Festival report of Fall of Summer Festival 2017

Festival report of Fall of Summer Festival 2017 –  Torcy, France; 8-9th of September 2017

Report by Estelle on the 12th of October 2017

foslineup.jpgIn spite of last-minute band cancellations as well as some unpleasant weather conditions, Fall of Summer turned out to be again one of the most varied and quality festivals of the year. It seems that more and more metal enthusiasts recognize this fact: Not only attended this year markedly a lot more fans of black, death, thrash, heavy and doom metal than in the previous years, but the visitors’ scene also got much more vivid and international.

FRIDAY, 08.09.2017

Broken Hope, starting at 14:15, showed us into what we can expect from the festival death metal-wise with some serious massive riffs and rotten, pestilent growls. Their setlist was very diverse consisting of songs off their older as well as newer titles; all played with violent energy.

German speed/heavy/power cheese-kings Grave Digger took over. Starting with the title track of their newest (and most definitely not strongest) album ‘Healed by Metal’ from 2017 I was already considering leaving, and merely with two songs off their 80s’ classics, Witch Hunter and Heavy Metal Breakdown, they did not come close to convincing – not to speak of Boltendahl’s non-consistent voice and the “clap your hands”-style encouraging. They are trying, which is undeniably respectable, even though one sometimes wishes they didn’t.  

Fortunately, the unique experience of witnessing a (Tribute to) Sortilège show among the French not only eased my misery but also gave back my enthusiasm for the rest of the day: One could not extract themselves from this huge French karaoke nor from acquiring a part of the warm, collective feeling coming with it.

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(Ttribute to) Sortilège| Photo: Estelle

Vocalist Alexis d’Hürlement accomplished the effortful task of having to take the place of genious starting Sortilège singer Zouille with ease and joy, stealing the show even from the three original members showing up on stage for the single closing song, Marchand d’hommes. It can be contemplated on why the long-announced three original members (drummer Jean-Philippe Dumont aka ‘Bob Snake’, bassist Daniel ‘Lapin’ Lapp and guitarist Didier ‘Dem’ Demajean) only made an appearance for one song at the very end, on why it seemed like it was simply a duty for them or on why the group did not play ‘seen-as-obligatory’ titles such as Chasse Le Dragon or Mourir Pour Une Princesse; however, I was personally so amazed by being able to hear the well-composed setlist live with Hürlement’s fitting voice that I rather concentrated on enjoying the moment.

(Tribute to) Sortilège’s setlist on the 8th of September 2017, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. D’ailleurs
  2. Progéniture
  3. Métamorphose
  4. Quand un aveugle rêve
  5. Messager (w/ Gil Di Bravo)
  6. Gladiateur
  7. Sortilège
  8. Délire d’un Fou
  9. Marchand d’hommes (W/ Bob Snake, Daniel ‘Lapin’ Lapp and Didier ‘Dem’ Demajean)
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Merciless | Photo: Estelle

My cheerfulness boosted as after the last notes of (Tribute to) Sortilège I again became conscious of the fact that I am going to catch Merciless for the second time: The Swedish death/thrash veterans have reformed last year for a handful of dates across Europe before splitting definitively at the end of 2017.
How their show was? Nothing but Pure Hate. Regarding their energy and the quality of their performance, they gave a show that was comparable to the one given at the Swedish Muskelrock with nonstop savagery, insane speed and not a moment to breathe. On a side note, even though the audience seemed to be more into the show as on Muskelrock, the pit still didn’t turn into the biggest one on the festival – which I did not let distract me from how I personally enjoyed the show. A chain of cruel shows like that for a year before saying goodbye to the industry: real tricky, Merciless, real tricky!

Getting into the crowd of the French progressive rock group Magma after a Merciless gig is like slipping into a pot of warm, steaming, whirling soup as a portion of carrots after already being peeled and chopped.
Magma, reflecting my expectations, completely hypnotised: it is not every day you have the chance to see a symphonic rock band with jazz elements, singing most of their lyrics in a constructed language, Kobaïan. Eerie, impressive and engaging enough to get you completely forget about the rain.

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Île de loisirs de Vaires Torcy | Photo: Estelle


Meanwhile we were spending a bit of time in our tents trying to (unsuccessfully) dry ourselves off, Blasphemy took over, not giving a damn about the pouring rain nor the audience’s religious views, managing to attract and override many enthusiasts with their unmistakable, profane music, lyrics and attitude. Studs, bullet belts, inverted crosses, corpsepaint and the obligatory evening-hour sunglasses highlighted the experience of seeing the satanic Canadian death/blackers live.

Blasphemy’s setlist on the 8th of September 2017, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. War Command
  2. Blasphemous Attack
  3. Gods of War
  4. Darkness Prevails
  5. Desecration
  6. Nocturnal Slayer
  7. Emperor of the Black Abyss
  8. Hording of Evil Vengeance
  9. Goddess of Perversity
  10. Weltering in Blood
  11. Blasphemy
  12. Fallen Angel of Doom
  13. The Desolate One
  14. Demoniac
  15. Atomic Nuclear Desolation
  16. Empty Chalice
  17. Ritual

The celebrated Canadian speed/thrash group Annihilator followed with a rather typical but not in any way dull festival setlist with lots of old-time classics such as Set the World on Fire, W.T.Y.D., Alison Hell, Phantasmagoria and Human Insecticide, besides the characterless newer titles. I am curious if Jeff Waters ever gets to the idea of playing the whole ‘Alice in Hell’ record live within a (festival)tour, much to the delight of the long-term fans; until then we ought to content ourselves with their (still decent and very much enjoyable) current shows.

Primordial are a band that consistently manage to give back the atmosphere and spirit of their records live while also retaining the quality of their sound. As the last act, the Irish group gave this particularly bleak and wet day a graceful and pleasing end with a well-chosen setlist together with their perceivable dedication. Always a pleasure.

Primordial’s setlist on the 8th of September 2017, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. Intro
  2. Where Greater Men Have Fallen
  3. No Grave Deep Enough
  4. Babel’s Tower
  5. As Rome Burns
  6. Gods to the Godless
  7. The Coffin Ships
  8. Empire Falls


SATURDAY, 09.09.2017

As Saturday’s first, I went to see Toxik in the foreday’s mud. Expanded with their three new tracks off their 2017 EP ‘Breaking Class’ we got all the relevant 80s’ songs delivered, played decently but not as enthusiastically that I would have felt the need to get myself further into the crowd. It was, however, certainly heart-warming to see that after years and years of a break the US thrash band enjoys being on stage so much and that frontman Charles Sabin cannot thank the crowd enough for coming – Not to mention their action of inviting a French fan onto the stage to help them with the guitars on False Prophets.

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Count Raven | Photo: my good friend Gábor Oláh

I did not exactly know what to expect from Count Raven’s live performance. So what did I get? Surprisingly engaging, gloomy, harmonized riffs with not at all banal or worn-out lyrics, coupled with the feeling of tranquillity and the sand below my feet standing at the Blackwaters stage on the lakeside. Everything they do feels real: with a presence and setting much less theatrical than by bands of the same genre (see: Candlemass), the Swedish Count Raven managed to both convey the message they meant to through their music and show us how sincerely they mean it. Anytime again!

 


Moving on to Bulldozer, one of the groups from the high-class lineup that I was hoping to see live for years already, I found myself standing on side of the stage-separating hill in the drizzling rain, staring at A.C. Wild and his group from underneath a yellow bin liner-like raincoat and being mesmerised. A strong, fierce performance with engaged people moving around, where fortunately even the weather did not succeed to make it difficult to interpret A.C.’s words “It’s fucking whiskey time!”, AS IT WAS ALREADY FREAKING WHISKEY TIME. Show: 9.5/10, Weather: 3/10, People who gave a damn about the weather on average: 1/10.

