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Gefle Metal Festival 2018

In mid-July, Metal Covenant once again spent two days at Gefle Metal Festival in Sweden. This was the festival's third year, and although the last two editions were very enjoyable, one could tell the organisation had been improved further. For example, queuing was less of an issue even though the site was crowded. And as usual, the feeling you got as a visitor was one of familiarity and hospitality, not least thanks to the crew and volunteers. In short, it is a pleasure to be at Gefle Metal Festival.

The main part of the event, though, is of course the artists. This year's bill was once again terrific, featuring a string of renowned bands as well as cool upcoming ones. See below for reviews of a number of the performers. As for interviews, unfortunately none took place this year, due to not getting hold of press contacts, who were apparently busier this year.

|Friday| - |Saturday|

Reviews by Mozzy/Tommy

Friday - July 13

Band: Grave Digger
Goat Stage 15.05 - 16.05

~ By Tommy
I have seen great concerts with Grave Digger in various clips and dvd's throughout the years, so I know they are fully capable of pulling it off, but the few times I have seen them live it has been early in the day with a scaled down show and setlist, so I have always been slightly disappointed. This concert is unfortunately no exception from that.

With a new (and unexpected, since he had just recently and a bit unnoticed in the media replaced long time member Stefan Arnold) drummer behind the ranks the groove is still there, accompanied by Axel Ritt's steady riffs, but there was something missing. The feeling of another day at work was constantly hanging over the gig and since the setlist was, in my eyes, a bit unfit for a festival crowd, the concert did not really take off at any point. A weird choice of songs and a bit of a lame mood on stage caused the concert to lose momentum several times and resulted in a lower grade than I know they are capable of.

Performance: 5,5 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 7 chalices of 10
: Rebellion (The Clans Are Marching)
: The lack of energy/the setlist

Healed By Metal
Witch Hunter
Killing Time
Ballad of a Hangman
The Dark of the Sun
Season of the Witch
Highland Farewell
Rebellion (The Clans Are Marching)
Heavy Metal Breakdown

Band: Sodom
Fire Stage 16.10 - 17.10

~ By Tommy
With an almost completely new lineup compared to the one they were supposed to play here at Gefle Metal Festival with last year, but had to cancel due to health reasons, Sodom took the stage. Among the new members are the ex-guitarist Frank Blackfire, much to the fans' liking, and due to - finally, I might say - an additional guitarist (Yorck Segatz) and also Stefan Hüskens (Asphyx) behind the drums, we were presented a steady rhythm section, to say the least.

Focus was put on older and faster songs, which bass player and band leader Tom Angelripper has said he has been wanting to play for quite some time but was not able to because of the capacity of some of the old band members, and that went down really well among the crowd. I am personally more fond of the later half of the band's disography so I was not really fully down with the set list, although objectivly great. The sound was really good and the band radiated a new found energy which looks good for the coming decade, because this gave the impresion of a running and steaming train that has no plans on stopping any time soon.

Performance: 7 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 8 chalices of 10
: Tired and Red/the drive and energy
: The lack of modern songs

My Atonement/The Conqueror
Sodomy and Lust
Outbreak of Evil
Christ Passion
The Saw Is the Law
One Step Over the Line
Agent Orange
Strange Lost World
Tired and Red
Remember the Fallen
Silence Is Consent

Band: Soulfly
Goat Stage 17.15 - 18.15

~ By Mozzy
Max Cavalera has performed at this location before, with Cavalera Conspiracy at Getaway Rock Festival in 2010. This time, it is not his brother Igor but his son Zyon that is behind the drum kit and he demonstrates his talent straight away in intense opener Frontlines. The set continues with popular tracks from the older albums, but we are also treated to a song from the next album Ritual by the name of The Summoning.

Max is a bit more physically active onstage compared to when I last saw him, although perhaps not throughout the gig. His charisma, passion and trademark power vocals remain the same, however. Bassist Mike Leon has replaced Tony Campos, who departed in 2015, well and he is more animated onstage, similar to the ever busy and skilful Mark Rizzo on guitar.

