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Nantes, France @ L'Olympic, Saturday April 26th, 2008

by Hubert Chapuis

After a lonely trip from Bordeaux to Nantes, here I go for a long evening full of promises. Indeed SamaŽl shows belong to my greatest memories in terms of metal gigs in general. Particularly efficient with great ambiances. In principle, the spirit is always there, even when Vorph broke his leg not long before (first time in Lyon, 2003). Yes times have changed a bit since Reign of light but I don't really worry about the stage perfomance tonight. A bit tired then at my arrival at the venue but I immediately meet very nice people: promoters from Rennes, a photographer from the french cultural minister,etc. I felt from the beginning this night was going to be special!

Samael live photo

Even the first local band Eradicate plays a well done hardcore music. Quite pleasant even for reluctant people like me. The only negative point: around 200 people tonight which is not so much compared to the last gig I attended (Symphony X, 1200 persons in Bordeaux, March 2008). But everybody is so friendly and relaxed! It's my real pleasure to have been able to come tonight. With Eradicate, we thus get a nice warm up before something much more weird (letís say unusual at least).

Ayin Aleph live photo An excentric and electric front lady, Ayin Aleph (apparently her real name), attracts all the attention from the venue. Kind of foxy but lunatic at the same time. She is inspiring mixed emotions and I can feel that most of the people don't really understand the Ayin Aleph art. The wildest musical parts are more or less under control with really strange keyboard breaks. Definitely out of common heavy metal, there is a touch of opera and even theatre with the singer's attitude on stage.

Here are Sybreed afterwards. They all look pretty young and naive but you quickly figure out they are already very experimented. Well... Already... For some of the readers (swiss readers maybe) that may have heard of them, you know they've ben playing together for years now. But in my opinion they still lack an international acknowledgement. That may be more a problem of promotion since musically, it sounds just great! For the last date of the tour, we got some taditional jokes and surprises. Taking into account how tall the singer is, that was indeed pretty funny to put the microphone at its top (definitely more than two meters high!).

Sybreed live photo This ďsmallĒ problem solved, the show can go on. You can see the musicians are really talented since they are really relaxed and comfortable on stage talking with one guy or another from the crowd in between the songs. Apart from that, the singer Ben could be endorsed by Doc Martens or whatever brand if you consider with which care he's dressed up (this guy reminds me Nicolas Sirkis from the french band Indochine actually... Especially the hairdo!). But he likes to make fun of himself about this and about the pink scarf his friends attached to the microphone stand. Musically speaking, their industrial gothic metal is at its best, very accurate. The clean vocals are also pretty good and powerful I have to say.

Gothminister live photo

Gothminister is also really underrated in my opinion. That was just the revelation of the evening for me. Outfits and stage props are as common as possible with make up and everything (the drummer could play in Mercyful Fate). OK but it fits with the atmospheres and the music. It's catching you immediately even though it's a very classical kind of indus electro dark music. Moreover, they benefit from the best sound conditions of the evening. Theyíre also really acting on the stage: very good presence. You should have seen the singer on the top of his riser, dominating the audience. Very impressive I have to say when conjugated to the martial music of Gothminister! Powerful guitar riffs (reminding Rammstein sometimes) and catchy rhythms on drums (you can't help dancing like crazy the way Goths are doing it).

Samael live photo

The headliners SamaŽl finally wonít perform completely the way they usually do. I mean their presence on stage is still very pleasant but the quality of the music is not so constant. On the whole, old songs from Passage or Eternal for instance are not so much played. And the drum parts from Xy (the parts he really plays, not the programmed ones) can be overwhelming sometimes (you can't hear anything else) and a little bit too cheesy I would say. Vocals from Vorph aren't at their best either. Obviously SamaŽl can't escape to The Ones who came before from the album Passage with its famous natural harmonics sixteenth notes. These harmonics are sampled, the musicians basically support the dynamics and the rhythm: this is one of the most intense moments of their show though.

Visually, lights are pretty good and clear especially on Vorph. Just perfect for pictures. A personal final note: I was waiting for Together that is just perfect as a final song for instance. Instead of it, as a "tolerance" song, we get On Earth. According to the band, it's a song to party. I'm not really sure I know what they mean but you can make your own opinion about this...

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