2015-06-19 & 20 Dokk'em open air, Dokkum

Friday: Madball, Shining, The Gentle Storm, Biohazard, Kataklysm, Candlemass.

Saturday: Masterplan, Melechesh, Legion of the Damned, God Dethroned, My Dying Bride.

It felt like coming home to arrive once more at Dokkum and the Dokk’em open air festival grounds. The staff was again friendly and very helpful. Helpful in finding a place for the tent and even helping you carry your gear. As fas as I know this is the only festival where one can experience these extra services. Great work.

My tent was up just in time before the first rain of the weekend….and it wouldn't be the last water from the sky, bummer. One big plus, the festival ground was as dry as hell, so no puddles of mud appeared. The weather wasn’t great the whole weekend. Cold and wet on Friday. Saturday brought some sunshine, but still the temperatures were a bit low. Sunday was by far the worst day for multiple reasons. Saying goodbye to friends and packing all the gear in the rain. We all hope for better weather next year, because one thing is for sure, we all will be looking forward to the next Dokk’em.

Due to some logistics I wasn’t able to get to stage before Madball. So these new yorker were my first of this years open air festival season. Jumping, bouncing and running is what they do…..and play some catchy hardcore. The sound was pretty okay and so was their show. One thing that goes for most hardcore bands: enthousiasm!

The complete opposite of this enthousiasm hit the stage just 30 minutes after Madball had to stop. Shining concerts always have some controverse and by this controverse I mean singer, founder (and owner) Niklas Kvarforth. He again seemed to have a problem with some of his fingers (as you all know I mean his middle fingers). It seems like everyone bothered him in some way. If he would put as much energy in doing a good show as he puts in spitting, drinking and middle fingering the audience he would be among the greatest bands ever. As far as the concert goes….it wasn’t good, but call it awful, nah I wouldn’t go that far.

The Gentle Storm is a new project band started by Arjen Lucassen and Anneke van Giersbergen. This combination means symphonic metal with a great female voice. With symphonic music you’ll need almost perfect sound to get the message across. And with 7! people on stage it would easily end up in disaster. Fortunately it all worked out. Anneke’s voice (and stage performance) was great. When she announced to play strange machines (original from The Gathering) the crowd went wild (as far as symphonic metal crowds can go wild). Great show to sit down and relax.

Biohazard were so kind to take over the Kataklysm timeslot (who were delayed on some shitty airport). Just as Madball, Biohazard originates from New York city (do they play anything else than Hardcore over there). These old fellas who had their biggest moment in mid 90’s came here to get the crowd moving again. They succeeded very well, the first crowd surfer went over the fences in less than a minute. The band showed energy in abundance…..Sometimes I wish hardcore would be more my cup of tea so I could enjoy it a little more.

After some transport problems Kataklysm finally arrived and took the stage. Finally some death metal. The crowd had some time get their breath back after Biohazard some again a nice pit was formed. If their late arrival or something else caused it, but the sound wasn’t great. That didn’t really matter because lots of people really wanted to do some serious headbanging.

The Candlemass show started a little faster than suspected from these doomy individuals. Later on in the show they showed really what they’re made of. Heavy bass driven doom...the tunes were perfect to put us all in the right state to go to bed. I slept like a rose. Thanks guys!

As written before, Saturday promised to be a little warmer and a bit more sunny. And so it happened. After some breakfast/lunch we were all set to hit the festival once more.

My first band for this day was Masterplan. Heavy and straight forward Heavy/Power Metal. Their singer Rick looks a bit bored. The rest of the band showed much more spirit. Nice performance, but to call it a Masterplan is to far fetched.

Straight from the dessert came Melechesh to haunt us with their tunes. During the first song the bass- and guitar player wore ‘traditional’ Tuareg scarfs, but as they noticed no sand storms were expected they threw them down to reveal themselves….I wasn’t really scared… There is a lot to say about Melechesh but the first thing that comes to mind is originality. Their mix of black/death metal and middle eastern sounds makes them stand out from the crowd. Powerful performance and dedicated to their music. Good show.

In the Netherlands we have some death metal too. First example is Legion of the Damned. Death metal with some trashy tunes is their thing. A good show, I would suggest the bass player to try and look a little less arrogant...it really distracted me from the show.

It took some time, but finally God Dethroned came to play in Friesland. After a break for a few years, God Dethroned is back. Brutal is as ever. A full hour of death metal frenzy. Great to see them perform with the same power as before. If you have the chance, don’t think...just go.

All good things come to an end, but not before the last band had turned out the lights. That’s a nice job for My Dying Bride. MDB takes making doom metal to a higher level. And that’s a level even I can appreciate. They were able to create a great atmosphere. They have done that before, but this time it touched me. The band really performed and lucky for them the sound was great too. Most people stayed till the end of the show. A well chosen closure of this festival.

This was the end of the 10th edition Dokk’em Open Air Full Metal Madness. Let’s do this again next year. A big thank you for the bands, audience and extra big thanks to the whole festival crew!

Review & Pictures by: Metaldude666