Review | GBOB 2011 Heat #4
Jul 10th 2011 Rami Rouhana Event Reviews

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I was expecting GBOB heats to be more or less entertaining; the first heats shifted my opinion to a more positive one and the fourth totally convinced me. With every heat, GBOB is getting more interesting and the bands are preparing and performing better than ever.

On this heat, the competition was between Imaginism, December Dies Alone (DDA), Monarchy and Episode. It was the first time I see Episode and Imaginism perform and probably more than the fourth time seeing DDA and Monarchy perform. Here’s what I saw and heard:

  • I don’t know much about Imaginism but I am willing to find out more because these guys have talent and they should work on it. Imaginism played proggy experimental music with an interesting blend of musical and vocal styles. Their way of arranging is original for sure … As I have heard, it was their first performance ever and surely being nervous made them slip some mistakes. With more experience in live performances along with fine-tuning their arrangement, they could be one of the future big local bands. For this GBOB challenge, Imaginism weren’t ready to sound as a mature well bonded band, but I still encourage them to keep going, give us some live performances and get ready for the next GBOB.


  • Then came ‘DDA‘, a band which most of the young metalheads have seen perform more than once and bought their first EP and heard it well … Their performance this time was amazing; perhaps they gave their best with the help of a well tuned sound and the ‘challenge’ mindset. There was only one weak point which was the rhythm guitar player’s performance as backing vocal: he does not have a good voice and when it comes to soloing he still needs some practice.dda-gbob-2011-heat-4

  • Third on stage was ‘Monarchy‘, also a band with established fan/supporter base. Monarchy are preparing an album to be released soon. They have enough experience and are ready for the stage. Their performance again was very good, but they still have a weakness in their arrangement: for me their melodic vocal lines seemed too repetitive sometimes although the vocalist Omar has talent but as my friend Nathalie (vocalist of Bandage) mentioned “He still has a lot of work to do”.


  • Last on stage in round 1 was ‘Episode‘, a trio instrumental band which I have heard a lot about ever since the first heat. They previously performed at Hamra festival and Beirut Music Festival. With bass, drums and violin, I did not expect any Metal but the music had it all, a beautiful blend of jazz, classic and Metal music. There were a lot of violin soloing and tricky drum lines, the only missing thing for an ‘experimental’ band was intriguing bass lines. Although it wasn’t simple, it wasn’t vivid too. The violin had a lot of energy, but the bass guitar lacked it.


  • When crowd voting was done and judges’ votes were added, DDA, Monarchy and Episode were in for the second challenge. It was the first heat where three bands moved to the second round, and the reason was the crowd’s 10% voting causing Episode’s highest scoring band (by the jury) to move to third place, so Episode was “Veto” voted by judges to keep them for round 2. The judges thought that Episode had something great to present and they wanted to give them another chance to perform again.

    This text came from an ‘unknown yet trusted local GBOB authority’: “jury have the right to veto over the audience’s votes to make sure the bands they see best fit do actually get the proper chance and not get thrown out purely based on mathematical numbers as there are other criteria the jury must consider when choosing bands”.

    If you think that the audience’s vote doesn’t mean anything then, that is not true. If it weren’t from audience’s votes, Monarchy wouldn’t have had the chance to perform in the second round.


    In the end, it was a close call between DDA and Episode and due to the clear knowledge of what is ‘appreciated’ in GBOB, with DDA being a less listener friendly band, Episode were announced winners of Heat #4.


Judges on GBOB 2011 Heat #4: Bassem Deaibess (Blaakyum, The Hourglass), Cyrill Yabroudi (Oath to Vanquish), Tony Bou Ghosn (Bandage,The Ring), Nathalie Jeha (Bandage), Roland Azar (Bandage) and Elias Njeim (Blaakyum, ESN Project).

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  • roy naufal

    very nicely written, small comment though:
    what’s most considered is most about originality/uniqueness than about being ‘listener friendly’
    thumbs to all the bands, it was surely one of the most interesting heats…heat 5 seems to be promising as well

  • Jason

    Imaginism: A real talented band that perfected their performance. Their tuning was 100% right it’s about the sound quality that is given to the bands in such small pub with no freaking Db meter used at all.

