A busy year for music. I've just returned from the Wacken Open Air
festival in Germany and right now the Summer Darkness festival is right around the corner here in my native Utrecht.
I mostly went to Wacken for Carcass who are doing a reunion tour. Carcass split up in 1996 but the band sure sounds refreshing and I must say they were probably the single best metal band at the festival. I first saw Carcass back in 1990 or something in a little venue called Scum. These were the early days of Grindcore, the sub-genre Carcass invented. Back in those days they were still only singing about horrendous medical stuff, accompanied on stage by police photographs of accidents, murderscenes and other gruesome stuff. Those days are gone and Carcass branched out into more melodic death metal. Carcass played a very solid set of about an hour with many old favorites from the first albums. Holy Moses singer Sabina Classen joined them on stage for one song and boy does she have a throat that many male metal singers would kill for. The most impressive moment though was when their old drummer joined the stage. Ken Owen has suffered a brain hemorrhage, spent 10 months in a coma, has had 2 brain operations but he's walking about again and even able to play a drumsolo, although not very fast anymore. I saw many hardcore metal-heads blinking away a tear at this point. Seeing Carcass again was definitely worth the admission price alone, but I saw many other great things including Mambo Kurt, Exodus, Nightwish, Iron Maiden (with an extremely sucky soundmix) and a chinese band called Voodoo Kungu
with mongolian influences in their music which was surprisingly refreshing after so many regular trash metalbands.
The biggest surprise of the festival was Corvus Corax though, a band that plays medieval music inspired by the Carmina Burana. Accompanied by some 30 gregorian singers, as well as a complement of cellos, violins, bagpipes, drums and even a conductor it was a truly memorable concert.
I took some pictures with a friends' camera but unfortunately I haven't been able to get those yet.
Back in Utrecht, the Summer Darkness festival is here. On wednesday I saw Within Temptation, a Dutch goth-metal band who I never heard of before. Apparently this is some kind of sin as they're quite famous but there you go. Yesterday I saw Sieben in Ekko (Hi Matt!), where I used to work about 10 years ago. Afterwards I went to a dance evening in Tivoli, where I spent most of the evening chatting to old friends I hadn't seen in ages (Hi Willemijn and Sietse). I got my iPhone this week so I uploaded some of the better pics to flickr
. The quality of the camera in the iPhone is a bit disappointing but then I'm a terrible photographer so I guess there are bigger problems than the 2 megapixel thing.
In any case, I must dash off now to have a shower before I meet my friends for an extra Sieben concert.