Day 1 Graveland Festival, Hollandsche Veld, 26 May 2023

Graveland is now one of the three metal fest in the area of southern Drente in the Netherlands. Quite odd as it is one of the least inhabited provinces of the Netherlands. Anyway, this years edition was primarily interesting for the headliner of the Friday, namely Dismember. The Saturday was headlined by Paradise Lost, which I never considered a very good live band a primarily bands I don’t like. So I went to the Friday evening only.

When I arrived Pyogenesis were about to start. Considering all the bad traffic due to a Whitsun weekend not a bad timing. The were announced to play their debut EP – Ignis Creatio, also known simpsy as Pyogenisis – in its entirety. I can’t remember ever hearing it, but I recall a song off some compilation that wasn’t bad. This German outfit from the 90s plays some doom death metal with some typical mid 90s Gothic influences. Somehow it all sounded a bit off – the vocals, the guitars and not all that interesting. After the four songs of their debut they played a few more newer songs which sounded much less death metal like.

Then it was time for Taake. A Norwegian outfit that plays black metal. I don’t think I ever heard them before, not being much into black metal. Most of the time is sounded pretty harmless actually. During one song the bass player managed to break a string, which is kind of rare. Other than that a rather dull set.

Asphyx was next. They are always solid live. And so they were this time. Even though Martin complained a few times about the short time they were given – 50 minutes – which also meant he was less chatty than usual. I think all the songs they played, they did too a couple of months ago in Amstelveen. It is obvious the band enjoys playing live. And they are generally very solid. Their best material is still from the first two albums with all the odd riffs by Eric Daniels. But the newer material is quite good too. So quite a good gig.

Of course the main attraction was the reformed Dismember – on of the progenitors of Swedeath. Like an everflowing Stream is one of the best albums in that style and the cover art is absolutely stunning. They promised to play it whole. And they did. The stage was adorned with the albums artwork. And after the intro the kicked off with Override of the Overture. The sound wasn’t all that well balanced with the vocals way too loud and the guitar too thin, but that was resolved during that song. These songs have stood the test of time very well and virtually every song is still very strong – well maybe apart Sickening Art. Dismembered is still a great song. And So Is Life is a little different stylistically and In Death’s Sleep is just awesome. They didn’t play the bonus tracks though. After In Death’s Sleep, they continued with some other material, where as Massive Killing Capacity provided no less than three songs – Casket Garden isn’t exactly their best song ever. In Frozen Fields on the other hand is pretty good. Pieces, Of Fire, Skinfather are awesome. And the set closer Dreaming in Red is a little more melodic, yet a great song still. Awesome gig.

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