Live review: Black Earth Festival (Saturday) at dB’s, Utrecht, The Netherlands, October 27th, 2018

In October’s last weekend the city of Utrecht is about the Black Earth Festival. On Friday evening Slowwalker, Uncanny Valley, Blackmoon1348 and Father Murphy performed their shows at Cultureel Centrum Moira. All of them were very nice gigs, with Blackmoon1348’s set as my personal absolute highlight. On Sunday Gnaw Their Tongues, Terzij de Horde, Cult of Occult and Emptiness will enter the stage at the venue Ekko.

The Saturday-program of the Black Earth Festival took place in the great venue dB’s.

Prisa Mata opened this Saturday evening. At the beginning of their show there are only a few people inside the venue, but soon more people come to see them. With their pounding, tight drums and bass that goes through marrow and bone Prisa Mata delivers a very promising show as kick-off of this evening. This, combined with the dirty, misanthropic vocals of vocalist/bass guitarist Mark, whose vocals could also perfectly fit some Taake-like black metal, is a very nice combination. Prisa Mata doesn’t really use many show-aspects, but in my opinion it also isn’t needed in this case. During the last song of their set guitarist Jaz creates an intense soundscape which, combined with the still pounding drums and bass, gives a bit chaotic and nice end to the show of this first band.

After Prisa Mata it is time for Bethmoora. Vocalist Anders starts their set with the words “we are going to slow things down a bit”. A bit? They slow things down as much as possible. Fuck, this is heavy! The very slow and very heavy instrumentation combined with Anders’ nihilistic shouts, who also could fit perfectly in some black metal, and his very deep grunts result in an very intense show that surely overwhelmed. During the silent moments in between the songs Anders only says thanks, but because of their overwhelming show the silent moments are not awkward at all. One of these silent moments resulted in a funny moment however. At the moment Anders wanted to start a new song, guitarist Morten just took a sip of his drink. Because of this they had to start the song again, but due to this moment Bethmoora also showed that they could still laugh during this very heavy set. This moment distracted nobody when the song was started again. Great show!

When Bethmoora has finished their set, it is Sūrya’s turn to enter the stage. Their music is also very heavy, however they also include dreamier passages in their music which makes it all a bit more post-metal-like. Sūrya’s set is mainly instrumental, which made me missing vocals at some moments. Especially because of the three present microphones I expect more of this. In the end their last two songs do include some more vocals and these songs also show the reason for having three microphones present. It is because they use all three of them at the same time at some moments. Bass guitarist/vocalist Mark has some very misanthropic screams, while guitarists Greg and Bartek deliver some shouts. The vocals are not very audible through the music, but to be honest this perfectly fits their show. Instrumentally, Sūrya’s show is very guitar-driven, but Raquel’s drums are also very tight and greatly done. That Raquel is a good drummer was something that people could know already, since she also drummed with Prisa Mata earlier. Furthermore Sūrya’s show is supported by some visuals, however these unfortunately show some repeat.

Up next is the first Dutch show in the form of the threesome Dirt Forge. Compared to the earlier bands they speed things up quite a bit today. Their very nice set brings a lot of variation, everything very heavy, but some dreamier, instrumental parts as well as faster, sludgy parts including vocals. Dirt Forge’s vocals are for sure done very nicely. Guitarist/vocalist Alex takes care of most of them with his crusty vocals. Sometimes bass guitarist/vocalist Yannick also does some vocals, these are more clean and shout-y. Yannick’s vocals also include some reverberation which gives a nice effect to this. Dirt Forge delivers a crushing show that is for sure recommended to check when they perform in an area near you. So far, their set is my personal favorite of this day.

Only two more bands to go for this Black Earth Festival Saturday, Grime and Fistula. That they both perform today is no coincidence, because they are on tour together at the moment.

Fistula is today’s headliner, so first Grime takes over the stage. Right from the start Grime shows a grim atmosphere. The lights during the start of their show, or better said the lack of them, surely add to this. Grime delivers, as we are used to today, very heavy instrumentation. Especially the sludgy guitar and roaring bass stand out, which results in a lot of headbanging in the audience. Vocalist/guitarist Marco also adds some very misanthropic, hellish screams to this. Grime’s show is not really that much of my liking, however, based on the response of the audience, it was so for many others. Personally I missed a bit of variation in their show. Variation is something I mostly find important and, especially after Dirt Forge’s show, this is something I missed a bit. However, what Grime does, they do in a perfectly executed way. That it isn’t really of my liking is more musical taste related than anything else.

The last band of today is headliner Fistula. This Ohio sludgecore band shows to be very headliner-worthy with their very energetic show. At some moments Fistula plays extremely slow, at other moments they speed up things very much, both of course very heavily done. This show is intense as fuck! Vocalist Harrington delivers some very intense, raw vocals and spreads these upon the audience while having a very penetrating look in his eyes. His facial expressions as well as his body language also show that he completely feels everything he sings. He also transfers this to the audience very easily, which even results in some mosh pits. Drummer Easterly also shows to be completely merged into the music with his enthusiastic way of drumming. This for sure was a very energetic, heavy, great show by a true headliner. A perfect closing show of a great evening which, together with Dirt Forge’s set are my personal highlights of this day!

Black Earth Facebook
Fistula Official Website
Fistula Facebook
Fistula Twitter
Grime Facebook
Dirt Forge Official Website
Dirt Forge Facebook
Dirt Forge Twitter
Sūrya Facebook
Bethmoora Facebook
Bethmoora Twitter
Prisa Mata Facebook

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