Every avid fan of death metal drools with pleasure when Neurotic Deathfest comes to town again. The event started out as the Rotterdam Deathfest, but from 2006 on, it became the Neurotic Deathfest. Each year the line-up becomes better. This is reflected in the amount of foreign visitors coming to Tilburg to be a part of the biggest indoor death metal festival in Europe. On behalf of Ghost Cult Friso van Daalen (FD) and Mitchell Scheerder (MS) were on the scene to report…
Hordes of metal fans made their way towards the 013 venue. By the time we entered, Danish death metal outfit Iniquity was already playing on the main stage. The heyday of these Danes was back in the 90s, but they got caught up in the backwash when the death metal scene collapsed. Last year they got back together again. The band’s rather simplistic death metal hasn’t aged really well and their rather static show doesn’t help to get the audience going. (FD)
Next up to the main stage are Decapitated from Poland. It’s a small miracle they’re still around, considering the horrific accident they had some years ago. The band is on fire and the audience are really appreciative of songs like ‘Pest’ and ‘Carnival Is Forever’. The impressive light show help to push things to the next level. They close their 40-minute set with the mighty ‘Day 69’, leaving the crowd utterly satisfied. (FD)
I’ve never heard of Morbid Saint before, but they sure managed to impress me with their energetic live set. Just like Decapitated, they’re out for blood. In their entire career, the band only released one album, which they played at rapid fire pace. Songs like ‘Damien’, ‘Crying For Death’ and ‘Scars’ were the highlights of their set. The band’s energy caused the audience to go nuts with a lot of violent moshpits as a result. Impressive. (MS)
Recently Devoured released a new album and their setlist consisted of a variety songs spanning the band’s complete discography. Despite singer Ruben Rosas’ best efforts to get the crowd going, the response was minimal. Only ‘Fed To The Pigs’ and ‘Babykillers’ went over well. The band played a solid show, but it was just not that memorable. (FD)
Friday’s absolute highpoint was Death To All, a musical tribute to Chuck Schuldiner and the various incarnations of Death. Chuck may be no longer among us, but his music is certainly not forgotten. Several (ex) members of Death played a best-of show, sending the crew into an absolute frenzy with songs like ‘Leprosy’, ‘Suicide Machine’, ‘Zero Tolerance’ and ‘Pull The Plug’. This is probably the closest thing to a real Death show we’ll ever get, and I’m sure Chuck would have been proud of this. RIP. (FD)
For some reason, the performance by German prog death metal outfit Obscura was something of an anticlimax. The band gave it their all, but the crowd didn’t give an inch. Perhaps they were still exhausted from the previous Death To All show. Perhaps it was the location, the amount of beer or something else, but the Obscura show simply fizzled out. (FD)
In true Carcass style, Spanish gore/grind outfit Haemorrhage went all medical on the audience. Blood and gore were all around. Their over-the-top live show combined with some sick humor was a true sight to behold. The singer’s dog imitations were spot on and he really managed to captivate the audience with his comical stage antics. A very entertaining show indeed. (FM)
We decided to check out the third stage, which was the smallest stage at NDM. Israeli thrash metal outfit Hammercult provided the perfect sonic backdrop to wake us up from our slumber. After a day of frenetic death metal it was nicely refreshing to hear some clean cut thrash metal again. The band’s collective enthusiasm proved to be contagious and especially ‘We Are Hammercult’ was met with public approval. These guys certainly deserved to be on one of the bigger stages. (MS)
When it comes down to horror, gore and death metal few do it better than Necrophagia. They played on the main stage, but despite their solid show I got the feeling something was lacking. Perhaps it was still a little too early for the band or perhaps I needed more coffee. (FD).
