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Sunday Old School: Gorefest

Photo of Gorefest

Band Photo: Gorefest (?)

The Netherlands has a long history when it comes to metal music. This small, European country has produced plenty of excellent groups over the years such as Pestilence and God Dethroned and held plenty of festivals, including the Eindhoven Metal Meeting, where so many bands have performed and recorded live releases. Adding to this list of talented metallers is a group with one of the most suited monikers in death metal, the Zeeland based, Gorefest.

Gorefest were formed in 1989 in the city of Goes in the Netherlands and initially comprised of guitarists Alex van Schaik and Frank Harthoorn, drummer Marc Hoogendoorn and vocalist/bassist Jan-Chris de Koeijer. This lineup recorded their first demo, "Tangled in Gore" that same year, which was received extremely well by the extreme metal underground and led to them appearing on the split record, "Where Is Your God Now?" with such bands as Dead Head, Acrostichon, Disfigure and Sinister, before recording another demo, "Horrors in a Retarded Mind," which was also met warmly by metalheads and gained enough attention for them to be booked as the support for Carcass in the Netherlands and Belgium.

All the praise and hype soon got the group noticed by Dutch label Foundation 2000, who signed the group to a one album deal. They brought in producer Colin Richardson, who had previously worked with the likes of Blitzkrieg, Bolt Thrower and Fudge Tunnel. The result was the 1991 full length debut, "Mindloss," which was met with mixed reviews from critics, many of whom were still adjusting to the then emerging death metal genre, though one more, it found a place in the hearts of many death metal fans.

Shortly after the release of the album, Alex van Schaik parted company with the band and was replaced by Boudewijn Bonebakker in time for a tour with Revenant, which itself led to Marc Hoogendoorn quitting the group after a series of incidents on the trek. In his place came Elegy drummer Ed Warby, a mere two weeks before recording their sophomore album, "False," their first for Nuclear Blast Records. The album was relatively successful, garnering a positive feedback and was followed with a tour supporting Deicide and Atrocity, which took them across Europe, performing in such countries as Great Britain, Czech Republic and Slovakia for the first time.

While touring for "False," the band appeared at the 1993 edition of the famous Eindhoven Metal Meeting festival, which spawned their first live album, "The Eindhoven Insanity," which was released that same year, during which they also performed in North America for the first time, supporting Death. After heavy touring, the band returned to the studio and recorded, "Erase," which showcased something of a more mature sound, making them more accessible and therefore, divided opinion amongst fans.

Despite the sulking from some fans, the album sold very well and allowed them to tour in even more countries than before. However, more long time fans began to agree with those who accused the group of selling out when the band released a split EP with Pyogenesis, where they showcased a sound more entrenched in rock, with even poisonous traces of pop found, which would become more prominent on the resultant album, "Soul Survivor."

Though fans protested and complained about the changes, not just musically but image wise as well, Gorefest continued on this path for their next album, "Chapter 13" in 1998. When the album was released, the band found that many fans were no longer willing to give them a chance and that their name prevented them from breaking into the mainstream, resulting in disastrous album sales and as a result, the group decided to disband that same year, with many members taking part in non-metal projects, as one may have expected.

After six years of endeavours away from metal and music, Gorefest announced their return in 2004, with the promise of new material on the way. After performing at numerous festivals, the group released their self-produced comeback album, "La Muerte" in 2005. Musically, the record hearkened back to "Erase," being a solid death metal album, if not quite the bloody mess that the band's name promises. Fans were treated two years later however, when the band released, "Rise to Ruin," their best received album for a long time.

Though many were excited to see where they would go from here, they were told in 2009 that Gorefest had once again ceased to be, as the members felt that they had taken the band as far as they could and were happy that they could now end on their own terms. While they may not be at the top of everyone's list when it comes classic death metal, Gorefest were nonetheless an important and talented band, one which any self-respecting fan of the genre needs to at least check out and one of the big hitters in the Netherlands' excellent history of death metal.

Gorefest - "Mental Misery"

Gorefest - "Reality When You Die"

Gorefest - "Erase"

Gorefest - "Soul Survivor"

Gorefest - "Unsung"

Gorefest - "For the Masses"

Gorefest - "The End of it All"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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4 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Gorefest"

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1. Blindgreed1 writes:

I saw them with Death back in the day, but never heard from them again. They fell off the radar for me. Great band live.

# Aug 29, 2016 @ 1:04 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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2. Ensom writes:

Great article, thanks.

# Aug 30, 2016 @ 4:43 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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3. Per Jensen writes:

sh**tier than the sh**tiest sh**!

Flushes Toilet!

# Aug 30, 2016 @ 10:36 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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4. Diamond Oz writes:

Thanks Ensom!

# Aug 30, 2016 @ 10:45 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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