Neurotic Deathfest 12 Part II: Live at 013, Tilburg NL



Sunday also started out very slowly, people were slow, I was slow, my friends were slow. This was hangover day and we were finding remedies for them. After trying milk, coffee and a good breakfast we were feeling more OK. And then we went up to see Internal Suffering. But once again we notice, this band was a victim of the bad sound. I hope this gets better when the 013 had its renovation. We left soon and spent more time waking up. It was hard to get on track this day and you noticed that the news that this was the last neurotic deathfest slightly put some sadness over some people. Imagine the old-school rockers that have been there all 12 editions. That must be a big loss for them. I have only been there four, and I even felt like I lost something.

All good things come to an end and we are going to listen to the last sounds of battering drums, shreiking guitars and grunts that almost make you sick in your stomach. The last few breaths of utter pain.

We went up to the smallest stage which is going to disappear after the renovation for the last time for Neuroma. These happy British guys know how to add in a good dose of humor. I still need to meet the singer’s grandma, he promised that from the stage. There we stood for a nice piece of brutal death, and we got a little bit of a comedy show too. This made this show even more enjoyable. The music was good! I think without the cunningness of their singer I wouldn’t have enjoyed them this much. It does count if you ask me.

Crowdsurfer at Neurotic Deathfest, by Susanne A. Maathuis

Crowdsurfer at Neurotic Deathfest, by Susanne A. Maathuis


So been there, done that, got a t-shirt. We were really looking forward to seeing Immolation. But that still took a while and because it was such good weather we decided to go away from the festival and search out a nice little terrace. Just 30 meters from the 013 there is a long street with only bars and clubs. People who have been to NDF or Roadburn before must know about this street. In the south of The Netherlands we are used to quite a burgondic life and with that nice food and nice beers and wines go along with it. We don’t deal with shit. That is why you seldom see Heineken in this area. We are keen to Belgian beers and definitely Belgian special beers. Speaking about special beers, on the end of the street where you almost enter the city center you have a café called the “buitenbeentje”, which simply means “outsider”. This is a café with the cheapest beer in whole of Tilburg, and they also have a great variety of special beers and whiskeys. And you can go cheap, or even expensive if you feel like it.

Immolation, by Susanne A. Maathuis

Immolation, by Susanne A. Maathuis

We went back and head for Immolation, this time they were only with 3 members. One guitarist had a family emergency back home and stayed home. It was a little bit empty when Robert Vigna started playing his virtuous solo’s. He is always so much fun to watch, it always looks like he is having a party on his own on the stage with his happy face: “look mom! I make death metal”. I love it. Immolation did show that even when a member short, they can still put up some good old death metal! It was tight, but it sounded different. But that is more than logical if you ask me.

And then we got Obituary. This actually was the first time I’ve seen this band, so I was pretty excited about what to come. These guys are legendary and one of the founders of this genre. I somehow needed to see this band and I don’t get why I haven’t done that before.

Obituary, by Susanne. A. Maathuis

Obituary, by Susanne. A. Maathuis

Obituary started to play and it immediately turned into a big pit of epileptic people in the front. It was notable that there were a lot of die-hard fans in the audience. They came with a sound that was unbreakable and the best sound I have heard on Neurotic up untill now! I enjoyed this. One song also got dedicated to the recently passed local “Fozz Bear” which gave me and a lot more Tilburgians quite some goosebumps. Obituary performed a great show with a lot of passion. And for that we thank them.

But now the unthinkable, Neurotic Deathfest was to an end, forever. The screens showed a huge “Thank you for 12 years of Death Metal” and all the posters of past editions. From the editions in the Baroeg in Rotterdam, to the Dynamo in Eindhoven, and the last years in the 013 in Tilburg.

Thank you Neurotic Deathfest for 4 years of death metal.


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Neurotic Deathfest 12 Part I: Live at 013, Tilburg NL


It was that time of the year! It was time for the annual festival full of Death, Grind and Slam metal. It was time for Neurotic Deathfest again. We were blessed with another year with extremely good weather and after drinking some beers at a local bar we strutted to the 013 venue. We are going to talk about the atmosphere, why do I always want to go to Neurotic Deathfest so bad, and I will highlight some bands.

