Testament + Marduk a.o. - No Mercy 2003The 21st of April was a sunny day and perfectly settled for a real heavy evening. No Mercy 2003 was about to begin. Napalm Lex and Mat-Core from Metalrage both witnessed some of the greatest bands on earth. Malevolent Creation: (The Choice) Malevolent Creation had the honour to open for a long list of bands. They kicked right away with some great portion of old school death metal. That means the blastbeats filled the hall, guitars whined and the bass just pounded along. With a great new record out (The Will To Kill) they had enough material to play. Songs from The Ten Commandments ( The early days) and Envenomed II were thrown into the audience. Songs like Injected Sufferage, Kill Zone and Serial Dementia were played strong and fast. From the new album they played some songs like The Will To Kill, Pillage And Burn and Rebirth of Terror. Malevolent Creation was blessed with a great sound which made Malevolent Creation one of the better bands this evening. Outburst: (Kleine Zaal) We decided to take a little look into the “Kleine Zaal” where Outburst was planned as opener. When entering, we heard some bad ripped Slayer riffs and a vocalist that sang like someone was squeezing his balls. I don’t mind men who can get their vocals up high like most powermetal bands, but not for a Thrash metal band. It was like some bad Slayer clone with a vocalist that tried to sing like Blind Guardian. It’s possible, but it just sounded not very interesting for us. Die Apokalyptischen Reiter: (The Choice) I was looking forward to this gig for a long time, finally to see those weird Germans live. They opened their set with a new song called 4 Reiter Stehen Bereit, the opener on the new record (Have A Nice Trip) The German Black/Death/Slager metal really kicked some butts and especially when they played Instinct. There was also time for some ease with songs like Love Song and Gone. Die Reiter got the laughs by playing Reitermania, with a funny Polka riff. Volk-Man and Eumel really pushed their limits on this one and the audience finally began to sing along. Next funny fact was the keyboard player, who just stood there, doing nothing, arms crossed until he had to play something. After playing, he just stood there again, arms crossed. Warum and We Will Never Die were some of the new tracks they played and when looking at the audience, die Reiter don’t have to worry. There was a bit of exaggerating because they played some cliché songs like Heavy Metal, Metal Will Never Die, Licked By The Tongues Of Pride and of course Slaves Of Hate. This was certainly a funny and good set, but with the quality of bands yet to come, they had just the bad luck of being one of the earlier acts. Prejudice: (Kleine Zaal) This Belgian Death metal formation had almost convinced me last year, when playing the 2002 version of No Mercy. Almost, because they played real killer songs but sometimes they just couldn’t keep up with themselves. With their Technical form of Death Metal they have really convinced me now, as they had no problems when performing the technical parts live. Most songs they played came from the debut album Reality, but also 1 or 2 new ones were played. If my judgement is right, I even dare saying we have a new Aborted in the house. If Prejudice can work their music out, they might even come to the same level as Aborted. Aborted: (Kleine Zaal) After a short lunchbreak while Pro-Pain had to play I came back in the “Kleine Zaal” to watch the second Belgian Death Metal Machine of this evening. Aborted, who have recently released a killer record called The Saw And The Carnage Is Done, played a very strong set. As I don’t have witnessed the whole show, I can only tell you guys that the sound was very deep and hard. Aborted plays a recognising style of Death Metal as we know from Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse. I hear you guys think now: So are 2000 others. But this was different, this wasn’t an ordinary clone of CC or MA, Aborted have thrown their own madness into the songs and by that they have given away one hell of a show, which makes me regret the fact that I don’t have seen it all! Pro-Pain: (The Choice, review by Sebastiaan van Oers) I’ll start this review with the show of Pro-Pain. As I knew some songs from Pro-Pain (In for the kill is one of them) and for the fact that I really love those songs, I was really looking forward to the Pro-Pain gig on this No Mercy festival. I can tell you it was fucking worth it. Although Pro-Pain was a bit different, style wise, compared to bands like Marduk or Malevolent Creation, the show was awesome. I only know for sure that they played In for the kill. The sound was great. The guitars sounded great and you could hear the guitars very good. Also the stage performance was great. Bass player Gary Meskill and the rest of the band had a great time and so did the audience. They worked really hard on stage to please the audience. It was hardcore with lots of metal in it. Also no useless shit on stage like video screens or pyro, just Pro-Pain playing and they did it splendid. I really freaked out on them and in a way it was disappointing that they didn’t have more than 45 minutes to play. In my opinion, this was one of the highlights of this No Mercy