Location: Steenwijk (Netherlands)
By: Wouter van de Kamp
Due to circumstances I wasn’t able to make it to the first band and was about to miss the first part of the second band. The first band didnt have my personal interest and the second one turned out to have cancelled their gig due to vocal problems of their singer. I actually expected to have to spend most of the day on my own but soon I found a guy whom I know and together we caught our first beer in anticipation of Fuelblooded.
I have known this band from 1998 on under their old name Sacramental Sachem but hadn’t seen them live, but this band already started off in 1989, which could clearly be seen on stage. This is one of the more adult metal bands in their genre, which could be named as melodic death-/thrash metal. Great performance and very good sound. This was promising for the coming bands.
Next up was Defeated Sanity. I never heard of the band and since I was very VERY hungry I didn’t take the time to check them out properly.
And then their was the first band I was really eager to see. The band that begun as a sideproject as a mere and utter joke but turned out to be a great succes: Kutschurft (Cuntscabies). With songtitles like Neuk Je Oma in dr Stoma (Fuck Your Grannny in her Stoma) and Bruut Anaal Genomen in een Overvolle Dixie (Brutally Fucked Anally in an Overflowing Chemical Toilet), they meanwhile got quite some national fame. And that became directly clear when their intro started off, being their selfcovered carnavalversion of Met je Kanus in mn Anus (With Your Face in My Anus). Part of the crowd singing along and the others watching them in a somewhat confused way. Halfway, the band entered the stage with their charachteristic masks (see pictures) and the band played the original of mentioned intro. The crowd directly went off in a big mosh due to which I had a hard time to keep standing with my camera in front of the stage. Jorre (the singer) clearly knew how to play the Dutch audience with typical Dutch humor about the urbanized agricultural community of the town where the festival was held: “You being from Steenwijk must recognize yourselves in the next song about sex with animals called Temptation Weiland” (a wordplay on the tv programme Temptation Island, meaning Temptation Meadow). And somewhat later we were treated on a similar joke with the songtitle Boer Hoekt Vrouw. I will not go into lengths about all the other jokes and meanings, but if you understand Dutch and like grind with a humoristic twist, then their about to be released album “Zolang de Voorhuid Strekt, should definately be a go” and seeing the unrelenting moshing and the huge increase in Kutschurft-shirts on the festival after the show, the crowd seemed to feel likewise. In my opinion this was the best show of the day.
A little bit exhausted and very sweaty I returned to the outside stage on which The Lucifer Principle started playing dedicately. I only knew this band by name but had heard some good reviews about them so I was curious to check them out. First thing that makes this band special is their contrabass, but I couldn’t hear it in the mix. Pretty big drawback to have such an instrument playing in a band but not let the crowd enjoy it. I am not an expert on this instrument, but judging from the moves and speed of the bassplayer he was quite good at it. I haven’t found their hometown but judging from the fans they brought along it cannot have been far away from Steenwijk. Also they got a very long timeslot. Only 1 other band got to play that long: Tyr (except of course for headliner Napalm Death). It went quite loose in the moshpit and it was clear that the band enjoyed playing as well. At one moment the singer climbed the speakers, which was quite a tricky act since they weren’t very stable. I must admit that this band exceeded my expectations, but a one hour slot was a bit too long for me. I heard enough of their energetic death metal after half an hour. Good moment to take a rest and wait for the next band that would try to entertain the meanwhile quite under the influence alcohol crowd. Also a good moment to watch the crowd and taste the atmosphere. It got quite clear to me that this was more or less the annual day out for the locals. A day to not worry about anything but keeping your beerglass filled and to quite some people a reason to continually keep moshing and bumping into people, whether they were into moshing or not. This led to some annoyed faces but fortunately no real fights or whatsoever. The atmosphere was too good for that.
After I had seen enough I went back inside to see Control Human Delete. If you look at the line-up you’d see quite some lack of variety (except for maybe the two headliners Napalm Death and Tyr). Mostly it was made up of death and thrash bands, but CHD was a stranger in their midst bringing us a sort of futuristic combination of black/death and industrial. Drums from a drumcomputer and lots of samples made it quite original and enjoyable. But it was too warm inside to just enjoy the music and most people seemed to think alike. It was very quiet inside and people just went for their beer or so it seemed. I surely want to see this band again in a better environment. Better sound better lightning and preferably about 10 degrees cooler.
