Netherland Death Fest 2016 Astral Review – Day 1

Day one in the Lands of Nether. Since the show starts at 4 PM (and that’s Teethgrinder on the secondary stage, guess my excitement) I decide to oversleep a bit before plunging to the gym, have a shower and a solid healthy breakfast ready for the show to start.

At 11.00 AM I am ready to go and already enjoying some great landscapes and monuments of Northern Europe before immersing myself in the trippy Museum of Modern Art De Pont .

Blue

Look at that shit Dolly, Mondrian meets Newman, but round!

As a quick lunch I get a piece of their Broodje Jantje cake and get a bottle of Schrobbeler to chug during the concert, one should never be caught unprepared, you know. Once at the liquor shop, I just slip some Hullie Gullie as well in the bag.

Hullie Gullie

Se prima eravamo in tre a ballare l’Alligalli…

While i sip some of the chocolate flavored liquor on a bench among the fine company of pigeons, I have a look at the bill. The whole Festival is going to be split between two venues, the scarily named Poppodium 013 and the even scarier Patronaat (which sounds a bit like a place where they help you compile your taxes).

Anyway: Day one, or “the Grind Day”, is about to start, let’s split the shows between stages. Unluckily my astral form doesn’t allow me to bring a camera so I am not able to take pictures. Sorry. However moving at the speed of thought has a couple of advantages, one of which is I am able to see all the bands playing even if they are playing at the same time, talk about efficiency!

NDF16DAY1

The 013 Poppodium (aka the Teneronium)

Stage 2

Teethgrinder (4)

Teethgrinder

You can run but you cannot hide. They’re destined to be there forever: they are the filler bands. They all sound a little bit like a pretending to be grindcore version of Neurosis, with zero-energy screams, neat and well-educated sound, lots of dissonance and so on. As useful as a plaster on a pegleg. Luckily this stuff generally doesn’t live for long, unlike the brigthly colored tattoos these guys are generally covered with, I hope their emploeyrs at McDonald’s won’t mind 10 years from now. Just 10 years ago they would have had sideburns, funny fringe haircuts and a contract on Willowtip/Relapse (or both).

Visceral Disgorge (5)Visceral Disgorge

While I found Kraanium enjoyable (yes I went forward in time and reviewed that first – this shape allows me to do a lot of things), I found this band as boring as it can get. Too much slam, endless tempos, flat vocal line and so on. BDM might a complex beast to tame so even if you do all your homeworks properly the results aren’t assured. This stuff is too long, not enough compressed, not enough varied, at least for me.

Kraanium (7)

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I didn’t know this band at all, that basically says much about my knowledge of Brutal Death Metal dopst 2005, when they told me a Kraanium was playing I thought they meant that shitty speed metal band on Necropolis. I have a complex relationship of love and hate with BDM, some days I find it incredibly boring and unispired, some oother days I can spin it for hours. It is a great genre to play full volume on a very loud set, and I generally do enjoy it at a fastival in particular after a show. Karrnium are fast, complex and as heavy as it can get, and you know what, today for me they were a yes. Not so  many bands from Norway play this shit as far as I know, that I know of.

 Disentomb (7)

DisentombDidn’t know this band either, I thought they played classic “traditional” Death Metal until I saw the logo, which looks exactly like a million others (I suspect it’s that Asian guy who draws all brutal-slam bands, sort of a yellow Christophe Szpajdel of Brutal Death). Disentomb play some sort of ultra-tigh version of American Death Metal that grabs from Guttural Secrete and Disgorge as well as hyper-chaotic messies like Enmity. Not my favorite style in itself but these guys pummel the stage hard, swaying from the usual boring breakdowns choosing a more violent, crushing path. flawless shit.

Magrudergrind (3)

Magrudergrind

As a rule of thumb, if a band released albums on both Willowtip AND Relapse, I am almost certainly going to hate it, and well, my predictions were quite accurate. This shit is even worse than Teethgrinder. Modern stuff that pretends to sound like grindcore or powerviolence, mediocre songwriting and tracks that sound like they’ve been assembled using riffs discarded from *name-one-of-the-gazillion-dissonant-grindcore-bands-from-US* around. This is a band that manage to be equally mediocre in both blasting and slow chugging, the whole crowned with among the shitties vocals ever heard. And they managed to release like 6 albums. Meh.

Cripple Bastards (6)
Cripple Bastards

I don’t really like the grindcore/HC/Hatecore (can’t remember the correct definition now) this band plays, but no one can deny a couple of things when talking about CB – they’re absolutely original in mixing elements of horror and social topics. All the songs are well written, every liyrics worth reading. They’re a paramount of integrity, completely laid back and deeply passionate about their works. I wish I could dig them more than I do, actually. Anyway I saw them like 20 times, and all of their shows were fine.

Wolfbrigade (7)

Wolfbrigade

I might not have a perfect pitch, but every single song from Wolfpack/Wolfbrigade sounds exactly the same to me, ahah. You could record a whole album with the same song on loop 10 times and I won’t notice. But know what: I like it. The swing and groove of good crusty grind is strong in these guys. This is good music to listen to when you’re getting drunk, they just reveberate on the same chords as a good hangover.

