Elsrock 2007 - A festival with a blasphemy prohibitionThis third edition of Elsrock took place for the second time on the fields of football club R.K.S.V. in Rijssen. Now Rijssen is situated in the Dutch province Overijssel and is actually quite a religious town. Most of its people were in such a way against organizing this festival that they tried to forbid it, but they couldn’t. All they could do is regulate a prohibition against calling names and blasphemy. This ridiculous fact caused the festival got a lot of media-attention which helped them big time in finding enough sponsors to book the bands. Nice system if you ask me.
Because me and my company traveled way too late from home, we missed the first four bands to appear on this festival today. They are the for me unknown Dialogue and Thessera, the youngsters of One Bullet Left and national act Demia whom I’ve seen twice before already. Bad news for me was the fact that Mnemic’s singer Guillaume Bideau had a sore throat which made the band cancel their Elsrock appearance. Also on the line-up were Dutch gothic metallers Autumn who we intentionally skipped because we’d rather catch some more sun.
When we entered the festival area, Non-Divine was the band currently on stage. We stayed on a distance, where I concluded that this was a typical festival act. Because it was still early in the noon, not many visitors paid attention and so I asked myself how goaded the first bands must have been. It wasn’t busy at all and those who were already at the festival ground sat on the grass enjoying the sun. Also due to a nice breeze it was sometimes hard to hear the hard rocking tunes coming off the stage. Even more annoying was the volume of the tracks that were played between the bands, it hardly wasn’t possible to chat with just three persons at once because of the noise.
Chiraw from Almelo are the winners of the Dutch Metal Bash in 2006 which made a lot of people curious of their skills. The band obviously was very excited to play which resulted in a very energetic show. Maybe a bit too forced even, because they of course aren’t the big band who they wanna be yet. Attempts of frontman De Groot to create circlepits as well as a wall of death were a bit overdone, but hey, they at least tried to make it a party! Concerning their music I was quite satisfied with their modern metal. The sometimes powerful double bass drums reached my ears very well, only the keyboards were completely inaudible.
Danish acknowledged thrash metal band Hatesphere then was the first international act of today, actually one of the bands why I was here. These guys always manage to create a party, however this time it seemed hard for them to convince the audience of their party feelings. The band went through some member changes (drummer Anders Gyldenøh and bassist Mikael Ehlert are replaced by respectively Dennis Buhl and Mixen Lindberg) and this show was also the last one of guitarist Henrik “Heinz” Jacobsen (also known from Koldborn). Nonetheless I don’t think this really had to do anything with the not so stunning gig, it was more the (small) amount of visitors and maybe the sun that shined into the eyes of a lot of people. Also the setlist was different than the other four times that I’ve seen them before. Logical because this was Hatesphere’s first show in Holland after the release of Serpent Smiles And Killer Eyes. Songs that were played were the new ones “Lies And Deceit” and “Drinking With The King Of The Dead” as well as true classics like “The Fallen Shall Rise In A River Of Blood” and “Heaven Is Ready To Fall”. At least it didn’t went very predictable.
While we were watching from a distance, most metalheads teamed up in front of the stage to see Dream Evil perform. These heavy metallers succeeded very well in creating the party in which Hatesphere unfortunately failed. The complete audience went crazy with the writers of “The Book Of Heavy Metal”, a song that of course was shouted out loud together by band and public. Also the others songs that were played seemed pretty known, something I didn’t expect. In the end it all sounded a lot like each other but the catchy heavy metal formula worked just perfect here.
The first time I saw Scar Symmetry, almost 1,5 year ago, they were opening for a package of great Scandinavian bands including Hypocrisy and Soilwork. Back then I already liked their stuff, but their show was a big disappointment. They acted like they were a supporting act instead of showing what they really got. This time it went completely different. I was once again afraid that their melodic death metal wouldn’t hit the public, bit it defenitly did! Scar Symmetry put up an enjoyable show with a good sound and more important: interaction with the audience. Frontman Christian Älvestam was as usual in excellent condition and his grunts as well as his high pitched vocals sounded great. A pleasant suprise that these Swedens were so good.
Then it was time for the headliners of this Elsrock Open Air: Nevermore. At this time it was already dark outside which of course improved the atmosphere because it was now possible to do a lightshow. Singer Warrel Dane wasn’t in good health because the day before he had to visit a dentist in Amsterdam, ending up in the removal of two wisdom teeth and a root canal on top of that. But despite of the problems in his muzzle his voice was okay, only he hadn’t much energy left for headbanging. I’m furthermore not very familiar with Nevermore’s music but they sounded great, not to mention their superb drummer. Nonetheless we had to leave after half an hour to catch our train back home.
All in all we had a lot of fun during this festival. The place wasn’t very crowded (there could’ve been thousands on this field while there were only 800), but it was okay because now there was enough space to chill out on the grass and enjoy the good weather. Also very important of course. I wonder which big names the organization will book for the next edition!