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Graspop Metal Meeting, Dessel, Belgium
24th June 2005
Day 1: Kreator, System Of A Down, Dillinger Escape Plan, Within Temptation
It is the tenth edition of the GMM festival in Belgium. The expectations were high when the first names were entered on the bill and it turned out to be one of the biggest metal fests in Europe besides Wacken Open Air in Germany and Fury Fest in France: in the same weekend. The festival is growing and that is what I see when I enter the festival area: problems with tickets, many people waiting to get inside. Many people will remember this weekend as dusty and hot.

Due to the problems with some Belgians I was too late to see Enslaved (the heaviest band on the festival) the band I came for, so I had a lot of aggression in me when I finally could see a band in action. I heard a bit of Helmet, which sounded very heavy. For people who don’t know the name, a short introduction; Page Hamilton (songwriter for Bono, David Bowie and others) started his own band with bass player Frank Bello from Anthrax and the drummer from Testament. Unfortunately he had an accident, but he was fully recovered to promote his record “Size Matters.” He proves to have a real own sound which is heavy with traditional rock influences.

Within Temptation

Within Temptation is well known in the rock scene for many years now. If you like it or not, they are the band which comes from the underground and now has a high popularity in the mainstream. They were at Graspop before, but now they promote their latest record.

Music
With the new record the band found a new sound and style. The sound of the band is very good on the main stage and the sound mix is more concentrated on the guitar- and bass lines. The voice of Sharon is a bit arguable: it is different from the record. In a positive way, it is more powerful and there is more variation. A bad thing is that she is hoarse (maybe a cold) and can’t reach the high notes. After all I like that more, because it gave a special sound, but that’s personal.

Performance
Luckily the weather is so good that Sharon can’t stand the long dresses. A simple black dress makes it totally different. It makes the show more organic and there is a lot of chemistry between the members and also with the audience. It is good to see that the band has a special feeling to play on the festival. Also they play the well known songs, so it is a perfect show for the fans. It proves that they still have the spirit to stay motivated; a good sign.

Rating
Music 8
Performance 7
Sound 7
Light 7
Total  7


Pictures: Cristel Bouwer

 
Dillinger Escape Plan

Totally different is Dillinger Escape Plan, a band that has a big name in the hardcore scene. I am not really into it, but there is a first time for everything. So I took the change and afterwards I was glad I went to the show. 

Music
The most amazing thing about the band is the heavy voice of the front man. He has such an aggressive sound that I thought that he would explode. There is more: the drum player plays a raw mixture between fast technical and a more melodic style. Also the guitars have some complex melody lines and all together it is a great mixture of different styles of music.

Performance
The frontman is definitely the eye catcher of the band. He must be ill of heaving a lot of alcohol and other stuff, because he is running around all the time, that much that I get tired of it. He climbs in the light scaffold and hangs there like a monkey. He is as fast as light and falls down over the sound box but still screams the longs out of his body. Totally amazing.

Rating
Music 7
Performance 9
Sound 6
Light 6
Total 7

System Of A Down

System Of A Down is back again. With a new strong record called “Mesmerize” and a lot of motivation this band is the reason for many people to come to the festival on this dusty Friday. When the sun is gone the weather is pleasant, for the first time that day.

Music
They start with some new songs and the crowd seems to know the songs very well: they scream along and there are a lot of crowd surfing people during the gig. The quality of the sound is very good: the backing vocals and the instruments are in a good balance. The new songs have a strong impact and when they start the acoustic song with two vocalists, it makes me shiver. All those people are touched by their sound and I realise that I am lucky that I can be a part of it: the band doesn’t give many live shows and the songs come more to life when you see their emotions.

Performance
In one word: natural. That is what you get. The people who know this band can be satisfied: you see the motivation of the band, the charisma of the men and what drives them. The big smile on their faces and the movements fit all very well. The front man is joyful today and doesn’t take everything so seriously, what makes the show relaxed and memorable.

Rating
Music 8
Performance 9
Sound 7
Light 7
Total 8



Kreator
 
I had to leave halfway through the show from SOAD to see the real headliner that evening. Graspop has the tradition to end the Friday in the biggest tent. This time Kreator is coming over to do it. They stood their some years ago and played a very raw and intense gig, so the expectations are high. That explains the fact that a lot of people decide to wait for more then an hour in the dusty tent. The tent is totally filled when the trashmetal band makes their entrance.

Music
The start “Enemy of God” is a killer: strong, rough and catchy. The new song from the last record promises that the band wants to play a fast and powerful sound. It immediately creates the right atmosphere for a nice metal party. Old songs like “Pleasure to Kill” are played and still have a lot of impact. The band proves that they are still developing. Milles voice is raw and when he screams it comes from his toes. Both guitar players play perfectly and have a good sound. Also the drum player is still as fast as he was in the past. No sign that they are getting old(er).

Performance
For more than fifteen years this band build a big name, but they still feel no pressure and still have the hunger to go further. There is no big show; you can’t expect that from an old school trashmetal band. The front man just stands there and screams with all his emotions, now and then some movements from his hand and he talks. He makes the crowd insane: they scream along, move a lot but when he asks more then four times for a big moshpitt, they don’t react. Both guitarists are bit static sometimes, but they enjoy it and that is more important. They still blow away those new, upcoming, kids.

Rating
Music 8
Performance 9
Sound 8
Light 7
Total 8.5


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