Ahh, Textures. We can't talk about them enough on Metalrage. The guys played in a pretty filled Metal Dome, and the crowd swallowed tracks like Swandive and Regenesis like the girls in Peter North's "Deep Throat This". Textures also played a new track that will be on their upcoming album, I forgot the title but it was a nice mix of their last two records regarding riffs and structure. Cool stuff.
What more can I say about these guys? There is a reason why they are #1 band in Denmark, and you just have to go to a liveshow to witness the proof. Tight, well written songs with a hardrock/metal/elvis attitude, an excellent frontman and excellent sing-along lyrics. Instant crowdpleaser! For a non-fan it might sound a bit alike from time to time but hey, what kind of metal doesn't!
Closing act for the first day was the legendary Aerosmith. Personally, I did not know what to expect from these aging rockers. Were they going to play songs like "Pink"? Can they actually still play? The answer is really easy: Hell yeah! Steven Tyler & Co. were in excellent form, and pulled of a rock show that actually defined the band's status. Even though it was probably directed and scripted as hell regarding podium act, the band played really good and the setlist wasn't too shabby either. It's suffice to say that when tracks like "I don't want to miss a thing" got sung along with a "metalcrowd" you're still doing something right.
Lamb of God
On Saturday, Lamb of God kicked of the day for me. I saw the band play in de the 013 just half a week earlier, and I have to say that the guys were playing much better. Maybe it's because they had not had the time to drink huge amounts of beer, it definitely resulted into a tighter show. Track's like "Laid to Rest" and "Redneck" hyped up the crowd, but too bad that the crowd kinda messed up the "Wall of Death" during Black Label. Learn to wait!
Long I have waited to see these guys. For one of the pioneers of technical death metal (or whatever you want to call it) I do have to say that there wasnt that much die-hard crowd. But maybe that's the faith of being a semi-obscure band that produced some amazing records. The band played a good mix of their 3 records, and of course classics like "Piece of Time" and "Unholy War" weren't left out. The sound wasn't all that good from where I was standing, but I heard some good stories from others so let's not complain about that.
The Mighty Maiden. There is something about this band that makes it worthwile to see them whenever you can. Except when they play their new album from start to finish. Anyways, I already saw basically the same exact set on Fields of Rock a week earlier; but I still enjoyed this show to the max. Singing classics like "Run to the Hills" and "The Trooper" with thousands of other (drunken) metalheads is always good for the groupfeeling, and I think that Maiden is one of those bands who just can't play a bad show. Excellent closer for the Saturday.
Appearently, DevilDriver already played on Saturday since they were the back-up band (Bloodsimple cancelled), but on Sunday they were the openers of the Main-Stage, on the unholy time of 11:30 AM. That sucked. But luckily for the band, they had quite a crowd to play for. Metal in the morning will never be my favorite thing, but Dez got a nice big circle pit going on (probably the biggest on Graspop during the weekend), and the band played a tight set as always. DevilDriver for breakfast, yummie!
Because Thin Lizzy had unfortunately cancelled their appearance at Graspop, the first thing I saw was Static-X, a band that I embraced at the age of 15 and always have followed since then. They don’t come to Europe that much, and now the remainder of their tour over here is cancelled as well. So I was among the lucky ones to witness this show, which unfortunately didn’t have an optimal sound. But I loved every bit of it, I know almost all of their songs by heart and so did a large portion of the audience, so the mood was very positive in front of and on the main stage. Tracks from all albums passed by, like ‘I’m With Stupid’, ‘Cannibal’, ‘Shit In A Bag’ and the legendary ‘Push It’. In the end I would have preferred a club show, but it was good to finally see them rock out again.
The Frost really impressed me with their last record Monotheïst, which led to me visiting their last tour which I enjoyed quite good. This show was also pretty nice, although most metalheads seem to long for more of the old stuff than I do. I like the slow heavy doom/black metal parts more than I like the rough old-school thrash rumbling, but varying the two with each other gives an entertaining show, for me at least. Still the vocals didn’t sound that great again, and they were way too loud in the mix which was a cause for some annoyance, but not too much of course. I liked it, end of story.
Legendary Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell was also visiting Graspop with his solo work, so I decided to take a look. Luckily he played some of my favourite Soundgarden songs, like ‘Rusty Cage’, ‘Spoon Man’, 'Jesus Christ Pose’ and the world famous ‘Black Hole Sun’. Although Chris’ voice sounds a little different than it used to, the music with his voice was still very enjoyable. I can’t say I watched the entire show though, because I’m not really familiar with his solo work which didn’t really arouse my interest either.
