15-02-2020 Doc's Blackfest III

Location: Willemeen, Arnhem (Netherlands)

In Arnhem we were attending Doc’s Blackfest III. The festival was having its third edition.

Opening Doc’s Blackfest III was the formation Bakasura. They are making a combo of Death/Black and Doom, having their a lot of vehemence in their live show. Mimics on vocalist Richard make you feel the music right away.

The band is still quite new, formed late 2018 they seem to be searching a bit for direction resulting in the set being a bit flat, lacking dynamic. Yet the band seems eager in performing, Perhaps in a few years we come across again and feel it more.

On the mainstage the first band of the evening was Fenris. Making us wait a bit the band makes sure all is to their wishes before starting. The band has been around since the 90’s but has not a whole lot of albums. Last year they came with a split, together with three other acts.

They have thought of their show carefully, starting the set with not the most vehement material, but when they bring a guest on stage they certainly caught our attention. Viking metal blending with the Black, but with a good balance between the two, not making it too much of a theatre.

Back to the cozy cafe for some more intimate performance. It starts with candles being lit, the darkness to fall in and the eerie sounds that introduce the band. In Manus Tuas is their name and when the ritual is starting the band made their presence known already.

The Dutch formation does not have much information about them online, which adds to the mystic. The performance of the band stood out to me, the band’s guitarist is quite modest on the stage but let his music speak for him, the strength of the band lays in there. But the charismatic vocalist certainly does his job as well. It feels a bit like the stage is too small for this band. They could have given more with a bit more space perhaps.

Nattas is a Swedish formation making a combination of Thrash, Black and Death. The band has been around since 1999 and is releasing their new EP called “Domino” this month.

The band’s energy is mainly into their music, which makes the performance sometimes a bit too static too watch. Musically, there is more to enjoy. The band is not granting you a break, they rage on from start to end, having the vocals being the main but throwing in some riffs that are op for the battle for that spotlight.

Altogether their set was interesting to watch, but if they could enhence their show a bit more they would simply stick in mind longer.

After Nattas it was time to get some food, unfortunately Doc’s Blackfest III could not put up a food corner this time, but being in the citycenter made that we only missed one band during our dinner.

Luckily on time for Arkhangelsk, the Greek formation the talk was all about. The formation dates back to 2015 and although they refrain from a too stereotypical Black Metal look they certainly captured our interest this night. Playing a tights set, with a melodic part standing out the band hits an atmosphere that we have not seen before here.

The focus on the new release called “Advent” which the band released in December last year and they have now also available on vinyl. Their charismatic performance was a pleasure to watch and one of the highlights of the evening.

Downstairs in the cafe area there was a duo called Doodswens due to perform. The crowd had gathered for these girls, it was pretty full and while the ritual started, sage was lit. Having a bit suffocation effect on your reporter who is a bit sensitive to it, so unfortunately not able to see the whole set of the ladies.

However, the first half of the set was witnessed and what jumps out to us is that these two can give you the feeling they are with at least four of them. A full sound, played with persistence and strength making the songs coming across strong. They don’t need all the extra’s, the tricks and all. It is just there. Hopefully next time they have a bit more space in front of them, so we can avoid the sage and enjoy it even more.

On the mainstage of Doc’s Blackfest III Sammath was getting ready. The band founded in 1994 and has kept busy releasing material through the years. Most recently they came with “Across the Rhine is only death” which brought the band through many places. Russian fans were able to see the band perform live and now they are here in Arnhem as well, having Nederrijn near making this a suitable spot for them.

Sammath is a band that has a strong vision of how to bring their music, making each individual musician in the band come out at their best. Making drummer Wim one of them drummers who actually get seen, having the guitars taking their moments and all in good balance. This is their strength.

The band has another performance scheduled in November so the audience was given a slight preview of what is awaiting them. A good, solid set of a band that performs with strength.

One more band was playing downstairs, but I felt that it was enough for me there. Just sticking around to see headliner Asagraum perform on the mainstage. The all-girl formation is popular, people gathered close to the stage to observe them.

The band set their name in a few years, founded in 2015 they seem to have found thelmselves a solid fanbase. Late last year they released an album called “ Dawn of Infinite Fire”. They got a lot of words round, so I was curious to see them here. A bit boring to watch as the show is static and not much atmospheric elements were around, but musically they made a better impression. A full sound, rather fast and vicious playing makes up for all.

However, personally I felt more connection with the Greek formation Arkhangelsk which was playing here earlier.
Yet, I see that the audience appreciates this band well, a worthy closer of Doc’s Blackfest III.


Doc Holliday Metal Productions