On Saturday at This Is Hardcore we got an awesome all-day lineup with Brooklyn’s Biohazard killing it still. Pennsylvania’s own Wisdom In Chains played, who are a fan favorite and a gift every year. Mad Joe even gave us the gift of telling us he was going to be a father again. New Jersey’s Lifleless is a band that is making the east coast look amazing again for hardcore. If you haven’t heard Dream it’s a must to own.
Lifeless, by Anne Spina Photography
Sand of Japan came close to stealing the show. Makoto, their lead singer is wilder than Greg Puciato of Dillinger Escape Plan. It was sad to see Philly’s Rock Bottom come to an end, but they were amazing. The guys basically threw a party and chucked a bunch of toilet paper around the Electric Factory the whole set. It was actually pretty fun. Xibalba from Los Angeles is the band that is bringing hardcore and metal to the extreme. I think to me they remind me of the 90’s Swedish Death Metal bands. Turnstile killed it. In my mind Nonstop Feeling is the best album of 2015. Bane, those Boston boys, will always hold this festival night down. They “won” This Is Hardcore 2K15 to me. It’s sad to see a band who mattered in hardcore to me since 2000 call it to an end.
Foreseen (HKI) by Anne Spina Photography
Twitching Tongues, by Anne Spina Photography
On Sunday the winners for the fest were Foreseen (HKI) from Finland. If you are a D.R.I. & Municipal Waste fan, bands like Foreseen are the best. I definitely thrashed like an athlete. You also had Twitching Tongues who to me is the most metallic hardcore band out there. Tongues also recently signed to Metal Blade Records. They are a game changer in heavy music. All Out War also played Sunday and featuring some songs off the new EP which I have to say is heavy. All Out War is a great band. Their moshers are wild and as a band they are a must to see. H2O killed Sunday night for me. Toby Morse playing a 20th Anniversary set and getting friends and family to come up and sing with him on songs. Of course The Exploited from the U.K. who I say kicked arse. They still are there to prove “punk is not dead.”
H2O, Anne Spina Photography
The Exploited, by Anne Spina Photography
Besides the music at This Is Hardcore, you have food trucks all over the fest. Distros of all kinds like Shop Shogun, Bridge Nine, Deathwish, Fast Break Records, and Harvcore Records. And even apparel like American Straight Edge Apparel. There’s also SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) Demo Fighting in the parking lot so if you want to fight like a knight or a viking. it’s the right place to do it. This is Hardcore is a fest that is important to this city. The fact that this fest moved from a small venue to the biggest venue in Philly, proves something. It was even heart-warming to hear that Joe Hardcore proposed to his longtime girlfriend Jessica Parr here. I have to say that this fest has something for everyone. It’s cool to see how packed it was for days like Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. When I look back at all the fests I’ve gone to, this is the one I approve at all costs. If you haven’t been here you’re missing out.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The city of brotherly love, cheesesteaks. Rocky Balboa, and the almighty This Is Hardcore Fest, the biggest music festival on the east coast that supports the hardcore and punk. Joe Hardcore McKay started this fest 9 and he still does not disappoint. The first day of the fest this year was held at Union Transfer in Philly. The other three days were held at The Electric Factory (very close to The Transfer). Day one the fest had reunions and goodbyes. Buffalo New York’s Snapcase headlined this day. Singer Daryl Taberski said to the crowd Thursday Night “It’s great to perform to old fans and new fans”. The great vegan/straight edge band Chokehold from Canada also had reunited at This Is Hardcore. Not only did they co-headline the first day, but they also played an after show at the Voltage Lounge the next night. The sad part about Thursday was saying goodbye to Foundation, probably one of the most promising hardcore bands in this decade.
Chokehold, by Anne Spina Photography
We also some great friends and hometown heroes in Agitator. They were ready to call it quits and I for one say it was great Joe Hardcore put them on this bill. I heard Joe say a month ago on The Post America Podcast “It wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t put them on”. One band who stole the show that to me was Code Orange. Code Orange is one of the best bands out of the keystone state. The album I Am King (Deathwish Inc.) is a must own. The fact they came off Mayhem Festival and played this and not to mention all surprise guest vocalists to sing including Jeremy Tingle of Lifeless. It was a must see show. It will be amazing when Sunny Singh of Hate5six.com posts that set.
Code Orange, by Anne Spina Photography
On Friday there were a lot of main event heavy hitters especially the main event. Another reunion that is very important to talk about here. Boston’s American Nightmare (AKA Give Up The Ghost) headlined and made it beautiful. The band played probably one of their greatest sets out of all the reunion shows they’ve done so far. I’ve seen some footage of the Boston and New York shows they played, but tonight they amazed me. Being an American Nightmare fan since my junior year of high school, and now getting to see them thirteen years later, I felt like a kid again.
