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Complexity Fest 2016 - The Netherlands is one festival richer!
Saturday the 5th of March marked the day that the first ever Complexity Fest kicked off. A bill filled with “complex(ish)” bands from different kind of genres and in most of the cases a mixture of all kind of genres. The organization really put a diverse line-up out there, a job well done!
Since the Dutch public transport system is quite unreliable and clearly the apps they employ nowadays follow suit, we were a bit late for the party. Missing Destiny Potato unfortunately and arrived when Hypno5e started playing.
Describing Hypno5e style is quite difficult, since their music is a mixture of various genres. Wikipedia describes them as experimental metal and this broad tag is indeed of excellent use describing them. They bring a mixture of post-metal, some death metal influences and some djent sprinkles on top of it. Since this was the first band of the evening that we witnessed, we weren’t properly warmed up and then getting introduced to such a difficult to grasp band is not an easy task for the brain. Hypno5e showed some genuine technical skills and the switches between different genres was done really well. Also the way that they created an atmosphere that suits the music deserves applause. Due to unfamiliarity with the bands work, the different songs didn’t ring a bell with me, but despite not really being my kind of band they pulled of an interesting performance. It was just too bad that the stroboscopes used were extremely annoying and therefore we went on to get something to eat.
After finishing a biological portion of fries (good) and a bio kroket (poor poor taste, was this even a kroket and were was the meat?), we went on to see the Italian dudes of Destrage. Are You Kidding Me, No? , their third album, left a good impression on me in 2014 so I was curious to see how the band would be live. Surprised, that is the word that is fitting to this performance. When entering the venue I was wondering how the madness on their albums would translate to their live performance and if the sound would translate to a live environment. I can only say, I left amazed. So much energy on stage, a crowd that went apeshit (even a circle pit was formed) and a frontman that knows how to get everything fired up (and a weird as hell guitarist, also helped). The different nuances from their last album were brought excellently and despite some minor sound issues (what’s up with the volume of the vocals in the small venue of The Patronaat, since this isn’t the first time that vocalists are sometimes not audible in this venue) the songs were “easy” to follow. Really impressed by the Italian blokes, when they perform in your surroundings go and watch, you won’t be disappointed. And now for that fourth album guys….
Back to the main stage to see the Dutch metal heroes of Textures for the second time in a few weeks. Seen the guys perform multiple times now, they have never let me down and again they left me wanting for more after an hour of playing. What is great to see is that the newer songs of the fenomenal new album Phenotype mix in really great with older material from Drawing Circles and Awake. Phenotype destroys its predecessor Dualism on record and also live, songs like ´New Horizons’ and ‘Shaping Of A Single Grain Of Sand’ are turning out to be crowd favorites. Daniel showed that he is hands down the best Dutch metal vocalist out there and I can also name internationally not many singers who are better in the genre than he is. The band as a whole showed that they are not only technical on a high level, but also the joy they play with is a sight to behold. Again a great performance! Only drawback is the solo piece that was played. If you only have an hour to play and a great discography to choose from, why would you reserve a solo spot? At least it was conveniently placed so we could get a beer at the bar, before it became interesting again.
After visiting for a few “songs” of The Algorithm (the name does them justice, I believe there is some niche market for these guys, but this music is defintely not up my alley, so I won’t judge their perfomance), it was time to go to the main stage to check Hacktivist.
Hacktivist will finally release their debut album, Outside The Box, this year after releasing an EP and a few singles. Witnessed Hacktivist before on a few festivals and knowing that these guys could throw a party, I was wondering how the Complexity Fest crowd would react to the Englishmen. Their music is much more straightforward than the majority of the bands on the bill and involves a lot of rap influences, something your average metalhead is not really a big fan of. Luckily the crowd went berserk after just a few notes. The music of Hacktivist is nothing really special, sometimes even entering mediocre territory, but the energy that the guys possess on stage is addictive. You just want to jump along with them and lose all your own energy in their music. Even the ‘Niggas in Paris’ cover met an enthusiastic audience and they pulled it off. All in all a good performance and I was impressed by the level of rapping they showed, especially by Jermaine Hurley.
Unfortunately it was time to leave the festival, due to otherwise not being able to come home by public transport, so had to miss Alkaloid and Rolo Tomassi. The debut of Complexity Fest on the Dutch festival calendar was a success. Hopefully it was also successful enough for the organization to follow it up with Complexity Fest 2017. It was well organized, although there could be a little bit more time between acts and also the catering could be improved. It doesn’t have to be very diverse but a bit more choice or just a better quality would suffice. Except for these minor points, we had a blast and we will return for a 2017 edition! Job well done!