Report by: Omer(O), Wouter H(WH), Wouter B(WB) and Ingrid(I)
Pictures by: Ingrid and Wouter B
We have seen some warm editions of the Party San festival, we have seen some muddy editions of the Party San festival (last year Schlotheim anyone? ;) ) however, as extreme hot as this year, I don’t think we have experienced that before. While temperatures rose up until almost 40 degrees, a lot of metal heads took shelter under their party tents or tried to find a spot in the shadow on the festival terrain (hint: the front rows are mainly in the shelter of the stage, great way to support your favorite bands without burning alive!).
The festival organization did their best to help all us true metal fans who of course are not used to this much sun and only come crawling out of our caves when the moon has risen, by allowing the visitors to bring bottles of water onto the festival area itself, adding water points to fill the bottles, and putting on sprinklers on the fences so we could cool ourselves down.
Adding a few more showers instead of only 10 showers for women and 10 for men on the entire campground might be an idea for next year, especially since it seems that the festival is growing and getting more popular, by looking at the amount of people that were this year.
The Yellow Demon be damned however, armed with our sunscreen, sunhats, bottles of water and of course our cups of beer (which are btw pretty cheap at Party San!), we were ready to conquer this weather.
But first things first: dancing in the metal disco on Wednesday evening!
The first band Degial started late in the afternoon. It was still hot then of course, but the crowd gathered in front of the stage to see some Swedish death metal. The band had some black edges to it, including the outfits and corpse paint. Overall an interesting show that would have fitted better without the bright daylight and 30+ degrees. (WH)
After almost dying from the smothering heat during Degial’s gig, we headed on to the next performance, by the young Swedish bunch that goes by the name of Morbus Chron.
Their blend of psychotic-like Death Metal mixed with some oldschool and progressive (yes, I’ve said it) influences thrown in, turns the music to something you don’t often find in other modern bands and so, reached a new peak with their latest album “Sweven”.
It was quite obvious that the focus of the show would indeed be on the above mentioned album. “Aurora In The Offing” opened the gig and aroused the attention of the heated crowd, while “Towards A Dark Sky” really made them (and me) stay put and not run off to the shadow of the tent stage, a few meters from there.
Robert’s energies on stage were pretty darn mesmerizing, as on some moments he resembled the late Jim Morrison with his body gestures, while leading the crowd to the desired level of ecstasy. Yep, neat. (O)
Oh, Midnight. A bunch of crazy cabbage-heads from the US, that also happens to be one of my favorite bands in this fest. “Evil Like A Knife” began destroying the lives of the crowd (or was that the sun?), as a ferocious session of headbanging commenced by the crowd. In between all the curses, slurs, and different uses for the word “Fuck”, the band also played sick tracks such as “Lust, Filth and Sleaze”, “Vomit Queens” and of course the almighty “Black Rock ‘n Roll”, that fully made the band sound like a faster, much evil-er version of Motorhead, which is always good and that’s pretty much how we like Midnight.
