So everyone was really eager to participate and attend this concert, both bands and fans. Actually, I was extremely excited to go myself! But, um, things didn’t really go as I expected.
For starters, the concert actually started on time. That’s nice, right? Monika Bremer, the official organizer of Wacken Metal Battle Egypt gave a little speech on how much “effort” she had made on this huge event, and how the five bands were lucky to be competing in this battle. Adham Kafafy from Anarchy cheered the fans, and people “yea’d” him back, emphasizing the need for people to follow the rules to have such an event held again. Exactly in less than 10 minutes, the first band hit the stage.
Coming all the way from Alexandria, Nathyr started powerfully. Although I’m not a big fan of Black Metal, I really enjoyed its mixture with oriental music. Both guitarists complement each other well, along with Khaled El-Shazli’s brutal vocalling skills. All was actually going great until they started their track ‘A Diabolical Cane’. While everyone was really into the track, the electricity went out. Yep. 2 minutes later, the problem was quickly fixed and the band restarted the track again. Guess what? The electricity went out again! One of the managers asked them to take a break until they figured out what the problem was.
You know what really shocked and annoyed every person out there? Monica’s response. After Nathyr went backstage, she spoke to the fans and said “It’s an electricity problem from Al-Azhar Park. Don’t worry, we will fix this. This is expected, it’s Egypt! Please be patient, you’re in Egypt.”
Let me take you word by word of what she said; when she said “This is expected”, okay. If that was really expected, why didn’t you take any procedures to avoid it?
“It’s Egypt.” So, why did you choose this country in particular?
What even annoyed me more, the amount of posers that attended the gig who were cheering for her. What for?
Back to Nathyr, 15 minutes later they got back on stage and replayed ‘A Diabolical Cane’. Although they looked disappointed, they gave it their all. The keyboardist mastered their next tracks; ‘Malignant Blight’ and ‘The Lords of Wargasm’. He perfected well mixing the rough guitar riffs, with the smooth oriental notes. They ended with ‘Attaghout’ (الطاغوت), where the intro was perfect, the band harmony is just great.
Although people interacted mid-through the set-list, the band members needed to own them a little more. The audience interactivity was low and Nathyr were motionless.
Before the second band went on stage, Monica grabbed the mic to entertain us yet again until everything was set. She mentioned how this was the first time Wacken Metal Battle happened in Egypt – yes, we know – and all the effort she’d done– Oh, God – and if it wasn’t for her, Wacken wouldn’t be here in Egypt that day.
Moving on to the next band, Wyvern. I’ve been always a fan of Wyvern since mid-2000s, and when the front-man Adham Roshdy was replaced, I didn’t
know what to expect, but to tell you the truth, I wasn’t disappointed! Ragi Akram got the whole crowd on their feet “yea-ing” with him. They had a couple of new tracks such as ‘The Venom’ and ‘Heal the Pain’. The whole band maintained heaviness and steadiness till the end of their set-list. Rami Sidky ripped off those guitar solos and had everyone jumping around.
The show ended with my favorite track ‘The Clown’. I always thought that ‘The Clown’ was Adham Roshdy’s masterpiece and no one could ever perfect it. But not to be very subjective, Ragi actually did a pretty good job and the crowd was singing along.
Before Wyvern would leave, Monica was on stage – again – and Guess what? She repeated what she said on the first break! It took her two years to prepare for this – So it took you two years to prepare it, and it still came out with as miserable? – and every band should be grateful and lucky to be playing in Wacken, and us the fans, should be proud that we attended the first Wacken in Egypt – Kill me, please?
Coming up next was Anarchy. I think Adham Kafafi – the vocalist – should be named the “King of Audience Interactivity”, he was talking to the people as if he it was a one-on-one conversation. They started massively with ‘Pandora’ and the headbanging was insane. Due to having a limited time to perform, Anarchy played two more tracks because each was over 10 minutes long; ‘Twelve Gates’ and ‘Asylum’. What I really enjoyed about ‘Asulym’ is that the whole band went nuts! Especially Adham, he was acting out his lyrics; he’s not only a vocalist, he has the whole entertainer quality.
While Anarchy were getting their instruments out and Sinprophecy were getting ready, yep, you got it; Monica got on stage; to brag about how awesome she was in getting this event here! I even heard someone from the audience saying “I still remember what you said 20 minutes ago, no need to remind us.”
But then, she said the weirdest thing. One thing she mentioned was, the band would be chosen according to “draw” and few seconds later she elaborated “But of course, the judges need to sit and discuss the music.” Okay, I’m confused. How were you going to decide the winner, exactly?
Never mind, off to Sinprophecy; again, the band members started with a wit grip. They knew how to communicate with the fans, urge them to move
around. What was really interesting about the vocalist Sayed Ragai how he got both guitarists to sing along with him. Not only that, he pointed the mic at one of the audience and got him to sing a verse. Nice move. In the middle of their 5 track set-list, they performed ‘Farewell Bird of Prey’ in memory of their deceased friend, Mahmoud Sakr. Although brutal vocalling is my least favorite, but the whole band was too emotional, it was delivered so well to the audience. It was well-performed, heart and soul. They ended their set-list with ‘Tears of a Sinner’ with almost everyone circling the stage.
We all noticed that the same guitar used by Shiva was the same one used by Sherif Askar from Nathyr. I think it was a nice gesture to help each other like that.
The last band and the winner of Wacken Metal Battle in Egypt was Crescent. Again, Monica comes to stage but we shall skip this part, you got the picture, right? They put on a good show, with a high rate of confidence and professionalism. The harmony between the band members was exotic and it showed in their performance. Their audience interactivity was high and I guess that’s why they were a favorite to many people who attended. A very nice gesture from Seif ElDin, of Wyvern; we notice mid-way that one of the cymbals of the drum-kit wasn’t stable, the drummer kept professional until Seif appeared from backstage, fixed it while the song was still on, and got back in again. That drew a smile and I appreciated how helpful everyone is.
Not more than 10 minutes later, Monica got on stage and called for the bands, also the jury came on stage too. Hesham Gahin chairman of the jury, Michel Khater (musician), Amr Hefny from Ganoub Studio, Mohamed Ragab from Machine Eat Man and Janne Lundquist (the metal battle organizer from Sweden). They gave a little speech on how everyone was a winner and the event was a success, and thanked the bands and everyone who participated in making this event happen. Before they announce the winner, Nathyr thanked Monica for her efforts, and gave her a “Shisha” as they knew she was a Shisha lover. Monica then announced the winner, Crescent! I hope they make us proud in Germany!
Before I end this review, there are a couple of things I’d like to point out: firstly, there was a little tent that they called “backstage”. Yes, a tent! Too small, and too inhumane to keep the band members inside. Not only that, they weren’t allowed to go outside. They were locked inside as if it was a detention room. What kind of rule is that? Many of them were really annoyed with this rule and Monica would actually come scold them if someone was standing outside this tent. “You, get inside! No talking.”
Secondly, some band members had a lot of problems in their sound-check. Some had almost no time, and the others had to finish in a hurry.
Finally, I’d want to say that I enjoyed this event, but sadly I didn’t. Although I appreciate all five bands who gave their best in their concert and I actually enjoyed their performance, the whole organizing thing wasn’t good and people didn’t enjoy it that much.
– All photos reserved to: Lina El-Gohary.