The reason I love to go to Neurotic Deathfest is at first my love of death metal off course, but what also counts is that the 013 is comfortable. I live in the city of Tilburg, which means that I can sleep in my own bed and my whole group of buddys is headbanging or somewhere else in the city.

But this year was different. This year it was clear the atmosphere was different, ther was a cloud of astonishment hanging in the air. There was something going on, we were soon to find out. We hadn’t gone up to get a festival program, but when we did, we knew what was going on. This will be the last Neurotic Deathfest ever!

Farewell message from the Neurotic Deathfest Program

Farewell message from the Neurotic Deathfest Program

After hearing this news it kind of hit me like a bomb, Neurotic Deathfest was a statement for the city of Tilburg. Even Non-metalheads knew what was going on when this festival was in town again.

Dutch bands always represent on this festival and Koprse was one of them, the first pit is a fact and this venue was filled up. This was blasting to the max! We still had to warm up but we were ready for a party and Korpse made you feel like you wanted to party. So you got back from the venue with five extra beers in your stomach to go on to the next show.

Morgoth, by Susanne A. Maathuis

Morgoth, by Susanne A. Maathuis

Morgoth was a band that had high expectations for us. The big venue was still a bit quiet. It was not crowded enough to get the party going and get the feeling of a crowded place. Morgoth started to play and we noticed that this is a band that means serious shit. Nice piece of death metal with a tight hard and a sound that filled up the whole place with a nagging feeling. This band made me think of Asphyx for a bit, not for all of the music but more about the kick this band gives in your nuts.


Entombed A.D., by Susanne A. Maathuis

Entombed A.D., by Susanne A. Maathuis

Strutting around the venues there was a swirling mass of people, it got more crowded The more we got to the headliner Entombed A.D. the more people got excited.

Entombed A.D. for me the least interesting headliner. So I might have drifted away sometimes in the show. Though this band was dominant over the rest of the bands, they never stood on Neurotic Deathfest before but they rip this place apart. Front man LG Petrov shows that he enjoys doing this and isn’t afraid to show this to the audience. A golden shine rises from the stage and gets thrown upon the audience, they get wild. Entombed is a band from the first hour and the A.D. does add something to the name, but the music still stands tall. Good job guys, they definitely got me more interested into Entombed.

The Afterparty was headlined by the also Swedish band Tribulation. Tribulation and Entombed don’t have much in common though, but both bands do know how to show the audience some enthusiasm about their music.




Day 2 started way more crowded than the Friday. We all had the idea that Friday was very low on visitors. We were still having fun but it did something with the overall atmosphere, the 013 is more built for crowded concerts but not that much for a calm party. Maybe it was time for the last edition, the line up was interesting though even I have seen most of these bands before. If you wanted to explore new bands, you had some chances but most of the bands everybody has seen multiple times. It were good bands, you wont hear me complain about that.

Talking about good bands, let’s start about Disavowed, there is no better wake up call than Disavowed. This dutch band is a band we have to keep in mind, it was amazing and this front man Robbe Kok really shows what enthusiasm is. You could see he was happy to open the Saturday of Neurotic Deathfest for bands as Benighted and Bloodbath. With a swing he drops himself in the audience and climbs in the barriers. This is energetic and a bulk of energy a lot of bands could learn from. This band does not fly on autopilot.

Disavowed almost had a full venue and they opened on the main stage, this was in great contrast with the Friday where the main stage wasn’t filled up until Entombed. This was good for the overall atmosphere and coziness amongst all metalheads. There was enough beer to give a 3rd world country and food your bowels got mad about. Today you knew you were at a festival.

Friday I spoke about looking for new bands, and this was one of the perfect examples of one of these bands that I didn’t know and got completely siked about! PerfeCitizen is the loudest, hardest most brutal stuff I heard in years! This got in my ears that it was pure sweet ear-rapement. Already after hitting the first chord, if it even was one this band shows its hardness, but also their tightness and know how to play. This is one of the bands where the drummer will make it or break it, but he definitely made it. You don’t hear it often that you hear a drummer go this fast and tight like him. Jarda Haž shows what drumming is all about and it gets clear why this is called “Blastcore”. Missed this band? To bad, for me they were one of the best bands of Neurotic Deathfest.

