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Gig review: Neurotic Deathfest, 3-3-2012

Just like last year we went to Neurotic Deathfest. Where last year At the Gates and Atheist were the main attraction for us this year that would be the first Gorguts gig in 19 years on Dutch soil. Plus for me the presence of bands like Anaal Nathrakh and Suffocation were also reason for going.

We arrived at around 15.00 at the 013 venue, got our tokens, walked around a bit and then the first band, Psycroptic, played. Being somewhat familiar with their older albums i was curious about them but for some reason they didn’t appeal to me one bit. Having only one guitarist the sound was rather ’thin’ so to say. Plus not recognizing any song it made the gig a bit dull. Next up was Acheron, unfortunately they weren’t really interesting either. Some rather old fashioned sounding black/deathmetal with lyrics that sounded a bit cheesy (SAAAATAAAAAN!!). It was a nice break from the brutality and speed that most bands showcased that day but still, it didn’t do much to me so we decided to get a bite to eat before Origin would hit the stage and before every person in the venue got hungry.

So we beat the crowd, got a bite to eat, and moved back to the 013 venue to see Origin. Saw them a couple of times already, including last year, and they have grown immensely as a live band. Usually they were a bit ‘static’, just staring at their fretboards, but with the new singer they gained a lot of enthousiasm during their gigs as he is bouncing around the stage, being aggressive, enthousiastic and funny. I’m not sure whether it was because it was the last gig of their tour but it was really entertaining. And impressive, because Origin are some top notch musicians. Usually technical deathmetalbands fail to stay interesting but Origin are not that type. One of the highlights of the day for me really. I feared the next band would be a huge dissapointment after that, and i was right. Morgoth has caused a bit of a stir with their reunion, but as one of my friends said ’they sucked back then, why would they be interesting all of a sudden now?’ and he was right. Some very dated form of deathmetal that is somewhat resembling Obituary. With the difference that Obituary is groovy, catchy and great. This lacked all of those elements. So we decided to walk the venue a bit and check out the merchandise. Didn’t get anything as i’m saving up my money for the Roadburn festival in about a month.

Next up was Anaal Nathrakh, i used to like their albums in the past and still like a couple of songs on their newer albums so i was curious about them. Unfortunately they disappointed. The sound was terrible, with the drums overpowering everything, and then there was the drummer. I’m not sure what he was doing but it felt like he was behind all the time, trying to catch up with the music. Even the songs i knew sounded unfamiliar. A shame, because it would have been a nice break from all the deathmetal bands there.

Then the reason we came, Gorguts, Obscura has become an inspiration for many many new(er) bands the last couple of years while at first it wasn’t as successful. Hopefully the latest incarnation of this band will bring them the success they deserve in my opinion. Luc Lemay gathered some amazing musicians around him (Colin Marston/Kevin Hufnagel both from ao. Dysrhythmia and a new drummer who i didn’t recognize). Luc Lemay may look awfully like Leo from that 70’s show but he still knows how to put up a show. With songs from almost all their albums (luckily the focus was on Obscura) they blew away most of the bands that day. Only let down was that the material on their albums differs quite a bit so the setlist felt kinda unstable, with a really technical slow new song next to an older fast deathmetal song it felt a little awkward. But nonetheless, impressive. And i hope they won’t wait for another 19 years to return.

After Gorguts we went to see Coldworker, of which i had heard some good stories. I’m not sure whether it was the fact that we have been witnessing deathmetalbands all day or that they just weren’t that interesting but it didn’t do much for us.

So we decided to get a good spot for Suffocation and just sit there with a beer. The first part of the Suffocation set was beyond impressive. An amazing sound (you could stand there without earplugs and still have a normal conversation while everything sounded really clean, tight and extremely heavy) and a great choice in songs. It’s a shame Mike Smith left, but with Dave Culross apparently only mainly familiar with the older songs i wasn’t complaining at all. After about 5 or 6 songs it did get a little predictable though, and Frank Mullen’s little monologues didn’t do much good to the gig as they slowed it down a lot. Plus they weren’t really interesting to begin with. But the songs remained impressive and they showed themselves a worthy headliner. I hope all the deathcore bands playing that day were paying close attention and realize they are still a long long looooong way from that level.
With about 10 minutes left before their gig would end we decided to catch the last direct train home. As we didn’t feel like waiting and transferring. After a rather uneventful trainride i arrived home, tired but satisfied as the cliche says.

Highlights of the day for me were Origin, Gorguts and Suffocation.
Let downs, Anaal Nathrakh and the sometimes extremely Neanderthal behavior of the audience. Just because you listen to loud, brutal and crude music doesn’t mean you have to act that same way.

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