American Nightmare, Anne Spina Photography
Cruel Hand, by Anne Spina Photography
Another band that impressed me was Seoul, South Korea’s The Geeks. One of the best hardcore bands to graceful the U.S. surface in a minute. They definitely know how to get a crowd going. So does Cruel Hand of Portland Maine. They are that metallic hardcore band who can take the heaviest breakdown into the most thrashy beat to blast. It’s very much it’s a party when they play. Friday also featured power violence band Nails, who also made me a fan.
The Impericon Never Say Die Tour has announced its lineup for its 9th year of bringing metal, hardcore and metalcore bands to UK audiences. The tour will be headlined by The Amity Affliction with support from Defeater, Being As An Ocean, Cruel Hand, Fit For A King and Burning Down Alaska. A teaser for the tour can be seen at this link or below:
Ivonne Davies Kreye of Avocado Booking commented on the tour:
″We are hoping kids are as pumped for INSD 2015 as we are! What a line up and what a great team we got for the tour. The tour will be a home run!″
Martin Böttcher of Impericon also shared his thoughts on the long running tour:
″This year, Avocado Booking remains faithful to the Impericon Never Say Die! Tour as they once again deliver another unprecedented line up. We look forward to celebrating with a proper party in Europe.″
The Amity Affliction singer, Joel Birch, also weighed in:
″We′re really excited to get back to Europe and the UK on the Impericon Never Say Die! Tour, not only because we always feel so welcomed there but also because the lineup we have is killer. It′s not often you want to watch every band on the bill – it′s going to be fucking wild, see you there!″
H2O have confirmed a June tour run celebrating their 20th anniversary with Cruel Hand supporting, alongside a series of festival appearances.
May 06-08: St. Vitus Bar – Brooklyn, NY May 09: The Drunk Horse Pub – Fayetteville, NC May 10: Saint Vitus Bar – Brooklyn, NY May 19: Old Fire Station – Radcliffe (UK) May 20: Epic Studios – Norwich (UK) May 21: The Fleece – Bristol (UK) May 22: Think Tank – Newcastle Upon Tyne (UK) May 23: Slam Dunk Festival – Leeds (UK) May 24: Forum Hertfordshire – Hatfield (UK) May 25: Civic – Wolverhampton (UK) Jun 12: Thee Parkside – San Francisco, CA (with Cruel Hand) Jun 14: The Constellation Room – Santa Ana, CA (with Cruel Hand) Jun 15:– The Underground – Mesa, AZ (with Cruel Hand) Jun 17: Gators – Corpus Christi, TX (with Cruel Hand) Jun 18: Korova – San Antonio, TX (with Cruel Hand) Jun 19: The Prophet Bar – Dallas, TX (with Cruel Hand) Jun 20: Midway Fieldhouse – Austin, TX (with Cruel Hand) Jun 21: Walter’s Downtown – Houston, TX (with Cruel Hand) Jun 23: The Syndicate Lounge – Birmingham, AL (with Cruel Hand) Jun 24: New Brookland Tavern – Columbia, SC (with Cruel Hand) Jun 25: Shaka’s Live – Virginia Beach, VA (with Cruel Hand) Jun 26: Revolution Bar & Music Hall – Amityville, NY (with Cruel Hand) Jul 17: Herk Fest – Herk De Stab (BE) Jul 18: Traffic Jam – Dieburg (DE) Jul 18: Underground – Koln (DE) Jul 19: Logo – Hamburg (DE) Jul 20: Lido – Berlin (DE) Jul 21: Szene – Wien (AT) Jul 22: Free & Easy – Munchen (DE) Jul 23: Haus der Kulturen – Gottingen (DE) Jul 24: NORD Open Air – Essen (DE) Jul 26: This Is Hardcore Fest – Philadelphia, PA Aug 07: Portland Expo Center – Portland, OR (Warped Tour) Aug 08: White River Amphitheater – Auburn, WA (Warped Tour)
H2O 20yr Headline Shows May-July dates. Also @thisishardcorefest July 26th & then @vanswarpedtour shows Aug 7th & 8th….
