’t call this event disappointing but there are few issues here and there. I hope that by discussing the issues, we can make things better around here. In the end, it’s up for the bands to show us their best, and I’m not sure that they are doing that at the moment, they are settling for the easy way out, and that’s simply not working for everyone, whether they are willing to admit it or not.

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  • Bahaa Zein

    i would like to point out some things that u came up with in this review
    about oblivion doing something new something of our own
    I think you can realize that we are an old school heavy metal band,and i think old school heavy metal is at its best so it doesnt need any one to be added anything new its just perfect as it is, we are only adding out style of songs which are also old school heavy metal tunes, so i did not exactly get your point of adding anything new to OLD SCHOOL HEAVY METAL.

  • SerJ

    Thumbs up to the review. I couldnt agree more.

  • djeje sawda

    mr. bahaa i appreciate bands who work on originals and those who dont get trapped in playing covers but on the other hand making originals cant revolve around one single progression for the same old school style …its called old school that was THEIR wave ….YOUR WAVE is different u have to add ur 2011 spirit to ur music to have the pleasure of calling it MY MUSIC AT LEAST !! they made this music bcz they were in the 80’s you are in a different generation u cant make 80’s music in 2011 u can have them as influences but u definetly need to add the touch of ur generation to ur music …

  • Jad Jawhari

    I would like to point out to the commentators that a review is a critique and a critique can be both negative, positive or both at the same time!

  • Da32oor

    couldn’t agree more with Djeje sawda…name me a pure heavy metal band international that came out during like the 15-20 years? none! sure u have band that are influenced by heavy metal but all these bands added something new that’s why these days u find so many genres and styles in metal. Big labels these days aren’t interested in a pure old school heavy metal band…in the end it’s just my opinion and i wish them luck for future events!!

    as for the sound it was shitty especially 3a Level 7 they were unlucky and the other guitarist kept facing problems with his pedal…

    Blynd were gr8 and the sound quickly got better on their turn…a pro band with some gr8 modern heavy tunes

  • hihihi

    djeje sawda, you are wrong on more levels than i can count.

  • Jad Jawhari

    People play the music they want because they want to. Every band is free to play the music it wants! Some bands want to play old school becaue they feel it is the music era that defines them others don’t!

  • Bahaa Zein

    exactly as jad said , we are influenced with old school heavy metal ,that’s exactly why we are playing metal at all ,and we made our originals that way only adding our twist to it i think u can c that in dollared lady and flying high,if you guys think that our originals aren’t our own that’s fine ,but that’s how we intended it to be

  • djeje sawda

    la7za no1 said anything abt ur originals iza ur own or not … dont put my speech into certain issues that i never mentioned …wala elet u cant play old school heavy metal … elet iza u find it so perfect as it is so listen to it at home cz makin originals is adding nothing to its awesomeness ( and thats in ur point of view ) hihihi prove me wrong πŸ˜€

  • Bahaa Zein

    first of all ,ma3am bifham leshe 3am tit7addeneh ya3neh πŸ˜› ” hihihi prove me wrong ” 2nd of all ,thats the music that we enjoy and the music that we play and i dont think we need to add anything new to it because this is how it was when we loved this music ,there is anothers types of music that musicians can add some new things to it , and btw just to add a new point ,if u listen to any new bands that added anything new to the old skool heavy metal ull find that its not as beautiful as it was in the old days ,even judas priest new albums or metallica although metallica arnt a heavy metal band .so i think u should be getting my point now. and one more thing,i dont think ur a fan of old skool heavy metal, so i dont think u will exactly know what we are experiancing

  • Patrick

    Oblivion is a good old school heavy metal band but from a musician’s point of view, I just can’t see where you are able to put in your own style into the songs when you’re following the ‘old school’ progression and song structure by the book: the riffing style, the scale choice, the riff/chorus/solo structure applied with no variation at all.

    By the way, I gotta say that what’s on Level7’s EP sounds better than their live show.

    About the whole ‘music defines them’ issue that Jad stated, I believe it’s a matter of music evolution and I guess as metalheads start to listen to more ‘evolved’ genres than heavy metal, they develop a need to see more technicality, musicianship and creativity from bands. Remember that back then in the 70’s / 80’s, heavy metal listeners considered ‘rock fans’ to be softies, and thrash metalheads considered heavy metal to be a soft version of thrash and so on. I’m not saying that you should go with the flow of the current age, but the only way to revive an old style is to simply mix it with another interesting one and see what happens.

  • hihihi

    concerning the supposed need to “evolve with the times”:
    there’s no way to say what i have to say without writing a lengthy essay but i will try to summarize my thoughts

    -lebanese bands or at least the ones we are discussing do not create music as a full-time job, it is a hobby.
    -people with music as a ‘hobby’ are not able to create some new style (due to not having enough expertise/musical education) or break musical boundaries and therefore have to stick to copying a style.
    -copying a modern style does not make them any more ground-breaking than copying an old school style. they think old school music is better and are therefore satisfied with copying it.

    in conclusion, the “evolve with the times” argument only applies to bands that consider music a full-time job, bands that are able to push the limits of their music in new unexplored directions. using that argument to persuade bands to copy a new style (you’re copying either way) instead of an old one is plain retarded.

    i hope i got my point across.

