Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Festival report: Cry Me A River 2012, day two

The previous reviews concerning the “Cry Me A River Warm-up show" and the first day of the festival have already been written, or at least started, yet still not posted due to yours truly being extremely busy in the last days. At the moment it is around 7:30 AM on July 11 and the girl and me are on a plane to Budapest where we are going to grab a “Rosetta” show, which will also be reviewed of course. I’m currently facing an annoying writer’s block, due to being quite tired and insanely excited about the upcoming trip with my life companion, so I’m basically trying to write and edit the reviews here and there, so pardon me if they end up being too hectic. (I left this unedited just for the fun factor, yes, I am lame)

To be absolutely honest, I have no idea what I was doing between waking up and the beginning of the shows, so I’ll just present you the timetable for the second day of the festival. Bands performed in the following order:
14:15 Autarkeia
15:00 Panzram
15:45 Hungry Lungs
16:30 The Gentle Art of Chokin
17:15 Grinding Halt
18:00 Keitzer
19:45 Planks
20:30 Trainwreck
21:15 Battle of Wolf 359
22:00 June Paik
22:45 Loma Prieta
23:30 Graf Orlock

If you read my review of the ”Cry Me A River Warm-up” show, found here by the way, you already know how much I was amazed by “Autarkeia” and I was definitely looking forward to seeing them again. Unfortunately, though at the same time quite fortunate for me, the moment they started to play my phone began to ring and I realized that my better half finally arrived to Versmold along with “Loma Prieta”. Many hugs, kisses and smiles afterwords, we ended up missing both the quartet from Florida and “Panzram”. I really had no luck grabbing the latter band.
Hungry Lungs” was the first band that we managed to catch that day. Although the band kicked it off rather nicely, they faced some serious technical difficulty and it entirely ruined their performance. If memory serves me well, the guitar player had problems with his equipment and also the microphone was somewhat buggy. It all just boiled to the point where the band had to cut it short. What little was heard from them was intriguing and it really sucks that they couldn’t have a normal, full set.
Now comes the section of the review where I have to admit that my laziness succeedes in ruining things, since I remember seeing “The Gentle Art of Chokin”, but details about their performance in my head are really scarce. I do recall being quite entranced by their act and that the band was interesting to watch on stage, since they were moving around a lot. At the moment I do not have access to their recordings in hopes of refreshing my memory, so I’ll sadly keep this part of the write-up short. Forgetting a particular performance definitely makes me feel old. This is sad.
After a short break it was time to see “Grinding Halt”, this occasion being my third. There really isn’t much to say here since I think the previous two reviews covered all the important details, enough at least so that the readers realize how much I’m infatuated with their work. All those things that impressed me during their previous performances were present and combined during this set as well. They just keep showing, again and again, that they are getting better with each gig, always having an ace up their sleeve and never failing to impress. And sincerely, each time I see them live I feel sadness that I never saw “Shikari” play, so I guess that speaks a lot about this band on its own.
Keitzer” followed after the Dutch quartet and I have to say that this is the band I heard nothing about, aside of seeing a lot of people wearing their shirts. I got to admit that attending their show out of the blue, so to speak, was really awesome due to the fact that I didn’t expect to hear anything similar. The five-piece from Germany blasted out with a really techical form of metalized hardcore, throwing at the audience rending melodies which were extremely precise and somehow seeming to be without pause. It was a real whirlwind of an act and I’m sorry that I didn’t listen to them before, so that I could tell you more specific details about their gig.
Next up, “Planks”. Sadly there is not much to say here. I absolutely adore this band on recordings at home due to the fact that I enjoy the truly grim atmosphere they create with their music. Despite my huge excitement to see them perform live in concert, they just failed to impress. The tunes remained dark and moving, but the overall mood was somewhat broken by the vocals, which in my opinion sounded rather off. Throat duties seemed to be completely unmelded with the rest of the band, so much in fact that I thought that the band changed their vocalist. I talked to other people about this later, since I went out of the venue in the middle of their set, but in the end everyone seemed to be positively stunned by the band. All in all, this remained a big question mark above my head.
