25 May 2024

29-07-2023 Stonehenge Festival

Location: Steenwijk, The Netherlands

A new edition of Stonehenge this year and the weather forecast was a bit depressing. A lot of rain, but the good thing about Stonehenge is that you won’t be sliding through the mud as the festival takes place on a parking lot.

Note: 19 bands seen and photographed… one crewmember there. To make the review in a readable length some parts may be shorter than you are used to from us. Join our team if you think you could assist next time!

So, a good preparation and a good mood packed and off we went to Steenwijk. When we arrived the first band that we could see was Serial Butcher. The guys had a good trip of their own, being based in Belgium. The band has been founded in 1995 to make some Brutal Death Metal and some small releases have seen light through the years. Two full lengths have been released in 2010 and 2015 and then we have not seen anything from them anymore. Today they were showing themselves eager to play for the crowd. And even though it is still in the morning, the audience shows up in time to see the bands, so they have enough people to entertain. Whether new material lays ahead of them is unknown though.

Mouflon is the one we wanted to see as have seen them following our Instagram and so we got curious about this formation. (yes, following and interacting with us helps.) The guys are from Arnhem and make a combination of Doom and Death. They have been around since 2012 and last year they managed to release their second full length album called “Pure Filth”. What we liked about this band is that they have an expressive performance, you have to put no effort in feeling the weight of each word coming in by just looking at them. A powerful performance on a stage that had to be swept before their show after a heavy downpour had taken place right before their set. Looking forward to a more extended rendezvous next time!

Then we would see some Belgian Death Metal hitting the stage. This time it was Fractured Insanity that comes up to show is their rage and the band has got a good discography to choose from. Four full lengths came out on their name, the last one called “Massive Human Failure” is from 2020. Show wise they have not left a specific mark in our memory, meaning that we it is in themed range of our ranking if we had to make one. They were not as expressive as Mouflon was but also not too idle. At this point we decided to go for a drink after halfway their set.

Skullhog has been driving up from South NL to Steenwijk. The band has been around under this name since 2006. So far only one album has been released and it got out in 2012. They furthermore don’t seem to be very active either so in a way it was nice the audience got to see this band but if you hope for more of that you might feel disappointed.

Gutwrench is even more obscure perhaps. Around since 1992 and just two demo’s and compilation material out in the open. A Dutch formation making Death.

Coming from a bit further away are Fleshless. The guys are from Czech Republic and seemed accustomed to touring. The guys have released quite some material since 1993, we have counted at least nine full length studio releases and the guys seem eager to perform some of that here today. It is interesting to see how they get their following along, some movement within the crowd happened and it seems to ignite them even more. One of the surprises of today.

Tortharry is also from Czech Republic and has an equally long list of albums out. The last one dates 2021 and the band provides us with some material from throughout the whole range of their discography.

Doomas was one of our favorites today. The band makes Melodic Doom/Death and they have a feeling for how to bring a show. Starting it up with some masks the guys are doing just a bit more to have the atmosphere come across than others. But that is not where it ends. Their set is based on a solid sound that runs over you and leave an impression. The balance the guys have in the whole is just working out perfect. So let’s look at them further. They are from Slovakia and founded in 2006. Earlier this year the guys released their third full length album “R’lyeh” so they had something new to present to us as well.
Impressive set, we hope to see them around much more in Europe as they were certainly on the top here today.

Purgatory was perhaps a bit disappointing today. The Death Metal formation has been around for many years and has quite a name out there. And when I say disappointing, I do have to clarify that I was not watching a bad show. What I missed was a certain eagerness, a spark of energy on the stage that was lacking a bit here today, just not feeling it today. The guys released their album “Apotheosis of Anti Light” last year and since the album felt well with us, we hoped for more today.

Cote d’aver has been seen on this festival before. However, it appears that today will be their last show, the band is ready to give it their all for one last time. Their iconic outfits have even reached the presenter of the day and with some good grindcore the band go through their set with joy. The audience is seemingly having a good time, moshing around and we can surely say the band will be missed.