Bulldozer’s setlist on the 9th of September 2017, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. Neurodeliri
  2. IX
  3. Desert!
  4. Ilona the Very Best
  5. The Derby
  6. Impotence
  7. Minkions
  8. The Final Separation
  9. Ride Hard – Die Fast
  10. Whisky Time
  11. Willful Death
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Demolition Hammer | Photo: my good friend Gábor Oláh

Always tearing every stage and crowd apart, Demolition Hammer did not let us down this time either. Overwhelming power and tight thrash riffs at lightning speed with corresponding (but mostly moshing and fighting) fan-reaction: the old school US-thrashers once again managed to become the most impressive act of a festival, leaving absolutely no chance for the nomination for the upcoming bands.

 

 

Demolition Hammer’s setlist on the 9th of September 2017, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. Skull Fracturing Nightmare
  2. Carnivorous Obsession
  3. Hydrophobia
  4. Neanderthal
  5. Omnivore
  6. Infectious Hospital Waste
  7. Aborticide
  8. Human Dissection
  9. .44 Caliber Brain Surgery
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Morbid Saint | Photo: my good friend Gábor Oláh

As the first notes of the starting Destruction System could be heard, we were hurrying to the Sanctuary stage to get our heads ripped off by another American thrash-pioneer group Morbid Saint. As after the introduction of two decently written new songs (Flesh of the Disease and Daku) recent vocalist Cliff Wagner announced that they are about to play the whole ‘Spectrum of Death’, I was blown away, I thought they bought me and that there would be no place for critique in the concert report afterwards. I was wrong: The fact that the only original member who partook in the makings of their demos and ‘Spectrum of Death’ is guitarist Jay Visser, has its strong effect not only on the band’s image but also on its sound, together with the members’ engagement. As I see it, Cliff’s hardcore appearance and vocal-style does not fit the fans’ idea of 80’s Morbid Saint either, which results that one of the most brutal thrash metal records of all time played in its entirety live sounds ungenuine and flat.

Due to the hustling-bustling audience, Coven’s show showed an utter contrast regarding the attitude and overall feeling to their gig on Muskelrock. On Muskelrock every single bystander-listener behaved themselves quiet, engaged and observant and so not only they, but also the band was able to empathize the theatrical obscure, ritual-like mood that is relevant for a Coven show. On the contrary, at Fall of Summer the audience was loud and chatty, not giving the band the chance to deliver a spirit of obscureness. Uncommonly, vocalist Jinx was even talking, storying, introducing the band and thanking the audience for coming between the songs, which absolutely contradicts one’s expectations of a show of the American psychedelic rock band.

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Coven | Photo: my good friend Gábor Oláh


Even despite the fact that Jinx with her 67 years is understandably not able to sing the higher tones anymore, her presence on stage can by no means be overlooked: Stepping out of her famed-for coffin; wearing her glimmering masque and scenically getting rid of it after the first few songs; tenaciously standing in one place for the whole concert-duration with no sudden moves, just the slow, gentle, (Wicked) Womanly hand-movements.
Even though the show was not free of defects and mistakes (e.g. error message at the screen at the back of the stage displaying rituals), hearing this top setlist – from where the only song that I personally missed was Lost Without a Trace – and going through the Coven-experience live still made me feel it was magic.

Coven’s setlist on the 9th of September 2017, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. Out of Luck
  2. Black Sabbath
  3. Coven in Charing Cross
  4. White Witch of Rose Hall
  5. Wicked Woman
  6. The Crematory
  7. Choke, Thirst, Die
  8. Black Swan
  9. Dignitaries Of Hell
  10. F.U.C.K
  11. Epitaph
  12. Blood on the Snow

Marduk‘s setlist on the 9th of September 2017, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. Frontschwein
  2. The Blond Beast
  3. Of Hell’s Fire
  4. Materialized in Stone
  5. The Levelling Dust
  6. Throne of Rats
  7. Cloven Hoof
  8. Wartheland
  9. Legion
  10. Wolves
  11. Panzer Division Marduk

To my sadness, the festival ended for me with an exceptionally disappointing Venom show.

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Cronos | Photo: my good friend Gábor Oláh

Not only did Cronos have constant problems with the sound, but he even let the audience have a look behind the scenes by behaving himself extremely unprofessionally. Whispering something to the soundman every two minutes, changing bass guitars three times, making perplexed announcements like “As you can see we have some problems here *hehe*”: Am I the only one who does not feel any Satan or black metal here?

Comical, out-of-context fire effects, the abuse of the original lyrics, unenjoyable dull singing, puzzled faces and the feeling of disappointment. The man of the show who even managed to ‘save’ the situation to some degree was drummer Danté with his overwhelming energy, showing he is having fun at what he is doing, making crazy faces at photographers and simply trying to distract our attention from Cronos’ obnoxious unprofessionalism.

 

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Danté | Photo: my good friend Gábor Oláh


Surprise of the day: The fire effects without proper music are apparently not enough to satisfy the needs of thousands of Venom- and evil-hungry people.


And now, to sum up…

Strongest standout bands: Demolition Hammer, Bulldozer, Merciless, (Tribute to) Sortilège

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Île de loisirs de Vaires Torcy | Photo: Estelle


Main impressions:
+ still an excellent location; high-class lineup; no delays; decent sound; a great variety of genres; open-mindedness
– pricey and not-that-tasty beer; no shelter from the storm; music genres in the after parties ranging from 80s pop to Rammstein

Recommendations: Go!

Find more information at: http://fallofsummer.fr/
Photos were used by ‘Estelle’. Special thanks for his generous help with the photos to my good Hungarian friend Gábor Oláh.

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Festival report of Chaos Descends Festival 2017

Festival report of Chaos Descends Festival 2017 –  Ferienland Crispendorf, Germany; 21-22nd of July 2017

Report by Estelle on the 2nd of September 2017


Dreamlike location, prominent lineup, pleasant mood, killer afterparties, Cuba Libre and a children’s railway. What more could you possibly want?

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FRIDAY, 21.07.2017

The first band I decided to see on the festival were the death metal band Vorum playing on Friday from the Åland Islands (belonging to Finland). Their crushing 30-minute full-length Poisoned Void from 2013 already got my attention a few years ago from which I got the chance to see songs live for the first time. Just as expected, Vorum played hard and with defeating energy, creating a base cheer for me that never went away ‘til the moment I arrived home after the festival.

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Attic | Photo: Estelle

After Vorum came the German King Diamond-worshipping Attic with their live ritual. To my surprise their well-composed, high-standard live performances authentically give back the feeling and also the quality of their albums. Attic continuously receives critique about their base idea being unoriginal and simply a replica of both the King Diamond style and sound however, in my personal opinion, as they model King’s approach on such a high standard, one can simply be pleased to hear more of a style that not every band would be able to recreate.
Order Attic’s new album ‘Sanctimonious’ here.

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Venenum | Photo: Estelle

After Attic came some long-awaited rigid German-style cruelty with Venenum, creating a frore atmosphere. Just as the last time I saw them, the German death metallers concentrated on their new album ‘Trance of Death’ filled with all this ugliness; these atmospheric solos, melodic riffs, unexpectable breaks and tempo changes, driving the audience into madness. To my sadness, they have not played anything from their world-class EP ‘Venenum’, even though their song Bewitched Craft could be the best death metal song written in the 21th century until now in my personal opinion.
Don’t think the new album is not worth investing in, though: Buy it here.

Later came the Polish death metallers Mgła, who I have never seen before and from whom I was expecting a lot, partly based on the everlasting hype surrounding them. Unfortunately and rather surprisingly I could not get myself engaged with the band and was not moved by their music nor by their sound.

