If there is one thing to say about the Netherland Death fest, it’s that it’s a festival for the « Metal connoisseur ». From afar, the bill seems to be overflowing with Death metal bands only differentiated by their home country. Coming from one stage to another should feel like a complete blur of down tuned riffs and grunts powered by unstoppable double bass drums. In reality, the people responsible for setting up this whole affair made sure to give some space between the Slam Death metal of Carnivore Diprosopus) and the technical brutality of Malignancy by putting the dark aesthetic of Dead Congregation in-between. Although grouped under one flag, each set felt different and invigorating.
On this second day, the winners were Malignancy, Deathtoll 80k and the mighty Ghoul. I was particularly waiting for Malignancy since I started listening to them ten years ago. Their European trips were quite rare and the only place where they seemed popular were in the boxes of CDs found at the Brutal Assault in the Czech Republic where it seemed like every distributor had to sell at least a copy of Inhuman grotesqueries or Intrauterine cannibalism. Despite their gory lyrics, Malignancy always seemed more like a bunch of goofy guys playing extremely complex Death metal for fun, like a less weed influenced Cephalic Carnage. Their set did not disappoint thanks to the talented musical acrobatics of the rhythm section and a good selection of songs including some exciting material from their new EP that they sadly didn’t have with them.
Deathtoll 80k was discovered by me and my group of friends while checking unknown bands on youtube and Bandcamp. As soon as we heard the first song from Harsh realities, we decided to make a point to check them out but, strangely enough, I was the only one in my group to fell in love (or should I say « in mosh ») with them. Their brand of Grindcore, influenced by Insect Warfare and early Napalm Death, kicked things up hard with some intense songs full of feedback but quickly their guitar player encountered technical problems for at least five long minutes. Then, the drummer lost his stick during the fast part of a song… For a band in a foreign land (these guys are from Finland), this must have been very disheartening to introduce themselves in such a fashion but the crowd was quite supportive and stayed on during the whole, short but, excellent set.
Ghoul brought the day to a close splendidly with a mix of excellent Death Thrash tunes and political satire. Probably the best cocktail you could hope to hear to close the second day of a Death metal festival. Introduced on-stage by a fake Donald Trump like, quickly eviscerated by another costumed character to spread his bloody guts on the front row, the show kicked off in typical Gwar fashion but with more Metal songs. The band then introduced the fake Nazi overlord on the front cover of their latest album (which includes a board game inside), Dungeon bastard, and continued to parody the speech of the new president of the United states. On the musical side, their songs mostly came from the last album with Shred the dead and Ghoulunatics being performed. With their costumed and their pre-recorded banter, the comedy only served as an introduction to songs and the band never forgot to make fun of themselves (for example, by kicking a character representing the spirit of Punk rock by playing « a pretentious instrumental song »). A perfect conclusion for an excellent day.
Other notable performers on this second day were Carnivore Diprosopus and their zany Slam death, Myrkskog and their wall of Black Death metal, performed with the necessary coldness and precision expected for the genre, Defeated Sanity and a set of Atheist inspired Old school Progressive Death metal and General Surgery whose Carcass inspire Death Grind is as fun as ever.
On the other hand, the prize of the worst performance goes to Gorgoroth. The singer’s wristband nails were as long as the double bass drum was high in the mix, and let me tell you, those nails were way too fucking long! Needless to say, it was impossible to listen to anything and I left very fast. As for the fascists of the day, Kerasphorus, featuring members of Revenge and Angelcorpse, I would rather like that the organisation of the festival stop giving them a platform.