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Old 06-25-2012, 01:31 PM
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brutal_descent brutal_descent is offline
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Graspop Metal Meeting -- Dessel, Belgium -- June 22nd-24th, 2012

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.

FRIDAY

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)
Repulsive Salvation
Beyond the Permafrost
Infernal Resurrection
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.

Twilight Tavern
Tale of Revenge
Ahti
Token of Time
Burning Leaves
From Afar
Iron


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.

Pentagram
Seance
Beyond the Gates
Fallen Angel
Swing of the Axe
Confessions
The Exorcist
My Belief
The Eyes of Horror
Death Metal


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
Administrative Decisions
Love...Hate
Ignorance
Crimes Against Humanity
Who's to Blame
Independent
War Pigs [Black Sabbath]
Death Squad

Surf Nicaragua


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!

Desolate
Widow
Honesty in Death
Erased
As I Die
Tragic Idol
Forever Failure
One Second
Embers Fire
Fear of Impending Hell
The Enemy

Say Just Words


Next came one of two bands playing that day that I had been waiting eons to see: Amon motherfucking Amarth. 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
Victorious March

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.

Desolation
Ghost Walking
Walk With Me in Hell
Set to Fail
Now You've Got Something to Die For
Ruin
Hourglass
The Undertow
Contractor
Laid to Rest
Redneck
Black Label
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
Mr. Crowley
Suicide Solution
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
Crazy Train
Mama, I'm Coming Home


All
Paranoid [Black Sabbath]
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Last edited by brutal_descent; 06-26-2012 at 03:28 AM.
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:41 PM
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Slowly We Rot [Obituary]
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:44 PM
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Erased and Forgotten
Submit to the Suffering
Reduced to the Failure of Prayer
The Horrifying Force (The Desire to Kill)
Repulsive Salvation
Beyond the Permafrost
Infernal Resurrection
Upon Wings of Black
Choke Upon Betrayal
Of Ash and Torment
Crushed Beyond Dust
Shredding Sacred Flesh
(Unknown)
really brah? really?
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:48 PM
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really brah? really?

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Old 06-25-2012, 01:49 PM
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really brah? really?
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Old 06-25-2012, 01:59 PM
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brutal_descent brutal_descent is offline
Happy birthday, darling. We love you very very very very very very much
 
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SATURDAY

Saturday was a mighty fine day that began with a criminally underrated power metal band from Germany called Powerwolf. Even though I had already seen these fellas, I woke up early to see them and scream my lungs out under the clear sky above the mainstage. The crowd was into it, too; I even noticed a few dudes with corpsepaint the band's. I won't complain about the shortness of their set seeing as how they opened up the day, but like in February, I will once again recommend that any fan of power metal check these guys out.

Lupus Daemonis
Sanctified With Dynamite
Prayer in the Dark
We Drink Your Blood
Raise Your Fist, Evangelist
Werewolves of Armenia
Resurrection by Erection
All We Need Is Blood
Lupus Dei
Wolves Against the World


Next were one of the most hyped bands of the weekend, Alestorm. Apparently, 14k showed up to their performance at the main marquee, a stunning number of people at a festival which 44k people visit on average annually. Alestorm also suffered from the affliction of having a short set, but put on a fun enough show to distract from it. Being Christopher's birthday (Alestorm's vocalist), a guy behind me passed him a bottle of a rum which he gladly accepted. I left my front-row spot at the end of 'Rum', since the amount of crowdsurfers reached a peak that wouldn't be topped or matched until Children of Bodom's set Sunday evening.

Shipwrecked
Midget Saw
Nancy the Tavern Wench

Keelhauled
Rumpelkombo
Rum

Death Throes of the Terrorsquid
The Sunk'n Norwegian

Captain Morgan's Revenge


Following the end of Alestorm's set, I left to wander the festival site. I did some shopping at the marketplace, got my friend a birthday card signed by Mike Portnoy and Russell Allen, and then proceeded to make my way back to the marquee for Death Angel. Despite missing half of their set, I loved what I did see from them; like Sacred Reich, Death Angel showed a youthful energy that I fail to see in many bands their age today. To be specific, I came in at the beginning of The Ultra-Violence. Also like Sacred Reich, Death Angel played a Sabbath cover; this too got the whole audience screaming along each word.

Thrashers
Evil Priest
Voracious Souls
Kill as One
The Ultra-Violence
Mistress of Pain
Final Death
Heaven and Hell [Black Sabbath]


Next were Swiss folk metal masters Eluveitie. Having only heard Helvetios a few times since its release, I wasn't much of a fan; I did rock out to 'Rose for Epona' and 'Havoc', however. I'll do my best to become better acquainted with this band in the near future; though a monitor of theirs almost fucked up their whole performance for me, I liked what I did manage to hear.