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Chaos Rising during Cirith Ungol at Chaos Descends | Photo: Estelle


Luckily and this time not to my surprise, right after them we got to the highlight of the festival in form of the USA heavy/doom band Cirith Ungol
. Cirith Ungol’s show was far more collected and composed than at Keep It True this year, the band members were in sync the whole time and one could just see the excitement and joy on their faces on stage. I lost my mind over how Tim Baker’s voice and energy level does not seem to lower since the 70s and my face was all upon the grin about all the band’s classic songs coming after each other, all getting delivered in album quality live.

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Cirith Ungol’s setlist | Photo: Estelle

Their setlist was diverse and contained indeed every classic that one could expect from them, including the 3 encores Master of the Pit, King of the Dead and Cirith Ungol. Unbeatable.

Afterwards, before getting lost among all the people and cuba libres in the afterparty-tent, we had the chance to hear some raw black metal tunes from the Canadian Sortilegia, pounding us completely into the ground.

 

 

 

SATURDAY, 22.07.2017

The first band I got to see on Saturday were the alternative A Dead Forest Index from New Zealand on the Nature stage. Alternative has never been my thing, the whole thing seemed simply too artsy to me, making me unable to identify myself with the music or the feeling the members wanted to transmit through it. However, it still was a pleasant feeling to chill at the side of an abandoned toilet-blue pool in the sun, in the woods, listen to the two classical guitars and experience something I have not experienced before.

They were followed by the Norwegian black/sludge band with hardcore punk elements, Okkultokrati, who played on the main stage. To be honest I expected some more from them and found them rather mediocre live, leading me to the uncomfortable situation of choosing booze over a band.

Right after them I looked into Night Demon – even though I’ve never been a huge fan of them, I got to understand why others are. It shows just as well from the way they present themselves as from their stage properties that they know how to sell the band. Vocalist “Jarvis Leatherby” [Jeff Hershey, new bassist of Cirith Ungol since 2016] is one of the few people by whom I feel like they were directly born for the stage: he’s absolutely energetic, has fun at what he’s doing and has something in his attitude that attracts the audience. The huge death figure walking up and down on stage was thought to be contributing to attracting attention.

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Dread Sovereign | Photo: Estelle

I walked into the crowd of Dread Sovereign with no expectations previously only hearing their first album some time ago, and was pleasantly surprised by how fast they got me engaged. Just by looking at the crowd one could have thought Dread Sovereign belong to the first wave of doom bands from the early-mid 80s – it shows how authentically they play their music as a doom band formed in 2013 if they are able to get the attention of the older generation who could have been among the crowd on an early Saint Vitus or Candlemass gig.

I was then ready for the savagery of Deathhammer. I got exactly what I wanted: pounding energy, brutality, speed and drunkenness; just as usual from frontman Sergeant Salsten [watch my video interview with him on the festival coming out in a few days]. Besides the strong, varied riff-flow and the incredible amount of devastating power it was entertaining to see how Salsten just does not seem to give a damn: After introducing the following song he started to doubt/question himself and was not afraid of also expressing these doubts toward the crowd by the gentle question “What the fuck?”.

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Deathhammer | Photo: Estelle


As the next act I got to see the USA death/black/thrash band
Absu. They provided us with a combination of catchy thrash riffs, rotten blackened vocals and Proscriptor’s insane, bestial drumming, not leaving us any time to recover from the previous Deathhammer’s fierce effect on us.

I did indeed try to understand something from the music of the upcoming German ambient black ( D O L C H ) until I left with the thoughts of “Okay one doesn’t have to understand everything”.

Despite my expectations, experiences and the previous band, I was really much able to get myself engaged with Sunn O))) this time. I have already seen them at Brutal Assault in 2015 where I left with no traces of the band’s impact on me, however, I was curious how a small(er) festival and two years’ time can change the experience of seeing them live.
Even though the drone/noise/black metal/doom metal/dark ambient band’s insane frequencies reach as far as you can see, one gets so much more in contact with them right before the stage as one is also able to observe their movements and the lighting; and where the frequencies are so strong you feel them throughout your whole body and get an ear-pain after 30 minutes.
It contributed to getting involved that I could not leave the dark, gloomy, haunting lyrics out of consideration as Hungarian vocalist Attila Csihar [see also: Tormentor & Mayhem] sang, muttered and moaned in all possible tones and pitches in our mother tongue, Hungarian for the most part.

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Sunn O))) | Photo: Estelle


After around 1,5 hours as everyone gradually came to the feeling that this gloomy, oppressive atmosphere never ever goes away again, Attila winded Sunn O)))’s performance, all the emotions and concerns one developed during the show, as well as the experiences of the previous festival-days up with an indescribable, bloodcurdling screech.

Sunn O))) is definitely not a band preparing one’s mood for the last night’s afterparty. In spite of all my expectations, in my case the band carried out the effect they are making music for: I felt myself far too emptied, weakened and disturbed for some time to get myself together and carry myself over to the afterparty tent.
Even though I still can hardly imagine myself listening to Sunn O))) at home, I indeed gained respect toward and got curious about them and I can only recommend giving them a chance as soon as you have the opportunity to hear and observe what complete darkness and eeriness sounds and looks like.


And now, to sum up…

Strongest standout bands: Cirith Ungol, Sunn O))), Venenum, Attic, Deathhammer

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Ferienland Crispendorf | Photo: Estelle


Main impressions:
+ dreamlike and kind of easy-to-find location; smooth organisation & communication; prominent lineup; pleasant mood; great people; decent sound; decent food; killer afterparties; CUBA LIBRE; children’s railway going around the festival area
– for the first time ever: nothing mentionable

Recommendations: Go! Go! Go!

Find more information at: http://www.chaosdescends.com/
Photos were used by ‘Estelle’.

Introduction + Infernäl Mäjesty video album review

Dear people,

I finally have my first video out where you can get to know me [in case you didn’t] and what you can approximately expect from me to do – this time in the form of a review of Infernäl Mäjesty’s cult first album ‘None Shall Defy’.

My cutting skills still surely need some polishing but everything will hopefully just get better as I’m also getting new ideas every day. :) Please feel free to let me know what you find interesting to see and what could be changed on in your opinion; or if you have any subject in mind you’d like see a video of.

Contact me at: darknessunseenblog@gmail.com

Have the best Monday that’s possible to have!

Festival report of Fall of Summer 2016

Festival report of Fall of Summer 2016  Torcy, France; 2-3rd of September 2016

Report by Estelle for Metalegion Magazine on the 7th of Januar 2017

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In the beginning of September 2016 I visited the Fall of Summer festival near Paris, France. Because of the exquisite lineup and also because of paying a fortune for the whole trip regarding that it out of many reasons turned out to be a last-minute decision for me, I had high expectations towards the bands expectations that, as luck would have it, proved themselves true on the whole.

Even though the fest is called ‘Fall of Summer’, personally it belongs among my most “summery” experiences last year due to the stunning location on a sunny beach right next to a lake and with sand below our feet at one of the 2 stages. Fall of Summer in France is thus not a festival one should miss who has an affection for dreamlike places with the comical twist of being able to see a large number of appealing bands from the most various genres of metal on the spot.

The band that I first got to see from the incredible lineup right as I arrived to the venue were the old French heavy/speed heroes, ADX. Even though one can and should still appreciate the enthusiasm they themselves still possess and gladly show to the fans on stage, it does unfortunately already show that we are not writing 1985-86 anymore. The two new songs from their newest album they started their set with (‘La Mort en Face’ and ‘La Complainte du Demeter’) did not manage to establish the mood and feeling one needs to hold at an ADX gig, and unfortunately I had the feeling they were not able to do that afterwards with their old classic songs either. The passion would still be there, however, the physical part the voice and the speed are not able to support the mental section anymore.

Manilla Road, on the other hand, did not disappoint this time either: they brought us the expected level even despite the little ragged beginning which was the effect of the absurd heat and the band being anyways somewhat tired. After getting even more heated up and getting to the ‘feel’ through the interest of the fans they with no doubt always call forth; with the classic Crystal Logic songs Manilla Road permanently managed to focus on the mood that actually they themselves created and so the band’s and the fans’ energies moved along hand in hand afterwards, complementing and expanding each other.

