08 February 2023

Into The Void 2017 (festival review)

October 21-22, 2017 | Neushoorn, Leeuwarden – The weather is quite unpredictable in the Frisian capitol Leeuwarden, changing from heavy showers to a sunny afternoon. The line up of Into The Void 2017 also turns out to be unpredictable, because of several last minute cancelations. That doesn’t have to spoil the fun, because so many great acts remain: Ohhms, Church of Misery, God is an Astronaut, Stone in Egypt and many more! Pictures: Kristian Zijlstra & Oscar Anjewierden

Day 1 – Friday – October 21st

Gold (NL)
Heavy dark rock songs, that’s what the Dutch band Gold brings to Neushoorn. Most of the time the pace is calm and works towards a climax in the end, which actually never comes, creating endless suspense. Every song has an interesting guitar line and female singer Milena Eva brings an extra layer on top of the heavy and doomy bits. Nice one to start the day with.

Ohhms (UK)
They’ve only been together for a few years, but did manage to make a name for themselves, especially when it comes to their live performances. And today is no different. From the first moment Ohhms sets foot on stage, it is on. Their heavy/sludgy guitar riffs in combination with the marching drums, create an interesting combination. Ohhms definitely leaves an impression on the audience and a lot of that has to do with the enthusiasm of every individual bandmember.

Messa (IT)
Time for some ambient doom from Italy. Messa (which stands for mass) guarantees some heavy doom, dark sounds in contrast with the clear voice of singer Sarah. Every song builds up towards a climax and as opposed to the previous act Gold, the climax actually comes. Singer Sarah uses her voice to work towards that climax in each song. A lot of the songs sound alike which makes the show somewhat dull at times but, luckily singer Sarah knows how to grab the attention back from the audience.

Saint Vitus (USA)
Originally not on my list, but after hearing about them and seeing the beginning of their show I couldn’t resist. The old dogs make music that is at times irresistible. It takes the audience back to the days of early heavy metal but with a mixture of doom and metal. Dave Chandlers infectious solos are executed with much bravura. Sometimes their music reminds me of the Story Of Anvil. Thankfully these guys are still going strong.

God is an Astronaut (IR)
After being buried in doom and stoner rock today, God is an Astronaut brings us refreshing post rock. The sound is well measured to fill the big hall and in combination with the lightshow it makes the whole show very impressive. Their set is crafty and they really thought about suspense, dynamics and build-up.

Stone in Egypt (NL)
The last act of this Friday of Into The Void is facing a not to crowded Arena, a lot of people decided to go home apparently. This does not throw of the threesome of Stone in Egypt from Eindhoven. They play stonerrock with some doomy influences here and there. The three men produce a lot of noise tonight and they sound powerful and make the crowd that did show up move.

Day 2 – Saturday – October 22nd

The Spacelords (DE)
I walk in on the last quarter of the performance of the Spacelords and immediately get sucked in by their stimulating stonerrock as do the rest of the audience. There are only three bandmembers, but they somehow know to make it sound very big and overwhelming.

Gomer Pyle (NL)
After a short greeting (Hello Ljouwert) it’s on with the stoner/doom rock of Gomer Pyle. Their nasty stonerrock has some tendencies towards desert rock, which makes them sound like Queen Of The Stone Edge here and there. The dark and heavy guitar riffs fill the Arena and some funny breaks and paceshifts add a psychedelic element. They end their show with a tribute to Bidi van Drongelen, projected on the screen.

Church of Misery (JA)
Doom metal all the way from Japan. These Japanese oldies sure know how to rock! The lyrics of the enthusiastic frontman Hiroyuki Takano are a little difficult to understand, because there is a wall of sound, but he gives his all. The dark doomy songs are completed with heavy metal solo’s. Here and there the rhythm is a bit off but the dark and gloomy sound makes up for that.

Klone (FR)
An intimate setting is to be found at a small stage upstairs in the Neushoorn. This stage is a tribute to Bidi van Drongelen, a friend of the organizers of Into The Void, who passed away suddenly this year. French band metalband Klone came with an unplugged album this year and from the first notes the emotional tension can be felt in the room. The song ‘Immersion’ shows the vocal abilities of singer Yann Ligner. His piercing outbursts really reach the audience and cause an emotional escapade from all the doom and stoner. They continue their set with more carefully thought out songs and covers like ‘People Are People’ from Depeche Mode. An impressive and special performance.

Love Sex Machine (FR)
More Frenchmen can be found later in the Arena, but other than the name this show is anything but intimate. The bandmembers don’t really look like love sex machines, and their music isn’t very romantic either. Dark, depressing and heavy doom metal fills the room. Singer Yves his shrill and pinchy grunts suck the audience in.

RoToR (DE)

Candlemass (SW)
Singer Levén couldn’t make it tonight because he was taken to the hospital with a lung infection. The band decided to play anyway and will leave the vocals up to the audience, a bit of Candlemass Karaoke you might say. This proves to be what can be expected, quite boring. During ‘Mirror Mirror’ Tjerk Maas (Loud Noise) gets to fill in as a lead singer, and it is not half that bad. It does make it all the more clear that doom metal without vocals is not a good idea. Candlemass never cancelled a show and therefore respect for them that they play anyway, singer or no singer.

Diesel King (UK)
Singer Mark O’Regan from Diesel King appears on stage with a mask on, like he’s on his way to a cosplay event. This UK based act play aggressive and heavy death metal. The music is full of dark grunts but surprises at times with some hardcore bits. It is not bad but after a while it gets a bit monotone. Even though O’Regan looks pretty ferocious, he is one of the few frontmen who actually has some interaction with the audience.

Haunted (IT)
This relatively young band knows how to play doom and singer Christina Chimirri’s vocals add some nice layers to the straight on doom. There is not much innovative about their music but it does resonate to the few visitors that are left, not only have bands like Asthoreth cancelled but it seems that most of the audience has left as well. Haunted doesn’t care and singer Chimirri shows a lot of range in her voice, from deep vocals to higher regions. The transitions from high to low a perfectly executed during the song follow me.