Pratteln - 05.04.2004


reviews by  dalia "gryphon_spirit" di giacomo and Boris "Azrael" Witta  - 

all pics © by Stefan "Absolut_Evidence" Vogelaar

The public use of these photos  is strictly prohibited without written permission









dalia - Springtime has just begun. It should be so, but it's different if compared to last year, when a full warm temperature was already fully on the march. Under a cloudy and still a bit cold sky the merciless hordes gather around our Swiss cathedral of Metal to celebrate the yearly rite of the No Mercy festival. The bill of this year should be one of the best you can wish and, above all, almost completely devoted to Death: headliners the majestic slaughters Cannibal Corpse, supported by Hypocrisy, Kataklysm, Carpathian Forest, Exhumed, Vomitory, Spawn of Possession. With much calm and order the maniacs in black enter the venue before 17:00, but fact is that the first band hits the stage already just before the first wave of audience could get completely in. In few words we enter the venue at 17:00 and Spawn of Possession already play, though we reached the gates when doors were closed.


Boris - At this point I want to say thank you to the security: this was the worst way of letting people enter I have ever seen. Ten minutes after the doors should already have been opened, the two men begin to mount some absolutely unnecessary blockings. But that’s not enough: they treat people, who are waiting in silence, in a total arrogant and unfriendly way. Sorry, but that’s not acceptable!


dalia - It's a bit early, so the Z7 is still far from being crowded, moreover there are strong controls. But the first signs of an almost full house are easy to be noticed. The flow is quiet but constant and growing. In the meanwhile Spawn of Possession do their best to pump up the first crowd, telling that they are very glad that already a good fraction of audience is here to attend their concert. Spawn of Possession: a band which counts  among its tracks one dedicated to the eraser Lamashtu gets theoretically my most lively attention. So let's see them live now!! Cavernous vocals, much instrumental virtuosos and technicality, much headbanging, generally low tunes, massive rhythmic section, a bit erratic rhythm à la US. Spawn of Possession take the thing very seriously, so seriously that, so engaged in playing well with much attention like they are, tend to remain a bit static. Anyway the first applauses begin to resound. Spawn of Possession "bet" on a dynamic sound and span from brusque outros and aggressive gallopings. Around 17:12 the song Hidden In Flesh is announced and ehila! it's much work on the stage. Hands run up and down the guitars relentlessly. Among the tracks Church of Deviance is also presented. 17:24 "Thank you good night!"


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dalia - After an attentive, self-confident and rather quick sound check Exhumed "burst" into the stage with guitars and bass raised high, the back of the bass presents the "blasphemous" word -Metal-!! hehehehe Horns up!! The audience revives and we start with a high level of energy and blasting drumming. The first headbangers unleash their passion, though vocals appear very low in the beginning of the show. But promptly the micro volume is corrected, so that the angry vocals can hit also the ears of the diligent first rows. For the rest, the band is very mobile, energetic, aggressive, almost restless, headbanging, shining with an elastic bass. Under the Knife is one of the songs which push and hammer the most, interesting tempo changes and massive drumming. Matt's screams are empowered by growlings delivered by the bass player. Lights are not frenetic so that the attention can remain well undisturbed on the band. Tempo changes, solos and fast attacks are a destiny like anatomy. Decrepit Cresendo and In the name of Gore, this last sung in a very angry way, delight the thirst of blood though the ice is still not completely broken. Nonetheless some maniacs are already on cloud nine, and guess who among them? Our Boris!! Headbanging and enjoying the gig like a mad!! Soon we will get in contact with you again!!! In the meanwhile Exhumed greet all mo**erfuc**rs present, and announce, if i am not wrong, Open the Abscess, a hammering thrashy Death. Roaring final with another look on the terrible word Metal. 18:04 finito, but we are all definitely good mooded.


