The conditions were actually ideal. There were not that many competing events going on this evening, and the free entrance should also have encouraged people to come. But when Lorraine based chaos core band Hungry For The Truth entered the stage shortly after 8pm, the Rockhal Club was still very empty. The band’s sound was intriguing, the musicians were really awesome. I especially admired the crazy antics of the guitarist on the right side of the stage. Things were a little more awkward with singer Emilie whose sparse attire certainly caught the attention of the male part of the audience, but her vocals didn’t really strike a chord with me. Her growls and screams were ok, but her melodic parts somehow drowned in the sound. Still, it was a fun half hour set full of musical surprises. The band has been compared to Converge, but I also discerned a late Eighties, early Nineties noise rock component reminiscent of certain AmRep band, and that’s what made the band finally a winner for me.
Next up were An Apple A Day who won last year Luxembourg’s Metal Battle competition. It really showed that the guys acquired a lot of experience in the last year. Their deathcore sound is of course mostly aimed at a younger audience, but the longer they played, the more I made out the subtleties in their sound. Basically their music is really aggressive and straightforward, but the guitarists often come up with incredibly melodic parts that deepen the dynamic impact of the songs. Considering that the band played tonight with a replacement bassist, it has to be said that he did a perfect job too. By this time, there were already more people present, and while that makes me happy for An Apple A Day, it is also somewhat a sad statement that non-local openers too often have a hard time. But maybe it also means that three bands a night would be sufficient. At least it would for me.
Enough about that, and onwards to Heartbeat Parade, a band that most people should also already be familiar with. Formed in 2010 by members of dEFDUMp and Riktus, this trio still plays their mathy post rock core with political voice samples instead of lyrics. Just like that, their performance feels overly didactic to me. And without a text sheet, it is of course sometimes impossible to make out the meaning, as the music is of course loud and drowning out the samples. Most everybody really likes the band, so they must be doing things right. What would make their shows more appealing to me would be, instead of vocal samples, they would work with film projections. Just an idea, guys!
Shorty before 11pm, it was time for the headliner of the evening, and by then I estimate that there were about 200 people inside the Rockhal. Before Retrace My Fragments entered the stage, the audience was treated with an ingenious black and white animation filmed that either was from the Fifties or Sixties, or just a well made retro tribute. Once the quintet was on stage, the projections turned into astronomical science fictional territory, in accordance with the concept of the band’s longplayer “Ethereal Flux” that they were presenting tonight. The question I was asking was if the band were able to reproduce the technical intricacies of their music in a live setting, but it turned out there was no reason to worry. These guys are pure perfectionists, and it was a real pleasure following their music into ever unexpected places. There were two kinds of reactions among the audience. Some were simply amazed at how great these guys have become, while a few others paid them respect but decided that the sound was a little too progressive for them. Which means that Retrace My Fragments have made everything the way it is supposed to be. Comparisons to Between The Buried And Me may be making their rounds, and they do make sense, but RMF are more than that. Let’s hope that they will get all the recognition they deserve with their stellar music.