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Graspop 2004 - A weekend in Belgium
Carn's Graspop Report:

Ah yes, Graspop. In my opinion, the best metalfestival in Europe. But that could be because Wacken is a bit to far away for me and I dont care that much about extreme/black/death metal, I like my lineup to be pretty diverse. And again, Graspop had a good line-up. Which is starting to get annoying, because I always drink to much on festivals like this so I`m way to wasted to see more then 2 or 3 good bands a day! I dont remember in what order all the bands played, so you`ll have to look up a schedule yourself if you're that interested.

One of the bands I really wanted to see was The Dillinger Escape Plan. I was mildly pissed that I only saw half their show because somehow the Graspop organisation deemed it logical to put the camping area a mile away from the festival site so before our tent was up and well, we noticed that it was time to check out the DEP, and we basically had to rush to the festival site. From what I saw of the show, it was pure class (as always with these guys). The only thing that can really ruin this band is bad sound..which is something that Graspop is notorious for. Luckily, it wasnt that bad and I could still a-rhytmically bang my head to songs like 43% Burnt and Baby's First Coffin. Singer Greg also threw the microphone stand into the crowd, I still feel sorry for the guy who got hit by that!

I think that John Schaffer should rename his band to "John Schaffer's gang of merry hired men who play metal and just wont stop playing". Maybe Iced Earth isnt my thing, or maybe I really wanted to see Matthew Barlow instead of Tim Owens. The band played really good, but after a few songs I just couldnt care anymore and I sat down and fell asleep. Some Iced Earth fans in my group considered it a great show so it was probably just me who got bored.

Next up was Exodus. After Iced Earth I could use some good thrash metal to wake me up. So we all went to the other marquee, only to find out that Exodus was going to play in the same marquee as Iced Earth was..so we had to deal with 30 or 45 minutes of setup time. Which sucked hard, because it was already pretty late. I think Exodus started playing around 1:30 or so..not really the best time for some energetic thrash after you got bored to death by Mr. Schaffer, who sucked all your remaining energy out. Exodus played good, altough the sound was a bit messy, probably because of the hurried soundcheck they did.

Children of Bodom dissapointed me a little. I had already seen the band a few times before, and this show was a bit messy and the sound wasnt that good at all. Lead Guitarist/Vocalist Alexi Laiho also looked like he didnt really care about this gig and was more interested a nice bottle of whiskey after this was over. The band's setlist wasnt that inspiring as well so it really felt like a "Lets get this done with" kind of concert.

Fortunatly, Dimmu Borgir made up for the lackluster show of COB. Somehow the sound suddenly was good, and the band seemed to enjoy playing on the festival. Frontman Shagrath seems to really get a show out of it, Altough I heard some complaints from guys that the band should act more modest on stage instead of acting like a hairmetal band. Stupid statements to me, because I want to see a show, not some metal band who looks like they can crap their pants any time soon. Also props to fill-in drummer Reno Killerich who nailed all the songs. He might have left out an accent here or there, but learning a Dimmu set in a few weeks time is an amazing feature to begin with.

Again, Killswitch Engage impressed me. I saw KSE play a few days earlier in the Tivoli, and even lacking 1 guitarplayer, the band still sounded rocksolid. I'm not the biggest fan of "The End of Heartache" since I prefer "Alive or Just Breathing", but this band just keeps getting better live.

Fear Factory and Life of Agony both played decent shows. It seemed to me that Burton had some vocal problems but I`m pretty convinced that FF can make a few more records with this current line-up. Solid playing! Nothing much to say about LOA either. I saw them on the "River Runs Again" tour in the 013, and I have to say that they are more of a clubband. They did play a new song which impressed me alot. I forgot the title but it really reminded me of a good mix of a track from "Soul Searching Sun" and "River Runs Red". Good stuff!

Again, this year's Graspop was great as usual. I didnt catch that much bands, but there was alot of beer so I'm definitly going again next year!

DemonDust's report:
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Friday


Action In DC / 15.00 / Marquee 1

What better band to get some old rockers in the party mood than Action In DC? I can listen to this band better than to what AC/DC themselves are doing lately! All the world famous hits were thrown at us at an incredible ear killing volume in a splendid performance. The band even has a perfect imitator or show off Angus Young and a vocalist that possesses Bon Scott's golden throat. I enjoyed myself very well during their set and was surprised to see that they even had cannons for �For Those About To Rock�� and a Angus strip-act! All the hits like opening song �Let There Be Rock�, �Whole Lot Of Rosie�, �Problem Child� and the inevitable �Thunderstruck� roamed through the tent and were wildly joined in by a massively enthusiastic crowd. What a show for a cover band!

Suffocation / 19.00 / Marquee 2

The most brutal band of the entire festival was definitely Suffocation. High speed tech death metal was played in a rapid pace from these long-time metallers. I had never seen black people making such heavy music (one guitarist and the drummer are black people) and I don't think I'll see that again soon! The crowd was even standing outside the overcrowded tent to catch a glimpse of the noisiest thing the festival had to offer. A lot of songs from the new album Souls To Deny were played, including the titletrack. High brutality level, good for one's energy level.

Hypocrisy / 22.45 / Marquee 2

After seeing a reasonable show at the one of the No Mercy festivals I was hoping for a better show. What I got was an overcrowded tent with a band that played way too much new shit when they should be playing old shit. The new tracks sound in my opinion like any other band could have made them. But when they played �Fire In The Sky�, you just know that there's only one band in the world that can do that. The show was quite boring, but then again we were standing all the way in the back because it was so crowded. This band is facing it's downfall, I fear. The days of Roswell 47 are over.