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dalia - 18:15. The venue is right crowded. The road that will ideally lead us to Vomitory begins with an intense drum check. We don't have to wait that much. The No Mercy is a tour de force. One band after the other.   There is a good interest for Vomitory and even more after the very good work done by Exhumed. Lights fade out and under sinister thin red rays Vomitory take position greeting the audience with a mighty shout. Severe are Swedish Vomitory! Solid technical cool, cadenced, metallic loops and good tempo changes. Good optical presence on the stage. Good mobility, blasting drumming. Pitiless with a good execution and a certain solemnity, the 4 long haired go on persistent, among growl of approvals and applauses from the crowd. Fast attacks and tremolo like technique attach to you again an irresistible will to bang your head. But the audience still waits for the right hookline, that after all, doesn't start. It's with a tight rhythm and a potent, violent proceeding, sometimes at the threshold of Black, that they finally win the crowd who follow them with raised hands. There is also a certain harmonic content that ennobles the rasping assault. At 18:45 their show ends with a final infernal pump up. Only one negative point: in spite of all this a subtle feeling of hardly shakeable  monotony cannot be avoided.


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dalia - Eh but now is time for an escapade into Black, and a particular Black, from the moment that Carpathian Forest hybridize it with much Rock'n'Roll attitude. Anyway. What would you expect? Corpse paint as first thing. I saw Carpathian Forest enter the stage one year ago at the Day at the Border in Milan, but i didn't attend the show. I saw them at the signing session about which GM has exclusive photos. So look at them, and now imagine my (hidden) surprise when i see, or better said, when i hardly recognize some members of the band preparing the show, checking the instruments in "normal" look. No one seems very astonished. Our religion forbids it. I know then how many metalheads were talking about the surprise to see Carpathian Forest without corpse paint. But one thing is sure: you recognize immediately Nattefrost anyway, who is just making a couple of appearances, a bit severe and nervous. With placid and seraphic calm his band mates go on checking,  looking like good boys. Eh well... we will see that the profile of a band can be really great when the band is in action: i can anticipate that, paint or no paint, Carpathian Forest will deliver an ace impressive show, but let's proceed... with calm.
Ok. 19:00 extreme punctuality. The band starts off in the most effective and resolute way. No entries, no preliminaries. No particular intro. Time runs and without frills Carpathian Forest perfectly begin. Extreme self- confidence, and, in spite of the lack of paint, the band looks however solemn and elegant, the sound is effective and enjoyable. The bands manages well between attention to technique and mobility. Soon the number of bangers in the crowd grows, multiply itself like a winding fuse. The band itself bangs a lot launched among tempo changes, aggressive but catchy attacks and hammering hooklines. Yes, but the bass player... with that arachnid way of playing, well i've seen him elsewhere. Blood Red Throne maybe? Erlend Caspersen?? eh?? Nattefrost makes his job very well: he has a cool voice, knows how to move and how to calibrate his reaction, he is not tall, not that handsome, absolutely not nice, but hell, he is charismatic!! Nattefrost raises high a cross,  holding it upside down, tells "fuck it" to paints and invokes a couple of time "Rock'n'Roll".  "Hey hey hey!!" shouts the crowd in unison....and now, Boris, it's your turn!!


Boris - First I am a bit shocked: Carpathian Forest without corpse paint and spikes, only singer Nattefrost wears some. Would that work? The band and most of all Nattefrost himself look a bit pissed off when they enter the stage, but when they start, they seem to be very motivated. Nattefrost smashes down an empty dose of beer, opens a new one and begins to scream. The frontman is a guarantor for best entertainment: he poses with an inverted cross, he whips one of the guitarists with his micro cable, makes copulation movements to the bassman and is always in contact with the audience, which is banging and shouting during the whole gig. “We don’t have any corpse paint today, fuck it!” Alright. Black Shining Leather is the first highlight, great chorus. Carpathian Forest have this punky Venom-style, and together with the Fuck Off attitude, this equals an excellent mixture. “I can’t headbang today because I broke my anything!” Doesn’t matter, it’s great. Tchort with his voluminous belly, the second guitar player and also the bassman are always moving and banging. “Mask of the cunt!”, Nattefrost screams while holding the inverted cross. The crazy fronter is able to look indeed evil and he doesn’t smile during the whole concert. Nevertheless the five Norwegian are the only Black Metal band this evening and most of the songs in mid- or uptempo, there’s a good atmosphere and big applause. Of course songs like Mask Of The Slave, Bloodcleansing, The Angel And The Sodomizer or Carpathian Forest don’t miss and most people enjoy the gig. “He’s Turning Blue – come on, this is punk!!”, Nattefrost screams. And it’s true: the singing really sounds a bit like a Punk-Smasher. Hell yeah! As final song, Carpathian Forest play Bloody Fucking Necro Hell, a short crusher, and for me and a lot of fans, the gig was much too short.

