CLAIM HG + SPIRITU LIBRE + MEPHISTO
One night at the Caligary.
Text and photos: Raul Cardona.
After more than two years without enjoying face-to-face shows, congregating metal fans again has become an odyssey in Holguín, Cuba. The Caligary venue has been seen with little influx of public since the live performances began. The factors are dissimilar, first the pandemic and now the poor setting offered by the Caligary as a concert hall, with no gastronomy and the sound technical conditions are precarious. Last Saturday, the stars magically aligned and the CLAIM HG, SPIRITU LIBRE and MEPHISTO concert was attended by around 300 people and a heterogeneous audience in terms of ages.
CLAIM HG started its set at 10.30 pm. The first chords of “Fight” sounded, followed by “Welcome to the End” and “What I Die For”. This was enough for the band to reaffirm why they are leads in the province scene. David Shoazamed announced Fabián Suárez (former AREA 313 and MEPHISTO) as a guest on the song “The Call”, a classic by the band that they make loud. This song has a heavy guitar riff, which together with the base of Onel on the bass and Chuni on the drums, make the song shake everyone. “Emptiness” and “SV” followed; and to finish two covers “Toxicity” and “Killing in the Name”. The professionalism and stage projection of this band are reaching high levels. In my opinion, I would have liked the covers to be more in line with their genre for future shows.
As a second act, the well-known SPIRITU LIBRE comes up on stage. This is a band that has only been formed for a few years but with few local performances to its credit. “Fénix”, “Mentiras” and “Libre” are the first three songs to continue with “Esclavo”, “Gladiador” and “Adicto”. Diango’s presence on stage, the frontman, is quite good, but the other members still need to move more while playing. SPIRITU LIBRE sails on the waters of Groove metal with some Industrial and Nu metal hints. The set-list ends with “Nuestra Raza” and “Territory” (SEPULTURA), a cover that sounded quite weird, apparently the band didn't rehearse it enough to get it right. Hopefully the next one will be better. Despite having an interesting lyric concept, they should work a little more in their songs musically.
To close the night, MEPHISTO takes the stage as a four piece. When their vocalist Osney Cardoso left for the US, Kevin Chaperon, the band's guitarist, took over the main voice. It begins with the Intro “Enter the Storm” to give way to “Storming War Athems”. The band chose a repertoire to promote their latest record “Pentafixion” this time, songs that Kevin dominates very well, with a scratchy voice and a visual close to Nergal (BEHEMOTH). The set list continues with “Creation of the Magnificent in three act: I- “The Birth”, II – “Rebellion” and III- “The Falling”. After these three acts, the band announced Eliécer as a guest to sing in “Pentafixion”. Despite Eliécer's inexperience on stage, he demonstrates mastery and control of it with a spectacular projection. His voice is too guttural to fit MEPHISTO, my opinion is that he should seriously think about forming a Death metal project and surely he would be able to position himself in the Cuban metal scene. I would highlight David Nieves on the drums, demonstrating a total mastery of the instrument. Many of us were left unpleased because we wanted to listen to well-known songs such as "Lord Draculia" and "Symphony of Wolves". Definitely, this was not their best live performance, I hope that this show helps them define the future. MEPHISTO ends the concert with “The Undivine Blessing”, “Yashe Sabbaoth” and “Burning Fantoft”.
I think that bands have to show more than their music, a real spectacle if they want to be known and advance in the complicated music world. Except for meeting old friends, this night was really disappointing.
I would like to mention that the sound system conspired against all good performances and I am referring to the terrible PA system conditions. I know the effort that goes into it, but my experience as a producer has taught me that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The production work is measured by the results, not by the efforts. Putting the aforementioned into context, it is worth referring that the new economic measures have affected musicians and especially metal bands, leaving the Caligary venue as the only space for metal shows and with a miserable budget, unable to ensure a decent production. This means that bands are almost forced to perform in extremely difficult conditions. I would like to thank the Caligary’s management, who helps keeping the scene alive with the little they have.