Live review: In The Grip Of Winter Fest III at Baroeg, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, February 23rd, 2020

Still recovering of the doomy Saturday evening, of which you can read our live review here, I am already in the train. I am going to Rotterdam, more exactly to the venue of Baroeg, because there  the third edition of In The Grip Of Winter Fest is going to take place. This third edition of this festival originally was going to be headlined by the Finnish black metallers of Archgoat, but more about that later. The other bands that were going to play in Baroeg this afternoon and evening were the Swedish death metallers of Entrails, the Dutch death metallers of Pentacle, the Belgian speed metallers of Bütcher and the, just as Pentacle coming from own soil, death metallers of Ceremony and black metallers of Doodswens.

The band that is  going to enter the stage first in an already quite busy venue perfectly fits  the stormy weather outside. That band, Doodswens, rages through the venue like a storm from the beginning to the end. From the very first moment on Doodswens knows exactly how to deliver a perfect atmosphere and so they are shrouding the venue in a dark ambiance. Doodswens’ stage-occupation may be small, not only due to frontwoman Fraukje van Burg’s length, I’m sorry Fraukje, but also due to the fact that Doodswens is only consisting of two members, drummer Inge van der Zon is Doodswens’ other bandmember and the quite static show caused by the fact that both Fraukje and Inge are bound to their microphone stand or drum kit, but that definitely isn’t something that you will notice during their extremely intense show that is delivered in a very powerful way. At some moments the regularly atmospheric vibe of Fraukje’s guitar becomes a bit more clear, while on other moments Doodswens rages very heavily, with Inge’s tight drum skills standing out very much. Of course Doodswens also plays the new song that is released earlier this month, In de Schaduwen der Levenden, coming off of the From the Shadows of the Abyss split together with Adversarius. The song they play after that, III, coming off of Doodswens’ Demo, has a clear difference compared to their other songs. This song sounds a bit more thrashier due to the different drum style that Inge uses in this song. This song also contains some more lower-sounding guitars by Fraukje. However, the perfect atmosphere and the huge power that’s coming off of this show isn’t only caused by the guitar and the drums, Fraukje’s terrifying screams are also adding another dimension to this show. Doodswens kicks off this afternoon/evening in a perfect way for sure!

Delivering a very powerful show, just as Doodswens did, is something that applies to almost all shows of today. The only exception to this is the next show, from Ceremony. Unfortunately, because when I saw them live for my first time at Veghel Blackfest two years ago, of which you can read my preview and live review here and here, they did really surprise me with their very powerful show. However, this show already starts quite messy because frontman Micha Verboom’s first grunts could already be heard, while he wasn’t clearly to be seen on stage. The mix during this show was also pretty messy, Micha Verboom’s vocals and Bas Dubbelman’s drums sounded very predominant, while the guitars from Peter Verhoef and Johan van der Sluijs are on quite a low volume. Those ratios in the mix seemed to be a little bit better during Ceremony’s last song of this show, but they still weren’t that good. In addition to that guitarist Peter Verhoef and frontman Micha Verboom also seemed to search for their right stage-positions during the show, causing that they get in each other’s way at some moments. Unfortunately a quite messy show which lacked power causing less people to stay in front of the stage.

