On Friday 17th April, the world’s death metal community had the tattered old carpet whipped violently out from under its feet, as it was announced that the twelfth edition of the awesome Neurotic Deathfest festival that was about to commence was to be the last. However in true death metal fashion, there was not a temper tantrum nor tear in sight as the last fantastic 12 festivals were celebrated by keeping the beers flowing and metal of monstrous proportions this weekend.
Given the task of kick starting the proceedings are Dutch four piece Soulburn. Soulburn’s raw, blackened death sound is utterly captivating and is drawing in a sizeable crowd already. Tonight’s performance proves that Soulburn’s decision to reunite back in 2012 after a 14 year gap was a very wise one indeed.
Slamming into action on the second stage are Dutch brutality masters Korpse. Korpse have set the bar very high indeed for this evening’s performances as their powerful, thunderous slams conjure up some violent pits and the first stage diving party of the weekend. This band are definitely one for all fans of brutal death to keep their beady eyes on for years to come.
Switching back over to the main stage now and it’s the turn of German old school death act Morgoth to slay the audience. Their cult status, impeccable live performance and powerful stage presence makes Morgoth a very entertaining watch from start to finish.
In keeping with the theme of powerful stage performances, Nader Sadek create quite the atmospheric spectacle on stage via erecting several bare trees and enough dry ice to fuck up the asthmatics in audience. Adding to the eerie tone, the mysterious New York trio’ sound lacks the same intensity that the visuals of their performance possess.
Bringing forth the mighty grooves over on stage two now are our very own home grown talent Unfathomable Ruination. Despite the room being roasting, Unfathomable’s tenacious brand of commanding death metal succeeds in turning the second stage into a sweating pit of unadulterated, noisy joy. This is a band who continue to grow from strength to strength.
Taking things up a notch on the immensity scale now as Texan slam pioneers Devourment invade the stage. Blasting through a set of the gnarliest and downright goriest Devourment numbers ranging from Postmortal Coprophagia, Choking on Bile and Fucked to Death, the band prove that they more than deserve the title of Kings of Brutality. Closing their set with their 2005 Molesting the Decapitated Anthem Babykiller, Devourment have masterfully delivered a set chock full of sumptuous and enthusiastic delights.
Who better to blast away Friday’s sorry hangover cobwebs than Dutch slamsters Disavowed. The bands influences Suffocation and Dying Fetus are prevalent in this afternoon’s performance, as Disavowed blast beats and guttural growls aplenty. Topped off by vocalist Robbe Kok performing the bands penultimate track Abolition of Impediment whilst being crowd surfed around the venue, Disavowed are the double espresso of bands this afternoon.
Getting our technical senses tingling next are those lively Frenchmen Gorod. The sheer energy of Gorod’s performance is incredible, as the band deliver an uncompromisingly robust and refreshingly jolly set. So far the band easily win the title of “most passionate band to play” this weekend, as their set maintains and insane level of gusto throughout.
The second splendid French export to entertain the now rather tipsy crowd are brutal death act Kronos. These five Greek Mythology enthusiasts do not fail to disappoint, as their trademark aggressive sound successfully opens up an array of pits throughout the crowd. Overall, Kronos deliver a pitch perfect dose of hefty death metal this evening.
As a band that manage to masterfully combine both the brutal and technical elements of death metal, it’s no surprise that the main stage area begins to rapidly pack out for US legends Origin. Playing a refreshing variety of both old and new material and with vocalist Jason Keyser encouraging plenty of audience participation in the form of stage dives and a beasty wall of death, Origin are proving to be a most captivating band this evening.
The final fine French band of the evening are those delightful grind monsters Benighted. Having managed to turn the second stage into a sardine tin, fans of Benighted’s fast and forceful brand of death metal are even filling surrounding corridors to get a glimpse of this fantastically dynamic band. The bands ruthlessly brutal sound takes no prisoners this evening, as the band deliver a typically kick in the face set in true Benighted style.
Headlining the main stage this evening are none other than the Swedish Death Metal super group that is Bloodbath. Debuting new vocalist Nick Holmes of Paradise Lost fame, the Satan loving five piece set to work providing a sumptuous set of Bloodbath classics this evening, ranging from So You Die, Mock the Cross, Cancer of the Soul and Soul Evisceration. Playing some treats from Grand Morbid Funeral such as Anne and Let the Stillborn Come to Me and closing with their Nightmare’s Made Flesh Masterpiece Eaten, Bloodbath’s stellar performance this evening solidifies their place as pioneers in the realm of death metal.
As the festivals final day dawns, who better to set the tone for the proceedings than Colombian tech-brutes Internal Suffering. The band explode into action to supply the audience with a set bursting with both technical mastery and raw, brutal passion for death metal. Their excitement to be playing Neurotic is evident throughout their performance, which makes it a very enjoyable watch.
Slamming hard over on the third stage are Scouse quintet Neuroma. These loud bunch of noise mongers are safe to watch for about 30 seconds before their forceful variety of death metal causes a most explosive pit to erupt, taking over most of the third stage area. Neuroma are undoubtedly a band to keep your eyes peeled for as they look set to make a huge footprint on the UK Death metal scene.
No Neurotic Death Fest would be complete without some groove laden, New York viciousness nestled in its line up and this year it comes in the form of Long Island Slam pioneers Internal Bleeding. The five pieces’ unpolished, no frills attached sound goes down a storm this afternoon, as an ever increasing crowd draws in to witness their beloved slam played brilliantly in its prototype form.
Firmly bringing the gore to this year’s Neurotic Deathfest are Chicago’s horror inspired five piece Broken Hope. After a long hiatus, tonight’s performance is of such astounding quality that Broken Hope’s name will be firmly etched on the list of extreme music elite as they unleash quite the ferocious death metal beast on this evening’s crowd.
It’s pretty much a guarantee that you’re in for absolute death metal perfection when New York heavyweights Immolation take to the stage. Performing as a three piece tonight (fear not fans, Bill is still in the band), Immolation waste no time in delivering a mighty set, reducing every die hard metal head into the room into a quivering fan boy. In terms of straight up, no frills attached, supreme death metal, you really can do no better than titan’s Immolation.
Closing this pleasure of a festival are Tampa’s very own legends Obituary. Cramming the main stage, John Tardy and co play your stereotypical Obituary set full to the brim of Obituary classics from ‘94’s Don’t Care to 89’s opus Slowly We Rot. Not neglecting last year’s corker Inked in Blood, Obituary burst into action with both Centuries Of Lies and Visions In My Head. What better a way to close Europe’s best death metal festival than with one of the world’s best death metal bands?
The air of bittersweet poignancy in the 013 arena is overwhelming as the final curtain calls on the Europe’s best indoor extreme metal festival. Neurotic Deathfest has delivered 12 years of glorious death metal in all its splendour and played host to some of the genre’s greatest bands. It has helped several bands launch their careers and has solidified the place on the death metal walk of fame for others. Farewell Neurotic, thanks for the many years of awesome. Don’t stay away too long.
(Review Eilish Foxen)