Prologue
Helvetios
Luxtos
Neverland
Meet the Enemy
A Rose for Epona
Inis Mona
Alesia
The Uprising
Kingdom Come Undone
Havoc
Epilogue


I quickly left the marquee to catch Brutal Truth. There weren't many people there, unfortunately; Danny Lilker commented on it, thanking whoever did decided to watch them instead of Trivium. Their set kicked ass, and I headbanged during every second of it, but any standard they set for the rest of the extreme metal bands performing at Graspop completely disappeared with the next band on: Nasum.

Birth of Ignorance
Stench of Profit
Sugardaddy
Get a Therapist…Spare the World
Malice
Simple Math
End Time
Small Talk
Evolution Through Revolution
Branded
Addicted
Godplayer
Walking Corpse
Collateral Damage
Denial of Existence
Time
Ill-Neglect
Choice of a New Generation
I Killed My Family


The best performance of the weekend, Nasum blew my mind. Niinimaa did more justice to Mieszko's legacy and work than anyone else possibly could, performing renditions of Nasum's work with an absurd beauty. I'm absolutely thrilled that Graspop decided to book Nasum for this year's edition of the festival, and that Nasum agreed, because they went 110%. I don't say more because it's difficult to describe faithfully the intensity and scope of the experience that Nasum is; I pity the fool who didn't see them while they had the chance. I caught Nasum's setlist after they finished, so I'm fairly certain this is accurate.

Mass Hypnosis
This Is...
The Masked Face
Scoop
Bullshit
Relics
Shadows
Corrosion
Multinational Murderers Network
Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow
The Smallest Man
The Professional League
A Welcome Breeze of Stinking Air
I See Lies
Tested
Time to Act!
Fury
Wrath
I Hate People
The Black Swarm
Circle of Defeat
Closer to the End
Inhale/Exhale


And so came for me the last two bands of the day, Norway's Leprous and Emperor vocalist Ihsahn. Both did excellent jobs, with Leprous impressing all Ihsahn fans under the impression that Leprous' role in the evening was as a backing band to Ihsahn, and Ihsahn giving his songs new life in a live environment. Leprous played a short set before Ihsahn joined them onstage, which I greatly enjoyed since I loved Bilateral. I caught both bands' setlists, so this is accurate.

Leprous
Thorn
Waste of Air
Restless
Forced Entry


Ihsahn
Arrival
Called by the Fire
Frozen Lakes on Mars
Unhealer
Scarab
The Barren Lands
A Grave Inversed
The Grave
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Last edited by brutal_descent; 06-28-2012 at 12:33 AM.
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Old 06-25-2012, 03:00 PM
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brutal_descent brutal_descent is offline
Happy birthday, darling. We love you very very very very very very much
 
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SUNDAY

Sunday was my chill-out day. I finished up my merch shopping early in the morning, and left to watch Canadian hardcore band Cancer Bats. In brief, Cancer Bats disappointed me. When Hail Destroyer came out in 2008, I backed the shit out of that record. However, their live performance doesn't own up to the ass-kickery that they have on their recordings.

Sabotage [Beastie Boys]
Trust No One
Pray for Darkness
Bricks & Mortar
Pneumonia Hawk
Sorceress
Sleep This Away
Breathe Armageddon
Lucifer's Rocking Chair
Road Sick
Hail Destroyer
R.A.T.S.


Next up were my favorite hard rockers of the 21st century, the Black Spiders. These guys are fucking amazing; if you haven't listened to their debut album Sons of the North, do it NOW. I'd say I enjoyed their performance at Graspop last year a bit more than I did this year, but being more familiar with their songs this time around, I got to scream my lungs out to 'What Good's a Rock Without a Roll', 'KISS Tried to Kill Me', and 'Stay Down'. I didn't recognize their first and fourth songs of the set, however, so I'm hoping that gets cleared up soon.

Si, El Diablo
Stay Down
Just Like a Woman
(Unknown)
What Good's a Rock Without a Roll?
KISS Tried to Kill Me
Blood of the Kings


I took an hour-long break afterwards, and left to see Europe. In truth, I hadn't planned on actually paying much attention to them; I just wanted a spot up front for when Killswitch Engage began their set. However, Europe proved to be the biggest surprise of the weekend, with a set full of kickass songs, all of which were better than 'The Final Countdown'. Here's an incomplete set:

Riches to Rags
Not Supposed to Sing the Blues
Firebox
Superstitious
Scream of Anger
Demon Head
Rock the Night
The Beast
Prelude
Last Look at Eden
The Final Countdown


Killswitch-motherfucking-Engage is the name of the heroes of the day, ladies and gents. KSE were absolutely phenomenal; Leach's vocals never dropped under a 10/10. I complained earlier this year about Howard's departure from the band, and I couldn't be more wrong; Jesse is perfect. I yelled the lyrics to every song in the set at the top of my lungs, and managed to find moments to headbang my neck off, too. Later that day I'd meet the members of the band, and find Jesse to be the nicest/coolest dude I've met in metal. Absolutely terrific guys. Stoked to see them in 2013 whenever it is they'll come to Russia. Turns out this is Jesse's first European tour with the band, too. Fucking amazing; second best band of the weekend for sure.