Dead Congregation, by Susanne A. Maathuis

Dead Congregation, by Susanne A. Maathuis


One of my favorite genres is Deathdoom. Imagine a candle dripping slowly and oozing all over your table and drips on your toe to sometimes break open the gloomy feeling that came over you. One of these bands that perfectly know how to do this is Dead Congregation, it was time to throw some good old darkness into the audience. If it wasn’t for the soundguy, this band normally knows how to bring this feeling and make you feel naggy. This was just a shame, they became a victim of their own sound and this is why it didn’t really got to me this time.


Origin, by Susanne A. Maathuis

Origin, by Susanne A. Maathuis


As we already discussed there is a big amount of old friends we have seen on Neurotic already. Origin is one of these bands. And I understand why they ask them back all the time. This is just an awesome tight Techdeath band brought with a great bunch of humor from the singer. Straight from Origin we started waiting for Bloodbath, we wanted a good spot we were siked for this show. There were a lot of chatter going on: is this a new singer for Bloodbath? Is this going to work? Doesn’t it affect the sound? How will this affect the audience because this Nick Holmes (Paradise Lost) is a completely different kind of person than Mikael Akerfeldt.

Bloodbath, by Susanne A. Maathuis

Bloodbath, by Susanne A. Maathuis

We were waiting for what was going to come at us. The venue filled up. We had our beers already paid in front of our nose. You could hear the tension in the air. Bloodbath, not on an open-air festival and in such a setting. Then the venue went dark and we knew Bloodbath was gong to enter the stage and we would soon hear the first chords. This band is theatrical and sometimes maybe a bit plastic. It started as a tribute to old school Death Metal. The vocals were good. Actually very good! They went back to a more old-school sound. Though I am a big fan of Opeth and Mikael, and it is hard to admit for me, but I think I like Nick Holmes more in Bloodbath.





FESTIVAL PREVIEW: Neurotic Deathfest


The biggest and certainly best indoor death metal extravaganza of the festival season kicks off today as Neurotic Deathfest gets underway at 013 Club in Tilburg, NL. Now in its 12th year and still going strong, the 2015 NDF will feature 42 bands on three stages in total from all manner of death metal, grindcore and black metal greatness. Ghost Cult’s Dutch team will once again be on hand to bring our fans the review.

Friday has the benefit of a top band of the moment and a legendary name as the main headliners. Tribulation and Entombed A.D. will surely have the heads banging and drinks flowing. Tech death grind champs Devourment, the avant-garde minded Nader Sadek, and the back from the dead Morgoth are other can’t miss acts on Day 1. Soulburn and Sinister are two other choice names among others too.

Saturday reigns over nearly every fest in 2015 for the sheer murderers row of death metal royalty in a row with Obituary, Immolation, Broken Hope and Pyrexia. Whoa! Other good choices to get your brutal fix on for Day 2 include Internal Bleeding, Incinerate, Mass Infection and Bleeding Utopia. Stay hydrated my friends, this day will be a bumpy ride for the moshers!

To close the fest on Day 3 we are presented with a bit of old and a bit of new in the form of Bloodbath, Origin, Benighted, Dead Congregation and Gorod. Other worthy acts on this day also included Ingested, Jig-Al, Kronos, Acranius, and Slaughter to Prevail.

