Born from the ashes of the Neurotic Deathfest, the Netherland Deathfest was celebrating its the second edition with a bill more focused on Extreme metal than on Extreme music as a whole. The first bill might have put Infest, Blind to Faith, Vitamin X, DropDead and Doom at the top of its bill but it successor only featured Discharge, Martyrdod, and Iron Lung to represent the Hardcore edge of the scene. In their place, a more Metal proposition was on offer with Gorgoroth, Candlemass and Abbath as its headliner. Three bands many attendees had probably seen at other Metal festivals around Europe. To make up for the lack of an exclusive band as it’s top proposition, the festival had to select an array of less popular but equally promising offering to the Metal masses but the promises were kept and delivered. Thanks to an excellent sound for most of the bands and a solid schedule which was, mostly, respected (apart from on the main stage on the first day where bands ended up playing 40 minutes after their due time for unknown reasons).
On the first band, Iron Lung, Martyrdod and Brodequin stole the show while Exhumed, Repulsion and Wormrot offered solid performances. After reuniting in 2015, Brodequin add kept a low profile as far as I was concerned but they took their time to perform their Brutal Technical Death metal at breakneck speed. Even if it may seem contradictory to play technical material with a very low tuning, the onslaught was so hilariously obliterating that it made reconsider my distaste for this band’s output on the album. Martyrdod, on the other hand, is the sound of the revolution in motion and their set offered a selection of songs from their latest output, List, that did not falter their reputation as an essential Crust band. Finally, Iron Lung proved to everyone in attendance that they were capable of sounding even more vital and insane than on the album. Congratulation also to the man who tried to stage dive during one of the slowest songs for bringing a surprising moment of comedy to an otherwise intense and serious performance. Probably one of the most incredible performances of the whole festival!
As far as the more standard performances are concerned, they were only less amazing because of their comparison. Exhumed is still a very reliable Death Grind band even if it would be better for them to start performing new songs instead of their four year old material from their latest, Necrocracy. Repulsion played very well every song they had from Horrified and invited Joacim Carlsson from General Surgery to play guitar on Black breath. Repulsion‘s proto-Grind performance provided also an excellent comparison with Wormrot and their modern take on Grindcore with their Converge influence and their slower riffs. Faster and more emotional, the songs from Wormrot‘s latest, Voices, show how far the trio is expanding their core sound while remaining faithful to the intensity of the genre.
Terrorizer‘s performance with Pete Sandoval (ex. Morbid Angel) on the drums was surprisingly disappointing compared to Terrorizer L.A.’s performance of the same songs in London with Iron Reagan. The songs were played very well and Sandoval proved he could still drum like on his young days but with only three musicians, the main stage felt a bit empty and with the lack of a suitable frontman, it all felt more like a tribute act rather than a real band. Bloodbath, on the other hand, disappointed because of a very cold sound that did not stand in comparison with Martyrdod‘s performance where you could feel all the urgency needed to perform a meaningful set.
This first day was already a great start for a festival that delivered most of its promises compared to last year but there was still two days to make it even better.