Krachtstroom Festival @ Vorstin, Hilversum, 18 October 2015

The Vorstin is quite a new venue in Hilversum. This (think) second installment of the Krachtstroom festival was hosted here instead of Arnhem. The featured no less that 14 bands of which more than half are actually lesser known Dutch bands. That made me skip the first handful of bands and I arrived when Bodyfarm was playing in the smaller Cafe stage. I watched a song or two but then saw that they were still as lackluster as before with the washed-down death metal, that mostly copies what has been done in the 80s and 90s but then infinitely better.

I moved on to another Dutch band Korpse, who were still preparing for stage as I entered the larger hall. They play some sort of brutal death metal, mixing mostly faster sections, with quite slow sections. Most of the riffs are tremolo picked, with the drums being quite all over the place. The good side is they play quite tight, the downside is that most of the songs sound quite similar to my ears. The drummer was headbanging frantically with his afro hair.

Herder is another Dutch band, who I’d seen before, but never cared much for. They are ofter classified as sludge or something, but their are actually relatively fast for any doom style. Anyway, I saw the beginning of the set and then moved back to the large hall. Turned out that their gig was cut short early. The venue apparently thought the band was playing too loud, and asked them to lower the volume. They didn’t and so the gig was stopped after some 20 minutes. Apparently they were even removed from the venue by the police. The volume didn’t bother me much, actually lately the volume at gigs is even too soft, so that noise from the audience becomes annoying, and of course earplugs are sometimes mandatory.

The first band I actually wanted to check out was the Greek veterans in Rotting Christ. I don’t really follow them anymore, but their early work is definitively classic, especially Thy Mighty Contract. I saw them a while back, where they played mostly older songs, but didn’t expect that to happen again for this gig. That guess turned out correct. I didn’t know most of the material. Nevertheless, it sounded quite okay, but would have sounded much better if they’d cut out their industrial, tribal or whatever sections and focus on the melodic metal instead. They still play quite good melodies. Nearing the end of the set they included the perpetual The Sign of Evil Existence, but also included Transform all Suffering into Plagues, which are really stand out material. Not a bad gig all in all.

I saw a few songs of the Belgian Enthroned, but I’m not into their black metal and didn’t know any of the songs they played. So I went back to the large hall again.

There the Swedish Shining were setting up the stage. It was a couple of years since I had seen them, so I was curious if they still were as good despite the lineup changes. And although they (or better Niklas) had his creative peak with Eerie Cold and Halmstand, they have turned out quite some solid albums afterwards. Musically, the band plays very tightly and the songs are just great. The first couple of albums are skipped altogther and the focus is on the later material from Halmstad and on. Niklas’ vocals nevertheless proved again to be quite limited and his stage antiques as immature, attention-whoring as ever. Although he stopped cutting himself up on stage, he’s boozing up with whishey and wine, and whipping around a riding crop. Nevermind, tho I can ignore the bullshit and enjoy the music.

I skipped Equilibrium entirely. And just waited for Sodom instead. Setting up the stage took a bit longer than planned – quite a feat as they only are with three. But when it was all done, they immediately opened up with the classic Agent Orange, followed by the Vice of Killing and the medley of the weird Thrashmen cover Surfin’ Bird and brilliant the Saw is the Law. I guess this is the best line-up that Tom has put together yet. They sounded tight, aggressive and enjoyed themselves a lot on stage. The printed set list on stage, was not followed, but Tom just announced other songs, they skipped a few, and switched them around. A selection of mostly older songs were played with just a handful of newer song. No less than three songs The Sign of Evil were played, the obvious Outbreak of Evil of course, Blasphemer and even Burst Command Till War. Motorhead’s Iron Fist was one of the songs that wasn’t on the set list but got played never the less. This was probably the best Sodom gig I had seen so far and there are no signs of wear in the band whatsoever despite a few gray hairs.

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