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Ieperfest 2013 - Another great edition
Every year in August, Ypres, the Belgium city known as the center of the trench warfare during World War I, is the host of a whole different kind of violence. Together Republyk Vort’n Vis and Genet Records organize the annual Ieper Hardcore Fest. An independent 3-day hardcore punk festival that also features death, grind and sludge amongst other genres. This year Fetuskiller and myself were present to review it for you.

All pictures taken from Ieperfest's Facebook page. Pictures taken by
Stefaan Temmerman

FRIDAY

The first band for me to see on this year’s edition were Belgian metal/hardcore youngsters Hessian. It was a little hard to get into this darker style of hardcore at this time of day with my first beer and a nice sunshine outside. But Hessian really nailed it so to speak and showed a nice filled Marquee how to make some fine music. The sound was okay and the band members seemed like they had a good time. When the show came to an end I hoped for more bands in this genre and that was exactly what we got because Full Of Hell was next on the main stage. Despite the sun and still some of the first beers for the audience, this band managed to put up a true depressive atmosphere around the field. The singer was screaming his lungs out and the rest of the band were bouncing left to right. The show was really intense and that’s a positive given considering the band played at noon. The singer left the stage with the words: ‘Sometimes suicide is the option’ witch fitted the feeling of the show perfectly! (Fetuskiller)

A couple of days ago I saw Code Orange Kids and Circle Takes The Square in Tilburg, The Netherlands. That night I was especially impressed by Circle Takes The Square, with a Jodie Foster on steroids, but in Ieper the band of the package was Code Orange Kids. With a furious set on the main stage they did a great job getting the just arriving visitors in the mood for the coming three days of hardcore (and more). At both shows the audience was really tame, but they sure delivered some quality music. (Gilles)

Next up were American screamo masters Loma Prieta. When I saw them play in Arnhem last year they were really convincing so I was looking forward to their Ieperfest debut. Sadly enough this show was nothing compared to last year. The sound sucked big time, the band itself was not that enthusiastic and the same can be said about the half filled marquee. Loma Prieta turned out the be the first disappointment of the festival. Next band in the tent were American nomads Jucifer. It sure was a little strange to see this kind of sludge between all the hardcore and such. But to be honest, this was a great show despite the bad sound with way to much distortion on the guitar and a drummer that made mistake after mistake. Beside all these failures I really enjoyed this show and by looking around I sure wasn’t the only one. Great Surprise! (Fetuskiller)

With First Blood we got the first real highlight of the day. Just two weeks before the festival they were announced as one of the replacements for amongst others D.R.I. and Strung Out and man did they killed it. With a really energetic show and a good mix between the Silence Is Betrayal and Killafornia records they delivered quality. Especially the older songs got the better response, but still I wasn’t impressed by the participation of the hardcore kids. (Gilles)

Without having real commercial success in the past Los Angelos’ Downset certainly had its influence on the so called rap- and nu metal (sub)genres. After officially splitting up in 2009 they’ve now returned for an European tour and they even played some unreleased material, so maybe there will be more real soon. Today they at least proved they still know how to entertain and with Carl Schwartz of First Blood as a guest they closed their set in style. I regret some bands doing a reunion, more on that later on, but Downset’s comeback seems to be really legit. (Gilles)

The evening was slowly setting in when it became time for the legendary Finnish Hardcore-Punk band Terveet Kädet to set foot on the Ieperfest stage for the first time. This band is around since the 80’s but the guys didn’t look like that at all. With great enthusiasm they played song after song without any stops. I read in the Festival brochure that this band were considered the Discharge of Finland and that’s pretty much it. (Fetuskiller)

Bad boy Nick Oliveri has made the headlines, but not in a positive way, the last couple of years. Whether it was a car crash 2 months ago or the stand-off with a SWAT unit at his own house in 2011, but fortunately I’ve got something good to report: his band Mondo Generator kicks ass! With both own songs and covers from Queens Of The Stone Age and Kyuss he and his band put on a great show. No bullshit, just music. Not only the hardcore kids, but also members of a wide variety of bands (Terveet Kadet, Valient Thorr to name a few) were curious for this performance. Would love to see them again soon during a club show as a support of for example Orange Goblin. Would be a great (alcoholic) party! (Gilles)