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Pleymo / 14.00 / Mainstage

This idiot French group makes nu-metal in the style of Limp Bizkit. Poppy rock with a vocalist that sounds just like Fred Durst. There are some heavy metalcore parts here and there, the bigger half is a bit too gay for me. No attitude rapping can help that. The performance didn't interest me at all.

Morbid Angel / 16.30 / Marquee 1

I was hoping the best for long-time death metal heads Morbid Angel, but somehow my jaw was dropping during the couple of tracks I witnessed. It could be the heavy day I had before, but somehow the show didn't catch my attention at all. But for me a glimpse at one of the worlds most brutal drummers was enough. I believe an ex-colleague of me once described his performance as an octopus with epilepsy. I'll stick to that.

Soulfly / 17.20 / Mainstage

This was one of the shows I was looking forward to. After seeing them at Dynamo, I couldn't wait until I would see them again. And this time they played an even better setlist. Opening up powerfully with the title track from the new album Prophecy they immediately got a good crowd response. Tracks like �Jumpdafuckup/Bring It�, �Bleed�, �Porrada� �Seek �n Strike� and a whole lot more of kick ass metal tracks were played. They surprised me with playing Deftones' �Head Up�, without Chino's vocals of course. Another nice surprise was that instead of playing �Mass Hypnosis� like at Dynamo, they played �Inner Self� wich totally rocked! They finished up with the all-time Soulfly track �Eye For An Eye� which they DIDN'T play at Dynamo. Great show!

Motorhead / 19.10 / Mainstage

This old-skool band I just had too see. With again one of the worldst greatest drummers behind the kit they kind of surprised me. I had never listened good enough to their music to realize that they have an amazing drummer. He gave away an incredible solo, but in the end of it when he threw his sticks in the air, he failed to catch them. Which looked kind of funny naturally. The music was like, hey they're playing� Ace Of Spades�! Oh no, this is a different track. Every track they played sounded like 'Ace Of Spades' to me. Must be my age or something� old farts playing braindead heavy shit with one of the best drummers ever? OK�

Slipknot / 21.10 / Mainstage

The reason why I came to this festival. My all-time favourite band would finally perform before my eyes again, since the last European tour with American Head Charge. And what a show it was! Opening up with brutally with the agitating track �(SiC)�, they immediately had the crowds enthusiasm. Even I couldn't hold myself back anymore, and during several I bashed some serious skull. The new masks looked absolutely great as well as the new tracks sounded great. �The Blister Exists�, �Three Nil�, �Pulse Of The Maggots� and the single �Duality� that was loudly sung along were played from the new album. Iowa tracks were �People=Shit�, �The Heretic Anthem�, �Disasterpiece� and the debut album provided battle anthems like �Eyeless�, �Wait And Bleed� and the almighty finishing touch �Surfacing�. What a performance, can't wait until the Unholy Alliance tour!!!

Sunday

Malevolent Creation / 12.15 Marquee 1

Early in the day, waking up with brutal death metal. Sounds good. Although this band is certainly not the most original band in the industry, but it sure sounds great. I don't have any of their material, but I'm thinking about changing that now.

Destruction / 13.00 / Mainstage

I had missed this band at the Xmass Metalfest last year because I had to watch the performance of the day by Misery Index, so I figured I went to see them play here. And I must say, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Quite nice thrash metal riffs played by only three guys from Germany. But it was easy to see why they never reached the level Slayer is at�

Dying Fetus / 13.50 / Marquee 1

I had high hopes for this band, but on the other hand I was prepared for a disappointment, since their original line-up has completely been vaporized, except for one guy I believe. The show was brutal as well as boring. I definitely prefer the previous members project Misery Index a lot more.

Chimaira / 15.30 / Marquee 2

Being described as, together with Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage and God Forbid, the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal, this would kick ass for the third time that I'd see them. Unfortunately they played the same set for the third time as well, opening with �Power Trip� and playing only one track of the debut alum, indeed �Severed�. And when it was time for the parting of the red sea by Metal Moses I couldn't resist but join in. But after a couple of tracks acting like a maniac my shoulder partially dislocated again. Fortunately it could be pushed back and I could watch the rest of the show, which was very headbanging!

Ignite 17.25 / Marquee 2

Pretty amusing hardcore band with only singing, no screaming. No real heavy parts, so no real heavy moshing. Nice band to see, between a couple of killer bands. The vocalist had a lot of things to say about all kinds of social topics, like being a father for your children, and stuff like that. I wasn't interested.

Ill Niņo / 19.25 / Marquee 2

Three times I had seen them already, this was four. I had to see the beginning of the show (man what a gigantic crowd do these guys have!) because they always begin with �If U Still Hate Me� which is probably the heaviest song ever written by this band. But after a few minutes of hearing exactly the same set as they played at Dynamo I left to see the most terrible show Children Of Bodom has ever given. Wish I had stayed afterwards.

Hatebreed / 21.25 / Marquee 2

This years edition of Graspop was already very hardcore orientated, having a complete hardcore podium on Saturday. And then having the best selling metalcore band in the world headlining in one of the tents, you can imagine what a crowd showed up for this performance. And they came though for the legion of moshing motherfuckers. That was the biggest moshpit I have ever seen. A big ass Braveheart pit, and something previously undone. Two massive circle pits swarming around the two front pillars of the tent. What a sight!
They played all the tracks I needed to hear, like �Perserverance�, �Doomsayer�, �Puritan� and the encore that of course was �I Will Be Heard� which I was screaming along just as loud as the other insane idiots in the tent. Performance of this day, definitely!

Liveview by Carn & DemonDust
Details Written on Saturday Jan 1st, 2005
Writer @Carn

Tags: #Graspop 2004