FESTIVAL REVIEW: BERSERKER III (Day 1) – Voivod, Black Fast, Vektor and More
The first day of Berserker stormed into the Masonic Temple in Detroit with a bevy of extreme music bands who were ready to rage.
The historic Masonic Temple in Detroit, Michigan provided the perfect setting for the third year of the Berserker music festival. There were 3 stages on the third, fourth, and fifth floors, with the bands staggered every fifteen minutes, which allowed festival-goers to see a bit of every band or camp out on a particular floor to enjoy a series of bands on a given stage. This year also featured a vendor’s section where you could pick up t-shirts, vinyl, and even some guitar picks with the ingenious name of “Dick Picks”.
Getting the festival into high gear was the energetic hardcore of Rest In Shit. Uncompromising hard riffs with powerful vocals and a rock solid rhythm foundation pulled in a decent crowd for the first band of the evening.
Climbing up to the fourth floor, we got a dose of Mr. Bungle-inspired rock from Cockhorse. Their music was seriously fun and infectious with twisted songs about traffic and typewriters.
Heading up another floor into the bigger ballroom, the ethereal sounds of Voyag3r surrounded the crowd. This band cast atmospheric compositions that leaned toward Pink Floyd, but with meaty drums at the core. This was a nice change of pace.
There was just enough time for a beer at the third floor stage before all hell broke loose with A Purple Cloud beginning their set. This band was the Bruce Lee of Berserker with tunes that blazed like the kung fu master’s fists of fury: chaotic grind-inspired music that pummeled the crowd with fast riffs saturated in a vocal roar.
Volunteer from Milwaukee cranked out some thick, sludgy rock reminiscent of early Soundgarden and Melvins. The bass was punchy, accenting the guitar crunch and splashy drums. The evening was young, and the talent so far was immense.
The crowd was thick and all eyes were riveted to the stage as Acid Witch delivered a frantic set of metal. Speed metal fueled by lysergic dreams and massive quantities of smoke is what this band delivered, and the crowd loved it.
Heads were thrashing and bodies were pressed close to the stage as Sauron wielded their metal-making tools in praise of the dark lord. Savage vocals and unrelenting music gave the fans all the blackened thrash they could endure.
Covered in blood and violence, the Old Gods clawed at open wounds with frenetic noise rock. The band riveted the crowd as the lead vocalist stalked the stage and the band strangled music from their instruments.
Child Bite launched into a set of manic intensity upstairs, and kept the crowd entertained. This band had a ton of energy, and they threw it all over the room for their fans to savor; it was a musical bomb of insane delight, spreading cheerful mayhem.
The singer for Fistula had the menacing eyes of a killer as super-saturated guitar tones simmered over a thumping rhythm. This was raw music that bled from the amplifiers to smoke your brain.
Fuzz-fueled garage rock riffs set against a powerful beat was what Grizzlor unleashed upon us. The vocals flew on dark wings of sound. This band took the music to the crowd and made sure they could feel its sharpness.
We then headed up stairs in time to witness the progressive thrash majesty of Vektor. The superbly talented musicians in this band were a joy to watch; they played spellbinding riffs at light-speed, with the precision of an atomic clock. Announcing that they have a new album out, they then launched into “Ultimate Artificer” and thrashing heads went wild.
Shit Life made the world a little brighter as they grinded with incandescent wrath. Their songs only lasted a few minutes, yet each one was played with blistered gusto; a truly amazing wall of sound from just two guys playing guitar and drums.
Karmic Lava took the fourth floor stage by storm and melted minds with doom-laden stoner riffs. The bass and kick drum thunder worked to create a vital potion enabling the guitars and vocals to soar. The dark lighting in this eerie room of the Masonic Temple along with the grooving riffs cast a haunting spell upon the audience.
The largest crowd of the night jammed up close to the stage as the masters of speed and thrash, Voivod began to play. Snake urged the fans on as the music took flight. They played “Kluskap O’Kom” off their last album ‘Target Earth’ which was well received. There was madness in the pit as Voivod ripped into “Post Society” and “Killing Technology”. The psychic wonderland of “Astronomy Domine” ended a mighty set of metal.
The battle-tested and hearty metal warriors gathered on the third floor for the final set of the night by Black Fast. There was no shortage of enthusiasm from the band or their fans who had this great opportunity to thrash in close quarters. It was a seething sea of flying hair and breakneck headbanging as Black Fast played the brilliant “I, Conspire” and finished with “Starve”. All in all, the first night of Berserker was a huge success.
Check out our Photo Gallery of the gig here!
A Purple Cloud
Rest In Shit