Entombed AD, Sinister Added to Neurotic Deathfest 2015

NDF 013 new poster

Neurotic Deathfest has announced that they have added ten new bands to the bill, including Entombed AD and brutal Dutch death metallers Sinister. With the bill nearly complete, and the fest less than two months away tickets are moving fast for this years’ 8th Edition, which is the largest indoor death metal festival in Europe, held at the legendary 013 venue in Tilburg, NL. Hate Eternal has been forced to cancel their appearance. Previously announced headline acts such as Obituary, Bloodbath, Devourment and Immolation lead a strong lineup. Tickets are on sale through

New bands added:

Entombed A.D. (SWE)
Sinister (NL)
Regurgitate Life (UK)
Hideous Divinity (IT)
Contrastic (CZ)
Perfecitizen (CZ)
The Walking Dead Orchestra (FR)
Near Death Condition (SWI)
Bleeding Utopia(SWE)
Abhorrent Decimation (UK)

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Venue info

Eindhoven Metal Meeting 2014 Preview


Eindhoven Metal Meeting a festival in the “burgundy south” of the Netherlands. Here the weathergods do not tell when it becomes winter, no, it is only winter when EMM is over. EMM, a.k.a. the Eindhoven Metal Meeting is a very established festival that celebrates in an extreme way. They don’t call themselves an extreme metal festival, but I guess 75% of the bands that will play at the 2014 edition you can definitely describe as Extreme Metal bands. Get your warpaint on, search for your battlejacket and dust off your army boots, EMM is not for the weak. Continue reading

Revelations – An Interview with Damnation Festival Curator Gavin McInally

damnation 2014 poster

In October 2005 a young Glaswegian, sick of the direction metal festivals were heading, realised a crazy notion and months of insane work with a raucous expression of rebellion in a dark, cavernous club in Manchester. Celebrating its tenth anniversary this November 1st, Gavin McInally still talks of Damnation Festival, now based at Leeds university, with infectious enthusiasm and pride.

I first asked the reasons behind picking Manchester for that first Damnation festival in 2005: “It was purely logistical. We had to face facts: in Glasgow, we’d possibly have struggled to get the numbers we were after. In London, we wouldn’t have had the following from Scotland or Wales. So we tried places like Sheffield, Bradford, and Nottingham, but Manchester had what we wanted at the time.”

So how did the idea became reality? “I knew nothing about the industry then. I was a fan who followed Download and Ozzfest, but I felt they were becoming tired. We had some great bands on our own doorstep – the likes of Charger and Sikth – and I thought ‘How hard can it be to find a pub to put half a dozen bands on?’. So a dozen of us set out on a bit of a crash course! I was a journalist by trade, so found it quite easy to contact the bands. Once they realised we weren’t offering a bag of peanuts to play, it soon became much bigger than the pub gig I’d envisaged! My lack of experience a challenge though. There was a lot behind the scenes I didn’t know, like any of the technical aspects required for a gig. We’ve got stage managers now so in comparison to then, it’s like night and day! We’d booked fourteen bands of a high calibre, and the guy at Jilly’s Rock World was pivotal in helping things run smoothly.”

I almost puked!”, he replies to my asking how he felt that morning. “Despite seeing the ticket sales; the message boards buzzing; and the bill fully realised: it doesn’t hit home until you see the people queuing outside. It’s then you think, ‘Shit! This isn’t a joke!’ By that point there was nothing I could do if something went wrong: it was all in the lap of the Gods. Last year, bizarrely, I could’ve left the venue and had a sleep. Everything was running so perfectly!”

There’s a small team involved in bringing this extreme extravaganza to us, helping Gavin at various stages of the process: “One by one over the years the original team fell away, but we’ve picked up some vital people. Our graphic designer, Bri, is responsible for all the posters you see, and for the way Damnation looks online: and Becky of course, our press officer, who deals with you guys! The core is me and Paul, based in Nottingham, and we deal with all the bookings, Facebook postings and correspondence, all the day to day stuff. Then of course we have freelance stage managers, engineers and venue staff who deal with stuff on the day.”

Damnation is renowned for staging some lesser-known acts, but it’s a situation Gavin is torn over. “It’s frustrating. We’d love to fill a venue with these guys, but we have to think realistically. Fans wouldn’t come to see 27 bands of that calibre. Putting a local band on a headline stage in a 1,000 capacity room, with 25 people watching, does nothing for the band, the festival or the fan. You need a Carcass or a My Dying Bride to make it worth the ticket money. It’s great to give that chance though: Iron Witch opened the fourth stage last year, and there was no room at the back. If 600 people watch and 500 of them stick a ‘like’ next to that band’s Facebook page after seeing them, fantastic. That’s why Damnation started in the first place. We’ve only around four slots to give to that level of band so we sit around and filter through to pick the best ones. Evile, who opened a stage in 2006, are probably the biggest example we’ve had. They were unsigned when we put them on, and we can’t take the credit for their success but to see them supporting the likes of Megadeth now is a great feeling.”

