Simplon, Groningen, 6 April 2019
Words and pictures by Wouter
Just before Easter, your traveling troupe at Metal-Exposure.com drove North, to the town of Groningen. Besides fresh air, Eierballen and the Martini tower, this city hosted the fifth edition of Grunn’t on the 6th of April 2019. A yearly local metal festival, held at the Simplon venue. With young bands like Doodswens, Fumes of Decay and older, better known names like Glorior Belli and Hate, this small festival offered large amounts of quality music.
Taking the formula of just one guitar and one drummer, young talent Doodswens (NL) had just made the stage when I entered Simplon. These two young ladies made black metal of the abrasive, raging and old-school style – barring perhaps too much light on the set, just the way I like it. Reverbed, stamped riffing, tight drumming, a tortured, dark voice and some pretty moody compositions made for a very good show. Watch these two, their talent will assuredly bring them to unholy infamy.
Time for some death metal on steroids by Dutch Anarchos. Lovely brutally tuned guitars (think: Bloodbath) with a frontman that over-actively dominated the stage (hence the steroids). Some slower, moody if not doomy, melodic sections also made their way into the music, giving Anarchos a nicely diverse sound.
By now, Simplon had filled to about half to two thirds of the capacity of the main venue. Perhaps not yet the busiest of fests, but intimate and fun nonetheless. Fun was also a plenty with the local (Groningen) band Fumes of Decay. A mix of grind, death and Koen (frontman) shouting: Goverrrrdomme! (between the masterfully grunted songs and dealing with some weird goat
anyway ). No time lost on niceties or subtleties; this band is here to do business in all kinds of horrific ways.
Next up in the main venue was Glorrior Belli (Fr). Some technical black metal from the land and region of the Eiffel tower, wine and cheese. For some or other reason their studio work is really catchy and solid but their live performances have never really gripped me. Perhaps it is the riffing, which is bit a-typical and some times feels dis-harmonic. The drumming is really nice, also live. Perhaps they are just not my band. Fortunately, the audience thought otherwise, with a by now fully packed main venue and many heads noddig.
More to my personal taste and that of partying others was Bütcher (Be). Old school speed/thrash, a bit of Kill’m All styled riffs, a bit of the energy of fellow country men Evil Invaders topped off with Destruction-on-a-coke-trip and voila: a guaranteed party of guitars and a lot of windmilling! Both on stage and off stage, this band kicked ass!
Closer Hate (Pl), have been around for some time (1991) and know their business. In fact, they know death/black metal so damn well, they could probably be called the metal defining band of the evening. Ramming riff after riff, with a voice like a thunder cloud floating by, this band made clear why they were headliners. Solo (in duo) wise they also brought enough talent and a maniac smile to my face when listening.
Small venue festivals like Grunn’t are the cherry to the metal (meat) pudding of so many festivals and concerts around. The larger ones, often stuck in booking the same ol’ big names every (second) year are missing out, with so many young and old talented (local) bands around. Fortunately, Grunn’t gave them the stage and attention they deserve. All we have to do is visit, listen and enjoy. Which I will certainly do next time ’round!