2016 was a huge year for metal releases. Continue reading
After a wobbly Saturday morning start, Akercocke carried on from where they left off a few years ago, improving and gaining/regaining fans as they went along. Rotting Christ sounded fantastic, The King is Blind completely owned the second stage for forty brutal minutes, and Fear Factory treated the crowd to all of 1995’s Demanufacture album while singer Burton C Bell tried his best to keep his voice from cracking. Paradise Lost played a set filled with heavier material, and Gojira stunned the majority of the audience with a set that not even headliners Mastodon could come close to touching. A typically eclectic set, the Atlantan four-piece struggled to get any momentum going, and even with the aid of some fancy video screens, only occasionally showed signs of being genuine headliners. A new version of old UK thrashers Acid Reign also managed to steal Mastodon’s thunder all the way from the second stage, playing one of the fastest and most enjoyable thrash sets of the festival while singer, ‘H’, looked resplendent in his shocking pink suit and top hat.
And so to Sunday, and to the wonders of Ghost Bath. Only possessing the vaguest of knowledge about this band, I was simply unprepared for the next forty highly confusing (and occasionally eye-wateringly funny) minutes. Imagine a Black Metal band fronted by the shrieking goat from YouTube and you’d have a good idea of what I witnessed that morning.
Although the pedigree of the members of Metal Allegiance is not in question, I’m afraid the same cannot be said of their collective efforts. Cover version after horrible cover version was mauled and discarded, as people turned to each other in disbelief and disappointment. Playing all of 1996 album Nemesis Divina in full, Black Metallers Satyricon put in one of the performances of the weekend, even in the blazing sunshine. Finland’s Whispered took to the stage in their Japanese costumes and make-up and proceeded to win over an entire tent of confused onlookers. Technical Thrashers Vektor followed and even more people left with smiling faces. Symphony X gave everyone on the main stage plenty to sing along to, but Anthrax obliterated their memory in seconds. The last time the New York outfit played here in 2013, it was all fairly average, maybe even disappointing. But not this time. They were on fire from the second they launched into ‘You Gotta Believe’ until they left the stage to ‘Indians’. Nobody even cared that they dropped a couple of favourites in order to showcase newer material.
Even headliners Slayer struggled to keep up. Again, like Anthrax, it was a much improved performance from 2013, but things seemed to go a little awry in the latter stages of their set. For some reason, ‘Hell Awaits’ became an instrumental after the first chorus, and Tom’s demeanour changed from happy and smiling to fairly disinterested around the same time. Still, when they came back out for the encore of ‘South of Heaven’, ‘Raining Blood’, and ‘Angel of Death’ everything was quickly forgiven and forgotten. It was left up to New Orleans band Goatwhore to close the weekend on the second stage, and they did so imperiously with one of the loudest, heaviest hours of the festival.
From the almost comical amount of crowd surfers (Acid Reign alone clocked 263 in one hour – an average of over four per minute) to the spontaneous chant of “MAN IN YELLOW”, directed to one of the security staff stood on the scaffolding before Slayer, to the glorious weather and generally contagious good feeling of everyone in attendance (even a lot of the campsite toilets were still usable by the Monday morning!), there was only one place to be last week.
There were a few odd little problems, of course. Since the festival ended, a story has emerged that a girl was sexually assaulted in her tent, and the amount of moshpit idiocy seems to be on the increase again. Not, this time, from the shirtless circle-pitters and kung-fu merchants, but this time from the people who stand on the barrier all day, doing their best to punch and deliberately tear clumps of hair from any crowd surfer (male and female) unlucky enough to invade their personal space as they get dragged over the front. Making sure at all times, of course, that security have a firm hold of their target first so that they can’t retaliate.
The worst thing this year though was the repeated loop of the same bloody music videos on the big screen all weekend. When I arrived in the main arena on the Friday, I said “hey, this new Wormrot song’s great. I’ll definitely be getting the album”. By the time Saturday evening came around, I never wanted to hear fucking thing again. And as for the constant exposure to the videos of Wakrat and Blackberry Smoke, let’s just say that if I ever meet either of those bands in person, then it won’t end pleasantly for either of them.
Overall though, and yet again, Bloodstock Open Air was a roaring success.
Roll on next year.
