Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Festival report: Ieperfest 2012, day two

I've been slacking recently, but hey I guess it's not my fault that life is being annoying at the moment. I do however, have to mention one thing. This summer on "Cry Me A River" festival I met one of my readers, to whom I wasn't even introduced properly, who really admired the blog, but who also said to me that I shouldn't be feeling sorry for sporadic posts and that the blog is more interesting and unique that way. I keep remembering that advice/compliment, so dude if you are reading this now thank you so much for your words! It's really nice hearing things like that and they definitely keep the machine going.

Behold the timetable for the second day of "Ieperfest" 2012, trust me when I say that it was purely awesome:
- No Second Thought (T)
- Truth And Its Burden (M)
- Vaccine (T)
- StillxStrong (M)
- Whatever It Takes (T)
- Cornered (M)
- Pianos Become The Teeth (T)
- TRC (M)
- Hellbastard (T)
- Reign Supreme (M)
- MxPx Allstars (T)
- Your Demise (M)
- Grand Magus (T)
- Trapped Under Ice (M)
- Scraps (T)
- Unearth (M)
- Nasum (T)
- The Black Dahlia Murder (M)
- Eyehategod (T)
- Ignite (M)
- Pig Destroyer (T)
- Sick Of It All (M)

"Truth And Its Burden" was the band to open the main stage of the second festival day and it was a pleasant surprise. A metalcore quartet hailing from South Africa provided with a solid half an hour of intriguing tunes and some really nice speeches toward the audience. I'm not really that much into that particular genre of music, but this band definitely proved to be entertaining live. Nicely flowing melodies, great vocals and a really positive flow of energy. As I mentioned, the band took its time to talk to the crowd and I am usually bored when bands have too many monologues during festival performances since they are eating time, but on this occasion I enjoyed it. It was interesting to hear how the band is experiencing their visit to Europe and the things they bring from their home town, especially since they are from a place where not many projects are born and the underground scene seems to be nonexistent. Listening to that makes you appreciate the situation you have back at home a little bit more or at least it gets your drive for involvement run faster. Later during the day there was an interview with "Truth And Its Burden" in the "More Than Music" tent and I managed to grab some notes, so further down in this review I will try to transcribe my gibbering writing. All in all, interesting band and I definitely wish them all the luck for the future.
Next up was the very well remembered straight edge powerviolence band seen previously on "Fluff Fest", "Vaccine". Still angry and vigorous, the band took the stage and started beating the crowd into a pulp, not stopping until it was time to just walk away. No pauses, no talking, no breathers, just a lack of anger management and violence, no pun intended. There is really no better way at explaining their tunes other than saying that they are unbelievably pissed off and aggressive, yet being superb at what they do. Creating so much chaos and then taming it properly is really impressive, so I have to give praises to this band in all aspects. Me and the lovely woman got a chance to talk to Will and Matt from "Vaccine" later during the day and they are really awesome dudes. Lesson of the day, if this band is playing anywhere near you, or well even far away since I'm obviously neither from the Czech Republic nor Belgium, go and grab their show, this is something you don't want to miss out on. And if you don't like them...well, you should be taken to their show for punishment.
After "Vaccine" we spent some time in the "MTM" tent watching a documentary about a corporation named "Veracel" and their exploitation of South American forests. Soon enough, however, some really appealing tunes started blasting from the main stage and I was just tempted to go out and check out what was going on. In the end I stuck around for the entire performance of "StillxStrong" and the only thing I wrote in my booklet as a reminder was "FuckingxAwesome". With no remorse, this xvx hardcore punk quintet from Brazil came to show their views and attitude to the audience and they did so without stuttering for a single second. Extremely fast and turbulent hardcore, interesting melodies and violent outbursts of sound, all backed by incredible vocals I fell for instantly and of course an important message to spread around, this band has it all. In the whirlwind of sound they absolutely don't shy away at being viciously direct, for example having a simple yet effective song like "Why Can't You Be Vegan?". They aren't alien to topics concerning human rights too, addressing matters of homophobia in Brazil during one of their speeches. I didn't see the entire set of this band so I'll keep this short, but this is definitely a project worth the note. Absolutely check them out and give support, spread the word!