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Manilla Road – Photo: Estelle


Mark “The Shark” Shelton’s solos are still just as sharp-edged and beautiful sounding as ever, and as expected he took over the microphone for a few parts this time on stage as well. Despite the years’ strong effect on the 58-year-old founder & guitarist and his voice; we can still recognize the incredible high-level commitment, engagement and “let’s-do-it”-attitude on his face paired with his tender yet majestic glance which shadows it out how important Manilla Road and the fans for him are, and which makes him an uncommonly lovable and honourable musician.

After Manilla Road Polish death metal band Vader started literally in 5 minutes on the Blackwaters stage and showed us they are still after so many years right on track and ripped our heads off with some real death metal tunes.
Their setlist was particularly mixed: they presented us a group songs from their early era like “Dark Age” from the classic The Ultimate Incantation and songs from the following De Profundis, giving us the strong old school core of their performance. They didn’t leave neither the popular Litany nor the 1997 record Back to the Blind out, and picked songs from their newer releases Impressions in Blood (2006), Welcome to the Morbid Reich (2011) and Tibi Et Igni (2014) as well. We also had the chance to already hear the two newest songs from their album The Empire released in November 2016, ‘Prayer to the God of War’ and ‘Parabellum’.
They still have the dynamism and are in control of themselves on stage; I did not expect much at first but was positively surprised by Vader’s performance.

We once again did not have any chance to recover as my personal largest surprise of the festival, the impressive Riot V kicked off at the big Sanctuary stage. They presented us in honour of the passed away guitarist & main songwriter founding member of the band, Mark Reale a perfect oldschool setlist with each one of the classic songs one is eager to hear on a Riot (V) concert, including a lot from their evergreen record Thundersteel. Even though the two elderly members, bassist Don Van Stavern and guitarist Mike Flyntz just hit 51 & 53, completed with “girls-dreams” vocalist Todd Michael Hall the guys showed how astonishingly fresh, youthful, catchy and tight they are just as much on their newest neat 2014 album ‘Unleash the Fire’ as live. They simply know what the fans want and also give that to them without a hint of artificialness; being committed and respectful towards the old lineup of Riot and towards the crowd the whole time and also representing that by not wanting to shove the new record down our throats but instead concentrating on what people from Riot actually want to hear. Admirable.

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Riot V – Photo: Estelle


Riot V’s setlist on the 2nd of September 2016, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. Narita
  2. Ride Hard Live Free
  3. Fight or Fall
  4. Johnny’s Back
  5. Bloodstreets
  6. Angel Eyes
  7. Flight of the Warrior
  8. Metal Warrior
  9. Road Racin’
  10. Warrior
  11. Swords and Tequila
  12. Thundersteel

A complete turnabout and a full switch of genres: Samael came onto stage. I would rather describe the Switzerland black metal band’s performance as interesting instead of good as they even brought the electronic instruments into their older black metal songs. They had a flawless oldschool setlist though consisting of songs picked only from their first 3 albums, what the fans also welcomed and appreciated on the gig.

As the last act of the night again from a contrasting genre, American thrash group Whiplash were about to pound us with aggressivity into the ground. If they succeeded?
The guys possessed the right amount of energy & raw aggressivity as well as a perfect sound for a thrash gig and still, maybe because of the lack of communication between the band and the crowd both regarding talking/encouraging between the songs and the way of behaving on stage, or maybe the formal conventionality of their way of playing, Whiplash’s gig did not come through perfectly as expected. One (as I would usually expect it) could not lose his/her mind completely over the few tight and thrashy best-of songs they could scrape together from Whiplash as the band simply played them casually, routine-like with the rightly measured amount of energy, which unfortunately took a little bit away from the experience.

Compensating that as well as deducting the stress of having to see such an amount of bands on one day (poor us), we went and showed the French how to drink.

– – –

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Grim Reaper – Photo: Estelle

The second day started for me with a sunny Grim Reaper. I could have barely imagined the amount of energy Steve Grimmett and the whole band of his actually still have and similarly could I have barely imagine a more classic setlist including really every classic track from the early albums one is eager to hear on a Grim Reaper gig. Even in spite of the somewhat unnecessary Dio-cover (‘Don’t Talk to Strangers’) that they apparently can never leave out, and even in spite of the exaggerated encouragement of the crowd that occasionally did get a smile onto our faces, I can say I was positively surprised on account of Grim Reaper’s live performance. Steve has tons of experience, he knows how to handle the fans and last but not least: finally a veteran group where we cannot complain about the lack of vitality when it comes to playing as speedy as they should!

Grim Reaper’s setlist on the 3rd of September, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. Rock You to Hell
  2. Night of the Vampire
  3. Lust for Freedom
  4. Wrath of the Ripper
  5. Fear No Evil
  6. Liar
  7. Rock Me ’till I Die
  8. Don’t Talk to Strangers (Dio cover)
  9. Waysted Love
  10. See You in Hell
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Nifelheim – Photo: Estelle

No rest for the wicked – here comes Nifelheim. If I say they were the only band by whom I indeed entirely forgot about the fact that I am standing on a beach with sand gently tickling my feet, instead at some point simply realised getting lost in the tremendous, menacing obscure spirit that they created and that we all so craved on this shiny bright day…; I said enough. Terrific, pounding and shredding black/thrash brutality streaming right at our bodies without any break just how a Nifelheim gig shall be happening right from the moment the band gets on stage and plays the first note.

After this giant hit of cruelty I was still able to get myself together to curiously walk over to the big stage where Karl Willetts’ (singer of Bolt Thrower) newly founded death metal band, Memoriam gave their third concert ever. Thanks to Karl, ex-Bolt Thrower-drummer (1986-94) Andrew Whale, Benediction bassist (1991-present) Frank Healy and Benediction guitarist (2015-present) Scott Fairfax, they sound prominent and besides presenting us some good old BT-riffs and drum samples in the new tracks (along with 2 Bolt Thrower cover songs ‘Spearhead’ and ‘Powder Burns’), they assure us about having some new, catchy own ideas up their sleeves as well.
Karl still appears completely drunk on stage and still does not care about it, he does however very much care about the crowd and sings (growls) enthusiastically with love and respect towards the people who are curious about them.

During the following Dead Congregation I decided to take a little break finally as we still had Exciter, Unleashed and Tankard left for the day, but I still was listening while getting something to eat in the festival area: They played as always energetically and tightly with a few real catchy modern death metal riffs.

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Estelle doesn’t like waiting if it comes to Exciter

And now again with full-on power I was ready to cordially welcome the moment for which I was waiting and by reason of I decided at all taking the risk and travelling to the festival: Exciter was willing to tear my head off with nothing else but their over-the-top classic setlist from the ‘80s.
Incredible how physically fit vocalist-drummer Dan Beehler still is. I have always admired yet could never fully understand how one can have such a level of concentration and attitude to play the drums and keep his head straight while singing the ripping fast top-notch speed metal songs at the same time; however, Beehler manages that even after 37 years of playing without any problem. Only his voice started to give up and fade sometimes, especially for the end of the gig at the high-pitched notes, which for me personally still did not take from the experience of seeing the genre-creating speed metal gods playing with such dynamism, love and respect towards the people, towards each other and the whole industry live. Guitarist John Ricci and bassist Alan Johnson are similarly still particularly ‘on-track’, keen on playing while not being able to wipe the smile off their faces.

The most classic lineup and the most classic setlist ever matched with a huge amount of energy, enthusiasm and SPEED: Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what we expect to see from Exciter.

