The term “metal meeting” evokes all kinds of images in one’s mind – however people with long hair and suits around a conference table should not be what comes to mind when the term Molfest is added. Instead, a friendly and intimate surrounding, excellent loud music and plenty of swilled beer should spring to your gray matter, because that is precisely what occurred at the JC Kompleks in Heerhugowaard, The Netherlands last weekend. Three European bands left their mark on the stage and a lot of Dutch headbangers very happy.
First up were Belgian self-styled ‘Jägercore’ sextet Everyone Dies Alone. They hit the stage bang on time and with a bang as they launched into tracks from their album The Arcane Enemy. While the hardcore bravado was naturally front-and-center with the dual harsh vocals of Jimmy and Cliff (the latter of whom bore a remarkable resemblance to our own Baboon), that was not the only aspect on offer in their music. Technical and melodic elements of The Faceless and Through The Eyes Of The Dead, with licks and solos traded between Bojan and Michaël. Most impressively, the sound was pristine, augmenting the explosive breakdowns, and even the intricate sections such as in “Chariots Of The Gods” were audible. According to deathcore tradition, a violent moshpit opened up in due course, and it seems the crowd really got into the band’s style. While deathcore is not my usual cup of tea, I could certainly appreciate Everyone Dies Alone’s stylings, and they left a positive impression on my ears.
Due to The Bridal Procession‘s cancelation I got the opportunity to catch German death metal merchants Ichor instead, who had played in JC Kompleks before. Ichor were a band I was on vaguely familiar terms with, but had not actively sought out – however I knew that their music was more up my alley than the previous band. They were soon blastbeating their way through tracks from their two albums The Siege and Benthic Horizon. Despite lacking their bassist, who was unable to make the show, the band’s sound was thick and heavy. Eric, the muscular vocalist, was easily the most impressive member of the band as he towered above the audience covered in, well, ichor. The songs were peppered with a couple of death metal breakdowns in the mix, but the order of the day was closer to a modern death metal sound, bringing bands like Vale Of Pnath to mind. The crowd soon warmed to them, greeting with hails and horns in true Dutch hospitality. Ichor certainly have been added to my list of acts to follow up on.
Finally, the time arrived for the night’s main entertainment: Italian sympho-brutal death metallers Fleshgod Apocalypse. Having followed the band since their Mafia EP deafened me, and missed their set at Metalfest Austria, I was curious to see whether their odd blend of styles would work onstage. They soon made it very clear that it does work, after a keyboard inside a piano appeared onstage, followed by the members in 18th century-costumes and dirt on their faces. Understandably, their set comprised mostly of latest opus obliteratus Agony, although some of Oracles crept in as well (“In Honour Of Reason”, “Requiem In Si Minore”), and the classic dirty groove of Mafia‘s “Thru Our Scars”. As per the previous bands, everything sounded magnificent quality, and even bassist Paolo Rossi’s wailing vocals were audible over the blaze. Both band and venue showed their true professionalism when the lights show died before “In Honor Of Reason”. Fleshgod continued in the white light, and within a minute of playing the colors were up and running. While the band’s stage presence was slightly static (understandable given the speed and complexity of the music), they still showed their Italian passion through each song through to the melancholic closer “The Forsaking”, and the cries for one more song were numerous and loud.
To summarise, the weekend evening was incredible, and one I am unlikely to forget. As an icing on the proverbial cake, two facts emerged during the course of the night: one, Fleshgod Apocalypse informed me that they are writing for a new album at the moment. Two, the pristine yet roaring sound quality left no ringing in my ears after the event, the first time that has happened for a death metal concert. So next time you find yourselves in the Netherlands, make sure you head along to the JC Kompleks to catch a show there, and experience proper Dutch hospitality.
Many thanks to Mandy and Sean for organizing and running the show, and to Cailyn Erlandsson for the videos above.