Al Journgensen of Ministry before the hordes of Metalfest

Continuing with the legendary legacy started by Dynamo Open Air back in the 90s, Dynamo Metalfest aims to be the new go-to place for metalheads recovering from the many, many, many festivals and concerts happening in June. Held at a small stadium usually reserved for ice sports, the Ijsbaan Eindhoven, , Dyamo Metal Fest is already becoming one of the most important festivals in the Netherlands, attracting a pretty significant number of fans from neighboring countries like Germany and Belgium.

After realizing that some of my camera equipment was malfunctioning, and having to leave the venue to quickly find a replacement, I returned to see Leprous, the fantastic Norwegian prog band. Einar Solberg, their singer and bandleader, is a really fascinating and versatile musician, lending his talents to the legendary Emperor while they’re on tour (where he really looks like he’s in a constant state of rage).

Despite being often considered a progressive metal band, the truth is that it’s difficult to simply pigeonhole them into any specific genre. Demonstrating a tremendous versatility, as seen in their seamless shifts from the likes of “Bonneville” to “From the Flame,” they were a fantastic way to start my Dynamo day!

 

Whether by design or coincidence, Dynamo Metalfest were pretty heavy on the thrash metal department on this occasion, as evidenced by the presence of Iron Reagan (who I had to miss due to my unexpected technical problems), Overkill and, of course, the Canadian legends of Annhilator.

It’s not often that you see a band simply exuding energy, but that’s exactly what these guys were doing. The dynamic of dueling guitarist Aaron Homma and Jeff Waters is out of this world, with both them going out of their way to engage the audience and to get a rise out of them. It’s always great to see performers who seem to genuinely enjoy what they’re doing, and that’s precisely the vibe that you get from look at these guys. As a mediocre guitar player, I can’t even begin to imagine the complexity of playing at such neck-breaking speeds while, at the same time, running and jumping around the stage, but they sure as hell make it look easy.

Continuing with the thrash metal slaughter, Overkill took over the ceremony,right away pummeling the audience with Mean, Green, Killing Machine. This call to arms was delivered with power and precision, right away getting the audience to start moshing, despite the almost unbearable afternoon heat.

With 19 albums under their belt, it’s obvious that a band like Overkill cannot possibly condense their discography into a short festival set. The time constraints were not enough to deter them, however, and they still managed to unleash their thrash metal onslaught on the Metalfest audience.

10 years ago, back in 2008, Ministry were the first band that I saw at my very first metal festival ever, Graspop Metal Meeting. At the time I was only a metal fan without any aspiration of ever having anything to do with any band, let alone Ministry. Well, that decade hasn’t passed in vain and, after they really enjoyed my shots of them at Hellfest, I was invited to photograph them at Dynamo. It’s been quite a ride, that’s for sure!

As a legendary band in regards to both metal music as well as political action, their tour was shaped by their clear and outspoken opposition to Donald Trump. The stage was flanked by two massive Trump-Chickens with massive crossed out swastikas on their chest, making it very clear where their message was coming from.

There’s something about (Uncle) Al Jourgensen that really defies explanation. With dreadlocks, face tattoos and piercings, he is very imposing, despite being a rather small-sized man. There’s something about being on stage that also activates him, moving him from a chill hippie dude to an absolute heavy metal beast. It’s certainly no coincidence that Ministry‘s shows are famous for the raw energy that they unleash,as Al performs tracks like “Lies, Lies, Lies” and, of course, “ANTIFA,” his anthem for the Trump administration.

Ghost, the headliner, had a closed pit, open only to very few photographers. Since I wasn’t among them, and aware of the fact that I’d end up seeing them at Wacken anyway, I used the first part of their show to walk around the festival grounds and (finally) get something to eat. Dynamo has a pretty decent array of foods and drinks available for the guests, so you definitely won’t be going hungry (or thirsty) while you’re there.

Riding on the success of Prequelle, and flaunting their “new” frontman, Cardinal Copia, Ghost were definitely the center of attention for the evening. With a truly fantastic pyro show (which I stood dangerously close to, because I had no idea they’d use them), and engaging the audience non-stop, Tobias knows how to keep an audience entertained.

Ghost were simply a fantastic way to close the evening and, if nothing else, a testament to the fact that Dynamo Metalfest continues to grow with every passing year. I’ll make sure to be here again in 2019!