Winterfest ’12 in Review – Part 1

Winterfest ’12 has come and gone and now it’s time for clean up and consolidation. We’d like to issue a massive thank you to everyone who was there and for all the support we’ve received worldwide for the event. Now without further ado, we hand the keyboard to Helldog to give his account of the first half of the festival.

It is always hard being the first band. Not only do you have to impress a crowd that has not yet indulged in enough Ol’ Nick’s liquor (which lubricates their love for you,) but you also have the added pressure of setting the bar for the evening. Beeldenstorm walked out and set the bar at pole-vault levels. This is the second time I have had the pleasure of seeing them, and they have improved in leaps and bounds. They walked out with confidence and rocked with their thrashy V.O.D. inspired metal. Truly Beeldenstorm set Winterfest’s amps on “balls to the wall”. At this point I only hoped that the rest of the bands would be able to keep up with this pace…

I have to state for the record that I am not fan of modern death metal or progressive death metal and that I don’t see the appeal in deathcore. So The Impalement Theory were a bit out of my frame of reference.
That being said, they are good at what they do. They were tight, played with vigour and they looked like they were having fun. The quintet blasted their way through the set, with some skull crushing breakdowns and even some of the more “troo” metal fans started bobbing their heads. They were well received by their fans, who had a whale of a time.

As stated earlier, I’m not a big fan of progressive death metal. With my anger over a rugby game (by now, I had received the sms that soured my mood a bit. “19 – 26”. Yet again, the Stormers refused to give us what we have been craving since 2003… A winning cup!), combined with my distaste for anything that resembles a Sharks jersey, I walked through the crowd to go and stand at the back.
Lo’ and behold, a progressive death metal band that I enjoyed. Maybe it was just because they made me forget about another failure by the Western Cape Rugby Union – Sindulgence were good! At times it felt a bit schizophrenic, but that is the sound they seem to be going for. Most of the songs were well written, and well executed. They also played “Laid to Rest” by Lamb of God, in support of vocalist Randy Blythe’s plight. They did make some mistakes, but these where minor errors in a show that they pulled off well.

Honestly, I did not expect Zombies ate my Girlfriend to be good at all. I just wanted another filler before I could enjoy Bloodbeast. That is all I wanted. And yet, I was treated to one of the best debut shows I have ever seen. Out of the blocks, it was aggressive, fast, tight and melodic. Almost everything was spot on, there were some mistakes in “Walk With Me In Hell”, but the only reason I noticed it was because I had to play music police for this review. “Silent Night” and “Robert Carlyle” were amazing. I loved them, the crowd loved them and so should you. Probably one of the best acts of the night in my opinion. ZAMG can give themselves a pat on the back for a brilliant performance.

At last, we get to the band that I was dying to see. Death metal it was, modern it was not. We were given death metal from Tampa bay, circa 1990 courtesy of Bloodbeast, all the way from Pretoria. It was not the tightest show I have ever seen, but it was heavy! The songs were filled with blast beats, intense double bass, merciless tremolo picking and guttural vocals that made your insides vibrate and cringe. A personal favourite was “Fuck or Die” which sounded like Pierced from Within-era Suffocation, mixed with Chris Barnes-era Cannibal Corpse. Needless to say, I enjoyed them thoroughly!

And right after Bloodbeast I found the Brutalviking, and handed him the review torch. See what he as to say in the epic conclusion to Winterfest tomorrow…