festival. And they really proved to be one of the big names in hardcore. Death Angel: (The Choice, review by Sebastiaan van Oers) The next review is one for the gig of Death angel. Death angel was one of the leading metal bands in the Bay Area in the 80’s. They’re from the same generation as bands like Metallica, Testament (headliner on this No Mercy tour), Megadeth, Anthrax and Slayer. Before they split up in 1990 they released their first full-length cd The ultra-violence and Act III and Frolic through the park, but that one wasn’t as good as the other two records mentioned. In 2001 they played on the Dutch Dynamo Festival and now they’re playing on the 2003 No Mercy tour. I can’t tell you which songs they played, because first of all I don’t have any of their records and second: the alcohol was flooding like hell during No Mercy. But I can tell you that the show was really awesome. Death angel played with their entire soul and frontman Mark Osegueda and the rest of the band took the crowd on a very cool journey full of metal. For the whole 50 minutes it was one big party. Definitely the best band that I’ve seen on No Mercy here in Tilburg. All kinds of great guitar riffs in combination with the vocal qualities of Mark Osegueda made this show to a big fat metal gig and this is just an understatement. Twice the stage was filled with musicians of other bands playing on No Mercy, to help Death angel out making it one big party, that says enough. Darkane: (Kleine Zaal) Darkane had the fortunate luck to play at almost the same time as Death Angel, which means that the “Kleine Zaal” wasn’t loaded full like past times. It was a bit crowdy, but when Darkane played the first notes of the intro song Calamitas, instantly followed by Third, with a great moshpit as result. Darkane had also the chance to promote their “new” album that has been out for some months now ( Expanding Senses) but failed to really promote it, because they played more old songs, which I don’t mind. Songs like A Wisdom’s Breed, Emanation Of Fear, Hostile Phantasm, Psychic Pain and Inauspicious Coming were all played and as you can see they played more older material than the newer stuff. There were some songs from Expanding Senses, and they just sounded Darkane. With the first crowdsurfer of the evening, Darkane can look back to a very successful gig. I surely think this was one of the best gigs of the evening together with Testament. God Dethroned: (Kleine Zaal) While many visitors were looking at the performances of Nuclear Assault and Death Angel, I just stayed in the “Kleine Zaal” watching bands I really wanted to see. God Dethroned is a good example for a band that I would like to see, as their new album Into The Lungs of Hell is a real killer. God Dethroned worked through a splendid set with almost all the classics. Songs like The Art Of Immolation, Villa Vampiria, The Iconoclast Deathride, Into The Lungs Of Hell and The Warcult were all played and due to the great sound they all sounded just as it should be. That means, deep, dark and grumbling. God Dethroned have had a successful tour this No Mercy, as this was a very good way to promote the new album. A band like GD should be seen live over and over again, for it’s just a great live band with songs that should be heard live! Testament: (The Choice) Everybody knows Testament just deserves all respect, while bands like Metallica just started to sound more commercial, softer and easy listening, Testament just kept playing harder and harder all the time. With some legendary albums like Practice What You Preach they have dominated the real trash metal sound of the early 90ties. As there were many Bay Area thrash bands, only a few have survived. Testament have thrown their style into a mix of early Thrash metal with the newer Death metal sound, thus creating a style that’s been copied a lot. But fate crushed in as vocalist Chuck Billy was strucked by cancer. But earlier this year Chuck has fully recovered from this deadly illness and is ready to kick some butts. Testament started their set with DNR, the opener on the Gathering. As it was very crowdy in front, it was hard to stay out of the pit. Songs like the magnificent Into The pit, The Legacy, True Believer, Down For Life and Eyes of Wrath were all played and the crowd really enjoyed the healthful appearance of Chuck. After a while Chuck began to speak to the crowd and invited everyone to come up stage, while Testament played Over The Wall. This was one of the most spectacular things I’ve seen, because the stage was crowded with 50 or 60 metalheads. Too bad was the fact the microphones were left open, and when Chuck was thanking everyone, some assholes had to shout Titties, and Beer, through the microphone. Stupid fucks. With this I’m going to end this review for a band that once again has proven that old men still can rock as hell. With this absolute great show ( what would you expect from musicians of that high calibre, did I already mentioned Steve Digorgio? And his impressive playing style…. Forget it, I’m starting to blabber too much!) Testament was definitely the star of the evening for me, alongside with Darkane, who have impressed me with their show. Death Angel and Pro-Pain review by: Sebastiaan van Oers The rest, reviewed by: Mat-Core.