“The Book of Gates” EP features several internationally renowned musicians (see our review here), and is one of the best local releases this year. The album release event took place at Metro Al Madina in Hamra – Lebanon, where 3 LebMetal staff members attended as press members. Here’s an overview of the event by each staff member:

Metro Al Madina is a nifty little underground creative platform with funky lighting and subway themed décor. As you enter the space, it opens up into a small bar with interesting seating lining the walls where, after purchasing tickets and receiving the EP, fans waited until the doors to the main hall opened up at 9:30 sharp. The show, although planned to start at 10, didn’t get going until about 10:30 when Blank Resonance walked on stage and opened up directly with a song after which a short introduction was given for the night where Elia Monsef addressed the long yet enthusiastic wait for the release of the EP. Taking into consideration that the Book Of Gates is an incredible metal-opera concept album that shares its name with a giant historical work of literature, I felt the fantastic ideas Amadeus Awad and EON put into the EP could have been addressed a little further, if only to give the night context beyond the small pyramids and statues placed on one of the amps as tribute. However, the quality music that was played that night was a good enough expression of the thought and emotion that was put into the project.

Blank Resonance not only played songs off of The Book of Gates, but also delivered beautiful renditions of Porcupine Tree and Deep Purple songs as well as some mind blowing acoustic improvisation from Amadeus Awad and instrumental jams that showcased the talent that each and every single one of the musicians possessed.  Despite their talents, some technical difficulties arose during the show that prevented Blank Resonance from showing the true beauty in the subtleties of the EP, however this is a factor that is almost always expected at live shows.

Overall the night was a remarkable experience to have, especially amongst a diverse crowd that appreciated the significance and gravity of what Amadeus and all involved have created. I am extremely proud to have these sincere musicians who consistently create quality work and give a sense of pride and belonging to all Lebanese metal fans. – by Sarah Fakhoury

By Krystel Abboud

Photo taken by Krystel Abboud

When your album features such high caliber names from the international Prog community, your live shows better match that professional level. From a technical point of view, Amadeus Awad’s EON are capable of living up to the Prog Metal genre, but in my opinion, “The Book of Gates” is more Ayreon (songwriting, melodies, feelings, smooth technicality) than Dream Theater (aggression, technical time signatures, soloing, more technical playing), THEREFORE playing numerous extended instrumental jams highly damage the warm emotional image they are trying to build with their studio music. The other problem I had at the show was seeing the band put all they’ve got (techniques, feelings, heart) into covers instead of their originals. The 15 minute (I lost count) cover of Deep Purple’s “When a Blind Man Cries” was performed with such love while their originals were performed in a slightly cold detached manner, which I did not like at all. For me, the best case scenario for the event would have been the following:

1- The entire band sits down next to one another on stage with mics and tell us about the album, the story behind it, the process, the international artists’s input on the music, the composing inspiration and influences. They could also answer some questions from the audience, that would have been a great way to start an album release party (communicating with the crowd).

2- Play a number of originals (from Amadeus Awad’s previous release “Schizanimus” as well as “The Book of Gates”). N.B: it would be epic if they play acoustic versions, but it’s fine if they don’t.

3- Play a couple of covers but try not to turn them into “what everyone is waiting for”.

4- Procceed to sign the album for the attendees.

We all know the expectations of the first live show after a studio release, but the sound wasn’t good on this particular night, so from a listener’s persective, things could have been way better. Nevertheless, from a technical point of view, the band did not dissapoint, so I suggest you get the EP, enjoy the music and hope that future live shows will be better.  – by Patrick Saad

By Amal Daou

Photo taken by Amal Daou

While I do agree on a lot of points with my friend Patrick here, I think the tracks of Schizanimus where performed fairly well. There was a problem with the sound mix for sure at many times, guitars where not always perfectly heard, the vocals were too drowned in the rest of the instruments. At times the drums where simply too loud, taking over all other sounds. Feedback, noise and unwanted resonance were heard, of course that has to be due to the equipment and the tuning. I don’t know if the band sound checked properly on stage before the event, but the sound should have been better. I attended a release event at Metro Al Madina before and I remember the sound was crisp clear; I don’t what  happened during “The Book of Gates” release night.

Putting the sound aside, the performance was good to great, I enjoyed a lot of tracks and noticed the people around me enjoying and banging heads when unavoidable. For me, it is great to have a Progressive Rock/Metal band, we know that those are few and the good ones are almost none. Maybe Patrick did not state it clearly, Amadeus has great composing and writing skills, Elia has a great voice and the EP is Amazing, Yes, I know the band is not new to live performances, but the live performances of Prog is relatively new and I think more work is to be done to perfect that. – by Rami Rouhana

We’d love to hear your take on the album and the album release event!