After a fantastic first day it was going to be hard to top the level of quality offered on the Friday but the organizers were ready with a line-up to die for.
Their costumes as primitive as their sound, the australian death metal barbarian featuring a guitarist from Portal came on-stage half naked with some fake blood on their torso and proceeded to produce cavernous death metal. The sound was not crystal clear but the performance did not need such a sound to sound right. The complete opposite of Portal.
Still playing behind a massive wall of smoke with only little red lights on their forehead, the french metal band now plays with a much better sound than in their young days. Consequently, their performance is less intimate but more powerful which benefits their, now completely, black metal sound with a postcore rythm. They offered here the best performance I have seen them play but it’s still frustrating to only hear material from the, otherwise excellent, last album, Animale(s), instead of a selection of tracks from Nihiliste(s). Thankfully, we still get treated to Ces belles de rêve aux verres embués (from Mort(s) née(s)) before the hand.
The British death metal band can do no wrong and they prove it once again with a very solid set concluded by now classic Seven coils.
The duo’s set suffered because of technical problems but even with a five minute technical break it was obvious to hear why these guys have become the darlings of the underground. A very good set of no-frills old school death metal with a good cohesion between the two musicians. Makes you wonder why there are not more bands like this.
It’s been eleven years since Goatsnake had release new music and you would be excuse for thinking they might have lost their touch. Thankfully, they haven’t which makes their performance tremendous. Band frontman Pete Stahl possesses the stage and takes no time to grab the audience’s attention with some unhinge stage moves. The rest of the band on the other band provides a solid and groovy back drop for the singer. The result is a collection of tunes, old and new, that all sounds like classics.
After the melodies and the down-to-earthiness of Goatsnake, it’s time for the complete opposite with Australia’s most awaited band, Portal. The reputation of the bands makes them one not to miss and too many people are crammed into the smaller room next to the main stage. Thankfully, the uncompromising sound that comes out of the amp makes some people flee after just one song. For the ones who stayed, the band offered a disturbing performance with very little breaks in between compositions, each one performed with precision and violence. Not even a slight move of the singer to pull back his mask on could break the magic. This band looks like they come from another world and the music only confirms this impression when you witness the speed with which the guitarist moves their finger on their instruments. Despite being an experience I would not want to experience too frequently considering how demanding and morbid this show was, I can only say that my years of waiting for Portal to do the kind of show I wanted them to do have been rewarded ten folds.
In comparison, Pig Destroyer‘s set of sludge was very relaxing but absolutely not uninvolving. After grinding their way through an hour long slot the day before, they choose to perform their song Jennifer behind a projection of a short experimental film. Pictures and sounds meshed together quite well and the keyboard/sampler player proved to be finally useful for something to create the appropriate soundscape as J.R. Hapes narrated the whole performance with his twisted poetry. Scott Hull‘s riffs took a back seat by offering more Godflesh inspired riffs rather than the thrash onslaught he has been known for in both Pig Destroyer and Agoraphobic Nosebleed. A lot of people seemed to drift off the performance but those that stayed applauded the band vigorously after the end of the show. A perfect trio of bands and performances.
After such draining shows, it was time for some even more draining music in the form of the drone ritual performed by Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson. I took an hour long break from any shows to rest and witness the hour and forty minutes long performance and I am thankful that I did. After covering parts of Jubilex by Burning Witch (one of Stephen O’Malley‘s previous band), the duo proceeded to hammer out more massive riffs with the help of a keyboard player for more drone soundscapes before Attila Csihar (Mayhem) came onstage to whisper some incantations. Dressed in the traditional monk rob the bands adorns, he provided a welcoming respite for the band to catch, and amps, to catch their breath, before going back into full heavy mode. It was then time for Attila to come back in a robe adorned with pieces of glass (a costume he wears on-stage since 2010) for the last part of the show. As always, SunnO))) are massively ritualistic and uses christian symbols in the name of the riffs. The cups are replaced by guitars and the wine by the loud hums they create. Some where left out of breath after the end of the performance and most were delighted but the musicians seemed even more happy. A purifying ending for this second day after so many involving performances.