Had you told me a year ago I would be partying with most of my friends at a three-day metal Summer festival without any restrictions this soon, I would have laughed in your face. Yet here we are. Okay, we had to vaxxed or get tested beforehand but still. This actually happened. People could get their festival crews back together and drag themselves and their gear to a fresh green field, that just lay there waiting to be trampled into brown mush. We would be able to hug, high five, toast, dance, mosh, and enjoy live music once more. There have been a few smaller-scale festivals before this one, but those all had us tied to some form of restriction. Alcatraz is the first big Belgian festival to give us more or less the same freedom as before. And did that feel good. Read on for the full coverage of an incredible third and last day of pure catharsis.
The old thrashers from After All (***1/2) on the main stage, a dream come true, let’s say. They brought some nice thrashy riffs that were played very well and very tight. It was still early which resulted in a crowd that was only just waking up, but people seemed to dig it fairly quickly. After All have a hell of a singer. But his more power metal-oriented vocal style gave me the impression that the band sometimes sounded more like an ordinary German power metal band, while a more aggressive delivery of his lines would suit them better. Still, this was a strong performance.
I sure looks like Alcatraz was in the mood for thrash metal this morning. Evil Invaders (***1/2) would be continuing the thrashing roll today’s line-up was on, though shifting a few gears higher. Indeed, these energetic lads from the East of Belgium have a serious need for speed, and it shows. Riff upon riff shredded at lightning speed made us all bang our heads until our necks gave up. The band also made sure they were heard and seen all over the festival ground as they made use of the whole stage, with guitarists and bass player frantically running from left to right. The only downside was the uneven audio. Otherwise, a solid performance.
Some more thrash today, the Danish metalheads of Artillery (***) who have been around since the early eighties. They have a couple of nice albums in their catalog where ‘By Inheritance’ stands out as their magnum opus. Nice to hear that they can bring these songs to life after all this time. Although met by some technical difficulties, they clearly left a seriously lasting impact. You could see not everyone was familiar with this music, and the crappy sound made it difficult for some to make something nice of the songs at times.
Many were looking forward to one of the few death metal artists scheduled at this edition. And with Dutchmen Asphyx (****) having only just released their new record, ‘Necroceros‘, it was only fitting they would be taking over the Swamp for the next fourty-five minutes. This was yet another band whose positive vibes dripped off the stage. Everyone present was is a great mood to enjoy the heavy riffs, bombastic drumming and Martin Van Drunen‘s unique rage-filled growls. They drove up the heat in the marquee so badly, I had to move to the back for some fresh air. But this had zero impact on my enjoyment of the show.
This report continues on page 2.