Stage 1

Blockheads (6)

BlockheadsBlockhead is the title of an old Brutal Truth song, no idea if the band took the name from that. In any case it’s a band that know how to kick ass then speeding up. They play good grindcore, not as dirty and ugly as I would like it, but decent enough I guess. I don’t really like it when they slow down but in general the show was ok. Not much to say, rather routine stuff.

Vitamin-X (ahaha)

Vitamin-X

Sorry, I was laughing at their name. This band plays some decent Hard Core, outstandingly out of place here. But hey, in a venue where there’s people that are more interested in removing anti-antifa stickers than watching bands play who am I to judge? There’s people paying for having their nuts squeezed after all.

Dropdead (8)

DropdeadI prefer the namesake Siege album but Dropdead isn’t bad either. Their vocals honestly suck the hugest dicks but the songs are great examples of great skull-crushing grindcore, the simple straight in your face shite to be played full volume. I generally have little patience for the typical brainwashed fan who goes crazy for this stuff but the music itself is more than good to me, I also have their old album and play it sometimes.

Doom (8)
Doom

Even if they’re probably part of the fag barricade that boycotted Disma at the show, I still like Doom as I always did. I grew up with this shit and bought “Police Bastard” right out of the factory, so what else can I say, they might not have the same pissed off fury of their young beginnings but I still like the gruff, ugly vocals and primitive Dischargesque sound of this band.

Agoraphobic Nosebleed (3)

Agoraphobic NosebleedRanking among the top bands I don’t live a fuck about since Relapse started to replace Mortician, Incantation or Goreaphobia with this new brand of shitty protogrind, I could sum up this microreview with just one sentence: Agoraphobic Nosebleed SUCKS.

Infest (7)

InfestI like to consider this band as a kick ass Hard Core one and not a mediocre Grind Core one. In any case Infest created their own style, and you can just tell an Infest song from any other from that million xeroxed cover 7″s with some war photo on you can find on crust stands. They’re like holy cows many have been trying to imitate but like it often turns out, the original one is still the best.

Patronaat

Keitzer (6)

KeitzerYou can say what you want about this band, but they’re definitely fast. A bit messy but nonetheless suprisingly good. They tend to lose it when they slow down but they definitely know how to blast properly.

Primitive Man (2)

Totally shitty raw stoner/drone stuff, you know I wasn’t lookin at the stage but I am ready to bet 10 euros that someone had a shirt from one of these bands, roll 1d4:

  1. Eyethategod
  2. Sunn O)))
  3. Man is The Bastard
  4. Neurosis
Inhume (9)

InhumeI was saddened by the demise of one of the best band ever from The Netherlands some eyars ago as Inhume were in my opinion fucking punishers and among my favorite spins. Their Death/Grind was CRUSHING like nobody else. Truth is maybe they never disbanded for real, I just lost track of them after their latest album on Osmose a couple of years ago. Seeing them on the bill was great in any case I really can’t think of many bands as brutal as Inhume, they just have IT.

Undergang (8)

UndergangSaw them once with Anatomia a couple of years ago, this band has all the elements I like in Death Metal, Dark, sewage, filthy, sick and swampy sound, lyrics and artwork. Totally devoted to the “old school” way. So what could be wrong? Undergand are the paladins of rot and they just deserve all proper respect.

Afterparty

That closes the first day of shows. Lots of patches and military jackets around here make me unconfortable. I prefer to go to the hotel. Luckily I saved Bobbi Eden‘s phone number.

Hello Bobbi, how are you doing tonight?

Netherland Death Fest 2016 Astral Review

Netherland Death fest

The 2016 edition of the NDF might probably have the greatest bill of all time. Autopsy, Blasphemy, Angelcorpse, Morpheus Descends, Magrudergrind (ah ah no, just kidding on this last one) and so on. Stuff to make you sleep like shit at night, especially when you’re not going to attend it. Yeah, a bunch my fave bands ever are (is?) playing in Europe and I am not going for some miserable aspect of my life I don’t want to publicly share here.

Hating myself since my birth however allowed me to channel my energy into the realm of possibilities and make pretending. Since I could no accept it, I will pretend to be there and have fun and share beers with friends while listening to “In The Grip of Winter” live. With the right dose of booze, I can project my astral form and attend the show even if I am not, how cool is that? Wiggle your fingers, Magician Mick!

Trip to Tillburg

I decided to wake up earlier this time and have a long workout in my basement with cardio and some clean and jerks and PR deadlifts before getting a good shower and an healthy breakfast. Positive and full of energy like I am always in the morning* I control once last time the checklist of items to pack in my hand bag. weighing it once more to be certain the airport is not going to create any problems. ID check, money check, credit card check, phone and adapters check, Disma shirts check,

I feed my cat and make sure my neighbor has all the correct instructions to keep her litter clean, her water fresh and her food bowl full to the brim. My brand new*, problem-less* car drives me uneventfully to the airport where I park in the extended-time lot. I take a healhty snack with some carrots and celery* while waiting for the plane to land. At the airport I meet with all the 72 friends that Facebook assured me will be attending to the great event. happy to see you all here, pals*!

