Last Saturday, the 6th of May, it was time to party in a small town near Arnhem called Westervoort. For the 6th time, Metalfest No Sleep was being held at Zalencentrum Wieleman. We were lucky enough to be a part of the party. With perfect festival weather for most of the day, I’m sure everyone was looking forward to having a good time. In this review, we’ll talk a bit about how Metalfest No Sleep got started. We’ll also give an overview of the Dutch bands that played at the festival.
Metalfest No Sleep is the brainchild of Paul Scheers. He needed a place to perform with his band, and there were no Metal performances in Westervoort. In the first edition, they sold over 300 tickets, and everyone was excited. In the following years, it has been a struggle to survive, as it’s mainly still a hobby project by some enthusiastic metalheads. But bands love to play, and people are still visiting. This year the organization was sponsored by another company, which hopefully makes sure this event will be there for years to come. They also managed to get some bigger international names with Blood of Jupiter and MacBeth. We from MetalFromNL are of course more excited about the awesome Dutch bands playing since there is a ton of quality there too. That’s also a core value of Metalfest No Sleep, to always promote some local bands too (and we love that!).
Arriving at the festival (which is easy to do with public transport), there is a small festival market with merch from the performing bands and metal merch by Doc Shop. It’s nice to see how this is a locally supported festival. The Zalencentrum is hopefully used to all the people in black drinking beer. However, the bridal party in the next-door venue might have been surprised by all the black :-). With the nice weather, lots of people were hanging outside and having a good time. By the time the first band started though, most of them went inside to support.
The venue had two stages set up, with bands playing back-to-back. No need to miss anything, and with the bar close by and food next door (and affordable too), No Sleep felt like a one-stop-shop for metalheads that day.
Facing the Madness
Facing the Madness was the first to kick off No Sleep. The melodic death metal band had the difficult task to warm up the crowd and get them away from the sun, but they were definitely up for that task. Even with a small crowd to begin with, they kicked off hard and heavy with a lot of energy. The frontman managed to get the crowd going in a mini circle pit and the guitarist blessed us with shreds to get in the mood.
Next in line was Bullshit Generator. In the genre ‘goed verhaal, lekker kort’ a.k.a. grindcore, this band got us even more in the mood. And thank god our ears were already accustomed to the noise levels because these guys are loud. As true grindcore dictates, these guys don’t take themselves that seriously with lyrics about crappy days and stuff. However, they take making grindcore very seriously and played a great set.
Ten Ton John
Ten Ton John was a name I’ve heard before, but never seen live so far. Never actually heard their music, until a few days before No Sleep. The name didn’t speak to me and I wasn’t sure what kinda music they played, but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with their performance. They claim to be inspired by Gojira and you can definitely hear that seep through in some places. It was also a nice break from the heavy pounding of Bullshit Generator, as Ten Ton John leaves a lot more room for nice melodies.
Written in Blood
Written in Blood wasn’t part of the line-up for this edition until literally a day before the festival. You wouldn’t have known that seeing them perform though. Also, the amount of people that stood in front of their stage showed that they are well-liked and for sure well-appreciated around here. They might be more known in Germany, having signed with TrollZorn Records. But Germany and Arnhem are pretty close so maybe they got some German support over to No Sleep. Anyhow, their melodic (old-school)death vibes were well-appreciated by the growing crowd.
Having played Wacken Open Air as winners of the Dutch Metal Batlle before, Nephylim is a force to be reckoned with. They absolutely slayed the stage this weekend. They had the most energy on stage from all the bands so far and got the crowd to move and shout along for most of their 40 min set. Of course, they played their latest single Withered as well. There’s no doubt why these guys deserved to play at WOA if you’ve ever seen them perform live.
An Evening with Knives
With only three people on stage this was the smallest band of the evening, but certainly not lacking in sound. An Evening with Knives was again a band I’d never heard before. They released a live recording called FNR sessions (they recorded it in The Effenaar) and have a lot of shows booked to play their music in the next few weeks. Grooving, dark, melodic, definitely something else than what we’ve heard so far at No Sleep, but welcome nonetheless.
Time to go home
Of course, there were a few more bands playing No Sleep. By the time An Evening with Knives was playing, the nice weather had turned into heavy rain. Maybe the weather gods wanted to join the party as well? Rightfully so, since it was great fun. Let’s see what these guys will organize next year! Thanks to Paul Schreers and Stef van Mierlo for organizing!