Embrace Cruelty Again

During my 5 days spent at Seb and Nikki’s place in Nuremberg, I didn’t do very much except reply to some e-mails, drink some good local brews and cook good food. These guys have the best kitchen ever, and I totally took advantage of it! I made them a Canadian stew with dumplings, which is something I’ve been eating regularly since I was a kid. It’s basically a carrot/potatoe/beef/onion stew that you cook slowly for a few hours, and at the end, you spoon in some uncooked dough that cooks directly into the stew. The result is this:

Sweet, sweet stew!

We had a good time with Bobby the dog also, he’s so great. I know I have posted photos of him before on this blog, but this one is pretty cute haha:

Count Bobby! He has total natural SARCOFAGO/MAYHEM-style corpse paint!

The whole point of coming back to Germany was because I wanted to go to Hell’s Pleasure, which is a small festival held in Possneck – kind of close to Berlin, but more to the east. I’ve been hearing for years about this extreme metal fest, and finally I was able to go this year before coming back to Montreal. I heard many people complain about the line-up this year, but I sincerely thing it was amazing; MORTUARY DRAPE, ANGEL WITCH, THE SKULL (ex-TROUBLE), MIDNIGHT, PROCESSION, SONNE ADAM, MORBUS CHRON, PROCLAMATION, AURA NOIR, SOLSTICE, MIASMAL, NECROWRETCH, UNHOLY, etc… A perfect mix of Heavy Metal, Doom, Black and Death! Really, I think this festival was created for me. It certainly is a reflection of my tastes!
For the first time this summer I did some camping, with some borrowed equipment from Seb and Nikki. My friend Martin from Canada was there, and also let me crash in his tent! (And so did two Romanian buddies when I couldn’t find Martin the first night, haha.) Thanks to you guys I had a killer experience. I think that camping at a festival is a million times better than sleeping in a hotel room. You can put all your newly bought acquisitions, and you can go take a nap if you need to recharge your batteries. It’s really great!

You know what else is great? You can drink beer in cars in Germany. So, on Thursday (the first day of the festival), I did my pre-drinking in Nikki’s car – and was feeling pretty good by the time I arrived at the festival ground, three hours later.

Drinking in cars rule! On top of it, whenever you stop for gas you can go pee and buy more cold beers. It’s like a traveling bar!

Unfortunately, we arrived pretty late on the first/warm up day of the festival. We got to see only half of the headlining band; MORTUARY DRAPE. We actually got lucky to catch them at all because their drummer left them only a week ago!!! They were doing the gig with a session drummer, and he really sounded good. What luck! Anyway, it was amazing to hear them play songs like “Vengeance from Beyond”, which I never thought I would witness one day. So evil, so cryptic, so Italian! It was just what I needed!

MORTUARY DRAPE in Hell’s Pleasure!

Myself with Nikki, Alex (Nikki’s boyfriend), Romanian guys, Danish and Swedish guys then partied until the sun rose… I don’t know what time we went to bed at, but I do know that I woke up with a massive bangover… pretty stupid huh, the festival is just starting. I was dehydrated as hell and was already looking like a mess. I wasn’t alone, really…

German bangovers! hehe

Cool Army van with a great MASTERS’ HAMMER flag! I still need that one!

Some drunken French dude and her friend trying his pulse haha

The first band on Saturday was Irish Death Metal newcomers ZOM! We were actually supposed to catch them playing a basement show in Dublin’s Into the Void records, but it got cancelled. So, here was my second chance! The played a surprisingly morbid set – playing horror-movie style intros for each of their songs, and incorporating them with their riffs. What I really enjoyed from them is their drummer… he was really inventive in the way he played. They just reeked of freshness! Haha! Really a great band to open the festival. I bought their demo from Iron Bonehead records, can’t wait to listen to it!

ZOM guitarist and drummer

ZOM bassist!

In between each band, I ran to the tent area to drink some cheap warm beer. I ended up doing that pretty much the whole festival! I even had a mini keg full of Czech beer, but I don’t know if we fucked it up or something – it was spraying super fast and had no bubbles! In any case, we still tried drinking a bit from it. It tasted like warm beer juice…

Andrei and Radu, my two kickass Romanian friends trying to drink from the evil Czech keg!

Next band I saw was KETZER from Germany, which play possessed Black/Thrash. They were really good and really did a ripping set, but their riffs and song structures was perhaps not original enough for my liking. Nevertheless, what they played – they played with perfection.

Ketzer! They had a really cool red fire effect going on. FIRE!

