Live review: Veghel Blackfest in Willemeen, Arnhem, The Netherlands, February 17th, 2018

Early January I posted a preview of Veghel Blackfest (here), an all-black-metal festival organized by Doc Holliday Metal Productions taking place in Willemeen, Arnhem. Now, the day finally was there which resulted in a pretty big group of black metal fans waiting outside Willemeen around 2 o’clock. Today, ten bands will enter the stage, so this day promises to be a packed day with a lot of musical violence.

A few moments after the doors have been opened the stage is already shrouded in smoke. The first band of the day can unleash its first sounds any moment now. This first band will be Noctambulist, the only band I haven’t heard any music from when I wrote the preview. This was due to the fact that they just started recently and didn’t release any music at that moment. The only thing I knew at that moment was that they call the music they play atmospheric post-black metal. Now that I heard their music, it sure as hell is atmospheric, sometimes it can even be called a bit mysterious. Another thing which immediately stands out is that the quality of the sound is good from the first moment on. Often this isn’t that good, especially not from the first moment of the first band playing, so this is very promising for the rest of this day. Noctambulist is playing a very great set and it surely made me curious to their upcoming studio material. If Noctambulist’s show is representative for all shows today, it’s another very promising thing for the remainder of this day.

The band playing after Noctambulist is Ceremony. Based on the tracks of Ceremony I listened before I did get the idea that this wasn’t a band playing music that I like that much. However, it might still be that way with studio material, when they play live I definitely like it. This band truly surprised me today. Ceremony plays their set in a brutal, very heavy way. If there were still people inside that weren’t completely awake, due to the fact that it’s still early afternoon on a Saturday, Ceremony must have gotten them completely awake. Vocal-wise, singer Micha Verboom uses grunts as well as screams, which he finds great balance in. The sound of his screams sometimes reminded me of the screams of Inquisition’s Dagon.

Today’s third band is Dystopia with their black metal which is mixed with psychedelic doom influences. If you entered the venue a bit after this band started playing, you were possibly wondering whether there is a band on the stage or not, because they were practically invisible. In case you are wondering how that is possible, it was because of the extremely dense fog around the stage. The smoke-machine was doing his job at maximum speed. Dystopia’s set was very intense and hypnotic. This surely is music that will bring you in a trance-situation. Their combination of black metal with the trumpet and trombone added as extra instruments definitely sounds promising. On their studio material it already sounded awesome and it surely works in a very great way when played live.

After Dystopia’s set it is time for Yaotzin. Yaotzin plays their black metal in an extremely fast and heavy way. Their show is pretty static, which makes it a bit boring to watch their show in my opinion. The only band member who was sometimes a bit less static was bassist Jesse Peetoom. However, a lot of people really seemed to like it, but it’s not really my kind of band. Despite their show being very static, it still was a very evil and crushing performance.

The next band playing is one of the two Greek bands that will enter the stage today. Of course Rotting Christ is an absolute topper in the genre and therefore they are headliner, so we have to wait for them. Now it is the time for fellow Greek band Arkhangelsk. These guys play a very strong set that is, just as Dystopia’s set, extremely intense and almost hypnotic. Musically Arkhangelsk delivers melodic, atmospheric, but heavy black metal, which they do in a very energetic way.

Next band is the band I personally was looking forward to the most, Thyrgrim. Why is it that I dig Thyrgrim that much? That is because it sounds extremely powerful. I myself am not very muscular or robust, but when I listen to Thyrgrim’s music I feel a bit like I have the posture of vocalist Kain. That is the power Thyrgrim contains. Their show is extremely heavy and intense and is brought with an enormous dose of energy. The energy coming from the stage is also passing onto the audience, resulting in today’s first moshpit taking place during their set. They played a great show, with Dette er tysk svart metal as an absolute highlight. The only thing that could be better was the mixing quality of the vocals. Due to this, there were some moments at which you could not hear the vocals very well. However, this was nothing because of their immense set.

The next three bands are the bands being on tour with each other: Svart Crown, Carach Angren and Rotting Christ. First one of those bands entering the stage is the French band Svart Crown with their, also, very energetic show. In the meantime, the venue is already quite packed and the audience is getting pretty crazy during Svart Crown’s show. Their songwriting which is a little bit chaotic might be something to get used to a little bit, but once used to it this is what makes it interesting and far from boring.

After Svart Crown the guys of Carach Angren are going on stage. They produce a pretty unique sound with their characteristic horror metal and perform this in a fantastic, theatrical way at a live show. Unfortunately, the sound quality of the mixing is kind of bad during their first songs, but luckily this is solved pretty fast. Carach Angren delivers a very nice, tight set. Of course tracks from their latest album, the last year released Dance And Laugh Amongst The Rotten, are in their setlist, but some Carach Angren-classics are also definitely in there. A few examples being Bitte Totet Mich and Bloodstains On The Captain’s Log.

After the horror metal of Carach Angren it’s time for Rotting Christ to climb the stage. These Greeks leaded by frontman Sakis Tolis create metal with ancient Greek influences and are, as I already mentioned, an absolute topper in the genre. Their show is phenomenal and sometimes even feels very ritualistic in some way. It doesn’t matter how perfect, tight and extremely energetic you want a show to be, Rotting Christ for sure does it all at max. With this show they are clearly showing why they are the absolute topper in the scene. This is almost unbelievable, what a show!

Today’s last band playing is Misanthropia. They originally were meant to play before Svart Crown, Carach Angren and Rotting Christ, but they changed this because it was better for the overall schedule of the day. They now played after Rotting Christ. At the moment everyone thought they would enter the stage, there were a lot of doubts among the part of the audience that were still there, the organizators and Misanthropia themselves, whether they would be allowed to play or not. Finally, it appeared that Misanthropia was allowed to play, so the part of the audience still being present gets a very nice closing gig as dessert. Unfortunately, a big part of the audience already left after Rotting Christ’s set. However, Misanthropia delivers a very great show for the real die-hards that are still present. My compliments to these guys for this very nice show, especially after the last-minute changes and many doubts. Due to the fact that Misanthropia has a new keyboard-player since a short time, David Gutierrez Rojas, and because I couldn’t see him that well during Misanthropia’s set at Lucky Metalfest (live review here), I now watched him a bit more. Unfortunately, there were some moments at which you could not hear his keyboards at all, but this was more something mixing-related. However, David for sure showed what he is able to do and has a very good stage presence.

All in all, this first edition of Veghel Blackfest was very successful and today was a very nice day.

Also be sure to read our reviews of Rotting Christ’s Rituals (here) and Lucifer Over Athens (here), as well as our review of Thyrgrim’s Dekaden (here). We also mentioned Thyrgrim in Part 10 of Promoting Bands (here). Last but not least, you can read our interview with Carach Angren’s Clemens ‘Ardek’ Weijers here.

Noctambulist Facebook
Ceremony Facebook
Dystopia Official Website
Dystopia Facebook
Yaotzin Official Website
Yaotzin Facebook
Arkhangelsk Facebook
Thyrgrim Facebook
Svart Crown Facebook
Svart Crown Twitter
Carach Angren Official Website
Carach Angren Facebook
Carach Angren Twitter
Rotting Christ Official Website
Rotting Christ Facebook
Misanthropia Official Website
Misanthropia Facebook


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