Since I am still in good shape when the plane arrives in Tilburg and I have some time left before the sunset I visit the beautiful church os St. Josef not too far from the venue. Built in 1899, the church looks still cool. It still has you know, the towers, the grey stones, everything looks right.

JosefThe Auberge Du Bonheur is as enchanting as I expected. I leave my bag in the hotel room and plan a quick drink with friends. On the way out, probably attracted  by my DISMA shirt these two girls try to hook me up and get me laid. I tell them I have no time for that shit and I am there just for the music. Making the sign of the horns with my right hand while sticking my tougue out like a true metal warrior.

Prerelase party

Kandinsky

Quick ice cream at the Intermezzo and I head to the Kandinsky pub (yes, like the Russian painter, lots of originals hanging at the walls actually!). My feet are sore and the beer is so refreshing at that time of the evening, but what a surprise! I could share a few of these with my friends and the guys in Autopsy that justs dropped by for a last sip before rest. We take some pictures together but I tell them I have to leave because I want to be perfectly in shape for the morn after.  We take one last shot and we have a look at the bands playing tomorrow: lots of grindcore… grindcore… ah yes also Undergang and Vitamin X.

Wait: Vitamin X? Jeez.

Anyway I say hello to Eric, Chris and Danny and I go to sleep.

Stay tuned for the festival proper!

 

YouTube channel (WTN – Ulcerrhoea)

Yeah might sound naive, but at the moment it looks like the fastest way to update this website and drop some review of older shit while I put together material for the paper zine. Hypotetically, the printed version will hold only reviews of records released in 2014 to 2016, while I’ll save older stuff for YouTube. Let me know if you like the idea.

Digressions on Jim Konya’s departure

Metal is Death, Death is Metal
Nunslaughter Death Metal

This might certainly sound like the single weirdest article you might read on the departure of Jim Konya/Sadist/Lasagna, as I won’t hide the fact I never met this guy in my life. I cannot really understand why I never had the chance to talk with him, by chat or letter or face to face, as exploring the dozens of posts and memories that have popped on the Internet recently we certainly had a lot to share. In any case, putting together all the pieces of the puzzle from the various sources, not to mention some interviews I have read/watched lately, there is a lot we can learn from this guy. He definitely knew how to live this life properly.

I had a friend like him once who died of liver cancer just a couple of years ago. Still today he is my greatest if not the only role model I have ever had, the person I think of when I am going through difficult times. What would he do if he was in my situation? Something just reverberates correctly when I think about the passion and generosity of such persons. It might sound unfair to file them under a common roof as each one of them was certainly unique, but I find so many similiarities I just find it impossible not to. Luckily I know a couple of other people with that spirit. Not more than five or six, and they’ve been the only ones I have kept in touch during the long time during which I was basically out of the whole music “scene”. Unsurprisingly, they’re the ones who always manage to drag me into this “scene” every time.

“Scene” is a word the guys in Isten (most possibly just Mikko I guess but bear with me) just could not stand. Over fifteen years ago it (I’ll talk of Isten as a single, free willed entity) realized that things were not aligning properly. Scene demands proper form. Scene demands brotherhood, blindfold support (even of shitty bands), demands proper attire and as much homogenous thinking as possible. Weird stuff, for a music apparently created by the Devil, rebel card number 1. I personally mostly skipped the habits of scene-dom for the most of my life, save probably my very first years into it, could not care less you know. Every couple of years a new trend sets in, some I like, some I don’t, hell sometimes I just don’t care about listening to music at all for weeks.

But basically, are people like Jim and Isten on the opposite sides of the spectrum? I personally believe not. Isten certainly has its snobbish halo, and that I never liked, but it was undoubtedly spot on regarding the whole “Scene” thing: scene is glossy, big cumbersome and glossy as national metal magazines can be, all of them aligned to lick the ass to the same people. But above anything else it is false, it is form above content, and I could set my balls on a grill if Jim was into punk and metal for anything else but content. Obviously in metal appearance and aesthetics ARE content as well, but that is another story entirely. I am not talking about patches and metal vests here. The question is now: can you be as well liked like him without being a “scene queen”? Your answer resides in a couple dozens of articles like this that have been written ever since Jim’s departure.

I have never lived music as a religion. My passion and interest wanes and grows in cycles and it always did. When I am into it, I am really into it and that is the single most important lesson I have learned from people like Jim and my old friend. Life’s to short to live anybody elses life, even if it’s called “scene”.

Passion, honesty, truth, sharing good music for free, actually listening to the records you buy and not fearing to say an album is shit when everybody else is praising it. That is the lesson I believe we all should learn from these people. Since Jim is no more, it’s really up to us to fill his void by trying to live a little bit of his legacy, I certainly will try to. This time, this is really a call to arms.

Sorry pal for having never managed to meet you on this Earth, we have a lot of sick shit to trade down in the pits of Hell, wait for me.

Horns up.