Graveland Fest, 25 May 2024, Hoogeveen

The season for outdoor festivals has started again. This years Graveland Fest is at another location than last year. Not in a forest but in a meadow. And it had rained a lot the last months, so it was a big muddy mess. Fortunately some planks in front of the stage helped to keep dry a bit. I only went the Saturday, as the Friday programme had little to offer. The only band I would have liked to see was Centinex. Tiamat has only made one album I like and they’re not likely to play much if anything of that. I also skipped most of the afternoon program.

The first band I saw was the US Mortiferum. They are a fairly new band, yet they have two albums out already. And they were announced as doom/death. Although they had some slower section, they sounded more like cavernous death metal, like Cruciamentum with some more slower sections. Pretty good band, I need to check out their albums sometime.

On the same tour was Gaerea from Portugal, but with a Dutch guitar player. They play quite modern black metal. And every modern black metal seems to hide their faces by stockings ever since Mgla started doing that. It looks silly. Further all dressed in black with even the arms and hands painted black. Musically quite dull for my ears.

More black metal was to follow with the American from Wolves in the Throne Room. I had listened to them before, even though that was a long time ago. I never was into most black metal. They have quite long songs, that sort of meander on. It wasn’t bad or so but I couldn’t really get into it though.

The Swedes from Necrophobic were next. The started out as a melodic death metal with some black metal influences, much in the same vein as Dissection. Their first album from 1993 is actually quite good. Later they went into a more black metal style. They later forked in to the pure black metal band Dark Funeral. Anyway, the music sounded quite high-pitched for death metal, especially the lead guitar had a lot of treble. They mostly played far more recent material, which I wasn’t familiar with at all. It sounded quite ok. Yet Darkside from their second album sounded closer to their death metal sound of yore. Only the final song was the title track of their debut and was the only song I new. Pretty good gig though.

Then it was time for the main attraction, Carcass from the UK. They don’t tour a lot, so there aren’t all that many opportunities to catch them live. Their just doing festivals in Europe this summer. They had some trouble getting the sound right, with a buzz in one of the amps. Hence they started a little late, with a intro collage of various intros they used on albums. Then it was Buried Dreams. The vocals were a bit too loud in the mix and drowned out the rest of the instruments a little. And it was loud, way louder than the previous bands. They oddly enough chose a few of the weaker songs of their latest album, Under the Scalpel Blade is a very good song but Kelly’s Meat Emporium and Dance of Ixtab (Psychopomp & Circumstance March No. 1 in B) are not the strongest material, so pretty odd choires. They played a couple of songs of Swansong in medley with another song, only Keep on Rotting in the Free World was played in its entirety. They sound live a bit rawer than on the album and kind of blend in well despite being quite a different style than the other albums. Bill Steer looks like a hippy and was all over the stage but only very little at the front of the stage. Obviously Heartwork was part of the bill with the intro from Ruptured in Purulence. Only two songs of Necroticism, but no Inpropegation unfortunately – probably the best lyrics to a song ever. Tools of the Trade was a nice surprise towards the end of the show. And they went back to Symphonies of Sickness with Exhume to Consume and Reek of Putrefaction with vocal duties shared by Bill and Jeff. Very good gig.

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