WORDS BY GARY ALCOCK
Tomorrow kicks off the 21st Brutal Assault Festival with Parkway Drive, Neurosis, Arch Enemy, Behemoth, Mastodon, Abbath, Devildriver, Exodus, Ministry, Nile, Obituary, Satyricon, Ihsahn, Dark Tranquility, Dying Fetus, Unearth, Conan, Voivod, Taake, Septic Flesh, Insomnium, Stuck Mojo, and Mono among others. Making the festival unique compared with other events are the art exhibition, horrror film festival, revolutionary Cashless/Access card system, and other features that have always made Brutal Asault the leaders in the festival going experience. Previously announced bands Electric Wizard (visas) and Terror (surgery for Scott Vogel) have cancelled and replaced with Uffommamut and Raised fist respectively.
Wednesday kicks off with bands like Abbath, Mastodon, Neurosis, Devildriver, Mutooid Man, Chelsea Wolfe, Tribulation, Conan, Vektor, Gruesome, Shining and more.
Thursday features Parkway Drive, Gojira, Ministry, Exodus, Ihsahn, Dark Tranquility, The Black Dahlia Murder, H20, Animals As Leaders, Immolation, Aborted, TesseracT, Obscura, and more.
Friday has Arch Enemy, Moonspell, Taake, Satyricon, Cattle Decapitation, Sigh, Coroner, Obituary, eptic Flesh, Voivod, Raised Fist, iron Reagan, In The Woods and others.
Saturday closes things out with headliners Behemoth, Agnostic Front, Insomnium, Moonsorrow, Destruction, MGLA, Venom INC, Archgoat, Stuck Mojo, Holy Moses, Stick To Your Guns, Lightening Bolt and more. Tickets are still avaialble at this link:
Long-running and legendary Brutal Assault Festival takes place again this year for their 21st edition. Taking place which takes place in a military fortress Jofesov in Jaromer, in the Chech Republic the four day festival runs from August 10-13th. In addition to headline acts Mastodon, Ministry, Parkway Drive, and Behemoth, the fest features names from across all genres of rock and metal such as Aborted, Agnostic Front, Angelcorpse, Animals As Leaders, The Algorithm, Archgoat, Birdflesh, Bury Tomorrow, Conan, Coroner, Dark Funeral, Dark Tranquility, Devildriver, Die Krupps, Disavowed, Destruction, Electric Wizard, Eskimo Callboy, Exodus, Eyehategod, Gruesome, Hypnose, Immolation, Insomnium, Iron Reagan, Jig-Ai, Knuckledust, Leprous, Mgla, Misery Loves Co., Mithras, Moonspell, Mono, Mutoid Man, Nile, Obituary, Omnium, Gatherum, Satyricon, Septicflesh, Shining, Sigh, Sikth, Slagmaur, Taake, Terror, Textures, The Black Dahlia Murder, Tribulation, Vektor, Valkyrja, Voivod, Whiplash and more. Tickets are on sale now with camping packages at this link:
Eight Bells guitarist Melynda Jackson broke her leg last night in Atlanta, while on tour with Voivod and Vektor. Termed a freak accident, the band has posted on their Facebook page that the band will be unable to perform tonight in Knoxville, TN. The band is still trying to determine if and when they can rejoin the tour, but vow to support the bill in any case. They have also launched a GoFundMe campaign to help offset the medical bills. Eight Bells is on the road supporting their recently releases album Landless (Battleground Recordings) .
We wish Melynda a speedy recovery!
Hello, friends. Unfortunately, there was an incident at our show last night and Melynda was badly injured. This morning, doctors confirmed that her leg is broken. We are terribly sad to say that we cannot play tonight’s show in Knoxville but we will try to make it there in order to support our friends inVoivod and Vektor as well as sell some merch in an attempt to ease some of Melynda’s mounting medical bills.
Here is a GoFundMe page that we’ve set up for her — you can also donate directly via PayPal to Melynda.email@example.com
We’ll know more in regards to the rest of the dates soon, and will keep you posted. Thank you all so much for your support and understanding during this devastating time. This is certainly a freak occurrence that no one could have predicted or prevented.