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dalia - After the show of Carpathian Forest, the stage is prepared for Kataklysm, launched on the wave of a big success. A fully deserved success, considering the two excellent albums In Shadows & Dust and Serenity in Fire. One of my fav bands. I was already enthusiastic during the X-mass Festival 2002, when i foretold a  successful growing for this band which enchanted me with tracks like Where the enemy sleeps, Face the face of War and Beyond Salvation of course. Now the venue is full with lot of people waiting anxiously for them. Almost 2 years ago they were much appreciated but nothing more. Now it seems they have the whole Z7 at their feet. I should be only happy about it and i am, actually. Though i always fear the big success. Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes. Anyway let's enjoy together one of the best gig (i presume) that GM attends this year, delivered by one of the best act in circulation, one of the few really excellent band concerning Melodic Death.
Two drapes with Kataklysm's logo are brought on the stage. The amoeboid logo done with the letters K A T A K L Y S M, cutting like razorblades and electrified like electromagnetic waves, surround a circle which is a door to a kind of double pentagram. All this gets red tonalities of blood when red filters are put on the spotlights which converge on them. A meticulous drum check is taking place. We all know the kind of almighty drumming which supports guitars and vocals in Kataklysm's camp. Everything must be precise and suitable for the fast and more aggressive children of "Shadows & Dust": those brilliant songs have produced more extreme and wilder descendants, put together in the new release "Serenity in Fire", without losing the typical melodic appeal in European taste. 
19:51 ready? Sinister intro, smoke effect, the Canadian lads hit the stage. The crowd greets them very warmly, shouting, acclaiming. This intro is the intro of the new release so it's easy to imagine that Ambassador of Pain is the track with which the bands starts off. Maurizio Iacono seems to tower over everything and everyone,  while the guitarist Degenais and bass player Barbe start with the fast tempo headbanging and playing like gods. Iacono's vocals are mighty enough while it's even useless to say that Kataklysm have one of the best drummers you can think of. Crowd in rapture. Too beautiful to be real and indeed we will see that Kataklysm are "human", after all. Ambassador of Pain runs flawlessly, followed by the greetings to Switzerland and by a nice short moment of interactivity directed by Mr Iacono, unique with his clearly Italian accent. The Resurrected awakes the dead, thundering drum discharge, perfect stage acting, overwhelming rhythm with the very good musical contents we know. Illuminati is warmly welcomed. The crowd underlines the melodic passage with a massive la la la la. Iacono provides his typical low tones alternated with high screams. The cadenced and stomping As I slither (track available as videoclip too) arises enthusiasm as well as the excellent drum solo that lasts around 3-4 minutes. As we can see, much of the new stuff is presented. But When the Enemy sleeps (from the previous "Shadows & Dust") is announced i live a magic moment: for me, it is indeed the best track made by Kataklysm. But no, something doesn't work or at least it seems so. The first part of the song sounds not completely in perfect rhythm, the sound is rather confused and we can add sudden changes of volume. Kataklysm, with ability, offer a second part that redeems the first half, though the disappointment remains. Anyway the concert is all in all superb. Many times Iacono falls on his knees in order to give more emphasis to the show, a show that ends with In Shadows & Dust. "You're fucking good" says Mr Iacono. Supreme Kataklysm, a super gig, with a small flaw, which adds a sense of human dimension to a concert that otherwise would have been even too excellent!


