DDDXX & Pascal [3 January ’23]

Reflections and loss

Happy new year! May 2023 give you good health, peace and prosperity. Let’s make this Gregorian cycle a progressive one.

Boy, do we have some catching up to do. I started new blog drafts in August and then again in November last year but never got around to finishing a proper post. It really is about time. There are a couple of subjects that deserve to be mentioned but as it would be too much for a single post, I’m going to break it down into separate installments, so expect more writings later this week.

One event that deserves a post all of its own was our appearance at last year’s Dutch Doom Days, the festival’s 20th edition. I will write about the gig here then. The good and the bad, because tragedy struck during that weekend and cast a shadow over our memories of the event.

Firstly, we were all excited to perform live at last. We cancelled the previous date in Haarlem due to illness but everyone was healthy this time around and prepared to play new material on stage for the first time. Our last gig, coincidentally, was at the Baroeg as well. And the gig’s date was special because it was exactly twelve years after 6 November 2010, the day of our CD-presentation of De zwaarte van het doorstane during the DDD of that year. Also, and this is arguably the greatest bit, Aline joined us on vocals for a few songs!

Our set consisted of four pieces: Verlangen, Moed, De zin, Hierna. Moed is a new song that I will talk about in a different post. Aline sang with us on the last two songs. There’s a good video made by Vitus Frank (cheers!) of De zin on Youtube. The reception was great. People came by for merch and a chat after the show and told us how much they enjoyed it. Aline’s contribution in particular got a lot of positive feedback, so we’re looking forward to sharing the stage again! What’s more, we all enjoyed the show ourselves too. Check out the gallery below. Photos courtesy of Vitus Frank (you’re the man) and Wim Wilms. More photos of all the bands here: https://www.brothersinraw.com/post/copy-of-fotoverslag-dutch-doom-days-xx-dag-2-rotterdam

However, there was also the news about Pascal, who you may remember as a former guitarist of Akelei. Pascal was there for the festival and his band Faal was scheduled to play on Sunday, the same day as us. As it turned out, he’d left the venue on foot the night before and got in a serious traffic accident on way to the train station. What little information we had on Sunday painted his situation as “critical but stable”. This was a huge shock to everyone who was at the venue since Faal is a well known band in our tight-knit scene. And what with him being one of the original members and the one musician to play on every Faal-release and tour, you could say he’d become a respected ambassador for Dutch doom metal internationally. As for his time with Akelei, he contributed to the demo, debut single and album and played with us between 2007 and 2015. Needless to say I couldn’t help but think of him during our set, especially during the songs we used to perform together. And so, our deepest worries were confirmed a few days later when word came that Pascal had been taken off life support. It seemed surreal, the guy was only 36 years of age. Ward (former Akelei drummer), Wouter, Josha and I met up for drinks later that evening and to let the news sink in.

In remembering Pascal, I think back of our bands’ early days, when we were still discovering how things work, like recording a demo or putting out music independently. We were both very serious about music, that’s a trait we shared. It was Pascal who built our first website. We mostly spent time in the rehearsal space in those days but went on a few trips outside of it as well. I have fond memories of going out in Tilburg and a trip to Belgium to see Skepticism and Pantheïst perform in an old church. With Pascal, there was always great music playing on the car stereo. After a condolence register went online, I found out just how many were personally affected by his death. Lots and lots of comments from people who’d gotten to know him as the kind, warm and selfless person he was, always ready to help a friend in need. His musical abilities were praised as well. It’s become abundantly clear that Pascal will be missed, inside our scene and out. I still find myself remembering him pretty much every day. Lost, but not forgotten!

R.I.P. Pascal Vervest 1986 – 2022



Listening to: A.A. WilliamsEvaporate

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