We were wandering around the festival and then ended up in the "MTM" tent yet again. This time a presentation about "Ethical Veganism" was about to be held, hosted by a friendly dude named Tim, or Timxvx if you please. I won't be talking about the said presentation now, but instead I have decided to ask Tim if he was willing to do an interview for "Natures With No Plagues". He agreed and I'm really excited to actually do an interview that is not related to music, so hopefully in the near future you will be able to read about our correspondence on the topic of (ethical) veganism.
Alright boys and girls, time to get downright pissed and dirty with good ol' trusty crust. Rising from the grim UK scenery of 1985, these lads are one of the legendary names of punk fused old school crust and they are as angry and energetic as ever. Yes, I'm talking about "Hellbastard". The guys just picked up their instruments, started beating and rending them, absolutely not giving any fucks whatsoever. They were energetic, pissed off, perfectly deploying that type of sound and atmosphere they are known for. Despite having a couple of issues with equipment, they provided a wild show which featured everything from crazy slashing at the gear, not caring about slight mistakes, many curses toward the system and even burning some money on stage. Although seemingly aggressive and bitter, the band vibrated with positive energy and it was cool to see that they arrived to simply have a good time and just have fun. Overall it was a great show and I'm glad I have them written down in my book. Old crusties make me happy and I want to be just like them when I grow up.
If I recall well, after "Hellbastard" finished their set, now was the time when the interview with "Truth And Its Burden" was scheduled in the "MTM" tent. As I mentioned above, I took some notes, good three pages of scribbles which I will now try to decipher and form a story or at least a fluent part of text. I have to say that I'm a really bad journalist, or well my note-grabbing skills are untrained enough.
The birth of the band occurred five years ago in Johannesburg, South Africa, starting out as a metalcore project highly inspired by acts such as "August Burns Red", "Parkway Drive", "I Killed The Prom Queen" and "Misery Signals", to name a few. Over time, as band members explored other genres, the project itself started taking influences from "Shai Hulud", "Incubus", "Sepultura", "Death" and even "La Dispute", grabbing all their positive aspects and messages, so the culmination of all those styles is what drives these four people.
Thus far the band shared its music on several South African tours and sharing stages at home with bands like "Have Heart" and "Shipwreck A.D.". 2010 saw a real breakthrough for the band, when they managed to step over to Europe and tour. Near the ending of the year they invited "The Ghost Inside" to come over and tour South Africa, a relationship which will open them a way toward signing for "Mediaskare Records". This year saw their second big European tour, recently playing on "Brutal Assault" festival in the Czech Republic.
DIY ethics have always been integrated into the band. With not a lot of following going around, the band took matters into its own hands regarding promotion, fliers, posters and everything else for that matter. "It becomes like a night job haha." "Be as much as DIY as you can. When there is limited support, you are on your own. Keep the spirit alive and don't have someone else rape you off of your efforts. It's a sense of pride." The vocalist especially addressed younger bands back home, who seem to only put effort into plainly releasing a record by themselves, saying that it is important to always go out and learn more, delegating tasks and improving.
"Hardcore is a message, despite the style." There is a lot of negative energy in South Africa, so the band decided to cling to all those positive ideals they could find. "We want people leaving our shows uplifted and not feeling down. It's like beating cancer. You can either stay positive and live off of that energy or you can dig a negative hole which will kill you."
So in the end, before I left at least, how did these four people decide to be a part of a small hardcore band in an even smaller scene? And the answer was simple and to the point. "It's all about feelings  and  a sense that we actually do something. Jobs feed your stomach, not your soul."
