Monday, June 16, 2008

El concierto de Dark Tranquility


It was a dream-come-true for me to see a Scandinavian metal band playing live in town. Dark Tranquility, melodic death metal band (I don't wanna get into debate about the sub-genres, but that's what they are) from Göteborg Sweden, gave a mind-blowing performance at Cafe Iguna, Monterrey as a part of Fiction tour - 2008. Here is the concert review.

The concert was supposed to start at 7:30 but Cafe Iguna, stuck to it's famed punctuality every time. There was an army of metal heads waiting outside, all wearing dashing black uniform ranging from Arch Enemy to Dark Tranquility to Slayer to Cannibal Corpse to Cradle of Filth. We were allowed inside the donjon at 8 and by that time, all our alcohol pre-load was gone and we were sober. We grabbed cervezas before entering the concert area and waited patiently for the red curtains to part, and it happened soon. An unknown local death metal band shredded few Cannibal Corpsesque tracks with a touch of melo solos for three-forths of an hour, I must say they did it really well. The curtains were united again, lights dimmed.

We had more beers while waiting for the headliners and the wait was not too long, but it was a wait that I cherished most. The moment the lights got dimmed after the opening performance, Coil started modulating the airwaves, followed by Heir Apparent and Lotus Eater. At the middle of Lotus Eater, we started hearing sound test...heavy guitar riffs and rolling drums. Lotus Heart abruptly stopped, lights completely switched off, the curtains started parting and Anders Jivarp, the drummer made his first appearance, waving his drum sticks towards the crowd...got onto this postion. Then followed Niklas Sundin and the Rasta looking Martin Henriksson, the guitarists; followed by Martin Brändström who walked towards his synthesizer and ultimately by Michael Nicklasson, the bassist.

The stage was all set, familiar notes started emanating from synthesizer and in no time, the lights were dancing and the heads were banging for the powerful riffs of my all time favourite track of the Dark Tranquility, a perfect opening song, Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive). The crowd went insane singing along with Mikael Stanne, the skinny frontman with howling lungs. Thinking at a larger terms, it's surprising how a set of 6 skinny men all dressed in black, from a different country could cast a spell and enslave the crowd who have nothing in common with them except music. Music, truly is a universal language.

Crowd was screaming their throats out "Hedon!!! Hedon!!! Hedon!!!", but I knew their setlist and I was the oddman out screaming "Treason Wall!!! Treason Wall!!!" and like a God fulfilling his devotee's wishes, Mikael howled, "This ones called The Treason Wall" and the track sounded so f*%$ing great that crowd went insane, much greater than I had ever heard. Some brilliant tracks were belted out from their repertoire - Lost to Apathy, Wonders at your Feet, Hedon, Inside the Particle Storm, Punish my Heaven.

With mind-numbing stereo effects, started their anthem track, "There In" and the whole track was sang along verbatim. It received maximum crowd response for it's catchiest riffs and occassional melo vocals. Mikael held the mic to crowd alternatively during the chorus "it was solid, yet everchanging, it was different, yet the same, so I starve myself for energy" and we were screaming our throats out, as though we could hear our amplified voices. Michael Nicklasson was like a vice-frontman, who pulled the crowd occassionally with his both arms spread wide in the air, calling the crowd to obey his orders.

I was impressed by the brilliance of Mikael's stage presence, it's hard to believe that he is a death metal vocalist. The concert lasted for exactly 90 minutes. My neck had gone sore, but I had energy to get down and dirty with the crowd for Mikael's autograph. I didn't have any piece of scrap to get his autograph, I pulled out a 20 pesos bill and got his signature on it.

After Iron Maiden, I guess this was the best concert I've ever attended. It was a very differnent kind of concert, for all other concerts I've attended were in a stadium or an arena, but this one was in a small, claustrophobic hall of Cafe Iguana and the feeling was out of the world. I'm all geared up for Megadeth this weekend and praying the daemons to give me a chance to see Opeth.
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