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No Mercy - 2007
For a Dutch death metal head Christian holidays mean only two things; X-Mass Metalfest and No Mercy. But the last X-Mass trek was cancelled and to honest, lately the same bands kept coming along and the crowd got a bit bored actually. This No Mercy line-up offered some refreshing names finally, and so reporters/alcoholics Mindsaver and DemonDust went down for a healthy dose of distortion, blastbeats and growls.
 
First up this afternoon were German thrashers Dew-Scented who were opening at the big stage. Since not everybody entered the hall yet, I decided to witness this show from the first row where was enough space to calmly drink my first beers. The gig wasn't really intimate cause a lot of people were meeting their friends, and of course there were a lot more bands coming up. Still I enjoyed the show very well from beginning till the end. Dew-Scented layed down some nice deathrash songs, some older work as well as some new tracks from their recently released Incinerate. Excellent metal to be played live. (Mindsaver)
 
We briefly witnessed a couple of songs by the Belgium death metal band Mystica, but after two songs I felt like I was listening to yet another 13-in-a-dozen brutal metal band, although they did had a couple of riffs in their songs that grooved in a nice way. The clean backing vocals of the bassplayer sucked big time, but when checking out their MySpace I saw that they’re already searching for replacement. Big improvement. (DemonDust)
 
Second band on the big stage was Scarve, one of my most-played bands of last year and so I was really looking forward to finally see them live. They played a fantastic set, however I think that only a few people will share that opinion. A lot of metalheads didn't know how to react on the progressive metal that Scarve plays, from ultra fast death metal till minutes long of instrumental polyrhythmic passages. To dig this shit live you should be prepared for what you're about to see, otherwise you just don't get it and that's what happened here. It's a pity, but these Frenchmen should have been playing in the small hall were a much better atmosphere could have been created. For me it was awesome to see Dirk Verbeuren handling drums live again, and also their new singer Lawrence Mackrory (ex-Darkane, replaced Guillaume Bideau last year who's in Mnemic now) did a great job. (Mindsaver)
 
I don’t know why I checked out Heidevolk, because folk metal with off-tone regional dialect vocals performed by a couple of fake-animal-hide wearing weirdo’s isn’t exactly what I search for when I feel like headbanging. Too much Dungeons and Dragons versus a whole lot of beer for those guys. The music isn’t all that bad, but the vocals make me practically shit my pants. You gotta love it or hate it. (DemonDust)

Behemoth was my personal headliner of tonight. Frontman Nergal reported before this 013 gig that they needed some shows until they 'felt fully comfortable' being on stage after seven months without performing. So tonight they were in self-declared perfect shape and what a show it was! As expected I was completely overwhelmed by the brutality and the tightness of their live sound, absolutely amazing. Songs of multiple albums passed by, but Demigod's single 'Conquer All' was the most impressive, together with their last song of their set, 'Slaves Shall Serve'. A new track of their upcoming album The Apostasy 'Christgrinding Avenue' was also played live and sounded just as stunning as the rest. (Mindsaver)

After Behemoth's show I quickly went to the small hall to see what was happening over there. Dutch death metal act The Monolith Deathcult were making the place unsafe and I must say that it sounded pretty good, although I decided to take a break after seeing one song. A cool band which I hope to see live some other time soon. (Mindsaver)
 
Aah, Napalm Death, time to take things up a notch. These grindfathers exist for 26 years now, although it is common knowledge that none of the original members still reside in the band. That doesn’t mean there’s no heart in the band anymore, because if there’s one extreme act that can give an energetic performance it’s Napalm Death. This show was no different. From start to finish the crowd was bashed with blasts and grooves in such a noisy way that you just gotta love it. Frontman Barney still rampages the stage like he’s in total panic, but also manages to say something with depth between the songs, for those who still care. Some standard songs are played like the classic cover version of ‘Nazi Punks Fuck Off’ but also quite some newer material from the last two albums passes by. This was the fourth time I saw this cult band, and it still doesn’t bore me. Grind, still at its best. (DemonDust)

Root was another band of which I only saw one song. This Czech group exists for 20 years already and can be called black metal legends, but I won't 'cause the black kind of cape that frontman Jiøí 'Big Boss' Walter was wearing scared me, and also their music wasn't interesting. Let's just say that Root is not my cup of tea. (Mindsaver)
 
Extreme Noise Terror is one of the founders of the crustcore genre, and they honour the meaning of their name pretty good I’d say. It's just that if you’ve just seen Napalm Death it’s pretty hard to compete in my opinion. Nevertheless this band also from the UK manages to impress if it comes to sloppy dirty rotten noise from hell. With two vocalists and a whole lot of punk/crust/grind they eventually convinced me to go out and get myself a meal. It’s probably the sort of punk attitude in the music that kind of kills it for me. Fun fact is that the drummer of Desecration of whom I recently reviewed an album was playing with them tonight, for those who are in to fun facts about crustcore bands. Probably nobody. (DemonDust)

Because I couldn't stand Extreme Noise Terror's crust I went back to the big stage to see Portuguese gothic/doom legends Moonspell. I several times tried listening to their latest effort Memorial but I never made it to the end. I dig the dark atmosphere that's on the album, but I soon get bored and put on something more catchy. Now I heard that Moonspell is a very professional live act, so I sure wanted to experience it live. What I saw was indeed a pleasure for my eyes. Sitting in the back of the hall I had a nice view over the audience and the stage. The lightshow and performance were awesome. The music didn't really bother me -some parts were okay, some not interesting at all- but most of the attending people sure witnessed a great gig. (Mindsaver)
 
The UK band Anaal Nathrakh is something different. It sounds like a black metal band, but it doesn’t look like it. Good start. Furthermore they write some very interesting songs, and the two basic keymembers Mick Kenny and Dave Hunt are also from Mistress, a sludgecore band I really love, and they play in acts like Frost, Exploder and Benediction as well. They’re also known to use the bassist and drummer of Napalm Death for live performances, but I can’t seem to remember if they were on stage with them this time. Something tells me they were. But with this many talent in a band something cool ought to come out of it. Although I was quite drunk at this stage, I remember me liking their music quite a lot. A humorous frontman added to the stage presentation of this sludgy and grindy black metal band, and in the end I thought it was the coolest show of the day. Finally a band on this festival that sounds original and refreshing, in an extremely noisy way of course. (DemonDust)
 
Headliners Obituary had an amazing sound on the main stage, which immediately blew me away. I’m not a fan at all of their material, although their heavy and brutal sound does appeal to me. It’s the vocals that make me lose interest. But live however, with this practically perfect sound and too much alcohol and THC circulating in my veins, it sounded awesome! The legend truly came alive for me this evening. Unfortunately they didn’t play the only song I really know, which is ‘The End Complete’, but they did end with ‘Slowly We Rot’. A perfect headlining band, although I was already happy not seeing Six Feet Under or Cannibal Corpse or perhaps Immortal at this spot. Death metal in its most primitive shape and sound, heavy-as-fuck and nasty as hell. Like Nathan Explosion would say; ‘that’s fucking brutal’. (DemonDust)
 
After this great Eastern festival we went home to pray to Beelzebub in order to let the No Mercy and X-Mass Metalfest organization keep booking different bands for the next editions. This was a great start however, with some great bands that you don’t see very often. Hopefully next time will also offer us something interesting.
Details Written on Tuesday Apr 24th, 2007
Writer @DemonDust

Tags: #No Mercy