Graspop 2013 

 Friday

The opening band of Graspop 2013 on the main stage was CRUCIFIED BARBARA who rocked out with a great set and what a delight to look at too. Over at the Metal Dome GENERATION KILL opened up and the Exodus frontman's other band offered a heavier start to the festival. Things went up a level when UNLEASHED delivered a thunderous set in the Marquee 1 tent, flawless from start to finish. ENTOMBED caused chaos in the Metal Dome reeling off classic after classic of brutal death metal such as 'Revel In Flesh', 'Supposed To Rot', 'Left Hand Path' and ending things with 'Wolverine Blues'. DARK FUNERAL played a special and exclusive set at Graspop by playing the whole of 'The Secrets Of The Black Arts' album. From start to finish they provided such an intense and powerful sound with the stage ablaze of flames and pyro which ended with 'My Funeral' off of their latest release. A re-united COAL CHAMBER were next on the main stage starting off with the old school classic 'Loco'. With Harper chugging away on the bass and Cow throwing drumsticks at everyone left, right and center, they provided a set full of energy with the crowd loving every minute of it. Back into Marquee 1, MAYHEM were up next and they started with 'Deathcrush' which was promptly followed by 'Ancient Skin'. Yet again Mayhem show us why they are among the best in this genre. Nu-Metal gods KORN hit the main stage with it raining yet again but that didn't stop them from putting on a great show with a massive sound. The bass almost knocked the fillings out of my teeth. Their set was comprised of old classics, starting with 'Blind' and one or two newer ones from 'The Path Of Totality'. German thrash metal legends KREATOR headlined Marquee 1 on the opening night and they were a great way to end that stage today. Perfect delivery from them but that's become expected from them now as they headline most festivals around Europe. Marquee 2 headliners were SOULFLY. Max Cavalera and co played to a rammed tent, you couldn't fit another person in there but I'm thinking that maybe Soulfly are lacking something these days. Friday main stage headliners are TWISTED SISTER who were invited back to headline this year after they put on such a good show last year. It was already raining at the point but after a few songs the heavens opened. This did'nt stop anyone from having a good time though or stop them singing every word of 'We're Not Gonna Take It'. Dee Snider was full of energy on stage and despite the rain you could see that he was enjoying himself.


Saturday

SYLOSIS are the first band that stand out on Saturday with a brilliant set from the up and coming band from Reading, England. AMARANTHE offer something different but you need a required taste for this melodic, metalcore, power metal band. Three vocalist on stage seems weird at points but Elise Ryd makes them a worthwhile watch. TANKARD deliver German thrash straight to you face and if you don't have a beer or two in your hand while watching this band then there is something wrong with you. CALIBAN come onto the Marquee 2 stage and within 20 seconds the p.a. goes down but the band doesn't realize and they continue to try to get the crowd going. With no crowd reaction at all the band soon realize that something is wrong. Once all was sorted they playing a blinding set, got a massive wall of death on the go and the ended with a cover of Rammstein's 'Sonne'. AURA NOIR fuse thrash with black metal and and even people who have never heard of this band before are headbanging their way through the set. Super group LOCK UP which consists of Lindberg (At The Gates), Embury (Napalm Death), Barker (ex-Dimmu Borgir) and Reisenegger (Criminal) stomp their way through a 50 minute set at 200mph. It's not every day that you get to see this band so if you ever get the chance then don't miss out. HYPOCRISY led by Peter Tatgren are on fine form tonight. Starting with the title track from their new album 'End Of Disclosure' and ending with 'Eraser', Hypocrisy show us why they are one of the best live bands on the planet and worthy headliners of Marquee 1. Marquee 2 headliners are DOWN, and the New Orleans super group pound their way through their set delivering crushing riff after riff from Winstein and Keenan. SAXON are one of the best bands in the NWOBHM and they show how it's done by bringing their special Eagleshow to Graspop. There's so many hits in their back catalogue that they don't have enough time to play them all but 'Denim And Leather', 'Wheels Of Steel', Strong Arm Of The Law' and the closing 'Princess Of The Night' are more than enough to put a smile on everybody's face. SLIPKNOT end proceedings on day two with an emotional and intense set. Corey Taylor is one of the best frontmen of the modern generation and he has no problem getting the crowd jumping. During their set their backdrop changed to a big number 2 in honour of the late Paul Gray which reminds everyone that they are honouring one of the founding members of the band. The encore consists of the mental 'Sic', 'People=Shit' and 'Surfacing' which provides a great end to the day.


Sunday

So onto the final day and we start with HEAVEN'S BASEMENT who are a heavy metal band from the UK that have alot of promise for the future. A great sound from a band who are clearly enjoying themselves at this stage of their career. With WINTERFYLLETH it's definitely not a case of 'what you see is what you get'. Fresh from a chief support slot to Enslaved on their recent European tour, they show us why they are regarded as one of the best new black metal bands on the scene. A packed Metal Dome awaits RED FANG and they do not disappoint. Such a riff filled and groovy set provides plenty of opportunity to headbang. GOD SEED, fronted by Gaahl, who has an awesome presence on stage, blast through a mixture of God Seed and Gorgoroth songs which makes them easily one of the best bands of the entire weekend, perfect. Now for a two piece band, KARMA TO BURN who provide such a great sound that it sounds like there's four of them on stage. IN FLAMES are on form tonight but their expensive light show is wasted due to them being on stage in the evening sun. There wasn't enough classic songs in their set today for my liking but the new songs sounded awesome and frontman Anders get everybody crowd surfing again and again. NEWSTED was surprisingly good tonight and by ending with a Metallica cover of 'Whiplash', they even get passers by running into the tent to mosh their tits off. IRON MAIDEN quite simply rule all this weekend. With the crowd singing along to every song including 'Run To The Hills', 'Fear Of The Dark', 'The Trooper', 'Wasted Years' and the list goes on and on, it is easy to see why they are regarded as one of the greatest bands of all time. KING DIAMOND definitely has the best looking stage of the entire weekend, the front of the stage is covered with a black, metal fence in which King Diamond pokes his head through to deliver his freakishly high vocals and he even brings out grandmaaaaaa. TESTAMENT are another band on top form and their sound is powerful tonight. One of the best thrash bands ever, with Chuck Billy dominating the stage,Testament gets those tired legs and necks moving again. When Testament finish their set and walk off stage the crowd start chanting for their return and after three or four minutes the band walks back out onto the stage to see if everything is still working and it is. Even though more than half the crowd have gone due to them thinking the show was over Testament give the wanting crowd one more song and is a great way to end the festival.