Into The Grave Festival 2019, 9-11 August Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
Since its beginnings in 2011 Into The Grave Festival has grown from a one dayer into a three day event, now featuring some of the biggest names in metal. Taking place in quite a unique setting- on a former graveyard and set against the backdrop of a 16th century leaning tower with mega line-up, Into The Grave festival is a treat for any metal fan.
Into The Grave festival's 9th edition was taking place on 9-11 August at the town center of Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. This year as an addition to the two main festival days, the organizers have added a shorter third day and also a second stage.
In the past years at the festival fans have enjoyed Kreator, Slayer, Sepultura, Sodom, Life Of Agony, Sabaton, Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, Gojira, Behemoth just to mention few.
This year the main stage was positioned differently, which was a great idea since it was not obstructing the view to Oldehove- the leaning tower which has been overlooking the area for quite a few centuries now. The Hardcore stage was located in the nearby small square linked to the main area with for general public closed down footpath. Every single time I was heading to second stage I had to remind myself not to give a cheeky wave to the people in the park across the road who were happy to be able to listen to the music without having to pay for the ticket.
Day one headliners on main stage were American heavy metallers Anthrax. It was clearly noticeable they were enjoying being back in the limelight after touring with Slayer and having way too much fun. Frank Bello was swirling around the stage and grimacing while the band was blasting through all fan favourites like "Caught in a Mosh", "Be All, End All" or "I Am the Law".
On Hardcore stage same duty went to New York city hardcore legends Sick of it All. I was blown away by their energy! With over 30 years since bands inception, which is a long time for any band, but especially for a hardcore band, the band members are as sick of it all as in early days and jumping around on the stage like crazy.
Day two at Into The Grave started with some very heavy wind forecasts for later in the day and therefore, with crowd safety on mind, the area was cleaned up- anything that could easily move in the wind was removed, some stalls disappeared and the merch stands were condensed down and moved to a safer spot. Luckily though the winds were only passing by and the day went on as normal.
Having only seen main stage headliner -German power metal quintet Powerwolf on smaller stages before, I was really happy to finally see the full glory of their large stage production. Its fiery, literally! Flames and fireballs were shooting into the air and midst show for the song "Where the Wild Wolves Have Gone" a burning piano was brought on the stage. Band was blasting through all fan favourites in the hour and half long set, and that is the great thing with Powerwolf- everyone knows what to expect, but can't get enough of it.
Hardcore stage headliners on day two were American thrash metallers Sacred Reich. The band which has not released anything for over 20 years was eagerly expected with their new material from freshly released album Awakening (August 23 via Metal Blade Records).
On third day with only main stage in use the headlining duty went to Swedish progressive metal band Opeth. I remember reading somewhere a fans comment: "Opeth, they are their own genre"- and that is very true, this band's music is unique and they are unrivalled in what they do. With the new album In Cauda Venenum scheduled to be released on 27 September this year fans were a bit disappointed not to be able to hear any new material, but frontman Mikael Åkerfeldt mentioned he hates rehearsing. However during the two hour long set they did revisit nearly every single album since late nineties.
Day one Main Stage
For I Am King
Day one Hardcore Stage
Sick of It All
Dog Eat Dog
No Turning Back
Day two Main Stage
Day two Hardcore Stage
Ost + Front