Almost ten years ago a friend of mine handed me a DVD of 2004’s edition of the Obscene Extreme festival. My love for extreme music started with this very DVD, and this year the time was finally there to pay the festival a visit. My expectations were high enough to be able to spend a twelve-hour drive in a small and excruciatingly hot car, but luckily I’m able to tell that it was more than worth it. It’s impossible to give a full review of all the bands I’ve seen, but the following review will paint a picture of one of the most impressive festivals I’ve ever witnessed.
After arriving at the festival around seven o’clock we put up our tents and tried to catch a few hours of sleep before the first band started playing. As soon as the sun started scorching us out of our tents we went to the battleground to catch the first beers and get ready for the bands. One of the major advantages (except for the mornings) was the beer itself: tasteful, cold, and not too expensive. The first act that played was the German grindcore band Implore, who played a reasonable show. The only problem was that the Swedish death metal/HM2 guitar sound made the riffs completely inaudible and inseparable, so after a few songs everything sounded the same. The next bands were pretty generic but entertaining, until Chiens hit the stage. Their incredibly fast and fierce powerviolence blew me away, and overall this was one of the most convincing shows of the day. After some delicious vegetarian food I checked Whoresnation, who played a really decent crusty grindcore show. Next up was the goregrind from Gutalax, who I had already seen play at last year’s Party San festival. But the half-naked, drunk and partying people from Obscene Extreme were a way better match for the band than Party San’s more metal-minded audience. I never saw anything before like the Gutalax on Obscene Extreme. The crowd went next-level apeshit to the groovy party-goregrind, and at a certain point I think there were almost 50 people dancing and stage diving on the stage. Next up was ACxDC, who had a pretty tough job following up the previous show with their powerviolence/grind. Nevertheless they played a brutal show similar to Chiens’ fast powerviolence. Next band I caught was Japan’s Final Exit, who were also great to watch with their weird Japanese grind. There’s always something more extreme about Japanese grind/hardcore/crust, and Final Exit was no exception. They played the shortest songs with funny interludes, and after a (too) brief show they left the audience longing for more. I missed most of Zombie Inc., but luckily I was back in time for Australian warmongers The Kill. By far they were the fastest and most pissed off band of the day, and their drummer delivered the fastest blastbeats I ever witnessed. Master was up next, but unfortunately their old-school death metal sounded a bit too tame and predictable after a whole day of watching ultra-high speed grindcore. Dutch grindcore veterans Inhume were next, and they delivered their crusty goregrind with enough brutality to convince everyone. The last act of the day was the famous Hell Show. I guessed it would be a bondage act, but it exceeded my expectations. I won’t give away too much, but it contained meat hooks, genitals, fireworks in someone’s butt crack, and a cup of pee that went somewhere it shouldn’t. Somewhere halfway the show I decided I had more than enough, and had a few beers before returning to the camping.
