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THE VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE 10th ANNIVERSARY FESTIVAL

PENTACLE
DEW-SCENTED
MORRIGAN
SECRETS OF THE MOON
PAVOR
MARTIN VAN DRUNEN w/ BLOODY SIGN
INGURGITATING OBLIVION 

January 31, 2004 - Bremen, Germany - "Wehrschloss"

THE IDEA...

"A celebration of the 10th anniversary of VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE?“, some of you underground maniacs may have wondered about... Well, yeah... The timing was not exactly perfect, but to fully understand this, I gotta explain a couple things. Not all of you will probably be aware of the fact that VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE already exists a lot longer than issue # 1. In fact, the first time this name came into being (which, by the way, was obviously inspired by a certain tune of the godfathers of Death Metal, Morbid Angel, whom I worshipped to death at the time!) was way back in Juli of 1991. That month saw the birth of a regular two-pages Black and Death Metal column in a German Metal magazine called Horror Infernal. Over a period of 14 issues (the last column was to appear in issue # 43, which saw the light of day in April of 1993) I was compiling and presenting underground material exclusively to the German readers until I was sick and tired of the stupidity of the guys who used to run that magazine and decided to give it a try on my own (in English, because I was not interested to translate all the shit to the foreign bands and labels any longer, haha). Another very important aspect was, that I got so much material for each issue (a fact which has never changed to this day) that I needed more space to cover it (the column, that had already become a four-side feature, was still not big enough for it all). So, as a result, VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE - the zine, came into being sometime in 1993. And if you add the almost two year existence of the column to the eleven year existence of the zine... tataaaa - you get 13 years (oooops...!). 13?! Hmm... not really good for an anniversary, but then again, there was a period of silence in between the last printed magazine (# 10, in 1997) and the resurrection on the web in 2000, so in total this should make 10 fuckin’ years, hahaha... But you know what? In reality it was completely different! Ramon simply came up to me with the idea (sometime in 2003) to do a VOICES festival in order to celebrate its overall long existence by now. We never really counted the years, but were lucky enough that it surprisingly fitted in the end, hahaha.

THE PREPARATIONS...

As soon as I realized that Mr.Claassen wasn’t joking about this whole idea, fellow VOICES writer Nhashi was already on board and together we were discussing the possible bands to contact for that event. After several pretty unrealistic suggestions, we ended up with a list of six bands and were lucky enough that all of them were ready and willing to accept Ramon and Nhashi’s offers. Contracts were made, the promotion for the festival begun and tickets went on sale. Unfortunately LUNAR AURORA, who were one of the original six bands, backed off shortly after (due to personal problems), so we had to find a replacement rather quick... A big thanx goes out to SECRETS OF THE MOON who stepped into the picture right away!

PROBLEMS... 
   
Even though the whole festival turned into a big success (a lot bigger than we actually expected!), there's been a couple of problems, that we would like to mention here as well... (fs)

Delays

The reason why the doors were opened considerably later than planned was partly due to the fact that the backline came pretty late. But what caused most of the delay, though, was that there had been a misunderstanding: vendor Alex thought all the space in front of the toilets was for his booth. So when the bands started looking for a place to sell their merchandise, the pretty small corner was completely taken by Alex already. Of course he wasn’t too happy with the situation, as well as the bands. So the sudden hurry and the misunderstanding led to the bands not having a chance to sell their merch and for the delay at the doors. There wasn’t enough room at the Wehrschloss that night anyway. But as far as I remember, INGURGITATING OBLIVION started pretty much at the scheduled time, namely 5:45 p.m. (rc)

Sold out!

Honestly, we didn’t expect so many people to show up! We started selling tickets pretty early, yet around Christmas we had got rid of only a handful. Then, all of a sudden, people were starting to buy tickets like crazy, online and directly in Bremen. So the people from Bremen who didn’t get a ticket at the Wehrschloss actually had lots of time in advance, sorry. Personally, I didn’t find the time to see how many people had to be sent home: Nordpol-Event’s Kerstin said it was at least 30 guys but I also heard something like 100! I’m really wondering why people were not only willing to spend more money for their tickets at the door but were also risking not to get in at all! I mean, if we had sold all 300 tickets in December or so, we might have had the time to book a bigger venue! (rc)