One of the first highlights on Saturday was Pig Destroyer, the kings of maddening experimental grindcore. With only one drummer, one singer and one guitarist with a big arsenal of weird sounds and noises they really managed to bring the roof down. In true grind fashion they played 30 songs in just 40 minutes leaving the audience utterly exhausted. Pig Destroyer don’t take themselves too seriously. Quite a healthy attitude within the extreme metal scene if you ask me. (FD)
Immolation were one of the true great bands on the bill today. The band played on the main stage and the place was utterly packed. They just released a new album, in the form of Kingdom Of Conspiracy. Material off that record plus a surplus of classic Immolation tracks brought the whole venue to fever pitch. Some of the songs they played included ‘Hate’s Plague’, ‘Swarm Of Terror’, ‘Father You’re Not A Father’ and ‘A Spectacle Of Lies’. Despite the somewhat static nature of their show they really managed to blow me away. (MS)
The Repulsion show was rather awkward. With only one album under their belt (released back in 1989), the band received an hour’s worth of playing time. The fact this is their first performance outside the United States didn’t exactly fill me with confidence. With good reason, because the singer forgot to sing into his microphone on a couple of ocassions and the sloppy guitar work didn’t help to improve the quality of the show either. Their no-frills music didn’t give me goosebumps. After 40 minutes Repulsion simply stopped playing and left the stage without any encore whatsoever. Definitely one of the lesser performances so far. (MS)
The music of Cock & Ball Torture is something of an acquired taste. Their name doesn’t bode too well for my nether regions and neither does their music. The crowd went berserk during their set, but for me it was a convenient excuse to leave the room and look for a good spot from which to witness today’s main spectacle…(FD)
Today’s headliner are recently reactivated grindcore and extreme metal pioneers Carcass. The band absolutely lived up to their headliner status as the place was absolutely packed. As a grand opening gesture, the crowd got a taste of Carcass TV, a short presentation of some rather disturbing imagery. Despite a little technical hiccup the show started exactly on time with ‘Inpropagation’. The perfect sound and lavish lightshow gave classics like ‘Corporal Jigsore Quandry’ and ‘Exhume To Consume’ additional grandeur. Singer/bassist Jeff Walker gave the new Dutch king a two fingered salute by showing some nasty STD pictures on the big screen. Well, why not. The band closed their set with a spendid rendition of ‘Heartwork’. The perfect closer of the second day at Neurotic Deathfest. (FD)
The boundaries of good taste were severely tested by Dutch grindcore merchants Cliteater. The band’s most impressive asset is their vocalist Joost who doesn’t need any special effects to create his inhuman growls and pig squeals. What followed was 30 minutes of grindcore hysteria full of brutal moshpits, sick jokes and unintelligible song announcements. From what I could tell the band played ‘Slimming Party At Kelly’s’ and ‘Oh She’s Eleven’ off their latest album. (MS)
We decided to watch one of the bands on the third stage again and this time we had the pleasure to see Finnish death/thrash metal band Re-Armed play. The band played really tight and I was really impressed with the quality of their music. There weren’t many people around, but these Finns still managed to get a small moshpit going. It’s only too bad that smaller and talented bands like Re-Armed get completely overlooked at a big event like Neurotic Deathfest. Hopefully I’ll catch them another time under more favourable conditions. (FD)
Malignant Tumour brings us crust punk of the highest—or lowest—order. These Czechs are all about providing straight forward D-beat without any technical frolics whatsoever. The crowd loves them and the intimate nature of the smallest hall in the 013 provides enough opportunity for some savage public participation. The absolute highlight was the massive moshpit on ‘Saddam Hussein Is Rock And Roll’. Malignant Tumour isn’t exactly the most innovative or genre bending bands around, but they surely know how to have a good time on stage. (MS)
Marudergrind puts the grind into grindcore. I’d expected to see three maniacs diving headlong in the audience, but that wasn’t to be. Despite being only three people, they managed to make quite a racket. One half of the public adored them and the other half didn’t know what to make of them. After 30 minutes they suddenly quit playing, despite the alloted 40 minutes playing time. It’s one of those typical grindcore quirks, I guess. (MS)
After an absence of several years Canadian technical death metal outfit Cryptopsy returned to the scene with arguably one of the best comeback albums of last year. Cryptopsy live are sadly not so exciting. The song material came across as one big blur of technical breaks, manic guitar riffs and odd time signatures. The grunts of singer Matt McGachy were hardly audible and that didn’t help things either. The band played a varied set which included tracks from their entire discography. Again, the static nature of their performance didn’t push the entertainment value up. (FD)
Cattle Decapitation is the perfect closing act for the second stage. These guys know how to work a crowd and singer/maniac Travis Ryan knows how to bring things to a frenzy. The allotted 40 minutes are total death/grind bliss. The sound was a little off here and there, but from what I could tell they played ‘Forced Gender Reassignment’ and ‘Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat’. Definitely one of the more memorable performances I’ve seen at this year’s edition of Neurotic Deathfest. (MS)
Swedish death metal ensemble Unleashed were the closing act of this evening. By now a lot of people had left the venue, but that didn’t dampen their spirits at all. The band played all their ‘hits’, including ‘Minvinter Blod’, ‘The Longships Are Coming’ and the ultimate death metal hymn in the form of ‘Death Metal Victory’. Many of their songs are quite alike, but that didn’t bother the audience at all. There was lots of interaction between the band and the public and everyone had a great time. Lots of headbanging and savage moshpits later, Neurotic Deathfest was closed in style. (FD)
Neurotic Deathfest remains a Mecca for every ardent fan of extreme metal. The whole event was professionally organised and we didn’t notice any sort of violence or any other problems. Until next year!
A special thanks to Suzanne Maathuis for provinding the pictures.