Party San Festival – Bad Berka Germany

October 11th, 2010
by Arto Lehtinen

Party San Festival – Bad Berka Germany

Friday 13

Friday 13, not a lucky day – someone would say – and honestly the weather is not exactly the best… But on one point I have to disagree, because the people here today is still lucky enough to see Autopsy performing live in Europe for the first time after 20 years! Several more intrepid metalheads come in fact to this appointment even though their cars, and also the bands vans need to be dragger back and forth by trailers, or in this infernal mud it would be impossible to move.

As usual, the second and third day both begin early in the afternoon, thus leaving just time for a shower, quick lunch, and obviously some beer – but also an energy drink to keep me standing after the sleepless night!

Here we are anyway, ready to start with another dutch band, Onheil. We can say that Netherlands is giving birth to many interesting groups in the last few years, against its reputation of “gothic-female-fronted-bands country”.But since I didn’t know the band beforehand, it’s quite hard to judge this formation lead by the vocalist/guitarist Amok based solely on their very limited showtime. Without any doubt the group has its own baggage of experience, since it’s been around from more than 10 years. We can wish them good luck then, since finally last year they managed to publish their first full-lenght.

 

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Eccentricity rules supreme instead when it comes to Death/Grindcore’s band Milking The Goatmachine. If the name sounds strange, maybe you should consider to watch them live!

The four band members, two regulars and two session players, appear in fact on stage wearing goat-head masks, playing in this way for the whole gig (and luckily it wasn’t really that hot to be August…), really keen on their “goat cult”. Another interesting detail is that the “singing goat” of the 4-piece is the drummer, while the others shake their big plastic-heads headbanging furiously.

This is entertainment as well, in some form… or at least the audience seems to appreciate it, or is at least intrigued by these freaky german goat-lovers.

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After their last appearance in 2008, the americans Lividity are more than willing to get on Party.San stage once again. The difference is that two years ago it was extemly hot and sunny, this time instead during the show a big storm comes to ruin the plans of their fans, running towards the tents and various stands, as I do.Apart from this, nothing so different from what I’ve seen the previous time, similar to the last band – obviously with more experience – we are still talking of Grindcore, which in this case sounds way too similar to the noise my wc does when I flush the toilet. People needs talent in these kind of stuff as well, I’d say!Honestly speaking I don’t have anything against Lividity, in fact, taken in small doses they’re not even bad at all, but let’s say that I can easily survive to the fact that I missed most of the gig from the front line due to the rain.

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While the mud start to strengthen its grip on the boots, it’s time to come back to watch Suicidal Angels show, which surprisingly is extremely short, since it lasts less than half hour. The greek boys, extremely productive in the last 3-4 years in terms of releases, still manage to prove themselves and their talent, but again the time they have to do this is definitely not enough.Among some of the songs performed by the band we cite “Bloodthirsty”, “Vomit On The Cross” and the conclusive “Apokathilosis”.

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There’s then a bit more time for a drink before the show of a band I was really curious to see live: Origin. Let’s say that they didn’t really catch me totally ecstatic about it, but the guys from Kansas have been anyway very convincing, both in the show offered by their latest addition, the singer Mica Meneke, and for what concerns the performance of Paul Ryan and Co., which goes undoubtedly straight to the point, judging from the response of their excited fans.

And it’s impossible not to notice the frantic Mike Flores with his bass, flounder like a crazy ant from the opener, “Staring From The Abyss”, to the ending with “Portal”. I have been quite impressed especially by the guitar arpeggios and the technique of John Longstreth at the drums. But I must confess that when I find myself in front of some good, properly-played, technical Death Metal, I’m always positively impressed. Thumbs up then for the americans, while now a little of confusion is waiting ahead of us.

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Precisely, it seems that Ofermod got lost somewhere on the way here – or most likely stuck cause of the road conditions. It’s then up to Demonical to advance with their gig, still under this endless rain. So a soaked Widda has to bring out all his grit to ignite the audience during the concert of the swedish band, in which we can find Grave’s drummer.

The swedes focus mainly on the tracks from their second record, and I believe the festival atmospheres helps quite a lot in the success of the 4-piece, since it seems to yield better compared to their tour last spring supporting Destroyer 666.

Lively and still interesting is the show of Demonical, which takes full advantage of this possibility to play their music once again in front of this crowd in central Europe. We can add also that in the meanwhile the number of fans has increased considerably. Why? Let’s say that from now on the evening is full of yummy “main courses”.

In the meanwhile there’s still no sign of their compatriots lost in the countryside, so it’s The Crown the second band to play earlier than scheduled. Another swedish formation, they reunited just recently after their break-up in 2004, and considering the new record is coming out in September, it can’t be bad to appear in front of their audience in this serie of summer festivals.

Their combination of Death and Thrash metal is perfectly framed by some of the best light effects of the day, wrapping the stage of reddish beams while the mustached Jonas Stålhammar performs with passion the songs offered to the audience. I’ve never been a big The Crown fan, but honestly the show appears to be really successful, and the cheerings of the devoted fans in the front rows is just a proof of it. I must then compliment these guys, and let’s wait for the release of “Doomsday King”.

