15-16 -18.05.2003

NO MERCY 2003 - 14.04.2003 at Z7 in Pratteln


review by dalia di giacomo    photos © by Stefan Vogelaar

The public use of these photos is strictly prohibited without written permission.

many photos are now no longer online and available only on demand.





Testament, Marduk, Death Angel, Die Apokalyptschen Reiter

Nuclear Assault, Pro-Pain, Malevolent Creation, Darkane

Very punctual the No Mercy Festival hits Europe again and today it's the turn of our great and usual Z7 in Pratteln.There are numerous bands on the bill and what a bill! This year the No Mercy is above all centred around the Hardcore and the Death, with a touch of Black given by Marduk. Headliners are the outstanding Testament , with the partecipation of first  quality bands like Marduk , Pro-Pain, Malevolent Creation, Nuclear Assault among others.We can expect a crowded venue and a lot of interesting guests among the audience too, cause , speaking honestly, the No mercy is more than an itinerant plurigig -show, it's a meeting moment , a must, a pilgrimage: the scene is here today, No mercy for the absentees Me,  i am here for Pro-Pain and Malevolent Creation. Cannot wait to see Phil Fasciana and MC live, now with the new stuff of the  album "The will to kill". Our English friends are here too with us, appreciating so much the unique atmosphere of the Z7, the good weather  and the meeting wit bands and metallers coming from different countries. They are very content at the idea to see  Testament live in this charismatic place.  They have defined this event a  real metal mayhem and if we add the Candlemass gig of yesterday we are facing a pure enjoayble Metal marathon. So let's the Metal mayhem begin!
DARKANE     darkane
17:00 h the show must begin early cause there are indeed many acts , and Darkane from Sweden is the first of them opening the whole event with their aggressive and pushing thrash/death music. There is no much immediate enthusiasm from the audience, but anyway they are able to catch the attention which is always a bit unstable when the first act of such a long event is on the stage, and people still have to find concentration. They succeed in gathering together more and more crowd. Darkane play well mixing aggressiveness, tempo changes, melodic structures too and synchronous headbanging . They speed up and slow down like they want and the tempo changes are agreeable. The first haedbangings begin to spread cause Darkane, like said, are able to warm up a bit these first moments. Breaking the ice is never that easy.. Singer Christofer is self confident with a good vocal spectrum. Stuff from their new album Expanding Senses is presented, like Chaos vs. Order and  Innocence gone. at 17:30 the band leaves the stage, all in all a good first half hour 


MALEVOLENT CREATION          malevolent creation
17:45 announced by an intro which is  based on militar environment with machinegun shots and fighting helicopters, Malevolent Creation take the stage with top energy. it's time for violent and speed riffs, crunching and heavy like a steamroller. Me thinks that Malevolent Creation are one of the best expression of super energetic Death, without compromises, that we can find, and if you are not into Death you cannot appreciate all the facettes hidden in their music, many of them even melodic. It's a Death for good judges, and this evening Phil Fasciana's group puts all the determination you can imagine on the stage. I am very interested cause their new album "The will to kill" impressed me so much, and i am satisfied in seing what the band is showcasing. Fasciana is playing great and the new singer has a very good timbre, strong enough to face a hard show, though i don't like his maybe too American style and look. Don't think that MC are doing hyperboles concerning their stage acting, but they even don't need it, cause their music is relentless enough, with impeccable double bass drums, furious attacks, speed tremolos, merciless heaviness. Well, we are attending the No Mercy or what? But i will never get tired to tell that there is a very good music scheme in Malevolent Creation music , supported by melodies  which flow cryptic and almost hidden loops that follow one another,   in order that the songs are enriched  by an enjoyable background. They can be speed or mid tempo, extremely heavy, letting you in midair between earth and abyss. War machine like they are, their stage acting remind me a bit of Satyricon, though the music is different. With their  headbanging , determination on the instruments, aggressivity completely pushed on the strings and sticks, they seem a little rank of damned angels who come for destruction. A valuable gig that i liked very much . it's time to understand that Malevolent Creation are masters of Death, so i hope to see them soon, and as....headliners!
setlist:  Alliance of War - Multiple Stabwounds - Manic Demise - Killzone - Rebirth of Terror - To die is at Hand - Infernal Desire - Living in Fear