This was the second time that I was forced to see Steve Harris’ daughter, so now I decided to pay attention to the stuff she does. The band has pooped out some uber-cliché boring hard rock songs on which she sings as mediocre as any girl her age with vocals lessons would. I mean where’s the talent in this shit? Somebody please wake up dad and tell him his daughter sucks! BORING! NEXT PLEASE! Titties…?
I’ve always seen Brutal Truth as one of the main influences of Misery Index, but I never really took the time to check them out decently. So what better opportunity to find out then to start my Saturday with some death metal and grindcore? We were treated on some extremely fast, extremely aggressive blasting metal that woke me up like a hammer in the nuts, fucking awesome! This is some kick ass brutal music, and I could really hear the inspirational source of some of Misery Index’s songs. Now I definitely wanna check that out asap! All hail Brutal Truth!
Rose Hill Drive
I thought Rose Hill Drive was a bit of the odd fish in the pond (and by the looks on their faces at the start of the show they felt the same way), but they gave a stunning and magnificent performance. On record they sound a bit indie/noiserock, bit bluesy here and there, but live they kick out like Rory Gallagher is in the house man! Songs are way longer than usual, incredibly loud and on top of that, incredibly heavy. Over-the top solos, phat grooving riffs, high vocals, pumping basslines, killer beats, what more can you wish for in a rock band? The vocals resemble Chris Cornell in an odd way too, which makes the experience all the more exciting. This could go places, and fast.
After seeing Korn give an incredible show at Fields of Rock one week earlier, I knew this was gonna be one of the highlights of the festival for me. I was right. The band again performed an excellent show, with luckily some other songs in their set, like the legendary ‘Twist’. Jonathan’s voice again sounded superb, pleasing all nu-metal heads and pissing all the traditional metal lovers off. For the rest the show wasn’t much different from the one before. Everything was in order, just a good professional show from a by now legendary band.
In This Moment
I believe it was because it was raining that I saw In This Moment, and I must say that I don’t like it at all. It had a bit of a Lauren Harris syndrome for me; cliché songs with mediocre female vocals. Only instead of rock music the band plays some modern melodic metalcore, something I’m not too fond of either. Perhaps a cool band for the new generation of (female) metalheads, but not quite enjoyable for me.
The day before I left for Graspop I went to see Chimaira’s show at 013, where they were somewhat disappointing. This time they proved to be a whole lot better, performing more enthusiastically and playing tighter. The set unfortunately was a bit shorter because of their limited playing time at the second slot on the mainstage, but in the forty minutes they had they treated the crowd to some of their classics and of course a healthy dose of new material from Resurrection. The audience simply loved it, and so did I. Still I can’t say it was the best show I’ve seen with them, that was a club show with Kevin Talley on drums. I doubt whether Andols can ever match those drum skills though.
Black Label Society
I’ve never was too fond of Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society, and I didn’t really mind when I missed him at Fields of Rock. Now I was confronted with him here, and I must say that it was actually a pretty nice experience. Thick muddy swamp metal with a high dose of Southern rock and a shitload of guitarsolos. It’s something that just overwhelms you, but in a very smooth way. It was touching to see a small child being brought up on stage and play some guitar with Zakk himself, whom consumed about a glass of whiskey with his merry men between each song they played. I don’t think I’ll like his music on record very much though, but it’s a great live band to see at a festival, that I will admit.
Children Of Bodom
When I was younger a was a huge Children Of Bodom fan, but the happy metal tunes just got a bit of deleted out of my system a bit, and I felt that in the end frontman Alexi Laiho, was getting more impressed by his guitar work than the audience. This show however, proved to be highly entertaining to me, because everything was basically alright about it. The sound was good, they played tight, not too much cocky behaviour except for saying the word fuck a thousand times between all songs, quite enjoyable I’d say. Material from all albums passed by, and even the titletrack of the Follow The Reaper album made it to the set list again. A good show, way more entertaining than I had expected.
After seeing one of their best shows in years (I guess I was in the right spot in front of the speakers) at the Fields of Rock festival, I was eager to find out if the godfathers of thrash metal had finally rejuvenated themselves. This show however seemed far less impressing, yet as it is done at a Slayer show, I headbanged and shouted along with the lyrics even moshed a little bit when I heard the track ‘Supremist’ come by. Tom’s voice wasn’t near of the state it was in at Fields of Rock, so that was a bit disappointing. And I noticed some small mistakes from the band here and there, something I’m not that used to either. But in the end it was a satisfactory show, regarding that Mastodon was up next in Marquee 2.