The only Sepultura song played this time is Roots Bloody Rooots, and as expected it stirs up a passionate response. Towards the end of the set, we are treated to a couple of fun moments. First, Entombed's Brazilian guitarist Guilherme Miranda comes out to help Leon with some tribal drumming. Then, the Napalm Death classic You Suffer is covered before a couple of older staples, Jumpdafuckup and Eye For An Eye, conclude an pleasant hour in the company of Soulfly.

Performance: 7 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 7 chalices of 10
: ---
: ---

The Dark Ages
Fire / Porrada
Blood Fire War Hate
The Summoning
No Hope = No Fear
Bleed / Plata o Plomo
Roots Bloody Roots
Back To The Primitive
You Suffer
Eye For An Eye

Band: Carcass
Goat Stage 19.25 - 20.35

~ By Mozzy
It has now been five years since Carcass' comeback record Surgical Steel. After intro track 1985 builds the mood, 316L Grade Surgical Steel from said comeback kicks things off formidably. While fans are longing for another album, it is soon clear that the band has no problem packing their live set with quality material. The awesome Buried Dreams is next and is followed by more class, both golden oldies and tracks from Surgical Steel. The set flows perfectly as well, with one tune seamlessly intertwined with the next, even though some songs are not played in full.

Few bands combine aggression and melody as brilliantly as Carcass do. New guitarist Tom Draper partners Bill Steer well, whether playing the tremendous riffs or the superb melodies and harmonies Steer is the mastermind of. The stage sound is great and clear too, emphasising the great instrumental work which includes the drumming of Daniel Wilding. Add the distinctive voice of Jeff Walker and the formula is complete.

Aside from the great music, Carcass are always enjoyable to watch when it comes to their appealing attitude onstage. They don't take themselves too seriously and simply play their music and have a natural bond with the audience. While showcasing his typical dry English humour and self-mocking, Walker also throws out a good number of beers to the crowd which no doubt increases the mood even more.

My feeling while watching Carcass is one of pure bliss, and the quartet get a very warm response from the crowd. That music within the extreme metal field can generate such feelings is wonderful indeed. Then again, we are dealing with one of the premier groups in said field, and that they decided to return to the scene after all is a blessing.

Performance: 9 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 9 chalices of 10
: The whole Carcass package
: ---

316L Grade Surgical Steel
Buried Dreams
Incarnated Solvent Abuse
No Love Lost
Unfit for Human Consumption
Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System
Captive Bolt Pistol
Edge of Darkness (intro)/This Mortal Coil/Death Certificate
Genital Grinder/Exhume to Consume/Reek Of Putrefaction
Black Star (intro)/Keep On Rotting In The Free World
Corporal Jigsore Quandary/The Sanguine Article
Ruptured in Purulence/Heartwork/Carneous Cacoffiny

Band: Belphegor
Fire Stage 20.40 - 21.50

~ By Tommy
I discovered this band just a few months before this festival, so my knoledege of them was very limited on beforehand, even though I ran some intensive listening rounds prior to the weekend. I can not compare this to any previous gigs, but I was very satisfied with what I got here. The sound was massive, and the setup was nice, although not much of a show to talk about.

I was somewhat hooked by what I had heard on albums up to this point and this indeed turned out to be a gig as solid as I had expected. The show was a bit static, but that was conpensated by the clear melodies and articulated vocals on a fat foundation which as a whole resulted in a very pleasant sound landscape. I'd sure catch this band again when I have the chance.

Performance: 7 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 8 chalices of 10
: ---
: ---

Sanctus Diaboli Confidimus
Totenkult - Exegesis of Deterioration
The Devil's Son
Belphegor - Hell's Ambassador
Swinefever - Regent of Pigs
Stigma Diabolicum
Conjuring the Dead/Pactum in Aeternum
Lucifer Incestus
Gasmask Terror
Diaboli Virtus in Lumbar Est

Band: Behemoth
Fire Stage 16.10 - 17.10

~ By Tommy
I have used the term 'well oiled machine' several times when describing a show by Behemoth, and I can think of no way to be able to leave the expression out this time either. Due to extensive touring over the past years, the show grows mightier and more massive every time I see them, this being the fifth.