After a lunch break and some sleeping in the car, since we were completely exhausted for some reason, came an insane streak of bands which was absolutely stunning. "Unearth" was the first to set off the chain reaction and they did so with a blast. The metalcore five-piece from Massachusetts exploded on stage and managed to be thrilling from start to finish. I listened to this band ever since they hit the scene and, although I haven't been following their recent development, they stuck on my list to this very day. What always managed to make them differ from other bands of the genre is just a non-generic sound, lacking annoying breakdowns, all too common melodies and instead being constantly furious, direct and unstoppable. Live their sound was truly devastating while remaining really clean and discernible.  I remember "Eyes Of Black" and "This Lying World" being played, the latter one really bringing back some awesome memories. The band delivered a huge amount of energy and was extremely charismatic during their set, yet the majority of the crowd was being stiff and unmoved again, which is a real bummer since the entire band tried to inflame the atmosphere. All in all, excellent and perfect, just as I imagined!
When the sound died on the main stage, madness and chaos were heard from the tent, signalling that "Nasum" has begun. We were sadly late to grab a good spot and it was so full that we ended up being almost outside of the tent and looking from a really bad angle, which resulted in us viewing only two songs of the entire set before crawling away elsewhere. Needless to say the band killed it completely, ripping the air with an insane grindcore massacre. What little I saw of the stage signaled a score of movement and an excellent atmosphere inside, which somewhat made me sad that I didn't view it entirely. But I fear not, I will grab them on another occasion properly.
Well hello there, sir. The long awaited moment is here! I've been trying to grab this wretched band for a very long time and some of you might even remember my failed attempt to catch them in Croatia some time last year. "The Black Dahlia Murder" is just one of those bands which is completely out of the common boundaries of genres which I usually listen to, but I adore the project insanely. There is a special place which they hold in my book, with all their maddening riffs, evil settings and silly attitude, being a truly unique and fun band all the way. Even before they actually started to play they instantly managed to put a huge smile on my face, screaming stuff like "Your forefathers were thieves!" and "Oh my God!" into the microphones during the sound check. And then, in the moment when the sound from the tent ceased to exist and a flood of people spilled outside to the field, the five-piece possessed by outer-worldly entities began their ritual. Sing or yell or shriek the lyrics, put a smile on your face and swing your body in a trance, it's time to ride. Seriously, this band manages to inject such a great dose of madness and adrenaline into you, while being incredibly entertaining to listen and behold. Not to mention, on a personal note, that they played two of my favorite songs, those being "Moonlight Equilibrium" and "What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse", exactly one after the other and I was mind blown and completely slain at that point. The band was everywhere on stage, constantly moving and executing all sorts of maneuvers with the singer taking the role of conductor to the unholy masses in front of him. Of course, the sea of limbs and hair was not moved as much as the kapellmeister desired, thus he was not afraid of fingering everyone outright, for which I give utter praises. Luckily the band stayed pleased, exchanging glances with the few of us who were either dancing or screaming the lyrics.  Due to my thrill of reliving this show, I, of course, forgot to mention the fact that the sound was simply perfect and their entire set flawless, music-wise. All that is left to say here is that you should go to their show, whenever possible. And a message to the band, there is a distant and forsaken land called Serbia where legions of horrors crave your flesh! Come over on your next tour!