Saturday, July 25th – Electric Factory: Misfits (“Earth A.D.” in full) Cro-Mags Bane Killing Time Biohazard Reach The Sky Turnstile Xibalba Suburban Scum Sand Lifeless Homewrecker Time Bomb Absolute Suffering
Saturday July 25th @ Electric Factorythe Misfits playing EARTH AD in its entiretyCroMags Bane – Last TIHC…
Sunday, July 26th – Electric Factory: Exploited H2O (20th anniversary show) Negative Approach All Out War Power Trip Rival Mob Slapshot Wisdom In Chains Twitching Tongues Mindset Foreseen Fuck You Pay Me Disengage
Sunday July 26th @ Electric FactoryExploited – first US show in over a decadeH20 – 20th anniversary showNegative…
Friday April 17th Between The Buried And Me The Red Chord Cavalera Conspiracy Corrosion of Conformity Jasta Code Orange Overcast On Broken Wings Within The Ruins Fit For An Autopsy The Atlas Moth The Banner Black Mask Homewrecker Discourse Phinehas Downpour Boris The Blade
Saturday April 18th Testament Exodus Nuclear Assault Nails Turnstile Indecision Incendiary Suburban Scum Incantation Vital Remains Allegaeon Rivers of Nihil The Agonist Wisdom In Chains Disgrace Gods Hate Thy Will Be Done No Zodiac Extinction AD Vice Absolute Suffering Shattered Sun
Sunday April 19th Motionless In White For Today The Color Morale Vanna Death Before Dishonor Cruel Hand Sworn In Lionheart The Plot In You I Declare War These Streets My Ticket Home Rude Awakening Lorna Shore The Last Ten Seconds of Life World of Pain Shark Ethic GhostXShip Living Laser Brick By Brick Nasty Gift Giver Oath Exalt Unity Eternal Sleep Jagged Visions
Cruel Hand will be venturing on a US tour with Angel Du$t and The Beautiful Ones. Angel Du$t released their debut full length, A.D., in 2014 via React! Records / Reaper Records to high praise and a number of year end list appearances. The Beautiful Ones will be releasing their highly anticipated first full length, Jaded Love, through 6131 Records in early 2015 (more details to be announced soon).
Angel Du$t / The Beautiful Ones on Tour with Cruel Hand Jan 08: Now That’s Class – Cleveland, OH (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones) Jan 09: Pike Room – Pontiac, MI (with Four Years Strong, Comeback Kid, Handguns) Jan 10: Beat Kitchen – Chicago, IL (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones) Jan 11: Jackpot – Lawrence, KS (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones) Jan 12: Marquis Theater – Denver, CO (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones) Jan 13: Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones) Jan 15: Chop Suey – Seattle, WA (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones) Jan 16: Boreal – Eugene, OR (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones) Jan 17: Oakland Metro – Oakland, CA (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones, Chains) Jan 18: The Echo – Los Angeles, CA (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones, Chains) Jan 19: Nile Underground – Mesa, AZ (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones, Chains) Jan 20: Electric Banana – El Paso, TX (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones) Jan 21: The Door Side Stage – Dallas, TX (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones) Jan 22: Red 7 – Austin, TX (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones) Jan 23: Walter’s – Houston, TX (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones) Jan 24: Masquerade – Atlanta, GA (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones) Jan 25: Burro Bar – Jacksonville, FL (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones, Frameworks) Jan 26: Propaganda – Lake Worth, FL (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones, Frameworks) Jan 27: Epic Problem – Tampa, FL (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones, Frameworks) Jan 28: Local 506 – Chapel Hill, NC (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones) Jan 29: Strange Matter – Richmond, VA (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones) Jan 30: Voltage Lounge – Philadelphia, PA (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones) Jan 31: Middle East Upstairs (Early) – Cambridge, MA (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones) Jan 31: Port City Music Hall (Late) – Portland, ME (with Cruel Hand, Angel Du$t, The Beautiful Ones) Feb 03: The Livery – Dayton, OH (The Beautiful Ones only)
Nursing a wicked bangover from the first night, I was already in scramble mode when I got to the venue for day two. We got there in time to hear the last strains of Carnivora, a top local death metal prospect. These guys definitely deserve your attention. Next up on the main stage was Black Crown Initiate, who are on their stint on the Metal Alliance Tour, opening for Behemoth. It’s too bad the festival environment had them playing this early because they are amazing. Their blend of Meshuggah tech riffs and Opeth-ian prog is going to take them very, very far. Taking a short break to run around and do some other Ghost Cult business, the next band I saw was Reflections. They were slightly better stage presence-wise than the flat showing I saw earlier this year, but their music still puts me to sleep.
