Location: Leeuwarden (Netherlands)
We can open the article with telling how happy we are that festivals are taking place after years of absence, but right before the date came by the organization has let us know that people are still a bit careful with buying tickets considering the situation in the world now. Sure, it may not have been a sold-out edition but altogether we can testify it was a great festival experience once again.
Toxik was opening this edition of Into The Grave right here on the mainstage. The band is playing Progressive Thrash and seem to bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm along. After many years of existence, they have released just two records to present to the listener while they are working on new material. These two albums are known well enough amongst the early birds on the festival that took up the front rows. Although the band is mainly piggybacking on their classics, the performance of the band is setting the tone. Their energy is contagious, front man Ron is all over the podium and gives the impression he addresses every single listener on a personal level. With that kind of showmanship, we cannot wait till that next release will see light and that they bring it along the European stages.
The second stage is giving space to Dutch formations today and as an opener the Frysian band Baldrs Draumar is booked. The Folk Metal formation is going round for over a decade and released album “Magnus” in 2019. We have seen these guys a couple of times through the years, and they are an interesting one.
They make the Frysian language, and its tales become more fascinating by the way they bring it. As a Dutchy you may not always follow it all, Frysian is a language on its own, but it does not matter for the convincing way they have in bringing it is making it lively. Their show today is varied and with a local fanbase on the front they have no problems in convincing their audience. For us it was a while ago that we have seen this band from the north but we were pleased to see them on the bill and they did not disappoint.
Back to the mainstage where the Americans of Heathen are waiting eagerly to bring a show. Bay Area Thrash is what they do and those who enjoyed Toxik earlier will probably enjoy this formation as well. During Corona they released the album “Empire Of The Blind” which brought them back from some years of quietness. The band seems to have a slightly more modern approach in their songs, which makes sense as this new album is giving them the opportunity to do so and not being too stuck on the classics. Not that those are forgotten entirely, the guys are performing “Death By Hanging” for example. Most remarkable in the show here at Into The Grave are the guitars and bass, vocals are not always impressing us too much today. But that is just a minor thing, for the overall feel of the show was good.
Graceless has been growing quite a bit the last years. The band from The Netherlands makes Death/Doom and right when the first lock down started the band released their album “Where Vultures Know Your Name”. Not ideal as they have not been able to play the material live a lot. The Into The Grave audience seems eager to see how this release is performed live. In their performance Graceless is rather modest. Letting the music be the main thing and not go to crazy in their show. Sometimes you yearn for a bit more spice and passion into the show, but their calm way of presenting the songs has its charm as well. And the songs are powerful enough to impress. Graceless has found their place in the Dutch metalscene, a good show here today.
The Polish formation Decapitated has released their new album “Cancer Culture” just a few weeks before Into The Grave. A whole new album to perform and a whole bunch of tracks are played live in Leeuwarden. The band had some inspiration from all they had to deal with in the past years, look it up if you haven’t heard about that, and so it comes at no surprise that they come as brutal as they can be. As if they are stronger than ever before.
A powerful performance of the Polish guys as well. With the show being halfway during the festivalday the audience got to good numbers now and it becomes clear that the guys are impressing well. One of the highlights of the day.
With a well decorated stage Cryptosis climbs on. The name is quite young, they renamed from Distillator in 2020, and have released their first album under this name last year. The band makes Progressive Thrash, which is different from what they did under their previous name.
Fans seem to have followed as there were quite some interested people gathered at the Reaper stage. And the band is entertaining to watch. Two screens showing some visuals helping to bring the show alive but the basis is the music that draws attentions. The rest is just extra and may not even be needed considering the riffs the band brings, the compositions which are taking you through the show with flair. But it shows the guys think big. The Reaper stage is not that big yet though. But they will get their big stages for sure. Matter of time.
Peter Pan Speedrock. Every festivalgoer has seen them once before at least we would say, but as the band has been gone for some years a new generation may not be aware of these guys, which seems entirely unthinkable to us. If that be the case than this show in Leeuwarden makes it undone. The Eindhoven rockcity ambassadors. Living legend Dikke Dennis is around to show people some rock and roll. Jumping into the audience, running around naked… yes that is the craziness you can expect from a Peter Pan Speedrock show. As if they were never gone. Always entertaining, no more words needed.
Legion of the Damned has been a stable factor in the Dutch metalscene for long. The Death Thrash formation has a full field in front of them. They could have been a mainstage act but for the guys it does not matter much they simply do what we got to know them from: Playing their shows with skill and finesse. A moshpit goes wild and at some point a bit too much for one of the participants. A short break to bring the man some help and then the show goes on. The band’s latest is dating back to 2019 but judging the amount of people around it seems a perfect time for the guys to come up with something new. Legion of the Damned is good as always. As we said: that stable factor in NL metalscene.
Headliner Carcass is an always welcomed guest on many Dutch festivals and the guys have visited Into The Grave before. The replaced Paradise Lost which had to cancel a while ago. They could not cease to joke around with that, stating they aren’t Paradise Lost hoping the audience wasn’t disappointed. Well, judging by the response that was not the case. The band takes their time for their releases usually, but the last one is from 2021 (“Torn Arteries”) which makes that the band has some new material to play as well.
Good, as the classics of Carcass are always pleasant but with something new the guys are showing that this headliner place is suitably replaced. Jeff Walker is talking a bit with the audience here and there, the interaction that makes people smile. And when classics like “Heartwork” come by the party is complete. No, Carcass is not a bad choice at all. They closed the day perfectly.