17.03.07 at Volkshaus in Basel (CH)


DARKMOON celebrating 10 years of Melodic Death Metal






review by dalia di giacomo

photos by Stefan W. Vogelaar





The public use of these photos  is strictly prohibited 

without written permission


Francis Bacon said 

that all colors will agree in the dark. And in the dark music of darkmoon all metallers (fans and critics ) who know the band, and/or had the pleasure to see it live at least one time, agree. Darkmoon appeal, involve, affect the enthusiasm for extreme yet melodic music in the best way. In a young career of 10 years (and i say young cause Darkmoon as band was practically born among the school tables) they have gathered a wide fan base in Switzerland , making recently (225/2006) the triple jump of a label ink, debut album and concerts in Germany. The way to Europe and the bridge over the ocean is ready now that they balance the force of a fresh gusto with the maturity of a decade of experience. it is right this decade that is celebrated tonight at the spacious Volshaus in Basel . The true supporters are fans and friends that embrace their chosen ones again , being sure that Darkmoon will be formidable as always. 
It is a punctual easy prophecy. 

Of course Darkmoon don't celebrate alone on the stage. today, as yesterday in Biberist, they are "accompanied" by two German bands, exactly Serpent Soul and Dark Age. Great occasion to attend again Serpent Soul (i promised it in my live report "of Bitterness and Hate" - october 2005) and the suicide crew from Hamburg around singer and guitarist Eike Freese.




Self- irony and catharsis. Good or bad?

As you can imagine, Serpent Soul is the first band on the stage. In camparison with the 2005 release party of Darkmoon's debut album, tonight they are more relaxed, always entertaining (too entertaining)and in top shape. Serpent Soul have the time to develop a conspicuous setlist from the moment that they can play more or less an hour. The sound is wonderful in the first and last rows this is to say in the first part of of the pit just in front of the stage or near the entrance of room. On the contrary the whole middle zone near the mix-station is tormented by a such a horrible acoustic (in my opinion) that punishes a band that otherwise plays energetically and harmonically. Needless to say,  it's almost impossible to appreciate Serpent Soul's performance if not approaching the stage. Fortunately this defect has been corrected for the 2 successive acts. Apart from that the "Serpents" give gas and fire to all their strings (4) mixing the usual death metal aggression with more melodic, balladesque moments. the task to warm up the crow is always hard, especially when (almost) all hearts and minds were pulsing for Darkmoon, but the friendly and sympathic Serpent Soul succeed. In particular the last part of the concert was the most intense, also because the ice was broken and the self confidence grows. I cannot really add more to my impressions i got in 2005. Only that i noticed clearly how much this band is well coordinated delivering really noticeable the virtuosos on the strings. 
Yes i could open a kind of discussion wondering whether if 3 guitars aren't really too much (are they?), but i don't think such a discussion could interest that much at this point. interesting is surely to see how 
Serpent soul try to deliver a style of their own, how they enjoy the show, and how they constantly look for each other in order to coordinate in the best way chords arpeggios, staccatos and whatever their music needs. 
I have only one critic for these great Darkmoon friends, this entertaining thing: they are too entertaining and in particular too self-ironic for a Death /Thrash ambience. I explain myself better: first off i think Serpent Soul, after all , is an emotional band, so i have the impression that, in order overcome the impact and to win definately the audience, they break the tension of their music with short witty remarks, that actually are amusing but that, at the long run, underdramatize the music and constantly interrupt the atmosphere created by the songs. I think it can be called "catharsis", although not excessive as such , even few drops of catharsis can do harm for this kind of music. Just my opinion.