    DDA: A fun band with GREAT performance bas musicianship (N) ! w I agree with you about the rhythm guitarist .. Courage.

    Monarchy: A real talented band .. such band’s music shouldn’t be played in a small local .. It’s progressive metal .. every single detail should be heard .. plenty of melodies and ensembles .. anyway they threw a good show .. the intro and the outro were awesome .. but the core of the song was kinda repetitive and blown by the breakdowns .. Courage kamen.

    EpiSode: They’re real professional musicians .. b ra2ye ma lezim ysherko b GBOB cz their chance of having success locally w internationally is guarantied .. any label btetbanehoun.

    And finally congrats to all the bands, they did a great job .. they gave us a good show and a tight competition .. and Good luck for the future gigs.

  • roy naufal

    sorry jason, but i actually use a db meter when setting up the sound
    there’s a crossover issue at nova, and there’s much more than wat u say regarding sound

    regarding episode, gbob is an additional chance for such a band to reach out to labels + has more benefits

  • Jason

    It’s your job my friend .. You do use Db meter laken my bad .. and I know it’s real hard to maintain a decent sound quality in such place well at least you’re doing your best (PS: the best sound was at Break the Cycle II).. Maybe such important competition should be held in a better place IF possible.

    Regarding EpiSode, i do agree with you but either it’s gbob or not they’ll be successful unlike most other bands that are counting on this competition .. that’s just the point .. Anyway this year .. I’m sure Lebanon will kick ass.

  • X

    I just want to mention, that the review was badly written, and was hard to understand.. Maybe you should have someone who’s more fluent in english to write this stuff.. no hard feelings, just sayin’…

  • Thx for the comment X .

    Work on your english reading skills.

    No hard feelings ,just sayin’..

  • roy naufal

    thanks jason!
    yea,break the cycle II had a well studied and optimized sound for our needs, at nova we’re using what’s available to us and trying to get the best out of it…in most cases i think it’s being at least above average
    thanks for your feedback!

  • Rudy Fares

    X why not putting your real name ?

    Anyway thanks Rami for this nice review…Monarchy, DDA, and ofc Imaginism were really great, keep up the gd work.

  • anonymouse

    How does a Db meter contribute to good sound ?
    This is a funny statement.
    A sound engineer delivers the cleanest sound possible, by taking into consideration the hall reverb, the frequencies absorbed, the volume. A sound engineer can’t make miracles. If band members have bad guitar sounds ( excess of delay , non compatible 2 guitar sounds eating each other’s frequencies… ), then the sound engineer can’t really do anything about it. Also, clean playing is a factor.

  • AnonyMouse

    ^ that’s not the real AnonyMouse
    just saying
    real AnonyMouse is me: Yorgui Kouyoumjian

  • Fadi BK

    Jason: Imaginism: keno 3am yel3abo chi ktir 7elo w so3ib w 2a2ala ghalta bet bayyin coz kilo ken bracking the beats , badon yechteghlo aktar la yozbat ma3on w eza zabat bi koun chi moukhif.

    anonymouse: the first thing that affect the good quality of the sound is a good instruments , than the sound eng come to deliver the sound properly to the listeners, so a band with low quality instruments can never have a good sound, and A sound engineer delivers the cleanest layer possible of the sound ,(ya3ne eza waselo l sound ghalat mafi ya3mil chi ),ex: DDA ( all the sounds were gr8 except of the sound of the guitar coz he had an low quality guitar delivering a bad sound even that he have a good pedal)

  • Lance Vestyt Wannabee

    imigamanimism rocked ! i wasnt there, never seen them play, but they rocked
    DDA, core is getting mainstream, just like g*y marriage
    Episode, *Bows down*
    Monarchy, we get it, you like Dream Theater, “milkage” won’t do ya any good

    Reminder, I did NOT attend the event

  • Monarchy

    I don’t know who you are, you did not attend the event so why are you saying this? ” Monarchy, we get it, you like Dream Theater, “milkage” won’t do ya any good “. You clearly didn’t even listen to our songs. So don’t just make statements you cannot even justify. You should buy our album when it comes out and then tell us if it’s Dream Theater you’re listening to.