Nazi stuff

After the festival we unfortunately had to find out that CDs of a rather controversial NS act also got sold at the merchandise table, so we asked merchandiser Alex for a statement regarding this subject: "Yes, unfortunately it's true. I got CDs from Spain the Friday before the festival and foreign CDs mostly get send to me without their plastic boxes... Due to lack of time my sister always puts them together for me, and I suppose she didn't recognize those particular discs and simply added them to my merchandise boxes. I personally didn't even notice them at the festival because we had to leave them in the merchandise boxes as there was not enough space at the venue. Late at night, when I finally saw the stuff, I took them out of the merchandise boxes, but by then it was obviously too late already. I would never have ordered them if I would've known the full name of the band, but the asshole with whom I traded stuff with, offered them to me only as "HK" and the description "raw Black Metal"..." (fs)

Sound and other problems

When PENTACLE were doing their soundcheck the sound was still pretty good ... During the festival the sound of MORRIGAN, MARTIN VAN DRUNEN and PENTACLE was pretty acceptable to me as well (apart from the microphone problems at Martin's gig), SECRETS OF THE MOON and in particular PAVOR unfortunately really had a poor sound though. I have no idea why it changed so much that night... (nh)

a couple of facts

308 tickets were sold; the doors opened 40 minutes too late; INGURGITATING OBLIVION started their set 10 minutes later as planned, which caused an overall delay of 30 minutes by the time PENTACLE played (mainly because the drum kit had to be changed for PAVOR's set), 62 boxes of beer were drunken; one person hurt himself while diving off the stage - he crashed on the floor, lost a tooth and even remained unconcious for a while; one fist-fight with a "happy" end...
 

THE BANDS...


 
Setlist:

1. Unfolding
2. A Poet’s Fingernails
3. Nothingness
4. Veil of Perception
5. Poetry of the Flesh
6. Deconstructed Creature 
 
» Picture gallery

Shortly after the doors had finally been opened, INGURGITATING OBLIVION from Oldenburg, Germany had to hit the stage already. Not so bad after all because people were already taking over the ‘Wehrschloss’ in masses! After a short intro called 'Unfolding', INGURGITATING took off with 'A Poet’s Fingernails' from their “Cadence And Perspective In Desolation” demo and the crowd already reacted pretty good! Voices contributor F. Cthulhu E. was dancing his hypnotizing snakedance again and singer and voices-contributor Uli showed us how good an oldschool Death Metal voice can sound like. 'Nothingness', another song from that older “Cadence…” demo was next. The rest of their set entirely consisted of new tracks from their brand new demo entitled “Poetry Of The Flesh” which is a little more compact and therefore easier accessible (although some of the riffs are really from outer space). As time went by, the audience seemed to get more into their evil spheres and it was almost getting crowded in front of the stage. You’ll not going to see this at too many festivals – thanks a lot to all those dedicated Metal fans who came to celebrate with us! What was the sound like? No idea – in the front row it was good. An enjoyable gig indeed and I’m sure INGURGITATING OBLIVION made quite a few friends that evening although I have to admit that their stage performance itself wasn’t exactly professional yet. They’re excellent musicians but that silence in between the songs can be deadly. It wasn’t as terrible as DEATH tuning their guitars for ages but still: this way any band might lose their grip on the people and consequently, they will have to recapture them for every single song. Maybe from now on singer Uli can think of something more to say at least. Second guitar player “Sushi” as well as bass player Henning also need a bit too much time to lifen up but as this was only their second gig with the new line-up, I’m sure it’s going to improve in the future. After all, Heavy Metal is entertainment, especially in a live situation! Or what about hiring a choreographer? What’s his name again? Dee? Harrharr…  I guess they simply need to play out live more often. Apart from that, INGURGITATING definitely proved that they were not only booked for the show because two of their members belong to the Voices staff! Oh, yeah: their old fans probably missed their ‘hit single’ 'Nyarlathotep' from the “Thought-Cathedral” album. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time for that one. For those who missed the band: check out their website because there are already new gigs confirmed – late March in Oldenburg, for example. Of course you can order their CDs there as well. www.ingurgitating-oblivion.de (rc)

Setlist:
1. Parricide (PESTILENCE)
2. The Incarnation Of Lust (ASPHYX)
3. The Usurper (CELTIC FROST cover w/ Wannes of PENTACLE as guest vocalist)
 
