I'll begin this review by noting that unlike last year, I won't be posting sets from bands I didn't see. Ask and ye shall recieve (as long as they're available on setlist.fm) but I won't go through the hassle of posting each here.
The first day of Graspop began with a bang, as me and my friend made our way to the first marquee to watch the almighty Skeletonwitch
. My first time seeing Skeletontits, I was hella excited. There was a fairly large number of people there for a band starting that early in the morning, and everyone was into their performance. Skeletonwitch themselves were visibly enjoying playing the festival for the first time, and gave a pretty good performance, throwing out thirteen fast and unrelenting songs. I caught their setlist as they finished up, but the bottom of the paper was ripped off, leaving me clueless as to what they closed their set with.
Erased and Forgotten
Submit to the Suffering
Reduced to the Failure of Prayer
The Horrifying Force (The Desire to Kill)
Beyond the Permafrost
Upon Wings of Black
Choke Upon Betrayal
Of Ash and Torment
Crushed Beyond Dust
Shredding Sacred Flesh
Within My Blood
As my friend left to meet Skeletonwitch, I made my way to the Metal Dome to see one of the few black metal bands playing the festival this summer, England's Winterfylleth
. I really
enjoyed their performance; vocals were spot-on, and the atmosphere inside the tent was great. Like with Skeletonwitch, I noticed a surprisingly large audience.
Mam Tor (The Shivering Mountain)
The Ghost of Heritage
The Wayfarer Pt. 1 - The Solitary One Waits for Grace
The Fields of Reckoning
Void of Light
Defending the Realm
Next up were Finnish folk metal band Ensiferum
. I myself am not a huge fan of their music, but I've given their self-titled album as well as Iron
quite a few listens, and have found that they're a great band. The performance itself was underwhelming; almost every folk metal band (or metal band with folk elements, if you prefer that) I had seen before had blown me away. I could barely make out vocals (the strong area of Ensiferum in my opinion) due to the guitars and keyboards practically blocking out everything else. However, tracks 'From Afar' and 'Iron' kicked immense ass, with me screaming my lungs out.
Tale of Revenge
Token of Time
As Ensiferum finished their set, my friend found me by the rail and told me that Cannibal Corpse were having an autograph session during the next band, Possessed
. Though I regretted leaving so soon after the end of Cannibal Corpse's show at the beginning of the month and missing a chance to hang out with the band, I made the decision to see Possessed instead, seeing as how I'm far more likely to get another chance to see/meet Cannibal Corpse rather than see Possessed. However, Jeff's vocals were much worse than they are on record, and as Becerra announced 'Fallen Angel' I left to meet Cannibal Corpse. Corpsegrinder was pretty awesome, with him complimenting me on my Suffocation t-shirt, and thanking me for my support. Webster humbly accepted my award of Best Metal Bassist, and putting a smiley face next to his autograph. I then returned to the Metal Dome to see the rest of Possessed's set, walking in as Jeff announced 'My Belief'. I headbanged my way through the next three songs (especially during 'Death Metal') and left for a short visit to the official Graspop merch stand.
Beyond the Gates
Swing of the Axe
The Eyes of Horror
Since there were so many people waiting to buy merch, it took some time for one of the employees to reach me; I then bought a Nasum shirt, one that was later stolen during Amon Amarth's set. Having spent so much time waiting in line, I missed the first ten minutes of Sacred Reich
's set. What I did see was great; the band plays with a youthful energy, and spot-on musicianship. Their cover of 'War Pigs' got everyone in the room singing along, the first of many Sabbath covers played by bands over the weekend.
The American Way
Crimes Against Humanity
Who's to Blame
War Pigs [Black Sabbath]
The rest of the day was smooth sailing, with me staying put in my front row spot at the main marquee tent. Next came on English gothic metal legends Paradise Lost
, who absolutely kicked ass. Holmes' vocals were just as good if not better as they are on record, and though I could've defintely used more off of Faith Divides Us
and less off of Tragic Idol
, I sang along to most of their set. Good to finally get them off the checklist!
Honesty in Death
As I Die
Fear of Impending Hell
Say Just Words
Next came one of two bands playing that day that I had been waiting eons to see: Amon
. Johan Hegg and co. blew the roof off of the marquee, tearing through a short set (what can you do?) with a ferocious take-no-prisoners attitude. Pyrotechnics and non-stop crowdsurfing got shit going, and though like I said I definitely expected to hear more than just eleven songs from the best viking metal band out there, I was extremely glad to finally see them. Unfortunately, during the turns I kept making to help crowdsurfers down from above our heads, the Nasum shirt hanging from my pocket must've been either pulled out on purpose or accidentally, since afterwards upon inventory it wasn't there.
War of the Gods
Runes to My Memory
Destroyer of the Universe
Death in Fire
Cry of the Black Birds
The Fate of Norns
The Pursuit of Vikings
For Victory or Death
Twilight of the Thunder God
Guardians of Asgaard
The penultimate band of the first day at Graspop came in the form of the third-best band of the whole weekend, Lamb of God
. Lamb of God were everything I expected, and more. Insane? Check. Godly? Check. Headbangable as hell? Check. Randy Blythe is up there as one of the best frontmen and live vocalists I've had the privy of seeing, and the rest of the band is just as intense. In truth, I can't even choose one song that stands out above the rest; each is a contender. 'Something to Die For' and 'Redneck' were absolutely impeccable; Blythe brought out Donald Tardy (drummer of Obituary) to play drums on 'Redneck', who did a great job. At the end of their set, I caught Willie's guitar pick, and made my way to the main-stage to see the headliner of the day: Ozzy Osbourne.
Walk With Me in Hell
Set to Fail
Now You've Got Something to Die For
Laid to Rest
Slowly We Rot [Obituary]
The Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne
had already kicked into 'Bark at the Moon' as I exited the marquee tent. I myself am not a fan of Osbourne's solo material, and only like 'Bark' and 'Crazy Train'; furthermore, I was quite disappointed when I found out Osbourne wasn't playing 'Into the Void', 'Black Sabbath', and 'Sweet Leaf' in his festival sets with Geezer. However, Osbourne made up for it (somewhat) with a great vocal performance, impressing me in most if not all areas of criteria. It was awesome to see Butler play 'N.I.B.' and see Slash and Zakk Wylde trade off solos at the end of 'Crazy Train'.
Ozzy / Blasko / Gus G. / Tommy Clufetos
Bark at the Moon
I Don't Know
Shot in the Dark
Rat Salad [Black Sabbath]
Ozzy / Slash / Gus G. / Geezer Butler / Tommy Clufetos
Iron Man [Black Sabbath]
War Pigs [Black Sabbath]
N.I.B [Black Sabbath]
Ozzy / Zakk Wylde / Geezer Butler / Tommy Clufetos
Fairies Wear Boots [Black Sabbath]
Ozzy / Zakk Wylde / Blasko / Tommy Clufetos
I Don't Want to Change the World
Mama, I'm Coming Home
Paranoid [Black Sabbath]