Alas, no Midnight gig is ever finished without the burning bass guitar, a visual that made the stage conductor a tiny bit nervous, but made us extremely happy. Great beginning for a great festival, the only con here was the sound. I have no idea why, but throughout the whole festival, different bands had sound problems, some lighter and some much easier to notice, Midnight were the first ones who had it. Nevertheless, it didn’t affect the show too much and we all had our share of fun. (O)
Crossover thrashers Nuclear Assault were formed in the mid-80s. They’ve been around here for a long time, but their performance was sloppy at times. The vocals in general sounded pretty good though and they played some classic songs as well songs from their latest EP from this year. Overall a pretty good performance but it did not live up to my expectations.(WH)
Avant-garde black metal constellation Secrets of the Moon (DE) were one of my personal favorites, so I was quite happy to see them live again. With a new album on the way (Sun, release date to be announced), they played some new songs (Hole, I Took the Sky Away) which have a definite slower, more atmospheric feel than the older material. This however was fortunately not neglected, such as the must-play Lucifer Speaks, again featuring the mysterious masked second voice (Andre Moraweck). Great play, although the festival sound could be improved, especially the too high loudness. (WB)
One man (Alexander von Meilenwald, ex-Nagelfar (DE)) project The Ruins of Beverast was one awesome show to see. An atmospheric black metal wall filled a fantastic bass and guitar combination, including the eerie drumming and keyboard sound that is the character of the studio albums. All were very well played and sounded very good, as for instance on Kain’s Countenance Fell. The performance was during the dark, so the doomy, witch-hunting atmosphere could almost be felt physically during Daemon. The entrancing atmosphere was also carried by the audience, nodding their heads on the droning sounds emanating from the pit of hell that was opened up on stage. (WB)
I always get a wee-bit emotional during a Primordial show. The mix of deep texts, that combine both historical and personal struggles, are a total win for someone like me who craves such lyrics. Combined with memorable riffs, very powerful drum work and Alan’s mighty and talented vocals, a Primordial show is (always) one of the best out there, and they’ve just proved it again.
Energies sprung up as “Where Greater Men Have Fallen” opened the show, and throughout the whole of the gig, the singer’s crowd control abilities were, as always, almost phenomenal.
Seeing the band transfer more atmospheric songs such as “The Coffin Ships” or “Gods To The Godless” onto the crowd without losing a hint of the madness that held everyone so firmly, was magnificent. The band sealed their show with the ultimate “Empire Falls”, from To The Nameless Dead album, and even though the sound could be a little better (yes, again) and the setlist was short as it is on festivals, Primordial duration on stage was easily, the best out of everything on Friday. (O)
Headliner of the first day was Polish band Behemoth. It has only been two years since they last headlined Party San, but they were welcomed back with open arms. As befits a good Behemoth show, the stage was filled with some props and the men were standing strong, maybe even a little beasty on stage. As mentioned before, some of the bands struggled with sound issues, and unfortunately Behemoth was one of those bands. Now I’m a big fan of them, and even though I now and then could barely hear which song they were playing, I still enjoyed the show. I could swear I didn’t hear one of my favorites ‘Ov Fire and the Void’, but the setlist proved otherwise. While they performed a nice choreography which is probably the result of stage routine, we could listen to some older songs as Chant For Eschaton 2000 and Decade of Therion, as well as songs of their much praised latest album ‘The Satanist’ as Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel and the encore O Father O Satan O Sun. (I)
The band to start the day was Cliteater, a well-known band in the goregrind scene, who played at Party San in 2007 too. People with crazy outfits and attributes gathered in front of the stage and the circle pit was open for business right away even in this intense heat. It was exhausting but great fun. The vocalist even joined the circle pit while crowdsurfing and singing at the same time. Especially during their anthem Eat Clit Or Die people went crazy. And then the show was over before we knew it. (WH)
Hailing from Sweden, Gehennah are and excellent example of a band that has been pretty much at the same place ever since they formed, while enjoying every second of it, as if it’s still the 90s. Hey, we like it a lot, too.
Their nice, drunken thrash courses over 3 full length albums (and a lot more EPS, demos and split albums) that created a loyal, even if small, crowd of underground followers during the years.
The crowd was pretty familiar with songs like the angry-as-hell “Metal Police”, “Bitch With A Bullet Belt”, and of course the title track for their debut album (which celebrated 20 years, congrats!), “Hardrocker”.