We were watching the band from a strategic point, so once they finished their act we were quick to move to the tent and, with a couple of maneuvers, able to grab a nice spot for the upcoming spectacle.  The dark swamps of Louisiana gave birth to an abomination in 1988, a misanthropic, nihilistic and thoroughly grim child named "Eyehategod". After 26 long years of tours and records, the legends of sludge crawled to "Ieperfest" to vomit forth their wicked tunes. The only thing that my shaky hands left  as remembrance in my notebook was "too good to be real". I seriously cannot express with words how remarkable this band is on stage. Shoved and piled up on the small tent stage, they exploded with a vile wave of sound, setting up the most unbelievable atmosphere with the very first chord and keeping it tense until the very end. The sound was so perfect, oozing with that dragging sludge groove and extreme heaviness, thoroughly depressive and tormenting. A wall of crackles, rending, pounding and distortion was uplifted, being excellently melded with the vocalist who aided the sound with coarse wailing, forming that amazing sound the band is known for. "Available soon in Vietnam", along with eerie distortion, were the words that kicked off the show in full gear, "Eyehategod" setting such a wonderful mood which seemed intimate, as if they were playing in either someone's living room or a run-down highway diner. "Jack Ass In The Will Of God", "Dixie Whiskey" and "$30 Bag" were just some of the songs that were played that evening, rippling through the cigarette smoke of the guitarist. For 45 minutes they held the audience in trance, those minutes seeming much shorter afterwards, which is quite strange for a sludge show. All in all, astounding performance and I feel truly honored that I have witnessed the legends from New Orleans.
Eh, what to say now? I have to say that I was fairly disappointed with "Ignite" on the festival, so I will keep this short and spare my time and blog space. Ages ago I used to love the band and even now they tend to spin in my music player from time to time. It was always enjoyable listening to their exceedingly melodic hardcore punk tunes backed with amazing clear vocals. What managed to make their set fail my expectations is the fact that the singing was nowhere as awesome as on the recordings. It was quite weak and not impacting at all, which made me walk away to the distro/merch tent in hopes of soothing my sadness, so to speak. And this is pretty much all that I'm going to say on the matter.
The closing act of the day was quite legendary, although my expectations weren't completely met. "Pig Destroyer", need I say more? The Virginia grindcore has been ripping out guts and throats for the last 15 years and there was no point at which they would turn back. I always loved this project and their ability of taking gore and aggression onto a whole new different level, thus the abnormal excitement about seeing them live. Although their playing was on par and exceeding the beast on recordings, playing technical and fast, the sound was horrible. It seemed either too loud or too muffled and unrecognizable. The only "song" which I was instantly able to recognize was "Jennifer", a deciphering which is obvious for those of you who know about this piece. Keep in mind that I do not blame the band for this mischief, but much rather the stage they were playing on. Additionally what made this set horrid were the lights. Dear mother nature, even if you weren't suffering from photosensitive epilepsy, this was enough to give you a full blown seizure. Not only when flashing on and off, but also it was simply too bright to look at the stage, so the majority of the time I would either hide behind a taller person which actually wasn't that hard or stare at my girlfriend and kiss her which of course I don't complain about. Despite the fact that one could really grasp the talent of the band, I feel as if it was severely crippled and not entirely enjoyable. Next time, hopefully.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A band needs your help!

This is somewhat of an urgent and unexpected post, so please read it if you stumble upon the page. My good friends from the band "Eaglehaslanded" are currently on tour and last night they got robbed in Prague. Someone ransacked their van in the middle of the night and now they need your help. Here is their official post from their facebook page, found here:

"We have heard/read stories about bands being on tour and somebody robbed their van.. we are now in the same situation. Last night in Prague somebody broke into our van and stole some equipment. We're now heading to Vienna to continue the tour and no shows will be cancelled but we will most probably need some help to heal the wounds. If you're willing to help and you're wondering how - come to a show and buy some merch/cds - today Vienna, then Pecs, Subotica and Novi Sad. Another option is to donate to our paypal: - everything goes to buy new guitars and whatever more is missing."

Friday, September 14, 2012

Festival report: Ieperfest 2012, day one

I've managed to hit a speed-bump of sorts when it comes to life, so my inspiration levels have decreased significantly, which equals less posts on here. Lucky for me, I had my trusty booklet on the festival and I kept notes about my thoughts, so writing will come easier than usual. This event marked the ending of the summer festival season for me and there are tons of things I need to share, some positive some negative. As I already mentioned, after this I will start posting release reviews, which I presume will be a good thing due to the fact that you boys and girls are probably bored by only reading my gig and festival write-ups.

