I might’ve had some misgivings about the venue in my review of last year’s Hole in the Sky festival. But I’m getting used to it, and it seems that fewer tickets has been allowed, for more free space. The festival is getting ever more streamlined, and has reached a new level, technically speaking. The sound and light arrangements are flawless, as well as the commercial area (where you can buy merch and cd’s).
The first two days of Hole in the Sky, however, are being held at the club level, at the local metal-lagoon Garage. Things are a bit more cramped and smaller, but the level of intimacy with the bands are priceless. When I realized that Exodus, surprisingly, were going to headline the Garage at thursday, there couldn’t be a shred of doubt in my mind. I was going. Just getting the legendary thrashers in the line-up was a victory.
I entered the facilities to a barrage of brutal noise. As soon as I’d settled in with a beer in my hand, I lined up for the spectacle. Cephalic Carnage (6,5/10) was new to me, but I rather fancied their brand of brutal death metal. With prior knowledge, I reckon they easily would’ve climbed my scoresheet. My bad.
Next up was the former Roadrunner-crew 3 Inches of Blood (8/10). Their immediate appeal simply can’t be denied. It’s upbeat and fun, especially with their over-the-top shrieking vocal (resembling Rob Halford at his most castrato). ‘Deadly Sinners’ is the ultimate payoff and concludes their set. We even got to shake our heads a little as well.
It’s time for Exodus (9,5/10) and the crowd gather in front of the stage. The band rips through their classics, fronted by the menacing Rob Duke. They crave total mayhem among the audience, and gets it, a little by little for each song. When the gig hits it’s zenith with ‘Toxic Waltz’, the venue is on fire as moshpits break out. I even made full-contact with a hyperactive Frost of Satyricon. A triumph in all aspects, I only missed that final spark that would’ve made the place totally disintegrate. I will treasure this night. It was also great talking too Danny Lilker (Nuclear Assault/Brutal Truth) outside the venue.
The first night at the Culture House USF, with some real treats at the bill. I was psyched to see one of the great new bands around, Municipal Waste (8/10). Their alcohol-fueled crossover thrash sits very well with my mindframe this evening, and happily, I’m not the only one that was excited about this. Vocalist Tony Foresta is shouting his frantic lyrics, doing some stagediving og feed the audience beer. It’s great fun, and some of the songs are extremely short. And of course; a grandiose climax with ‘Bangover’ with the anthem ‘Municipal Waste is gonna fuck you up!’
It was time to get serious again with the towering Behemoth (9/10). The poles does a great job with their extreme music, powering vocals and vicious speed. And Nergal is a charismatic front figure, and fire up the crowd with ease. I have to admit that my knowledge of the band is limited, with only brief listening to the albums ‘Demigod’, ‘The Apostacy’ and ‘Thelema’. But the band really won me over!
Meshuggah (10/10) were out next. Their technical and unpredicatble music is always exciting, and although I’d attended the band earlier, I was more than ready for the new stuff. It was even better than expected, and when the blistering ‘Future Breed Machine’ hits home, the crowd erupts. Absolute killer.
So for the main dish of the evening; Carcass (10/10). With such a load of material, it can’t go wrong. I even ventured into the heart of the moshpit, so I became a sweaty mess afterwards. But very pleased indeed. The tunes of ‘Necroticism’ and ‘Heartwork’ was especially well received, but their range even included ‘Keep on Rotting in the Free World’ from ‘Swansong’. The band seemed as vital as any, with a humorous Jeff Walker smalltalking between songs. Great outlook, awesome gig.
It was such a wonderful evening that the party simply had to go on. On my way to the after-party, I walked with Land Phil (of Municipal Wasted), and quizzed him on their musical references. If any of us had been anything remotely sober, I probably could have posted his answers here. I’m only able to recollect two words: ‘D.R.I’ and ‘Nuclear Assault’ (which sadly had to cancel).
Of course, the after-party lasted until 10 A.M, and there had to be consequences.
I wake up in a somewhat confused state, and the clock is closing 9 P.M. I’ve spent about 300 bucks last night, and just want to rest. But the thought of missing out is pure torture, and I’m able to convince myself on going. Only too bad that I’ve wasted the opportunity to attend Gehenna, Nachtmystium, Primordial and Keep of kalessin. Oh woe me!
But I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit out the reunion of At The Gates (9,5/10). The vibe is electric, and although I’m suffering under the heat, it’s great to hear the classics of ‘Slaughter of the Soul’. And they deliver the goods! They seem just as excited and grateful as us to be here, and praises the crowd time and time again. And how can you go wrong with ‘Terminal Spirit Disease’, ‘Under a Serpent Sun’, ‘Cold’ and ‘Blinded by Fear’? A worthy climax of another great festival!
Visit Metalshots for more pics. Courtesy Mira Born
All photos courtesy of Christian Misje.