Location: Leeuwarden (Netherlands)
The last day of Into The Grave is one that promised to be interesting. Acts like Death To All and Emperor are interesting to see. But also various others before that to enjoy the day with.
First act of today is Space Chaser. They have been around for over a decade and make a combination of Speed and Thrash Metal. The Germans released their third full length album “Give Us Life” last year and are now eager to play some of that to the awakening audience. It seems that the audience needs a bit to warm up to, the first couple songs there is not much response but the enthusiasm of the guys makes that slowly people are feeling it more. The strength of this band is their charismatic frontman and admitting, if it wasn’t for him we would have left the set a bit early for finding coffee/tea.
On the Reaper stage we found the British Stoner/Sludge formation Urne. It is a rather young band, they formed in 2016 and released their debut album in 2021. Quite heavy, early on the day and also here we are not noticing much of acknowledgment from the audience. Maybe because they are not too familiar with these guys yet, but also performance wise they are not the most vibrant to look at.
But taking your time to listen a bit longer and you discover that the guys have a technical approach that is worth mentioning. If they get to grow a bit and find away to have it come alive a bit stronger you could see them here again at some point with a total different outcome. Not bad, but one to watch and see again in a couple of years.
The Belgian Evil Invaders are back at Into The Grave. We have seen them here a couple years ago and now the band is here again at the main stage. Only a few months ago they released their new album “Shattering Reflection” and with the energy that this band is always bringing we were looking forward to their set.
We often saw the guys on smaller stages but they kind of outgrow those at the moment and that is a fact they proven again today. The guys are everywhere and address every single person in the audience. Who, for the first time today, seem to come alive. Guitars are bringing up the speed and the necks are getting exercised. Luckily, the guys are enormous live beasts, that tour quite a bit so we can recommend these guys to all.
It is not a secret that Symphonic Metal is not really my thing so seeing a band like Ad Infinitum on the bill did not really make me enthusiastic. Yet, all needs to be tried and so it was time to give it a go. This formation comes from Switzerland/Germany/Denmark. International it seems. Founded in 2018 and three albums out already. Hard working to get out there, that’s a given. A female touch and a lot of variation is what they bring to the day.
Although their music is not personally my thing there is no denying in that the band knows what they do. I outed the comment “Her voice does not annoy me” to a bystander asking my opinion and that must be the best I could say on that. Translating that to slightly less personal statement that it comes to the fact that she has a wide range, technically knows how to use her voice very well and does not even seem to come to the edge of what she is capable of. That supported with some decent riffing it makes sense that the band gets some well deserved applause and response here today. Well done.
Stoner/Sludge formation High on Fire was one I was specifically curious about. The Americans formed in 1998 and have been around since. Their latest release dates back until 2018 so it was a bit to hope that they would surprise us with something new. The surprise did not really came today, in many ways the show was not raising to the level hoped for. The band played some older material, which seem to do well with the audience, but the guys are much into their playing and it feels a bit like the audience got locked out. The dynamic between the band self is interesting to observe though. Altogether they may not lived up to my expectations, but it was not a bad show.
At the Reaper stage it was time for a red devil to enter the stage, Belgian formation Carnation made his way up north and with their Death Metal they are ready to serve the lovers of some old school Death.
A few days before they released the single “Stench of Death” and they added that to their set today. Some sharp riffs here and there and then the throat of front man Simon make that their vehemence comes across heavily. A proper mosh pit forms and when some crowdsurfers come by the party is complete. Sure, Carnation is not bringing you something you have not heard before, but performing it with the brutality and eagerness of Carnation making it a damn fine band to see live.
Today there was also some Power Metal to see. The Germans of Orden Ogan are around and they have been formed in 1996 so plenty years on the counter. Compared to the ones we saw yesterday these guys are a lot less hysterical which makes it easier for fans of other genres to watch.
This band takes their playing to another level but having that speak for them before anything else and that is quite refreshing to watch. A good vocalist next to some skilled guitarists, yes this surely is pleasant to watch. And most important, it seems that the audience can appreciate these guys as well. Surely, they are a bit lower on the inflatables in the air but instead a beer in the hand is serving just as well.
Credits to these Germans who simply keep doing there thing and not going too crazy.
Gatecreeper is a band that does not need a lot either. Simply making Death metal with some Hardcore elements they have enough power on their hands to roll over the field in front of them. A full field which is eagerly waiting to let off some steam, building that mosh and go wild.
But it appears that not everybody knows the band, at least if we believe their answer when they asked their audience whether they are familiar with them. Seems like people soak it it in, a wall of sound comes by and when that starts to sink in the movement comes round. Vocalist Chase seems it going on and seems like all is going to plan. The ease with how they do it is remarkable, a typical band on a mission to succeed. What a surprise.
Death To All was ready to play on the main stage. The band is going round with the original members as a cover band of the mighty Death to honor and support the family of Chuck Schuldinger, Death’s vocalist, who died of cancer. It is surreal to see how this formation is still going round, as the timespan of Death without Chuck is longer now than the timespan of Death with him, but his legacy has become so huge that there is a crowd, young and old, eager to see these songs played live.
Legendary, we would say, and it is impressive to see these guys putting these songs out there with much joy, knowing there is not new material to be played. Any Death Metal fan around has been watching this and it is clear that Chuck’s legacy is not forgotten about. Songs like “Pull The Plug” are impressing but there is not really anything that is not. A memorable show to have here at Into The Grave!
Last on the Reaper stage is Red Fang. As they are announced a memory to their shows with Black Tusk was shared and that is exactly where we know them from. We are many year beyond that now and the American Stoner formation has passed by quite some times. Their last album “Arrows” got released last year and although some of that can be heard, the guys chosen a set list that covers a bit of all their albums today. For example “Dirt Wizard” from 2011 or “Wires” from that same year are classics that make the fans happy today. A good amount of people came to see them and a lot of them opted to get closer to their heroes via the crowd surfing so the catchers has a good last time of helping them off here. Red Fang shows a worthy closer here today at the Reaper stage.
Honestly I never expected Emperor to be playing at Into The Grave, but here they are. The Norwegian Black Metal formation has gathered quite some fame through the history of the band and when they decided to return with some live shows the fans were happy to see it. It was said no new material would be made and just some live shows here and there would be taking place and so it appears. Calmly they start their show and where frontman Ihsahn with his solo project is leaning more towards the progressive side it is still Emperor we get to hear today from him. “Inno a Satana” being scanted early in their set and it seems plenty fans are around to join it. What is the strength of this show is that Emperor is band that does not need pyro’s, crazy stagesettings or an inflateble duck. Their sound is full enough so you keep listening and trying not to miss a thing, captivating and entertaining enough to go without all that extra.
Not expected but much appreciated ending to this year’s Into The Grave. The first names have been announced already for the next edition and we will keep you up to date when more is made public!