It’s a little sad that there was no moshing during songs like “Drink, Fight and Fuck” or “Four Knuckle Facelift” as they pretty much damn demanding it, but no matter, the wild headbanging, and sing-alongs during “Piss Off, I’m Drinking” and “Six Pack Queen”, made up for it. (O)
Hailing from Norway, Aeturnus put on a show their trademark black/death or summarized dark metal. The band put on great technical riffing (Specter), brutal screams by frontman Ares and a very lively show from both the bass and guitar players, as for instance on the killer and favorite sung Burning the Shroud The very long hair of Specter may get in the way when headbanging and playing guitar, but it sure did not show in the sound! (WB)
Soulburn is a dutch death metal band which was an offshoot of the 1996 line-up of Asphyx. The band only existed for a few years but they’re active again since two years. The band played material from both their 90s releases as well as their newer album in the soulburning heat. And it was a good show nonetheless. The older songs sounded more exciting though. (WH)
Death Metal veterans Postmortem came up in front of a crowd who was clearly waiting for them, as the cheering was tremendous, and the cooperation between the band and the listeners has been great to see, especially during the band’s newer songs. I do have to mention that the amount of talking in between songs by the vocalist had been way too much. As in, really. (O)
Next up was Melechesh, who did a lot less talking on stage and a lot more playing. Eventhough we were melting away while watching them, they themselves, hailing from the Middle East, are supposed to be more used to the weather circumstances and it didn’t seem to bother them that much. But even though it was hot, we could spot a lot of people dancing, moving and headbanging. The band mainly played songs from their latest albums, including fan favorite Rebirth Of The Nemesis. (I)
When people ask me to name a “special” kind of band, Agalloch is among the first names that pops into my mind, and I can honestly say they live up to that short, yet concise description and so, missing an Agalloch gig on a festival is never an option.
I will start by saying that I’ve attended quite a few Agalloch shows during my life, and so have seen them at their best and at their not-so-best, and I can shorten things up, and just say that this has been one of the best shows the band has ever played, from what I attended.
On a personal note, I was a bit worried at the beginning, since in my opinion Agalloch’s music is the kind of music that fits a smaller, indoors venue, where the band really shines, rather than a big open air festival. But oh boy, how I’m happy to have been wrong.
The late afternoon breeze, the degrees that dropped to normal, the mixed blue and orange skyline, the general feeling of everything made everything fall into place. Perfect settings for newer songs like “The Astral Dialogue”, “Vales Beyond Dimension”, and for older songs alike, such as the majestic “Limbs” or the timeless classic of “Hallways Of Enchanted Ebony”, from their magnificent ’99 album, Pale Folklore.
The American band simply soared on the magical riffs, and the crowd, loyal as they are, reacted in a similar, loving way. Simply put, one of the best shows I’ve ever seen by Agalloch and surely one of the best in Party San this year. (O)
The third dutch band that plays today is Asphyx. Their doomy death metal is well-known all across the globe. The band was dynamic and the music was tight: banging heads were everywhere. The setlist was great with new songs like Death… The Brutal Way and Deathhammer but also classics like The Rack and Last One On Earth. The whole show was enjoyable to watch and to bang your head to. (WH)
My last encounter with a Bloodbath show, was back at 2010, when they were still with Mikael (Opeth), so it was a nice idea to watch how Nick from Paradise Lost, functions live with a totally different band, while trying to fill up the shoes that were left for him. Truth be told, I like Nick’s recorded vocals more than I do the previous singers, but the real test would be on stage, where that specific heavy tone he uses would come out.
The center of attention was of course the latest album (and Nick’s first with Bloodbath), and so, the grand opener has been the opener for the gig (see what I did there?) and everyone went batcrazy already, while “Mental Abortion” soon followed.