PRO-PAIN     Sursee gig review    pro-pain
18:28 h  It's time for Pro-Pain to appear on the stage, and they too start off with great energy. The heavy and pushing rhythm echoes in the venue gaining immediately the attention they deserve. Eh ..what a pleasure to see Pro-Pain again! it's almost exactly one year when i had the pleasure to meet them in Sursee during their Shred of Dignity Tour! Pro-Pain are  excellent artists, self-assured and extremely professional, moreover they know what is suitable for them, remaining faithful to their style without copying themselves though. On the stage they show a perfect coordination and resistance. And now they are 3, yes they play only in 3 but it seems they are 4 or more anyway, cause the songs are so well executed that the absence doesn't afflict the band that much. On guitar's shoulders burden  now rhythmic and lead, but the practice of Pro-Pain is so precise that it is possible for them to face their repertoire with a man less, giving practically the same performance and deserving applauses and approvations. They all 3 play with the same confidence we have when  we  drink a glass of water. Loops, riffs  and solos are performed  in an effective way. Gary Meskil is absolutely irreprehensible at the microphone, his vocals and his playing are powerful. For the rest, only 2 times a cymbal must be fixed. what do you want more? Moreover their music seems well integrated in the general bill of this metal party, at least, here at Z7 they are received  very well : after the Death of MC , there is no fall in attention, no drop in support towards the band  . Among the songs proposed 'No Way Out', 'The Shape Of Things To Come'



NUCLEAR ASSAULT   nuclear assault
Unfortunately i cannot say much about Nuclear Assault, cause i was interviewing Malevolent Creation but my English friend Jon tells me they were good , and if he says so it means they really were. So i can imagine they have offered a cool concert. Anyway here is their setlist 
Wake up - Sin - Betrayal - The new Song - Critical Mass - Trail of Tears -game over - Butt f**k - Justice - My America - Hang the Pope - Lesbians - Rise - Brainwashed
20:10  Allow me please this question : how possible that Die Reiter can play after Nuclear Assault? Better said, how possible that Reiter play after the all above mentioned   bands? Though a certain indisputable success, above all in the German area, shouldn't Die Reiter even not take part to this event , so utter crap they are in my opinion?. I was never persuaded about Reiter's songs but now. that i see them live i can only say that i've never seen such a stupid and useless performance on a stage. Obviously in my opinion, always. On the other hand i have to underline that this band is very energetic and that all members objectively are doing a big amount of work, but for the rest, my gosh, i don't know whether i should laugh or cry heavy tears of compassion . Anyway something has been reached no? a kind of reaction from my side? how please? sense of humour? ahh it's called sense of humour nowadays, well i am still used to calling such performances a pile of bollox .. anyway a good number of people seem to be afflicetd by the reitermania.... ..So what annoys me: first of all this hybridization of Medieval with Death , that could be interesting, but it sounds only ridiculous with the Reiter,  for me. Medieval almost à la In Extremo which,  without much logical path, changes in a rather mediocre Death. But the worst is the stage acting of the frontman ,  more suitable for a circus than for a metal concert. Jumping and moving athletically like a kickboxer, he radiates egocentricity and arrogance. So centred on his body and person, he thinks to be able entertain the audience like a super guru, pushing almost in the deepest shadow the rest of the band. I have to say that his voice is not bad at all, though he is provided by   massive backvocals, and that without doubt he has such theatrical attitude, but i don't want to see proud aerobic, ok? Cannot simply stand him and the more the show goes on, the more i don't like him. A remarkable part of the audience shows to be enthusiast anyway and songs like Reitermania, Vier Reiter stehen bereitWe will never die, and the pathetic  Metal will never die (if i have recognized them well and ask me if i care) get a good impact. "Metal will never...?? " "die!!"the answer of the crowd ,  "Metal will never...?"  "DIEEEEE!" again the convinced crowd; "Trinkt ihr gern ein BIER?"  "Yeah!...?" What a question! And among grotesque poses and disagreeable tempo changings we reach the end of the show. 20:52, finally! So Dr. Pest, Fuchs, Volk-Man and Sir G. or whatever they are called, bye bye, i hope to see you no more.


DEATH ANGEL  death angel
21:10 extremely warm welcome for this American band from San Francisco that takes the stage like a tornado, simply impressive, since the first notes. The Bay Area Thrash Style lands in the heart of Europe. Brilliant stage acting , well dosed aggressivity and above all modern and lively. In the photopit the presence of photographers has  magically multiplied, asif  the headliners are already come . The exotic frontman Mark Osegueda  seems to be another athletic one, but what a difference in comparison to Die Reiter,  from the moment he never forgets he is a singer in the first place, mixing well mobility and aggressiveness, always in foreground but without eclipsing his band, whose members  appear so dynamic  and determinated . Implacable they present their Heavy/Thrash  of first quality, while people are involved more and more. Well executed tempo changes and downtuned soundscape, multicultural flavours. And the response obtained is rewarding and well deserved. So Death Angel offer a very good gig powered by exact drums and a great bass guitar work, a lot of powerful sound effects, slow motion passages with explosive final. It's really the best way to support Testament and warm definately up the atmosphere. I can only fully agree when singer proclaims that they don't believe in one metal genre only, but in all metal community. Among the songs proposed Kill as One is maybe the track who gains more success. ."I hope to see you soon again!" says Mark. I hope it too and it's 10 o' clock.


