Location: Leeuwarden (Netherlands)
By: Sabine van Gameren
This year there are quite some changes for Into The Grave. A new layout of the area, a third day… something that set some questions, but when the doors opened it all looked promising.
Opening Into The Grave this year was up for For I Am King. Quite a bunch of people came early so the band had enough to play for. The Dutch formation from Amsterdam made name the past years by playing numerous shows. Their eagerness is helping them also today.
Where at first the band is getting slow response you can see that the mood is changing quickly. The first headbangers are warming up. Their lady up front is making the most impression with her vehement vocalstyle and yet she can get the rest of the band along. Performance wise they are much more timid but musically they lay down a solid background. Nice one to start with!
Sworn Enemy is the first band that gets to play on the second stage. It is the first year that Into The Grave has this stage and on the first day it is dedicated to Hardcore. Perfect fit for the New York hardcore formation. Recently the band released their new album “Gamechanger” which is their sixth full length.
What you quickly come to realize that this band is a bit of a mix, the hardcore and some more metal, but with their older songs being a bit more at ease the newer material seems to have a certain agression in it that draws attention. Throw in some break downs and then you get the picture. At this stage they are perhaps a bit early, the audience is not getting too wild by their set, which is a pity. However to compare it with the later acts it is making sense. The guys could have brought it with a bit more passion. Not bad, but not a top show either.
Masters of Prong are playing next. The band has been around for many yearsand has had countless of different line ups, their latest change being the addition of drummer Aaron. It looks like they are in a good mood, with full joy they are going about on the stage.
Their groovy tunes are bringing good vibes to the festival and with over 10 albums on the counter they have enough to choose from. The energy the band puts into it is returned by the audience. For us the past shows of Prong we were always a tad bit boring to watch, regardless the music being played excellent. This show at Into The Grave raises much above that, so they went beyond expectations. Good show!
No Turning Back is a Dutch band which we have seen quite some times through the years. They never disappoint but the last time our paths crossed had been a while. With a large winged devil on their backdrop they make their statement. They are here to tear the place down and so they were on their mission. It did not take them long to connect with their audience.
The band includes some vehement riffing which is hard to miss. The right in your face method. Combine that with some perfectly controlled vocals and a steady backing from the rest of the band and the picture is complete. They ended up being one of our favorites of the day.
Up next was Soilwork. Seeing the band always felt like a gamble, either you are lucky to see a good show or you are stuck with the complete opposite. In the past few years they seem to have stabilized and also musically they have chosen a slight different path. It works for them, today we are watching a show that seems played with passion. The guys are eager to play and that makes it nice to see.
However, the classic songs they play are maybe not coming out best in the way they play it now. It feels like the strength is out of it. The newer songs are more suitable but those are not the largest crowdpleasers. Bit of a dilemma so to say. But if we look at the overall picture we think the guys did well. If the audience gets along with their more recent work they will raise beyond their status. That may be a while but they are right on their way.
Dog Eat Dog is bit more funk mixed with nostalgia. The band is also well aware of that. They communicate a lot with the audience, introduce the band members and with that it is all good.
They do have plenty of audience though. Their reputation drew people in and some die hard fans are around banging their heads from the first second they were on staged. The guys joke around a bit, coming onstage with a watergun and cool down their audience. Classics like “Rocky” and “Pull My Finger” score well here today. Even the lesser known tracks are scoring well here today. Good vobes hereon the second stage. A full house on the small square is partying!
Hypocrisy is a Swedish formation by Peter Tägtgren. The band makes Melodic Death and has been doing that for many years. They have not released any material recently though. From word of people we spoke it seems that people saw them as the surprise of the day which we don’t quite understand.
We always saw good shows from this band so we knew what we are for. Sure the band is rather static, not the most entertaining to watch, but what they do not bring out in performance they put into the music. And that makes up for all. Peter’s heavy vocals are giving the music its intense edge but with the fast playing of the riffs it gets completed. For people who have not seen the band before to feel surprised with the intensity is not a shocker to us. The band simply delivered the quality we are used to from them. Always a pleasure to see Hypocrisy.
It was rather full at the square in front of the second stage. Sick of it All was scheduled to play and the hardcore formation draws people in. We know we can expect some jumping around and that is exactly what we are going to get. Last year the band released their album “Wake the Sleeping Dragon!” so we are getting to hear some material from that.
The band speaks to the audience to hype them up, but the energy is going around quite well. With their biggest hits also present in their set it is not a surprise to see it going wild quickly. It is a bit of a pity too a band like this on the smallest stage.they would have suited perfectly on the mainstage as well. Unfortunately some people were disappointed by not getting to see the band as the place was full. But, atleast theycould already find a good spot for the headliner.
The headliner, that was Anthrax. After seeing them play a perfectly entertaining show at Tuska earlier this year we were looking forward to see them again. Although being around for long they still have the eagerness and joy of a young band so also today at Into The Grave it was lovely to see them.
Again we are listen to some Iron Maiden as intro. Then we are “Caught In A Mosh” and the crowdsurfers are arriving at the front. The audience lives it as they sing it. Also classics like “Medusa” and “indians” are played. Good to see is the diversity of their fans. Anthrax seem to attract also the younger generation which makes this the perfect closer of the first day.
Things were changing this year at Into The Grave and people were not always too happy about it, but the second stage is giving a lot of opportunity to grow. A good base to grow on. And it was not that bad at all!