Sunday, 12 June 2016

Live review: Metaling Ra'anana - REBORN @ HaMartef, Ra'anana [19/05/2016]



Unleash The Pain

Ages Of Atrophy

Recently, I've found myself actually heading out of Tel Aviv for shows. I've been to Haifa, I've been to Rishon LeZion and now I've come to Ra'anana to yet another HaMartef (The Basement) for a metal show. As well as mainly coming to support old band mates Canine, I've come to check out Ages Of Atrophy, Unleash The Pain and to see Israeli metal legends Shredhead again. As the venue name suggests, I walk down a flight of stairs decorated with luminous strips/paint to what is apparently a form of youth centre. So it's going to be a pretty sober night, folks!

Ages of atrophy

The first band of the night is Tel Avivian deathcore five piece, Ages Of Atrophy. I have a feeling they may not have done much of a good enough soundcheck beforehand. As the band starts up, it's all a bit quiet apart from the ridiculously prominent double kick. In this type of metal, the double kicks are indeed important but this rendered the vocals pretty inaudible at the beginning. May have also been a mic problem which seemed to sort itself out as the show went on.
  As a drummer myself with sensitive ears, I could hear the drummer sometimes losing pace during blast beats but the impressive finger work of guitarists Ran and Gal takes the focus away. 
Although I am not usually into deathcore, I do find myself enjoying the band as the set goes on. Some of the beatdowns get me thrusting my body backwards and forth and smiling. I still find the genre as a whole pretty unimpressive and what Ages Of Atrophy play is nothing new but it does seem to hit a soft spot tonight.


Unleash The Pain

Another band I've never heard of before, Unleash The Pain, take the stage next in a strange costume of torn white T- shirts. Not entirely sure of the meaning behind all that and what it stands for but it seems to be their thing. Could be considered gimmicky but at the same time it does show them as a "united front", as it were.  
  This is apparently an important occasion for the band. Not only is it a comeback show for them but it is 6 years since the band played their first ever show in the same venue. After some mic issues, the band start blasting out some Killswitch Engage meets Lamb Of God style metal. Everything musically and vocally sounds surprisingly quite polished for a live set. Israel's (vocalist) clean vocals on tracks from their Isolated EP actually sound better live than on record. Maybe time and a lot of practice has helped him develop his vocals even more. 
  As well as their old material, the band preview songs from their upcoming album. At one point, Israel says that the next song is called We're Not Gonna Make It. For a split second, I think it's going to be a Presidents Of The USA cover...but I'm wrong. We get treated to another slab of modern metal with some beatdown/breakdown parts. During the set, the band go amongst the crowd, which is always fun. The crowd seem to lap it up.

  Unleash The Pain is certainly not the most creative name I have ever heard. On top of that, the name suggests a more brutal band. There's a little bit too much melody for them to be worthy of the name. But what's in a name? Anyone heard of We Butter The Bread With Butter

   Unleash The Pain are worth checking out and are definitely at quite a professional level right now which did not come across as pretentious but quite modest. The white t-shirt costume thing might let them down in terms of being taken seriously, but as long as people judge them on the music alone, they might be ok. I'm interested in hearing the new stuff.



Ahhh and now it's Canine.  I will admit that I have come today primarily in support of them but they don't really need it. For some years now, the band has had the confidence and the cojones of a big time band that it's as if they don't really need fans at all. The band turn up tonight with conference-style drop down roller banners with their logo on that take up a majority of the stage. The band hasn't even released their first official album or toured out of the country but have already jumped ahead to such on-stage extravagances. All power to them and everything, but it personally seems a bit too much for a fairly unknown Israeli band who are essentially called DOG. 
  Alighting the stage in a professional style, the band kick of their set with Silence Before Chaos, a fairly old song for their repertoire that has still yet to be released. I am familiar with it from my short lived days with the band, so I'm already going nuts at the get go. It's pure Machine Head, for sure, but it's certainly a great opening song and Ben Saada's more Lamb Of God-like vocals gives it a new twist to the song's previous incarnation. 
  The rest of the band's set also includes some songs which are technically old but are set to be released on the upcoming album, whenever that will see the light of day! Some of the songs take on a more Killswitch Engage vibe with the addition of Saada's clean vocals, which seem to have improved with time. The band also do a cover of Faith Or Forgiveness by The Ghost Inside. My knowledge of that band is close to non-existent so I'm not going to pretend like I knew the song or how the cover compared but those familiar with it are shouting along and getting a pit going.
  As well as both on stage and off stage antics from band members, there is a moment in the set which, for me, is quite sweet. Saada speaks about his former band Eyes Sewn Shut and how they once played in that venue...or something along those lines. He even starts reminiscing with former band members who were quietly standing not so far from me and it suddenly makes the evening all that more intimate.
  Finishing their almost hour long set with crowd members singing and dancing along to their last single, Last Words Live Forever, it's hard to say that Canine are not entertaining. They seem to give the people all the metal cliches that they want in a show and are somehow still managing to just float above the line of generic metalcore. An hour is certainly far too long a set for a band still essentially in their early stages but they pulled it off. It is still a shame (personally) that they completely eradicate all material from their more groove-metal influenced Degeneration EP, but it's a sign of maturity, I guess.



  Although Canine may seem like the main act of the night, it's Israeli thrash heavyweights Shredhead who take stage to finish things off. I've seen the band once or twice before but it has been mostly to a much larger crowd than this. This is a teen friendly venue in Ra'anana, to be fair, so maybe most of their beer drinking fans from Tel Aviv and elsewhere didn't see the point in travelling over for this. It's a big shame because Shredhead have both the presence and material worthy of a bigger crowd.

  Due to being the end of the night, I will admit that I am unable to recollect particular moments of the set but did find myself really getting into them for the first time. In a world full of attempted metalcore, Shredhead keep things thrashy with added elements of groove metal. With a set almost exclusively made up of tracks from their 2015 Death Is Righteous album, such as set opener LPBZ, the Pantera-like Last Words Are Lost and crowd pleaser Devil's Race, the 5 piece also play a brand new song and classic track from the Human Nature album, Knife In A Gunfight. The latter really gets the die-hard fans headbanging, finger pointing and shouting along. 

 For a headline act, Shredhead's set feels quite short but I think that's a good thing. It leaves the people wanting more and forces them to come to more shows in the future. I certainly wouldn't mind watching them again with more material as I am impressed at how they still manage to come off as current while playing pretty old school styles. It also makes me want to start listening to them more regularly.


 Well done to Yam Yaffe for putting on a great night. I've come away with some new bands to like and a newfound admiration for Shredhead.

Photos for Ages Of Atrophy, Unleash The Pain and Canine by Shahar Gino. 

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