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Exciter – Photo: Estelle


Exciter’s setlist on the 3rd of September, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. I Am the Beast
  2. Rain of Terror
  3. Stand Up and Fight
  4. Iron Dogs
  5. Heavy Metal Maniac
  6. Pounding Metal
  7. Violence & Force
  8. Beyond the Gates of Doom
  9. Long Live the Loud
  10. Under Attack

After going into ecstasy over another band came the Swedish death metallers Unleashed. They, similarly to Vader, had an absolutely mixed setlist with a high level of variation and presented us songs from almost every album of theirs from the first until the very last 2015 one. Just as on Brutal Assault 2014, the gig was absolutely energetic again reaching its top with the two powerful ending songs, ‘Hammer Battalion’ and the obvious ‘Before the Creation of Time’.

As the closing act of the incredibly intense festival where I sometimes had the feeling with so many engaging bands we never get a real break, I went to see the old German thrashers Tankard. The crowd expectedly went crazy and started singing along and moshing right away to their classic opening track ‘Zombie Attack’ and did not finish until the band walked off stage. Vocalist Gerre showed great energies by running up and down the whole time, maintaining a pleasant vibe and topping that, later facetiously showing his (beer-)belly. The German beer-lovers kept going on with songs like ‘The Morning After’, ‘Chemical Invasion’ or ‘A Girl Called Cerveza’; they let us hear a bit from their newest album R.I.B. from 2014 and, giving a frame to their gig, they closed the show as well as the event decently with the strong ‘(Empty) Tankard’ from Zombie Attack.


And now, to sum up…

Strongest standout bands: Manilla Road, Riot V, Nifelheim, Exciter

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Blackwaters stage


Main impressions:
+ excellent location; prominent lineup; decent sound; a great variety of genres; open-mindedness
– pricey and not-that-tasty beer; location hard to find for French taxi companies in case you want to be at the airport by 5 am

Recommendations: Go!

Find more information at: http://fallofsummer.fr/
Photos were used by ‘Estelle’.

BULLDOZING BASTARD. An enjoyable schema sticking to the old way of songwriting, involving a few banalities

bulldozing-bastard

Bulldozing Bastard – Under the Ram (2015)

Review by Estelle for Metalegion Magazine on the 13th of Januar 2017

TRACKLIST

  1. Queen Of The Night
  2. Tornado
  3. Mayhem Without Mercy
  4. Full Speed Ahead
  5. Brassknuckle Deathstrike
  6. Under The Ram
  7. Alleys Of The Underground
  8. Let The Bastard Roar
  9. Black Metal Slut
  10. Once The Dust Has Settled

RELEASE DETAILS
Genre: Black/Speed Metal
Label: High Roller Records
Country: Germany
Date: March 13th, 2015

LINEUP
Irön Kommander – Vocals, Bass
Genözider – Vocals, Guitars, Drums


under-the-ramIf I wanted to follow the same route Bulldozing Bastard decided to take (why not get right to the point and flood people with all my thoughts immediately at the beginning), I would say: As Under the Ram begins you know straight away what to await; however, as the album rolls along you notice that these assumptions also have not been changing nor evolving in any way.

On the one hand it does mean you get what you expect and that can always be considered a positive aspect, yet on the other hand you do not receive neither any variation nor anything new that has not been done numbers and numbers of times before in the last 49 years since the genre heavy metal with the founding of Black Sabbath came into existence.

As the two German black/speeders start with their newest 2015 record, the pounding aggressivity kicks immediately in the face of the listener and does not let us out from this grip of flowing, streaming violence until the last song of the record. They are masculine, speedy and energetic while delivering the filthy, straight songs where elements of rock ‘n’ roll mixed with a little punk, NWOBHM, speed and black metal also turn up.

I do have to state that the music itself is enjoyable, whilst they are so primly trying to be old school and evil while playing their absolutely primitive but catchy songs with dirty blackened vocals in the vein of old Venom, Bathory, the Italian black/speed/thrash masters Bulldozer (judging by the name ‘Bulldozing Bastard’ apparently the largest influence on them), Motörhead and some Tank that it nearly comes over comically and in a stereotypical manner.

Their song titles, labels of the band members and lyrics are similarly somewhat cliched aiming to (simplified) come near to the old way of representing obscurity; a good example would be the 3rd track ‘Mayhem Without Mercy’:  “And as I pass through the seven gates / The fullmoon’s shining bright // For tonight, I’ve witnessed glory / Sorcery and might”.
And to continue being picky by coming up with a final negative angle, the flooding rage also results hearing almost no transition and so not getting the chance to make a difference between the songs as one already got deeper into the album and got used to Bulldozing Bastard’s (fresh and intense) sound.

However, at the very end with the last, slower and longer song ‘Once The Dust Has Settled’ with more melodic guitar lines and some Iron Maiden feel to it we do get a bit from the lacking variety, what’s more the song also seems to be more thought-out and better-worked-out as the other slashing tracks of the album – a bit of a deduction after the continuous ripping for the previous 25 minutes.

On the whole Bulldozing Bastard’s Under the Ram from 2015 is a rather enjoyable disc with some likable catchy riffs saturated with melodic fast guitar sounds built in here and there, with hearable decent bass lines as well as a dynamic, fresh sound and energy of two spirited German maniacs.
If one does not expect any groundbreaking idea but a schema that follows the old way of songwriting involving a few banalities yet enhanced with an actual youthful sound, I do recommend having a go at the record.

10/7


Here you can show your friends you listen to cool music
Here you can adapt your look to your habit of listening to cool music

IN SOLITUDE. Not a hint of desperation or artificialness

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In Solitude – In Solitude (2008)

Review by Estelle on the 2nd of July 2015

First part of the In Solitude-review series as a tribute to the band after their break-up.

TRACKLIST

  1. In the Darkness
  2. Witches Sabbath
  3. Kathedral
  4. Beyond is Where I Learn
  5. 7th Ghost
  6. Faceless Mistress
  7. Temple of the Unknown
  8. The Monolith

RELEASE DETAILS
Genre: Heavy Metal

Label: High Roller Records
Country: Sweden
Date: December 22nd, 2008

LINEUP
Pelle Åhman – Vocals

Uno Bruniusson – Drums
Gottfrid Åhman ­– Bass
Mattias Gustafsson – Guitars
Niklas Lindström – Guitars


insolThe five-piece Swedish heavy metal band In Solitude (formed in 2002, split up in April 2015) is one of the few bands I can think of who have three albums out, all of them showing a different side of theirs yet each being fully characteristic, representative and outstanding in their own way. On their debut In Solitude the band put the stress on instinctiveness, catchiness and simplicity – very much to fans’ delight.

As album-opener In the Darkness strikes, the first thing our ears spot is the odd, drawling, low-pitched voice of Pelle Åhman – then come the simple yet fresh, well-written and catchy riffs that keep flowing and flowing through each song until the very end, taking over the lead and turning out to be the most important component of the record.
The album consists of melodically complex songs with mesmerizing tunes in the veins of 80s heavy metal, surrounded by a great deal of mistery and obscureness. Even though In Solitude is a far cry from a ‘copy-band’, we cannot ignore the obvious Mercyful Fate/King Diamond influences both appearing in the vibe, melodies and lyrics of the album (e.g. Witches Sabbath). The lyrics include occult, otherwordly, mystical themes with no signs of irony or silliness, keeping the listener from not taking them seriously.

Everything fits together astonishingly: the ominous voice of Pelle, the harmonized instruments, the strange yet matching combination of the energy and freshness and the misty, gloomy atmosphere. To my great surprise (as I’m personally not the largest fan of modern sound), on the Swedish guys’ debut even the clear production is appropriate as it gives an edge to the dark, cold, haunting tone of classic heavy metal In Solitude managed to capture perfectly, making the Mercyful Fate-like gruesomeness come alive.
Everything is cohesive, natural and straight to the point – not a hint of desperation or artificialness, no ballads, no useless experimentation; instead vivid riffs, meaningful lyrics, innovative power, non-repetition and a massive amount of passion. It all sounds so effortless that we can question ourselves why no one came up with as brilliant ideas in our days as the ones In Solitude present on their debut.
By means of the lively riff-flow throughout the songs kept interesting by the tempo changes, In Solitude turns out to be an album which is catchy, easy to get into and to digest and is still absolutely enjoyable.
If you were asking yourself where the good albums are nowadays or if you simply need an authentic, exquisite cut of first class heavy metal: you have found what you were looking for.

