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Metal Over Malta 2019

Metal Over Malta 2019

By Rainer Kerber

Location: The Garage Ħaz-Zebbug / Aria Complex San Ġwann
Date: March 22nd/23rd, 2019

 

This year, Metal Over Malta celebrated its fifth anniversary. I’ve been there since the second edition. In the years before, the festival was organized by the members of the band Weeping Silence. Because of serious changes in the lineup, this band is currently in a break. So the burden of the organization was on the shoulders of Sean and Mario. And there was a change in the process. If the first four events took place at the Château Buskett, the event was held this year at two new locations. On Friday the bands played on the stage of The Garage in Ħaz-Zebbug and on Saturday in the Aria Complex of San Ġwann. And like last year, the festival was the occasion for a longer holiday trip to the small Mediterranean island. The pictures of the two evenings can be seen on Flickr.

Friday

The local band Mur.Doc 104 opened on Friday evening. For me that was THE discovery of the festival. The Maltese played a melodic thrash metal. And vocalist Luke kept shouting high-pitched screams reminding me of the high priest of Metal, Rob Halford.

Setlist Mur.Doc 104:

  • Summoning The Opressor
  • Ignorant Masses
  • The Undying
  • Mur.Doc 104
  • Hell
  • Black Knight
  • Thrashing The Boat

It continued with a mix of Dark, Doom and Death Metal. The Belgian Marche Funèbre was another positive surprise for me this weekend. Three band members sang to the songs, so there was a constant change between angry growls and very good clear vocals.

Setlist Marche Funèbre:

  • Intro (These Fevered Days)
  • Darkness
  • Capital Of Rain
  • Death Wish Woman
  • Lullaby Of Insanity

I already knew Victims Of Creation from the second Metal Over Malta in 2016. Even then they convinced me with their decelerated Death Doom. And they also presented this funeral doom perfectly this year. The bassist and singer Rex changed regularly between growls and clear vocals. It should be noted that he had a full program this weekend because he was part of the crew of the festival and was involved in the stage rebuilding work.

Setlist Victims of Creation:

  • Cenotaph (intro)
  • Requiem
  • In Silentium
  • Judgement (Miserere)
  • Tree Of Iniquity
  • Those Left Behind
  • Pain (outro)

The band name Doomas again promised Doom Metal. The band was founded in 2006 and has released one EP and two albums since then. Unlike Victims of Creation before, the Slovaks sounded much rockier. Imagine Candlemass, but only with growls. Headbang again before the first day of the event comes to an end.

Setlist Doomas:

  • Seven Sins
  • Dark Side Of The Moon
  • La Muerte
  • Portal
  • Abyss
  • Forlorn

Saturday

While I’ve known The Garage since last year, the Aria Complex was completely new to me. The stage was covered with a tent construction. In the summer months, this complex can probably be used as an open air arena. So, it was quite airy and thanks to the rather low temperature on Saturday was a certain open-air feeling on.

The history of Angelcrypt goes back to 1997, various singles, EPs and albums have since been released. According to Encyclopaedia Metallum, guitarist Shawn Mizzi is the only remaining founding member. That evening, Paul Formosa made his band debut on drums. All band members have already gained experience in other Maltese bands. For example, the former Weeping Silence fronter Joe Greech at the micro. His growls matched the band’s melodic death metal.

Setlist Angelcrypt:

  • Serpents Of The Somme
  • On Killing Fields
  • Guardians Of Asgaard
  • Iron Creed
  • We Are The Dead
  • The Black Hand

At this year’s festival there was obviously a contest which band could play the “slowest” doom. After Victims of Creation the day before, now also the Romanian band Abigail claimed this title. That was music for the badly troubled mind. Due to time constraints, the band could only play four of the five scheduled songs.

Setlist Abigail:

  • Voyage Within
  • Sweet Cruelty
  • The Mind Replays What The Heart Can’t Erase
  • Home
  • Sonet

Unfortunately, I missed the appearance of Hexed in Hamburg for health reasons. But what is the Metal over Malta Festival for? Here the Swedes also played a longer set. That was classic Heavy Metal. Singer Tina Gunnarsson impressed me with a powerful voice and an immense stage presence. But her bandmates also provided great sound and great atmosphere.

Setlist Hexed:

  • Obedience
  • Roots
  • Oceans
  • Lightyears
  • Forsaken
  • Stars
  • Exhaling Life
  • Netherworld
  • Remake My Soul

In addition to Black Metal, the Post Black Metal genre incorporates many other musical influences, such as folk, progressive rock and even techno. So even with Harakiri For The Sky, the black roots were not consistently heard. The whole thing sounded very melodic. Only the raspy voice of the singer constantly reminded of Black Metal.

Setlist Harakiri For The Sky:

  • Heroin Waltz
  • Funeral Dreams
  • Calling The Rain
  • You Are The Scars
  • The Graves We’ve Dug

And once again Death Metal was on the program. But also Omnium Gatherum sounded very melodic over long distances. There were brilliant guitar solos that reminded a little of Judas Priest. This band is also referred to as a musical influence, alongside Iron Maiden, At The Gates Megadeath and Dream Theater. In places, the Finns then went to work brutally.

Setlist Omnium Gatherum:

  • The Burning
  • Gods Go First
  • Frontiers
  • Sonic Sign
  • Over The Battlefield
  • The Unknowing
  • Nail
  • Refining Fire
  • New World Shadows

Encore

  • Luoto
  • New Dynamic
  • Skyline

Leprous initially had technical problems. So delayed the beginning of the show. I have to admit, that was the only band I did not like. I’ve never been able to do anything with the extreme progressive tinkering. Such kind of sound experiments are not my taste. This has also clearly shown on this evening. In addition, the musicians performed strange movements on stage, somehow, I was reminded of an early video by Talking Head. But most of the fans liked it.

Setlist Leprous:

  • Bonnevill
  • Stuck
  • The Valley
  • Foe
  • The Flood
  • Acquired
  • The Cloak
  • Illuminate
  • GP
  • Angel
  • The Price
  • Third Law

Zugabe

  • Mirage
  • From The Flame

 

  • Luoto
  • New Dynamic
  • Skyline

The organizers spoke in advance often from the best lineup so far. You can almost unreservedly agree with that, although the musical focus this year was on Death and Doom Metal. Sound and light were very good on both days. Much importance was placed this year on the adherence to the schedule. However, one or the other band could not play the full setlist. A big thank you goes to the organizers who made this festival possible and of course to the bands. I will be back next year.

MHF Magazine/Rainer Kerber

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