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  • Writer's pictureArta Gailuma

Into The Grave 2018, August 10th- 11th, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands

Two hours by train from Amsterdam the last major city before the North Sea and the European Capital of Culture in 2018, Leeuwarden was the main destination in The Netherlands for metalheads on the second weekend in August.

Taking place in quite a unique setting- on a former graveyard and set against the backdrop of a historical unfinished church of Oldehove with a mega line-up, despite its young age, Into The Grave festival has earned a great reputation and is a treat for any metal fan.

In the past years at the festival fans have enjoyed Kreator, Slayer, Sepultura, Sodom, Life Of Agony, Sabaton, Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy just to mention few.

Into The Grave festival's 8th edition took place on August 10th and 11th at the town center of Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. This year's line up was not any less impressive and featured something for every taste.

Moshpit was open straight away as soon as the first festival band Toxic Shock took the stage. What normally for an opening band would be hard to achieve this early in the day for these Belgian crossover thrash metallers seemed like an easy task. Their lead singer, who even managed to injure himself by frantically running around the stage and jumping, was definitely in the centre of everyone's attention.

American heavy metal band Toxic Holocaust kept the moshpit open and crowd surfing bodies were moving to the front like on a conveyer belt.

As soon as Decapitated took the stage, crowd went wild. Fans were happy to see these Polish death metallers back in the game after the recent scandal. On their last song the heaven opened and we all got a shower- quick, but extremely powerful.

Even though I'm not the biggest fan of power metal, every time I have seen Orden Organ live, they have been brilliant. Today was no different- their powerful ballads, beautiful stage lighting and fire display made a great show. And how nice it was from these German power metallers to dedicate a special "Thank you" to all the people still standing in the pouring rain and singing along!

Dutch symphonic metal band Delain however did not have the best of nights- sound issues cut their performance twice. Even though some fans in front of the stage were enjoying themselves, for the average Into The Grave festival goer this band seemed too pop oriented and due to the long waits in rain, people started to look for shelter under the merch stand covers and left the main area fairly empty.

Even though some festival goers made a decision to leave early due to the bad weather, by the time Friday night's headliners Gojira took the stage, the main square of Leeuwarden was quite packed again. And this French heavy metal quartet did not disappoint. The set consisting of pieces from their whole discography was immaculate combined with all the visuals, smoke effects and flames. It did feel slightly hypocritical though the ton of confetti poured over the crowd at the end of the show keeping in mind Gojiras environmentally friendly lyrics.

On Saturday despite the rain and early hours of the day the attendance did not suffer and there was a big crowd in front of the stage to see German thrash metallers Dust Bolt- and not without a reason- they did put up a tight show full of energy.

The generous rainfall did not seem to bother fans to go crazy moshing and crowd surfing during Goatwhore's set. Luckily though, that was the last shower of the day. After over 20 years of extreme metal and 7 studio albums (latest release Vengeful Ascension came out in 2017) Goatwhore is showing no signs of slowing down.

Hoots! Next ones on the line were Anglo-Swiss self proclaimed Heroic Fantasy Power Metal Warriors Gloryhammer. Their ridiculously epic yet very entertaining battle songs seemed to please the audience- they were all roaring along the catchy melodies and cheering bands lead singer Thomas Winkler (aka Angus McFite) swinging the huge hammer.

With the sky cleared up by now the crowd was enjoying now the catchy yet technical riffs of Dying Fetus.

The crossover legends Suicidal Tendencies were next on stage and fans loved every moment of their energetic performance.

British gothic metal five-piece Paradise Lost were steering into much calmer waters. This band which is considered by many as death-doom genre pioneers, were playing a set including pieces not only from their latest masterpiece Medusa, but also older albums.

Playing a large role in creating a subgenre known as Gothenburg-style melodic death metal, next band on the stage Swedes At The Gates were stirring up the energy: headbanging, moshing and crowdsurfing- even if it has to be on a mobility scooter.

Do have to say, the audience was not the most responsive with Children Of Bodom on stage, but that did not stop this Finnish extreme metal five-piece from delivering a strong performance.

Dark and prodigious, Polish blackened death metal quartet Behemoth made sure Into The Grave festival's 8th edition is closed with style by delivering an impressive show. Their setlist included two pieces from the upcoming 11th studio album coming out on October 5th this year and available now on pre-order.

Those who managed to get to Leeuwarden early were able to catch the festival preparty at Neushoorn venue with Mexican extreme metallers Brujeria and Netherlands own Hibakusha and Super Star Gods.

At the end of each day an afterparty was held at the nearby venue of Neushoorn with no entrance fee for festival visitors. On Friday the venue did host thrash metal three- piece from New Zeeland Alien Weaponry and Dutch female-fronted thrash metallers Izegrim. On Saturday fans were able to headbang with American death metal band The Black Dahlia Murder and Dutch death metallers Teethgrinder.

A massive Thank You from my side to the organisers for putting together this great festival.

Line-up Friday August 10th:




Orden Organ

Toxic Holocaust

Toxic Shock


Alien Weaponry


(All photos ©Arta Gailuma and may not be used without permission)

Line-up Saturday August 11th:


Children Of Bodom

At The Gates

Paradise Lost

Suicidal Tendencies

Dying Fetus



Dust Bolt


The Black Dahlia Murder


(All photos ©Arta Gailuma and may not be used without permission)

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