In the Grip of Winter Fest 2019, Baroeg, Rotterdam, 9 March 2019

The second installment of In the Grip of Winter Fest was again hosted by Baroeg. This year with a very varied line-up. Maybe a bit too varied even. I missed the opening act Mouflon. At the time I arrived the second band was already setting up.

The Dutch Laster play atmospheric black metal. Generally not really my thing. The three members wore strange masks, that looked like the top half of a skill and underneath that a balaclava. It must have been warm in that. And it also looked silly. Nevermind. The music was a bit odd to. They incorporated some britpop in many songs or whatever style it is, to gradually change into more typical black metal. A part of the music came from tape, including some guitar parts and keyboards. Not really music I like a lot but not bad. They got quite some positive response.

The second band came from Brugge Belgium. After All play thrash / speed metal with vocals more tending towards power metal. That is, it is quite high-pitch and clean. The vocals sounded all a bit thin, and frankly the same thing occured with the guitar sound. Some more punch would certainly help. And musically, like with many bands in this genre, it’s been done all before mostly. Generally well performed though.

The band I really wanted to see was Acrostichon. The Dutch death metal act recently decided to do some more gigs again after many years of silence. And this was one of the first. The debut album from the early 90s is still a Dutch death metal classic. Live these songs really shine. Lots of cool riffs. And an occasional slow-down to keep things interesting. Corinne still sounds quite good too. Most of the songs are from the Engraved in Black, with two songs of the much less interesting Sentenced album. Some one brought some colourful garlands and threw them on stage. Presumably leftovers from the recent carnaval. Great gig.

Then it was time for Dead Head who said they were playing on their 30th year anniversary to the day. These guys play thrash metal with death metal elements . But unlike the previous band, I find the riffs all that interesting and Tom’s high pitched vocals don’t really appeal to me either. Some songs have interesting melodic parts most songs however sound quite chaotic. Decent gig though.

The last band is a melodic doom death band from Sweden called October Tide. Started as a side-project of Katatonia, when they still played doom death metal. I don’t think they do much touring or even playing live, as seems to be confirmed by So it’s interesting to see them play even though I’m not that familiar with them. Much of the crowd on the other hand had already disappeared though. They started with a couple of newer songs, which seems to be mostly mid-paced. It lacks the melancholia of Katatonia’s debut album. They played one song of their debut album Rain Without End and it had a very different to it, despite a major screw up from one of the guitarists. Decent gig though.

All in all a bit of a strange festival, with very different bands and lacking a really good headliner. Acrostichon was the band of the day. The rest was not all that interesting.

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