Yukunkun Club and Metality collaborated for the first time with a Metal night featuring Dubai’s “Voice of the Soul” who are promoting their new album “Catacombs”, alongside local bands Thrashstorm and Deathlam.
Given the lack of a Metal merchandise market in Lebanon, bands rely on their online social media pages to promote their music (streaming, videos, etc), so no local Metal band is serious about profiting from selling merchandise. While some fans will buy CDs, a good strategy by bands is often distributing their CDs for free with concert tickets to promote themselves – this was the case here with Voice of The Soul distributing a copy of their album with each concert ticket.
Back to the concert itself, it all went down at Yukunkun pub in Gemmayze – Beirut, an underground pub that has Metal written all over it. Make no mistake, this pub hosts all sorts of events, from dance music to Metal and experimental. It’s a great place for hangouts, being different from the usual “street-floor” pubs – all in all a great escape from the party-oriented Gemmayze street.
Metalheads gathered outside rather early (9 PM), while I discussed the scene and music in general with Voice Of The Soul drummer Rudy Fares (from Roswell), one of two Lebanese musicians on the Dubai-based band, with Samer Zouein playing bass (from Amadeus Awad’s EON). Turns out Voice Of The Soul’s playlist is the album itself along with a single cover of Death’s “Crystal Mountain” – LEGIT!
The event started at 10 PM with Extreme Metal band Deathlam who played a 30-minute Black Metal set of original material. This 3-piece band is true to the Black Metal style, perhaps too true when it comes to having bad equipment sound. One thing’s for sure, as soon as the drummer gives his starting signal, the band goes into intense mode and they don’t pause to smell the roses (Black Metal voice: “Roses? How Pathetic!”).
Second band onstage was Thrashstorm, a name one cannot use without “Hamra” being in the same sentence. Like Peanut Butter and Jelly, Thrashstorm goes hand in hand with Hamra’s Old School Punk/Thrash/Heavy scene, they have been around since many years and they have a scene of their own. Mainman (and event sound guy) Karam brought the energy of Punk and Gogol Bordello (at times) and mixed it with old school Metal energy and wild distorted bass plucking, while the band and their Hamra crowd went on a frenzy.
Finally, at 12:15 AM, Voice of the Soul went on stage as guitarist/vocalist Kareem expressed his excitement and joy about finally playing in Lebanon. While the band blasted their way through a Prog Death Metal extended set of their new album material, a few technical problems were noticeable, but nothing too significant to stop Voice of The Soul from claiming “ownage” of both the night and the crowd. Their equipment sounded significantly better than previous bands, they were tight and lived up to the hype of their new album promotion. Years after they were formed, Voice of the Soul are on the brink of exploding on the International Extreme Metal scene with their new album “Catacombs” – to be reviewed soon!
Yukunkun might not have been packed on this particular night, more Metalheads could have showed up, the sound could have been a tad better, but all in all, Voice of The Soul’s first-ever gig in Lebanon was a success from a promotional perspective. Hopefully we’ll see more Metal bands from the Middle East break out with international-level music!