Location: Leeuwarden (Netherlands)
By: Sabine van Gameren
Excentric Crobot is the first band on Saturday. The Rock n roll formation has an interesting mix of sounds. Some proggy touch that makes us think of Bigelf as a reference, the eye is meeting that as well.
Musically the band released album number four this year. “Motherbrain” it is called and it has a wide range of tracks that the band performed also at Into The Grave. But if the music is not immediately hitting you, frontman Brandon is exactly what you need this morning. Shiny clothes, a charisma you can’t ignore and moving around the stage like a Freddy Mercury the guy is certainly drawing attention. Interesting act to start with.
Dutch formation God Dethroned is a band that got their name out well. With some periods of inactivity they have been around since 1991 and with ten full length albums on the counter the guys are having planty material available. The band’s latest release is from two years ago, so it seems they have not felt the need to stick with that one just. Whether it is the older material or the newer the band has brought it all in one line.
The show is waking up the audience, sure the band is not the wildest but the intensity of the music sets people in motion. The early crowdsurfers are around and a bit of moshing is to be seen there also. One thing is sure, God Dethroned is such a stable factor that they never really disappoint. Today neither.
Japanese band Crystal Lake is maybe a bit strange at first. The guys are quite active straight from the start and in the first song it seems that this have occupied them a bit too much, letting the whole getting away from music they play, but then they quickly catch up with that.
It is easy to get hyped up by this band as they are quite energetic but one should be absolutely entertained by watching the drummer just. He has his own style, but is probably not noticed by the majority of the audience. He seems so eager to play and makes a show out of every moment. Lovely to watch and certainly a great add to the band. They were quite unknown when they started but certainly left us with an impression. One to follow, who knows where they will head to.
Battle Beast entertained us well this year at Tuska so we are eager to see them again. So was the audience, judging by the immense cheering when they are announced. Looks like the band is popular. We have seent he band grow through the years. When Noora joined it took a bit to get used to, but she proves herself to be a podium beast as much as a battle beast.
Horny, (yes.. pun…) she stands tall and strong during the show. With little effort she has the audience on her hands and with the playfulness of the rest of the band beside her this band surely will grow to be a headliner act. For now they are doing absolutely great, new album “No More Hollywood Endings” has landed well here and it seems that to many this set was a highlight today.
We are down for Alien Weaponry show number three this season. From small clubstage at Tuska, to mainstage Dynamo to the second stage of Into The Grave. Three different kind of experiences but the band seem to fit in either of them. The New Zealand Thrashers are touring in Europe and have brought their name up to the attention of many.
Making us think a little bit of the early years of Gojira the band is quite playful with their music. Some songs are in English and some are in Maori language with which they give their music an unique sound. The youngsters are making an impression here, the vehemence and energy are soaking in well and it seems like they convinced a bunch of people here today. Was it our favorite show? No, Tuska is the winner for it being so intimate but the guys have done well today.
Tesseract is somewhat different from other acts we see here tonight. They have a bit of an alternative feel to it, while their music is more progressive and technical. The switch from what has played here before and to what they are playing is large, the audience needs some time to adjust to it and seem to respond quite mellow.
The band has released their latest album “Sonder” about a year ago and they seem to have a few people in the audience who have been listening to it.
The performance of the guys is focused on the intensity of the music, but does not really seem to connect with the audience too much. It is a bit of stadiumrock kind of show. but when their vocalist comes down to get closer to the audience it seems like things got a bit better. A pity that it did not work out, because their show was really not that bad.
Jinjer is drawing quite some audience. The square in front of the small stage was full, no more entry allowed, so people decided to exit the festival area and watch the show from the road behind it as much as they could see. Seems like this Ukrain formation is doing something really right. And so we can confirm that.
The band mixes progressive with hardcore and with a fanatic femme up front they draw the attention easily. Her voice is spicy, She can go deep enough to make it sound extreme and with some good guitarist on her side the band is finding a good balance in it. Songs like “I Speak Astronomy” are stuck in mind easily and so we are a bit bummed when the set is over already. Yes, they could certainly pull it off here so a mainstage spot next time perhaps?