    You’re just offending us with nonsense.

  • Ap0cALiPsHiT

    Hello, This is Monarchy’s vocalist, I admire what you guys wrote, thank you…
    All I’m gonna say is, just wait until the album is released =) and tell me if all of the songs sound alike.
    Oh and about the second song, I wouldn’t call the arrangement of the song a weakness, for the second song is not included in the first album, and it was reduced into 8:00 mins, when it was actually 10:32 mins, so ne**a e**a lal song hay bil 3arabe lmshabra7 😛
    So most of the different parts were removed, I think you thought the vocal lines were repetitive cause the song had a twist of oriental sound, that’s all
    But I assure you, you’ll be hearing us very soon, and I will show you how much this song will be stuck in your head!
    Anyway, we all did good =D
    courage lal kill!

  • roy naufal

    just replying to the fake anonymouse for the fun of it:
    “How does a Db meter contribute to good sound ?
    This is a funny statement.”
    “A sound engineer delivers the cleanest sound possible, by taking into consideration … the volume”

    db meter measures the volume,
    certain volumes are too low for being enjoyable live, and others too loud

    on second note,
    a sound engineer’s job is to reproduce the band’s sound on a bigger system in a well calibrated manner, ot recreate the band’s sound,
    the latter being something that i unfortunately very often have to do (and in most cases it’s ironically never the band’s fault lol)

  • Hasan Rahal (Imaginism bassist)

    Roy u did a gr8 job regarding the sound amplification;
    (Guys this person was the sound engineer for “Hail”, lets give some credit)

    Lance kol hawa 🙂

    Monarchy i enjoyed watching ur beautiful performance; the last part of the song was a blast. looking forward to hear ur album.

    just some points:

    -In the Jury’s past interviews, they claimed they were looking for something creative, where DDA creative to the extent they got the second place?? or just another mainstream music composers? (no harm DDA; just referring to the jury’s choice)
    -Episode deserves all the best; cool fusion.
    -GBOB competition is a gr8 place to learn and gain a fruitful experience: And i learned a lot.
    -It was a pleasure playing for the sake of introducing our music.


  • AnonyMouse/Yorgui

    Party hard 😀

  • Lance Vestyt Wannabee

    Mr. Monarchy, fact is, ive heard you many many times, heard your songs, seen your arrangements, even the ones you havent released ;D so dont tell me that it doesn’t sound the same
    im not saying you aint good, but clearly, youre not very original either, judging by the fact that ive never been slightly moved by your songs
    guitarist is amazing, vocalist, even more (dont know which one of you is replying), but still …

    Hasan, im supporting you guys and thats the thanks i get ? im gonna go cry in my bed while hugging my teddy bear now 🙁

  • roy naufal

    this is just to answer and clarify on hasan’s comment regarding the jury :
    most of the result is based on an overall score based on 15 points that are averaged (and also eliminating highest and lowest averages, like in the olympics rating system)
    part of these points are individual member rating and another part overall for the band
    in round 1, the result is more a mathematical based average whereas in round 2 the jury actually discuss which band is to be promoted to the final (based on a set of mathematical averages as well)
    all the jury members must agree on which band to go to the final (there is always a minimum of 5)
    the points taken into consideration include originality, performance, structure, amongst other criteria….dda got a good boost from their performance which increased their overall average

  • AnonyMouse

    DDA have a very lively stage presence, and their vocalist is a beast!
    They deserved the score they got
    and metalcore doesn’t always have to be lame, alot of innovative metalcore bands out there these days, you should check them out

    khallik fruitful ya H 😛

  • Hasan Rahal

    @Roy: 10x for clearing things up

    @Yorgui: will always stay fruitful 😛

    @Lance: didnt mean any personal harm; but try to respect other bands too 😉

  • Jo Mosekchual

    My brother is so cool ^^
    I didnt know hes that’ famous.
    I loved that sh*t, all of it!
    (plus its nice to see a seven string guitar in proper use here in leb)