After a short drive I arrive at the venue of Lucky & co in Rijssen. Formally Rijssen is part of the bible belt and that makes is this night interesting with bands like Batushka, Schammasch and Trepaneringsritualen. A bit to my surprise (or disappointment) there are no religious protesters or signs calling al metal heads to repent.Oh well, maybe the residents of Rijssen has become familiar with the metal heads and know they are not the worst kind of people you can have to visit your town.Being early gives me time to chat with acquaintances and checkout the venue. The stage in the pub is a bit better situated than the last time I was here, but the lights are not much better regrettably.
It is rather quiet when Dead End enters the smaller stage of the day in the pub. I’ve seen Dead End quite a few times now and their performance is solid every time. At the start there is something weird with the sound, but that gets fixed after a few songs. The heads present bob to the beat and everyone agrees that Dead End is playing a nice varied set. The only drawback is the huge amount of smoke that is poured out on to the stage. As the set progresses, there are more people filing straight into the pub. And they should, Dead End is doing a great job.
Next up is Misanthropia on the large stage. It is not full, but the large hall is nicely filling up now. This band is not know for their explosive performances on stage, although singer Bram Koller and bass player Pepijn Heilbron play a lot with their facial expressions. This is a show by itself! Misanthropia plays a tight set of melodic death metal with a technical twist. Once playing, it is getting busier and busier in front of the stage. Musically it is in perfect order and for the show… if you know where to look, you’re visually entertained too!
The Lucifer Principle (NL)
The Lucifer Principle had a challenge for this gig. With only two weeks to prepare, Hein Willekens (known from bands like Legion of the Damned and Splinterbomb) replaced founding member Giedo van de Graaf. Hein did an awesome job and if one didn’t know any better, one would thought he played with TLP for years already! Shows of TLP are always entertaining as fuck! Firstly because of the solid musically performance of the band, but surely singer Earik has a big part in it as well. Earik is an entertainer of a special kind; gifted with the power to connect to his audience and keep them involved and interested throughout the set in a, sometimes, hilarious way. The set contains quite a few songs of their latest album and that is appreciated immensely, but older gems are played too, like “Born In Bloodshed” and “Pitch Black Dawn” Even when the last sounds died out, the audience lingers to be sure it is really is over. The energy that came from the audience is phenomenal and Earik thrives in his roll as ringleader and head of ceremonies of the venue. Another extremely entertaining set and a horns up for Hein!
I have to run to make it to Rebaelliun on the large stage in time, because I lingered a bit too long too. These Brazilians kick their set in gear with an ultra fast track and half way their first song it seems to me there is something wrong with the sound. It’s rather undefined and the blast beats are to prominent, but they’re kinda flat. It takes a few songs to get the sound right and although the songs gain dramatically in definition, this is not my cup of tea unfortunately. It is quite busy in front of the stage and I guess no one is going to miss me, so I grab a bite to eat.
Altar is already playing in the pub as I walk in. The voice of singer Janneke is in sharp contrast of her appearance; kind, feminine and a bit petite… but then her voice is raw, brutal, loud and by the sound of it she just tore somebody’s head off! It is a pity the smoke machines are at full throttle, because visibility is near zero at times. Luckily it didn’t influence the sound and that was great. I love high energy bands like Altar; the raw power combined with well varied songs played with a lot of fun.
The fact that I can still write this review, kinda proves there is no god. With three bands in a row spitting pure blasphemy in the bible belt town of Rijssen, one would expected a lighting strike, flooding, mayhem and death, but all there was, was a bit of a drizzle and a police car rushing by… Schammasch entrance has a familiar smell. The incense burnt remembers me of the times I went to a catholic church with school nearly a century ago. The atmosphere created by Schammasch is oppressive and quite monotonous… and that is not a bad thing. It is exactly what it supposed to be. At some moments the singer of Schammasch changes in to clean singing, which breaks the monotonousness and keeps it very interesting. The set of Schammasch was interesting, but near the end it got a bit too repetitious for my taste, but the atmosphere created was superb!