One of the headliners on the first day was legendary Jello Biafra with his Guantanamo School Of Medicine. At first I was a little scarred for too much old school punk that couldn’t convince me at this time, but this show turned out to be one hell of a party given that Jello had a really great voice and the rest of the band was also playing tight. After some good songs from their two albums it was time for the first Dead Kennedy’s classic being ‘California Uber Alles’ witch set the field aflame. More of the recent songs were played alongside some convincing speeches by Jello and when the show seemed to be over they returned one more time to play my ultimate Kennedy’s song ‘Holiday In Cambodia’. Great set by one the most legendary punk singers around! (Fetuskiller)

Probably the band with the lowest affinity with this green/environmental friendly/vegan festival, but great in throwing one hell of a party: Horse The Band. This “nintendocore” act doesn’t take anything serious and is just representing the idea that people should have a good time no matter what. With a lot of dancing going on and the big smiles on the many faces in front of the stage the crowd heard their message loud and clear. After bitching about vegan, leftwing politics and god knows what I’m not sure whether they will be asked to play Ieper a third time in the future, but for me it was definitely the band of the festival this year. (Gilles)

After seeing the best band of the festival I immediately afterwards was confronted with the biggest letdown of 2013: Black Flag. The field was pretty crowded when the band (with Ron Reyes) started, but boy did they disappoint. They played their hits, but it was messy and seemed to be very spiritless. I’d rather not have seen this iconic band live at this reunion show/tour to keep their mythical status alive, but now they just really ruined it for themselves… Fortunately there was the after party to cheer me up. (Gilles)
 

SATURDAY

 
After a good afterparty and with little sleep the second day of the festival started way too early in my opinion, but fortunately both The Tidal Sleep and Xerxes made it worth the effort. With their melodic, emotional hardcore they shook me awake in a very heavy way, but i liked it. Judging by the crowd response, stage performances and the quality of the songs it was a really close call, but Xerxes had the upper hand. They literally destroyed it (read: both the tent stage and their own gear) (Gilles)

Local Belgian band Maudlin played Ieperfest for the third time already, which I totally understand. The atmospheric post-rock with some Neurosis-like sludge influences was a nice alternation between the moshcore bands who played the mainstage. Therefore the Marquee was nicely filled and the audience seemed to enjoy themselves. Nice show. After that I saw a short peak of Dutch This Routine Is Hell but not enough to give them a proper review. Then it was time for one of my favorites this day, Magrudargrind! I can be really short about this show because it was everything you can expect from a Grindcore band in just a 20 minute set. With every track they crushed the tent a little more and the audience in front of the stage were going nuts on this insane performance. Without a doubt one of the highlights of this second day! (Fetuskiller)

Coffins was a band that I also was looking forward to because this was my first time seeing them. I was expecting to hear some great Japanese Doom/Death but it turned out to be more of an Old School Death Metalshow, which is understandable when you play at a hardcorefest. Unfortunately the sound wasn’t that good and the whole show was just a little tame. So after the show of only thirty minutes I was a little disappointed about Coffins. Hope to see those guys soon in a small venue with some more time. (Fetuskiller)

Belgium’s The Setup was up next and although they did a good job with their straight forward hardcore I still was a bit disappointed. This was mainly caused by the indifferent crowd response and participation. I was expecting more from their fellow country mates. With Death Before Dishonor we finally got some great participation and interaction between band an audience. It took them until the last two songs to realize, but then we got a big stage invasion, great sing-alongs and all in all some nice chaos. Besides the last two, ‘6.6.6. (Friends Family Forever)’ and the cover ‘Boston Belongs To Me’, the other songs were a bit too tedious, but they made up for it in the end. (Gilles)

After the feel good hardcore from Boston’s Death Before Dishonor it was a little strange to walk into a packed Marquee were Oathbreaker was about to start their set. This Belgian dark hardcore band is growing bigger and bigger in Europe, but in the States as well, and this performance was just perfect in every way. The sound was great and the intense performance of the band was impressive. Another Ieperfest highlight! (Fetuskiller)

The party literally continued with Municipal Waste. With the tagline "Let's get some straight edgers drunk tonight!" and their thrash metal they were a nice break between all the serious bands playing today. They surely understand the art of partying! With a big stage invasion the set ended in style and the rest of the day I couldn’t get the text “Municipal Waste is gonna fuck you up” out of my head. Leng Tch’e were the first to try to grind that grin off my face, but for the first few minutes it only became bigger. They sure did a great job with their extreme music and the guest vocals of Aborted’s singer (ex-Leng Tch’e) were a nice addition. Unfortunately this grindcore show lasted too way. I know, I also didn’t believe I would ever say something like that, but after like 10 to 15 minutes the marquee became less crowded with the minute and I included went to grab a new beer and some extra minutes of sunlight. (Gilles)