» Picture gallery

Right after INGURGITATING OBLIVION it was time for former PESTILENCE, ASPHYX, BOLT THROWER frontman Martin van Drunen to enter the stage. Considering his still very strong reputation within the underground (and his absence from the public for many years now) it was quite a  legendary moment that a lot of people in the crowd obviously were eagerly awaiting. Backed up with members of the French Death Metal hopefuls BLOODY SIGN (featuring Voices contributor Nathaniel Colas on bass), Martin still proved to be a totally professional, down to earth type of guy with a lot of experience on his back. Unfortunately the rather short gig was overshadowed with technical problems right from the start, so that during the PESTILENCE song 'Parricide', which kicked things off very impressively, his microphone went out of business! Even though problems like that were about to continue that evening a couple of times (especially when it came to the poor sound), Martin and the guys continued on with a lot of enthusiasm nevertheless. 'The Incarnation Of Lust', an ASPHYX song off "The Last One On Earth" album (that had never before been performed live!) was next and the crowd went nuts, finally being able to actually hear his unique voice, which still sounds as strong as many years ago. It was such a pleasure to witness all of the guys on stage, simply because this wasn't about technical perfection or anything, but just for the fun aspect of it. And it became even better, cause for the third (and unfortunately already last) song, a cover of CELTIC FROST's 'The Usurper', Martin asked PENTACLE's Wannes Gubbels to get up on stage and to perform the song with him together! Two former ASPHYX vocalists on one stage ("...and they even get along..." as Wannes mentioned later on with a big smile on his face), a happening which never ever took place before, and even was about to be continued once more later that night... awesome!! To me (and certainly to many other people that night) this was already the first highlight of the festival. Next time Martin definitely should do a whole set and not only this short and spontaneous appearance! (fs)


 
Setlist:
1. Inflictor Of Grimness
2. Perplexer: Perdition Projectile
3. Corpses
4. Pavor
5. Furioso
6. Fucked By Darkness
7. Dilettante's Dilemma 
 
» Picture gallery

This was the first PAVOR show since the release of their incredible second album "Furioso" and it was their first show for years... So I was really looking forward and quite curious to witness this event of virtuosity, complexity and brutality. My expectations were fucking high. But unfortunately things didn't work out as wished. To be honest this show was nothing but a big disappointment. But that's definitely not caused by the band, it seemed that the circumstances and the incompetent sound man just worked against PAVOR. During the complete first two songs not a single instrument came out of the PA... I was "lucky" enough to stand in the first row so I was able to hear the drums and the voice plus some bass over the monitor system. Later the guitar, the voice and the bass found their way through the PA, but still in the worst and most shitty sound quality I've ever heard. During the whole set the voice never was loud enough, the bass was only audible for some seconds now and then but mostly not. And that's more than deadly for such a complex, skilled and virtuous song material. The band did the best in that situation and delivered the energetic, brutal and intense show I expected. Especially bass player Rainer acted like a headbanging insaniac. But as mentioned before the more than poor sound quality made it impossible for the audience to enjoy this show. I saw PAVOR several times live on stage in the mid 90s and so I know that this band is able to perform their songs in a proper way and to deliver a brutal show ...  and I'm sure they will proof that during their next shows. (ha)


 
Setlist:
1. Crowns
2. Cosmogenesis
3. Miasma
4. Epoch
5. Psychoccult Hymn
6. Evolution Valour Admission
7. Nemesis 
 
» Picture gallery

The German occult machinery SECRETS OF THE MOON had to fight with a bad sound as well – especially the vocals of S. Golden were far too quiet, yet the experience of those Black Metallers made them going unhurt through that struggle. Surprisingly unhurt stayed Thrawn, drummer of the three-piece, when out of a sudden one of the toms came down and was no longer of use. He however fabulously managed the rest of the set with one tom only – and that part of the drumkit got exchanged between SECRETS... and MORRIGAN. Musicwise SECRETS were convincing as always, although I personally think it to be quite risky to include only one “old” song (even that one was from their “Stronghold...”-album, so nothing really “classic”) and besides only play new songs that, except for a compilation-track (‘Miasma’) in an underground magazine, were unknown to most of the audience because all of them were from their forthcoming full-length. It nevertheless worked surprisingly well, they had a large crowd in front of the stage, the venue was overfilled and stayed so during the complete gig and that without even much communication between band and audience. Their typical “arrogance” on stage – to be understood in a positive way here – helped a lot to create that magic atmosphere necessary to a Black Metal-event that such few bands can create. And the music simply spoke for itself since I have seen many persons keeping their mouth shut after the gig although they wanted to ridicule SECRETS as a typical panda-outfit before. I have seen SECRETS OF THE MOON now probably 5-7 times at least, but they simply never become boring and they did not this time as well. Definitely the best band of the evening and I hope that they finally will get the recognition they deserve since SECRETS OF THE MOON is one of the few bands in the genre that does not need to impress with backstabbing or being loudmouths. (nh)