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One of the top tours of the early going in 2016 brings us the mighty Voivod. The veteran prog metal masters from Canada almost improbably improve year over year. Two years since the release of their album Target Earth (Century Media) the band is still on the road. Better yet, they are releasing a new six song EP, Post Society on February 26th which promises two new songs and a cover. This EP is a stepping stone to a new album, due likely late in the year or early next year. Rather than adapt and conform as many of their peers have over the last 30 plus years, Voivod just rolls on, being Voivod. This excellent bill also boast two other exciting bands from the recesses of the prog metal underground. Vektor is definitely overt in their Voivod worship, but never falls to copying. Just an influence, but its there. If you have ever seen them live, you know they kill it every time. We’ll be looking forward to their new album Terminal Redux (Earache) coming this may. Eight Bells is also on the bill, adding their psychedelic angle to the prog proceedings. We have recently covered the bands’ sojourn across the country and given much praise to their new album Landless (Battleground Recordings) as one of 2016’s best efforts already. The three bands together make for a formidable and fun time. Tonight’s show was opened by local grind junkies Wreak who are solid and fit right in with this bill. Fete Music Hall is one of the many cool venues to pop up from the Providence, RI music scene, not content to be a mere satellite moon to nearby Boston’s Sun. Photographed for Ghost Cult by Hillarie Jason, you can see the spirit and artistry of the bands on display, and the passion reflected back by the crowd. .
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Saturday we were up for a great hangover from the amazing day we had at day one of Eindhoven Metal Meeting. This was maybe a bit too much beer for the rest of the year. But still we held our heads high and bravely went to The Effenaar (by bus, there was no way we went by bike). This might be the reason why we were a bit too late, and I missed Distillator and Bodyfarm. But I walked in on this great old school death band named Necros Christos. I wonder how this band would have done on the smaller stage, the large stage really didn’t seem to fit them. The atmosphere they were trying to convince me about didn’t really came through. You can hear that this is a really good band, but it just didn’t come to me. I really want to see this band again sometime soon, but I want to experience them on a smaller stage.
German doomers AHAB definitely gave a great show! You could see that there wasn’t a great doom scene at Eindhoven Metal Meeting, the crowd at the Large Stage was empty if you ask me. Some real doom enthusiasts stayed, and they heard one of the greatest shows I have seen. Damn this is a band of quality. A band with a great atmosphere and we noticed that this band can really drag you out of a severe hangover. And for that we thank them.
I was really siked for Lvcifyre, but this didn’t last. I didn’t enjoy this band at all, the drummer delivered quite a show. However, the frontman said nothing at all and have no contact with the audience at all just doesn’t fit the job. I like black metal and I know the contact mostly isn’t that present, but most vocalists still sing to the audience, this guy didn’t even seem to bother. I do not have to see this band again.
Now we were really up for a party with one of the very last shows of the dutch goregrind band Rompeprop. I have always had this strange relationship with the style. There is nothing more party-mode-setting as a goregrind band. A bunch of friends were standing with me and we were doing the most crazy dance moves, because it is goregrind! We can do sprinklers, the lawn mower, and the hot towel! No one just cares and everyone is as crazy as you are. Just go with the flow and have a great time. A great, no-nonsense band with beach toys as props. Yes, this is my kind of party.
Now we were up for Marduk. This is definitely not the first time I have seen this band performing. But they always give a great performance and never disappoint. The quality this time was better than I have heard before, the riffs were more defined and the drums seemed to be more powerful.
Next up was the exclusive headliner Samael. The sound wasn’t that great, so it was not what I have expected at all. They used drum machine and they tried to play the old songs in the new style. It definitely wasn’t my piece of cake, but still I was intrigued and wanted to stay and watch the show.
After this band we headed for the last after party at Stratumseind. Eindhoven Metal Meeting 2015 was a good edition if you asked me. I met a lot of friends and a lot of new faces. I have noticed there were more foreigners than the years past. This was a plus for the atmosphere of different cultures and styles and that combined to a good festival experience. I am definitely going back next year.
WORDS BY KAAT VON DORMALEN
On a remarkably warm December day, we rode to Eindhoven again for the sold out Eindhoven Metal Meeting. With a killer lineup this year, it would have been a shame to miss this event. The line up of EMM has never disappointed me so far.
