As my troop was still sound asleep on the camp site after what I heard was one hell of an after party, I was already planning my unbelievably busy schedule for Graspop‘s second full day. Fortunately I had help from a few colleagues who backed me up for the bands I would not be able to review. I went to sleep early yesterday, so I would be perfectly in shape to check out as many bands as possible. And today is a doozy!
Ne Obliviscaris (****)
Ah! The prodigal Aussies have returned! Or should I say “proggygal”? No. No one should say that. Poor attempts at puns aside, I have loved Ne Obliviscaris ever since discovering them back in 2015 when they were announced at Graspop that year. Citadel had come out a few months earlier and upon my first spin, I knew I HAD to see them live. I wanted to experience the mix of live violin and proggy death metal. And I still remember being deeply entranced by that performance. They didn’t disappoint me then, and they didn’t today. This is top-shelf death metal with some proggy or avant-garde influences. To behold are the violin parts, the contrast between growls and clean vocals, and just the prowess of every member separately. I wasn’t the only one apparently as the Marquee had filled up quite nicely. The crowd gave our friends from Down Under a big welcome back, and from their first note to their last I felt at home.
Three Day’s Grace (***)
Three Days Grace is your childhood memory band, or rather teenager years. I have the feeling that they need their older songs to get the crowd going. Could just be me of course, but that was the feeling that came up to me. It was nice seeing them, because they don’t show up that often. Even though the songs might be sad or about having a tough time, one thing was made clear by the band: suicide is not the answer. It’s never too late to find a solution that may seem impossible to find. Followed by the song ‘Never Too Late’, I think everybody felt this though their bones. Playing a mix of old and new songs and ending on classic ‘Riot’, this was a show that brought back memories and created a new one.
The sound was bloody disgusting during Immolation. And I’m not talking about the kind of “death metal bloody disgusting”, which is usually the one you want. Don’t know who was in charge of sound but they sucked ass, ruining one of the shows I was most looking forward to. Immolation however did the absolute best they could with the sound available and killed it, man. I missed our dear dissonant death metal daddies when they played De Verlichte Geest with Melechesh two years ago, after the release of their last album ‘Atonement‘. Somehow the info did not get by me and I found out way too late, but today I could at last make up for lost opportunities.
I enjoyed every minute of this set despite the sound issues. Immolation graced us with an awesome set list which consisted mostly of tracks from 2017’s ‘Atonement‘, which ensured their set list was heavy as hell, but also of much older tracks such as ‘Father, You’re Not A Father‘ or ‘Swarm Of Terror‘. Stage presence isn’t everything yo a performance, but these New Yorkers nail that too. Especially shredder and founding-member Robert Vigna, who to and froed vehemently with his instrument, often taunting the crowd and daring us to go berserk. A very entertaining set from one of the finest death metal ensembles around.
Kingdom of Conspiracy
Father, You’re Not a Father
The Distorting Light
Swarm of Terror
What They Bring
Fostering the Divide
A Spectacle of Lies
When the Jackals Come
With tons of sunblock, erm… corpse paint smeared across their faces, Polish behemoths Behemoth were set to conquer the scorched ground in front of Main Stage one. You might have expected them headlining the Marquee , veiled in comfortable darkness, but Nergal and his wolves stared the sun radiating from heaven right in the eye and unleashed hell. It takes a very remarkable artist to bring this kind of extreme blasphemous racket on a sunny Sunday afternoon in broad daylight and still tear heaven asunder.
Now, that was a fun day. Made some new discoveries, rediscovered some old bands, still wasn’t convinced to start liking power metal, etc… And with that kind of an after party! You can’t have it any better. Will Graspop’s last day be as enjoyable as today? It will be difficult to top in any case.
All picture credits go to Graspop Metal Meeting.