Next band was VANDERBUYST from the Netherlands. I had missed them both at KEEP IT TRUE and MUSKELROCK, but was determined not to miss them this time! I later kicked myself because I arrived only half-way through their set… and they played some really incredible JUDAS PRIEST/THIN LIZZY style Heavy Metal!

Totally late 70’s/early 80’s style metal heroes VANDERBUYST!

Coming up next was a band I’ve been looking forward to see for years… PROCESSION!! They have certainly been one of my favourite new doom metal bands in the last years, and I have followed them eagerly since their “Burn” demo (when the band was still 100% Chilean). The vocalist/guitarist and main song writer Felipe Plaza relocated to Sweden a couple years ago, where he now plays with local members. I thought their set was really great – but their bassist (which I later found out was a session bassist for this gig) was totally drunk and acting totally careless… he poured blood all over himself and half the notes he played live were wrong! It did sour the feeling of the whole band live, but I still really enjoyed their set. It was so nice to finally hear them live! Felipe has such great vocals, they totally gave me shivers throughout their gig… They also played a new song, which really kicked my ass. I can’t remember the title, I’m sorry!


Their session bassist… notice all the different types of booze he was drinking at the left haha

After them were a relatively new Israeli band called SONNE ADAM. They have actually just signed to Century Media  and set to tour with legendary Death Metal band GRAVE but apparently this was their last show with the present line-up! Their excellent vocalist has decided to quit the band as they were getting too big! It’s really too bad, as they were truly brilliant. Actually, I discovered them only this summer while doing record shopping in Germany, but was instantly hooked on their dark and morbid Black/Doom sound (which is quite similar to NECROS CHRISTOS, but without the oriental ). The set was completely evil, and truly mirrored their studio recording. Check them out if you haven’t yet…

Sonne Adam at Hell’s Pleasure

Martin (my Canadian friend) with a totally serious face! This guy is super awesome, I’ve known him for more than 10 years, and we actually come from the same region. (Outaouais valley!)

Barry from Dublin and Maya from Berlin, both looking extremely happy haha

Sun was starting to set a little… next band are the famous Norwegian Black/Thrashers AURA NOIR! It’s funny, I expected them to look like NIFELHEIM or something, but they looked quite plain for what they play haha! Doesn’t really matter anyway, their set was totally fucking great! They played a lot of earlier stuff, which is their best material in my opinion.


View of the crowd and stage with AURA NOIR playing, and the sun setting…

Some metalheads hanging out! The whole place had such a great atmosphere!

As I walked around inside the beer tent to look at band merchandise, I ended up meeting my good friend Jamie/Athenar from MIDNIGHT! I haven’t seen him for something like two years, so it was fun hanging out with him. It was nice to talk to an American too after months of being in South America, Asia and Europe! Haha! He had to go backstage to grab some MIDNIGHT tapes so I followed him, and we ended up meeting Ron Holzner who plays in THE SKULL (and was the original TROUBLE bassist)… he now plays in Chigaco doom metal band EARTHEN GRAVE. Both Athenar and Ron contributed recipes to my cookbook, so it was really cool meeting them at the same time! Ron was super awesome and down to earth, it felt really good talking to him. We were all extremely EXTREMELY excited to see the next band… ANGEL WITCH!

Athenar, myself and Ron! Two great guys and killer musicians! I look like an idiot here, but I was beyond excited for the next band.

So, together, we went in the crowd to watch ANGEL WITCH. They were absolutely mind fucking blowing, seriously, I never thought I had one day the chance to see them! They started with a song off their new album, and then played the whole S/T… Hearing songs like “Confused”,  “Sorcerers”, “Baphomet” (!!!!!!!), “Atlantis”, “White Witch”, “Devil’s Tower” (!!!) and of course, “Angel Witch” was totally out of this world. They were totally amazing, and sounded just like on old recordings (ok, except for really high notes that Kevin can’t reach anymore!!!) Halfway through the set, Ron pulled me to the back of the crowd and introduced me to the rest of THE SKULL, including Eric Wagner! So, together, we sung ANGEL WITCH lyrics and headbanged our heads off. Arghhh!!


Solo time! Those evil guitar harmonies pumped the blood in my veins…

Another photo! Myself with Ron and Eric, the voice of TROUBLE!

Afterwards was UFOMAMMUTH from Italy, which I kind of missed by talking to people here and there… they did sound really great from where I was standing though! When they finished playing, there was a big party at the beer tent, and everywhere gathered there. It was really fun, but I was starting to feel pretty tired so I didn’t go to bed too too late. I did have some time to party anyway…

Party tent! Look at all that garbage on the floor, arghh!

A drunken photo of my friend Seb as well as Luke (a funny as hell half Australian/half French bastard!!)

