By Rhys Stevenson
Global Metal Apocalypse was speaking to one of our Dutch acquaintances about Metal music in The Netherlands, now he firmly believes that it is suffering and declining. We therefore decided to take the time out to speak to Kees Hermeling about this concern and ask him how the Dutch Metal scene has or has not changed over the last few decades or so. Therefore all opinions expressed are solely on behalf of Kees Hermeling and does not represent GMA's views.
Currently the Dutch Metal scene is feeling a backlash, besides the major bands who tour the country such as Delain, Within Temptation, Hail Of Bullets, Vanderbuyst, Epica, After Forever etc, it is not that big anymore and this is seen through the lack of metal pubs or bars, this lead us on to what improvements he thinks could be made in order to resolve this matter and improve the output of Dutch unsigned and underground Metal bands and projects.
Naturally he drags up his previous comment about the lack of pubs and bars offering metal nights, so he firmly believes that they should have at least metal nights to help bolster the local bands expansion and also to give the Dutch metalheads a place to congregate, enjoy live music and drink beer. Furthermore he feels that there needs to be more Metal stores for metalheads to purchase equipment, gear and related items within the metal music-sphere.
On a more political note and in specific the European Union, he believes that this unity has caused more good than bad as he has noticed that since joining a crisis has arisen and is still there, taxes shot up and as a result bars and pubs had to close due to a lack of sufficient funds to pay off the taxes as well as the suppliers and lease for the buildings used. This leads us to the question of whether the Euro has benefited the Dutch Metal scene or has it royally screwed it over.
With respect to equipment, it has become more expensive since we dropped the Dutch Guilder and adopted the Euro, in fact goods have doubled in price, thus increasing band's costs unintentionally and thus making it harder for some unsigned bands to make music, purchase equipment, hire out studio's and play at bars / pubs; because of them closing down, therefore it is evident that the Euro has knocked the Dutch Metal scene on it's knees and is now begging for mercy, so where does this leave the unsigned bands?
There are only a few unsigned bands that are currently doing well for themselves, and even most of these are of the Hardcore music genre. Could it be that because one music genre sets off a trend that every other musician has to jump on the bandwagon and go with what is cool? Well it certainly seems to be the case here, either that or Hardcore is being used as a vehicle to express dissatisfaction and anger towards the Dutch government and European Union. So what of the scene on a local level?
Well Arnhem according to Kees is practically dead aside from venues the Willemeen and the Luxor, who occasionally have metal nights (once a month), in comparison to the nation's capital, Amsterdam is pretty much alive if you know where to look, thus questioning whether it is the lesser cities and towns that are left scraping the barrel to keep the metal scenes alive, could this mean that there is a gradual shift towards major cities reaping in the bands? Could metal actually itself be dying?
He adds that if he wants to go buy a metal shirt, he has to go to Nijmegen, this resonates with his statement earlier about having more metal stores open, it definitely seems that the Dutch Metal scene is waning slightly, for how long is one question and how serious can this get is another. One thing is for sure, this proves once again that supporting your local bands is vital for the scenes existence.
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