Breaking The Layers
Saturday, 7th April 2012
De IJsbreker, Leusden, The Netherlands
Needless to say I went to this festival with a mission. Curious as always and searching for new booming progressive musical directions,
I was treated with a festival that seemed to provide all of this, emphasizing the darker metal corner of the spectrum.
So I was eager to discover what impression five relatively new or unknown progressive metal bands would make on me at the first ever edition of the Breaking the Layers festival.
First let me explain a little about the festival itself and the man behind it.
The festival was organized in Leusden, a small town somewhere in the centre of Holland thus easy to reach, in a venue
(De IJsbreker) I had never heard of before.
That doesn’t matter because going to something familiar obviously was not part of the mission.
Breaking the Layers is meant to give new bands a stage literally while Layered Reality Production,
the organization behind it,
is meant to give new bands a stage in more figurative way of speech.
Confused? Then skip over to the bands depicted below.
All together the festival is a tour de force of Tom de Wit, mastermind behind Layered Reality Productions and well known for his collaborative of TDW.
In the music scene Tom acts in many shapes, all because of his affection for music like his vocals with Mind:Soul later that night.
Well, enough about that, lets talk music. Five bands in a row, bringing us a small set each to prove their existence.
Opening act Sagan
is a five piece Croatian instrumental band that has just released their debut full-length post rock album named Horizons.
Mostly bass-driven soundscapes with the addition of strong percussion. It turned out to be the most modest performance tonight, with no interaction at all.
Though sympathetic and crafted, these guys lack transferring their message and quality to the audience.
An audience that by that time did not reach the number of fifty, I’m afraid. What I think this band needs is a flamboyant singer.
What would be the result if Sagan added some vocals; wouldn’t that lift their efforts to a higher lever?
Still, their 2012 album Horizons is certainly worth trying if you’re into melodic instrumental post rock.
Brighter Than Stars
In the House
This second band Insolitvs
is purely instrumental too and coming from Croatia as well.
Even more, Petar Babic (drums) and Ivan Milkovic (fretless bass) did not leave the stage after playing with Sagan to subsequently join Insolitvs.
In creating their album OP.1, do check out the really brilliant track titles, these guys show that they are masters in combining rather slow intros into high paced death metal.
And back again. As a whole however, like the previous band without any vocals, I am reluctant to conclude that this band managed to captivate me.
I had a hard time trying to stay logged in although it had Katatonia level every now and then. If only they had a singer…
At the time the stage was being prepared for Mind:Soul the crowd had doubled.
This Dutch based band specializes in creating music that breaks genre boundaries and conventions.
Explosive metal pieces with death growls are transitioned into melodic choruses and instrumental freakouts.
At least that’s what they say about themselves.
And I must say it was a relief to see the stage change to a band that did know how to reach and overwhelm an audience.
Wake-up call here, action on stage. Because of their music but mostly because of Tom de Wit’s singing, talking and moving around the stage.
A very lively, attractive and solid performance was to be seen and heard.
High paced progressive metal with good lead guitar,
especially on their ‘old’ track Novae, and ’massive subtle’ bass by Mister Subtleness Joey Klerkx who was responsible for some nice background grunting as well.
With the opening track Circus Of Fear from the EP Patterns Mind:Soul concluded their stage set in style.
For You (new version)
Circus Of Fear
The first one of two Frisian bands tonight.
Insidiae brought us some modern metal with a little progressive twist.
Singer Harm-Jan Broekema grunts in a way that not passes the thin line of exaggeration thus making it acceptable, even for my ears.
Lots of fun on stage here.
So, never a dull moment with a solid piece of powerful metal by this six piece band, bass player Philippus Yntema being borrowed from Dimaeon for the occasion.
As part of the deal Insidiae had some tiny parts of lead guitar soloing, some Ayreon-like synths,
and great drums to offer. You will have to wait a while if you want to hear the yet to be released album Where Demons Dare.
Through the Eyes of the Blind
I Won’t Be Buried With You
Folie á Pluseurs
All For None
Where Demons Dare
Next on was Dimaeon, the second Frisian band in line.
What an extremely powerful and energetic display of the genre for closing up this festival!
It was a joy to witness the tall singer Ferdinand Wanders with his strong expressive mimics and vocals.
And a set of great musicians with technically elevated guitar and drumming.
The set was filled with all three songs of Dimaeon’s EP Exit Reality mixed with a lot of brand new material of Dimaeon’s progressive doom / death metal near future.
I was really, really impressed by the fierce performance and the mere presence of this remarkable band.
The Blood Of Millions
The Black Century
The Breaking the Layers festival to my humble opinion was successful in many ways, maybe except for the freezing cold venue towards the end.
The sound quality was good for a venue this size.
The festival was well organized, answering to the search I came for and I believe for a good part of the crowd too.
It offers one an intimate musical experience with a fine selection of relatively new bands in the genre.
Let us hope that this initiative will result in many more future editions because it certainly has the potential to substantially add something valuable to promoting progressive metal.
The DVD for you to check out yourselves is to be expected around September 2012.