Next day, on Saturday Morning, I woke up fresh as a flower in Martin’s tent. We went record shopping, had some deep-fried vegetarian schnitzels (the only way we could eat vegetables was with that!) and then went off to watch the first band of the day…

MIASMAL! These Swedish bastards have been around for a few years now, and have kicked my ass since the release of their self-titled EP. They were excellent live, and delivered some high-quality old-style Death Metal with tons of nice d-beats and total morbid riffing. I really enjoyed them!

Martin and our vegetable schnitzels and hot beers!

Miasmal guitarists

Miasmal bassist and drummer!

Cool totally ripped up and abused SAXON backpatch

Next band was Swedish Heavy/Rock band HORIZONT, which I missed due to doing a bit of socializing again. It’s hard to be there for every band, all day long! I also went for a little 15-minute power nap, during ASSAULTER, arghhh! I went to hang out with some friends, and among them was Daniel from Norwegian speed metal band DEATH HAMMER. He was so funny and wasted, he kept on listening to his portable tape deck with a mix tape in it. At some point, he dropped it on the floor and it broke, and then he fixed it and was happy as ever.

Daniel, doing as close as possible as a smile! That guy was so happy to see me. He saw CAUCHEMAR twice before our on tour, although he doesn’t speak French, he knows the chorus to “Les Ailes de la Mort” perfectly!

Coming up was Swedish Death Metallers MORBUS CHRON, which I again discovered this summer, through Jerry’s label, DETEST RECORDS. The band was a total revelation, and set me straight through hell and back! They had a very original sound, while still being totally old-style cryptic doomy Death Metal, a bit like AUTOPSY. The vocalist especially was totally fucking twisted, he had a total look of disgust, but at the same time was smiling… he reminded me of Dead (ex-MORBID/MAYHEM) for some reason…

Morbus Chron, one of the best bands of the festival!

Morbus Chron vocalist!!!

Next band I saw after that was PROCLAMATION from Spain. They play total bestial Black/Death Metal, in the vein of Canadian masters BLASPHEMY and REVENGE. They were really great live, I banged my head frenetically to their violent beats and insane chaotic riffing. The band looked very cool as well! So many spikes, arghhh!

PROCLAMATION at Hell’s Pleasure!

Possessed by Black/Death!

Afterwards was NECROWRETCH, a killer Death Metal band from France. In fact, Flo, the vocalist/guitarist of SANCTUAIRE is their bassist! He is the one that had organized our gig in Lyon! They were recently signed on Century Media, and had a really demented, totally sick approach. The vocalist, especially, sounded totally insane! I love the extreme reverb he uses on his vocals. Being from France also adds a little something different to the band, they sound old-school but not necessarily Swedish-sounding or anything. A killer band, and a great performance!

Necrowretch from France!!!

Afterwards was Epic Heavy Metal band SOLSTICE from England. To be honest, I was never a huge SOLSTICE fan but I do really enjoy their 1998 record “Dark New Age”, and they incidentally played quite a few songs from there including the amazing “Cimmerian Codex”… their stage performance was not the best and they were a bit static, but I did enjoy them quite a lot anyway. Not a huge fan of the new vocalist though!


My Swedish friend had a weird ruler that would turn into a star when you hit on it…

The festival toilets! The dude that was in the toilet was totally fucking drunk. It was so funny, poor guy, he fell on the ground and took about five minutes to get up… (he looked like a new born animal trying to walk for the first time) and then fell again! The girls had to help him pee I think. It was quite entertaining to see haha

The night was just getting better and better… up next, is one of my favourite bands in the world, US sleezy rock’n’roll Motörhead/Venom worshippers MIDNIGHT!!!!  They are a band I have been venerating for a long time now, since I discovered their album released by Outlaw Recordings in 2005… This is the third time I see them, and they were by far better than the other times… although their early gig was quite legendary – with girls dancing and a huge inverted cross burning on stage!!! Anyway, they were really amazing, and the crowd was totally, totally wild for them. They did quite a few songs from their new album (released on HHR) as well as off their mini LP and earlier stuff. “Satanic Royalty”, “All Hail Hell”, “Unholy and Rotten”, “I Am Violator”, “Long Live Death”, “Black Rock’n’Roll”, “You Can’t Stop Steel” were played, and they even dedicated “Endless Slut” to me!!! Haha. I think they changed it to “Endless (Married) Slut” while saying the song title though. Ahahaha!!! It was too great. They were definitely the best band of the festival for me.

Athenar and Joel from MIDNIGHT! My friend Joel (ex-RAMMER) is playing guitar for the band now, I had no idea he was in the band permanently now. It was so fun seeing him as well!