Outstanding tracks: Witches Sabbath, Kathedral, Temple of the Unknown, The Monolith

10/9.5

Festival report of Brutal Assault XIX.

Festival report of Brutal Assault XIX. – 6-9th of August 2014

Report by Estelle on the 29th of August 2014

The 19th edition of the well-known metal festival Brutal Assault took place in Jaromer, Czech Republic from the 6th to the 9th of August 2014. A place where the beer is cheap, the atmosphere is pleasant, the bands are merciless and the free-time activities are numerous: besides seeing approximately 80 bands on the two main stages and one smaller tent namely the Metalgate stage, you get the chance to watch some classic movies at the horror cinema, to study an exceptional metal exhibition with diverse well-known artworks and to have fun at the green chill-out zone.

I would attempt to write a few words about the bands I managed to see.

August 6th, Wednesday

For me the festival started at 17:10 on Wednesday with the old American power/heavy band Flotsam & Jetsam. As the re-recorded version of their second album from 1987, No Place for Disgrace just came out they took the chance to play many songs off it. They noticeably don’t possess the same amount of energy and “freshness” as back in the day therefore the crowd got the this-is-not-enough feeling at times – it was still an enjoyable show recalling some aged classics, though.

At 20:55 Terrorizer got on stage with many people in front of them being curious about one of the oldest representatives of death metal/grindcore. Their sound was quite chaotic especially at the first 2-3 songs but they were still full of energy and played a decent old school setlist mostly consisting of tracks off their album from 1989, World Downfall. Despite the rough sound the drumming was flawless: it’s clear that Pete Sandoval (ex-Morbid Angel) knows what he is doing.

Venom – Photo: Petr Hoffelner

Venom – Photo: Petr Hoffelner

At 21:55 the day’s prime act, the mighty Venom hit the stage powerfully with the ultimate classic ‘Black Metal’ – in spite of the not-so-perfect sound at the beginning the crowd was already going crazy. Poisonous atmosphere, pounding rhythms, ecstatic state of mind, spectacular stage-set with the inevitable pyrotechnics and many, many insane people: bodysurfing and a large moshpit even at the mid-tempo tracks. The bestial Venom’s setlist included lots of old classics from the early ’80s; although this time they left out the nearly always mandatory ‘Countess Bathory’.

Venom’s setlist:

  1. Black Metal
  2. Hammerhead
  3. Bloodlust
  4. Possessed
  5. Live Like an Angel (Die Like a Devil)
  6. Buried Alive
  7. Antechrist
  8. Hail Satanas
  9. Rise
  10. Pedal to the Metal
  11. Resurrection
  12. The Evil One
  13. Welcome to Hell
  14. Warhead

August 7th, Thursday

Thursday started with the new school American thrash metal band Havok. They apparently didn’t mind playing early before noon: the guys got every thrash fanatic moving and forming a huge moshpit in the heat by their absolutely dynamic show.

After Havok we got to see the death/thrash band Pentagram Chile also playing surprisingly powerfully and tightly with a clear sound and one fairly large crowd in front of them.

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Onslaught – Photo: Estelle

At 2 pm Church of Misery came and brang some magic to the stage with their twisted, doomy riff-flow throughout the gig which distracted people away from their everyday mindsets for about 40 minutes. After them came a great shot of brutality by the UK guys Onslaught who were no doubt one of the most enjoyable thrash acts of the festival. They equally played from their first two (Power from Hell, The Force) and newer albums and every one of their songs sounded extremely powerful live – proving this it is enough to mention the size of the moshpit they have generated.

At 15:20 American death metal/grindcore band Misery Index tore the place up and gave an intense show in 40 minutes. Then I got to see the Hungarian technical death band Gutted on the Metalgate stage who were probably unknown to most people yet created one killer atmosphere that the crowd in the little tent also started to feel.

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Obituary – Photo: Estelle

At 18:10 we got to the highlight of the day with probably one of the most cruel old school death metal bands existing, Obituary. Standing in the second row I have never had as many people falling on and through my head as on their show, the overall mood was absolutely crazy. Just like in case of Venom, everyone was out of their minds right at the moment when the first note of the guitars could be heard – and as a consequence of the short but mostly old school setlist, people didn’t stop fighting, pushing and bodysurfing for a moment. The sound might have not been the best at the front but the completely enthusiastic audience did not seem to care, Obituary’s performance was among the best ones of the festival.

Obituary’s setlist:

  1. Chopped in Half
  2. Turned Inside Out
  3. The End Complete
  4. Inked in Blood
  5. Slowly We Rot
  6. Intoxicated
  7. Bloodsoaked

Then came the also entirely crushing gig of Suffocation who did not let the crowd take a deep breath after Obituary at all, they ripped and left everyone in the dust by their brutal, technical death metal music.

Even though Bring Me the Horizon is definitely not my kind of music, as far as I could notice they have attracted plenty of people enjoying metalcore and the dynamic gig of the British band after the different-style Suffocation. At the same time there were Inquisition playing on the Metalgate stage with far less people being curious, but the two-piece representatives of black metal were worth to see: they brang such an atmosphere to the small tent that the thrilled tension they have created was almost touchable.

At 21:40 on Thursday, the headliner of the XIXth Brutal Assault festival, Slayer hit the stage.

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Slayer – Photo: Petr Hoffelner

In general I would have to say it was a disappointment regarding both the sound and the energy and enthusiasm of the band members. One of the oldest and most famous thrash metal band’s setlist completely consisted of old songs except ‘Hate Worldwide’ and ‘Disciple’ and it still felt like they were simply weak and faint, not even approaching the group they used to be back then – nothing to be suprised about with only two of the original members, though. The lineup was solid: we got Tom Araya on vocals and bass, Kerry King on guitars, Gary Holt (Exodus) on guitars replacing Hanneman and Paul Bostaph (ex-Exodus, ex-Forbidden, ex-Testament) on drums replacing Dave Lombardo again – but the difference between their older shows and the one perfomed on Brutal Assault was clearly appreciable.
The setlist was definitely a plus with songs not often performed (e.g. ‘Captor of Sin’), but sadly the atmosphere and overall mood did not get close to what they were able to do long ago or even a few years back.

Slayer’s setlist:

  1. Hell Awaits
  2. The Antichrist
  3. Necrophiliac
  4. Mandatory Suicide
  5. Hate Worldwide
  6. War Ensemble
  7. Postmortem
  8. Captor of Sin
  9. Disciple
  10. Seasons in the Abyss
  11. Dead Skin Mask
  12. Raining Blood
  13. Black Magic

Encore:

  1. South of Heaven
  2. Angel of Death

After the main headliner, (the lots of) fans of melodic death metal had the chance to see one of the largest bands of the genre, Children of Bodom. Again melodic death is not my kind of music but the huge crowd seemed to be enjoying what the popular Finnish group was doing.

August 8th, Friday

On Friday the first act I was able to see was the American black/thrash band Skeletonwitch, whose show did not give much to me – the way how they played their music was somewhat boring, a little too modern and on account of the vocals did not seem to be black/thrash metal (how the band is originally labeled). After them came Fleshgod Apocalypse whose music doesn’t exactly fit my personal taste either, yet their show was strikingly powerful and had some kind of an unexplainable atmosphere that did get the audience moving.