My headliner for the festival; Mastodon. Already leaving me craving for more at Fields of Rock a week earlier, this time they would hit me with an hour full of monstrous rock and metal. Their sound unfortunately wasn’t optimal, but the band itself was though. I think three quarters of their set was made out of tracks from the Blood Mountain album, which was awesome to see. For the rest of course we got ‘Megalodon’, ‘March Of The Fire Ants’, ‘Iron Tusk’ and the inevitable ‘Blood And Thunder’. I moshed my fucking ass off, I tell you that. The band delivered an incredible show, with very impressing lights which created a perfect ambiance for their music. I now can only hope for them to finally come to Europe and do a fucking club tour!
A bit weird to find this guitar hero on the bill, next to all these metal bands. But hey, since Graspop had Yngwie Malmsteen two years ago he certainly deserves a spot on a bill. It is just disappointing that they gave him such little playing time. Starting off with ‘Flying In A Blue Dream’, complete with an appropriate light setting. In a short hour he played his classics. ‘Always With You Always With Me’, his eternal let’s-check-each-others-mouth-hygiene song, ‘Satch Boogie’ and of course ‘Surfing With The Alien’. Brilliant guitar player, he deserved to be on the main stage.
Heaven and Hell
Now there are quite a few journalists asking themselves why this act wasn’t simply called Black Sabbath. To me it is blindingly obvious. When Dio joined Sabbath in 1980 it became a different band. The subsequent albums Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules gave their music a new dimension. Dio, being a better and more powerful singer that Ozzy Osbourne, surely contributed to that. As a tribute to that line-up, they simply called it Heaven and Hell. So instead of ‘Paranoid’ and ‘War Pigs’, songs like ‘Neon Knights’, ‘Die Young’ and ‘The Mob Rules’ were played. Overlooking the Dehumanizer album they made in 1992 I could say that this was the one of the highlights of Graspop 2007. I’ll be shot down in flames for saying this, but to me Black Sabbath’s best line up was with Dio on vocals.
Me First And The Gimme Gimmes
Ain’t that something. These cowboys from hell playing ye old time favourites of John Denver and Dolly Parton in punk rock versions and everybody joins the massive sing-a-long gangbang. So much for the tough I-only-listen-metal-because-I’m-evil-and-true attitude. They even sang along with R. Kelly’s ‘I Believe I Can Fly’. Never thought that an R&B tune would ever get played on Graspop. Well there is a first time for everything. In for a party? Call the cowboys from Me First And The Gimme Gimme’s.
You could blame it on the rain that Marquee 1 was so incredibly crowded when Finnish folk-metallers Korpiklaani came up. Fact is that over the years they managed to gain a big following. I had a short conversation with the band shortly before the gig and they claim that their success is mainly to thank because of the internet. “Downloading has actually a very positive effect on concert attendances for Korpiklaani,” as bass player Jarkko Aaltonen explains. “It is always full house at our gigs, because a lot of people get familiar with our music due to the downloading of the songs. It isn’t nice for the record company though.”
This year especially they’re a lot of Finnish folk metal bands on Graspop. “A coincidence,” according to Aaltonen,” We didn’t plan this. The music we play is very uplifting and like other bands we do sing about partying. Not all our lyrics are about that though. A large part of our Finnish lyrics were written by Virva Holtiton. They are written in the same style as the Finnish national epic Kalevala, using the same kind of language and the same poetic measure.” I don’t know if many people in the audience are aware of this or even care. Their gigs sure are a big massive party as is this gig today. An excellent festival band.
The reunion virus has finally infected the Cynic rent-a-dudes. For those who started to listen to metal in the late eighties/early nineties sure remember these guys. They only released one album, but they’re like the Toto from the death metal world. These guys performed on virtually every classic death album from the early nineties, performing on albums from Death, Pestilence and Monstrosity. Next to the songs from their classic Focus album, ‘Veil of Maya’ and ‘Uroboric Forms’, they played some new material from their upcoming album. It really sounded promising and I’m already looking forward to the release. It goes without saying that it was a brilliant gig. The only strange thing is that the grunts were not live. But I’m not complaining. Welcome back!
So Ozzy, you don’t wanna change the world? Well, like it or not you did. In the early seventies introducing the world to the dark side of rock with Black Sabbath. ‘Paranoid’ and ‘War Pigs’ being the earliest hard rock (or heavy metal) hits, it just can’t be left out of tonight’s set. As usual he is constantly shouting: I can’t hear you. I must admit that this gets a little on my nerves after a while.
With long time companion Zakk Wylde on guitar he performed virtually every classic from his solo career. ‘No More Tears’, ‘Bark At The Moon’ and ‘Crazy Train’. He also played some stuff from his newest release Black Rain. The audience wasn’t exactly thrilled with the new material. It isn’t exactly to be called his best either. Despite his not too great health condition it was a good performance. I hope that this wasn’t his last and that we see him again. Everybody howl!!