For this November, Raging Speedhorn and Bolt Thrower were the first to be confirmed. I felt that the former were core to the festival itself, having brought home the first event. “It’s a personal thing. The first metal gig I ever went to was Charger, Speedhorn and Amen, and I’m a massive fan. We don’t have a big habit of rebooking bands – nobody else has played more than twice – so it’s testament to how fondly they’re thought of here. They went out with a bit of a whimper but they’ve tried other things and come back. They’ve never had Frank at Damnation before, so to be doing their first two albums also, it’s going to be an unbelieveable show. Bolt Thrower? That in itself is incredible as they only play festival or two per year across the world, so to even be considered is unbelieveable. Tickets began to fly as soon as they were announced.. Some crazy bugger from Australia’s booked flights on the strength of that alone! We’ve also got Saint Vitus and Cannibal Corpse, so that’s some opening salvo! There are four or five others lined up for announcements soon (Anaal Nathrakh, Revocation and Corrupt Moral Altar were announced after the interview), & they’ll be fantastic. It’s the tenth anniversary and we want people to say, ‘That’s the best bill of this year.”

The festival, of course, continues to grow: too big for some, who complained of time clashes last year. “It’s frustrating for us too. We’d love to ensure everyone gets to see all the acts but, you know, it’s the same at every festival, some of the biggest in the world. The only way you’re going to avoid it is to book shit bands. The only advice I can give is, if you really want to see a particular band, get there early. When Vallenfyre played the rectangular-shaped Terrorizer room last year (a big bottleneck resulting in a queue outside the doors), there was enough space for another two hundred people in the wings. It was really annoying for us, and for the fans who couldn’t get in. So nearer the time we’ll have plenty of notices saying ‘Please don’t stand at the entrance’.”

We agree on how irritating this was, particularly at the aforementioned stage at regular intervals last year. So, given this, are there any changes planned for this year?

We did consider going to two days but, surprisingly, the feedback has been a resounding ‘no’. We’ve generally a slightly older fan base, many with kids, who don’t want to have time away from home or spend two nights’ hotel fees, they’ve got work Monday morning…I think our average punter is 33 and maybe we can’t survive for two days at that age! Why mess with what’s working and try to make it into something else?”


I asked if Gavin felt he’d opened doors for the indoor festivals in this country, the ‘Punter’s Festival’. “Well, in 2004 when I first got the idea, there was only really Download and Bloodstock as far as I’m aware. There have been so many since and whether Damnation played a part I don’t know as I’ve never asked any of the organisers. If it did, great. It’s not rocket science. It’s just getting the investment, showing a bit of commitment, doing it right, and putting on a product for fans that’s worth it: offer them something different from the usual tour that’s going through town, and see if you succeed.”

Upon being asked if he is proud to be the curator of one of the greatest indoor festivals in Europe, Gavin’s down-to-earth nature resulted in a ‘wow’ before his considered response: “Obviously I love Damnation to bits. The line-up for me is the best as it’s my taste in music, they’re bands that I want to see. So yes, proud of what it’s become, delighted that so many fans share the same taste.’ And as for the future? ‘If I had a really bad year where I was shat upon from all sides, that could break my spirit: but at the moment there’s absolutely no reason why Damnation couldn’t go for another decade. I’d rather be optimistic: let’s look at the twentieth anniversary in ten years time eh?!”

Gavin is an affable, ebullient ball of energy who talks fast about his creation as if it were one of his children. The love displayed is evident in the product thousands of fans have witnessed over the last nine years, and whenever the name is mentioned it’s with deep reverence by all who’ve attended. Make sure you don’t miss out on this year’s festivities – just don’t stand in any bloody doorways, right?…

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