GYZE in Warsaw, Poland

live report - 12.10.2016 01:01

Violence and fascination.

On Sunday, August 21st, melodic death metal band GYZE played their first live show in Poland at Warsaw’s VooDoo Club. Though a relatively young band, GYZE has some fair achievements to their credit – two albums published by not only a Japanese label, but also an Italian one, a handful of live appearances at international festivals, and some publicity overseas. At the same time, the band has considerable ambitions as it wants to play a significant role in Japan’s domestic metal scene as well as the European or even global one. The performance in Poland, which was the final live show of a world tour that started July 9th in Korea, was the one of the stops on their way to achieving this goal.

The doors opened around 7:30pm, but some time before that a small queue had already gathered at the club entrance. Although most people were already GYZE fans, some went to this concert knowing very little about the band and its music. They were convinced by their friends’ recommendations or by the enthusiasm of Polish fans involved in bringing the group to the country. Sometimes it’s worth it to go and see the performance of an unfamiliar band without any special expectations, because as a result you can often have one of the best music experiences of your life.

Inside the venue there was the opportunity to buy a variety of tour items, including one absolute hit: the set of fridge magnets! It’s not the first time for the band to show such creativity when it comes to merchandising – during one of their previous tours, fans could buy fishing lures as the vocalist Ryoji really likes trout fishing. Fans could also see the stage decorated with the big GYZE logo and a large quantity of various equipment. It was good that the band consists of only three members, for they would have had a problem fitting on the small stage at the VooDoo Club otherwise.

The fans who attended the concert – maybe around 50 persons - didn’t fill out the not very big venue. But what captured one's attention was the fairly balanced ratio between both sexes and the fact that almost everybody wore mainly dark, not-very-extravagant clothes and hairstyles. In other words, the audience looked a bit different than one might have expected of the Japanese band’s live shows. It could be said that the fans suited the group members who, in spite of paying attention to the visual side of performing, do it in a minimalistic way as their main embellishments are long hair, not very strong make-up, and a T-shirt – or lack thereof.

While waiting for the concert to begin, fans passed time in a pleasant atmosphere drinking beer, renewing old friendships and establishing new ones. One could get the impression that the audience didn’t really pay attention to the final preparations done on the stage, but as soon as the lights dimmed and the band members entered, the fans’ attention focused on them immediately. To be honest, the best summary of that night would be a slogan on a T-shirt worn by one of the fans – “PURE FUCKING METAL”. But – as it’s probably not enough for a live report – something more needs to be written.

From the very beginning, GYZE made a strong impression with the title song from their new album Black Bride. Powerful guitars, furious vocals and pounding drums culminated in a violent wave, striking the audience. During the entire set the band presented a pretty good overview of their work, playing exactly five songs from each of the two albums they have released so far. Every number contained excellent melodies, elaborate rhythms, strong vocals, and most of all way-out energy that infected everyone present. It’s only a pity that rather poor sound quality combined all those elements together, not allowing fans to fully enjoy the band members’ playing skills or interesting solos. Despite that, the songs performed that night captivated the audience and helped it to get rid of emotions, leaving only an admiration of heavy sounds which connected all fans. Some numbers really stood out in the set list, like the gentle intro and frantic whirl of Day Of The Funeral, and the oriental riffs of Nanohana. At the end, the musicians served a deadly explosion of sound interwoven with lyrical inserts in the form of Julius, finishing the main set on a high note.

Despite its small size, the audience didn’t fail and started to dance from the first notes of Black Bride. People in the first two rows jumped around, pumped their fists and headbanged, and behind them a real mosh pit was created, although on a small scale. Male fans – with occasional female additions – bounced off each other or spun around holding each other’s shoulders, and so forth. Despite such violent moves, aggression couldn’t be sensed in the atmosphere of the live – rather the pure joy derived from live music experience. So nobody really needed any encouragement from the band, which during one of the intervals between songs organized a mini wall of death. Regardless of the preferred way of having fun, the audience didn’t stop enjoying the evening even for one moment, seeming to draw energy directly from the powerful sounds coming from the stage.

No wonder then that for such a vigorous audience only ten songs were way too little, and very soon after the band disappeared following the main part of the show cries for the encore blared, starting from “One more song!”, through more traditional “Ankore!” and not very civil chanting preferred by metalheads, ending with choral singing of traditional Polish party songs, like ”Sto lat” (“One hundred years”). Some people even considered singing the song “Hej sokoly” (“Hey falcons”), but it was no longer needed as the band finally returned to the stage to play a couple of songs. For those who still had some energy after the show, an after-party was organized. Unfortunately, music was turned on during the signing session, making any conversation quite difficult.

If the good music and amazing atmosphere of the concert weren’t enough, everyone would be certainly convinced by the unusually friendly and joyful behaviour of the musicians – especially at the end of the concert when they couldn’t part with fans, giving them high-fives or putting guitar picks in outstretched hands. During the signing session they had a friendly smile for everybody, and drummer Shuji was especially popular, giving hugs eagerly. It could be felt that the band had come to play specifically for the people who had gathered there that night. The fans responded to this commitment in a very enthusiastic way, expressing their gratitude by treating the members to beer among other things.

In the interview for JaME done before this tour, when asked about GYZE’s live shows, Shuji answered, “I endeavor to give the kind of full-throttle performance that stirs emotions and makes people think "That was fun", "I want to see them again" and "It was good that I came"!” It was clearly visible that during the concert in Warsaw they managed to do this entirely. So if you’re thinking about going to a concert from which you’ll leave with fully-charged batteries and a strong anticipation for the next one, this band will be your best choice.

Set list

01. Black Bride
02. In Grief
03. Twilight
04. Fascinating Violence
05. Trash My Enemy
06. Day Of The Funeral
07. Nanohana
08. Midnight Darkness
-MC-
09. Final Revenge
10. Julius
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