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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Review: Nuclear War Now Festival - Nov 19th & 20th 2010 Berlin, Germany

Thank you to Fei Yun of Taphephobia Productions for providing this review.

Day 0:
Well this was actually not a part of the NWN fest, Vulcano supposed to play NWN fest but they pulled out and did this gig at K-17. They were supported by Black Witchery, Deiphago and 2 German bands. I didn't really watch those 2 German bands and I was half asleep during Deiphago, and I'll write about Black Witchery later since they also played on the 2nd day of NWN fest.
Vulcano ruled hard and they pretty much ripped the place to pieces with their lengthy set featuring many tracks off their classic albums "Live!" and "Bloody Vengeance". The new line-up is surprisingly tight and it's a great experience to see their guitarist who is probably in his 50's or 60's playing passionfully, and I love how their singer always had a dodgy smile on his face...

Day 1: 
Embrace of Thorns
I didn't like their albums in the first place so I could be biased... They were rather dull overall, the music wasn't quite cutting it and they didn't have much stage presence although I can tell they've tried. It was also hilarious to see their guitarist using a Dimebag signature guitar.
They sounded more like an average D-Beat band than Swedish death metal to me. They did a decent set but I didn't really get why they are so popular nowadays.
Bone Awl
It's great to be able to see one of my favourite bands ever live finally. They sounded a bit fuller live than the recordings, probably because the bass was quite up in the mix. I was also quite surprised that Brandon used a Squier Telecaster this time (he usually used Jackson). He basically didn't move and just stared at the front (maybe we could call that an Undying Glare now hahaha). Their overall presence was pretty weird though, Brandon looked like some random metalhead down the road and Marco kinda looked like a hipster, Volahn looked like a mixture between crusty and war metal warrior... The only pity is that they did a rather short set (half an hour-ish) considering the huge amount of materials they have under their belt. I talked to Volahn a bit before the show and he's a nice bloke (don't know what's taking him so long to send out orders though but I rather not to ask), he also played a bit Axeman and Kuxan Suum during soundcheck, I was tempted to shout "play some Blue Hummingbird" but I didn't haha.
I missed the first half of their set since they went on earlier than what the timetable said. They totally crushed so I have to say I was quite gutted since I wasn't able to witness the entire set...

I wasn't sure about what to expect since they've been inactive for quite a few years but that was a hell of a ritual and hypnotizing as fuck, even if the guitarist and bassist looked like they've just got off their office work and the drummer had that random as pavo decoration on his head.
Again I wasn't sure about what to expect, but they were really, really good. They delivered those old materials very well and they also did an excellent cover of Sarcofago's Nightmare. Plus I love how the bassist was tapping his bass with the left hand and playing keyboard with the other hand at the same time...
Order From Chaos
This is seriously one of the bands that I never thought I would be able to witness live, and this was definitely the top set during the fest for me. It's a dream come true for me to be able to hear songs like Plateau of Invincibility and Forsake Me this Mortal Coil live, too bad they didn't play Blood & Thunder though...

Day 2: 

Those guys totally owned Miasmal. Fucking ripping traditional Swedish death metal with a dark overtone. People need to pay more attention to this than those bands who reissue their 20-minute demo tape on 12" two months after the initial release.
They picked some of the more rocky songs rather than the really doomy ones for their set and I think it was a very good idea. The main guy just standed still playing his guitar but their session singer is the man and he knew how to handle it live, without him it could've been potentially quite dull even if their music is absolutely killer.
Von Goat
I was really surprised to find out that Brandon from Bone Awl was playing bass, dunno if he was actually on the album. Wrest didn't come and Blood from the new Von line-up played drums, he was a solid drummer though. The lead guitarist also didn't make it and without him the new songs sounded pretty thin. Goat tried to rearrange the guitar parts a bit to combine the lead and rhythm parts on one guitar, but it's definitely missing something without two guitarists. It was cool nevertheless but they were not able to reproduce the psychedelic vibe on the album. But there was a huge surprise for me, they ended up play 3 classic Von songs (Lamb, Satanic Blood & Devil Pig) and they did it right compared to the pointless rearrangements they did at the UK show earlier this year. It totally blew my mind and I was pretty much going mad during those songs.

Black Witchery
They were ridiculously hilarious and crushing at the same time. I just can't stop laughing when looking at Impuriath's facial expression and the way Tregenda was turning his head around, but the sound was fucking massive and Vaz played like a beast.

Why you need some imposter when you can get the originator on the same night?
Dead Congregation
They played quite well but the songs from the album sounded quite blurry live, the songs from the MCD sounded much better under live situation. They were also the only band that used trigger on this fest, but it actually sounded quite good and if the drummer didn't use it half of the set would probably just be a big blur.
Ares Kingdom
Professor Keller was pretty much a bloody shredding machine, killer solos in every song and he even played solos between each songs. The set was totally epic although they were kinda out of place in this fest haha.
I was already burnt out before they were on and was feeling quite unrealistic during their set. I was extremely tired since I didn't have a decent sleep for the last 4 days, plus Von Goat basically stole the night away from Blasphemy for me with their surprise attack with old Von songs. Anyway they were simply great, although Black Winds sounded like he lost a bit of his voice. Ryan and Phil K did it quite well as live members and being able to see Caller playing guitar is such a pleasure. All the other bands were watching at the side of the stage and Beelzeebubth from Mystifier was air-guitaring the whole way through.

1. Apparently someone saw Varg there, I found it hard to believe but I won't be too surprised if he was there to see Von Goat.

2. I found it pretty funny how lots of people were too drunk and passed out on the floor later in the evening, made me wonder why they came all the way just to sleep on the floor...

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