Into the Void Festival, Live at Poppodium Romein, Leeuwarden, NL


I could not think of a better way to spend my Sundays than with a concert close to home. No traffic, no getting lost trying to find the venue and no needless getting tired from traveling before you even get to the thing. But is metal a good way to spend a day best spent free of worries? It is when you visit Into the Void. Just some carefree stoner, sludge and doom where you can gently bob your head up and down to the tones of New Keepers of the Water Tower, Monomyth or Abysmal Grief, to name a few. We can already assume I was not the only one who enjoyed himself, because the date for next year has already been set. But how enjoyable was it exactly?

Supposedly the organisers of Into the Void mentioned in casual conversation with Midnight Ghost Train, while on the Roadburn Festival elsewhere in the Netherlands, that they should visit Leeuwarden some time and they would get a show to perform at. Thus the first band for the new festival, from the same people who brought us Into the Grave, was set.

A wide range of other bands were also invited of course, like Night of the Lotus Eater, 44 Venom, Yama, Cherry Choke and Toner Low. Each had their charm, but a couple clearly stood out. Monomyth for example, who cleverly hid the fact they had no intention of singing, by making the first two songs sound like an intro. At some point I started to wonder when they would start singing, when I noticed they had nothing to sing into. Not that they needed the superfluous luxury of lyrics, because their set list had been neatly designed into a build-up to an epic climax. I thought the climax could have been a bit more climactic though, because I felt the performance ended just as they were about to hit it – but maybe that is just the way they make you want to listen to more of their music. Though, the audience me they got exactly the climax they wanted, by giving an approving applause.

But if you were looking for something a little less smooth and a little more complex, you were still at the right place in the former theatre, former church. Yama, for instance, were not at all afraid to turn up the bass and the distortion, just to remind you what genre exactly you were listening too. I am not sure I would have gone with the same light plan, but it did suit the music.

I would have to say New Keepers of the Water House Towers, gave me a bit of a mix between the two: a little more rough than Monomyth, a little less lyrical than Yama. As a pleasant surprise the voices reminded me of the Queens of the Stone Age, like in QOTSA’s Songs for the Dead. As they were playing I noticed there was no gentle bobbing, but either intense focus on the faces of the audience, being swept away in the flow of the music, or firsts with horns in the air. The applause afterwards told me the audience had enjoyed the solid riffs and hypnotizing voices as much as me.

The band that stood out most to me was Abysmal Grief. They set the mood the moment they appeared on stage, bathing in red light, neatly dressed as a priest, a rabbi and a dark monk and surrounded by candles and crosses. To live up to the showmanship of the promising setting, the “rabbi” enlightened us with his dark voice and his ominous church organ, which was actually a synthesiser disguised as a lectern. It was not just the looks that drew me and the audience in though, the dark tones combined with the low, ominous singing had a way of taking you over, compelling you to stay and listen. The audience was not afraid to show it either, with rounds of applause and horned firsts in the air that seemed to plead Abysmal Grief to keep going.

In conclusion, if I decide make a habit out of metal concerts on Sundays, Into the Void definitely did the job of convincing me and would definitely be on the top of my go-to list.


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Laurens Ruiter