Beholding a gig with Gemehoth is a like watching a very well choreographed and meticulously performed stage play, and with the type of music as a foundation it is a sweaty time we are in for. The deliverance is flawless, with millimeter precision and impeccable tightness, and I dare saying this is the best concert I have seen with them so far. They grow and develop slowly but very steady for every tour cycle.

The closing of the drama is nothing but breathtaking when the stage is drowned in smoke, the final notes of the last song fades out but the chanting goes on for minutes and than suddenly comes to a halt and the smoke vanishes and the stage is empty and we are left in a sea of silence. Such a great ending to a great show. I think I forgot to breathe for a minute a few times during the course.

Performance: 9 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 8 chalices of 10
: The show as a whole
: ---

Ov Fire and the Void
Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
Conquer All
Messe Noire
Wolves ov Siberia
Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel
At the Left Hand ov God
Decade of Therion
Slaves Shall Serve
Chant for Eschaton 2000
O Father O Satan O Sun!

Band: Venom
Fire Stage 23.30 - 00.45

~ By Mozzy
The legendary Venom start their set with We The Loud, the B-side from last year's 100 Miles To Hell single. Apparently it is a live debut, and the title track follow a little later. It is a cool move, but it is most doubtful that all in the audience are familiar with these songs. Similarly, the first half of the setlist comprises largely of material from more recent albums. Although the delivery from the band is solid and committed, with drummer Jackal standing in for the injured Dante, the response from the crowd is half-hearted.

Then, when classics like Welcome To Hell and Countess Bathory appear, the atmosphere is lifted and the metalheads in the audience who have partied all day are energised. The set is concluded with anthems Black Metal and In League With Satan amid a passionate roar. The absence of Witching Hour is disappointing, however. All in all, a nice set from Venom but also uneven and not that exciting.

Performance: 6 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 7 chalices of 10
: In League With Satan
: Smoke

We The Loud
The Death Of Rock 'n' Roll
100 Miles To Hell
Buried Alive
Long Haired Punks
Welcome To Hell
Countess Bathory
The Evil One
Pedal To The Metal
Black Metal
In League With Satan

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Saturday - July 14

Band: Coroner
Fire Stage 18.20-19.20

~ By Tommy
Not the best concert of the weekend, but at least the festival's biggest surprise, in a most positive way. There are a few three-piece bands in the scene that manage to sound like a five or six man squad, and Coroner belongs to them. Visually speaking it was very black and bland (the backdrop, the band's clothes, everything), but it never became boring for one second. One big factor of joy throughout the concert was to behold the skills of guitarist Tommy T. Baron.

Even though their music is quite technical and I didn't knew some of the newer songs quite as well as the older ones, they never for one second lost my interest. With a rich and full sound accompanied by vocalist/bassist Ron Royce's impressive and flawless voice they lay down one hit after the other. The crowd for sure enjoyed it, and I left very satisfied. This is a band that I definitely would like to see again sometime soon, mostly for the sheer musicality of it.

Performance: 8 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 9 chalices of 10
: Reborn Through Hate/the overall sound
: ---

Golden Cashmere Sleeper
Internal Conflicts
Serpent Moves
Divine Step (Conspectu Mortis)
Semtex Revolution
Tunnel of Pain
Masked Jackal
Grin (Nails Hurt)
Reborn Through Hate
Die by My Hand

Band: At The Gates
Goat Stage 19.25 - 20.35

~ By Mozzy
After performing with The Lurking Fear during the afternoon, Tomas 'Tompa' Lindberg, Jonas Stålhammar and Adrian Erlandsson take the stage again, now with their main band At The Gates. The title track from the newly released To Drink From The Night Itself is first off and we get another three new tracks which also go down well with the audience. These include A Stare Bound In Stone which frontman Lindberg brands 'dance friendly' and the colossally heavy The Colours Of The Beast which is played for the second time, informs Lindberg.

