Wacken Metal Battle Belgium 2019 semi-finals Lens review

-- Wacken Metal Battle Belgium --

01/01/1970 - 01/01/1970
Stijn Daneels


Saturday March 23, 2019 I was present at the Titans Club in Lens for the 4th and final semi-finals of the Wacken Metal Battle Belgium 2019. Six bands from Wallonia competed for the final two spots in the finals. It was a long time that I visited the Titans Club and it was great to be back and discover these six up and coming bands! Pictures by Djinn Photography.


The first contestant at the Titans Club was the deathcore/beatdown band Ashes Into Blood. These guys from La Louvière played a nice set of head-on deathcore with many breakdowns and the typically wild stage antics. I did feel that Ashes Into Blood used a bit too many slow breakdowns and that cut off some of the momentum they managed to build up during the moments they were playing at full speed and pounding everything in sight. I also want to give huge props to vocalist Yohann, his grunts, shrieks and growls all sounded very greasy and raw but still felt natural. Very solid stuff, overall! Say what you will about deathcore, but I’m happy that I’ve discovered Ashes Into Blood and hope to see them again on stage in the near future.


Next up was Deadalus, a death metal band from Liège although the band did add many progressive touches into their mix. In between charismatic vocalist’s Nico more traditional death metal lines, guitarists Seb and Kiev brought out some magnificent instrumental work. This band’s riffs had a very crisp sound and a slight experimental edge to it that reminds me of my local buddies from Earupt. I did feel that Deadalus’s sound to be a bit repetitive, some of their melodies, while very enjoyable, felt too similar to each other. Plus the guitar solos were hardly audible at times, which is a shame. Overall, Deadalus has a lot of good traits (raging and technical guitar work, brutal vocals, a nice progressive edge) that they’ll certainly be able to bring out more profoundly as soon as they structure their songs a bit better. Here’s some sweet stuff from them!


After deathcore and death metal it was time for the Mons based anthem metal act Stand For. In 2016 this young band won the AFM Metal Fest competition as well as gaining second places at the Mons Metal Meeting and Hell&M Prod Contest that same year and in my opinion it’s not hard to see why. The band was the only one who made their entrance from the side backstage entrance and immediately they let their voices heard with straight on stadium metal that reminded me of the likes of AC/DC and Aerosmith. Stand For’s highly catchy sound quickly connected with me, my buddy Kevin and the rest of the packed Titans Club crowd and we were fast to sing along to singer Olivier’s high-pitched, commanding vocals. The band did suffer from a couple of technical difficulties but they always kept the show going with some improvisation in which all remaining members played along to. After listening to their eponymous track I had high hopes for this band and I’m glad to say that the band was shining on the Titans Club stage. So yes, I voted for them! Enjoy the tune below!


The fourth participant at Lens was this young progressive rock band from Namur. The band’s sound reminded me a lot of alternative metal bands like Alter Bridge, Avenged Sevenfold and Smashing Pumpkins. Cellar Twins showcased a lot of youthful enthusiasm and joy on stage. Lead guitarist Jeff brought forward some great guitar solos, bassist Elodie spiced things up very well using her 5-string bass, complementing Francesco’s solid drum beats and their charismatic frontman Carl brought out a wide vocal range which included operatic singing as well as snarling vocals and he joined Jeff as rhythm guitarist during most of the songs they played. In fact, if they performed a bit faster, vigorous and tighter and used Jeff’s guitar shredding skills a bit more then I would’ve have voted these folks to the finals. But the next band, however, had other plans…


Although this band from Liège describe themselves as a power metal band I feel they’ve got more in common with Pantera and Machine Head than with Hammerfall or Powerwolf. That being said, however, this band really impressed me with their thunderous beats, ferocious vocals and razor sharp guitar riffs. No cheap gimmicks here, it was a straight forward slugfest and I enjoyed every minute of it. There isn’t much else I can say about this band, just that I also voted for them and I’m curious to see how they’ll be stacking up compared to the seven other bands they’ll be battling against next May! Enjoy this warm-up!


After the energy and vigor from the five other participants this stoner/sludge metal band from La Louvière kind of felt like a cool-down. Not a bad cool-down by any means, but as with Soul Grip, a band I had seen competing at the semi-finals in Roeselare I feel this band’s too much of a slow burner compared to what I want to see at the WOA Metal Battle. I do believe that a band like Nephtys, with their dark, brooding sound and lengthy songs may fit very well on the lineup of a post metal festival like Dunk!Festival. And if you enjoy the likes of Mastodon or our country’s very own Amenra, then Nephtys is right up your alley! Here’s a sweet track from these three guys!


{Both Stand For (audience vote) and Insomnia (jury vote) won their spots in the finals and once again I fully agree with both decisions as well as the fact that all six participating bands gave it their all and showcased, each in their own way, true metal shredding potential! I was also very glad to having seen a full Wallonia metal lineup this year at the WOA Metal Battle in Lens (last year the only Walloon band that made it to the semi-finals was Masters Of Rebellions but they had to cancel). It shows that the Belgian metal scene is alive and kicking on both sides of the country and I’m looking forward to discovering more Wallonia metal bands. A la prochaine, les gars !