Now comes the part of the review where I was truly surprised in the most pleasant of ways. I always loved “Trainwreck” and seeing them last year on “Fluff Fest” was great. Although I really enjoyed their performance, I remember that the crowd was rather dead and it made their act kinda static. This time the exact opposite happened. The band just got on stage and ignited the entire crowd in flames. Everything went nuts and it was an absolute enjoyment to see how the band and the audience managed to connect with constant movement, screaming and clapping. My favorite song, “Piano Gigante”, was played and it made me quite happy in the same way as it did last year. Overall, this was an excellent set and definitely a band worth seeing live at any cost, since it seems that it never fails to impress. I hope I get to see them play again, this was awesome.
Oh my, here we come to the absolute pinnacle of the second day, none other than “Battle Of Wolf 359”. When the festival line-up was initially revealed I just knew that this band will be one of the highlights of the entire event and my expectations were building up until that very moment when they climbed on stage. Seeing as how it was also announced that this will be their last ever show, it was simply sensed in the air that the performance will be epic beyond words. And to be honest, I am at a complete loss of words when it comes to writing about their show. The sound was perfect, the execution of their songs flawless. Not only that, but for the third time now this band proved to me that they are a true monster live, exploding on stage and blasting away the audience in the process. The entire mass of people in front of the band has detonated with movement in the same moment when music was created and the eruption of body motions didn't cease until the very last second. I was standing there uneasy for the first few songs until “Cyberdine” was dropped. Usually just a calm listener and observer, I was so moved by that piece that I engaged in a crowd surfing maneuver which, believe it or not, lasted for the entire duration of the song. It was so unbelievable screaming the lyrics and flying over the hands of the crowd to one of my favorite tracks. Absolutely epic. Additionally, as it is almost a tradition on “Battle Of Wolf 359“ shows, a human pyramid was performed twice, once unsuccessful and the second one a complete ace. Yours truly participated in the latter one and nearly on top, after which more crowd surfing followed! This write-up seems more like a list of things I did than an actual review of the musicians, but I have simply never been inspired and driven by a band in concert as much as then. This band doesn’t leave anyone standing and doing nothing, it entirely ripples through the room and leaves everyone shaking. With the last bits of energy making the bodies shiver and a truly cataclysmic ovation, “Battle Of Wolf 359“ was over after an astonishing gig. And after everything has been written, I sincerely don’t know how to end this part of the review and kinda give a closing word for the band, since they truly manage to invoke a lot of emotions in me, and I presume in many of you as well. The show was magnificent, the band legendary and it should never be forgotten.
Due to the enormous excitement and fatigue by virtue of the previous band, I completely forgot that there is one more performance that was bound to splatter my brains over the entire venue. “June Paik” is just one of those bands which I extremely craved to see live ever since I first heard about it. I was still shaking after “Battle Of Wolf 359“ and then this band came to just deliver the death blow. I have to be honest, I had extremely high expectations for their performance since I heard numerous stories regarding them live, of people trembling, shivering and even crying during a particular set. I was always attracted to this band and there was no reason not to believe in those experiences, but I waited to judge them only once I saw them live and now was my chance. To be honest, it is really tough explaining their set due to the amount of positive impressions it managed to leave on me. In essence, the band took the stage and explained how to proprely blow away everyone in the venue. “June Paik” is a project that always excelled at making eerie, brooding melodies with epic crescendos and it is stunning beyond belief how much all those positive things about the band increased during a concert. Slow song sections are a thousand times more melancholic, succesfully raising all the hairs on your skin. The outbursts of violence and chaos are overwhelming, making me feel as thought the very sounds can shatter entire worlds. Hearing “I” being played was enough to push me overboard and get me into a trance until the end of their set. The atmospehere they managed to create in a single swipe was truly unbelievable and it held its ground until the sounds they made died. Taking my time now to reflect back on the show really makes me mute, since this was a stunning part of “Cry Me A River” which I will always cherish and definitely one of my top three performances of the fest... and in general.