After quite a rough night and getting burnt out of the tent by the sun it was time for another day of debauchery. I only caught the last few notes of slamming from Epicardiectomy, but luckily Idiot Ikon followed quickly with very decent Scandinavian D-beat. Instead of repeating the same Discharge riffs like a lot of D-beat bands do, their guitar player threw in some interesting leads and solos which kept things worthwhile for the whole set. Next up was Masochist, all the way from Thailand. Even though their brutal death/grind wasn’t that interesting musically, the guys had a lot of fun on stage and it was obvious to see they were very grateful to play at Obscene Extreme. They also threw in a cover of Motörhead’s classic Ace of Spades, which was very entertaining to see and hear as well. Unfortunately I missed Nazareno El Violento, but still I caught most of India’s Gutslit. Technical death metal has a tendency to get too nerdy or boring to watch live sometimes, but Gutslit did a great job (awesome show) getting the crowd moving. Following the technical death metal, Besta came up with frenzied Napalm Death-styled grindcore. I was pretty impressed when I heard their demo for the first time, and they surely didn’t disappoint delivering these songs onstage. Definitely a new band with enough potential! After some serious grinding Dutch gore-gangsters Rectal Smegma came up to bring some juicy and bouncy goregrind. Just as expected, the crowd went nuts to the danceable tunes, and there were more inflatable toys flying around than at the average beach. After some drinks and some food it was time for another Dutch band, Vitamin X. Their thrash-influenced hardcore got the party going and even though they have been going for quite a few years, they aren’t getting older or softer in any way! They were followed by the mighty Nunslaughter, whose punky death metal was a perfect match for Obscene Extreme. Hating Christ and desecrating holiness in general was never so much fun because of their humour and enthusiasm on stage. I had seen them before in a venue filled with living statues, but it was way more fun seeing them play for the Obscene crowd! Similar to what they did on Saturday, Wehrmacht played a set consisting of their own classics, and Cryptic Slaughter songs. Both bands are crossover/hardcore legends, and again the crowd went nuts to the sounds. Following Wehrmacht, the grindcore veterans Brutal Truth played their highly anticipated last show on European soil. Their shows had never really convinced me before, but this was an absolute highlight of the festival. It sounded as if they played faster and more convincing than ever before, and everyone was in total awe after the show. One of my personal favourites of the festival was the following band: the dopey depressors Eyehategod! They played a combination of songs from the new album and their older classics, and even though they were the only sludge band, everyone went apeshit again. The sound was very clear, and the new drummer did a great job replacing the late Joey LaCaze. After their show I watched a bit of Demonical, but they had the same problem as Implore the day before: the guitar sound was too unclear to make any real sense of the music. After that I returned to the many bars to prepare myself for another terrible morning.
On Saturday I didn’t catch that much bands, but I mainly enjoyed the atmosphere and people at the festival. The absolute best thing about the festival, next to the many great bands, is the craziness and decadence on the battlefield. The festival really lives up to the “freak-friendly” part, but in a very good way. I have never seen so much people dressed up weird, walk around (half) naked or completely partying their ass of as on Obscene Extreme. The people are all extremely friendly and tolerant, and nobody looks up weird if you decide to dress up as a girl or drop your pants and go dance on stage. This atmosphere would be cool for anyone to witness, even for people who are not into grindcore at all. On Sunday there was a couple walking around of which the woman was chained and dressed up in a BDSM/horse suit, including a ponytail in her butt. Yes, you read that right. Just the fact that these people can walk around without getting hassled makes Obscene Extreme a stand-out festival. Even though I didn’t catch that much bands I still watched some acts play. Unfortunately Machetazo cancelled, which lead to Gutalax playing a second set. Again a great party, but a little less out of hand than their first set. An absolute highlight of the day and festival was Vallenfyre, whose crusty death metal made a huge impression on me. In most cases these “supergroups” never live up to what people claim it to be, but their D-beat powered and murky death metal sounded better than 9 out of 10 of the retro-death metal bands. Wehrmacht/Cryptic Slaughter followed playing a set much alike the day before, but with more Cryptic Slaughter songs. They still sounded a lot like on their classic record Convicted, and hearing them play Lowlife was another highlight. Immolation played a very decent show as well, and even though I didn’t see that much of it, it was good to hear a band play a different brand of death metal than the other bands on the festival. Regretfully, I only heard a short part of crust legends Doom, because it was time to prepare for a 12-hour drive back to reality.
In short, I can say that Obscene Extreme surprised me and made an ever-lasting impression. I never expected the festival to be so easy-going and extremely brutal at the same time. Most of the bands delivered very decent shows, and I have never seen a crowd get so wild and out of control. Even for people that can’t stand listening to blastbeats and growls the festival would be a great experience because of the crazy atmosphere. I can only give a massive shout-out to all the bands and people involved with Obscene Extreme for creating this one of a kind festival. I’ll definitely be back there next year, and probably the years after as well!