And finally Ofermod! Somehow Nebiros and Michayah’s band manage to show itself on stage, imbuing it with mysticism thanks to those echoing dark and (sort of) spiritual atmospheres. The Endless is the acting on the introduction’s ritual, during which the bass player Rudra make a show of himself with some weird facial espressions and Nebiros performs this kind of ritual song in front of the lectern, leading then into the show.

When this begins, I am slightly disappointed on how the songs of “Tiamtü” sound live, not so good as on the cd it seems. But maybe it’s just the lack of focus due to the imminent hunger, which doesn’t really help to fully appreciate the gig. A small cultural side-note: In middle-eastern cults, Tiamtü is the goddess of chaos, defeated by the god of the Sun, namely Belus, as the new Burzum record. A coincidence or there’s lately some more interest in eastern culture among extreme musicians? – end of the note.

Therefore, even though interesting and without a doubt original, the ending of the show becomes more like a soundtrack to my teeth’s snapping at an innocent pizza. I’ll try to be forgiven at the next chance, I promise!

It’s now instead time for another group I was really looking forward to see, Asphyx. The dutch band comes back to Party.San after their exclusive reunion show of 2007, and since then they released a new album (“Death… The Brutal Way”), a compilation, a box set and a live record. That’s all money for the merchandise!

But let’s forget about these notes of financial nature, and what we can say about the show is that the group appears to be powerful, aggressive, and ready to sweep away with their music the excited fans, as in the meanwhile we enter in the darkness.

The band plays a lot of new material – see “The Rack” – but despite that, which is somehow disappointing, I’m impressed by the drive of this combo from Netherlands, that proves to be really in a good shape, and willing to show itself at its best. It’s good to note also how simple it is for Martin Van Drunen to grab the audience’s attention and keep it in his palm. Evocative are those moments when the trio in the front groups in the center of the stage rolling their hair like crazy between sharp guitar riffs that makes the fans run amok. And Asphyx confirms its reputation once again. Party.San loves them, and they seem to love Party.San, as simple as that!

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Also for Dying Fetus the last appearance was back in 2007, and the US trio doesn’t make the crowd wait too much, appearing punctually on stage (thanks also to the really tight schedule, that doesn’t really allow big delays), and are immediately applauded by several “hard-core” fans.

John Gallagher’s band needs no presentation, it’s something you either like or not, creates discussion with its lyrics, but in the end is always there doing its dirty job, and in the last three years found some more stability with the Gallagher/Beasley/Williams trio. And the show is of quite an high level, direct and intense, leaving little room for breaks in the succession of hits such as “One Shot, One Kill”, to name one. The american band knows what the fans wants, and the dirty and muddy mosh-pit enraging in the middle, is a perfect testimony of this.

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We are heading towards the end of this day rich of emotions when Sarke brings here his solo band, born from a rib of Old Man’s Child, mixed with Satyricon and “the more the marrier”, inside the norwegian Black Metal tradition. But we can’t forget the Thrash component, which is what makes this more appealing and gives a personal touch to the mixture proposed by the scandinavian band.

Needless to say, the debut “Vorunah” is played in its entirety, since the time allows even more than what the cd can offer. But the gray atmospheres created by this interesting work, from which we can mention the opener “Primitive Killing”, “The Drunken Priest” and also the good “Old”, are more than enough to delight the ears of the several blacksters in the audience.

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It’s in this scenario that Nocturno Culto catch the crowd’s attention and transport them into this still short trip, which serves as a proper appetizer for the long awaited return of Autopsy.

Even though it seems they confirmed later another european show, this at Party.San is still to be considered the first time in 20 years on European ground. And that’s what matters to the fans which came here from all over the world.

Chris Reifert brings back to life this “sacred beast” of old school Death Metal, soon after the announcement of Abscess break-up, and announces the upcoming release in 2011 of a new record entitled “Macabre Eternal”, which will be preceeded by the EP “The Tomb Within”. The latter is proposed tonight also live – see the song “Human Genocide” – with great appreciation from the fans.

This is a triumphant comeback. The band is not maybe at 100%, but that doesn’t really matter to the audience, due to the rarity of the moment. “Fiend For Blood”, “Severed Survival”, “Dead”, are only a few of the songs played tonight, in which these surgeons of Death receive a huge amount of applause from Party.San’s metalheads. Everyone for one hour forgets completely the adverse weather conditions and those 10cm (more or less) of mud.

“Gasping For Air” and “Service For A Vacant Coffin” further embellish this unique occasion for the lovers of this kind of music, now busy in a restless headbanging, while some more quiet people watch carefully between one beer and another. And when it ends it even seems that it didn’t last enough. That’s what happens when someone really knows how to enchant the audience. And the expectations surely haven’t been disappointed!

Autopsy worthily crown itself as ruler of this second day, followed in my opinion by Asphyx, Origin and Sarke, but in this running order we still find bands of a really good level, there’s something for everyone (at least if your taste includes Black, Death Metal and/or Grindcore), and that surely helps in the success of this festival.

 

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More and more tired and covered in mud, what’s left for me to do tonight is to return to the backstage until my eyes start to close by themselves. This strangely allowed me to sleep quite nicely, despite the annoying noise of the nocturnal metal disco! After all I’m not 18 anymore!

 

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