The year 2012 saw a grand twentieth birthday of "Ieperfest", a huge hardcore happening stretched over three days in Ieper, Belgium. What started out as a modest 2-day festival in 1992 today stands as a force to be reckoned with and has become the underground event with the longest tradition. "Genet Records" and "Republyk Vort'n Vis" have been working together all these years, the fruits of their labor manifesting as a really amazing and long list of bands which they hosted. I have to be completely honest and say that in all those 20 years, this is the first time I have heard of the festival and it makes me sad, and ashamed, since I obviously missed out on a lot of amazing bands. When I saw the schedule for the twentieth edition of the event I was instantly mesmerized, to say the least.
Getting into a little bit more detail regarding the festival itself. As I mentioned above, it is located in Ieper, a small town in Belgium, just 15 kilometers from the French border. The site is located next to the road and is fairly easy to be found. There is a really big area for parking and an equally huge camping spot. The field where the camp is settled was kinda hard to maneuver, since the grass was somewhat tall and the very ground is wavy, but in the end it turned out to be manageable. Two things really surprised me when it comes to the lodging area and those are extremely clean, and nice smelling, toilets and a spot with showers. Although my woman and me were true hardcore/punk/crust and so we didn't shower during the festival, it is very neat to know that you can if you need to.
Another awesome thing was the food, though it comes with a flaw of sorts. 100% vegan dishes featuring seitan stew, scrambled tofu, pasta with minced soy, fries, vegan ice cream, fruit and many other things on the menu kept everyone filled with energy and also being extremely tasty in the process. However, the downside was the fact that you had to buy tokens in order to get food and drinks. Not only are the plastic coins entirely environmentally unfriendly, which goes against the policies of the festival, but most of the times they are hard to get since the lines are huge. The same goes for actually getting the food, since the waiting time tends to be quite long. At one occasion we actually measured the time we waited in the que, ending up being locked in the line for more than 30 minutes. My suggestion would be to make the meal distribution like on "Fluff Fest", one really big tent and multiple stands. And definitely lose the plastic coins, for reasons obvious.
One other thing worth mentioning, despite the fact that it will get its share of words throughout the review, is the "More Than Music" tent. Filled with info-desks, a small zine library and a podium for presentations, documentary movies and interviews with bands, this tent served as an extreme example of the festival's desire to educate people. I spent a fine amount of time in the "MTM" tent, but the sad thing is that every time I went there I realized that not a lot of people are present or they are just there to relax in the library. In general, I felt really alienated from the majority of the crowd because it was a completely different scene than the one I usually am a part of, so I guess it is just a different mindset of the audience. Despite that I give utter praise to the festival for trying to have an educative aspect and putting a huge accent on supporting the vegan lifestyle and the anti-fascist, ALF/ELF movements.

Now I will present to you the entire list of bands for the first festival days. I just now remembered one awesome thing about "Ieperfest", a thing that events like "Fluff Fest" and "New Noise" should really take note of. Although the timetables were extremely tightly knit, there would be only one band playing at a certain time. Even though there might have been a delay in the tent, for instance, the band on the main stage would not begin playing until the tent band was done. This way you can see everything and you don't have to stab yourself in the face and shoot people because you have to sacrifice one band in order to see another one. So festivals, watch and learn. Anyway, here is the schedule for day one:
- Sydney Ducks (T)
- Midnight Souls (M)
- Dukatalon (T)
- Take Offense (M)
- Coke Bust (T)
- The Mongoloids (M)
- Dean Dirg (T)
- Death By Stereo (M)
- For The Glory (T)
- Kylesa (M)
- Skarhead (T)
- Norma Jean (M)
- Homer (T)
- Knuckledust (M)
- The Chariot (T)
- Corrosion of Conformity (M)
- Mucky Pup (T)
- Crown of Thornz (M)
- Aborted (T)
- Funeral For A Friend (M)
- Congress (T)
- Agnostic Front (M)

The band which kicked off the festival for me was "Dukatalon" and it was a truly pleasant surprise. Not only was it really cool to see a band hailing from Israel, but the output they presented was excellent. This three-piece project mixed tones of sludge and post metal, creating a heavy and eerie sound wall of sound. They excel at making truly enormous and perfectly flowing soundscapes, a trait which is quite impressive since we are dealing with a trio here. The band just swept away everything, no special effects or makeup, just straightforward stomping, overtly grim and mood-bending atmospherics. This was definitely the surprise of the day and I recommend that you all check them out. I'm yet to take a listen to their recordings, but I'm pretty sure that they will grasp my liking even at home.