  • Jad Jawhari

    There are no rules for playing music!! If someone wants to form AN OLD SCHOOL METAL/ROCK band that person has the right to do so! Ma 7ada 2elo ma3o, it is a personal choice. W kil wa7ad bye7ki min wejhet nazar inno howe a musician. W old school mish ya3ni to “imitate” bands it is about the era and about the feel to the music/

  • Bahaa Zein

    ya3neh halla2 hihihi toli3 ma3ak inno we are not creating anything new la2an we’re not taking music as a full-time job ??. bi2dir 2ifham minnak inno law my band spends 8 hours of practice kill youm our heavy metal biseer fee new school breakdowns masalan ??

    bff man please dont underestimate old school heavy metal non of you guys know what it really means ,its just mala2o wala flaw bi oblivion yi7ko 3leh so baddon yi7ko 3an el music style just cuz the writer of this article is not into heavy metal that’s the only reason

  • Serge

    Bahaa.. le m3ala2 3a fekra w meshe fiya.. im a old school heavy metal fan.. bas fham shaghle eno el 3alam zeh2it men this style.. bas el fekra eno u have to evolve, w msh ma3neta t7et breakdowns aw shi.. bas ento mankon creative?! ma fikon tzido shi jdid?! walla khls bet 3al2o 3a hal style. w shu azdak “male2o walla flaw b oblivion ye7ko 3ale, sar bdon ye7ko 3an el music style” :S?! enta bta3rif ba3ed bdkon ktr sheghel?! hayda ahyan style el shakhes yel3abo man.. ba3den w3i w ntebeh eno alot of people byetmaskharo 3aleykon.. why bas 3andkon fans mnel 7amra, ur area?! w ba3den honestly speaking ur demo is shit.. the vocals need alot of work.. dnt take it personally, bas take -ve reviews in concideration in order to progress.. peace

  • nareg’ataxia’

    awalan.. in my point of view .. which all of u should respect i dnt respect nor take into consideration this review!:) 1st becoase its niether proffesional ..nor coming out of a proffesional person(im talkin abt critisizing proffesion)! sound probs are nt our fault .. 5 minutes of soundcheck is not enough for a good sound right?!:) second i think u should expand ur reseraches about brazilian thrash metal..soulfly ektomorf are pure brazilian thrash metal bands! guitars were fckd up one drop c another one standart d if u know what i mean ofcource:) !anw im nt commenting la barrer shi i said ma behemna abadan the fckd up reviews which lack encouragement for the bands nd the scene ..thanks!:D

  • Jad Jawhari

    Patrick is actually a very good reviewer πŸ˜‰ he knows more about music than you, I can assure that. If a review is a negative one it doesn’t mean it’s a bad review only because it is against a band that you play in. From what it seems, you are the one that is not professional just look at your reply :).

  • nareg as an objective opionion I would say that there is no concert reviewing school that gives a eeview degree for one to be considered a professional reviewer . My friend patrick plays an instrument , played live several time with his band , have seen more than 50 gig to say the least and has reviewed at least 20 . So as in “professional” that should be enough to review starting bands .

    As for 5 min soundcheck ,that is a problem u should solve like “dont go on stage” the event organiser should beter organise .
    Tuning C … What is that ? … heh

    As any metalhead i expect to go to concerts that are improving in quality. I expect to see bands improving in performance. If they want to improve I expect them to shrink their ego and absorb the constructive criticism .

    We are working to show the world that we have an active good scene,but first we must proove that we are honest people working on ourselves to become better .

    If this is judged as “khitab” its an objective one.

  • hihihi

    “ya3neh halla2 hihihi toli3 ma3ak inno we are not creating anything new la2an we’re not taking music as a full-time job ??”

    yes, mish you’re not, you can’t. the only way you can “evolve” (by evolve i mean the idea of evolution that is being discussed in this thread, which is far from its real meaning) is by imitating new waves, but that would be devolving in my opinion.

    i was actually defending you and your point of view on old school heavy metal by the way (regardless of the fact that i dislike old school heavy metal). you either didn’t get my point or have reading comprehension problems.

  • ma7fouz

    shu baddak fi patrick ma b7ayeto semi3 brazillian thrash

  • Mr.BK

    about the old school heavy metal thing
    in the 1980′ it was called heavy metal but now we caLL IT OLD SCHOOL coz it’s old and it had been pushed to the limits /
    now in 2000′ u cant make a new original old school song coz it will be a copy of somthing was done and u dont have the copy right to do it
    (bil mokhtas l old school heavy metal n7alab 3al ekhir houwe w kil l melody taba3o w 7ata law 7ada le2a chi melody jdide 3emil song 3anna ma7ada 7ay7eba metel ma bi 7eb l edem)

  • Da32oor

    Nareg: Ektomorf are hungarians:P

  • Da32oor

    w serge: Gd point couldn’t agree more

  • Nareg’Ataxia’

    i repeat ..its my point of view which u all should respect.. nd abt the negative review .. ma shefet la hala2 any positive review abt any band :D! nd da32oor 7abibe albe 3omre 7ayete enta πŸ˜› FOR THE LASTT TIMEE Brazilliann thrash metal is a genre!its not that the band iss brazillian or whatever! nd jad or whoever u are how can u judge me if u dnno me:) how do u know if he knows about music more than me :O!dumb ppl make me laugh:)and about the gigs nd review in 20 concerts and doesnt make any one proffesional dude!trust me on this!check out jorzine magazines review!ya3ne if they said we did a gr8 cover of territory nd patrick said we didnt ..who should i believe:O!? and about the tunings it seems u dnt understand anything abt guitars nd stuff so its okey i forgive u:P! about egoism Dude Wtf :O we dnt think we are a perfect band or any shit but give us some respect after every concert negative reviews come out!enno at leastu know what happend with the band we went onstage on 1 ..which was expected to be at 11! the strings of the two guitars broke on the first song!u expect to give our best?! anyway thanks for replying nd giving me the chancce to clear out some stuff :D!with all respect to jad nd patrick :)!thanks