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Marios Metal Mania fest


013 (Tilburg - Netherlands)
Marios Metal Mania Fest 2007

Double Diamond
Imperious Rex
Divine Ruins
Besides being co-organizer of the Tilburg Headbangers Fest and owner of the underground metal webzine MariosMetalMania.com, metal maniac Mario van Dooren had some spare time on his hands to put together a festival of his own. With some interesting names on the bill like Double Diamond, Divine Ruins and Raven it was time for Digital Steel to check it out.

After arrival at the venue it became clear that openingsact Imperious Rex couldn’t make it on time due to a heavy snowstorm near Stuttgart so Belgium prime metal band Double Diamond opened this first edition of MMM fest.

Every time I see this band they seem to be improved. Heavy metal in optima forma with a very good front/showman, two guitarplayers who deliver the goods and a tight drummer. The band played songs from their last album Stand up and Fight like: Father of Time, Run if you can, Ride the Wind and Murder at midnight and one of the best tracks of In Danger called Anubis. Besides this “old” stuff the band was so kind to play three new songs, as far as I can remember of which Born to play metal was the best one. The other two were more or less singalong tunes that are fine for Iron Maiden but not for Double Diamond and that is the only setback of the gig. Double Diamond has some really impressive songs so next time skip the happy tunes and play more agressive ones. Nevertheless this was a great performance of a band who undoubtely deserves to support a bigger welknown metalact and hopefully this will become a fact in the near future. Without a doubt Double Diamond is THE metal diamond of the metalscene in the Benelux.

Imperious Rex hit the stage immediately after their arrival at the venue but they raged nevertheless. Their somewhat primitive thrash was played furious (good drummer) and the total sound reminded me of Destroyer 666. The lack of a decent sologuitarist is the only deficiency for this thrashing trio from the USA. Add one and this band can grow to a respectable thrashmetal outfit.

After this thrash attack we got time to relax a bit with Swedish powermetallers Dreamland. Good singer and damn fine musicians who got the crowd going. With two absent members and thus playing with replacements Dreamland was still going strong. Impressive performance of these young Swedes.

The big suprise for me was the addition of Divine Ruins to the festival line-up. The band flew over from Texas, USA to play the MMM fest. Talking about attitude!!
Although I didn’t heard any of their music before, the band took the stage and delivered some fine piece of US metal. Melodic with a catchy chorus and after a few songs the band got a warm welcome from the crowd. Frontman Ronny Styxx screamed like hell and that’s the way we like to hear it. Besides the great vocals, the double axe attack was effective as expected and the band performed as a tight metal outfit although one of their guitarist was a temporarely replacement.
According to Ronny Styxx the band played their most agressive (and new) stuff and I liked every minute of it. Because their replacement guitarist had not enough time to practice a few Saxon coversongs, one of the Double Diamond guitarists stepped in to help them out. Denim and Leather, Strong arm of the law and the final tune Power and the glory ended this fantastic gig.
Impressive performance of these Americans so let’s pray to the Gods of Metal that Divine Ruins return to European soil again.

Co-headlining this years MMM festival were Swedish metalband RAM. A few years ago I saw them at the Swordbrother festival and they were good then. Although the didn’t top their Swordbrothers performance it was still a very good gig. Heavy, tight and a good singer with some high pitch screams. After a few songs some members of ex Dutch metalact Powervice jumped on stage to play a version of Hand of Glory together with RAM. The crowd loved it and unfortunately this was the only Powervice song. RAM continued and got a good response from the already filled venue and after a while it was time to get ready for the eigthies UK metallers Raven.

After an absence of 10 years in Holland it was damn time to see this crazy trio on stage. Still crazy as hell and despite their age they maintain a high energy level on stage. Incredible how they run, jump and dive and still play their instruments with precision. Singer John Gallager still reaches the high notes as if he was 20. Unbelievable. Raven wipes many young band of stage, no doubt about that.
Raven can fill a setlist with as many classics as they like but instead they didn’t choose the easy way out. So that means some recent material and even a few new songs were played. For me that was a little disappointing because I like to hear the old agressive stuff but Raven probably doesn’t want to get stuck in the past. Freedom of choice at work. Songs like Live at the inferno, Crash bang Wallop, For the future, All for one and Mind over matter brought every Raven fan in a state of extasy.
All in all Raven kicked some serious ass only next time skip the damn medley and get rid of the 20 minute boring version of Break the Chains.

Besides the excellent performance of all bands playing on the bill it’s only fair to compliment the soundguys because every band had a good to great sound. No exceptions allowed.
Also compliments to organizer Mario for putting together this great festival line-up and for having the balls to present some new talent and let’s not forget the venue 013/Batcave for their hospitality. Only minor point was the lack of food. With a beer diet of around 8 hours straigth I had to sacrifice my hungry stomache but it was well worth it. See you at MMM fest 2008!!!


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