June 10, 2022 | Leeuwarden – On this date the second large summer festival in the Netherlands took place in Leeuwarden. It was the 10th anniversary of this festival but due to some pandemic and war related issues, some bands didn’t (dare to) make the trip to Europe which had as a result, that the line-up was not the most impressive of the last 10 Into The Graves. Nevertheless, there were enough names on the bill who were worth while to take the trip to Leeuwarden.
When I entered the festival grounds at 15:30 it was not very busy at the entrance so I entered without a problem. The first thing I saw inside was a quite long queue in front of token booth, so I decided to buy my tokens later and got my camera’s out and prepared for the first band, which started within a 30 minutes.
The festival was opened by TOXIK (USA)– founded in 1985 as Tokyo -from New York on the main stage and from the first minute it was obvious singer Ron was in the mood. He skipped and jumped around, which made his shorts almost fall of his skinny body. Knowing their strong points, Toxik was playing songs mainly from their first albums and the crowd couldn’t get enough. It was not very busy yet, but that was compensated by enthusiasm of the band.
As always Toxik delivered and their thrash metal was greatly appreciated by the small but audible audience.
Into The Grave kept the two-stage-concept his year, but the second stage – called ‘Reaper Stage’ was a bit smaller than the previous edition. Fun fact: today there are only Dutch acts on this stage. The distance between the two stage was significant, especially when you keep in mind, that there was no overlap in programming
The low stage and small photo pit made it that the bands were even closer to the crowd than ever and that worked out well! In front of the Reaper Stage there was from time to time true mayhem!
Local Frisian band Balders Draumar (FR) was opening the Reaper Stage and there were quite some locals who enjoyed the local band singing in their own language about stories of their great Frisian past.
Balders Draumar got the crowd going, but that was partly because it is a home game for them.
I couldn’t see the complete show of Balders Draumar, because Heathen starts at the same time als they end. When I walked towards the main stage I saw there was still quite a queue at the token booth and I understood that there were problems with the new debit card pay system which apparently replaced the tokens.
I hurried to see Heathen (USA), as I did not wanted to miss this band. With guitarist Kragen Lum back after his Exodus duty the line up was strong as ever. The sound was pretty good and the boys were having a blast; Jason Mirza and Kyle Edissi were having fun with photographers and fans in the front rows and David. R. White was very appreciative that he could perform again after the pandemic.
Back at the Reaper Stage Graceless (NL) had already started their set and if you were Dutch and into metal, you could not have missed this band in the last years. Almost every time a band cancelled or were unable to play, Graceless jumped in and worked on their fame.
De set was pretty decent death metal and there was a relatively large crowd in front of the Reaper Stage and they were restless; the first pit of the day is a fact. Although it is not the wildest of the weekend.
Performances of Decapitated (PL) are always solid as a rock. The festival ground was barely a quarter full, but most heads did bob on the beats of these Poles. The long dreads of singer Rafał Piotrowski made huge shapes around his head when he banged his head. As a photographer it is always fun to catch these ‘creations’.
I left Decapitated early, as I didn’t want to miss out on the set of Cryptosis (NL).
Last week there was a lot of talk about Cryptosis in the media and to be more specific; about their drummer Marco Prij; as he was asked to fill in for Ken Mary because the latter had some passport issues.
Arriving at the Reaper Stage, sun is shining almost horizontally on the front of the stage. Not ideal, but luckily some clouds prevented squinted eyes on all pictures.
Cryptosis had their video walls adjusted for the smaller stage and that worked out a bit, as the sun faded out most of the images and video’s.
The performance was nothing less than Awesome! This band made a huge step forward by transforming from Distillator to Cryptosis.
At the main stage an old acquaintance was preparing to create havok; Dikke Dennis! With him he brought his friends of Peter Pan Speedrock (NL) who stopped over 6 years ago. Where ever there is Dikke Dennis, there will be chaos. This time it started relatively easy with the announcement of Peter Pan Speedrock. Of course he head butts the microphone a few times and shouts at the crowd.
The band got the crowd moving and to be honest, it sounded as great as it did more than 6 years ago!
At one point during this set Dikke Dennis decided to go stagediving and jumped of the bass speakers into the crowd; a pretty big distance for a guy his size, but he made it! He jumped another time but not after posing in the nude with numerous fans at the singing booth. Al this hilarious shit almost made one forget how great the set of Peter Pan Speedrock was!
The legends of Legion of the Damned (NL) were next on the Reaper stage and it was packed! During the first few songs the vocals were hardly audible due to a wrong setting at the sound booth. After that wais fixed the Legion of de Damned was ripping the stage apart. It looked like guitarist Fabian Verweij had brought along bassist Frank van Boven of Disquiet (where they are both playing) to replace Harold Gielen.
The set was awesome and the energy was transferred from the band, to the crowd in front of the Reaper stage and back, as the band went pretty wild!
The last band of this day on the Main stage was no one less then Carcass (GB).
Personally I think it was a pity that Paradise Lost had to cancel, but with Carcass you can hardly go wrong. This bands puts on a rock solid show and have a big following in the Netherlands. Although it was never really busy today, it seemed that the grounds in front of the Main stage was busier than before, but still… there would have fitted many more visitors and the bands deserved that. With Carcass perfoming without a glitch the first day had ended in a good mood for everybody; The weather was great, the beers were cold and the issues with the token cards long forgotten.