Time for yet another occasion to see “Loma Prieta” and I have to say that this performance made me want more. Initially, I was annoyed by the amount of noise that was somewhat crippling the entire experience of watching them live and it left me rather unpleased. But at the moment I am listening to their recordings at home and comparing those to their live manifestation managed to show me how actually awesome they are in concert. Although they are overdoing it with noise at times, their sets end up being extremely wild and fused with energy as a result. Their entire performance is a huge ball of chaos which you have to take in as a single swallow and the amount of audio pummeling you receive is truly a choking sensation. Seeing the band create so much noise is something astounding, a thing I didn’t pay attention to when I first saw them live. Their speed and precise playing is really a thing worth envying. It took me two of their concerts to realize how great the band is and thus I wish I could summon them whenever I want to so they could play in my living room. Two down, two to go.
Last band for that evening and of the festival entirely was “Graf Orlock”, the well known cinema grind from Los Angeles. I was aware that I would be seeing them multiple times this summer, but frankly I wasn’t really overexcited about the fact. This band always had my liking, though for some reason I was not that much looking forward to hearing them live and a couple of times I even forgot that I would. Then they came on stage and punished me severely for thinking like that. Damn it, their performance was a maddening rollercoaster! “Game Time”, “A Waste Of Ammo” and “A Shocking Interrogation” are just some of the songs that made everyone in the room go insane. If people weren’t already fatigued by the previous bands then I guess the venue would be demolished to the ground. When the crowd was lacking energy then the band was bursting with it, being perfectly angry and violent as much as the tunes are. Their songs sounded amazing and exactly as on recordings, though with additional awesomeness live in concert. The movie samples managed to draw even more smiles than usual during their gig, while the actual music seemed more destructive than ever. “Graf Orlock” finished their set with the dying melody of “The Dream Left Behind” and their singer crowd surfing to the end of the venue and back, after which an encore song ensued.
And this wraps up my time spent on “Cry Me A River”, finally attending the festival after years of trying. Both my girlfriend and me were seriously trying for several years back to get to Versmold and always failed, so going together at last was quite wonderful. Personally, every bit of the event was perfect for me, from an amazing list of bands and the venue to the “during the gig” experiences and shopping for merch. In the end I would just like to thank Lars for keeping such an awesome tradition alive and strong, as well as all other people and bands involved with the festival. Definitely see you again next year!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Festival report: Cry Me A River 2012, day one

Writing these reviews has really outstretched across a number of days and it’s rather intriguing that the places they are written on are insanely amusing. As this is being put on digital paper, my girlfriend and I are currently riding in the van of “Vestiges” on route from “New Noise" festival to their show with “Downfall of Gaia” in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. The dudes from the band were awesome enough to take us in and offer us their two free seats in the vehicle, everything being quite friendly and nice. I’ll be writing more about that in the upcoming festival and show reviews, so stick around if you are interested.

Once the warm-up show was finished and the venue was clean, it was finally time to grab some much desired sleep. Although I was sleeping on the floor and there were a lot of people still awake and talking in the room, I fell into deep slumber almost instantly and didn’t wake up until morning. I was one of the first to wake up that day and Vuk was quick to follow, so soon we were up and getting ready. The plan was to meet up with my tumblr friend Ina who was supposed to guide us to our ride. But until then, a hunt for a supermarket ensued, which we managed to find all the way back from where we arrived in Munster. Yes, apparently food stores are not so common in the city, or we were just blind and retarded, so the only place to grab supplies was at the train station. After a longish walk, killing some time and getting to the meeting place on time, we were settled in the car and on our way.
