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Metalfest 2008 - Ending the year with a BANG
Records are sold less and less, so bands have to gain their income for an ever increasing part from merchandise and touring. So in 2008 we again saw very many awesome shows and there was one big treat at the end of the year which we already highlighted in our Metalrage-recommends series: Metalfest. Of course we had to be present at this eight hour lasting metal orgy!
We missed the Dutch blackmetal band Carach Angren, so the first band for us this noon was Arsis. This four-piece from Virginia Beach, USA hasn't played in Europe in the past if I'm correct, but they made a great debut, playing for a packed Melkweg. Also their material didn't seem unknown by a lot of metalheads, who were heavily judging them after the show. One would say they're too melodic; others were pleased by their technical skills. I'd say they're all great musicians who eventually are able to entertain as well. Kind of like Dragonforce with their intense playing, but than as a technical melodic death metal band. Good show at least, a bit short but this way it remained powerful. (Mindsaver)
Looking for old school death metal? Then look no further and behold Hail of Bullets. Most characteristic is vocalist Martin van Drunen, known from Pestilence, one of the biggest death metal bands from The Netherlands back in the days, which seemed to be forgotten. He always reminds me a lot of the singing style of Obituary’s John Tardy. We already saw Van Drunen active again on the previous edition of Neurotic Death Fest with Asphyx, but now there is a totally new band of which you can pretty much say it is an all-star band. Besides Van Drunen there are three members from Thanatos and Ed Warby from Gorefest. These guys are experienced and solely play for the love of old school death metal and that has its results on stage. A professional and passionate set for the lovers of the ol’ times. (Sledgehammer)

The last time I saw black metal band Keep of Kalessin live was a couple of years ago during their tour with Satyricon after releasing Armada. Unfortunately, the horrible sound more or less ruined the performance and disappointed many fans. For this reason, I was excited to get a second chance to see these Norwegians live, even though I had to visit a relatively big festival which doesn’t really suit the band, if you ask me. Even though Keep of Kalessin was the third band playing at the festival, it was rather crowded in front of the stage. It was obvious more than a few people came to support this band and to me this only felt right. Compared with a couple of years ago, Keep of Kalessin rocked the house! Songs that stood out for me during this gig were of course 'Crown of the King' and 'Ascendant'. The sound was far from perfect, but nonetheless a lot better than at the time of their concert in Utrecht. (Kaar)
Aborted, I’m really getting tired of writing a review about them. Really every time I see them, and that’s quite a bunch, they have a superb show in every single way. Not only do they have a great presentation and musically everything is more than ok, they always manage to have an excellent sound. When you love modern brutal death metal, this is your band. Aborted had many line-up changes in its history but bandleader and singer Sven de Caluwe always manages to gather a set of well acquainted musicians around him. The line-up is steady for a while now and this summer they gave birth to Strychnine.213. The records are getting more and more melodic. De Caluwe explains that he wants the music to get more dynamic. Live it fortunately stays brutal as fuck and always excellent, which makes my job as a reviewer shitty since I can’t talk shit about anything . Bravo, bravo! (Sledgehammer)
Swedish black metal band Marduk made their appearance at the festival as well. Again, kind of a strange choice, but you don’t hear me complaining whenever there’s a black metal band playing at my home town. Embarrassingly, it was the first time for me to visit a concert of Marduk, so I was not sure what to expect. The gig started off with an introduction song of around five minutes, which to me was kind of a bad move under these circumstances. They sort of caught the attention of the audience, but lost this attention after a minute or two. That’s the risk when placing bands of multiple genres at one festival: not everyone is that interested in each and every band. The sound of the gig was great, but regrettably the songs were played at such a fast pace it was hard to distinct one song from the other. Songs that stood out anyway were 'Throne of Rats' and 'Fistfucking God’s Planet'. Could have been the alcohol talking or maybe the good atmosphere during their performance, but despite the points mentioned earlier, I definitely enjoyed the gig by Marduk a lot! (Kaar)
Just like the rest of the bands on this package, also Kataklysm was in good condition. The set that was performed was again some kind of best-of list, although I still haven't seen 'Stormland" and 'Blood On The Swans' live after a couple of shows. Hell, this way I still got something to hope for at the next Kataklysm gig. New to the setlist were of course a couple of tracks from this year's released Prevail record, including the single 'Taking The World By Storm'. Every song was nicely introduced by frontman Maurizio Iacono, who did a good job on that. Another thing that attracted my attention were again Max Duhamel's gravity blasts. I'm of course aware of their existence, but I forgot how powerful he plays them, absolutely amazing! All in all I come to the conclusion that after labelling them as "death metal for teens" I have to confess that I still enjoy Kataklysm's shows a lot. Will be present the next time as well. (Mindsaver)
After approximately seven hours of metal it was time for some digital hardcore. What the fuck? Digital hardcore? Yes, that’s right. You should’ve seen all the reactions in the crowd. Varying from looking really pissed to huge question marks and even some attempts to do the Dutch’s national gabber dance, ‘hakken’. Was it a coincidence that Morbid Angel singer David Vincent wore a t-shirt with ‘hardcore’ on it? I doubt it, but I can’t find the answer anywhere. After this weird intermezzo we got to see an excellent headlining show of Morbid Angel. Being one of the first death metal bands out there and the first to gain international commercial success, it’s always a treat to see these guys perform, cause they definitely still are capable of bringing some firework! Well, I can’t say I can still distinguish all the songs they played that night, having already consumed a few tons of metal and beer, but seeing Morbid Angel after all those other great bands that day was exactly the right way to end this great day. Thanks for that and thanks Metalfest for bringing 2008 to a satisfying end! (Sledgehammer)
Details Written on Tuesday Dec 30th, 2008
Writer @Sledgehammer Messiah

Tags: #Metalfest 2008