The shame of alternating stages is the overlap of certain bands. While I really wanted to see Warhound, Lifeless, and especially Born Low upstairs, they were playing opposite better bands on the main stage. Inquisition was highly anticipated by the crowd that had filled up considerably by now. It was almost a nighttime atmosphere for the show as Dagon and Incubus took the stage in a cloud of red lights and smoke. People were literally losing their shit, and it was a great thing to see a lot of people I chatted with seeing this band for the first time. A lot of people donned the corpse paint in tribute to this band and others we saw on this day, which was pretty funny in an un-ironic way. Their best song and my personal favorite song they played was ‘Command of the Black Crown’. A true mix of true kvlt black metal influences, modern sensibility and sonics. For a change of pace, the maulers in Fit For An Autopsy took the main stage next and slayed. Immediately noticeable is the change over from former front man Nate Johnson to the new guy Greg Wilburn (The Devastated). Greg is a beast of vocalist and has far better stage presence than Johnson, giving this already good band a real shot in the arm. They are a fan favorite at the Palladium so the pit was very active for them. I Declare War had to follow them and it was an embarrassment by comparison to FFAO.
Staying in the big room for 1349, I don’t think fans were prepared for the mind-blowing performance we were about to see. It’s always the bands that don’t tour a lot that surprise you at these things. Positively evil and putting forth a great set, 1349 were one of the standouts of the weekend. Not to be out done in the showmanship, Goatwhore does what they usually do when they come to town, audio live carnage. Rev. Ben Falgoust might prefer the intimacy of the smaller stage, such as when they played the fest last year on the upstairs stage, with all the people raging in his face, but they belong on the more worthy platform. They flat out owned the main stage. Playing their hits like “Alchemy of the Black Sun Cult” and ‘Apocalyptic Havoc’ as well as a new song, that, also crushed; they ruled all. It’s gonna be a good summer when that new album drops from Metal Blade.
With more running around to do and needing to get a primo spot to see Slapshot close the main stage, I only caught a glimpse of Within The Ruins, Carnifex, and Thy Art is Murder each, with the latter getting the best response from the crowd. With the fest in full swing- it was cool to see some of the metal band people just hanging out at fest, even if they were not playing. Among those I ran into: Dave Davidson and the Revocation guys, Tony from Vital Remains, Adam from Mongrel, and Jayson Keyser of Origin. I also chatted with actor Brian O’Halloran of Clerks fame who was participating in the Rock And Shock Festival sponsored signings along with horror writer Joe “Zombie Bukkake” Knepper. Brian told me he loves to people watch at metal shows, much more than the bands.
As we were grinding toward the end of the second day I steadied myself for the last few hours with some communal drinking at the bar, which I rarely do at shows anymore. After catching the last half of an excellent set by Cruel Hand, it was time for Slapshot. Slapshot put on a show that put bands half their age to shame. It’s not just about the classic tracks that gets everyone excited, it’s the true spirit of hardcore they embody. There were some pit dancers having fun, and surely some violence going down, but none of the nonsense that pervades the scene at times. No gang BS, even though I suppose there were those types around. From my vantage point in the balcony, keeping my old ass safe and sound, I watched one of my buddies, Anderson Moura, right up at the front, just going nuts the entire time. The Slapshot set was a thing of beauty to behold.
Finally done with the second stage I cooled my heels a bit and chilled out as I watched The Acacia Strain and Whitechapel as the penultimate acts of the day. Their respective fans went bonkers. I have seen each band, together and co-headline this venue cause total chaos with the whole floor as a non-stop violent pit of death. Both bands have their respective fans who love each bands take on meat and potatoes death core. The Acacia Strain is literally from “down the block” as Vincent Bennett likes to say, just a few towns over. They often feel like a headliner, even when they are not last on the bill. Whitechapel on the strength of their brand new album, Our Endless War (Metal Blade) played their “hits” and a few new cuts. With a bigger set and staging than ever before, they are definitely trying to step up into a bigger realm. They are knocking on the door of something really big, so I hope more than just casual fans pick up on it.
Finally it was time for the most anticipated band of the weekend to play. Behemoth had already made a grand return to this venue a few years ago, but this was a lot different. On the strength of The Satanist (Metal Blade), the band has never been more popular. Although some fans gripe about the bands new-found “it band” status, the quality of The Satanist attests to the fact that they are are not going any softer. They seem to be a band everyone likes universally, sort of a modern Slayer, without the drama. This can be further proved by the impressive performance they put down.
And what a show it was! Behemoth always had a flair for the dramatic, be it their make-up, masks or cool lighting, but they have reached a new zenith of quality now. They have achieved the perfect blend of theatricality and their black metal influenced -death metal (however commercially acceptable). Their set list was an impeccable blend of old-school classics and new material. Each song was acted out, as much as it was performed, with calculated introductions and interludes. Nergal spoke little to the crowd, other than some pleasantries, and it added to the drama and mood. This was a ground breaking, avant-garde inspired moment for this band, and this genre as a whole. Nothing will ever be the same again. Every band will have to be compared against what Behemoth is doing now and it won’t be fair. They were already a great band, but now they are all-time greats.