To put it shortly, the ride to Versmold was extremely fun and entertaining, but in the end we were late, so much in fact that we ended up missing the first two bands. At one point we were lost on the road, since we couldn’t find the correct turn and it costed us almost an hour of lost time. Once we got there we were all kind of drained and frustrated, so we took a little breather before setting up our tents. The second we arrived I (love you, added by my better half sitting next to me, review contributor) saw dear friend Stephan, the dude behind the “Automatic Suicide Machine” blog, so a big hello to him!
Seeing as how this was my first time at the festival, I guess that some venue descriptions are in order. Located in the beautiful countryside in Versmold, Germany, the entire “venue” is surrounded by blissful fields, huge trees and an overall lack of human intrusion in the land. I say “venue”, since this isn’t exactly a gig venue per se, because it is placed inside a restaurant/hotel/motel. The entire event occured on the ground floor of the building, which is composed of a huge stage room, a kitchen where people could go and grab their breakfast, a nice section dedicated to distros and band merch and also a back way out. “Out” is the above mentioned countryside, which was occupied by tents during the festival. It was absolutely awesome to spend the time between bands outside and just enjoy the greenery and the nature around the venue. The stage room was just a plain big room with no special design or layout, which actually turned out as perfect for such an event since it manages to house all the people attending the fest and give enough space for dancing and one more big table in the back that was occupied with merch.

For those of you who don’t know, the first day of “Cry Me A River” consisted of the following bands:
17:15 Crocus
18:00 Mio
18:45 Lentic Waters
19:30 Resurrectionists
20:15 Tempest
21:00 Lich
21:45 Titan
22:30 Alpinist
23:15 La Quiete

When I was finally inside the venue, I realized that we didn‘t miss seeing “Crocus”, but that the band actually cancelled the performance for some reason. “Mio”, however, already finished their set, so my entrance was followed by the sound of “Lentic Waters” who were already somewhere in the middle of their act. Honestly, I haven’t listened to this band prior to the festival, but the bit that I saw live was quite amusing. Their sound was very unique, something that could be freely described as a weird amalgam of screamo and blackened hardcore. Massive, heavy riffs were abundant, everything being quite chaotic, but at the same time really technical. Somehow, amid the mayhem they created, the band succeeded in executing outstandingly precise melodies and that managed to leave the biggest impression on me. Sadly I was still quite disoriented from the car ride, so I wasn’t concentrated enough to pay much more attention to the performance. Needless to say, this is a band you should definitely check out and you can do so on their bandcamp page found here.
One other sad fact of festival day one was that I missed “Resurrectionists”, purely because I just needed a break to regain my strenght. Thus, I spent my time with Vuk outside, if I remember well, drinking an energy drink and just chilling out. Lucky for me that I already saw “Resurrectionists” twice thus far... which doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t like to see them again. Some other day.
Tempest” was next and I went to see them just so that I could respect Vuk’s flabbergasted state of mind concerning the band. I have to say that I am really happy that I got to see this band more than once. This performance definitely proved to me that the band can be unique and awesome on each of their sets. Much like on the warm-up show, they were radiating energy and passion, backed once again by insanely driving tunes. Each step of the way they were more and more intriguing, especially since this venue seemed to be far more capable of sustaining the enormous sound “Tempest” managed to create. I’m kind of pissed off at myself since I forgot to write down their set list and a lot of time passed now so I can’t remember it, but if memory serves me well they changed the list of songs they played when compared to the previous show. This little feature I really find cool, since most touring bands just stick to one setlist for the entire tour, which can prove to be a bit dull if you end up seeing a band more than once. So again I have to say, this is a project that always manages to impress and if my previous reviews about "Tempest" didn’t make you want to check them out, then this review definitely should.