"Coke Bust", strike two. And I have to say that I was somewhat disappointed. The band was equally energetic as on "Fluff Fest", but back there they just sounded better. In the Czech Republic, the songs were much more discernible and, at the same time, far more aggressive, while on "Ieperfest" they ended up being too noisy and just not that violent. I still like the band though and it was a pleasure to hear "Fumigation", "No Authority" and all of their other tracks they performed on tour. Once again, definitely take a listen to these guys and keep an eye open for them.
My initial plan was to go and see "Dean Dirg", but as it turns out they cancelled. And not only that, but the band actually broke up, which really made me bummed out since I basically could have seen one of their last ever shows. So instead I kinda hanged out with my girlfriend and our friend until it was time for "Death By Stereo". I have to say, this ended up as being a sort of black sheep of day one due to the fact that the band managed to piss me off with just one of their live statements. The band started out fairly well, providing a great amount of energy and being instantly entertaining. At that point I really regretted the fact that I missed their show in my hometown some time ago, since I imagined a smaller show being even more energetic. Then, however, came a couple of sentences from the singer where he noted that "there are not a lot of emo kids in the crowd". "Good, they are hurting our scene." Okay. First of all, and this is coming from someone who is mainly going to punk festivals and gigs and I am sure that a lot of my readers will concur, I really disapprove of any sort of verbal oppression, intolerance or insults, unless the said statements are against the system because that's what this is all about basically. Even if I wasn't a punk and an anarchist, it's safe to say that my dear mom and dad did a fairly good job at raising someone who is not an intolerant douche. Second, those words sounded like they came out from 2006, when people mistook a movement of teenagers wearing eyeliner and checkered bracelets for "emo kids" and went around to beat them up. Even if you're gonna bash something, at least learn your damned terminology. I might fall into the category which you might call an emo since I listen to emo obviously. You know, bands like "Rites of Spring" and the tightly connected screamo like "Saetia" and yeah I'd go and cry my eyes out on their show, or I'd go and listen to "Orchid" and smash your brains out. Those words on stage, coming from someone who started out in 1998 when emo and screamo were truly strong, are really disgraceful and just stupid. Maybe I'm being too judgmental and I take my music seriously, but I'll leave that to the readers to decide. All in all, total disappointment.
Ages ago I was dying to see "Kylesa" live, yet there I was on "Ieperfest" being ready to see them a second time. Previously I saw them in Nijmegen, a show about which you can read here, and I was really curious how they will sound like on this occasion. And it is safe to say that I definitely enjoyed their performance on the festival far more than in "Doornroosje". "Said And Done", "Don't Look Back", "Unknown Awareness" and "Scapegoat" are just some of the songs which were performed and which sounded far more awesome than on the previous show. The sound was much more gigantic and even more clear and impacting than before, so it really seems that the band can do no wrong. Additionally, I have to say that the female vocals were excellent this time, since previously I had some complaints. On this occasion everything was definitely like on recordings, nicely executed singing and screaming which was on par with the album material, a strong and heavy instrumental section and a truly massive sound overall, something that "Kylesa" is well known for. Overall, this was a superb performance, way better than I hoped for. 
