13-08-2016 Into The Grave, Leeuwarden.
This is a first for this year’s edition; two days of metal! And it’s up to Evil Invaders from Belgium to get people back awake and to shake the foundations of Leeuwarden once again.
The band opens up in classic style with Venom’s ‘Witching Hour’, the tone is set! The band quickly creates their own party on the stage with classic thrashing, tons of headbanging, awesome poses and ripping guitar solos. It doesn’t take long for the mosh pit to open up. The band has the audience eating out of their hands and when they finish with a terrific crash ending it’s clear to all that this band knows how to open up a feast.
It’s a pure coincidence, but Tribulation’s backdrop featuring a big tower really fits the scene as the Oldehove tower looms right behind the stage. As a soft rain starts a piano intro melancholically starts and we get into a nice gloomy mood, especially when a grand organ is played through the PA. And then the band kicks in with their melodic and doomy goth rock/metal. Dressed like gothic vampires the band really knows how to give a show, with loads of theatrical poses and a lot of eye contact with the audience. After the explosion that was the previous band the audience seems a bit lukewarm, but the band’s effort is most certainly appreciated and enjoyed. This band knows how to rock it old school!
As if make up for the softer pace Unearth explodes with a lot of energy with their melodic metalcore mixed with thrash metal. It all feels like a typical American metal band, but it works because the band has the audience tightly gripped. Singer wants a pit? He gets it! They really know how to play the audience. It’s not my cup of tea, but it’s plain to see the band excels at what they do and luckily the audience enjoys it far more than I do, because the band most certainly works hard enough for the appreciation.
The Black Dahlia Murder takes the stage with their deathcore. Right off the bat it’s clear that this band knows how to work an audience and especially the singer. As an accomplished director he shows the audience how to act and his every command is acknowledged. With the band playing tight as hell he switches between vocal styles without a break, very impressive to hear. The drums are like roaring machine guns and the solos are finger licking good. When the singer calls for crowd surfers it’s like a tidal wave of bodies comes forth. From this point onwards it’s a constant surfers’ paradise and aside from the occasional mosh pit, the only movement is forward, including a few daring wheelchair drivers, what a sight to see! Major props to the security folks for picking up the surfers and sending them back in without reprimand.
It’s going to be a tough job for the next bands.
Next up are the classic thrashers Voivod from Canada. It’s clear that their approach to metal is a lot more friendly as the band walks up the stage with huge smiles, as if meeting old friends. Which is of course true, as there are a lot of devout Voivod fans out here today.
It really is a shame that the sound is quite bad with a horrible balance and it doesn’t really seem to get much better during the set. It’s a shame, because this is a big part of why the band doesn’t really seem to get the same appreciation as the previous bands, as well as being a lot softer. The band plays a very diverse set and really gets their fans going with their genuine thrash metal. A great live act, but being placed after two high impact bands wasn’t really a good listing.
A merry folk tunes makes clear what the crowd is in for right now, Korpiklaani! The Finnish folk are here to get the party flowing again and though the band is most certainly not everyone’s cup of tea there are plenty of parties going on through the audience. Unfortunately the band’s sound suffers from a low volume as the balance in sound is slowly found. It doesn’t matter much, because with a great mix of new and old songs which easily flow into each other the party goes on, a tsunami of young crowd surfers included! With a bill like today the band would’ve done well to put some faster songs in their list, especially since closers ‘Wooden Pints’ and ‘Vodka’ show that this is where the crowd really gets it going.
Get ready to travel back in time with the last three bands. First up is Exodus and the crowd already goes wild just for the drummer showing himself during the intro! This is going to make for a great feast!
At first the guitars are a bit soft in the mix and the bass is too loud, but luckily it all works out and the band thrashes big time! Good old USA muscles, making for a great thrash party, with a considerable larger part of the audience than with the last two bands. The bands plays the audience like a pinball machine and once again it’s a surfer’s paradise, with security hard at work to guide them down safely.
Exodus has a rich discography and they make sure to include songs from throughout their entire career, including the already 31 year old classic album “Bonded By Blood”.
And now it’s time for my personal favourite of the bill: Carcass! The only moment of peace is when ‘1985’ gets played through the PA, because as soon as ‘Unfit for Human Consumption’ starts it’s a headbanger’s paradise! The sound is just perfect and the band is clearly having the time of their life, almost as much as the audience, especially when the classics come by like ‘Keep on Rotting’ and ‘Buried Dreams’, but there’s also a lot of love for the new album with songs as ‘Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System’ and ‘Captive Bolt Pistol’.
Jeff’s vocals are terrific and he’s constantly firing up and taunting the audience. Most chatter is during the songs instead of in-between so that it’s a constant barrage of death metal. But the biggest party happens when ‘Heartwork’ kicks in. Pure class ending!
And then it’s time for the main act as there is a big rebuild of the stage. Seems like Kreator have some show planned for us! The stage hands are quickly done with the rebuild and soundcheck, so the audience is left waiting for 10 more minutes; good thing the beer’s cold and plentiful!
A short intro with devils holding flares and then the band kick off into ‘Enemy of God’ as confetti cannons shower the crowd, because why not? The band is clearly loved and the perfect headliner for tonight as the entire crowd erupts for these German thrashers. Big props for the sound guys for getting it so perfect right of the bat! And Mille knows how to work a crowd, as well as building one hell of a setlist with classics as ‘Terrible Certainty’ and ‘Phobia’ still having so much power despite being nearly 30 and 20 years old! At Mille’s command the surfer’s tsunami is held back for one big wall of death which erupts into the biggest mosh pit of the day. Thrashers ‘Awakening the Gods’ and ‘Extreme Aggression’ keep the party going and another round of paper cannons almost mummify the audience. It really is a shame that we have to go, but not before enjoying some ‘Pleasure to Kill’.
Into the Grave 2016 has once again been one hell of a party.
There have been some downsides such as the problems with the sound (half of Leeuwarden hearing Slayer play in their living room sounds fun, but it isn’t) and a shortage of toilets for the ladies, judging by the lines.
Other than that big props to the organisation for making it a terrific feast with a great bar, superb bands that know how to party!
Text: Robert Popovic
Photo’s: Ronald van de Baan