Hof Ter Lo, Borgerhout (Antwerpen), Belgium

No doubt, this was the event of 2005, as simple as that. Sure, the bill might look not too attractive to some (including myself) but it turned out to be more variated than most No Mercy or x-mass fests with their all stars, all blastbeat bands and so on. FYU had booked many bands that weren’t on tour and were treated so well they showed great enthousiasm onstage.
First, the price was very attractive, then, when I entered the hall, there were those color-lights on all the band stands and it gave me a really cool feeling of happiness (despite my hangover) and I understood it was more than a fest, it was a party.
The other great surprise of the day, except that 600 people showed up, is concerning the great sound quality I haven’t experienced in that place for a long while. More and more festivals provide bad sound and it doesn’t seem to bother anyone except the audience but who cares ?

I saw both last songs of LEMURIA and despite I had been warned that the folk part was coming from boring binary keyboards, I enjoyed those tunes, having the feeling I was discovering a new band influenced by FINNTROLL which makes my day of course.
THEE PLAGUE OF GENTLEMEN also suffered from a bad reputation in the sense they’re into Doom Metal. Even if I’m not into Doom for over a decade, the first song of their set prooved me wrong. I thought my head was going to be torn off by the huge heaviness of this band, and once again thanx to the great PA for such a sound. Moreover, the grunted vocals fits the music very well, thus this band also was a nice surprise.
Leng Tch’e were next, and I needed no time to get into their accessible Grindcore that, unlike many of their contemporaries, was somewhat catchy, well structured and not too noisy. And the fact is I couldn’t help staring at the new singer from beginning to end. This guy is « grimacing » such a sick way (when he doesn’t sing) it’s hilarious and impressive at the same time. He lived the show 200% and so did I !
Veterans Suhrim followed with some traditional brutal Death Metal, quite basic but it worked out really well, I enjoyed it a lot but understood afterwards (when Severe Torture and Aborted played) that something was lacking in songwriting to make them a first-class Death Metal band.
Hailing from Spain, Haemorrhage entered the stage a funny way, the singer being covered in blood and staggering like he had just been stabbed… It was pretty obvious that the band was pleased to be there, once again giving the feeling it was a party and not a commercial tour or whatever. The guy was fun, miming all the time he was cutting his stomach and was also hilarious when speaking between songs with his high-pitched voice and weird english. Otherwise, nothing bad to say on the musical level, often having the feeling to hear some (old) Carcass. Too bad the drum sound was weak.
If I always considered Severe Torture as being a good second-rate Cannibal Corpse clone, I’m about to change my mind ! What I heard that day was first-class brutality with killer riffing and nice growling, a real delight !
I didn’t see all Pig Destroyer’s show due to the bad musical tastes of my friends but what I would catch was also cool. The three-piece offered something different and more original which was the reason a part of the audience including my stupid friends (hehe) left the hall.
I’m ashamed to admit this, but the last time I’ve seen Aborted on stage, they were opening (along with Rotten Sound !) for Malevolent Creation and I was drunk as fuck… Something’s for sure, they should have been headlining cos that show was like a gift from a band that has just become one of the leaders of the international brutal scene offered to their home crowd ! Needless to say they crushed, they shredded and everyone was pleased to be among the first ones to enjoy the new stuff from « The Archaic Abattoir » album. Belgium is finally on the map and let’s hope they will open many doors for the belgian scene !
Rotten Sound delivered the goods with class ! Fast and tight, great presence and killer musicianship, what else do you need, uuh ? Playing after Aborted was challenging and they didn’t miss the point !
When I thought there would be no disappointment on a really perfect day, came Illdisposed, obviously too drunk and using some recorded clean vocals and stuff which sounded weird and stupid. Too much has been said about that gig and it’s really sad they didn’t close this festival a better way.
I can’t prevent mentioning that even the toilets were free proving once again the organisation were doing their utmost to create a successful party.
Something happened that day, and the belgian underground will never be the same. Thumbs up !