From 2015's At War With Reality, no less than seven tracks are picked. This means that over half of the set is made up the group's two latest albums which is quite unusual for such an established act, but in this case less so since the excellence of the material. In fact, The Book Of Sand (The Abomination) receives one of the strongest responses during the set.

Even so, the crowd's affection of the 90's material is obvious. The participation during the older numbers, not least regarding the glorious Slaughter Of The Soul tunes, is louder and more fervent. George 'Corpsgrinder' Fischer from Cannibal Corpse is one of the happy spectators, demonstrating his air guitar skills from the side of the stage.

Tompa Lindberg is his usual energetic and cheerful self, having a great connection with the crowd. His bandmates perform the great music with usual proficiency and although it is initially odd not to see Anders Björler on guitar, his replacement Stålhammar is doing a good job.
Altogether, this is yet another strong display by one of Sweden's most revered metal bands.

Performance: 8 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 7 chalices of 10
: ---
: ---

To Drink From The Night Itself
Slaughter Of The Soul
At War With Reality
A Stare Bound In Stone
The Circular Ruins
El Altar Del Dios Desconocido
Death And The Labyrinth
The Colours Of The Beast
Under A Serpent Sun
The Chasm
Heroes And Tombs
Suicide Nation
The Book Of Sand (The Abomination)
Blinded By Fear
Kingdom Gone
The Night Eternal

Band: Cannibal Corpse
Fire Stage 20.40 - 21.50

~ By Mozzy
Cannibal Corpse delivered a devastating performance at this site in 2010, at the first edition of Getaway Rock Festival, the predecessor of Gefle Metal Festival. Thus, it is great that one of the leading death metal bands and the one most successful sales-wise are back and it is surely one of the most anticipated concerts of the weekend. Three tracks from the latest album open the onslaught and then we get a selection of material from the impressive back catalogue. Aside from the brutal intensity and crushing heaviness, this group's death metal also consists of great hooks, riffs and groove.

That Cannibal Corpse are among the most professional and well-oiled live bands is nothing new. As usual, George 'Corpsegrinder' Fischer is an entertainer onstage, matching his powerful vocals with insane headbanging and amusing banter between songs. His colleagues are anonymous in comparison but play the music tight as hell with their usual expertise. Although it is all impressive to watch as always, I have seen Cannibal Corpse gigs where the members have had a bit more energy and fire than tonight. But as the band's inherent standard is so high, they deliver a very strong and warmly received display nonetheless.

Performance: 7,5 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 7 chalices of 10
: Hammer Smashed Face
: The slight feeling of routine

Code Of The Slashers
Only One Will Die
Red Before Black
Scourge Of Iron
Evisceration Plague
Scavenger Consuming Death
The Wretched Spawn
Pounded Into Dust
Kill Or Become
Devoured By Vermin
A Skull Full Of Maggots
I Cum Blood
Make Them Suffer
Stripped, Raped And Strangled
Hammer Smashed Face

Band: Children Of Bodom
Goat Stage 21.55 - 23.25

~ By Tommy
I have found Children Of Bodom a bit stale and bland as of the last years, both on albums and live, but this was an unexpectedly blistering performance. I felt there was definitely a good amount of new found energy on stage and the vocals of Alexi Laiho I thought was better than ever. The setlist was close to perfect and well balanced in my eyes, so this could not really go wrong and it sure did not.

More or less hit after hit being lined up made way for a really enjoyable gig and the audience where in it and showed their appreciation from start to finish. The tempo and intensity seemed to rise for every song until the end so they went out with a bang and the banner distinct in the air. A pleasant surprise since I had expected less.

Performance: 8 chalices of 10
Stage sound
: 8 chalices of 10
: The vitality
: ---

Are You Dead Yet?
In Your Face
Living Dead Beat
I Worship Chaos
Angels Don't Kill
Follow the Reaper
Bed of Razors
Hate Me!
Needled 24/7
Everytime I Die
Hate Crew Deathroll
Bodom After Midnight
Towards Dead End

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