"Norma Jean" was up next on the main stage and I was fairly excited, since I heard that they are really entertaining live. I honestly didn't listen to them before, but their tunes ended up being extremely catchy and interesting, so I enjoyed their set quite a lot. The band was also really cool to look at, bursting with quite a lot of energy and providing a fine dose of wild maneuvers on stage. What did leave a murky experience is the fact that the crowd was really stiff and unmoved, this actually happening on most of the shows on the festival, and you could somewhat sense that the band was slightly irritated by it. Or well, at least I found it quite weird to see a band jump around and swing their instruments while the crowd is just existing there. The vocalist addressed the crowd numerous of times, but to no avail. Still, the band did their part really efficiently and I definitely don't have any complaints. One of the last songs, or maybe even the last one I can't really recall, featured the singer of "The Chariot" as a guest vocalist and that was a really climactic point where everything went insane. I have to say that I would really love to grab a chance and see them in a smaller venue on their own gig, which I presume would be a totally insane experience.
Here we come to something that never happened to me while writing a review and that is the fact that two bands in a row get almost identical critique. Prior to the festival I was told that whatever I do I just have to go and see "The Chariot" so, voila, I did just that. Like with "Norma Jean", I was so pumped up with words regarding their live performances, since I only heard praises, but after the show I had no idea what to write in my booklet due to the fact that the set didn't leave any sort of impression on me. But hey, maybe that is a good thing sometimes? The sound was really fast and powerful with really peculiar melodies. Additionally in correlation with the previous band, "The Chariot" radiated with energy and they could have done a lot more, but the crowd just didn't respond properly and I think that the lack of a response really reflected on the band. Nevertheless, they provided a lot of crazy movement on the small stage, which I failed to completely see since I was standing at the left side of the entrance, so my vision was somewhat flawed. And again similarly to "Norma Jean", I hope to see them live on a gig which they are headlining, so maybe one day I get my chance.
Now was the time for a band that is probably one of the most unexpected names to get an invitation to the festival. "Funeral For A Friend", the famous post hardcore hailing from Wales, might have seemed to be completely out of place on this event, but they managed to put on a fantastic performance and end up being one of the most positive bands of the entire "Ieperfest". Ages ago I used to listen to them and, although I stopped somewhere along the way, they succeeded to bring back some truly nice memories. Aside of the fact that they sounded excellent, it was just their great attitude and energy that made me love their set. The band simply came on stage and had fun, enjoying every second of it, making it almost impossible for people around not to like them. They addressed the audience on numerous occasions, excusing themselves and saying that they know they aren't really hardcore, which I found  quite friendly in a way and, if I may say so, cute. That entire "we are all different, let's just have a fun time" attitude definitely crowned their set and it made me enjoy every second of it and with a huge smile on my face. I really haven't listened to the band in a long long while, so I forgot most of their song names and whatnot, but I do remember that they played "Bullet Theory" and "Roses For The Dead". I took a listen to them at home while writing this review and I have to say that I am extremely happy that I had the pleasure to see them live. Maybe I'm not a real fan or whatever, you might not be one as well, but I definitely recommend anyone to go to their show, you will go home full of energy.
The closing act of the day was the legendary hardcore band from New York, "Agnostic Front". No matter how well known and famous, I didn't really enjoy them live and I ended up walking away after a few songs. I have no idea what was going on, but their sound seemed extremely weak and somehow "empty" for a five-piece. I could barely notice any sort of melody, or anything else for that matter, and even the vocalist was weirdly heard. At first I thought that it was just the place where I was standing, but the sound remained obscure even when I moved through and out of the stage area. Not a really glorious end of the day, but I knew that the next one will be insane.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Gig review: Rivers Run Dry, Tyrannicide, Intakt

My sluggish writing concerning "Fluff Fest" and other summer gigs, really managed to make posting rather delayed. When this concert review is done I will be covering my impressions and experiences from this year's "Ieperfest", after which there should be some time that I need to dedicate to numerous submissions which came my way. There are tons of releases that arrived and there definitely won't be any sort of content shortage for this blog any time soon. 