Unleashed – Photo: Estelle

Unleashed – Photo: Estelle

At 17:35 we got to the top of the day still in daylight with Unleashed. The beginning of the Swedish old school death metallers’ performance did not have a strong impact on the curious people but afterwards from the second-third song, as we got to the catchier tracks and more effective commentaries from enthusiastic frontman Johnny Hedlund, people started fighting. Unleashed basically only played newer songs from 1997 on but the gig was still totally energetic reaching its top with the incredibly fast song ‘Hammer Battalion’.

At 7 pm Six Feet Under with ex-Cannibal Corpse vocalist Chris Barnes got on stage and tore the place up. They were full of energy, they were loud and they had a satisfying sound. They have also played two Cannibal Corpse songs at the beginnging and end including ‘Hammer Smashed Face’, giving some frame to the show.

After them on the Metalgate stage ex-Pungent Stench guitarist/vocalist Martin Schirenc gave a fairly long show and played old school Pungent Stench songs under the name of “Schirenc plays Pungent Stench” as some kind of a tribute to the split-up death metal band with three other musicians. Fanatic people who knew the songs off their first two albums were extremely keen about hearing them live so that the crowd filling the tent was moving all along.

In the evening one of the headliners, The Devin Townsend Project with frontman Townsend, vocalist of Strapping Young Lad came and played a long set to the enthusiastic audience. I personally do not understand much from their music, although their sound was good and their fans were all satisfied with what they have seen.

Similar case occurs with another following headliner, Amon Amarth. I was never a fan of melodic death metal nor the idea that Amon Amarth presents but one cannot deny the fact that the Swedish band knows how to collect fans: almost everyone who attended the festival was standing in front of the main stages and seemed to be impressed by the scene.

As the last performance of Friday we got to see Broken Hope at midnight who gave an energetic death metal show to many people in the audience.

August 9th, Saturday

On the last day in the afternoon Impaled Nazarene, the Finnish black band played passionately to an equally energetic crowd. Later at 17:25 came the American Christian metalcore band August Burns Red whose music barely has anything to do with the other acts of the day but who managed to obtain a huge fanbase watching them playing on the festival.

Sodom – Photo: Petr Hoffelner

Sodom – Photo: Petr Hoffelner

Right after them on the other large stage one of the bands holding my greatest expectations, Sodom was already tuning. As they finally started the show filled with old classic thrash songs the pit got even bigger than on Obituary and the same amount of people started enjoying themselves bodysurfing. Unfortunately Sodom’s sound, at least in the front, was not as good as expected: I personally know the lyrics of almost all the songs they played and the sound was so chaotic at some parts that the tracks weren’t recognizable for 30-40 seconds. Still, the huge moshpit and incredible amount of pressing didn’t stop and people managed to sing along with vocalist Tom Angelripper.

Sodom’s setlist:

  1. Agent Orange
  2. In War and Pieces
  3. Outbreak of Evil
  4. Surfin’ Bird (The Trashmen cover)
  5. The Saw Is the Law
  6. City of God
  7. Stigmatized
  8. Sodomy and Lust
  9. Blasphemer (end with Venom´s Black Metal)
  10. Remember the Fallen
  11. Ausgebombt
Photo: Petr Hoffelner

Photo: Petr Hoffelner

At 19:40 in the small tent we got to see the old school death metal/grindcore group Repulsion who played their album from 1989, Horrified as a whole with a modified order of its tracks. It doesn’t happen everyday that one gets to hear an entire album at a festival therefore the audience was really cheerful and lively.

Later on the large stage another headliner, the Czech death(/thrash) band Krabathor gave a surprisingly intense performance. Then even more people gathered and watched the popular Down labeled as “southern metal” – again a band that doesn’t meet my taste completely, their show seemed to be rather leisured than heavy to me, even though many others were enjoying it.

At 10 pm came the old school death guys Benediction on the Metalgate stage – even Repulsion and Schirenc plays Pungent Stench filled the tent up, and this time the small stage was a bad choice for Benediction: there were 1,5-2 times more people seeing them than the size of the place. The show itself was short but extremely massive – they got everyone moving and forming a giant circle pit in the middle of the tent, running round and round listening to the brutal old school sounds.

After them the Norwegian black band Satyricon played a quite long setlist to the plenty of black metal fanatics rejoicing at the show.

Late at 00:25 the unique gothic/doom group My Dying Bride gave a performance to lovers of their kind with just a few long, extensive doomy songs of theirs.

Photo: Petr Hoffelner

Photo: Petr Hoffelner

And then eventually we got to the closing act of 2014’s Brutal Assault: Hail of Bullets at 01:20. Martin Van Drunen’s (Asphyx, ex-Pestilence) voice is still as perfect as ever and doubtless one of the best voices of death metal in general – he sounded flawlessly on stage with the band in the background performing their brutal, catchy old school riffs. The only downside I could mention was the rather funny fact that Van Drunen was talking or even whining for almost a minute between every track they played – he told us three times that guitarist Stephan sadly couldn’t be there, he made birthday announcements, he called Master’s Paul Speckmann up on stage and he was constantly thanking the crowd for coming – I had the feeling that they could have played two-three more songs if he only said a few words between the songs. But judging by their show people don’t have many things to complain about: Hail of Bullets gave an appropriate ending to the festival with an absolutely energetic way of playing and with a lot of people even at this late hour.


Summarized, strongest standout bands for me were: Venom, Onslaught, Obituary, Unleashed, Hail of Bullets.

On the whole, in spite of every minor problems mentioned, the XIXth Brutal Assault was absolutely worth going to, both regarding the overall experience and the financial part of the festival. Do not miss out on it next year!

Find more information at: http://brutalassault.cz/en/
Photos were used by ‘Estelle’ and Petr Hoffelner (http://brutalassault.cz/en/).

My top 10 of 2014 albums

Making lists has never been my cup of tea but let’s try. (Including EPs)

1. Morbus Chron – Sweven
At first the Swedish Morbus Chron’s second album didn’t convince me but I can’t describe how much the record grew on me a few months after the first listening – I got to the point where I consider it to be no doubt one of the most unique death metal stuff existing out there. Completely dissimilar to their first one yet just as excellent in a different way.
Morbus Chron – Towards a Dark Sky
.

bölz-s2. Bölzer – Soma
The black/death Bölzer set the standards high with their first EP ‘Aura’ [read my review of the record here] and even though ‘Soma’ needed more listenings to reach up to its level, the two-piece Swiss band did not disappoint. Very much looking forward to the album!
Bölzer – Labyrinthian Graves
.

midnn3. Midnight – No Mercy for Mayhem
Similarly to Bölzer, if Midnight’s Athenar wants to reach up to the level of his early works and first album Satanic Royalty, he probably has to put plenty of effort in it. ‘No Mercy for Mayhem’ is a little bit slower as a whole than any of his earlier works but is still really intense and among the very best of 2014.
Midnight – Woman of Flame
.

vampp4. Vampire – Vampire
The evergreen Swedish death metal scene shows once again what the Swedes are capable of. One of nowadays’ best old school-styled death metal album for sure!
Vampire – The Fen
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.

rangg5. Ranger – Shock Skull
Finnish old school speed metallers with crushing live performances. If you don’t understand the hype around them, listen to Shock Skull and afterwards you most likely will.
Ranger – Shock Skull
 .
.

acc6. Accept – Blind Rage
Nice to see the German heavy metal veterans being still as strong and enthusiastic as ever. It really is a delight listening to Blind Rage!
Accept – Final Journey
.
.
.

nocwi7. Nocturnal Witch – Summoning Hell
Bestial German black/thrashers rising with their first album. I’d say it is worth buying.
Nocturnal Witch – Black Star
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.
.

riot-unl8. Riot – Unleash the Fire
Awesome to hear the old guys still in such a good condition. Aand… Johnny the seal is back in one of his funniest forms ever.
Riot – Metal Warrior
.
.
.

port-cross9. Portrait – Crossroads
With their third album in 2014, the Swedish heavy group well-known among quite a few Mercyful Fate-follower bands in the country came up with a record fulfilling every expectation and beating out many other competitors.
Portrait – In Time
.
.

noct-storm10. Nocturnal – Storming Evil
Even though I personally liked both of Nocturnal’s earlier albums better, ‘Storming Evil’ was still a great album worth mentioning amongst the top ones from 2014. One of my favorite female vocalists, all hail Hell Tyrannizer!
Nocturnal – Rising Demons

Festival report of Live Evil 2014

liveThis year I visited Live Evil in London from the 17th to the 19th of October, the festival noted of its incredible atmosphere, company and all-night-long-lasting party. These three (for us four) days for me were exactly as expected: the best few days of the year.
I’d take the chance to write a few words about my impressions of the bands I’ve seen.