For this band, or rather one-man-band, I wasn’t prepared. When the show started, Thomas Martin Ekelund walked right passed me with a full face covering hood made of jute with a thick rope around his neck. When he steps up the stage an undefined smell is quickly replaced by the smell of incense. What it was, I had no idea, but it might have been something like, blood, death or… The music is coming from a series of machines, which plays sample loops and industrial noises. On the other side of the stage, there is a table, with a skull and some candles and that’s all the decoration needed. The performance is mesmerizing, although there is hardly any action on the stage. Halfway through the set, Thomas removes the hood and his head is shiny wet. It seems like an oily substance, which has an indefinable smell. That was where the smell came from I guess. It is clear, that not all visitors can appreciate (or understand) this performance. Near the end, most of the spectators have left the pub. Personally I think this was more of an industrial performance art, than a metal concert but one that gives you the creeps and goose bumps. I would love to see Trepaneringsritualen some time again, because it was intriguing, but then with a bit more of the right light, because I think that it would make it more impressive (and probably scarier).
Most of the present audience has come to Rijssen for Batushka. In a short time they have risen to a cult status in our country and they deserve that. Not only the mystery of who they are has fueled this fire, but the interest in extreme metal performed as a religious mass, is an attractive force. Where Schammasch created an oppressive atmosphere, Batushka is simply a juggernaut. The sound is great from the start and with 8 bare foot people on the stage, there are so many details going on that you are short of eyes and ears. I’ve seen Batushka a few times before and everytime it fascinates me how precise they copy the Slavic orthodox mass. The props on the stage are perfect and are put to good use. Candles being lit, portraits are being held up, bowing heads, incense is waved around… All is done to put you in a spiritual mood. Musically it is insane tight and quite some people looking onward with an almost hypnotized look on their faces. This new way of putting on a show is impressive as fuck! and Batushka is god!
Still heavily impressed of Batushka, I enter the pub where Heretic is preparing to play. This three piece band kicks in gear and I am surprised! This sounds a bit like the early Motörhead but then on steroids! Right form the first verse, the crowd in front of the stage get wild. Singer Thomas encourages the maniacs to go berserk and drink more beer. The set is fast, wild and very very entertaining. When the Grolsch fliptop bottles smash into the floor, the wild pit is stopped to get rid of the glass, to continue to with the same frenzy. That is the time for me to leave the front of the stage and observe from the side. The audience and the band are on a roll and I guess they gained a few extra fans; one for sure!
The number 2 on the list of most visitors to see is Pestilence. When the intro sounds, there is a lot of anticipation in front of the stage. Right from the start, these people are banging their heads wild to the tunes and the first thing I notice is, the phone holder attached to the mic stand… It appears singer Patrick is reading the lyrics from his phone the first few songs. I guess they are new songs, but it is distracting as hell; for him and for the crowd. This combined with poor lighting and a weird reverb makes this set not enter very high on my list of this evening. Pity, because I looked forward to this a bit. Musically it is well varied at times, but the repetitive hacking-sound of the drums (wrong setup?) is getting to me and little over half of the set I decide to get a drink and give my ears some rest for the last band of the day. There are a lot of people present who doesn’t share my view and so the venue keeps filled like it was. After all… this is Pestilence!
Even though this is a three piece band, Distillator still is one of the best thrash bands of The Netherlands. The band is playing with lots of energy in front of a crowd of around 50 people. Most of the visitors of Lucky Rocks Metal Fest III are slowly leaving the venue and some take a peek around the door to see who’s playing. Some come in and some walk outside. Distillator always gives a solid show and today is no exception, so the ones who left miss out on a great set! There are a lot of heads bobbing and the guys on stage do what they do best. Soloing, position changes and playing their socks off! Near the end of their set, I have my stuff packed and I am ready to leave. While walking to my car, I hear singer Laurens thank the people present. The second song on my playlist while driving home on the freeway is coincidentally “Megalomania” of Distillator. Gotta watch my right foot!
Lucky Rocks Metal Fest III has done an awesome job again. The mix of bands was great and the only drawback was the amount of visitors. With this kind of line up you expect a lot more paying visitors, but perhaps it was because a few of the big names had shows the day before and the day after Lucky Rocks Metal Fest III in the Netherlands. Thus the need for people to get to Rijssen from all over the country was not that big, sadly. Nonetheless it was a great festival again!