Neurotic Deathfest 2010

Neurotic Deathfest
videos playlist on youtube
Europe’s premiere indoor extreme metal event took place between April 30th and May 1st in the city of Tilburg, The Netherlands. It was an even more extreme experience due the fact that between April 29th and May 30th the Dutch people are celebrating the Queen’s day with parades in each city, on every street and in every pub and bar. This meant that when you were going out from the venue, with some metal riffs still sounding in your ears, you were quickly taken back to the Dutch party atmosphere filled with orange and all sort of music played by Djs on each corner. The venue is called 013 and it is an excellent venue for concerts, having a smart way of offering everyone a chance to see what’s on stage since its floor gets higher and higher the further you are from the stage. Plus you have two floors with balconies, bars located everywhere and two more smaller stage out of which I only located one.

I went to this festival not knowing the music of any of the bands who were going to perform. I got to hear some excellent performances and skilled people, but most of all I was delighted by the atmosphere and the people who attended. You could easily just talk to everyone, share a joke, a beer. Maybe event a joint, since you were in the holy land for this kind of things. And I heard people talking a wide variety of languages, so I can only assume the audience was quite international. It had its bad parts as well, like for example a friend’s wallet got stolen but he recovered it – without money – at the los&found desk.

The lineup of the festival is as follows: Carcass, Napalm Death, Six Feet Under, Bolt Thrower, Dying Fetus, Rotting Christ, Aborted, Belphegor, Beneath the massacre, Origin, Immolation, Rotten Sound,
Pestilence, Benediction, Benighted, Dew-Scented, Burning Skies, Severe Torture, Lock up, Man must die and more.

First band I got to see was Benediction. I previously saw them at Inferno and wasn’t quite impressed as I was now. The vocalist Dave Hunt seemed in an excellent mood which got transmitted to us as he was talking almost after each song. He kept reminding us how old school their music is, and without having anything astonishing in it, I enjoyed their death metal tunes pretty much. And as another plus to the festival, from the very first sound I heard, I was amazed by the quality of the sound in that arena. During the two days of festival, the only problems were when someone in the band made some sort of mistake. But the sound was absolutely impressive in 013.

Up next was the black metal from Austria played by those from Belphegor. I went up to the balcony and saw a big guys with paintings/tattoos screaming on a dark stage and trying to put up a demonic show. At some point all the members took off their tshirts, poured some wine on their bodies and performed a song for Lucifer (though I believe all of them were addressed to this guy). And they addressed the crowd with ‘you goder f*ers’.

More death metal and good performance was delivered afterward by the Americans from Six Feet Under, one of the founders of groovy death metal or death ‘n’ roll. The vocalist, Chris Barnes, has dread locks going down to his knees and he manages to spin his head like a helicopter. Must be really cool beside him during the show. And his ‘throat whistling’ were funny, yet all my respect goes to his ability to grunt, considering how many years they’ve been on stage. Obviously the moshpits started to form in front of the stage as they performed tracks loved by the crowd, from the old albums. And the madness reached its peak when they came back on stage with AC/DC cover, TNT.

Napalm Death was next on the main stage and I felt like I was watching some athletics contest since the vocal guy kept running like a chicken in circles all the time. It was also funny to watch the bald yet long haired bassist on stage. They had a bunch of short songs that didn’t allow the moshpits to do much. But during the longer ones, the crowd went berserk especially during the older tunes. And they had to go way back in time since they’ve been around from 87. The one that caught my attention was ‘Nazi Punks Fuck Off!’ and I heard people wondering if they played the 1 second song ‘you suffer’ which is considered the shortest song ever recorded. I had the feeling of attending a Punk festival during their performance though.