The entire show sounded quite good, and the small hiccups in sound were, unfortunately, expected. The larger portion of band members held everything tightly, although there were some moments that Nick didn’t perform too well, and skipped a word here and there. It was a good show, only not as flowing as some of us might’ve expected it to be. (O)
Hailing from Finland and one of the most renown folk metal groups for their galloping rhythms and technical riffing, Ensiferum promised yet again to be quite a show. Touring to promote their recent release, One man Army, they started off with Axe of Judgement. Unfortunately, the sound quality was really bad, with almost no audible keyboards yet a very loud bass, drum and at least one guitar. This however did not prevent us from making a good party, especially at Twilight Tavern and golden-olden Treacherous Gods. And off course, a lot of singing during Lai Lai Hei, which obviously can’t be omitted from a proper (mosh-pit included) Ensiferum show. (WB)
The headliner of the friday night was Cannibal Corpse. One of the most famous death metal bands obviously. The whole band seems like a drilled headbanging machine to the pounding rhythms of songs like Make Them Suffer, Devoured By Vermin, I Cum Blood and ofcourse Hammer Smashed Face. However, it’s exactly how they’ve been doing it for years. All the introductions to all the songs are still thesame so it’s still good, just like the last few times you’ve probably seen them, but it’s absolutely nothing new. So don’t go see them much too often. (WH)
Hemdale is a deathgrind band from the United States which also quite recently decided to re-unite again after splitting up in 1997. They’ve also played at the last edition of Obscene Extreme which they fit in perfectly. Here at Party San however the band seems a bit odd. Nonetheless a group of enthusiastic grinders came to see the band and there even was a circle pit present. The band was really enjoying their time on stage and they jumped around and made funny comments in between the songs. It was a very chaotic performance but it was according to their plan. (WH)
Time for some heavy thrash metal! It was still hot, but a little cooler than the day before and therefor there was no reason to not move during Evil Invaders their performance! Especially with their highly energetic music and stage performance it was almost impossible to stand still. The band seemed to have the time of their lives on stage and gave a great show! Of course they played a lot of songs from their’ just’ released first full length album ‘Pulses Of Pleasure’, great show! (I)
On the third day of the festival, the first band for me was Zemial, hailing from Greece. The thrash/heavy entity came up to the stage with their live session musicians, to give the crowd a taste of some good, Greek anthems of mysticism. Although they were one of the first bands on Saturday, the crowd was actually quite wide awake already, perhaps also because of the temperatures that went back to normal. Anyway, we were all enjoying some newer songs like “Eclipse” and “Under Scythian Command”, even while half of the people were still half drunk from last night. Or was it because of it?
I am not kidding when I’m saying that Zemial’s performance has been pretty much awesome, even when it was clear as sunshine that about half of the attendants didn’t actually knew any of the songs, but that’s a minor detail, since they were all still so enthusiastic about it. (O)
I’ve been following Winterfylleth for quite some time now, from their very first releases, and the last time I had a chance to watch them live, I missed it and wa actually quite bummed out about it, the day that came after.
Therefore, It was quite clear and unsurprising, that I would find myself in the front of the crowd, banging my head and singing along with the songs.
Tracks like “The Divination Of Antiquity” from the last album, “The Swart Raven” from the previous one, and also older stuff (that unfortunately most of the crowd didn’t know) made me and the rest of us cast our tiredness aside, and dive into the Englishmen’ special musical realm.
Material from albums such as The Mercian Sphere and The Ghost Of Heritage has proven itself once and again, worthy as any other newer song by the band, and even more in my opinion.
I must admit, seeing Winterfylleth develop from a band known mostly in our underground Pagan/Black scene, to a band revered by most – is a welcome progression, and kudos for them for that and for an excellent performance. No pose, no special effects, no other gimmicks, only good music and ancient vibes. (O)
If you like fast double bass drums you should see brutal death metallers Krisiun from Brazil. It’s so fast it even sounds like a monotonous drone at times. At times it was the only thing you could hear from a distance because of the wind. Which is very sad because they are very good musicians and they played a great show. I guess the band wasn’t inflicted by the heat because they are used to it. (WH)
Ahhh…yes the great Greeks of Satanic, Eclectic black metal, also known as Rotting Christ, once again hit the stage. Do What Thou Will (Kata Ton Demona Eautou). Well hell, that’s what these guys are good at, playing their asses of while keeping the crowd head banging to old stuff as well as new songs like In Yumen-Xibalba. The theatrical and majestic Grandis Spiritus Diavolos was met by a solid haedbanging crowd, windmilling when the guitar solo was unleashed near the end. After more than 25 years of playing along the path of evil existence, these guys still know how to put on a near perfect technical and entertaining show. (WB)
I have seen a lot of Kataklysm shows, and this was the 3rd already this summer, but also by far the best show I have seen of them this year! They were on fire and rocking it. During their show there was one big powerful wall of sound coming our way the entire time and there was no escaping. The show was tight, the band enthusiastic and it was brutal. Already in the start of their show, being the third song on the setlist, they had their famous ‘security stress test’ during As I Slither, which made several security guards their middle fingers rise. The idea of this stress test is to have as many crowdsurfers as possible during this song and it worked, the mood was set. Despite the fact that they just had a new album out the month before of which they played a few songs, they surprisingly played a lot of their ‘old’ classics such as To Reign Again, In Shadows And Dust and Crippled And Broken. (I)
The one and only, timeless and immortal Mayhem creeped their way onto the stage as the opener from “Deathcrush” started looping in the background.