Next band in line was highly expected by yours truly. Not only does “Lich” share members with “Battle Of Wolf 359“, but their recordings have been impressing me day after day ever since I heard about them. They managed to utterly live up to my expectations in concert and even successfully surpassing the quality of the recorded material. The entire set was just a wild unleashed beast, stomping and grinding everything in its path. A lot of people try to compare the two projects mentioned above and thus find flaws in “Lich”, but I seriously have to disagree. This band has an overtly different style when it comes to both its music construction and the flavor of energy and mood which is oozed during their performance. If people would just stop linking the two bands they would find out how both of them are truly amazing in their own regards. Overall, their set was highly entertaining and driving, which definitely signals a really awesome future ahead of “Lich”, seeing as how they have to offer a lot at the moment and also showing enough space for an inevitable growth.
Then came “Titan”, one of my personal black sheeps of the festival so to speak. I didn’t listen to them a lot prior to the fest and thus I went to see them live without an opinion, but from the very first tones they made I just couldn’t find enjoyment. It’s not that they sounded bad, but it just seemed I couldn’t find anything special in their performance and it ended up not being my cup of tea. Something similar happened to me with “Alpinist", despite the fact that I really love them on recordings at home. Maybe it was me being tired or distracted, but after a couple of songs I was tempted to go out of the venue. Luckily, both bands play on the upcoming “Fluff Fest”, so I’ll give them another chance to amaze me live.
The end of the evening was definitely reserved for the most, personally, expected and loved band. None other than “La Quiete”, screamo legends from Italy were planned as the closing act of the first day of the festival and just seeing their name on the timetable made me become completely assured that it will be a gig to remember. And to be completely honest, I find myself at a total lack of words to express my thoughts about their performance simply because it was truly mind-blowing. Witnessing songs such as “La Fine Non è La Fine”, “Raid Aereo Sul Paese Delle Farfalle” and “Metempsicosi Del Fine Ultimo: Nevrastenica Oscillazione Fra Poli Estremi”, yeah the guys love long song names, was an experience beyond perfection for my ears. One thing definitely has to be mentioned here and that is the fact that the band had some serious technical difficulties during their set. As much as I remember, there were occasional troubles with one of the guitars and with the microphone. But despite those mishaps, “La Quiete” endured and provided an absolutely astounding performance. It was amazing to see how the band stood strong against the unexpected obstacles, lashing out their very best at the audience and not losing an ounce of quality or amount of radiated passion in the process. My mind was just blown away. All those songs that I really love and which manage to make me shiver when I listen to them at home succeeded in doing the same thing live in concert, although increased a thousandfold. And there is really not much else I can say, other than show my endless thanks to the band for doing what they are doing all these years and for traveling from Italy to Germany to give us such a spectacle.
And in the end, regarding the “La Quiete” show, I have to give a truly negative shout toward certain members of the crowd, who proved to be the only bad thing that happened during the mentioned band’s set. Just standing randomly on the stage in front of the singer and following him around is not cool. At all.
Once the venue went quiet, Vuk and me hanged out a bit outside in hopes of sparking some kind of conversation with other people. Since we failed miserably, it was soon decided to just hit the tent and sleep. It was an awesome day and more was yet to come. Hope you enjoyed this write-up and stay tuned for my review of the second day on “Cry Me A River” fest!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Festival announcement: Ieperfest 2012

Once again, it is event promotion time! On this occasion I present to you the famous "Ieperfest", an amazingly epic festival in Belgium. The fest has been standing out as one of the strongest and most solid events that gathers hardcore bands from all over the globe. For twenty years two Belgian diy collectives, "Genet Records" and "Republyk Vort'n Vis", have been running the constantly growing show with some truly genre shaking bands on their repertoire. From a tiny event to a 10.000 visitor monster festival, "Ieperfest" 2012 is not just a celebration of underground music, diy and friendship, but also a birthday party in the name of its wonderful two decade journey.
The festival will be held on 10, 11 and 12 August in Ieper, Belgium, a small town just 15 kilometers from France. If there is anything that can intrigue you to attend, aside of the very tradition behind the fest, it is definitely the list of bands which perform. Thus feast your eyes on the insane lineup for this year's "Ieperfest"!