Then there was this other Utrecht band (Kutschurft being the first one) on the outside stage. The anouncer asked if there were any Utrecht people around in the audience and when looking around I made a quick guess there must have been about 20 that made the one and a half hour trip from Utrecht to Stonehengefestival. As said in my review of the Detonation gig the day before Stonehengefestival, I was really looking forward to this gig. The sound was once again brilliant and they played a convincingly good set. Unfortunately there were a lot of moshers you had to keep an eye on if you didn’t want to be bumped into unprepared, so that drew much of my attention away from the band. Nevertheless this was again a very well performed set by Detonation. They really lived up to my expectations performing a balanced set of the stuff from their new album and from albums past. Not wholly surprising there was a guestperformance by the drummer from Kutschurft. The former singer of Orphanage (RIP) was soothingly anounced as the biggest bandslut and he again did what he’s good at: singing and pulling ugly, but appropriate, faces.
Then it was time for dinner. I left Axamenta for what it was. I wanted to see Impious, Tyr and Napalm Death with somewhat less tired legs than what I felt at that particular moment. The food was good and not too expensive. I had a perfectly filled stomach and it was time for an after dinner beer and waiting for Tyr when I heard the speaker telling the audience that Tyr had problems
with getting there and that they had swapped timeslots with Impious. All I could do is watch Impious first and hoping Tyr wouldn’t be too late for the curfew.
After six releases since 1994 this band is also one of the oldies around. And the Swedish death/thrash band got the crowd on its feet. A good show, but not much that could really draw my attention. A good show, that must be said, but I couldn’t make more of it. Just not my cuppa. Or, perhaps, I could a bit tired of the lack of variety in bands. At a certain point you start thinking you’ve heard it all already.
Good thing that Tyr was about to be next on the bill. If they could make it in time of course. I went back inside to get myself a proper spot to take pictures of Tyr, but when I got there, there was no trace of soundchecking or whatsoever. We’d have to wait. Time for me to introduce this band to you!
This band is the best export product of the Faroe Islands, at least, as far as album selling goes. This almost ten year old band plays a combination of traditional folk music and lyrically they grab back to Norse mythology. Although they are named after the Norse one-armed god of war they come across very friendly. At least, that was my first impression when I saw them entering the stage to do some short soundchecking. Unfortunately they arrived quite late which would probably result in quite some shorter setlist. Big bummer. But they were there and they were playing, and damn what a great band. How original. How enlightening after all those death/thrash bands. The only thing they were lacking was a good deal of going wild on their music. Admittedly this is not the sort of music to go completely wild, but it more looked like they were just playing their thing as they were supposed to. Perhaps they were just tired after a long bustrip from Denmark (where they played the day before). But still, the music is brilliant. No wonder they are signed with Napalm Records. Which is a good bridge to the last band, whom I already gave away above: Napalm Death.
I left Tyr somewhat early to get a good spot to take pictures from the headliner. To the real metalheads this band doesn’t need an introduction. They started out as a hardcorepunkband in 1981, but are generally acknowledged as the founders of the grindcoregenre. It also became clear that meanwhile the average age of the crowd had risen quite some years. Obviously a lot of fans came to Steenwijk just to see this band. The singer showed a sort of new variant of headbanging through shaking his head at an enormous speed. The soundengineer obviously had instructions to turn the volume know somewhat further up and to let the basskick overrule all the other instruments without them being unhearable. A very energetic performance which also resulted in an enormously brutal pit. Be it the intoxication or just that they had been waiting for this, but the crowd went wild. And seeing there were a lot of people that could shout along there were a lot of diehards out there. I had had it after a song or 10 and left.
It had been a very very long day. The atmosphere was not what I am used to at metalfestivals but still everybody was friendly. No long rows, good prices. Satisfiedly I went back to the train station seeing the train leaving upon which I noticed I had to wait for half an hour for the next one. That, and the enormous heat inside were the only really bad things of the day actually, because the trip would last another one and a half hour. But a big hooray for Stonehengefestival and the organisation
One bullet left official
The Lucifer Principle official
Defeated Sanity official
Control Human Delete official