To the delight of half of the crowd wearing ‘Bolt Thrower‘ tshirts, their idols came on stage at the end of the first day. They had a nice intro to their show like the ‘big bands’ have and the feast of brutal death metal started with the IVth crusade and then going through different stages of their career that started in 86. Again, excellent sound in the venue that allowed me to hear the good riffs of the skilled guitarists and the singer was making jokes and showing how thrilled he was to be on stage. He even told us he would have bought tickets to the festival if they didn’t happen to be the headliners. I am happy to have been introduced to their music and also happy for the organizers choice of the last concert for the first day. It set up a perfect mood.

Day 2 started a bit late due the good Dutch and Belgian beers, so the first band we got to see was Immolation, death metal coming from New York, also a band formed in 86. Ross Dolan, vocalist and bass player, managed to wake us up completely with his energy and the continuous dialogues with the crowd. The concert felt a bit different from the rest of the festival, giving the impression of a progressive band and many of the songs were dedicated to various people who played a role in the band’s life, including a lady playing their songs on piano. The most impressive were the riffs played all along their songs and at good quality.

First band I got to see in one of the small stages – where it got incredibly hot – was Gorod, a technical death metal band from France. I didn’t regret my choice as I heard some outstanding solos from the bass and the drum player during the two songs I managed to catch of their performance. And the taping on the bass still sounds in my ears after all this time.

Up next on the stage we had the chance to see Lock Up, a project formed by the following musicians: bassist Shane Embury (Napalm Death), with the late Jesse Pintado (Napalm Death, Brujeria) on guitar, and Nicholas Barker (Old Man’s Child, Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Testament) on drums. Not a bad music to listen to, yet, as many ‘all stars gathering’ who don’t get to play their stuff often and to work on many records together, the songs were rather repetitive and you get the feeling of I heard it all by half of the concert. But nevertheless, a pleasure to see the artists performance and to try to appreciate the skills of each of them.

Back to the main stage we see Pestilence, a Dutch death metal band formed in 86, who reunited 2 years ago for Inferno, in Oslo. I enjoyed their show back then, but I was quite disappointed by the one in Netherlands. They came on stage, asking the crowd to clap for them, dressed with the same ‘street’ outlook, jeans and white shoes. No problem with that afterall. And the music wasn’t a problem either, as the sound was good and the mosh pits were in full action. But the dialogue with the crowd was all in Dutch and we had the impression that they made some mistakes in their playing, as in missing some notes. Plus they seemed more unhappy to be on stage than the other bands. Or that’s just their scene look.

The last band of the main stage was Carcass, an extreme metal band from England, formed in 1985 and disbanded in 1995. They are performing 3 or 4 times this year, since all of the band members are involved in other bands that are quite big themselves (Arch Enemy, Firebird) and not much time left for Carcass. So maybe I attended one of their last shows ever. And what a show that was. It started quite majestic with curtains over the scene, who slowly opened on the rhythm of their intro song. In a blue light atmosphere, the members of the band seemed a bit shy, yet quite thrilled to perform there and they stated that. On the back of the stage they were projecting some images that would most likely kill your appetite for the next days. I made an interview with the guitarist Bill Steer where he explained a bit more about them. Plus they also had some other interesting decorative items on stage who added to the spirit of the concert. The crowd loved them and I heard of people who traveled from far away just to see their show here.


But since a friend of mine recommended me the band called Man must die and as hey were playing at the same time as Carcass, I decided to skip the end of the main show and go back to the small stage. Once again, without no regrets. Man Must Die are a Scottish technical death metal band from Glasgow, formed in 2002, with only 3 studio albums. It was very cool to hear the singer talking with his Scottish accent and being very thankful to the few people in the audience who came to see them, despite Carcass playing on the main stage. And people who were awake, and not just happened to be there since they were too wasted to move. I got to fully see the song ‘Kill it, skin it, wear it’ and it felt as even the speakers should start being part of the moshpit. Incredible fast and powerful beats in their music.

As I said at the beginning, I didn’t know any of the bands who I was to hear at this festival. Yet, I left with new names to checkout and probably some soon to make it on my favorite list. And more important, with a newly discovered place and festival where I want to return as often as possible and that I recommend to any of you who read this.

Cheers,
Andrea

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