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Natural born Metallers

Darkmoon hit the stage as second band. But i think you  will have no difficulty to believe me, when i say that they are the moral and actual "darlings" of the evening. Couldn't be different. this is their celebration. These are their fans. 
Once you "discover" Darkmoon, you run a 90% risk to remain perpetually infected by their simply brilliant, addictive and mighty music. After the sinister and mechanical "Terminator" intro, Matthias Borer, Gianrichy Giamboi, Christian Waltert , Pascal Rechsteiner and Laurent Strack possess immediately every living soul in the pit. Welcomed as stars, they are actually ready for the big success. Thing which i personally fear for every band. Nonetheless Darkmoon deserve it. Very soon they will enter the studio to record their second full length, so, if well begun is half done, the second album will top the already blasting "...of Bitterness and Hate". Well begun? Indeed. We can hear 3 new songs today , songs that have immediately left an awesome "taste". 
Which are the best features of this concert? Shortly said: perfect esprit de corps, great shape, mature and dynamic stage acting. Frontman Matthias Borer (for me personally the best death metal singer 
after Maurizio Iacono) looks excellent, perfectly trained and motivated. The setlist coudn't be better. Opened by the strong Damned, the set presents at once as second track Dust in my Eyes, bringer of wrath and sorrow. One of the leading hits of the debut album and since 2006 (thanks a million to you Darkmoon!) cover track of gryphonmetal.ch too. I remember the first time i listened to this track at the studio. The same emotion i meet now. It comes one  of my favs ever, which is also beloved by all  fans: Winds of Death (from the mini "Black Domain"), with a great Black Metal imprinting. Winds of Death is lava flowing down our necks. By the way necks, Darkmoon are exquisitely bangeable! We are deep in powerful feelings of bitterness, anger, pain and sorrow that morph in strength and endurance, cause Darkmoon music is never resigning.

Lost Souls is followed by the preview I will be the last (if i have understood well the title), which immediately sounds cadenced and addictive. Just give me a second listening and i will confirm that this song will be one of the next toxins against which it's impossible to produce antibodies. Enthusiastic for the preview, we receive the following well known Drowning (from "...of Bitterness and Hate) and the older always mesmerizing Last Kiss Final Embrace from the EP "Remains". We have turned back the career time of the band from the future to the past with the same intensity in just only 3 songs. "Are you ....?" asks sinister Matthias " ready for the Bitter End?". Bitter End speeds up like an obscure mechanism and offers a noticeable guitar stacco played by Gianrichy. But in almost each song , as often mentioned in other reviews, the interlace between the 2 Ibanez is super. The work of guitarists Gianrichy and Christian is a dialogue, the solo of one follows the rhythm of the other and vice versa, when the twin rides don't call for a common wall of riffs. 

We are already used to the constant and elastic contribution of bassist Pascal to the rhythmics. And let's add that Pascal's backing vocals get more and more authority. powered and empowered by the French motor behind the skins, Darkmoon are unstoppable and drive the new My Misery, along with Evil Goddess of the Night, the third preview The Hate still burns, and the coat of arms Black Domain in a vivid rally. Melody and intense feelings then crown the compositive high quality.
As always, another great  gig, and the fans are very satisfied. Darkmoon is a guarantee for live like it should be. The only  small remark is that at the very end of Winds of Death, the bands worked hard in order to maintain the tone. That's all, and only if you want to find a point to criticize at every cost, otherwise you are not considered a critics-journo ;P (and i couldn't care less) .  Finally, some more important things to report: the first one is he presence of former drummer Patric "Hubi" Hubacher, always remembered and loved by the fans. To him the honour to play with the band the last song, the encore of the gig: the fast Far from Heaven supported by a warm expression of affection. Second point the thanks given by the band to the fans, to all who have walked together with the band in these years, and to 3 online metalzines  for the support: Gryphonmetal, Taste of Black and Metalstorm (i apologize if i forget someone). Oh and still another feature: a couple of well controlled pyros greeted the concert. Happy 
birthday, Darkmoon, natural born Metallers!




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"Mission impossible" for the crew

Time for  the suicide crew Dark Age from Hamburg (also around since almost 10 years, right?) . Our GM official review about their homonimous album "Dark Age" was enthusiastic and indeed i agree concerning the music: gosh there are some passages that are impressive, hey!. 

Their melodic death metal is spiced up by a uptempo twisting Rock'n Roll. Extreme aggression alternates with harmonious dark, almost gothic backgrounds, but also with rockin' push and many solos. It's true, in their music you can find traces of Soilwork, Dark Tranquillity but also important is an angry rolling spirit coming from new gothic/alternative wave. Personally i would have preferred to see Dark Age on another occasion, although their headlining is surely attractive. Better said it's a true honor that such a great band , that cooperated with Tiamat's Johan Edlund, is here tonight, from the German up North. 

Anyway i have mixed feelings concerning the live in itself....to cut a long story short, the sound comes to me too perfect, i have the impression to listen to a cd, and some members in the line up look actually very different as directly beamed from other genres (although this mirrors a bit the true soul of the band); for example the bassist (great bassist by the way) who has a marked gothic/modern presence. Apart from that, or right for that, Dark Age have been protagonist of a good final concert and fulfilled the titanic "mission" to interest many (but not all) Darkmoon fans after Darkmoon.


dalia di giacomo





(....and in 10 years let's deal for another 10 years, ok?)


the GM Team



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