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Hopelezz ~ Wheel

2010-12-21 DE – Bochum - Matrix

On the so called Hundred Year Winter in 2009/2010 another one seemingly follows by now. And that means tons of snow, extremely low temperatures, black iced roads and total chaos in public transport. A few shows I already had to cancel but this monster package consisting of SWALLOW THE SUN, SÓLSTAFIR and MAR DE GRISES as the year’s grand final I definitely did not want to miss. Luckily the Lord of the snowflakes was with me and stopped right on time, sending such mild temperatures around the corner that at least highways and main roads were free of ice and snow. Ok, word! Unearthed my car, slithered through Muenster and hit the roads towards Bochum’s Matrix

:: Pics ::

Psychedelic and epic Doom, classic and timeless… was what we got first on stage. :: WHEEL :: I knew from their self-titled debut released in February 2010, and was quite curious how they would sound live. Unfortunately attendant circumstances were rather less exciting: bad weather and an early kick-off. WHEEL downright got hustled on stage to face maybe 30 fans, while the others already in house still spent time upstairs at cloak room and bar. Not a touch of atmosphere and lame response for the band. Sound was extremely bad and ran contrary to Arkadius Kurs voice and singing (he actually reminded me strongly on Mo of H2BR fame), especially since he did not strike the right note every now and then. I loved WHEEL on CD, but what I got to hear and see live on stage was just a stale image. Bummer!

It got even worse right after… I don’t know how to wrap into words what appeared as :: HOPELEZZ :: a few minutes later. Never ever heard anything of them before and what I saw during the change-over let already raise my eyebrows. Well, let’s describe it with happy Hardcore with a slight Hip Hop touch and the excessively use of a megaphone. Tones and notes heard umpteen times. Looking around I wasn’t the only one scared… And now, while writing this live report and listening to HOPELEZZ on myspace it seems like I’m talking about two absolutely different bands. I at least cannot remember any Death- or Thrash Metal parts… Oh, I was not drunk! ;)

With the local supports put aside it got a little bit better soundwise, even if the sound was way too loud. Time for :: MAR DE GRISES :: to enter the stage bathed bloody red lights all the time. Another novelty, I never saw the Chilean metallers live so far. And they left me much pleased and enthused :) Dark and hauntingly melancholic Death/Doom Metal, that kind the headliner is known for, partly with clean singing that reminded a bit of Paradise Lost. Dense, intensive, just great! MAR DE GRISES played two songs from each of their three records, with the new material embedded in the middle. I can only recommend the brand new record Streams Inwards, it’s truly amazing!
Setlist: Sleep Just One Dawn, Recklessness, Shining Human Skin, The Bell And The Solar Gust, Deep-Seeded Hope Avant-Garde, To See Saturn Fall

Finally, now it was up to our most favorite Icelander. And :: SÓLSTAFIR :: turned out to be downright cute *laughs* It was the next to last show and the cats already partying hard it seems. Ok, German brewage and booze ain’t that bad really ;) SÓLSTAFIR played the known and well-proven setlist but with a singer, barely a master of his articulation, swaying and swinging and who turned every song into a wildly romantic adventure ;) Though, in a twinkling of an eye we got this incredible atmosphere, causing gooseflesh. They got every single one under spell. No joke or fail in playing could change that. Waaah… I want more! ;)
Setlist: Köld, Pale Rider, Ritual Of Fire

Last but not least :: SWALLOW THE SUN :: finished this evening, with a set and show that was rather disappointing, if not even just boring. No chance to ignite a spark, not even with Out Of This Gloomy Light. Singer Mikko reminded me of Ghost Brigade’s singer Manne everywhere (although it should be the other way round), while latter one cut the better figure. The last two years SWALLOW THE SUN were constantly touring around the globe. The Finns are obviously tired and fed up with touring. No wonder I’d say. However, SWALLOW THE SUN are said to take a break in 2011. No shows, instead they might work on new material. So I just hope this break will help to relax and recover, to refuel and recharge, and to bring back their delight in playing with the verve and vibes we so love on them.
Setlist: These Words Breathe Evil, Hold This Woe, Falling World, These Hours Of Despair, Sleepless Swans, Out Of This Gloomy Light, Plague Of Butterflies, Don't Fall Asleep, New Moon, The Giant, Swallow


story & pics © Dajana