Fredericia Hardcore Fest 2007 Preview

author PP date 25/07/07

I think I speak for the entire staff of Rockfreaks.net by saying that Fredericia Hardcore Festival's 2007 lineup washes the floor with this year's Roskilde Lineup. The sheer amount of amazing bands on the bill this year is impressive, starting from metalcore kings All That Remains, going through thrashers The Haunted while at the same time not forgetting pop-hardcore act Set Your Goals, who are stepping their foot into Denmark for the very first time. This combined with the beer price at 10kr a piece for the entire weekend means that few things can go wrong, as the hardcore/metalcore/punk fans from Denmark all gather into the same location for a massive party. The scheduling at the event is smart, meaning that you can see all your favorite bands without missing a single act, as the bands alternate between the outdoor and the indoor stages. The festival also prides itself on all sorts of hippie values, which means they only serve vegan and organic food and beverages at the stalls. Unless I've misunderstood something, meat eaters will join me in a weekend comparable to famine, where tortured cow-meat is nowhere to be found in sight.

So myself, the editor in chief of Rockfreaks.net, have collected you the most exciting (and best) names from the list of bands. They are presented to you in alphabetical order with enough information about the band, their style, and where they are playing for you to decide whether they might be worth seeing or not. But then again, since you can see all the bands on the bill, missing even a single one of them should be deemed as a mistake. Additionally, I had another look into my crystal ball to predict how we will rate their live show, and we all know how that went for the Roskilde Festival lineup. You might also notice that the average grading we've given the bands is considerably higher than it was for the Roskilde bands - this is simply because the stages are so much smaller, and especially the indoor stage allows for some of the most intimate shows Denmark will have seen. Every now and then you might also notice a **MUST SEE** tag behind a band's name, that simply means its an act that should you miss them, you will regret it after your friends describe the gig to you.

So without further ado, I present to you:

Bands we think you should consider seeing

All That Remains [USA] **MUST SEE**

Stage: Outdoor

Genres: Metalcore

Anyone who's had their hands on Guitar Hero II will know how impossibly difficult their song "Six" is on expert in the game. Such instrumental virtuoso isn't something you see every day, and when every single song by All That Remains contains enough jaw-dropping guitar talent to keep your eyes glued onto the stage, you are always guaranteed a great show. That's also what the band's stageshow revolves around, because both the instrumental and vocal performances are so devastatingly complex that the band is rarely able to move around the stage as freely as they might wish. This poses an immediate threat that their liveshow may seem boring to some, but this is also why you need to either get close enough to witness the amazingly fast fingers of the guitarists first hand, or to participate in the ever-so-intense mosh pits metalcore bands usually create. All That Remains are hands down the best and most complete metalcore band in the world, and you'd be an idiot to miss their show.

Predicted Grade: [8½]

When: 20:45 on Friday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Anterior, Unearth, Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying

Bury Your Dead [USA]

Stage: Outdoor

Genres: Metal/hardcore fusion, moshcore

Self-proclaimed 'moshcore' act Bury Your Dead is one of the most brutal bands on the bill. Say goodbye to melody when the band breaks into one of their infamously heavy breakdowns, where bones will be crushed and emo-lives lost should any of those elements be found in the pit. That being said, the band is signed to Victory Records, so some melody is to be found in the midst of the down-tuned guitars and growl-screaming vocalist. Speaking of their vocalist position, it has seen three changes in the past year. First their original vocalist Mat Bruso left the band to focus on becoming a teacher, then the former I Killed The Prom Queen vocalist Michael Crafter briefly visited for a tour only to leave due to 'homesickness' mid-tour, and now Myke Terry of Cassius has taken over the vocal department. Therefore the band might not appear as they should be on stage, as they are most likely still finding their new live identity. After all, a change of your frontman changes a lot of things in your show. As a curious endnote it should be mentioned that all of their brutal tracks on their latest album "Beauty And The Breakdown" are based on children's fairy-tales.

Predicted Grade: [6]

When: 20:45 on Saturday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Evergreen Terrace, Remembering Never, First Blood

Madball [USA]

Stage: Outdoor

Genres: New York Hardcore, Punk Hardcore

New York's brand of hardcore is probably the most known form of the genre, given how Sick Of It All have dominated the scene for the last 20 years with the kind of consistency and continuous relevance many bands can only dream of. Madball is one of the other heavy weights from the city, and from what I hear, their hardcore punk is supposed to rip live as well. Expect the occasional gang shout or two, and a live performance that has been finetuned over the last twenty years.

Predicted Grade: [7]

When: 22:00 on Friday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Sick Of It All, Agnostic Front, Terror

Malkovich [NL]

Stage: Outdoor

Genres: Punk Rock, Punk Hardcore, Post-hardcore

Dutch Malkovich was a completely unknown band to me prior to doing research for this feature article, so any factual mistakes I have about the band that you might find, well, go shoot yourself in the foot or something. I'm basing my thoughts on just three songs I've heard on FHF website and on Myspace, but so far, it sounds awesome. According to their bio, they are a band that's known to bring a party about wherever they play ("Ain't no party like a Malkovich party"), and based on their randomly titled songs, I can easily imagine the outdoor stage turning into a massive punk rock party. Contrary to the norms in punk rock, they rely on unconventional riffs and experimentalist sounds, the end result being something really strange played at you at intense speeds.