Last year I was kind of nagging about the fact it felt way to crowded, there is still no place to sit except for the stairs and some places in the smoking area but it really felt less crowded this year! This helped the atmosphere of the festival a lot. Eindhoven Metal Meeting is not an open air festival so you can indulge yourself in the luxury of a hotel and the luxury of descent facilities, which is common in winter, but very welcome after a whole summer festival season behind us. No getting nasty from standing in piss soaked mud this time!
I already was psyched for this festival, one of my favorite bands as headliner (Behemoth), the great atmosphere from the crowd in the south of The Netherlands, a good brand of beer, great afterparties ahead of us and me and a friend even helped an old hag to her car for some karma points. So this year nothing could go wrong at all!
The festival began and we walked in to hear the band Winterfylleth. I heard of this band, but never saw them live before. I can say there is nothing wrong with some good old raging black metal to drink your first festival beers on. The quartets latest opus The Divination of Antiquity definitely left a mark on me when I heard it, and it really came alive on stage. It felt like black metal was meant to sound like this and nothing else.
Next up on the Large stage (which is not only called that way because it is the largest stage, but is also called after one of the sponsors of the festivals) was Aeternus, a band with grandeur and a real attitude if you ask me. Their show was way to short if you ask me. I want more Aeternus, but next time it wouldn’t hurt if the guitars were a bit less sloppy. I loved the low tuned voice which really took me away.
An unexpected highlight was Onslaught, even though I am not really a thrash enthusiast. They were convincing me with a really convincing and energetic front man, which really got me in the mood. A really tight and top-notch show was is definitely the result of band members that really want to go for it and really want to bring us a great show.
A real highlight of the Friday and if you tell me the best band up until now was Conan. I enjoyed it from the start of the show up untill the end. The wall of sound this band creates blew me away. They drag you away into this trance. What a great vibe this band creates. WE WANT MORE CONAN!
In the mean while it was time to grab some food, we weren’t the only ones with this great idea. After waiting a while for my pulled pork sandwich (which wasn’t that special at all) we went back to the District 19 stage (the small stage). There are a lot of bands from Eindhoven playing this year, but Heretic really impressed. Not everyone seemed to like the black punk and roll, but damn this was ment to party on. The enthusiasm from the stage really impressed and even made a few metalheads dancing, yes, dancing, not headlbanging. This was quite an experience I can tell.
Now we were up for the headliner Behemoth, the time schedule for the Large stage wasnt that accurate anymore so they started a bit late, but no worries. They gave away a show like only Behemoth can deliver. Grim, dark, but full with energy. Nergal really wins the Oscar for best stage performer ever! There seemed to be some technical difficulties, but I didn’t hear any and I think everybody was just enjoying the great light show and the performance of this great band. If you have never seen Behemoth, do not miss them. This is a must see band!
Next up was Candlemass, a lot of visitors have already left the building and it really wasn’t as crowded as it was before. Still, the heavy bass and good combination of riffing and incredible vocals was a great experience.
After Candlemass we were up for a good party! Lucky for us the Dynamo had a after party organised with some great cover bands: a GG Allin cover band, an Iron Maiden cover band (that didn’t convince me) and this great glam rock cover band Lipstick`N Bullets with members from the Metal Factory. (yes in the Netherlands we have a school where you can study metal). We were here to party, and this is what we got.
WORDS BY KAAT VAN DOREMALEN
This weekend marks another close to the music festival calendar for the year with the Eindhoven Metal Meeting in The Netherlands. Ghost Cult Magazine has covered the festival every year in its existence, based on stellar line ups and their commitment to the best fan experience possible for fans of death metal, black metal and doom among other genres. Over two days 36 bands will assault 2 stages with their performances. This year EMM is headlined by none other than Behemoth! The band continues to tour behind their acclaimed 2013 album The Satanist (Metal Blade) and with the future plans of the band up in the air, you might not want to miss them at EMM.
Behemoth plays on Day 1 on the Large Rockhand Stage, along with heavyweights Candlemass, God Dethroned, Onslaught and Winterfylleth among others. The side stage, the District 19 stage has such not to be missed bands as Conan, Loudblast, Gehennah, and Acid Reign.
Day 2 has an equally strong line-up with Craft, Samael, Marduk, Nuclear Assault (in one of their final performances) Ahab and Vektor on the main stage. The side stage has acts such as Hooded Menace, Mourning Beloveth, Gama Bomb, Lvcifyre and Solstice. Tickets are still available at this link: