Netherlands Death Fest, 013 Tilburg, 28 February 2016

Now that the Neurotic Death Fest discontinued, the organisation of Maryland Death Fest stepped in and organised a similar festival in the enlarged 013 venue. 3 days of death metal bands in three halls. I skipped the first couple of days as there was only one or two bands each that I liked. However the Sunday was by far the most interesting.

I arrived shortly before Morpheus Descends started playing. I didn’t know them, but a little research showed that they were a US/NY old school death metal. They couldn’t bring their original singer, due to visa problems, so they had a replacement. Most of the time they were quite midpaced or relatively slow for death metal. It was okay for a couple of songs, then tended to drag a bit.

One of the main reasons for me to go was the appearance of Gruesome. A band that plays tribute to early Death, by playing quite much in the style of Leprosy and Spiritual Healing. It was their first show in Europe. After the intro music from the film Phantasm, they opened with a couple of songs of their sole album. They playing was quite tight and sounded quite convincing. Born Dead was thrown in as a cover from Death. And they played a new song – Dimensions of Horror – as well, which was more in the style of Scream Bloody Gore. The intro sounded a bit like the cult song Evil Dead.

I watched a bit of Coffins from the back of the venue, but I didn’t like them much so I went to browse the little metal market a bit. Then watched a bit of Anthropomorphia as they overlapped with the next band in the other hall. Anthropomorphia are a bit of a Dutch cult band from the early 90s that released one EP then and got back together a couple of years ago. They play mostly old school death metal, in the vein of Death. They aren’t as good as Gruesome, but it is cool. Chunks of Meat is a bit of a classic.

The other band I mentioned is Demilich. They also existed mostly in the early 90s and are now doing some one-off gigs. Unfortunately singer/guitarist Antti broke his wrist a bit before the gig and they almost had to cancel. Luckily Danny Tunker managed to step in, learn the odd songs and play them like he’d done them a million times before. It is remarkable how these weirdly structured and titled songs still sound very fresh among all the modern technical death metal of today. Antti seemed a bit uncomfortable without guitar during instrumental sections. Really good gig.

During Funebrarum the small hall was filled completely so I skipped that and waited for Asphyx. Or perhaps it is better to say an Asphyx cover band that uses the Asphyx name. There are no original members left since Bob left a while back. Yet they played mostly songs of the first 2 albums – like MS Bismarck, The Rack, Last One on Earth, with only a handful of the newer material. The latter isn’t as strong by far as the former. But even though they changed the riffs a bit, it sounded quite okay. But for me Soulburn is now the true Asphyx.

Entrails had a bit of the same issues as Funebrarum – yet I managed to slip into the hall and watch a few songs. Very solid Swedeath, much like early Entombed, Dismember and Grave. Seems a very popular style nowadays as there are tons of bands doing it.

However I wanted to be on time in the main hall for the headliner – more or less as still 2 bands played later. The hall was filled quickly before Autopsy started. I had never been able to see them live, and they were high on my to-watch list. It is always a bit weird to have a drummer that also handles vocals, sitting in the back of the stage. But Chris managed to draw quite some attention in between songs. Most of the songs came from the debut album, such as Pagan Saviour, Ridden with Disease, Gasping for Air, Severed Survival, and Stillborn for which they claimed, they hadn’t played in twenty years. Autopsy’s earlier albums have stand the test of time quite well. They played quite tight with somewhat sloppy soloing. But I guess that is mostly their style. Burial seemed to be a great song live too. They even played a couple of songs of the Shit Fun album. Great show!

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