DESTRUCTION / Sil Khannaz / Stomping Ground / Humiliation / Tools Of The Trade / Storming Steels / Hereafter / Zygoatsis / Nekrad @ Publika Black Box, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
DESTRUCTION / Sil Khannaz / Stomping Ground / Humiliation / Tools Of The Trade / Storming Steels / Hereafter / Zygoatsis / Nekrad
in Saturday, 4 May 2013 at Publika Black Box
by Dorothy Cheng
The sixth annual KL MetalCamp Festival could not have been timelier. Coming just two days after the tragic passing of legendary SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman and one day before what was supposed to be Malaysia's most significant general election; KL MetalCamp VI still did not let any of that drama break its mojo. Headliners DESTRUCTION, despite being legends in Metal, arrived at the venue around 3pm and even mingled around with the organisers for a bit while the growing crowd watched in awe. This casual and humble attitude endeared them to us and did its part in spiking our excitement.
Speaking of the crowd, it was heartening to observe that a large number of those attending were most probably actually there for the local Malaysian bands. Local / regional veterans such as SIL KHANNAZ, ZYGOATSIS (Thailand), STOMPING GROUND (Singapore), and HUMILIATION drew much support and excitement from their fans, working to create a perfect build-up for the final act of the night.
Despite a late start, things kicked into motion smoothly later as each band came on one after another to get down to business. First up were Malaysian thrashers STORMING STEELS. Despite a rocky opening I largely attribute to technical difficulties and nerves, the band soon worked the crowd up into a frantic whirlpool of headbanging and moshing. The Malaysian crowd is truly insane. This is an opinion that was reiterated throughout the night by the various bands, who pushed the limits of our energy to absolute heights. The sheer, raw energy and passion the crowd displayed must've brought the best out of the bands, who tirelessly chugged through their set lists, bringing their best each song.
Now, I have to apologize for missing the performances of STOMPING GROUND and TOOLS OF THE TRADE. They were performing towards the end of the show, just before DESTRUCTION came on, and a demanding stomach forced me to abandon the pit. Therefore, the next few sentences I will write is based only on the other six bands I managed to see. I am kicking myself now for missing those two performances, but luckily whatever I did miss out on was made up for by the pure brilliance of the other bands.
ZYGOATSIS was the second act of the night, and my god, did they blow me away. They are intensely enigmatic, emerging in their corpse paint and SLAYER-style spiked armbands. In addition, as they hail from Thailand and addressed the crowd in Thai, we had no idea what they were screaming / saying. All that added together with their virtuoso style of performing and you've got one hell of an experience. Playing a genre they call “War Thrash Metal”, which really is just Black / Death Metal with war lyrical themes, they set the venue ablaze and were the first band that night to make my ears hurt. Technique-wise, they were brilliant, with vocalist Sickness 666's voice being full and just plain wonderful that night. From deep growls to high screams, he nailed it all.
After them was another eccentric act, this time in the form of what the band themselves call “Vampiric Black Metal”. Complete with fashion contact lenses and more theatrical make up, Perak's very own NEKRAD brought the house down with their unique take on metal. Despite the flashy up do and their shameless use of the electric keyboard, NEKRAD delivered one of the night's biggest energizers with their cover of “Gaban”, a themesong from a classic Japanese anime. During this performance, vocalist Lufias Nekrad made a record for the longest scream held that night.
Next up were classic thrashers HEREAFTER, whose power-charged performance of classic thrash metal sent the crowd into a non-stop frenzy of moshing and crowd surfing. The connection between band and audience reached its pinnacle with HEREAFTER, with vocalist and lead guitarist Redza Hellbullets keeping band-audience conversation and interaction up despite being busy thrashing his guts out himself. It was moments like these that solidified my opinion of the underground and local scene. They are often just as good as mainstream acts, but with that extra touch of passion, humility and personality.
It was after this act that my hunger started its personal uproar and I had to miss the performance by TOOLS OF THE TRADE, a Malaysian Grindcore band, and STOMPING GROUND, a Singaporean Hardcore band. I came back just in time for the local band I was most anticipating to see, HUMILIATION, one of Malaysia's finest Death Metal acts. Vocalist Bear Bee, despite his rather sweet name, exploited fully his truly brutal vocals that night to deliver an extreme performance full of chugging riffs and neck-snapping rhythm.
Directly after HUMILIATION came SIL KHANNAZ, the biggest local act of the night. Widely revered as one of Malaysia's most legendary and longest running (since 1987) Thrash / Death Metal bands, they were greeted with enthusiastic, loud cheers by the passionate crowd. Due to the shortness of time, they were only able to play three songs, opening thunderously with SLAYER's "Raining Blood" in tribute to the late great Jeff Hanneman, much to the delight of the audience. Vocalist Jaie, despite having age catching up to him, delivered a flawless vocal performance. Following this, a one hour wait was to be endured before we could soak in DESTRUCTION in all its glory.
I have to say, I couldn't be happier that DESTRUCTION chose Malaysia as one of its stops. We don't usually get many good international metal acts here. In fact there is a list of some 200 bands that the Malaysian government has expressly banned, including (in comparison to DESTRUCTION), the rather mild-mannered METALLICA. The band opened in the way you'd expect a tsunami to, out of nowhere and in full force. The band's energy was beyond comprehensible that night, and the crowd, despite having been in the pit as early as 3pm, mustered all that they had left to truly welcome the German legends.
After two mighty tunes of pure thrash goodness, vocalist Marcel Schmier addressed the crowd with words of condolences for Hanneman. Despite the mellow topic, Metalheads in the pit roared their support, showcasing the mighty spirit of Metal and the true kinship that is shared among us all. Schmier then dedicated the next tune, "Satan's Vengeance", to “his brothers in SLAYER; we are all with them in this tough time,” as he said.
The acoustics of the small venue proved inadequate for DESTRUCTION's mighty force, but despite the feedback from the speakers, both the band and crowd thundered on. The highlight of the performance was clearly when the band ripped into “Mad Butcher”, not bothering to introduce the tune even as Schmier said: “I don't even need to announce it, name me that riff!”, and the crowd did just that.
Guitarist Mike and drummer Vaaver were on point that night, ripping through every riff and every beat like the machines they are. Schmier as well, had a vocal delivery equivalent to that of what you hear on record. It was crisp, clear, high, and near flawless. The band blazed through each song like the powerhouses they are, unrelenting and fierce.
All in all, it was a tiring day, but it was beyond worth it. The organizers of KL MetalCamp, Thy Syndicate and Nebiula Records, did much to make a true metal experience. With some magnificent merchandise on sale that day coupled with all sorts of Metalheads from different backgrounds gracing the event, it was truly an unforgettable metal experience that peaked with the grand performance of DESTRUCTION, the great maestros from the ranks of the great Teutonic legends.
Ticket Price: 27 USD (80 RM)
21 September 2014