MARDUK     marduk
22:24 after that the stage has been re-setted for Marduk, here they are! Legion & co. welcomed by  a mighty chorus "Mar-duk! Mar-duk! Mar-duk!" and what i should say?...for instance:  - ohhh finally the Black metallers can have their moment of glory and can appreciate their heroes on the stage! - oh finally the Black has its well deserved turn, it was time..! --? yes indeed it's true , Black Metal lovers can support  enjoy their fav music now, but here at Z7, though there is an obvious turn over in the audience, basically people stay and remain observing with attention all the bands, it's natural here that Black metallers (who don't have "I m a Black metaller" written on their forehead, maybe the kind of t-shirt and some pentagram necklace could give a hint) walk hand in hand with the Death and Thrash ones, so i have not noticed a particular imposant changing of the guard. Fact is that, though the crowd is very Death oriented, Marduk are appreciated anyway and supported largely. It's the second time i see Legion here at Z7 and for the second time i see him (see X-Mass report) good mooded and and in perfect shape. It seems that is a deep joy for him to tread this stage. It's also true that Marduk 's performance may have problems of integration in the general death/thrash/hardcore of the bill, but here tonight no trace of this problem if it could eventually exists. Marduk prove again that their latest work is completely trustable, find the time to make a couple of dedications, to shake hands  and to turn  for a moment the microphone to tourmanager Joey who is following parts of the gigs from the photopit. As show , basically there is not so much difference from the X-Mass festival headlined by them , but the vibes are very good, moreover guitar and bass seemed to be more agile and effective. At the end of the show Legion says goodbye giving appointment to next year. But the crowd obviously calls an encore  "Mar-duk! Mar-duk!" and Legion, happy and grateful takes the stage again followed by the band , saying "Ok we can play another one!"  Ah no no, never tell so, otherwise God has a hand in the business! indeed! A sudden problem hitting the bass-guitar amplification forces Marduk to give up , it is impossible to play the encore.  Marduk must leave the stage really disappointed "Sorry, see you next time!" 23:10 and we cheer up now with Lacuna Coil's Comalies which starts off in the background while the resetting for Testament begins.


TESTAMENT   testament  
23:44 after a meticolous and rather long sound check, in particular concerning  drums, the mighty Testament appear in a cloud of smoke, in the darkness. One notices at once the dominating physique of Chuck Billy. A great enthusiasm sorrounds the arrival of the band: though it's late and many hours have already passed from the beginning of the marathon, i can assure that every trace of tiredness has vanished. Testament open with Do Not Resuscitate and it's success at once. Ingredients are not only  Billy's charismatic personality and voice, but also the outstanding music, the brilliance of rhythm, the exceptional heaviness, the enthralling riffs. That Testament are giants,  titans of Metal is out of discussion and pure truth. After Down for life and Low, starts a big moshing in the first rows . Crowd surfing and stage diving are not missed. Yes, cause around  the middle of the gig Chuck Billy invites people to jump onto  the stage in order to make some sane and liberating  diving, i like bands who encourage remarkable involving of the audience! fucking great! and who are the first brave ones? ahh! but yes! i know them, i have met them many times in Luzern at Wärchhof, eh yes, the scene of Luzern is simply brilliant, congratulations guys! Overwhelming and sometimes even doom, Testament pump an armada of thick and crunchy bites, they simply kick ass, showing an incredible experience. Chuck Billy seem not to make a single imperfection, sure is that he has a great time and enjoys the performance, shaping it as wax. He plays often with his microphone like it were a kind of guitar, his acting is  calm and, at the same time, impressive and intense. And even more intense if you consider his struggle ,we can say victory, against a terrible disease. Every track from Into the Pit to Eyes of Wrath is a pushing shot in the blood. at 12:31 the encore is a must, where Dog faced Gods and Disciples of the Watch (this one from the mythical The New Order, like Into the Pit) add fire to fire. Awsome!  "You guys are fucking great Danke schön! see ya!" this is Chuck Billy's final greeting. Legends never die.


D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)
Down for Life
Burnt Offerings
Into the Pit
Trial by Fire
True Believers
3 Days in Darkness
Eyes of Wrath
Over the Wall
Dog faced Gods 
Disciples of the Watch 

dalia di giacomo  

interview with Phil Fasciana

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