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Sworn Enemy, Freya, Lionheart and CDC - A Hardcore Foursome!
A nice hardcore package was something that awaited me in Haarlem. Under the monikker Hatewear Tour 2009, Sworn Enemy, Freya, Lionheart and CDC are touring through Europe and Het Patronaat was the first gig for this package in Holland. Lionheart was the only band that I was familiar with, because of their excellent album The Will To Survive.

First up was CDC. They play a brand of mosh-core with a lot of breakdowns and simple structured songs. One thing that catched my attention immediately was the huge drummer behind a very, very small drumkit. A very odd looking sight! Too bad for CDC was the fact that the venue was nearly empty, but they still brought a huge amount of energy to the stage. A big problem was the sound at the venue. The guitars and drums were way too loud in comparison to the singer. Therefore his voice got completely drowned into the noise produced by the guitars and drums. Nonetheless CDC was nothing spectacular. Just decent hardcore with mediocre songs. One thing I would like to mention was the endless energy of the girl at the front of the stage. She kept running along the stage, performing silly hardcore dance moves. She really was into them and sang every line word for word. It was a strong contrast with the apathetic audience.

Second band was Lionheart. The band I was looking forward to the most. Their style of hardcore can be described as a crossover between Terror and Hatebreed. They started off great with the intro of The Will To Survive. Problem was the not so cooperating audience. Vocalist Rob tried everything to get the crowd going, but besides a pathetic circle pit of three people nothing happened. Of course the occasional karatekicks and various mosh moves were present, but nothing notable. That's too bad, because they really delivered a nice performance, especially drummer Jay was a nice suprise. If you see the skinny guy, you won't give him any credits. But when he started hitting those drums, my opinion shifted immediately. Besides Jay the guitarists played the various breakdowns to perfection and Rob  was very entertaining as a frontman. Too bad that again the sound wasn't that great.

Next up was Freya. The venue was filling up a bit and apparently there were some people who really came to see Freya (or were early to warm up for Sworn Enemy). I don't understand why, because this was the worst band of the four by far. Somehow I couldn't get into their music, which is hardcore with a small metal injection. Also their stage performance couldn't convince me. After the first half of the show I went away to get my ears a bit of a rest for the headliner, because the sound was way too loud for such a small venue (they were playing in the small room of Het Patronaat).

Finally the audience was getting bigger when Sworn Enemy entered the stage. And rightfully so, because they blew away their competition. The pit at the front of the stage was getting more crowdy with people performing their moves, which resulted sometimes in one big battle field, very fun to watch from were I stood. Sworn Enemy was one well-oiled machine. Again I am not familiar with their material, so I cannot tell you which songs they were playing, but they made a lasting impression. What a surprise! The songs sounded like a jackhammer crushing your skull. The adrenaline level rose to a boiling point, which resulted in a very enthusiastic crowd and a ditto band. Nice performance.

Concluded, it's a nice package, just too bad that the sound was mediocre, though I am glad that it became better with Sworn Enemy. Too bad that it's not the first time this happened, when I went to Het Patronaat. The people who are responsible for the sound really need to focus on the various instruments and not on the fact that producing a lot of noise is enough. And it can be done, because this problem has never occurred to me in the big room of Het Patronaat. Besides that, I had a blast!