Old Grave Fest X Anniversary Edition- Day 1

The Old Grave Fest - X Anniversary Edition or the ultimate excuse for gracefully extending your vacation from your therapist....

It’s been nearly a month, and we’re still in the “thought-recovery” zone. But hell yeah, we made it through, and that’s not something you get a participation trophy for.

Let’s rewind to October 13th, when we armed ourselves with shovels, put out the dust from our finest battle vests, and sprinted to Quantic Club for the eagerly anticipated Old Grave Festival X – Anniversary Edition. The lineup alone made any hope of returning home with our sanity intact seem like wishful thinking. But you know what? It exceeded all expectations.

We experienced it all – from legendary acts gracing Europe’s stage for the first time to underground madness that bordered on sheer insanity. The surprises on stage were as epic as they come.

Day one kicked off with the perfect opening act, Larvae. Their performance was a straight-to-the-point, live-wire assault.

At exactly 18:00, they hit the stage, unleashing disgust and torment in every direction.
Watching Larvae, you start to grasp the distinction between a musician, an artist, and a performer because, well, they embody it all. A show to itch in memory, with death-doom riffs that carve into your mind, exploring every dark corner from back to forth.
Delirious samples, extracted from the deepest tomb, seamlessly interwoven between the riffs, adding an extra layer of haunting atmosphere to the already intense sound experience. It was as if the echoes of the death itself were harmonizing with the raw energy on stage.

The powerful vocals sent shivers down your spine with an impact that felt like a knife gently tracing the back of your head. Each note was a visceral experience, making the performance become an indelible fusion of madness, gloom, and horror (acid) cult — akin to a mad surgeon performing a cerebral vivisection in a chaotic madhouse. The music is carved through the air like the erratic movements of the surgeon’s scalpel, creating an atmosphere of both musical intensity and unpredictable madness.

Following a brief intermission and the obligatory gin and nicotine refill, the Italian madness pressed on with Thulsa Doom. This round saw a shift towards heightened aggression and sheer force back to the 80’s. I emphasize “Italian” because, let’s be real, saying Italian is synonymous with art. These maniacs were bleeding riffs like a virgin on her first night, leaving the musical landscape as marked as a white-sheeted bed.

Thulsa Doom is a name that echoes in one’s ear. On one hand, it strikes a chord with those who are steeped in the realm of horror-infused comic fiction (does “Monsters on the Prowl” ring a bell?). On the flip side, for those yearning for a dose of 80’s death metal madness in the finest barbaric tradition. However, it’s a name that bridges the gap between the horror and the blast beats, creating a unique resonance when you witness their insane show. Thulsa Doom unleashed a musical onslaught, covering songs from their EP “Realms of Hatred” and their latest release, “A Fate Worse than Death.” Riffs delivered with ferocity and with an overall sound as straightforward as it takes, their show was exactly the kind of gem that the crowd appreciated at its best.  

Adhering to the clock’s relentless ticking, at approximately 8:30—though it seemed as if an entire epoch had unfolded in that span—the Irish maniacs of Sacrilegia seized the stage. They plunged strike into the realms of blackened thrash, unleashing a relentless assault that embodied the very essence of playing loud and fast. Sacrilegia left no room for subtlety delivering a storm of riffs making a point that they are “Alive and Dangerous”.

Their show was a living sound manifesto that encapsulated the full spectrum. Their sound delved into delectable chaos, oscillating between sharp, unbridled intensity and a more melodic resonance, all while preserving that raw, visceral essence at its core.  Raw powerful blasts alongside riffs that move at the speed of light – they delivered it all with that nicely old-school touch and energy that one just can’t remain still.  They essentially introduced the audience to the entirety of their latest EP – “Sold Under Sin” – so one can expect a rough and ruthless blackened thrash performance, at its finest.

 Following another well-deserved brief respite—a deep breath, not necessarily of air, was demanded after such madness—Gorgon triumphantly took the stage.