This gig was already announced prior to the happening, so some basic info should be known already. The event took place on a warm Tuesday evening, 7 August 2012, in "Club Fest", Belgrade. Yes, after a very long time I finally managed to attend a gig in my hometown. The venue in question hasn't been covered on the blog before, so I'll just briefly sum what's it all about. Located in Zemun, a sort of old school/historical part of Belgrade north of the Danube, it is quite short a walk from the place where I currently live, though for anyone coming from the center it's a lengthy bus ride. Some people might find it difficult to reach, since it is in a really tiny street and on the edge of a larger building, but it's fairly easy once you consult a map. The venue has a very simple, yet effective, design. Once entered, you are greeted by one big room with a mid-high stage right in front you. To the close left and right is a sort of balcony where there are places to sit or stand, since you need to take a few steps on the stairs to actually get to the stage. Once "down", to the right is a big bar and to the left more sitting spots and the dancing floor. There is not a lot of light in the room, so the overall ambient is quite enjoyable. 
After an hour long delay, the gig started around 11PM, "Intakt" kicking it off. I will keep this segment of the review quite short, since the Serbian three piece wasn't really my cup of tea. Although the thrash metal sounds which these guys unleashed were very well executed, the repetitive songs failed to find my liking. I just guess that my ears have grown fond of chaos, mayhem and constant variety, so it just comes down to personal preference. Nevertheless, I stuck around for their entire set and I saw that several Hungarian/Dutch guests really liked their tunes, so cheers for that. I did really like how the singer announced each song, since I found it really funny, over and over again.
Once the local support finished, a fair number of people left, obviously just supporting their friends who were previously on stage which kinda sucked if you ask me. Either way, the Dutch lads were set up rather fast, so "Tyrannicide" started soon. Two guitars, bass, drums and four vocals, this quartet has it all, throwing their skills in an extremely violent audio outburst. Drawing a fine line between overtly political anarcho punk and really grim hardcore, the band presented some very interesting tunes. The melodies flow between downright aggressive and choking start-stop sections which proved to be quite enjoyable for a live performance. Existence of four different vocals is the thing that really grasped my liking, since the various screams add a really thrilling sensation due to the fact that you can't expect who is going to yell next. Also, it was amazing to watch the drummer who basically annihilated the drum set with remorseless pounding, not to mention that he also contributes to vocal duties. I am yet to take a listen to the recordings of this band at home, which you can do along with me on their bandcamp page here, but I presume that I will equally like them as much as I enjoyed their gig.
Once "Tyrannicide" finished, their guitar player stayed on string duties and three guys from Hungary came to join him to form "Rivers Run Dry". The neocrust four-piece started, if I recall well, with "Come Disaster, Come Catastrophe!", a slow, but progressively building up intro-like song, followed by "Age of Isolation" which is one of my favorite songs by the band and an amazing kickoff for their performance. They quickly managed to slay everyone in the room with their rending melodies and rather chaotic incarnation of crust, making you really want to smash things around you. The songs came with certain spots where the level of chaos and mayhem would drop down a notch, either with gentler melodies or whispering vocals, like in the song "Pesticide". I always loved those murmuring sounds coming from the vocalist, but live they were even more amazing than on recordings, giving a really eerie feeling to the atmosphere. I realized that, by some weird occurrence, they have a rather small listener count on and I definitely consider that a real shame. So in case my readers don't know about "Rivers Run Dry", I urge you all to go and take a listen to their tunes on their bandcamp page, found here. They won't let you down.
A rather short review, but the gig was awesome nevertheless. It was cool to see that the bands were pleased with the venue and actually praising it during their performances, so I presume they were happy with the entire event, despite not having a big audience. Thanks to "Resetor booking & promotions" for making this gig happen. Hope you enjoyed the review!