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~ Reviewed by Thomas

In Death We Trust

The annual Alingsås Hårdrocksfestival at Fabriken set their aim this year towards bands with a harder edge. A two-day metal festival where all the bands share the same stage and where the ticket-price is set low. Look at that line-up and then consider the ticket-price of 16 Euro, I lift my hat for the organisers for making this event happen. After a few cancellations and replacements, the line-up finally shaped up to look like this:

Day 1: Degrade, Impious, Insomnia, Certain Death
Day 2: Grave, Raise Hell, God Among Insects, Loch Vostok

Unfortunately, I could only attend the second day, but that was the day I was looking forward to anyway, with Grave and Raise Hell.

Saturday - 24th of February

Band: Loch Vostok
Setlength: 45 min.

Loch Vostok is a band that was unknown to me prior to witnessing them this evening, and as it turned out, I was in for a positive surprise. With a blend of thrash and progressive metal they showed to be a good start of the evening. Although, they appeared a bit unpolished and untight and furthermore the vocals came out a bit weak but they provided a good dose of fast and aggressive metal combined with showing a nice sense for melodies and harmonies as well. They showed that they can handle technical and complex structures live and parallels could be drawn toward Nevermore and Communic as well as Pagan's Mind and there were even death metal within the music but I think that Loch Vostok is still far from being compared with any of those bands, at least live.

4 chalices of 10

(Sorry, no setlist)

Band: God Among Insects
Setlength: 35 min.

Yet another new acquaintance for me and God Among Insects played some nice old-school death metal that was quite enjoyable to listen to. You could see that God Among Insects, that has a fetish for zombie lyrics and employs vocalist Emperor Magus Caligula (Dark Funeral), is a band with experiance that know how to bash out the brutal death metal. What could be held against them is that it tends to become monotonous after a while and that Lord K. Philipson as sole guitarist could use a battle-axe companion. Not that he is inadequate in anyway, but one more guitar would be a necessary to enrich their live sound. The guys themselves didn't appear to be exactly overly inspired either so that pulls the grade down as well. It was good listening but not that good that you ran and woke your buddies for it.

3 chalices of 10

(Sorry, no setlist)

Band: Raise Hell
Setlength: 50 min.

When Raise Hell entered the stage you noticed a remarkable difference in quality, since this was really good and also the top performance of the evening. Their thrash which is combined with darker metal works perfectly with me and when the band does such a good job with delivering the songs it is most enjoyable. Vocalist Jimmy Fjällendal is a real asset to the band with his stage charisma and unique and awesome voice that has a resemblance with Charles Rytkönen of Morgana Lefay. Although he looked dejected after several attempts to get the small and sleepy crowd going, not least the ones in the back that he encouraged to come to the front of the stage. I guess the fact that this was an event where no alcohol was served could have something to do with it...

Nevertheless, Raise Hell did what they came for and I do not want to complain about their performance as they did as good as they could and the solos and harmonies came out really well. However, it was not perhaps their most inspired concert in their career and it never really lifted apart from a few songs that rose above the rest. This was the second time I saw Raise Hell and my first impression of them is still the strongest, so I know that they can do better.

6 chalices of 10

(Sorry, no setlist)

Band: Grave
Setlength: 55 min.

This is funny, I have seen Grave once before, at Sweden Rock Festival 2006, and then Raise Hell played before them on the same stage as well. Anyway, the last time I saw Grave there were four guys on stage, but now they were reduced to a three-piece band. I don't know if I have missed something here but where were guitarist Jonas Torndal? Vocalist Ola Lindgren took care of the guitar-parts by himself and even if he did it real good, there was something apparently missing,

The three remaining guys seemed to be in a good mood and acted relaxed, if there is such a thing as relaxed when playing old-school brutal death metal, but nevertheless they looked like they were comfortably having a nice Saturday evening. Moreover, they surely delivered and even if the grinding can become repetitive, it never gets dull to see Grave. No fuzz and no compromises, just almost an hour of death metal being bashed out from a band that knows how to do it well.

But where the hell did all the people go? The longer the evening went the thinner the crowd got, which is a shame when you are given to opportunity to witness bands like these at a low cost, at least I had expected a much bigger turn-up. I guess there were about fifty people when Grave started and with the final songs as encore, I kid you not when I say that we were at maximum fifteen people left in the venue. Therefore, the guys in Grave earned my utmost respect for still delivering as hell for us few that were left during the final songs. Moreover, shame on the metalheads in the environs of Alingsås for not supporting the local organiser in this event. Or this is perhaps what is left when the posers have been sorted out while staying at home watching the Swedish try-outs to the Eurovision Song Contest?

5 chalices of 10

(Sorry, no setlist)

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Thomas, February 2007