Fixation on the Darkness
Rose of Sharyn
Numbered Days

This Is Absolution (Jesse: "This is fucking awesome; awesome weather, awesome bands, an awesome audience! What more could you want?" Johnny: "My balls on your chin!")
Self Revolution
The Arms of Sorrow
Take This Oath
Life to Lifeless
A Bid Farewell
My Curse (Johnny: "[insert heartfelt speech about supporting us, blah blah blah] ...that said, this song is about your mother's cunt!")
The End of Heartache
My Last Serenade
Holy Diver [Dio]


I then left to watch Jon Oliva's Pain. The same circumstances apply to them as the ones for Europe, and the same results, too. I'll definitely give Savatage a listen sometime, but man: lose some weight

Gutter Ballet [Savatage]
Edge of Thorns [Savatage]
24 Hrs. Ago [Savatage]
Beyond the Doors of the Dark [Savatage]
Strange Wings [Savatage]
Legions [Savatage]
The Price You Pay [Savatage]
Devastation [Savatage]
White Witch [Savatage]
Hall of the Mountain King [Savatage]
Believe [Savatage]


After Pain finished up, I heard the roar of the crowd at the mainstage as Machine Head came out. Assured a place in the front row for Behemoth by a new friend of mine, I left the marquee to watch Rob Flynn and co. play Graspop for the first time in ten years from the autograph booth as I awaited the members of KSE. I heard everything from 'Locust' to 'Davidian', and from what I heard, they were great. I really want to see Machine Head for once at a headlining show rather than at a festival appearance, but until then, it seems every chance to see them will be half-assed from my side of the deal.

I Am Hell (Sonata in C#)
Old
Imperium
Beautiful Mourning
Locust
Aesthetics of Hate
Halo
Davidian


After Machine Head finished up, on came Behemoth. Unfortunately, this was a massive disappointment; not because of the band or their performance, per se, but because of the sound set-up. The same issues that plagued Eluveitie's returned here, amplified (both in scope and in volume) due to the frequent use of the bass drum in Behemoth's music. I hope I get another chance to see them in a good environment soon, because until then, that's what I have to remember Behemoth live by.

Ov Fire and the Void
Demigod
Conquer All
Christians to the Lions
Alas, Lord Is Upon Me
At the Left Hand ov God
Slaves Shall Serve
Chant for Eschaton 2000

Lucifer


My last band of the weekend was a band I had already seen before, Finland's Children of Bodom. Though their set had the same issue as previously mentioned, I figured out that to block out the drone of the faulty monitor all that was necessary was to put in earplugs. I did so, and spent the rest of their set headbanging like there was no tomorrow (which if you think about it, makes sense.) Laiho seemed happy for once, and the audience was going batshit crazy; like I mentioned in my review for Alestorm, only during COB's set did the crowdsurfing get 'worse'. I was disappointed that I once more didn't get to hear 'Are You Dead Yet?' and 'Bed of Razors', but 'Deadnight Warrior' was an awesome treat. Halfway through the set all of the band left except the keyboardist, at which point he began playing 'I'm So Ronery' from Team America Laiho: "What the fuck are you playing?" Janne: "I'm So Lonely from Team America..." Laiho: "Why the fuck are you playing that?" Janne: "...you guys all left "

Warheart
Hate Me!
Silent Night, Bodom Night

Shovel Knockout
Needled 24/7
Everytime I Die

Deadnight Warrior
Angels Don't Kill

In Your Face
Blooddrunk

Downfall
Hate Crew Deathroll
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Last edited by brutal_descent; 06-26-2012 at 03:40 AM.
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Old 06-25-2012, 03:25 PM
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Dextrimental Dextrimental is offline
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Wow your review is VERY different to mine!
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Old 06-25-2012, 03:41 PM
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Lamb of God covering Obituary!?!?!?!?!?!?
Hope they bust that out on their US tour, I doubt it though.

Sounds like an amazing time.
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Old 06-25-2012, 04:06 PM
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You missed Exodus with Rick, Lee and Gary all onstage?! You fool! You foolish fool!
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