I always insisted about ’91 being an unrivaled era for horror and death metal, sprinkled generously with a dash of black metal for good measure – then Gorgon took the stage and reassured my thoughts exactly.  
Their performance was a compelling reminder that great times extend beyond years. Gorgon turned out to be one of the night’s gems. I’ll confess Gorgon exceeded all the expectations, being living proof that the most thrilling experiences come from the surprises one least expects.
Their distorted riffs added that crucial touch of raw malevolence, while the bass guitar peeked out intermittently, offering a delightful nod to the proper old-school energy. The vocals, an onslaught of insane screams, intensified the atmosphere, packaging everything into a brilliant black metal horror with a dash of death—a classic delivery that left the audience enthralled.

It was madness, it was evil, it was violence personified, it was sheer power –  yet elegant- essentially, every facet of the horror was laid bare, with a surgical precision reminiscent of a brilliant madman at work. Gorgon left no stone unturned delivering a show that was as intense as it was masterfully executed. They played tracks from both their early releases (as: “The Lady Rides a Black Horse”) and the latest offerings as – “Blood of Sorcerer” and “Death Was Here“.  The crowd looked entranced, asking for more.  
Overall, Gorgon‘s show was memorable – a performance that still lingers in one’s mind, sparking conversations and reminiscences for months to come.

 Still enjoying the auditory shock, this time we tried to keep it briefly in between the bands since Zemial was set to grace the stage.

Zemial one of the most eagerly awaited bands of the night took the stage, immersing us in perfectly crafted epic sound that keeps alive the Hellenic cult. Their performance was completely captivating, feeling like being pulled into a riveting story, where you’re hanging onto every moment, following the protagonist with bated breath. Zemial went beyond the confines of a typical live show, delivering an experience that was truly something else.
That touch of mythology and fiction seemed to spread in every corner of the venue, accompanied by a tapestry of riffs with a crazy various origin ( from black-thrash to heavy metal touches) perfectly sewn together and delivered with precision, aligning with their overall unique sound. The ambiance crafted on the stage extended its reach to envelop everyone in the crowd, making it feel like each one has a role to play in their epic journey. It was undoubtedly a fantastic witnessing of artistic visions materialized, without any compromises.

Zemial played from both earlier and later releases, effectively covering significant parts of their discography; including tracks like “Sleeping under Tartarus” – whose riffs still continue to haunt my ears, adding an extra layer of resonance to their performance.

Zemial’s show created a lasting imprint that reverberates still, even after it had concluded. Kudos for what was a one-of-a-kind show!
Despite the crowd clamoring for an encore after encore, a portion of which was indeed delivered, every story must inevitably come to an end.

Shortly after midnight, the legendary and eagerly awaited headliner of the night, the legendary Brocas Helm, took the stage!  As a noteworthy point, catching a Brocas Helm show in Europe is quite a rare occurrence. However, our favorite maniacs from the Romanian Thrash Metal Club, managed to secure them a spot on the lineup, adding an extra layer of exclusivity to the night (- yes, as it was an Exclusive European show).
While we’re pretty confident that no girl or woman was seduced without her consent and no boyfriend was harmed, leaving the jokes aside, Brocas Helm is a band that undeniably left behind a lasting legacy.

They were straightforward and resolute in proving that being a rock ‘n’ roll rebel knows no age, and the status of being a legend in the scene knows no boundaries between the crowd and your authentic self. They were unexpectedly open on the stage and effortlessly engaged with the crowd.
Witnessing them live stirs a complex blend of feelings.

Brocas Helm keeps the heavy metal tradition alive and that was a living proof of it. They stand as one of true heavy metal bands, forged with bones of steel, confidently showcasing a distinctive style, uniquely their own.
After their show, one could engage in some conversations and even capture some pictures with them.
With these tales concluded, and after a somewhat back-and-forth after-party, the bouncers and the preservation biological instinct, politely reminded us that we all had homes, beds, and a need for sleep, as a new day was on the horizon. Facing three days in a row of this festival is not easy, but a maniac gotta do what a maniac gotta do.

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