WOA China Metal Battle 2016 Review
The two day festival hosted in Zhenjiang started off on a sour note with the heavens crying all morning and afternoon. But like all shows, rain only means smaller crowds for the bands to play to. So in the rain, sound check proceeded and the show began. First up for the festival was Eternal Power
Eternal Power is a new band to me and I have not heard of them before, they were unlucky to play on the opening spot in the competition as it was raining and not many people were there yet so they were basically only playing for the judges and the photographers. Their performances was ok but I was looking forward to the other bands to see what kind of talent would be on offer at the tournament. Next up on the stage was 楚歌乐队.
At the end of 楚歌乐队 three songs, I really wanted more. The sounded good on stage and had good energy. Again they are a new band to me but I liked them. Lot of good stuff about this band. So far the competition was off to a good start music wise and some brave souls had decided to come and watch the show despite the terrible weather.
The next band was 寄生前夜Parasitic-Eve
Next up was one of my favorite bands in China, Never Before
Never Before is without a doubt the best stoner rock/ metal band in China and they showed that on stage. Great performance on stage, I just wish it was a longer performance though.
The rain had stopped by now and more people had come out to see the show and things were finally starting to feel more like a music festival again. Next up on stage was 血肉果汁机 Flesh Juicer. A high energy metal band.
When a band puts out so much energy on stage, the crowd usually reacts with the same energy. but it was such a pity that the rain had kept the crowd very small. I would have loved to see 血肉果汁机 playing in front of a larger crowd. It would have been completely crazy.
After 血肉果汁机 performance, it was the end of day 1 of the competition and there were two guest bands to close out the day. First band was 霾晦乐队 Dark Haze. I have shot them many times now and they are an extremely solid metal band.
霾晦乐队 Dark Haze played well on stage and it was a good solid performance. These guys are fun to watch and to shoot. I always enjoy their live shows. Next up was another new band for me as I don’t shoot a lot of bands from Hong Kong. Massacre Of Mothman is a death core band and they were very good but a complete pain the ass to shoot. I ran around the entire set trying to get a good photo of the lead singer but I eventually gave up. It was completely impossible.
The end of their set brought the end of day 1 at WOA in 2016. The following day promised to be good with some really strong bands playing.
帕恩乐队PAN played a good set and were kind of unlucky to be the first band to play in the finals. They are an extremely lively and energetic band but with almost no one in the crowd because of the rain, their performance felt a little hollow. But one thing is clear, 帕恩乐队PAN is differently a band to watch out for in the future. Next up on stage was 起凡乐队 .
The youngest band in the finals, and it showed with their passion and the share amount of fun they had on stage. It was all smiles and fun on the stage, all the time. It was hard not to like 起凡乐队 and most of the crowd was into them by the end of the set. I will say that they were maybe not quite up to the level of the bands that followed them but I really enjoyed their performance and I will keep my eye open for them in the future. Next up was a female lead Mongolian rock band 战旗乐队 Suld. I have shot a few Mongolian bands recently and they have always been uniquely different from Mainland Chinese rock bands. They have their own unique flavor of rock and it was no different with 战旗乐队 Suld.
Following 战旗乐队 Suld was the act that most people had been waiting for and that was 施教日乐队 RitualDay. 施教日乐队 RitualDay is one of China’s oldest cult metal bands, so it was a big shock that such an old well know band had entered into WOA this year but they came and they conquered WOA. Their performance was rock solid, they looked like a well-seasoned rock machine and they took home the gold winning the competition easily in my opinion.
Following 施教日乐队 RitualDay performance would not be easy for any band to be honest, so it was good for the other bands that they were the last competitive band to play. If they had gone first, then the rest of the show would have been a waste of time. Luckily they played last and stole the show. Following施教日乐队 RitualDay, it was the turn of last years winning to play. So next up was 梦灵乐队.
If there was an award for the most improved band in China, 梦灵乐队 should absolutely get it. I cannot believe the huge difference in their performance since last year. Last year they were a little raw in my opinion. This year, they were cool, collected on stage with bursts of pure energy and moments of quietness on stage. It was a stunning performance and it goes to show, that if a band gets the right push and management, and a little hard work is thrown in on the side, then anything is possible. Following 梦灵乐队, it was the turn of the foreign guest band, The Order of Chaos.
The Order of Chaos was playing their very first show on their first tour in China and they gave it their all. They left nothing in the bag. It was a great show, to be honest, solid rock and metal with so much fire and energy. They ran all over the play, moshed with the crowd and completely exhausted me as I chased them down all over the place. The crowd really loved them though.
The last band to play at the show and close the show out was 大红袍乐队.
After 大红袍乐队, it was the time for the awards ceremony.
I really enjoy shooting this event. It is the first festival of the music season for me and always the most enjoyable because it is completely focused on one thing and that is music. No bs pop music to keep some sponsor happy. I am sure Ritual Day will do well at Waken in Germany later this year and I look forward to shooting the next festival in 2017.