Reformed New Jersey’s E-Town Concrete was flown in for just three European shows and Ieperfest was one of them. I didn’t really know what to expect but it turned out to be a proper hardcore show with enthusiasm from the band and a nice mosh in the centre of the field. Me personally, I was waiting for my guilty pleasure in rapcore, being their hit ‘Mandibles’ which they played as their last song. (Fetuskiller)

A few days before the fest DYS dropped out so the organization had to find a replacement. Local Death Metalmachine Aborted turned out to be even more than a replacement! I think most of the audience weren’t even thinking about DYS when Aborted played their brutal set! The crowd was going absolutely nuts on this show! Last year they also played the marquee but then they suffered some technical and sound problems, but this year everything seemed to be perfect with lots of tracks from the Goremageddon album. Amazing show once more! (Fetuskiller)

With Culture Ieperfest had yet another legendary hardcore outfit that returned after a very long hiatus. They showed us their vegan/straight edge hardcore stood the test of time, only the execution could have been better. They were sloppy, made some mistakes and the presentation wasn’t too spectacular. Something that can’t be said ‘bout Napalm Death. Singer Barney was sounding good, the band was playing pretty tight and Barney was as active on stage as always. Especially the ‘Nazi Punks Fuck Off’ cover resulted in a crazy crowd and both band and audience had a great time. (Gilles)

I can be really short about American Deathcore outfit Whitechapel... They sucked! The sound check lasted way to long so they had only thirty minutes of playtime left. This was about the fifth time I saw these guys and they did never convince me. Unfortunately also this show was a big disappointment for me. The sound was not good and the band itself did not seem interested at all. Good to hear some good songs as ‘Possessions’ and the title track from their breakthrough album This Is Exile, but despite that it was nothing to be proud of. Shame. (Fetuskiller)

The mighty Cro-Mags, I’d never seen them before and after my bad experience with Black Flag headlining the other night I was a bit reserved before they hit the stage as headliner of day 2. Fortunately my fears were groundless and we were treated with a good show. Three quarter of the set was filled with The Age Of Quarrel material, while also some Bad Brains covers were played. They surely showed Black Flag how a comeback should look like. (Gilles)


 
SUNDAY

 
This last day started with some bands that I had never heard of before and since I missed out on the famous afterparty the night before there was no sign of any hangover at all I decided to watch some new bands. Swedish Grieved opened up the Marquee at eleven in the morning and at this time a day the marquee was nicely filled with people. That was all because of these Swedish youngsters who played a good set of darkened hardcore in the vein of the famous Deathwish Records. After That it was time for American Revenge. Mixing some dark Hardcore with Power Violence and early Thrash it did not really fit the main stage but what the hell. The band was enthusiastic and the audience was there. Too bad that heaven opened its gates during the first song of the set. Fortunately the period of rain didn’t last that long, so Revenge can still look back on a successful show! (Fetuskiller)

The afterparty on Saturday was again a nice one, but not completely clean as a whistle with the loss of electricity for like 15 minutes. This last festival day this turned out to be a recurrent problem. We started with the Swedish band No Omega, but their problems weren’t caused by a loss of power. Mainly due to their own equipment their hardcore punk music had too many and too long interruptions in between. The speeches to fill up the void were way too cheesy to keep this interesting. Unfortunately for them. (Gilles)

The festival brochure was pretty clear about German WolfxDown. “Female fronted vegan straight-edge mosh brigade”. And it was exactly that. A short set full of 2-step, moshparts and breakdowns. Unfortunately for me there was no sign of any originality so after a few songs I decided to go back to the campsite for some food. (Fetuskiller)

Next we got two Brazilian hardcore bands from Sao Paulo back to back. The Marquee welcomed O Inimigo, but the guys seemed to be a bit shy to really give it all. Their melodic approach, think Hot Water Music, was a nice one, but they couldn’t really hold the attention. Their speech about the FIFA world cup next year in brazil got some response, but furthermore it was rather calm in front of the stage. Questions on the main stage did a better job with keeping my focus and their music was more appealing than their brothers in arms, but still it couldn’t confess the visitors to go apeshit en masse. (Gilles)