Attila went up dressed in a manner that showed him as a leading priest of a deathcult, while his followers, AKA the crowd, were gathering in front of the stage one by one and as soon as the actual song began, they all began bursting in neck breaking movements that depicted exactly how much love can a veteran and influential band such as Mayhem can receive in an extreme metal festival such as PartySan.
The band then followed to play some newer songs, such as “My Death” and “To Daimonion” and the crowed was drawn to the music like insects to a source of light, only instead of a lamp, it was Hellhammer’s fast-as-hell beats and Attila’s versatile vocals.
Attila is also known in his abilities to affect the crowd and so, when he marked to be quiet, everyone obeyed and so on, all of that while commanding from his high-seat on a nice altar, made of skulls and bones. Death cult priest, as mentioned.
The loyal crowd, now well in their hundreds, went nuts with “Freezing Moon”, even though that before that, the band threw some slurs and curses at the technicians of the festival, complaining about the pyrotechnics, for not exactly working to their liking. “Pure Fucking Armageddon” closed the show, and it was pretty tremendous, although it left us all wondering if the gig ended fast simply because it was so fun, or because the band decided to quit in the middle of it because of the pyro problems. Oh, well, all in all – Mayhem delivered exactly what was expected of them and even surpassed that. (O)
I had high expectations from Samael’s show. Why? Simply because I’ve never caught them live, and the PartySan show was a special one, with them playing my personal favorite album – Ceremony Of Opposites – In its’ whole.
If you don’t know this gem of an album, go listen to it (yes, I mean now), so you can imagine my joy when songs such as “Celebration Of The Forth”, “Son Of Earth” and other memorable tracks, were played live.
The band sits on the material very tightly, to my surprise, since some of the songs on the album weren’t played live for several years now, since the band pretty much changed their musical direction.
There was, however, one simple thing that kind of pissed me off and that was the keyboard player/drummer. Why? First of all and perhaps the most disappointing thing ever, was the programmed drums. Yes, programmed. A drum machine, or keyboard that manufactured the sound of drums on the album. Personally, I’m not looking that a live show would sound like an album. I want the hiccups, I want to drum stick flying by mistake, I want the out-of-tune-for-a-second-guitar sound. I want it to be live, to be alive, not to have a machine do that and not for a live show to sound exactly like on a recorded album. That was a kind of a bitter ending to the festival for me, especially since I anticipated that gig for so long, but if we ignore that somehow, the band really managed to showcase one of their prime albums and perhaps even introduce it to members of the crowd who never heard it before. (O)
And with that, the festival was done already. Despite the heat, we had a great time and it seemed everybody else, including the organization, did the best they could with temperatures like these.
Thumbs up for the ever great line up that Party San has, the way the organization handled the temperatures and water provision, the professional and helpful security and the variety of (healthy!) food that was available.
Thumbs halfway for the only few showers on the campground (not thumbs down, because the shit and shower is awesome, the people are nice, and everything is clean!), and the bad sound that a lot of bands seemed to suffer from.
We had a blast and will certainly be back next year!