Friday, 10 August:
- Aborted, Agnostic Front, Coke Bust, Congress, Corrosion of Conformity, Dean Dirg, Death By Stereo, Dukatalon, For The Glory, Funeral For A Friend, Homer, Knuckledust, Kylesa, Midnight Souls, Mucky Pup, Norma Jean, Skarhead, Sydney Ducks, Take Offense, The Chariot, The Mongoloids

Saturday, 11 August:
- Cornered, Eyehategod, Grand Magus, Hellbastard, Ignite, Man Vs. Humanity, MXPX allstars, Pianos Become The Teeth, Pig Destroyer, Reign Supreme, Scraps, Sick Of It All, StillxStrong, The Black Dahlia Murder, Trapped Under Ice, TRC, Truth And Its Burden, Unearth, Vaccine, Whatever It Takes

Sunday, 12 August:
- 7 Seconds, Bolt Thrower, Brutality Will Prevail, Cattle Decapitation, Converge, Crowbar, Cruel Hand, Darkest Hour, Deez Nuts, Deformity, Incantation, Naysayer, Nemea, Rise And Fall, Set Your Goals, Terror, The Death Of Anna Karina, Toxic Holocaust

For more information, check out the festival's website found here. See you there!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Gig review: Cry Me A River Warm-up Show

Whoever visited this blog in the last week or so saw that I have attended the mandatory screamo festival in Germany, “Cry Me A River”, and that a review of the event was bound to happen. As I am writing these words and leaving a mark of that happening on the blog, I am riding the German railway yet again and currently watching a nuclear powerplant with my girlfriend through the window. This time I’ll be attending the “New Noise” in Karlsruhe, the epic one-day monster festival, featuring bands such as “Celeste”, “Vestiges”, “Downfall of Gaia”, “Church of Ra”  and many more. I have no idea when this review will be posted however, since I don't have regular internet access, but just sit back and relax, I have a lot of things to share with you all. 

To make it clear from the start, this will be more of a weekend-tour diary than just a plain gig review and thus the entire write-up regarding my weekend in Germany will be split in, probably, three reviews. I haven’t written anything proper in a while, so I’ll definitely explain various random things that happened along the way, which I hope the readers don’t mind and will find fun.
So, my journey started in the early morning hours of 28th June, somewhere around 3AM, when I met with my already mentioned tour companion Vuk. Our trek started rather smoothly, grabbing a ride to the “Nikola Tesla" airport in Belgrade, checking in and boarding the plane successfully despite my genious friend having both a sleeping bag and a regular backpack along, which is actually a big no-no for low-cost flying. Everything was fine and dandy until we were about to take off... because we couldn’t. Apparently there was some technical difficulty which the “engineers are trying to fix as soon as possible” and our flight was delayed for almost an hour. While the passangers were praying to their deities that the metal bird doesn’t crash and burn in mid air, the two Serbian passangers mentioned at the beginning of this write-up took a nap. Soon enough the mechanical issues were removed, but then we couldn’t take off because the Dortmund airport was busy and we wouldn’t be clear for landing. After numerous trials and errors, we somehow arrived to Dortmund almost two hours later. What followed was a rather fast map consultation at the airport and a desperate attempt to find an exit in the weirdly built complex. Once outside, our possible problems and torment with getting to Munster were eased by a random girl which Vuk asked for assistance. Thanks to her we were able to grab a bus, then ride a tram and then hop on the train for a couple of stations, all for a price of only a couple of euros. At that point, we decided to fill our lives with suffering and continue our road along the railroad tracks on foot. What ensued was almost two hours of scorching sunbeams, sharp rocks, thorns, nettles, sweat and fatigue, until we finally came to our senses and got back into the damned train.