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dalia - 20:42 the stage is prepared for Hypocrisy. The Aliens of The Arrival will soon land. I think i will not review Hypocrisy: i've done it a good couple of times and now i gladly give Boris the burden and honour to review the headliners. But i won't leave, i am firmly determined to see Hypocrisy with attention one more time. And i must have a sixth sense that has been rewarded. Folks ehi! This evening i have before "my very eyes" a full reborn band. Never seen Hypocrisy this way: energetic, concentrated, straight to the point, headbanging like hell, coordinated, motivated. Mr Tägtgren, acclaimed as a Metal messiah, though leading the band, finally appears a member of a quartet in which everyone is doing a great job: bass, guitar and drums are no longer haughty assistants, but effective great metal musician with a renewed Death underground aggressiveness, spitting sweat and blood, and all together. Never enjoyed Hypocrisy like this evening. Neckbreaker Hypocrisy. 

Boris - It would not be easy for the band of Mister Swedish Death Metal, Peter Tägtgren, to top the indeed excellent show of Kataklysm. With a big banner of the cover of the new album “The Arrival”, Hypocrisy start, banging like one man. A bad thing is that during the first two songs, you can’t hear Peter’s guitar, but after some minutes it’s better and I’m able to hear every detail in Peter’s soli. Hypocrisy’s songs are often very hymnic, with great and really beautiful (I know it sounds stupid, but it’s like this) melodies which let you get a creeping flesh. Wonderful! Mr. Tägtgren's rings under his eyes are impressive and the biggest I ever saw, but Peter wouldn’t be himself without these rings. “Come on, Switzerland!”, he shakes up the crowd. The fans give their best and start a moshpit. I wonder why Roswell 47 isn’t the last track but that doesn’t really matter, the mood is – like the whole evening, compliment to the audience – very, very good, and so Hypocrisy can push the fans and the fans push back. Another good thing is the light show: every song is perfectly accompanied and the band – with an unbelievable (and most of the time invincible) Horgh (Ex-Immortal) on drums – appears dark, evil and impressive. I only missed the hymn Slave To The Parasites from the new album, but anyway, very good gig, also with the handicap of an excellent show of Kataklysm before.


Setlist Hypocrisy (incomplete)


Turn The Page

Fire In The Sky



Roswell 47

God Is A Lie

Deathrow (No Regrets)


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Boris - Cannibal Corpse are mighty. Very mighty. After the first ton, there’s the biggest moshpit in front of the stage I have ever seen. It’s no more a moshpit but a real war. Brutal, a pounding soundwall, roaring guitars, an inhuman deep voice of George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, shrill, fast and very technical soli of Jack Owen, a precise, punctual and indeed fat drumming of Paul Mazurkiewicz, this is Cannibal Corpse. I have to agree that Corpsegrinder is the absolute best and fastest headbanger of the whole world, he never gets out of the rhythm, no matter how fast the song is. Apart from Jack Owen, who just stands there and plays his parts, the whole band is always moving, banging and communicating with the fans. And they rule with every classic: Stripped, Raped And Strangled, Pit Of Zombies, Fucked With A Knife, A Skull Full Of Maggots, Gallery Of Suicide, The Wretched Spawn and of course the ultimate Gore hymn Hammer Smashed Face with a short, but effective bass slapping part of Alex Webster. When I look around and see all these banging and moshing people, I understand what the status of Cannibal Corpse is in the Death Metal scene. They’re just the best and biggest band and it’s a real emotional experience to see them live. A funny thing is to listen to Corpsegrinder between the songs, because he’s really exhausted, a bit hoarse and he also has not the deepest voice – but from a moment to the other, he growls deeper than hell. Fantastic! Corpsegrinder thanks everybody “…for supporting Death fucking Metal, we have to go now because we have to drink some beer!” and the applause, cheering and shouting of the fans couldn’t be better. Cannibal Corpse don’t play any extra songs, but who want an extra song after Hammer Smashed Face? Me not. A Death Metal evening for eternity with the absolute highlight called Cannibal Corpse. There’s only one bad thing: it’s already over…  


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