 
Setlist:
1. Warstained Iron
2. Beyond The Green Hills
3. This Bitch Will Burn At Night
4. In Memoriam
5. Mists Of Mag Da Chéo
6. Thy Armagesddon
7. Carrion Of War
8. Reapperance
9. The arrival Of Dana
10. Morrigan
11. The Return... 
 
» Picture gallery

To put it quite frank MORRIGAN were besides the mighty PENTACLE the band with the best sound on the festival, it seems as if it was easier for the soundguy to deal with just one guitar...hehe. I really looked forward to finally see this band unleash their massively BATHORY-inspired sound live and I think the audience was not disappointed. In fact I was even a little surprised about how good Balor and Beliar managed to deliver the intensity and supreme atmosphere of their music on stage. Especially during the mid-tempo parts the people in the “frontline” were banging furiously, raised their fists to the hymns of heathen ancestry and the two Celts performed a rousing and vigorous set even fellow Voices-writer Christoph – self declared Black Metal foe – at least considered “ok”, which is one of the biggest compliments a Black Metal band will ever receive from him! Although one might call Beliar’s “ohoho” vocal parts a little one-dimensional, he definitely proves on the new album “Celts” that he can vary this scheme a lot!!! Well, since I had some beers by the time MORRIGAN were playing I can only recall a new tune, an awesome version of ‘In Memoriam’ off the “Plague, Waste And Death” album and a solid cover of BATHORY’s ‘The Return Of Darkness and Eviiiillll’. Besides PENTACLE this gig was my personal highlight of the festival and a great break from the complex Death Metal the previous bands delivered... (sf)


 
Setlist:
1. Unconditional
2. New Found Pain
3. Soul Poison
4. Bitter Conflict
5. Cities Of The Dead
6. Destination Hell
7. One By One
8. Locked In Motion
9. Reprisal
10. Acts Of Rage 
 
» Picture gallery

When German top-notch extreme Thrashers DEW-SCENTED entered the stage, the Wehrschloß was packed again. The numerous band shirts around and people in front of the stage proved that German Thrash Metal still has got a huge following. The reactions of the audience were good but not too euphoric, the moshpit demanded by Leif did not last very long and only one or two stagedivers were seen, seemed like most people were saving their energy for the long evening and happy with watching the bands rather passively. The band started off with full throttle and held that high-speed throughout the whole set. As a well-rehearsed band with lots of live experience the five of them exerted themselves completely, the four guys in the front banged their heads like hell and Uwe in the back showed his excellent drumming skills. The setlist exclusively featured own songs from the last two albums “Impact“ and “Inwards“, although it would have been nice to hear older material or some of the coversongs the band did so far, e.g. 'War Ensemble' by Slayer, but I understand that you cannot please everyone on a festival with limited time for each band. All in all, the band's commitment was on the very positive side but, as many other bands on that evening, they suffered from the crappy sound, only the drum sound was excellent from the beginning, the guitars were not loud enough and some of the detailed guitar leads went down the drain. Even though the sound became better during the set, it was far from being perfect, I think the sound engineer made some ememies that evening, haha. Despite this minor difficulty, DEW-SCENTED definitely made the best of the given situation and played their asses off, thumbs up! (cg)


  
Setlist:
1. For I am Chaos!
2. Walking Upon Damnation's Land
3. Black At Heart
4. ...Rides The Moonstorm
5. Witch Of Hell (DEATH cover w/ Martin van Drunen)
6. Divus De Mortuus (NECROVORE cover)
7. St. Nazaire (Working title)
 