At long last, we were in Munster. After briefly regaining our strength in a wonderful park near the train station, we continued down our path and soon we got to the “x” on our map. Before we actually approached the venue, we spent some time laying on the grass and being completely mesmerized next to the mind blowing lake, or was it a river I’m not sure, found close to “Baracke”. At this point I was dead tired and barely kept myself from slipping into a coma, since in the previous 48 hours or more I slept for three hours in total. My travel buddy was also drained, so we decided to keep our minds occupied with something and go to the venue. Until the first band started, a time which I can’t exactly remember, we were hanging in the courtyard, drinking “Club Mate” and anxiously expecting the vegan barbeque which was awesome by the way.
Okay, so it’s finally time to share some thoughts about the actual gig. It was held in the above mentioned venue named “Baracke”, located in Munster. After a nice fifteen minute walk through the city, you are greeted by a tiny building that houses the place. The exterior is darkly colored and decorated with numerous posters, but what definitely makes this place enjoyable is the fact that the lake/river is so near that it always drags your attention towards it and keeps you calm. Inside you will discover a rather plain layout of rooms, with a small greeting corridor leading toward the gig room, a bar and toilets. The small stage is fitted in the right corner and the rest of the place is big enough to receive a really impressive amount of people. Also, the entire space looks like a living room, since it has numerous couches lined up the left side and is brightly lit thanks to both the left and right wall being covered with huge windows.
First in row that night was the local band, “Resurrectionists”. As you all know, in case you read my review of their previous show in Essen found here, I have already seen them play albeit the band was lacking two members at the time. On this occasion however, they were prepared with a full lineup and ready to impress. I was definitely expecting them to be more aggressive and energetic now that they are accompanied by an additional female vocalist and another guitar player, but the way they sculpted their preformance in Munster was beyond my imagination. An enormously destructive wall of sound was created, continually beating your senses into a pulp. The way the band managed to instantly build a massive soundscape and keep it strong during the entire perfromance was really amazing to see and hear. No matter how chaotic they got to be, they kept the flow of their set steady and it really leaves you without a chance to breathe. Without any doubts it was an insane ride and with the full lineup their act was violent and fast enough to make you feel like you’ve been standing there for no more than ten minutes. Absolute enjoyment to watch.
After a small break the quartet from Florida called “Autarkeia” was up next. Described as “epic emo” on last.fm, their sound justifies the tag exceptionally well. Initially, I took a short listen to their recordings prior to this trip and liked what I heard, but I never fathomed that they would be able to surpass that amount of liking live in concert. Not only did they manage to beat my expactations, but they additionally took them that much higher beyond limits and utterly stun me. My utmost attention was grabbed the second their perfromance began, namely when the singer explained that their first song, “Saving Seeds”, is about the corporation known as “Monsanto”. In case some of my readers don’t read my tumblr page, my collage thesis is about this genocide-spreading, GMO producing corporation and I guess it is easy to understand why I was additionally intrigued by this band. Plainly put, “Autarkeia” throws everything at you when it comes to their performance. Slow and gentle buildups accompanied by humming, unexpected outbursts of violence, energetic and passionate screaming, complex and precise melodies with shattering crescendoes, this four-piece is able to make it all happen. Truth be told, their recordings seem mild and somewhat peacefull at moments, but live they are an unstoppable force to be reckoned with and definitely succeed in bringing up that “epic” tag into the spotlight. Songs “Never Quite Content” and “Cold Wooden” were also played, as well as a new song that came as a finisher and I remember that it was quite intense. All in all, this is a somewhat unknown band that you all should definitely check out, I promise it will be worth your time.