The festival started with the pre-show on Friday 17th in the Boston Music Room with 4 intense bands. The rising German thrash band Division Speed started at around 6 pm with their energetic performance and with already fairly a lot of people in the crowd; followed by the also intense UK heavy-metallers Amulet whose music is quite impressive, yet the voice of vocalist Jamie was less to my liking. The thirdly performing currently popular Finnish speed band Ranger was among the highlights with their overwhelming energy and crazy-going audience until the very end – full moshpit and headbanging people everywhere. The last band of the pre-show, the cruel Norwegian blackened thrash group Deathhammer also did their job perfectly: they got the people moving and partying with their fast and furious death/black/thrash tracks.

Right at the beginning of the second – for me probably the best – day of Live Evil, as I don’t exactly understand the hype around the Spanish all-female heavy metal band Lizzies, I left their show out along with the secondly performing hard rock/heavy metal group Wytch Hazel and had an also cool time drinking. What I firstly got to see in The Dome was the Swedish Mercyful Fate-followers Portrait with so much energy that I felt blown away by the end – since this was my first time seeing the band, they were surely one of the biggest surprises for me. The sounding was also a lot better in The Dome’s hall than in the smaller one of Boston Music Room, so that every band (except for Nocturnal) could manage to sound almost perfectly.

Nocturnal – Photo: David Edward Lloyd-Jones

After Portrait I got to see a few songs from the killer German black/thrash Nocturnal Witch in the smaller hall, unfortunately no more than 3 since they started before Portrait ended and they finished after Nocturnal started. Still, what I saw was convincing – these guys know how to play some old school black/thrash, as I could already hear on their record from 2014, ‘Summoning Hell’.
I believe the German (blackened) thrashers Nocturnal‘s show was a bit a of a disappointment for everybody this time: Tyrannizer’s voice couldn’t be heard properly and the sounding as a whole turned into some kind of a mess at some parts. Personally, I could say I’m a great fan of the band and I also know most of the lyrics, yet this time some of the songs weren’t even recognizable at first. (– Hopefully they are going to be better at Raging Death Date 2015, though.)

Luckily after this little low point we got to probably the most effective performance of the festival: Morbus Chron. I did think this pretty popular Swedish death band would give a great show just as usual, but what these guys did this time left me speechless. They played both the furious, brutal and the obscure, magical parts of their songs extremely passionately, once letting the listener to go crazy and then putting them in absolute trance. I knew they were going to concentrate on their second album from 2014, ‘Sweven’, but it still surprised me that they only played 1 song off their flawless old school-sounding first album – and in the end I still say I didn’t mind it, as the ending of Morbus Chron’s show was something I’ve never experienced before. At the slowing, finishing part of the last song when drummer Adam didn’t have any more work to do, he stood up, saluted the crowd and walked off stage, slowly followed by every other member except guitarist Edvin who stood on stage and played the last slow, passionate guitar riff by himself. After he finished, there was silence for two seconds and then they got probably the most sudden and loudest cheers through the 3 days of the festival.
Morbus Chron’s music is not for everyone, but I think those who wanted to understand what they were doing certainly had an awesome time there.

Morbus Chron’s last song:

 

I didn’t think for a moment that this could not get any better as we still had Antichrist and Manilla Road left on Saturday, and happily I was right: with Antichrist‘s show the day did get even better.

For me it was the first time seeing these Swedish old school-style thrashers but I’ve heard a lot about the intensity of Antichrist in live – I can’t do anything but approve, it was sick. Right away when the first song started my mind literally got flooded with adrenaline, I fought and couldn’t get out from the pit for the whole time, surrounded by crazy people with exactly the same feeling. Neither did the band nor the crowd lose from their energy, the show was a 40 minutes long complete devastation, just by the way we like it. There probably aren’t many thrash metal bands nowadays who can create this old school kind of atmosphere both on their albums and in live, I actually think the experience of Antichrist in live can be close to how the early shows of the band’s biggest influence, Slayer could have been in the 80s.

As you can already guess, for me the Swedes were the absolute winners on Saturday.

Mark “The Shark” Shelton – Photo: David Edward Lloyd-Jones

After Antichrist I did an interview with Robert and Dag from Morbus Chron [read it here] so I had to miss the first 2-3 songs of the mighty old heavy/power band Manilla Road. When I got back, vocalist Brian “Hellroadie” Patrick was encouraging the audience and singing the beautiful old classics with high energy, while the mighty Mark “The Shark” Shelton tore the place up with his guitar – then the pretty lengthy yet not for a moment boring show reached its top immediately as Shelton himself took the microphone and started delivering the old classics on his unmistakable voice. Most likely the only disadvantage I could mention was that Patrick was just talking and talking and thanking everyone for almost like one minute between every song which turned into being a little annoying as we reached the end – but well, at least it seems like he still has more energy at 48 than the whole crowd together! The ending with two or three of the biggest classics from ‘Crystal Logic’ and the huge musical experience throughout the entire show didn’t leave anyone with one bad word about these four heavy metal lords.

Sunday was given an absolutely energetic start by the young Swedish heavy metal/punk band Nightmare City: I can’t be sure how many people knew their material in the crowd but they surely got a bunch of maniacs moving. Had to miss (had to drink) the Italian blackened thrashers Bunker 66 and the hard rock guys Lecherous Gaze although as I read they were both truly powerful. What I really didn’t want to miss was the old Brazilian Vulcano that got everyone going crazy again by playing their black/death/thrash songs from the past in a very surprisingly enthusiastic and impressive way. They were loud, they were cheerful and Louzada’s vocals sounded absolutely evil. Roughly at the end of their performance they got Nifelheim joining them on stage for 1-2 songs which gave another incredible boost to their show, my face was almost covered with blood as we reached the end (since I got my nose bleeding at the beginning) and still couldn’t stop ‘partying’ and feeling awesome.
After this carnage (for me literally :D) the old NWOBHM band, Quartz (with keyboard player Geoff Nichols mostly known of playing in Black Sabbath for 23 years) took the stage to play some classics, deliver a few ancient riffs of theirs and perform a nice tribute to Dio-era ‘Heaven and Hell’ by Black Sabbath. The ‘oldies’ started dynamically yet lost some of their energy afterwards – I’d say it still was a performance worth to see, though.

Nifelheim – Photo: David Edward Lloyd-Jones

And then eventually we got to the show everyone was waiting for: Nifelheim. People were waiting for the Iron Maiden fanatic Swedish black-thrashers not just throughout these 3 days but also a lot more than planned between Quartz and them – at least Maiden’s album Seventh Son of a Seventh Son already span almost 2 times as the gods finally started. But of course it was worth the wait, one of the tops of the festival (again, as usual): fast, loud and unbelievably powerful gig with a perfect setlist and with fighting and crazy-going crowd right away, without a single person isn’t moving.

Sick shows, sick people, an unexplainable atmosphere and a fitting end for such a musical massacre of 3 days. Definitely going next year too unless I lose my leg etc, so expect another review in roughly one year!