In a little less than three week our favorite European hardcore festival is taking place in Ieper, Belgium. Once again, Ieperfest has put a superb line-up together offering solid mix of punk, hardcore and metal bands. Props to the organization for dealing with so many last minute cancellations and finding proper replacements.
This year I decided to not only publish a photo report afterwards, but to also recommend 10 bands you can’t miss at this year’s fest. Here you go:
Anchor // Friday
Swedish straight edge heroes Anchor have released their third full-length album this year. With a bit more rock-influenced songs, they have created a very diverse record that might remind you of La Dispute or of Have Heart and Comeback Kid at times. Distance & Devotion is definitely one of the best records that has come out this year make sure to catch them play their hearts out.
Birds In Row // Sunday
If you want heavy, don’t look any further and make sure you’re standing up front at Laval, France’s Birds In Row. Blurring the lines between hardcore, punk, and related sub-genres, Birds In Row truly offer something of substantial emotional weight to their listeners. Make sure to jam their latest LP You, Me & The Violence which came out via Deathwish Inc. last year.
Cheap Drugs // Saturday
Incubate has it right: “No-nonsense hardcore punk quartet from Belgium whose music consists of barking vocals, steaming rhythms and simple guitar. Dudes raised by eighties hardcore, who know how to write great catchy songs filled with anger and heart.” Their LP ANGST. is a true banger.
Dangers // Saturday
Writing angry and pissed off music is what Dangers from Los Angeles, California does best. Their latest effort is an EP entitled Five O’Clock Shadows at the Edge of the Western World which features six of the most intense songs you’ll hear in your entire life. Madness is guaranteed! Dangers is currently on the road in Europe with Loma Prieta.
Guns Up! // Saturday
Ever since their last European tour in 2006 followed up by their break-up in 2007, we’ve been wondering when Guns Up! would make it back to European shores for a reunion tour. Well, that time has come, so get ready. “You live and you die, I think I’m losing my mind. Slowly but surely im losing control. Outlive! I guess these are times where you learn to live. I know these are times when you have to outlive.”
Hierophant // Sunday
Italy’s masters of “deathpunk” Hierophant delivered a superior, succinctly crushing LP called Peste in November 2014. Mixing American D-beat-infected metallic hardcore and European death metal, Hierophant blend a slew of influences to their own darkened brand of music. Aggression, depression, frustration and a certain endzeit element are all fused together into a hellish sound that will pull a few dark clouds together above Ieperfest.
Sweet Jesus // Friday
Sweet Jesus is a band from New England, Massachusetts featuring (ex-)members of Have Heart, Fucking Invincible, Verse and Soul Control. If that’s not convincing enough, they dropped a glorious debut LP called You Destroy Yourself paying “homage to late 80s/early 90s D.C. emotive hardcore without sliding into pure imitation” (Decibel). This is their first time over in Europe, so don’t miss out!
Touche Amore // Saturday
It’s always a pleasure seeing Touche Amore in action. The quintet from Los Angeles, California have made it to the top of the international hardcore scene in the past few years. Since their inception, Touche Amore have been touring relentlessly, playing their brand of emotional hardcore/punk everywhere and receiving critical acclaim for their releases.
Trial // Saturday
Legendary political straight edge band Trial made way to Europe past weekend along with By The Grace Of God. Fronted by the inspiring speaker, humanitarian activist, and award-winning producer and writer Greg Bennick, this performance is on the top of our list. “We were after that one moment, that one intimate and intense exchange, that one flash of passion and agony colliding and intertwining that left us all reeling and realizing that we’d just experienced something very real.”
xRepentancex // Saturday
Currently dominating the UK hardcore scene, xRepentancex have been turning heads worldwide this year with their smashing LP The Sickness of Eden. And how Joshua Hart from LouderThanWar.com puts it: “If Repentance are not as big as Converge in three years time, I’m going to quit listening to hardcore, because then I will be sure of its status as a dead, shallow thing constrained to an idealized and overrated past.” So there you have it. GO CHECK THEM OUT!