You know what is harder than attending three different concerts in three days, when you are on the wrong side of the thirties? Writing reports about it. After five days in Budapest I was unsure if I wanted to say “I am too old for this shit” or that we are just getting warmed up, and that “this isn’t even my final form”. Back to the crime scene from the previous night, we found ourselves again in Barba Negra club, in the eleventh district and the “New Buda” part of the town. Third night marked a completely different style of bands, after nights dedicated to doom and gothic, this night was for progressive and power metal. First we welcomed Myrath, Tunisian progressive folk metal masters. Crescendo for our trip to Hungary was to be provided by the new power metal sensation Beast In Black.
There are not many bands that achieved world fame, especially metal bands, that come from the Middle East. I say Middle East, because Myrath is often labeled with “Middle Eastern” or Oriental folk influences, even though they are originally from Tunisia, so the term Maghreb, would be much more appropriate than the often used Middle East. Geography aside, if there is someone who is not yet familiar with their work, they play progressive metal, but with a lot of folk influences. While many European bands blend folk influences with metal, it is fairly uncommon to see metal bands that use middle eastern folk as their inspiration, and especially to see such bands gain deals with major labels and become on the frontrunners of their genre. Here I would like to digress a bit and mention Orphaned Land, Melechesh and Arkan (the band, not the notorious criminal and military commander) as other important bands that incorporate such influences in their music.
Anyway, back to Myrath, this year they released their fifth studio album titled “Shehili”, which constitutes the main part of their set list on this tour when they play as an opening act. Promoting new album si quite expected, especially if you are an opening act, and are looking for a chance to present your music to the audience. But I have one huge complaint, since I think that playing seven songs from the new album, out of the nine songs in total is way too much. Especially since that meant leaving out a lot of great songs, especially songs from their best album “Tales of the Sands.” Additional salt in the wound, because it was my first chance to see them play, so I felt that I, or we, were really left with wanting more. However, given their promise, that they will be back in March 2020, and their performance I am really more than ready to forgive them anything. And what a performance it was, short for my taste, as I mentioned, only nine songs. But these guys are really killing it, quality display of musical prowess from the beginning to the end. I have no doubt that Zaher Zorgati is one of the best singers in metal today, the guy works magic with his voice. That being said, I sometimes feel his vocal performance leaves people forgetting that the rest of the band are masterful musicians too. The use an old cliché, but it really does feel like their music and his voice can paint pictures from thousand and one night in front of you. Concert was sold out, so the place was really packed by the time Myrath started, and it was wonderful to see that so many people actually came to enjoy the opening act too. Hardly surprising given rise in popularity this band is experiencing in recent years, but still always a nice thing to see. Apart from the mentioned choice of songs, I really do not have anything to complain about, it was a wonderful performance from the Tunisian-French magicians. If I were to judge by the packed crowd in Barba Negra and their reaction, neither did anyone else.
The climax of this night, and our whole trip was to be provided by Finnish based, but international by lineup, sensation Beast In Black. Despite being on the scene for only three years, and having two albums, they are already established as mainstay of heavy and power metal scene. Formed by Anton Kabanen, after his dramatic departure from Battle Beast, the band rocked the scene since the day they appeared on the scene. I don’t want to dabble into personal relations of the former band members, and their quarrels. Viewed from this perspective, I would say that the fans gained a lot by Kabanen being forced out of his former band, and forming Beast in Black. “From Hell With Love”, is one of the not-so-unexpected revelations, and probably the best heavy/power metal album of this year. If anyone was to have any doubts about how big Beast in Black currently is, it was enough to see the reaction of the audience. As mentioned, the show was sold out, so the venue was quite packed in front of the stage. Having only two albums, and being the headliner of the tour, meant that Beast in Black had more than enough time to play almost all of their songs. And what a show it was. It wasn’t my first time watching them, but I was still elated by what they delivered. Just like my first time, I was left in awe by Yannis, his vocal range and ability to perform live. What a band has Anton put together, they sound identical like they on their studio recordings. I felt goosebumps and shivers, while Yannis delivered his masterclass from the stage. Quite similar to Myrath, the rest of the band is often overshadowed by their vocalist, but the engine driving the band forward is Mr. Kabanen. He does not only provide guitars and backing vocals for the band, as well as keyboards on the studio records. He is also the main composer and lyricist (a duty he dislikes, and looks to shed in the future) for most of the songs and the driving force behind their stellar rise.
Back to the concert, as one can expect when the venue is sold out, the atmosphere was quite good. I must say I am occasionally baffled by the fact that mosh pit, circle pit are not quite common in Hungary, for whatever reason that may be. Other than that, the audience connected quite well with the band, and there was a lot of singing, jumping, clapping, so the heat was really up, quite literally since it got really steamy and hot quite fast. In such a heated environment, eighteen songs passed and a bit more than an hour and half seemed like not enough. Before the encore Anton came on stage, and spoke a bit, albeit in Hungarian, so I didn’t understood much of what he said, but that was an intro for the last couple of songs. Despite the heat, the sweat and sore throats, everybody in this congregation seemed to be wanting more, but I guess a show has to come to an end at some point. Guys promised to be back soon, and our Budapest concert adventure was almost over, so we headed back home, or to a pub.
It was a fantastic evening, full of energy and positive vibes, more than a fitting closure to our trip, and to several days of really great concerts. I hope to get a chance to see Myrath perform a much longer set, that they deserve to present themselves in all their glory. Talking about Beast In Black really seems futile, it is a band that simply deserves to be seen and heard, no words of mine can show you what a fantastic act they are. We were left to regret the fact that we do not live in Budapest, or that we don’t have nearly that many fans of metal music, as we discussed all the fantastic concerts that were going to happen in Budapest in the next few months, and that we were doomed to miss out on.