Party. San Open Air 2013 Review

Despite clashing with Brutal Assault and Bloodstock, Party.San is far from lacking when it comes to a devastating line up and the German airfield is crammed with punters in agreement.

The likes of Bombs of Hades kick off the proceedings with their crusty death metal from Sweden to an acceptable sized crowd and whilst Farsot’s sound is less ferocious, their harrowing post-black metal fills the stage. As the evening continues, the sunset creates the perfect setting for some French aural beauty a-la Alcest.  Their live show is intimate and hypnotising and a far cry from what’s next.

The crowd is probably at its most eager now as black thrashers Destroyer 666 take to the stage. Thankfully the wind settles and every rapid riff can be heard from favourites like ‘Raped’ and the epic ‘I Am The War God’. A tribute to the late Jeff Hanneman is raised in the form of Slayer’s ‘Black Magic’ along with several horns. The definition of black metal is confirmed as the moon glows and Carpathian Forest explode into the limelight. For many, this is the headline set of the day and Nattefrost and co prove they would have deserved it.

Friday sees an earlier start and a grind coupling of Gutalax and Magrudergrind seems like an obvious alarm clock. Others have saved energy for an onslaught from Coffins and it’s a good job they did, as they’re absolutely crushing live, doing each of their albums considerable justice. Vocalist Ryo communicates with sheer brutal vocals and whiskey swigging that complement their doom-riddled death metal.

Here to dampen the mood in the best possible way is Shining. The Swedes lower the tone from the off with their DSBM proving an ultimate contrast from the energy of earlier. The music is faultless and at times you wish the insanity of Kvarfoth the clown will stop so that the sounds created can be truly embraced.

The second stage sees the tent rammed in anticipation for a German occult ritual from Alchemyst, who leak mystery and atmosphere from the start of the set. Their black/death metal is drenched in reverb and the smoke and red lighting creates an incredibly dark aura with several tracks from ‘Nekromanteion’.

Tonight’s headliners Hypocrisy need no introduction. The Swe-death legends’ recent ‘End Of Disclosure’ album was weak, a couple of tracks slot in at the start without losing any oomph and older, tracks such as ‘Left To Rot’ bring out a balance of brutality.

With the last night finishing with three huge bands we need, Hooded Menace to continue the doom death presence of the weekend, with a sound thick enough to sink into and experience a death as slow as their songs.

After 25 years on the scene, Teutonic tormentors Desaster proved they still had it on record with last year’s ‘The Art of Destruction’and fortunately, they’ve still got it live, with a blackened thrash onslaught as bestial as their predecessors would predict.

After an unexpected silence, it is finally announced that Impaled Nazarene have had some car problems and vocalist Slutti666 runs onto the stage, band in toe. Admittedly, the sound is a little off to start but considering the consequences it’s soon forgotten with an onslaught of blackened thrash.

We try to ignore the fact Korpiklaani are on later than thrash titans Destruction but it’s hard when you see what they can do live. With several years under their bullet belts and a discography longer than most of the crowd’s hair, the band create a sound hard to believe is from a trio.

Carcass take their time but when they arrive, its full steam ahead with favourites including ‘Corporal Jigsaw Quandary’, ‘Heartwork’ and ‘Genital Grinder’. We even get a showcase of what to expect from latest offering ‘Surgical Steel’, which slots in with ease and could’ve easily closed the festival.

Luckily for us it doesn’t end there and Party.San manages to find a band that could top the likes of Carcass – Venom. Frequently coined as the founders of this whole scene, the band take the label with pride and prove it with the majority of the set showcasing the ‘Welcome To Hell’ and ‘Black Metal’ albums. He may be half a century in age but Cronos is unstoppable, his shrill cries still as memorable as they were at the beginning and the band sums up perfectly what Party.San is all about.

Review by Lily Randall

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Thrashfest Classics 2011 – France

La Bataclan, Paris 27.11.2011

When the line up was first revealed, there were only four bands on the bill and that was more than enough thrash. However, when Australian outlet Mortal Sin were added as an opening band, no one complained. Warming up an already boozy crowd comes with ease and the pits break out early (5pm to be precise) proving that serious stamina is going to be needed tonight.

Sticking to their first two albums, Heathen whip up a retro ruckus, creating a sound so traditional and crisp that a time machine need never be invented. David R White’s shrill vocals stand out compared to the gravelly voices accompanying him on this tour, but the bulk of the crowd who weren’t even born when these tracks were released still lap it up.

La Bataclan proves to be an epic venue, with a crisp sound and brisk changeovers. They leave you unable to gasp a necessary breath of fresh air and allow just enough time to re-energise on beer. Teutonic trio Destruction appear to unleash their European version of thrash metal with classics from ‘Infernal Overkill’ and ‘Sentence of Death’ and with Schmier yelling “circle pit!” at every given chance, the crowd obey willingly. The set-list is faultless with ‘Bestial Invasion’ and ‘Curse the Gods’ completing the assault.

As Destruction leave, you’d think it was time to head home, tired and fulfilled by the bands you’ve seen. However the two titans are yet to play and there is no chance of standing still for that.

Exodus are the first. They’ve been doing this for so long now, it comes natural – Gary Holt melting faces with his solos and Tom Hunting being as nimble as ever behind the kit. Rob Dukes towers from the stage and despite not being in the band during the conception of such classics as ‘Bonded by Blood’, ‘Pleasures of the Flesh’ and ‘Fabulous Disaster’ – he still barks out every favourite like his predecessors. More respect points go out to him as it becomes apparent the bouncers tonight are dangerously pushing crowdsurfers down into the crowd rather than pulling them out. Dukes – a man you would not want to get on the wrong side of – rages and saves the teenage thrashers onto the stage to sing the choruses. As expected, ‘Piranha’ and ‘Toxic Waltz’ leave masochists happily battered and bruised and finished off with ‘Strike of the Beast’.

Sepultura take us back to their ‘Roots’ by avoiding the said song and sticking with a selection from ‘Arise’, ‘Beneath the Remains’ and ‘Chaos AD’. As always, Derrick is an absolute beast of a frontman and new addition Eloy Casagrande is living the dream drumming from an album the same age as him. After Exodus’ set it seemed impossible to top but the headliners manage it. With a tracklist as epic as this, the sheer quality of the chunky thrash sound is flawless. The perfect end to a perfect day falls in the form of ‘Territory’ and ‘Arise’ before we all collapse into a heap after the largest thrash injection of the year.

Reviewed by Lily Randall

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