Predicted Grade: [6]

When: 23:10 on Friday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: JR Ewing, Give Up The Ghost, American Nightmare

Municipal Waste [USA] **MUST SEE**

Stage: Indoor

Genres: Hardcore Punk/Thrash Crossover

Municipal Waste's new album "The Art Of Partying" has a promising title. And indeed, their shows across the US are renowned for their rowdy atmospheres, where norms and rules are forgotten and anarchic atmosphere prevails. Crowd-surfers use boogie boards and roadies dress up in wizard costumes. I don't think I'm wrong to say that this is one of the most exciting up and coming bands on Earache, the label that more often than not provides us with exactly what their name stands for: ear-bleedingly heavy death metal. Municipal Waste is an exception to this rule, as they draw more influence from the punk scene than the death metal, and their songs don't actually make you wanna hide underneath your bed when you play them out of your stereo. Instead, the band relies on lightning speed intricate thrash riffs to catch your attention. Lets see if they manage to bring the US party culture into Denmark during their show.

Predicted Grade: [8]

When: Midnight on Thursday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Comeback Kid, Give Up The Ghost, Terror, The First Step

Nine [SWE] **MUST SEE**

Stage: Outdoor

Genres: Modern Hardcore, Alternative Metal, Post-hardcore

Sweden's Nine has always been a part of my list of bands called "bands whom I've heard a few songs by and loved, but never heard since then". It's therefore with eagerness and excitement I am awaiting their show at FHF, because in my eyes it can either succeed gloriously or fail miserably, all depending on what songs they play. You see, this is a band that can show their death metal side with relentless grunts and melody-lacking passages, or it can bring forth songs like "Anxiety Report" that give a whole new meaning to the term melodic hardcore. Refer to their masterpiece album "Killing Angels" and you'll know what I mean. They are known for their tight, intense liveshow, and hopefully they will be able to pull it together also on an outdoor stage too. Prepare for some epic moments.

Predicted Grade: [9]

When: 19:35 on Saturday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Sick Of It All, Burst, Shai Hulud, Poison The Well

No Trigger [USA]

Stage: Indoor

Genres: Punk Rock, Melodic Punk

One-two-three-four HERE WE GO! *massive stage dive, followed by a couple of simultaneous scissor jumps on stage*. Get the picture? Well, No Trigger are basically a less technical version of A Wilhelm Scream with all the same intensity, which allows them to jump all over the stage, run back and forth, all while playing some of the most infectious punk rock we here at Rockfreaks.net know. They aren't too known on this side of the pond, and therefore the singalongs will be short and sweet, but over in the US fields it's all about the punk rock singalongs and having more people on stage than actual band members. A show doesn't get much more punk than theirs.

Predicted Grade: [8½]

When: 21:35 on Thursday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: A Wilhelm Scream, Strike Anywhere, Smoke Or Fire, Good Riddance

Set Your Goals [USA] **MUST SEE**

Stage: Indoor

Genres: Pop Punk/hardcore fusion, pop-hardcore

Set Your Goals is one of those groundbreaking, trend-setting bands. Their last year's debut album "Mutiny!" belonged to the absolute elite of the year, and offered a completely new and fresh take on pop punk, by fusing hardcore ideals into the over-commercialized genre. They brought back some sense in the genre, underlined that image doesn't matter and wrote an uplifting, upbeat record that combined the best of punk hardcore and pop punk together to create a new genre altogether: pop-hardcore. Their songs are filled with gang vocals, sugarcoated singalongs and, most importantly, the kind of energy rarely captured on a studio record. And they do all this with humour, or what do you think about the following songtitles: "We Do It For The Money, Obviously" or "This Song Is Definitely Not About A Girl". To cite their own words from the title track of "Mutiny!": "we have come to pillage. we have come to burn. we have come to incite the riot. we have come to take it over!!"

Predicted Grade: [9]

When: 22:45 on Thursday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Hit The Lights, New Found Glory, Lifetime

The Casualties [USA]

Stage: Indoor

Genres: Street Punk, Hardcore Punk

The Casualties are one of the other strictly punk rock bands on the bill this year, characterized by their New York Hardcore influence in their brand of street punk songs. That of course means screamed vocals and plenty of backing gang vocals - think The Unseen gone more Sick Of It All. Unfortunately, Street Punk bands tend to lack any sort of crowd control skills, and as a consequence shows in this genre lack the kind of crowd-band connection you see at most other punk rock shows. Lets hope The Casualties prove it wrong, because on record, they are one of the most intense punk bands around, at least when it comes to their stage appearance built around their massive mohawks.

