Date: June 3-4, 2011

Location: ES Getränke, Göllnitz, Germany

The news of a festival combining the forces of death and black metal in names such as ARCHGOAT, BLACK WITCHERY, DEAD CONGREGATION, ANTAEUS and NECROS CHRISTOS were more than welcome. Preparations were quickly made and the trip to Germany was planned, through flight to Berlin and then a combination of domestic trains. Arriving somewhere in the middle of nowhere and after a hilarious baggage and ID check from local police, I set up my tent under a burning sun and headed for the stage where soon the rituals would begin.

Friday, June 3:

With the heat adding to fatigue acquired from the trip, I can’t really say that I was very lively that day and EVIL WARRIORS, who opened the fest, didn’t help that much. Old school deathrash, but with few good ideas and an obvious lack of experience on stage. They were followed by DUSKEN, whom I found really interesting, even with no bass guitar, however incorporating some fine elements from DEATHSPELL OMEGA, like the crushing, technical riffs followed by more ambient soundscapes. I’ll have to check out their «Πυριμανής» (“Pyrimanes”) album.

IRRLYCHT were your typical German blackmetal band, with back-to-basics sound and really didn’t make any difference so after a couple of songs I headed for beers and rotbratwurst. Besides, ZARATHUSTRA, who came next, play the same style but with better compositions. However they too seem to have a certain maximum in what they offer, with no special twists, but I enjoyed their show nonetheless. On the last two or three songs though I headed back to find a shady place and gain powers for the oncoming onslaught of TRUPPENSTURM. Their recent effort entitled “Salute To The Iron Emperors” is a gem of European war metal, with marching riffing and killer drums from A. von Meilenwald (of NAGELFAR/RUINS OF BEVERAST fame). On stage they justified their reputation causing violent mosh-pits (with some actual fights emerging amongst fans). With sunset almost there, their show was probably the highlight of the day.

By the time MERRIMACK began their attack, darkness had fell and this combined perfectly with the stage lighting. Their black metal also, full of French finesse, was very well construed with solid riffing and the new vocalist proving worthy to step on his predecessor’s boots. Tiredness had reached maximum levels but I gathered whatever strength was left to watch titans BLACK WITCHERY, who had a small line-up change due to Tregenda having some personal issues. Drummer Vaz replaced him on guitar and battery was taken over by the beast named J.Read. Honestly, I have never seen a person attacking his drumset with such ferocity like he did. Although the Floridians’ holocaust was somewhat damaged by bad sound (there were problems throughout the day), they still seemed like conquering the stage, captained by the mighty Impurath. They deserve all the  hype built up around their name. Headliners SARGEIST will have to excuse me for I headed to my tent right after the BW show as no more power was left. From what I heard though, they didn’t live up to the expectations of the fans.

Saturday, June 4:

After a not so comfortable sleep, I did one more passing by the merch stands until Saturday’s acts began. It was THORYBOS who opened the gig and given the time (2 PM) they did just fine with their black/death goat metal style in the veins of BLASPHEMY/BLACK WITCHERY (Impurath surely seemed going crazy with their music). So we had a good time but when NUCLEAR MAGICK followed, things got really disappointing. They might have gained some reputation with their demo tape “Priests Of The Bomb” on Iron Bonehead but on stage they stood as three people trying to master their instruments, completely unaware of each other’s presence.

Things got a bit better when CHAOS INVOCATION made their appearance as their traditional black metal sounded solid enough to bring some life into the audience. I think we can expect good things from them in the near future. Now, ESSENZ might not be known to many people out there, but for me were one of the festival’s highly expected shows. And they did interpret their almost unique doom-meets-blackmetal style in an excellent way, with high volume helped by the improved sound. “Lavitae” was one of the highlights and fans, aknowledging their talent, responded with awe during the set. Do check their “KVIITIIVZ” full length as well as the “Metaphysis” EP. HELL MILITIA, who followed, is not exactly my cup of tea but I have to admit that they had a strong presence on stage and whenever things got more mid-tempo (like the “Black Arts Of Crime” hymn) they actually sounded encapturing. No one could guess though, the GG Allin cover with vocals shared between J.Read, MkM and Impurath in what would be the happening of the event, showing that truly extreme music holds no real boundaries.

After a long soundcheck (indicating how much they care for their sound), Greek death metal power DEAD CONGREGATION once again drove the audience to frenzy. And how could they not, since they hold leadership among the new death metal generation as “Graves Of The Archangels” is nothing less than a monument of darkness and destructive forces. Their consistency on stage is one that reminds only those of genre classics, and epics like “Teeth Into Red” sound even more haunting when played live. After the hellenic assault, powers where gathered for what was (personally speaking) the main attraction for this event. ANTAEUS were one of the bands that kept the blackmetal spirit alive back in the early 00s when trends were corrupting its initial purposes. I was a little afraid of how they would sound after some years of inactivity, but I was amazed to see that it was all there. Set’s razor-like guitars sounded ferocious, but everything was overshadowed by the insanity in MkM’s throat vomits. One could see the madness in his eyes, it was almost scary out there in the sunset. At “Seventh Ceremony” I felt like being swallowed by a vortex and during “Seen Through Skarz” I was persuaded that this trip was worth every single effort and euros spent on it.

With the fest reaching its end, another great act took place. It was NECROS CHRISTOS, for whom comments are needless since they’ve been established as one of Europe’s finest death metal presentations even from the “Grave Damnation” demo era. With the doom GOATLORD-like elements painting their old-school death metal appropriately dark,  they blended old and new material (“Hathor Of Dendera” is already a live classic) during their 45 min. set. However problems in sound returned and Mors Dalos Ra seemed a bit upset, especially when the sound technician played one of their oriental instrumentals in the wrong timing. In any case ARCHGOAT headlined the event in glory as fans errupted with evil tunes like “Hammer Of Satan” or hymns that date back to “Angelcunt” era. And although only twice rehearsed (as we were told) they still managed to sound as solid and consistent as any of the contemporary “professional” bands as they closed this ritual amongs screams and praises.

All in all, it was a fine experience with its slight problems of course (bad sound at points and a really inconvenient location) but with true devotion to the underground scene as it was set up by members of it. So be it then, HORNS UP to every band and person that helped in the creation of this festival and I hope to be there again next year.

PS.: Eternal gratitude and a huge hail to DEAD CONGREGATION for luxurious (!!!) accommodation on Saturday night and being a great company on the trip back home. Now how about playing in Greece at some point, we can’t travel all the time to catch you live!

~ by antifleshnimbus on June 25, 2011.

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