On August 11 and 12, the city center of Leeuwarden will shake for two days in a row during Into The Grave. A total amount of 15 delicious metal bands are ready to blow you away. I rated all the bands for you and ranked them from ‘must see’ (★★★★★) to ‘nice to see (★★☆☆☆). It’s my personal opinion, so don’t be disappointed when your favorite act is not ranked high enough! 😉 Enjoy the preview and tickets are still available at Ticketmaster.
1. Textures (NL) ★★★★★
Into The Grave is one of the last chances to see the Dutch guys of Textures perform live. They decided to quit and announced a farewell tour in November this year. The band plays a complex style of metal, influenced by progressive and thrash metal. Their music is stunning on the album, but even more powerful on stage. Since they formed in 2001, the band released five studio albums, did several world tours and built a strong fan-base. I saw these guys live many times and it’s very unfortunate that they stop. So my advice: check ‘m out and remember this band as one of the best metal bands we’ve ever had in The Netherlands!
2. Life of Agony (USA) ★★★★★
I follow this one of a kind band since their debut album ‘River Runs Red’ was released in 1993. It was just mind blowing and unique what this American band came up with. The mix of metal, hardcore and awesome high range vocals of Keith Caputo, was something which I never heard before in metal. But there happened a lot through the years. They split up a few times, vocalist (Keith Caputo) transformed into a woman (Mina Caputo) and in April 2017 they released their latest album called ‘A Place Where There’s No More Pain’. Hopefully they are back for a long period!
3. Saxon (UK) ★★★★☆
Just legendary and together with Iron Maiden responsible for the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal). This English metal band formed in 1977 and have sold more than 15 million albums worldwide. Their album titles are also priceless, like ‘Wheels of Steel’, ‘Denim and Leather’, Solid Ball of Rock’ and their latest one ‘Battering Ram’ (2015). Expect heavy metal like it’s mend to be. The eagle has landed (in Leeuwarden)!
4. Overkill (USA) ★★★★☆
Thrash metal! These guys play thrash metal how I like it. Fast, loud and sharp as a razor blade. The band was formed in 1980 in New Jersey. They have gone through many line-up changes, leaving bassist D. D. Verni and lead vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth as the only constant members. Overkill has released eighteen studio albums, with ‘The Grinding Wheel’ (February, 2017) as their latest one. Delicious!
5. Pro-Pain (USA) ★★★★☆
Just like Life Of Agony, I follow Pro-Pain since their debut album ‘Foul Taste Of Freedom’, which was released in 1992. This New York-based metal/hardcore band was formed by vocalist and bassist Gary Meskil and released already fifteen albums. The latest one is called ‘Voice Of Rebellion’ (2015) and gives you another portion of pounding metal and hardcore. Death on the dance floor!
6. Amon Amarth (ZWE) ★★★★☆
This year Amon Amarth is the headliner of Into The Grave. I think the organization made a good choice, because of their popularity and their awesome show. They are growing fast and built a large fan-base through the years. Their latest album ‘Jomsviking’ even reached number 1 in the German Album Charts! Personally I’m not a big fan of Vikingmetal, so I ranked them a little bit lower. Of course I will watch their show and maybe they can convince me with this gig at Into The Grave. Then they probably end up higher in my list next time!
7. Sodom (DE) ★★★★☆
The first time I saw Sodom in 2001 (together with Kreator at De Kade, Zaandam), I was just blown away. What a thrash metal massacre! This German metal band was formed in 1981 and had many line-up changes, leaving bassist/vocalist Tom Angelripper as the only constant member. Their latest album was released in 2016 and is called ‘Decision Day’. A nice quote from Tom: “Why are we writing about war? Because we don’t want war. We wanna describe how bad the war is.” So true!
8. The Charm The Fury (NL) ★★★★☆
The Dutch metal band The Charm The Fury is going fast. This year they released their second album ‘The Sick, Dumb & Happy‘, signed a contract at Nuclear Blast/Empire Arising, played as support-act with Slayer and planned a tour in 2017 which brings them to Graspop, Pinkpop, Download Festival, Jera On Air and of course Into The Grave. My opinion is that they deserve it, just like I described in my review of their gig in Amsterdam. You won’t be disappointed if you like modern metalcore!
9. Flotsam and Jetsam (USA) ★★★☆☆
Another classic and old school thrash metal band is Flotsam and Jetsam. For most people known of their former bass player Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica), but also because of their classic song and album ‘No Place For Disgrace’. I first heard it at VARA’s Vuurwerk 50 somewhere in 1990 and was blown away. Especially by the awesome and melodic solo in the end of the song. The band is still going strong since 1981 and released their latest album ‘Flotsam and Jetsam’ in 2016.
10. Powerwolf (DE) ★★★☆☆
The German power metal band Powerwolf is formed in 2003 and their music is all about dark themes and images, both musically and lyrically. Including the usage of corpse paint, songs about vampires and dark religious tales. Sounds nice huh? Well it is in a certain way, but musically it’s a little bit to theatrical for me. The good news is, that their visuals and performance on stage are just awesome! So, grab a beer and enjoy their show!
11. Metal Church (USA) ★★★☆☆
Another thrash metal band at Into The Grave is Metal Church. This band was also formed in the 80s, but went through many, many line-up changes. A total amount of 27 band members played with Metal Church, including their current members. Founding guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof remained the group’s only consistent force of the band. Nice to know is that the former vocalist Mike Howe is back since 2015 and also recorded the bands latest album ‘XI’ (2016). So expect some modern thrash metal, with a classic touch.
12. Arch Enemy (ZWE) ★★★☆☆
Arch Enemy is a popular Swedish female fronted melodic death metal band formed in 1996. It’s a kind of supergroup, with (ex-)members of Carcass, Armageddon, Carnage, Mercyful Fate, Spiritual Beggars and Nevermore. I saw them perform many times, but still it isn’t my cup of tea. Maybe I can’t get used to the female vocals in a certain way? Since 2014 the vocalist Alissa White-Gluz joined the band and released the album ‘War Eternal’ (2014). Somewhere in 2017 they released a new album called ‘Will to Power’, so there’s a big chance that they will perform a new song at Into The Grave!
13. Whitechapel (USA) ★★☆☆☆
The American deathcore band Whitechapel knows how to create a moshpit. Founded in 2006, the band has released six studio albums, eleven music videos and are currently signed to Metal Blade Records. Their latest album ‘Mark of the Blade’ (2016) brings you a a powerful mix of deathmetal and hardcore. I never some them play live, but I expect some walls of death to be honest!
14. Alestorm (GB) ★★☆☆☆
Piratmetal and vikingmetal… Musically it’s not really my thing, so to say. A little bit to happy and over the top… On the other hand, a band like Alestorm knows how to start a party during a live show! In May, 2017 they released their latest album ‘No Grave But the Sea’ filled with power metal and pirate themes. If you like this kind of music, you definitely have to check it out!
15. Ember Falls (FIN) ★★☆☆☆
Ember Falls is the newest band at Into The Grave. This Finish band started in 2015 as a so called modern metal band and released their first album ‘Welcome To Ember Falls’ in February 2017. The music of the guys is a mix of different styles, like nu-metal, electro metal and power metal. Just like a lot of other people, I never saw them live before. Hopefully these youngsters have enough energy to blow us away and surprise us at Into The Grave!