Predicted Grade: [5]

When: 23:10 on Saturday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: The Unseen, The Exploited, Anti-Flag, The Distillers

The First Step [USA]

Stage: Indoor

Genres: Straight Edge Hardcore, Hardcore Punk

One only needs to take a brief look at the cover of The First Step's "What We Know" to imagine what their show will be like live. If you are too lazy to click on the link, it shows a photo of the band members buried underneath a number of crowd members who have obviously invaded the stage, probably at an encore of one of their shows. I wrote in the same review: "Forget about gimmicks, makeup, excessive political messages or complaints about society, The First Step doesn't want to be involved in none of these. Instead, Stephen's scratched voice yells messages of peace, life and not giving up. The effect of honesty and DIY is fortified with the breakneck paced power chords and the characteristic bass lines" - a year later and I don't think I could've said it better. Since none of their songs clock past the 2 minute mark, this show will be characterized by some of the best circle pits Denmark has seen

Predicted Grade: [8]

When: 18:45 on Saturday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Sinking Ships, Betrayed, Righteous Jams

The Haunted [SWE]

Stage: Outdoor

Genres: Melodic Death Metal, Thrash Metal

Those with any knowledge to the metal scenes will immediately recognize The Haunted as being the band that rose from the ashes of legendary Gothenburg metal band At The Gates. Since then, the band has moved away from the conventional Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal sound, focussing more on the thrash metal aspect of the genre, with critically acclaimed songs like "99" and "All Against All" at the forefront. Since then, however, the band has declined (in my eyes) a bit with the relase of "The Dead Eye", which was a far more complex album. It also saw frontman Dolving move towards a more metalcore-oriented screaming style instead of the growls he used to have in the past, which also meant much more clean vocals. Nevertheless, they delivered a mindblowing performance at Roskilde Festival 2005, and if they are able to live up to the same kind of stage dominance with their new songs, then their set might be one of the best at this years festival. But I suspect that the much slower material of their newer album will drag the show down a few too many notches.

Predicted Grade: [7½]

When: 22:00 on Saturday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: At The Gates, In Flames, Soilwork, Arch Enemy

The Ocean [GER]

Stage: Outdoor

Genres: Progressive Metal, Sludge, Progressive Hardcore

Germany's The Ocean received a huge amount of critical acclaim for their 2005 album "Aeolian", which combined together chaos and beautiful atmospheres in a way that dazzled the critics but brought them few extra fans. For some reason, the critical acclaim has always been bigger about The Ocean than fan support, and thus they have stayed as the relatively unknown act, even within their own home country Germany. Their songs vary from the breakneck speed chaotic thrash-metal to the slower, more atmospheric ones, and often do this within the same song, too. These kind of songs either succeed glamorously or fail miserably live, an example of the latter would be Pelican's rather boring Roskilde Festival performance this year. Time will tell.

Predicted Grade: [6]

When: 19:30 on Friday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Cult Of Luna, Neurosis, Intronaut, Mastodon

The Psyke Project [DEN]

Stage: Indoor

Genres: Chaotic Hardcore, Mathcore

The only Danish band to have made my list this year is The Psyke Project, Denmark's answer for Converge and The Dillinger Escape Plan. Unless I haven't probed all of the bands on the bill closely enough, nobody should be able to deny The Psyke Project their title as the most chaotic, least accessible band on the bill this year, at least if you refer to their older albums. "Apnea", of course, is a whole another story with its atmospheric passages and whatnot, and the contrast of these two aspects of their sound will once again be amazing to witness live. This is a band that rarely fails when it comes to performing in front of their home audience, as proven by their dominating Roskilde Festival appearance this year. They have the honors of closing the festival with a late night show on Saturday night, and I suspect their timeslot will only work to their advantage, given the psychadelic nature of the atmospheric passages in "Apnea".

Predicted Grade: [8]

When: 00:25 on Saturday

Listen: Myspace

See them if you like: Converge, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Beecher, The Red Chord

Epilogue

There are, of course, a number of other interesting bands on the bill that nobody in the editorial staff has heard of. What that means, most likely, is that most of you haven't heard about them either, meaning that once it'll all be over we'll all come home with a number of new bands to check out further at home, based on their hopefully awesome live performances at the festival. It looks like it might rain slightly on a few days, but it's too early to tell. In any case, don't forget wellingtons because you never know, and tie your tent together tightly enough so you don't get a monsoon into your tent. Hopefully the weather will be fine, but in any case, beer will surely be consumed in excessive amounts and thus, it is important to outline FHF's politics in the end: RACISM, VIOLENCE, SEXISM, HETEROSEXISM and DRUGS are UNACCEPTABLE and will not be tolerated by the festíval community.

We are sending myself, TL, AP and possibly KS to the event. Please do come say hello, we'll be out and about in our green,red and black Rockfreaks.net t-shirts. We'll be more than glad to share a beer with some readers, no, in fact we absolutely demand that. See you all at the festival!

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