» Picture gallery

The audience was quite tired to be squeezed in the too small venue and also some Metalheads there felt their heart slowly beating in a less and less normal way due to the lack of beer, but all of a sudden PENTACLE invaded the stage and thus all trace of tiredness was blown away! Hell, even if the guys from PENTACLE had to wait during a fucking loooong time before they could play their set, one can say that they were 100 per cent there, and totally effective. And they had the good idea to start the set with the magnificent song 'For I Am chaos' which suited quite well to the ambient of the evening, ha! A good surprise was that PENTACLE had quite a good sound. The bass was bombastic and ripped the chests of the maniacs in the front row. The guitars were loud and aggressive enough, but the drums were a bit buried in the back. Still it was not that problematic to fully enjoy the set. One can say that Wannes Gubbels is really a charismatic frontman, if you only look at him for a minute or two while he's performing, you can only stay and watch the whole concert, because he really grips your attention! And that was cool, because the stage was really very small and thus the 2 guitarists as well as Wannes were not allowed to move a lot. It was also great to see PENTACLE performing with its 2 new members, namely Robert on drums, who is really a great successor to Marc, and Alex on the second guitar, who's the little brother of Mike! It was great to have two guitars on stage, so that the tracks were as powerful as on the releases, and even more catchy from time to time! I take for proof the brilliant way the guys played 'Walking Upon Damnation's Land', originally recorded with KK Warslut as a guest vocalist on the "Ancient Death" mini lp, which totally crushed! Wannes is really a talented singer and he knows how to give enough variations to his voice to turn every song into something unique and that fullfills the air with the magic of the old Death Metal bands like CELTIC FROST, POSSESSED, and the likes. Then followed the hymn 'Black At Heart', which ended with a really cool drum solo where Robert could show how violently he can hit his kit... Really cool! Not so many Metal bands are proposing drum solos nowadays! And then it was time to get one of the best titles from PENTACLE ever: "...Rides The Moonstorm'! Argh! What else can I say??? This fucking crushed, and believe me, it was really great to have the 2 guitars on this one. Really a tremendous piece of ancient Death Metal in our faces! But then, a little surprise was invited to jump on stage, in form of a skinny Dutch guy, with long gray hair, and a very unique voice... Yeah, Martin van Drunen came to share the vocals on DEATH's 'Witch Of Hell'!!! It was really cool to see two of the best dutch Death Metal vocalists sharing the stage for the second time of the event! But Martin lost himself in the middle of the song and then was no more able to put his voice on the good parts! HAHAHAHA!!! It was fucking funny, and chaotic! So he just growled and banged his head until the torture was over! The guys on stage were laughing quite much and so did the people in the audience, haha! Fucking good time! Still PENTACLE had not delivered all the goods and thus followed another cover song from an almighty defunct necro act called NECROVORE!!! Yeah, we had the chance to enjoy 'Divus De Mortuus', which originally appeared on the '87 rehearsal from NECROVORE, played by PENTACLE, which shall record this song for a NECROVORE tribute soon! Hell! This was fucking killer, and Wannes' voice fits very well on this song! As usual, PENTACLE is really talented to play covers! So you can imagine the crowd banging even more than usual!!! And then came the end of the set. So the dudes decided to play a new song which has 'St. Nazaire' as a working title. It has shown that PENTACLE keeps on producing great material. It is in the vein of the stuff on "Ancient Death", mixed with the ones on "The Fifth Moon"!!! Very good! The band keeps on evolving without forgetting its roots, and it made me more curious than ever to listen to their new split ep with BLOOD STORM that shall be released soon, as well as to the rest of the new songs. Anyway for all those who don't know what to expect because of the two new members, I want to say that the good old "ancient feeling" still rules!!!! HAIL DEATH! (nc)   

VARIOUS  

All those of you who weren't able to celebrate this whole event with us (or those who were) can check out some "behind the scenes" shots in the following picture gallery. Thanx again to all people who made this festival such a great event.  » Picture gallery

Just in case you would like to check out some other opinions on the festival, go --> here for 3 more festival reports (all of them are in German though)... More picture (courtesy of "www.Radio-Gehacktes.de" you will find --> here.
  
The feature was co-written by Ramon Claassen (rc), Nhashi (nh), Stefan Franke (sf), Hacker (ha), Christoph Göbel (cg), Nathaniel Colas (nc) and Frank Stöver (fs).

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