That's my report : no long descriptions, no setlists... just my shit !
***** THE TOP 3 :
ORCHID : the equivalent of CANDLEMASS special "epicus..." show last year = MEMORABLE... a bit more than an hour of HITS (from the ep and album) with a fantastic sound, and two new songs that ripped... The guys are very impressive of fluency and should blow everything away with their new album. I've very rarely felt such a communion between a band and its fans, pure moments of shared happiness !
YOB : Mike and his buddies did something I hardly could have expected with playing the cultish "the unreal never lived" in its entirety (and the song "adrift in the ocean" as unexpected bonus)... The sound was HUGE, just perfect for a 1hour and 15 minutes LESSON of epic and crushing heaviness; particularly at ease in his killer growls, this gig confirms my opinion that Mike S. became definitely the most complete vocalist of the Doom scene.
NECROS CHRISTOS : ten times heavier than on album, imagine the carnage ! one of my fave DM gigs ever, certainly the best DM vocal performance I've seen Live; they definitely have created their own style... impatient to see them again in June at the Hellfest !
+ bonus gigaplus : the DIAMOND QUEEN from The Grass Company
**** Other significant HIGHLIGHTS
SIGIRIYA : excellent performance from the welsh band; Stuart is incredible on stage : very incisive and groovy, funny to see how he's always smiling during his awesome solos ! great vocal performance here too
LORD VICAR : due to some little problems with the sound, particularly on Chritus vocals, they needed a bit of time to be at their usual high level, but the set was globally memorable with obviously a good part of songs from their brilliant sophomore album
OM : no photos, definitely too dark to take good photos (at least in my position with my camera) but a perfect ambiance though... massive heavy sounds with refinement, tightness and dark emotions
+ bonus superplus : our own cocktails with RHUM and grapefruit, plus the excellent general ambience reigning during the festival
VOIVOD : playing "dimension hatröss" in its entirety, that says it all !
CHURCH OF MISERY : too bad about the Bass problems but the new singer is very competitive and this australian guitarist is always a fucking master !
THE WOUNDED KINGS : I liked very much the few moments I've seen, but too short ... I'm ashamed towards such a great band and so nice people : in March I already missed a great part of their gig in Rennes cause I had been too longly talking with the singer of TBDLB and now I just see the 1st song of their set, feeling very bad at that moment I need to go outside during a little hour... victim of a serious technical problem of proportions in what I was smoking :(
THE OBSESSED : good set but I was expecting better, with let's say ... more taste ! Wino did the job, nothing more special.
DOPETHRONE : I expected something a bit wilder from Montreal's trio, they seemed a bit stressed and tired, certainly the consequences of Vincent's guitar that had been stolen during the travel ! but their filthy Sludge ripped and to see Carl hammering is drums so heavily was amazing.
DANAVA : no photos as I was too much in the back of the small Stage 01, but the set was good with if I'm not wrong all the songs from "hemisphere of shadows" except one, adding two great songs of the sophomore album for maybe the bluesiest gig of my week-end.
HUATA : the french band was very awaited by their recent and old fans and attracted quite many curious too I guess... thinking something like "who are these druids playing fuzzy occult Stoner/Doom with a bottle of chouchen in hands ?" A bit stressed, having to face again some sound problem capacities, but soon in their set, the french band presents finally to the world "the Atavist of Mann" and it makes no doubt that new fans have been conquered by their extreme heaviness, accentuated by very tight and serious performances from the guitarist and Ronan on vocals.
MARS RED SKY : would deserve a better mention certainly, but I saw only about 10 minutes of this french band that really needs more attention (including from me first !).
SAVIOURS : sweat, hair and Metal... that's the 3 words that come in mind when thinking about their performance, very catchy brand of metallic Stoner n' roll !
CELESTIAL SEASON : very good moment with those dutch death/doomsters playing their "solar lovers" album 17 years later; didn't remember that the Stoner overtones were so nicely present there, great !
BONGRIPPER : too bad I was really tired for one of Saturday's last gigs, but they were immensely brutal which along with my last joint (before leaving back to France) definitely finished me !!!
+ the listening session of the new ST VITUS : great idea and thanx for this special rolling paper !
+ the enormous breakfasts I took at the hotel
40 WATT SUN : should be seen in another context, to play on the biggest scene wasn't appropriated at all
WITCH : a few good moments/riffs but their repertory is definitely too unequal.
- DISAPPOINTING :
SLEEP - how can this get so much praise ? too fucking noisy, most of the songs were so hardly recognizable ! he, look at the photo ... seriously, does a band who originally play some Sabbathian stuff need so many amps ???
- the TRAVEL to arrive at Tilburg, late after various successive problems that led me to miss D.USK !
- Too many people at some point this year, that's a serious problem for the smaller rooms... it was impossible to see CONAN for example unless you arrived at least 15 minutes before; that has been the only band I personally missed for that reason but that was the same problem for most gigs in Stage 01 and the Green Room. I saw LORD VICAR, DOPETHRONE, NECROS CHRISTOS, HUATA and a few others, in rather great conditions, just because I was there about 20 minutes before the gig started ! Otherwise, if luckily there's still one or two places in the hall you have to pray not being behind 2 or 3 giant dutch or vikings !!!
Nothing dramatical and hard to live at all, this is just to say that this is a waste of time for discovering bands like I used to do last year or at the Hellfest for example...
All in all this was pretty memorable, a little bit under2011 for myself but not so surprising as last year included more DOOM bands I think... But I'm a bit afraid about next year, considering that E.W. will be curators, I fear this will bring many more people pretending for a ticket to the festival, including certainly mainstream people... the price of success !
THANX to the organisation and bands for all those great moments :)