In the dark days of December, the end of the year is approaching for us all. When families are getting siked up for Christmas and new years eve. Us Metalheads were looking forward to a weekend full of awesomely brutally bands. Metal and Eindhoven go together as the nice juicy cherry on a chocolate cake.
It was nice the bands started early for people who tend to stay up late the day before. Or drank a bit to much beer. At about 2 in the afternoon, we stepped on the train to Eindhoven to enter a weekend full of blasting noise. Arriving downtown, we had to walk 5 minutes to get to The Effenaar venue, where a bunch of people already were waiting in line to get in. I was getting my press pass while friends of mine found a spot in the line.
Once we got in it got very clear to us that this festival was sold out, just when the first few bands were playing the venues already were pretty crowded. At this time we have met a lot of people, it is a good festival for socialising.
We got our time schedule at the door and were watching closely at what bands we were going to watch, I don’t like to do that in front of the festival, my plans always change last minute. We noticed that this timetable had a lot of bands playing exactly at the same time as others. It became clear to me that it was not possible to see every band that I wanted to see, which I saw as a pretty negative thing. I dont like it when I dont get the chance to see everything for a whole show. Nevertheless we were up for a good time, went to the bar to get our first half liter of beer and the party was on!
First band we saw was Illusionless, a band that won in the Eindhoven Metal Meeting Battle. They definitely deserved the place to play. And definitely brought some nice jamming death metal with dark vibes. These students left a good impression on me. I have seen them before on some other shows and these guys always seem to impress the lot. Too bad I couldn’t see more of this band for I had to run to catch The Committee, which don’t really bring something new to your ears, but are pretty enjoyable. I liked the way the visuals were completely in sync with the music by the way. The band gave us a really special and theatrical show. This band from Belgium stands on the stage completely unrecognisable, all in black, they bring us a vibrating monotone and depressive sounding death/doom.
After the Committee it was time to grab a smoke, wandering around there I went talking to some people. I came across two guys which had a pretty enjoyable story to tell. I asked a certain Martin if this was the first time he went to EMM, it was like its 8th year or something. He grew into metal when he was a kid of 2 years old, he got its first tourshirt at that age, It was from Iron Maiden. His dad took him to several metal shows and that’s how he got into this music. This is something you don’t come across a lot here. As you see, the best conversations are held in the smoking area.
We needed to see Funeral Whore, I heard a lot about this band. So I went to see them on the District 19 stage, this is a brutal hard and fierce band with a pint-sized singer that just goes full throttle. Cool voice by the way, this band tends to go all the way if it comes to filthy, hard, smudgy old-school death metal. After Funeral Whore we went to see Attic. This band impressed me! Awesome effects over the very high-pitched voice. A pretty theatrical band, hmm. I liked this. Though this band had some trouble with getting the audience on board. The soundguy didn’t really seem to get the sound right. But the singer also was off-key in the first place. That didn’t really help at all.
Here comes one of the overlaps of bands that I really didn’t like, Asphyx played practically at the same time as Saille. And I wanted to see a full show of both of the bands. Bummer, First I got to Saille. I really think this is one of those bands that have grown over the years. 2 or 3 years, I even booked them myself to play once. And look where they are now! And the best band I have seen up untill now. This band was so good, I almost forgot to go and watch Asphyx, so I ran to the big venue to see the last bit of Asphyx, and got exactly what I expected. Great death growls over great death metal music. Not more and not less, exactly what you expect.
There I met a friend of mine in the lobby, we call him Marco Spandex, because he always wears spandex, and has his own magazine named Headbangers Zine, gigs and records. I was curious, what his favorite bands were why he was here. But he came up with a bunch of names, I am not all going to write down here, but yeah it was mostly thrash. I drank a few more beers. And I saw a food stand. And yes, we also have to eat. The food was not that expensive, but I can get the same kind of food for half the price outside the festival though. But I needed a burger, so I ordered one. Too many pickles by the way.
By this time it was really crowded at the festival, it was not possible to get into the front now if a band was playing and you came in late. But it was time for Triptykon! I was so looking forward to seeing this band. And yeah! I definitely got what I wanted. I stood in front of the magnificent Tom G Warrior and here I got the best band at the festival for me. I heard ‘Goetia’ from Eparistera Daimones, but also some awesome songs from Hellhammer and Celtic Frost. A very dynamic sound and show that was hypnotising. Even the singer from At the Gates came up the stage to sing ‘Circle of the Tyrants’. After Triptykon, I wanted to get a glimpse of Urfaust, who were practically playing at the same time as Triptykon. The venue was completely full of people, so I tried to sneak trough the hallway to see a bit of it. But it was pretty much impossible for us. But the stuff that I heard was awesome, hypnotising and so good I had the feeling I had to see the whole show of this band.
Now it was time for the headliner, At the Gates. Never seen them before, ever. But I had an album since I was 16 years old. I got into the swedish death genre, and someone told me: “How can you listen to that without having listened to the founders of this genre!” True! This show also was pretty magnificent. With half of those songs from the latest album (At War With Reality, Century Media) and the dynamic of this band, how could we not be ready for a fucking fierce show?
After At the Gates, it was time for the afterparty bands. After maybe having a beer or 2 too many we went thrashing at Evil Invaders. If you go to an afterparty, my opinion is to party hard. We didn’t have enough, so we went to the Dynamo where the Sisters of Suffocation were playing. This all female death metal band gave a show to remember, everybody that wasn’t there should be ashamed of themselves. Energetic and some chicks with more balls than the average death metaller.
After Sisters of Suffocation, it was time to go home, we needed to go fetch the train back to Tilburg.
WORDS: KAAT VAN DOREMALEN