The next show, the show of Bütcher, definitely didn’t have a lack of power. Earlier I already planned to go see their show on the latest edition of Eindhoven Metal Meeting, of which you can read my preview here, but unfortunately I had to skip this nice festival. Bütcher was one of the many bands that I was looking forward to go see back then and because I had to miss them I was now also looking forward to their show, maybe even more because of this unexpected delay. That that was something that was very much worth it became clear quite soon. Bütcher delivers an incredibly strong show from start to end. That actually already starts before they really start their show, because there are already quite a lot of heads going up and down during their short, fast line check. Frontman R Hellshrieker says that he wants one other fast line check before they start, and someone in front of the stage reacts that it indeed can be even faster. That Bütcher plays speed metal, and not just for a bit, is indeed very clear. At the moment these Belgians are starting their show for real there is an explosion of energy coming off of the stage. Frontman R Hellshrieker is taking front in this and shows that he is a true stagebeast, with his vocals but also with his performance. He moves a lot on the stage and clearly shows that he throws all his energy in this show during which he also brought some accessories. Bütcher not only brought a platform on which R Hellshrieker regularly stands on to give everything an even more powerful image, at some moments he also shows a skull or a heavy iron chain, that he sometimes drops on the metal platform giving a very fitting clattering sound. The energy really is exploding off of the stage and clearly passes onto the audience, resulting in quite a big moshpit. The fact that frontman R Hellshrieker is leading this very energetic show on stage doesn’t detract the rest of the band though, because all of this clearly is brought by the entire band. He may be more visibly in front, the tight drums by LV Speedhämmer, the very nice guitarsound of KK Ripper’s guitar and nicely humming bass sound of AH Wrathchylde’s bass guitar are also clearly contributing to this very nice, energetic show.

The next band, Pentacle, is coming from the South of The Netherlands and, as frontman Wannes Gubbels says, is happy to be in Rotterdam on this day. Not only because of In The Grip Of Winter Fest, but also because of Carnaval in the South of The Netherlands. Pentacle also delivers a very powerful show with their heavily pounding old school death metal. Especially the powerful sounds of Robert Smissaert’s drums and of the guitars from Mike and Alex Verhoeven are standing out during this show. At some moments Mike and Alex clearly show two different guitar lines at the same time, while they play some more old school twin guitar parts on other moments. It seems like there is some problem with Mike’s guitar mix-wise at some moment, but fortunately this is fixed pretty fast and due to that this is the only small point of criticism on this very nice and tight-played show. Pentacle pounds heavily and due to that this show is a challenge for the neck muscles. After Pentacle ended their show later than scheduled we get to hear the reason for this from someone of Baroeg’s staff: headliner Archgoat unfortunately isn’t going to be able to play their show and due to that the organization asked Pentacle as well as Entrails to play a bit longer than scheduled.

Entrails, the next band that’s entering Baroeg’s stage now is, due to those circumstances, the last band of today and they are, as mentioned before, also playing a bit longer than scheduled. With their also very powerful show they deliver a lot of energy that’s coming off of the stage as well, which again clearly passes onto the audience resulting in them going crazy for one last time for today. That results in a lot of headbangers and an almost constant, very big moshpit. For everyone whose neck muscles  weren’t challenged enough during the shows before, they can give it another shot during Entrails’ show. The filthy buzz saw guitar sound of Jimmy Lundqvist’s as well as Markus Svensson’s guitar, as well as the pumping and grooving sound of frontman Penki Sandkvist’s bass and Arvid Borg’s drums are creating an extremely pounding show during which Entrails shows to be a true, be it due to the aforementioned circumstances substituting, headliner. The only little downside to this show is that Jimmy Lundqvist’s guitar is unplugged a few times. However, this seems to be caused by the heavy moshpit.

This was a very nice afternoon and evening for sure, with four very powerful, strong shows and, unfortunately, one quite disappointing show. Unfortunately the show of the scheduled headliner Archgoat wasn’t taking place, but this afternoon and evening still made travelling to Rotterdam more than worth it to end up tired but satisfied in the train and have enough to look back on to ignore the Carnaval-hassle in the train. Pentacle’s frontman Wannes Gubbels wasn’t the only one that was happy to be in Baroeg instead of in the South of The Netherlands ;).

You can read our review of Archgoat’s split with Satanic Warmaster, titled Lux Satanae (Thirteen Hymns of Finnish Devil Worship) here, as well as our earlier live review of Doodswens, alongside Porselain and Tjalling, here.

In The Grip Of Winter Fest Facebook
Archgoat Facebook
Entrails Facebook
Pentacle Official Website
Pentacle Facebook
Bütcher Facebook
Ceremony Facebook
Doodswens Facebook
Doodswens Instagram

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