Drachten Death Fest, 18 Januari 2020, Iduna, Drachten

The first gig for me in 2020 is an indoor festival with quite an interesting lineup. I had to drive all the way to Drachten to see it. And be because it started early and long drive, as well as that I had seen Mouflon before and didn’t care that much, I decided to skip them.

The second band was Burial Remains. They are a local band – weird that they are not opening though – playing pretty standard death metal. Not really bad, but not all that interesting either. The guitar tone of one of the guitarist was awesome though.

Gods Forsaken is a relatively new Swedish death metal band and not to be confused with the Finnish 90s cult act God Forsaken. The band members play in many other bands, like Just before Dawn. Although there is virtually nothing really original – just Swedish death metal – there are some interesting songs and it is performed quite well.

It is not only death metal today, as the festival coincide two tours of which one was of a few crusty bands with metal influences. The first one was Martyrdöd. Not really my favourite genre, and it bored me after a few tracks. The vocalist sounded fairly forced and his guitar playing was quite sloppy. And sometimes it sounded like the drummer played a different tune.

The last time I had seen Fleshcrawl must have been when they were supporting Bolt Thrower in 2003 or thereabouts. These Germans play death metal but were never all that interesting. Now they have resurfaced after many years and still they sound rather run-of-the-mill. At least they played quite well.

The Swedes of Entrails sound pretty cool on the albums. Pretty standard death metal but they pull of some interesting riffs, especially on their first two albums. However live they time and again fail to really make an impression. Main axeman Jimmy seems to be most interesting in his fretboard, and the rest of the band seem to be largely practicing their skills as statues. That make the whole gig a little lifeless whereas the song are powerful enough.

More crust now with Skitsystem. Originally founded by Adrian and Tomba of At the Gates. They however have long departed. Somehow a sort of legendary band who don’t play much. Their vocalist had a throat infection so the singer from Martyrdöd stepped in with the songs’ lyrics on a printout. He didn’t do a bad job, even though I didn’t like his vocal style at all. Musically it was extremely boring with all the songs sounding rather similar.

The main reason to go however was for the second tour, headlined by Massacre. After the release of their rather mediocre third album, with Rick but not Kam, the band apparently folded again. And now Kam has gathered a new lineup with the bassist of the demo days. They played a few gigs in Europe, now. Naturally they played a couple of songs of their only worthy album From Beyond, but to my surprise they also played a whole bunch of new songs. These sounded actually not bad at all. At least a whole lot better than anything since From Beyond. Also included was a Mutilated from the first demo. And an old Mantas song, which pre-dated Massacre and Death, namely Evil Dead with the original lyrics Kam wrote. So it seems that Massacre will finally return invigorated after 27 years or so. Great gig.

The last band of the day was Asphyx. I had seen them not too long ago. And they play the same setlist with one song less. As always they play quite well even though they made some changes to the older songs. The majority of the material is newer, since Death the Brutal Way. I still miss Ms Bismarck on the set though.

Anyway a pretty great festival all together, could have done without the crust, but all in all well worth the trip.

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