My mood was somehow turned upside down and ending up being not so good during the break that followed after “Autarkeia”, half due to exhaustion and half by some other factors, so the end result was both Vuk and me missing out on “Panzram”. Sorry guys, nothing personal, certain things are just out of control. Instead, the only two Serbian dudes present at the venue took their time to eat some lovely veggie burgers, one of them ending up whining and not eating the entire meal due to the food being too spicy. Relaxed and with full bellies, it was time to go inside and watch “Tempest”. After the quartet from Florida finished their set, I thought that there won’t be any more surprises of that caliber on the warm-up show, but “Tempest” flew in and swept me off my feet the moment I got up from the previous knock out. Rushing, aggressive sound backed by a truly energetic performance, the band definitely justifies its name. Before the festival, I listened to them and actually wrote a review of their benefit split with “Masakari”, which you can check out here, and I really loved their work. The first tones created that evening managed to instantly push that love onto an entirely new level. Not only is the core of their performance, the actual sound, extremely solid and strong, but everything gets shaken up by the insane amount of energy bursting from the band by visual means. The singer is a spectacle in his own right, not stopping for a single moment and always jumping around, headbanging, running into the audience and just radiating with all sorts of inspiring vibes that make the crowd either follow in a similar manner or just stand there smiling. I ended up seeing “Tempest” three times and not once was I bored or disappointed. Keep a close eye on this band, I predict that this tempest has no intention on passing any time soon.
Still barely breathing after the previous act, it was time for another heartstopping performance. “Battle Of Wolf 359“. Need I say more? I had the pleasure to see this band play last year on “Fluff Fest” when they made me become stunned beyond belief. Unlike their festival appearance, this was a show with limited attendance and thus had a more personal and intimate feel. Add to that the fact that the band announced that this and the “Cry Me A River” gig will be their two last ever shows and you have one intensly emotional happening. So in essence, to put it simply, this was an astounding performance. “Cyberdine”, “Survellier”, “We Can’t Go On Like This”, “End Times” and many more amazing songs were shaking the venue to its core with absolutely perfect execution and sound quality. The band always seems to have an uncanny ability to move the audience, since in total I saw them three times and not once did the crowd end up unmoved. Still, it seemed to me that the band didn’t really give all it got on this performance and that a massive amount of energy was saved for their last show. Curiously enough, they managed to impress even without going at it in full gear. Much like they spared actions, I’ll spare words and will write more about “Battle Of Wolf 359“ in the “Cry Me A River” review. Believe me, that was an absolute blast, to say the least.
After witnessing the previous two bands I felt absolutely drained of energy. There was still one band coming up and the only thing I was capable of doing was going to the front row and just blessing the band with my presence, since doing anything remotely concerned as dancing would be way too much for me at that point. Last, but absolutely not least, “Loma Prieta”. To be completely honest, I wasn’t entirely into their set both due to the aformentioned fatigue and the fact that I think “Baracke” wasn’t fully capable of supporting the massivness of their sound. Their recordings are extremely violent and noisy in their own right and you could just imagine how monstrous their sound is when performed live. There was just too much crackles and explosions that managed to entirely drown their melodic song sections, which in essence left me just staring at the band in a sea of noise. Luckily, I knew that I will be seeing “Loma Prieta” for four times in total this summer and I was assured that this wasn’t anywhere near their full potential.  And I wasn’t wrong at all.
The “Cry Me A River Warm-up” show ended with the last bits of distortion and chaos dying when “Loma Prieta” finished their set. Throughout the entire day I had millions of things I needed to sort out regarding this trip, some concerning the way Vuk and me will actually get to Versmold the day later, so moments after the show started being somewhat frustrating. By insane luck, good memory and my eyes being good enough even without glasses, I managed to recognize a person I briefly met in Prague last year and who ultimately paved a way toward cascading successes. Thus thanks to her I met one of my tumblr friends (small world is small), who ended up providing both rides to the fest, there and back to Munster, and one of her other friends even providing an entire tent for us. So many thanks to Theresa for hooking me up with the people she knows. Additionally, I’d like to thank the people involved with “Baracke” for allowing us to sleep at the venue and for generally being extremely friendly and involved with helping out the weary travellers. There is more to come, so stay tuned!