Pascal (daiwel) wrote in disaonline,

Bang Your Head Festival at the Kulturfabrik in Esch/Alzette (27th November 2016)

The tenth edition of the Bang Your Head Festival in Luxemburg unfortunately is also the final edition of this festival. The first two editions were still held in a smaller pub (remember the 911 in Belvaux) before switching over to the bigger venue of the Kulturfabrik. Although the change of location implicated the booking of bigger acts like Neaera, Hatesphere, Heaven Shall Burn and many more, I never visited this festival which for my taste went too much into metalcore and deathcore. But when I heard which bands were booked to headline the final edition, it was obvious to buy my tickets early in advance.

Although Exodus and Prong are thrash acts from my youth, the youth of today doesn’t seem to care too much about thrash metal. This explains why there weren’t more than maximal 300 spectators at a well organised festival. As the acts were playing on two different stages, there were no breaks between two live sets. Furthermore the organizers cared to be punctual which is necessary when you have booked ten bands that are supposed to play from 5 pm to 1 am.

The festival got opened by INHUMAN RAMPAGE, a new and promising metalcore act from Luxemburg. I am familiar with the material from the first album and think that there is enough potential behind this band. But as I am meanwhile 46, I think that 10 bands a day is just a bit too much for me.

So I only arrived at the Kulturfabrik when KITSHICKERS started to play. The band has been active for about 20 years and has meanwhile achieved its third period. A big change compared to the two previous ones is that founding member Gilles now only plays guitars and the vocals are done by An Apple A Day frontman Yann who shows that he’s able to do more than just growling into the microphone. This change was the right choice done by the band. First of all, the sound done by the Kulturfabrik technicians was overwhelming. Each instrument could be distinguished thanks to a clear sound and it’s nothing new when I tell you that the band has for great instrumentalists. This monumental rock music fascinated me from the first to the last note. Pascal and I found it quite amusing that Gilles wore a white and green striped shirt which made him look like Waldo from the famous children’s books.

FRACTAL UNIVERSE from Nancy was another early highlight of this year’s BYH edition. The band is playing an extreme mixture of prog metal and death metal. I was surprised that the band is able to play its long and complex tracks on stage on the same high level than in the studio. Furthermore, Fractal Universe was the only band with a good sound in the small venue. From a technical point of view, Franctal Universe surely was the most impressing act of the evening.

DELUGE from Metz were a bit disappointing. On CD, the post metal played by the four French musicians works quite good. The combination of early 90ies black metal with ambient passages and lots of rain samples is quite entertaining, but tonight, the strident sound and a bad acoustic were a bit too much for my ears. Furthermore Pascal and I started getting hungry. We didn’t have too much confidence into the African food truck that didn’t give too much information about its menus. So we decided to go over to the pizzeria at the other side of the road where we got tasty food. We missed the rest of the Déluge set and the local matadors MILES TO PERDITION, a best known Luxemburgish band that is especially known for its talents on stage.

Quite amusing was our return to the Kulturfabrik as we witnessed Australia’s strangest weirdos KING PARROT. These gentlemen play no music which is easy to digest. I’ve been listening to some songs in my car and decided that this surely isn’t the right soundtrack for driving. But this was a real positive surprise on stage. Germany’s punk legend Die Kassierer probably is the only more asocial band that I’ve ever seen live on stage. Some musicians were topless and showing their big bellies. Furthermore they were yelling at the audience and splashing water to the fans in the first rows. The music was not to complicated and may be described as a mixture of hardcore, punk and sludge metal. This was surely entertaining when you had a secure distance to the band.

Pascal and I have meanwhile 90 years when we add our ages. We aren’t fit anymore to stand during a show during hours and hours. So we decided to go over to the Ratelach, a nice café that is part of the Kulturfabrik. Although this place is quite comfortable, there weren’t too many people present so that we got two chairs and a table. We drank a beer in quite a relax way and Pascal always thought too add each drink to his recently downloaded beer counter app. The only disadvantage of our disgression to the Ratelach was that we missed BENIGHTED, a brutal death metal band from France.

My intention was of course to take a break to come back to forces before PRONG, one of my all-time favourite metal bands, started to play. ‘Third From The Sun’, although it is no Prong original, but a cover version by a band called Chrome, still is one of my favourite tracks after so many years.  The band only had 40 minutes to play and there wasn’t unfortunately time to play this killer track. But Prong still showed how to play groove metal as its best and presented some more recent material, but also some classics like ‘Beg To Differ’ and ‘Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck’. The only remaining founding member is singer and guitar player Tommy Victor who is already 50 and still in great shape. After the end of the set, I’d really have loved to hear some more Prong songs. I hope that this band will one day come back to Luxemburg as a headliner.

Tonight I was in the mood for metal heroes of my past. DER WEG EINER FREIHEIT was playing something completely different and this extreme and fast kind of black metal didn’t go into my mind today. ‘Unstille’ and ‘Stellar’ are two albums by the band I really appreciate, but today was the wrong place and wrong time for DWEF. Furthermore I had the impression that the sound contained too many high notes. And even if there are only 250 spectators occupying and small venue of the Kulturfabrik, this place gets too crowdie and sweaty for my taste. So I preferred having another beer at the Ratelach.

EXODUS was announced as tonight’s headliner and these thrash metal veterans accomplished their mission without the slightest problems. I already saw Exodus live two years ago when they were opening for Testament at the Atelier. At this time, the singer was Rob Dukes and that didn’t interest me too much. This time the long-time singer Steve Souza was on stage and this man, meanwhile aged 52, could impress the crowd that immediately formed a mosh pit when the first notes started. I preferred being some meters away from that vicious circle and enjoyed a kind of voyage into the past as Mr Souza still has the same voice and the same energy as nearly 30 years ago. Pascal thought that Sublind’s singer Luca could look like him in 25 years and I must admit that there is a certain resemblance. The band presented of course some newer songs and was even talking about a forthcoming album release in 2017, but even if this material was more than decent, everyone liked to listen to classics like ‘And Then There Were None’, ‘A Lesson In Violence’ and ‘Bonded By Blood’ just to name a few.  After this gig, I was totally tired and it was time to get home and have some hours of sleep before my daughter could wake me up.

I’m pretty sure that the organizers The Schalltot Collective have hoped to attract more spectators with such an awesome (and surely not cheap) package. I hope that this last BYH edition hasn’t become a financial disaster. As this kind of music didn’t fill the hall today and also in the past, I understand that the Schalltot crew doesn’t want to organize any more BYH festivals. Maybe someone else will take care of the organisation. A perfect timing, a well behaving audience and great bands are only some reasons to do it again. My only two negative points come from my belly. First there could be a more various food program and secondly, the beer served in the big venue was quite warm. 

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