There's one great lesson we've learned since we started this festival: always have at least one Finnish band. The staggering amount of good stuff that pours out of that country is mind-boggling. When it comes to Death Metal, without wanting to disturb the sleep of the Ancient Ones that elevated the Finnish sound to a proper trademark, the last few years saw the rise of a trident of Necrovore-worshipping fiends from the deepest, darkest catacombs: having already had the pleasure of welcoming the mighty Vorum and Malicious in previous editions of the festival, we had to seal the ritual by having Obscure Burial join the current edition. Go fill your ears with the slime oozing off their S/T debut album on Invictus Productions and tell us we're wrong. Proper Death Metal!
Dresden's heirs to the Black Thrash throne! Quite a crowded battlefield if you ask us, but these young soldiers of evil have proven with a demo and the subsequent debut LP, „The Black Flame“ that they are able to slay their way across all the way to the main room. All the blasphemous fury notwithstanding, Schafott have both feet planted firmly in thrash and even classic heavy metal, which gives their sound some much-needed space to breathe amidst blastbeast attacks and barking tirades. Perfect production to boot. One of Fenriz's records of the year and who are we to disagree...?
Abyssous are Germany's best kept secret when it comes to Death Metal, a genre in which this country has quite a handful of bands to offer. But don't doubt for a second that their relative unknown status is due to somehow inferior material, because this power trio offers you a ticket to one of the rougher descent into the fiery pits that you've had the chance to hear in the last few years. Morbid Angel-like furious riffs and leads cast a bridge across yawning depths that would have made Asphyx blush. If they will release a second record in the next century, everybody will be forced to pay attention. For the moment, check out their 2012 debut „...smouldering“ on Iron Bonehead - we couldn't miss the opportunity to bring them back to Berlin after their great gig in early 2015.
Most exciting band from Berlin in a long time! Noisy, blown-to-pieces, nasty hardcore with an eerie resemblance to lo-fi death metal monstrosities such as Necrovore or Nuclear Death, without actually embracing metal as a musical form. It's just the sheer evil and chaos surging from the speakers and literally forcing your face in a pool of rubbish and blood. With only two tapes out and a 7“ coming up next, this merry bunch will torment your existence for a long time still. Couldn't be happier to have them at our fest to shake things up a little bit!
Sweden' rowdy bunch have been out and about for quite a few years now, and after things got quiet for a while, they came back in full force in 2017 with a straight kick in the teeth by the name of „“Disturbing the Graves“. Under a thick layer of speed metal riffage, their heart still beats unmistakably at a punk pace – think degenerate rock'n'roll in the vein of Zeke, RKL or Poison Idea, if they sincerely wanted to be Venom. No tongue-in-cheeck-pizza-thrash either, this is the real deal. Dark hi-octane rock'n'roll, perfect soundtrack to a drunk ride to the nearest nuclear plant in order to blow up the town.
If there's one band in 2017 that earned its reputation as newcomer of the year, then that band's name is Hällas. Their first album „Excerpts From A Future Past“ literally exploded in the underground, and for good reasons: their mix of 70's prog, twin guitars attacks, catchy melodies and D&D/sci-fi imagery (as illustrated by the incredible cover art) took even a step beyond their already great debut EP and any self-respecting fan of guitar-driven rock music couldn't do anything else than start worshipping at their altar. The European tour in the fall did the rest, proving them a band that will leave their mark over the years. Wizard rock for the young and the old!
Now you know why Slayer wanna go into retirement. They heard Hellbringer and were put to shame, reminded of the days of yore, when they were still conjuring demons in sonic form. Hell awaits for them, while we get it delivered on stage by these Aussies beasts. If you are into real, dark, putrid, bulldozing thrash metal, you cannot miss this band. Awaken from the abyss and join the coven of darkness!
Very few bands enjoy a cult status similar to the one of Pagan Altar. Active since the late 70's, one of the original NWOBHM bands, they released only 5 albums, which are all classics on their own merits. Their last record, 2017's „The Room Of Shadows“, sadly marked also the last work committed to tape by late singer Terry Jones. His son, and Pagan Altar guitar master, Alan Jones, is carrying on the legacy, together with the line-up that recorded their last masterpiece and with guest extraordinaire Brendan Radigan (Magic Circle, Stone Dagger and a thousand more) behind the microphone. This is a band that plays in its own league and it will be an honor and an immense pleasure to host them on stage for the first time in Berlin.
Nine prayers, red wine! For these words you shall live and die, pierce your limbs, pray to the dark coners of your mind, transcend into the light of the fallen and dine with angels' flesh. Black Metal as intense as spectral claws ripping through your brain, exposing the misery within. From Austria, no less. Last EP , „Through The Flesh Of Ethereal Wombs“, was pressed on a 10“ vinyl by Norwegian Black Metal titansTerratur Possessions, so let that be a warning to you, oh wary traveller along this dark path.
One should only hear the opening riff of the first song off their second, extraordinary album „Nordkarpatenland“ to appreciated the magnitude of this band's output. What started as a slightly drunken version of Master's Hammer bent on dark folk tales grew to incorporate more traditional heavy metal influences (Mercyful Fate, for one) and even a semblance of epic, atmospheric ambience, stood long enough on its alcoholic legs to record everything with a more powerful punch and delivered what is without doubts one of the records of the year for 2017. Tales of Slovakian witches and cheap wine are awaiting to be vomited onto the audience at breakneck speed. Fill your mug and join the coven!
After a few years of live inactivity, this German thrash monster has been awaken from its horrid slumber and let loose to prey on humanity again! Featuring current and ex-members of bands like Old, Venenum, Excoriate and Alchemyst, Hellish Crossfire forged a perfect mix of Teutonic Thrash and ancient speed/heavy metal, seasoned by a healthy touch of satanic blasphemies, which was put to wax on two amazing LPs. Although a few years have gone by since „Bloodrust Scythe“, worry not, because the band is working on some new material! In the meantime, salute the return on stage of one of the absolute best modern German thrash bands and bang your head Into the Old and Evil!
It is no secret that a certain bottomless pit in Leipzig has been constantly regurgitating in the last few years band after band of the utmost quality. Tension are some of the more recent to emerge and make no exception to this rule! Heavy Metal of the most classic quality, bordering on hard rock and certainly deeply rooted in the NWOBHM, this reminds of very early Iron Maiden with a Motorhead crunch and a melodic lead guitars that bring to mind Cloven Hoof, Wolf or Dark Star. No, we're not exaggerating – check out their fresh S/T EP on Dying Victims and come see for yourselves what we're talking about!
Filth, Void, Endless Attack. These are three titles off Life Fucker first album, „Z“ (Static Age Rec.). So you know what to expect. It's rude, dirty, noisy hardcore – equally split between Japanese, Scandinavian and American influences, kind of in the same vein as early Toxic State bands such as Crazy Spirit but more focused and disinterested in art – they go straight for the throat. Expect maximum live punishment.