Like last time I saw them, Athenar lit his bass on fire…

And proceeded to smash it to pieces! YES!!!!!!!

Next band was THE SKULL, who consisted (if you read earlier) of Ron Holzner and Eric Wagner of TROUBLE, as well as back-up members. They were really on fire, and seriously, if you would have closed your eyes – you could think that all three early TROUBLE records were spinning live right in front of you. It sounded EXACTLY the same, the same dual guitars, the same voice (although Eric was chainsmoking the whole time!!!!!!!), the same bass patterns… it was absolutely fantastic to see them live. I definitely became a bigger fan after seeing their show!!! I had shivers throughout my body while watching them. It’s crazy how a band with religious lyrics can sound so goddamn MEAN!!! I’d love to see them again, perhaps in Montreal one day hehe

Eric and one of THE SKULL guitarists

Ron totally rocking out!

Chainsmoking Eric Wagner

Run to the Light!!!

After that, I met my friend Ronald From HORRIBLE EYES zine and we went to have some smoked sausages and beers, then went to see UNHOLY from Finland, the last band of the festival. I wasn’t familiar at all with their music, but was absolutely blown away. They played a really strange and doomy form of Black Metal, total Finnish style. They even wore strange hats, that actually kind of really fitted their sound!  They really sucked me into their trance-like sound… I will be checking out their records for sure. A great way to finish the festival!!!


A shitty photo of myself and Ronald

The final after-party was then held at the beer tent, with DJing from DJ HIGH VOLTAGE. The music was pretty good, they played alot of good stuff, but no JUDAS PRIEST – arghhh! It was fun though, everyone was really drunk and excited about the killer weekend of pure metal…

Felipe from PROCESSION, Alex from BLACK OATH and Ustu from DENIAL OF GOD at the after-party! So much fun, arghhh

Some guy and Marcelo (Evil Spirit/Voces of Ultratumba prods) sandwiching a poor drunken Ustu haha

As the night went on, I noticed the crowd was thinning in the tent… until there was only a few of us, maniacs left! We ended up not sleeping at all, as by the time I figured out what time it was, it was already 8AM! The sun was up already, and so I tried to find some friends to have more beers with…

The stage at sunrise with a lone maniac on the right

Some guys that were totally still headbanging at around 8 AM!!!

I finally found the Irish quarters where all my Irish friends were installed with their tents. They were already awake and I think they were still pretty drunk. I offered some peanut butter sandwiches to my friends, but only Lorcan accepted it. He also accepted that I cover him with Seb’s beautiful purple blanket. The result was pretty funny:

Lorcan eating a peanut butter sandwich!

He then made me a sandwich with mayonnaise and something else, I don’t really remember. As you can tell by the following photo, I was pretty screwed up haha


I didn’t want to, but the party was definitely over… I just had to go and find Seb (my ride), and head back to Nuremberg with him…

People preparing to leave

Drunken guy still sleeping around 11AM. I found this quite funny because there was a bunch of old steaks that were bbq’ed from the night before, but not eaten yet… hahaha

After finding Seb, we rode back to Nuremberg, I finally took a shower (never had hair that dirty before, they felt like dusty straw!!) and then took a night bus to Paris. Over there, I met François, who came back from his 200 km Compostelle walk (in the South of France), and we had a big, well deserved nap at our friend’s Paulin’s place. In the evening, we went out to a restaurant and both had our last supper…

Our last supper at a downtown Paris bistro. I had Steak Tartare (raw beef!) and François had Daurade (white fish). The tartare was actually not that good, but the fries were absolutely DELICIOUS!!!

We then met up with my good friend Nagawika and had a few beers in the 19ième arrondissement  (a Paris neighbourhood) while watching the moon disappear in a beautiful Paris cityscape…

Paulin, Nagawika, Annick and François!

Paris cityscape…

I am now in the airplane on the way back to Montreal! It’s been one hell of a ride, and although I am a bit sad this is over (and sad to leave all the friends I made in Europe and elsewhere), I am incredibly happy to see my family, friends and country again. Oh yeah, and I can’t wait to go home and listen to all of my records and start my whole life over! François is starting his job TOMORROW (!!), the day after we arrive in Montreal, and I will be off for three weeks to do some job searching, portfolio building and other stuff. To those who have followed us on our wild trip – the blog is not over yet… we will update you in a few of weeks with a little bit about our crazy life back in Canada, and how it is coping with normal life again, haha! You have all seen so many cool places around the world, I have of course to show you where we are from…

Paris to Montreal flight!

Until then, thank you to all that I have met… I will miss you so much. Please come and visit us sometime in Montreal!!!!


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