Sticking with the progressive we are now waiting for Queensryche, who mixes that with Heavy Metal, to enter the stage. The band has played Leeuwarden before, A couple of years ago they performed sister festival Cityrock. This year the guys came with “The Verdict” in their pockets, having some new material to play for the audience. Take for example “Blood of the Lavant” which seem to match perfectly with what the band released before and yet has some very modern touch to it. Good that the guys can blend it towards the now and stay relevant without giving up what made them as is.
They left the drama behind and are now looking forward with this album and while playing shows as passionate as they did here today we think they will reach even newer generations as well. Surprisingly better than expected even while we were expecting a good show.
German Ost+Front crossed our path already some times, but for many Dutch metalheads they are relatively new. The Germans mix Industrial with metal and a whole lot of show. It is over the top, but just at the edge of being too much. The show is key here. One could too easily pount towards an act like Rammstein, but that just does not hit the target completely.
In any case, the band is bringing a lot extra. Having a guy with a large sombrero or some classic light on the side.. the set is filled with so many items you won’t get bored watching it. Musically, they are maybe not the best band of the day but with the entertainment factor on board they surely found their way to people.
Testament has the habit of making us wait. Technical difficulties all the time. Or at least at the Dutch shows, so one can guess what we have been joking about right before the band was playing. Well, shit got back to us as all was fine and they started on time. The band had a varied set prepared and from the first moment the crowdsurfers were passing by. “Into The Pit” was played and it awakened even more fury at the audience.
Chuck seems quite motivated today and while Eric an Alex are showing off their skills it is surprisingly one of the better shows of the band we saw. The band announced they are currently working on a new release, giving the fans something to look forward to, expected for the new year ahead. So, Testament was better than thought this time, lovely!
Lacuna Coil had their biggest hits with the “Comalies” album but never stopped releasing albums. Most recently the album “Black Anima” came out and they are touring again. As we expected the square is full again and when the band enters the stage a lot of cheering follows.
Lady up front Cristina is wearing a red dress and draws a lot of attention with that, but also the rest of the band appears to be quite theatrical. Bassist Marco is also claiming some spotlight as well vocalist Andrea. Makes it a bit of a battle upfront sometimes but the band is always getting it together. The refrain from playing their most known songs, giving the focus to the newer material and it suits them well. They did well here today.
Meshuggah is playing at the mainstage and although it is still quite light during their stagetime they brought some extra lights with them. With that they are putting down a nice lightshow, which is a good add to their set as the band self is not that entertaining to watch. Musically, it is a whole different story. Technically they are very controlled and playing a tight set. Joy to listen to, but would be more with a bit more of that show element in there. What Ost+front has a bit too much could be swapped with Meshuggah then?
It also has been a while since we saw a new release from these Swedes, 2016 was their latest. A pity as musically this band never disappoints. So, altogether we enjoyed the set, but it was totally ok to have dinner during it and just have the music to listen to. The show could be just that thing to make it next level with them.
Sacred Reich was on our wishlist for today. Strangely they were scheduled on the small stage. Founded in 1985 the Thrash Metal formation has been lately. A split an ep and a full length album have been coming out this year. Good, their previous full length was 1996 so it was about time we would say.
The band seems eager today and speaks out to be happy to perform new material to the audience today. It is interesting to see as the set is really diverse. From the oldest to their newest songs and all that is in between, but the band has given it a more modern approach. So sometimes it feels like going back and forth but in the end you feel like you have seen the whole picture.
The guys proves that they are still relevant by playing an energetic and strong set today. Would have loved to see it on a larger stage.
Powerwolf has headlined Into The Grave before. This year the band released an album full of covers, but about a year ago they also had an album which is full of their own songs. Plenty to hear from the guys and they are ready to show us why they are a great headliner. With lots of fire in their show the band is quite a spectacle to watch. Vocalist Attila Dorn is throwing flames around and knows how to get the audience along.
Playing songs like “Demons Are a Girl’s Best Friend” or “Killers With the Cross” the band shows that they can step beyond what they did before. The “Blessed and Possessed” era we have seen too much of. Now the band is showing us a solid and progressing side of themselves. A good show and great closure of this Into The Grave Saturday.