The Black Heart Rebellion
is one of my favorite discoveries of this year, but seeing them for the third time this year I was curious how they would manage this hardcore-minded audience. Fortunately they had absolutely no problems with that at all. They just played their set like they always do filled with dark sludgey post-rock. The sound was really great and the band members played tight. Thirty minutes was just way too short for me! Next up on the main stage American Jungle Rot played their old school Death Metal set with no nonsense and no regrets. They fired up the audience with hit after hit covering their whole discography except for the debut album which is one of my favorites. But besides that Jungle Rot blew me away and I am looking forward to next time! (Fetuskiller)

Besides the numerous American bands the festival also honors its roots and gives room for multiple Belgium bands, old ones and upcoming youngster. Today especially Reproach killed it in their own country. In a packed marquee the brought some impressive, fast and thunderous violence to the stage. Length Of Time was next, but their metalcore couldn’t reach the bar Reproach set earlier. This was also due to, again, a loss of power on stage. Their show could continue after almost 20 minutes, so it looked more if they did two different sets than one show. This wasn’t in their advance. (Gilles)

A few years back when Wolfbiker came out I was really excited about Evergreen Terrace and when I saw them for the first time I was blown away, but after that they got worse every time I saw them. Every show was the same and it seemed that they lost interest in playing. This time unfortunately was no different. Nice to hear some of the old tracks and sing-alongs, but they need to put out a great new album in the near future to stop this downfall. (Fetuskiller)

In the afternoon the light breeze started to increase and this didn’t have a good effect on the sound quality in front of the main stage. Especially Integrity had some difficulties with this. Besides the sound issues the band also lacked the inspiration to really grab the visitors by the balls. I don’t know if I can come up with a band with more ex-members, maybe this has something to do with it. Read some disappointing reviews of their latest record, but now I’m even less in the mood to check it out for myself. (Gilles)

To me it looks like Metalcore and Deathcore are on their way back and the big hype is over. So I find it kind of strange that the Australians from I Killed The Prom Queen decided to come back and even record a new album. Given the fact that they record the new album in Sweden as we speak it was not to hard for them to leave the studio and play a one off gig at the Main Stage of the famous Ieperfest. And to be short, it was not necessary to do that. The metalcore from this five-piece sound a little dated and the audience didn’t seem to like it at all. The sound was not that good, both singers sounded bad and the drummer made mistake after mistake. I do not understand this reunion at all... (Fetuskiller)

Dutch heroes No Turning Back fortunately showed how you should play an audience. With a lot of passion, great songs, good speeches, many guest vocals and a lot of interaction they destroyed the marquee. Still find it odd to see their major status in foreign countries, while in Holland for example they can’t even sell out and local youth centre. We Dutch really don’t appreciate the beautiful things our country owns. (Gilles)

One of the shows I was really looking forward to was the one of Orange Goblin. Live this was the first time ever to witness them and man am I longing for more. Not all went smooth, cause also during their performance some amps became short of power, but especially singer Ben Ward did a great job entertaining the crowd with his speeches. Fortunately nothing about anarchism or veganism, but just about drinking, about music and every other random enjoyable fact he could think of. But besides the nice small talk they also know how to intrigue with their songs. Just hearing a track like ‘Red Tide Rising’ is enough for me to have a good time. (Gilles)

One of the last bands on this year’s Ieperfest was long-running American Death Metal legends Malevolent Creation. I was really siked about this show but it turned out to be disappointing in many ways. Bad sound, still missing one guitarist and there were like twenty people in front of the stage watching this band. So no, this was not what I expected. After this disappointment it was time for the Marquee headliner of day three being Belgian masters of dark Doom/Sludge/Hardcore Amenra. They are touring there asses off since the release of their last masterpiece Mass V and every time they play they are intense and absolutely brilliant, with this time no different. The marquee is packed and the audience seems to enjoy every second of the show! One of the absolute highlights of the whole fest for me personally and I am sure I’m not the only one thinking that. (Fetuskiller)

After three days of great performances, nice weather and more than reasonable amounts of alcohol it was time for one last potential highlight; New York Hardcore legends Madball. Freddy Madball, Hoya and Mitts are accompanied by drummer Mike Justian (ex-The Red Chord, Unearth, Trap Them) for the last couple of years and the four of them impressed. A lot. With the standard classics, even their most recent work is instant classic, they entertained the whole field. With many stagedives, brutal moshing, nice sing-alongs and a huge free-for-all at the end of the set this was the perfect closer of a great weekend. Times are changing, in case of for example Black Flag, for the worst, but Madball is still going strong and here to stay! Just like Ieperfest. Looking forward to next year already. (Gilles)