29-07-2017 Stonehenge festival
Right up to Steenwijk, where Stonehenge Festival was about to take place. A home for thei heavier sides of Metal. Many bands were ahead, and… wouldnt you miss anything? Well get up early then. First band plays at 10.00 in the morning.
Unfortunately we had some earlier appointments, but made it in time for the band Korpse. And there we go, baptised in brutality. Founded in 2013, but you wouldnt guess that these guys are only having four years on the counter, for they perform with flair. Agression heats up and the audience seems to have gathered themselves already early, so there were many to witness them.
It is a pity that the bands all play relatively short sets, for a band like Doomas we would have enjoyed a bit longer. They are coming all the way from Slovakia and go more into the Melodic Doom. Melody is a bit snowed under by all gore, death and brutality today, so in that way they are a bit unique. They take some effort in creating a show, but on a bright day it is harder to come across when you go for the intense darkness they were after.
Soon after that we are watching Braincasket, quite a difference. They formed in 2007 and make Brutal Death Metal. The guys are from the North of Netherlands and have crossed our paths before. Today they have a guest vocalist with them, which is a bit of a strange guy, that nevertheless has some impressive add to the show. A show that we will remember!
Disabuse are perhaps less on the show but they are giving their focus more to the music. Their Crossover is remarkable and seems to bring something unique to the day. They have been around for 30 years, so they have enough material created to draw from. A little celebration perhaps, but although the music keeps us watching, they could have brought it a bit more alive on this stage, getting the max out of it rather than leaving us with a feeling that there is more to them than we saw today.
With all these metalguys around us, we are pleased to see a woman upfront as well, but don’t be mistaken, this ain’t no fairytale metal, that lady has so much vehemence and passionate emotion in there, that she blows many away with the intensity she gives. Death Metal which grabs you. Though, Altar fans are probably on the watch, the band has split up twice before, so seeing them is one thing but seeing them again?! Well, the fans were obviously happy to see them.
All the way from Czech Republic is Tortharry. Another Death metal formation hitting the stage at Stonehenge. As wild as Altar was, as calm are these guys. Very controlled. somewhat timid and musically well thought compositions are on the base of success for these guys. As a show it may not be the most interesting, just somehow the intensity does not really come across here today. But after 25 years the guys certainly have build a nice set. Perhaps if the guys had just a bit more time, the audience would have warmed uo a bit more as well.
Thrash Metal bands Evil Invaders is a well loved formation at the moment. The guys go strong, they play so many festivals and their shows are entertaining, energetic and warming our hearts. So they did that again this time. The Belgians are living up to their reputation and some people consider their set one of the highlights of the day. So did we. Their music makes even the ones who are not into Thrash particularly enjoying themselves and we encourage that greatly!
After them Evil Invader it was time to get some food, but there was queue for the tokens, meaning we had to miss Beheaded, but back in time for Hideous Divinity. They had something to put straight with Stonehenge, some years ago, when the weather was quite a disaster they were forced to quit during their set, but now was the perfect opportunity to finish it today. A Death formation that seemed keen to be back, played a well performed set her today.
Kraanium was playing next. The band is playing here today with a banner on their stage for their vocalist Martin, who committed suicide earlier this year. The band plays to honour him and although the atmosphere was a bit tense the guys are putting a lot of strength into the music they play. The audience seems to appreciate, some are some are not aware of what has been going on. Nevertheless, the band went on and although the show must go on, they show that Martin is part of them still.
Dead Head is next. Thrash with charisma, the guys have been around since 1989 and take a classic approach. Yet, the guys are doing what they do and make it look like effortless. A very relaxed way of performing, entertaining for the guys seem to have a lot of joy being there today. Digging deep in their discography the band gives us a a fine selection today. Most recently we got “Swine Plague”from them which got a nice highlight as well.
Seen all that, Absu is the first band today that has to suffer from the rain and its effect of people seeking dryer places rather than sticking in front of the stage. Absu plays refined and dark black music, and it takes perhaps a bit for people get the grabs of it, for you listen with a bit more care when the guys are playing, not to miss out on the details. Yet, the guys are playing a solid show. It sparks the interest and it seems that not everyone feels like walking away from them when the water starts pooring.
Benighted, a Deathgrind formation from France, is a rather cheery one. They seem so eager to play and are wasting no time to make a connection with the audience. A select group bothers to watch. But the group grows well during the set. A little moshpit starts and it seems that the energy comes across, unfortunately we did not see the whole set of them guys, but we would certainly do next time for their enthusiasm is making is curious what effect they have when playing a full set.
Krisiun was a band which seem a bit disappointing. Maybe it was our expectations that were a bit different but it seems that the guys do their show in a well memorized routine. They were there, but were they really there? The music they play is interesting but we hoped the band would live it a bit more while being on stage. Not the highlight we hoped it would be.
For entertainment you have Macabre. They are telling you stories about murder, brought in Death/Grind entourage. During the show of these guys you become a bit forgiving for the pouring rain, having some fun with the show, some weird characters drop by to paint the picture and although the guys are seemingly having a good time, not everyone in the audience feels it worth getting soaked for. Sure, the show has some points pro and con, but Macabre is maybe a bit more about the show than just the music anyway.
Them Swedish… Marduk. Wll, the Black Metal guys seem appreciative for seeing people stick around for their show. And they could have chosen to stay a bit on the back of the stage themselves but they don’t, getting close to the edge, getting totally soaked themselves they are truly giving it their best. Good, we may not be completely sure about their bassist as he seems to be walking around a bit unstable, but hell he delivers it anyway. Knowing that todays photographer was alone, for this huge job with many bands and preference went to keeping the gear a bit dry in one of the deserted merch stands, we can only judge by the sound for the second half of the show, for the found shelter did not have stage view unfortunately. But it seems like the guys gave their all to put up a show for the dedicated ones that stuck around.
Godflesh. They are different. Industrial Metal. No drummer… ok. From experience, that can go two ways. People really dig it, or people absolutely hate it. For the ones who were around we would say they tendency went to liking that band. People were jumping, headbanging, dancing around in front of the stage right at the point that we wondered, could the rain get any worse? Plus for them is the videoart they had on there, giving the whole a bit more dynamic, totally suitable for the music and a true add. A pity that by now the majority of people have left already, for this looks like it could have been a big party when the area was full.
Carcass got on board only shortly before the festival when Morbid Angel had to cancel their show. But Carcass is a band we like to see, and although only a handful of people were around, let’s say 200 maybe 300 max. They still played a full show. While waiting for the guys to start playing one of the girls frontrow shows me her nailart, the backdrop of Carcass. So seems that the dedicated ones are still there. The band has some issues, but at some point we hear Jeff say: “We can’t wait any longer” and then they start playing. And with full passion and appreciation they play. The band keeps it going strong, not wasting any time in between, but raging on and playing some of their live bests for the audience. But, the guys are not giving it up too fast. An encore follows.. a long one. The people that have waited it out are getting worth waiting for! A bit of a private and intimate show froma band like Carcass, that’s worth rain after all.
So a pity that the weather was not working along, but overall it was a good day. Many interesting bands have played, but most simply too short for our likings. So see it a bit like a showcasing event, know what to choose for when the clubseason starts again!