The Italians of ADE are bringing us something else and with their outfits and a lively memory to theater day on Into The Grave we were hoping it would serve us something less dramatic. Within a minute we knew enough, these guys have enough vehemence in them to keep the focus on the music present as well. Death Metal with Folk influences… the Ancient Rome to be as a point of inspiration but brought to you without any disbalance between performance and sound. Refreshing!

Time for some Black Metal. Asagraum hits the stage and with an eager audience in front of them it does not take much effort for them to get the atmosphere going.

The band was founded in 2005 and has a hybrid line up as it seems. This year the band comes with a live release called “Rituals in The Dark Temple” so if the performance here was to your liking this is something to look into. We can recommend as the band is steady here today.

Stillbirth is a band that raised our eyebrows. German surf we get to hear when they are announced and with their swim shorts of the get on stage. Stomping around on stage we get some core influences into it. The response of the audience on this was a bit meager. It does not seem that there is a big dislike but they also don’t have the same enthusiasm as we have seen before. Understandable, as for us it was a bit too much of choreographed silliness rather than a show that brings something surprising or unique. If we want something silly like that, please rebook Gutalax again, last years show of these guys was a gamechanger whereas these guys just did not reach that level of entertainment.

The Swedish LIK was up next. These guys are usually quite steady with their show and today was not any different. You know exactly what you will get and it is not much more than that we got. Death Metal without too much theater around it. Simply music. The band did not release anything since 2020 when their third full length “Misanthropic Breed” came out so the material was quite known.

Unfortunately we did not see their whole set as we were getting ourselves something to eat. (the BBQ stand remains the best!)

Ingested was also missed for a bit for that reason but we know better than to skip these lads from UK. Their passionate Death comes with a good dose brutality, so it shakes up the festival a bit. By now the area is pretty much full so the guys make a good impact here today. Last year the guys released “Ashes Lie Still” which was album number seven for them. Today they have plenty to choose from but obviously we get to hear some of that newer material here. The band’s vocalist is a person that makes you feel the weight of each word deeply and with a solid sound behind him, Ingested plays a convincing set here today.

“All Heads Are Gonna Roll” by Vomitory has served us well so when we spotted this band on the line up we were certainly enthusiastic. The guys are full of energy as well so that is a good match. It comes to notice that the band is having a lot of ease in their performance and that makes sense as they are active since 1989. The guys know exactly at what place they should have each element, putting stress on guitars when needed and switching flawlessly to having the vocals more upfront for the impact they desire. A pleasure to see these experienced Swedes play there set here today.

Possessed is a band that obviously many people were looking forward to see and with a good smile on their faces they enter the stage. The band had some periods of being split up but now active since 2007 again. A combination of Death and Thrash is what they do and when it comes to studio releases, they are perhaps not too active. Yet they seem to have a good live reputation and that is understandable. We have some good riffs to listen too, surely drawing our attention most, and the loving way the band is interacting with each other makes it seem they are a tight team. Nice to see!

Autopsy is another level and that was something we got to see right away. The band is talkative today. Some words with the audience and responding to whatever individuals are bringing in. Here and there the band is a bit troubled with some sound issues, but they surely weren’t the only ones today. It does not seem to take them down. With good spirits they perform their Death Metal for us as they have been doing since 1987. Last year the guys dropped “Morbidity Triumphant” upon us, of which they played quite some songs, but here and there the guys also dig into their discography to bring some of their classics along. Great show, diverse set. One of the highlights of the day.

Hypocrisy had a bit of bad luck, their bass player had his flight canceled so last minute they had to play with the bass on tape. The band wanted to communicate that clearly and it speaks for them that they give it a go anyway. The band had a long set to go and while the focus was on their latest album “Worship” they also brought in some older material. While the sound of Hypocrisy is a bit slower than some other bands it is interesting to see they are programmed as the closer of the evening. Yet, the band has an intense way of performing. It is quite active and yet they have to be a bit more static due to the setup. Frontman Tägtgren blends nicely with the sci-fi theme you see coming back in the graphics on stage. In other projects of him we have seen it as well, it draws him out. So, maybe the show of Hypocrisy was not how they had planned it at first, but with their professionalism they have adepted perfectly and managed to play a great show here tonight.

Links:

Stonehenge Festival