EDITORIAL PICKS: 13 bands you need to see at Alcatraz 2023 on day 2 (Saturday)

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Over 100 bands, tons of different genres represented by bands from all calibers, going from huge and legendary names to up-and-coming and promising acts. That is the 15th anniversary edition of Alcatraz! Of course we highly recommend you to catch headliner KK's Priest to get a proper serving of old school heavy metal with plenty of Judas Priest on the 2nd day of the festival, but here are 13 bands carefully selected by some of our editorial members of which we feel are going to be something special on Alcatraz Saturday this year:


(La Morgue - 12h10-12h50)

Belgian death/thrash ragers Schizophrenia are set to kick off the craziness that will be La Morgue on Alcatraz Saturday in style. The young guns have released their debut full-length album last year to much acclaim, and surprised us all with the EP ‘Chants of the Abyss‘ on which they pay homage by covering songs from some of their influences and bands they grew up with like Slayer, Morbid Angel, Misfits, Exodus and GBH. These guys know how to absolutely destroy, and we expect nothing less of them early in the day at Alcatraz! Talk about a shock to the system to get into fighting shape for the 2nd day of the fest…

Crystal Viper

(Prison Stage - 12h25-13h10)

For a dose of classic heavy metal, check out Poland’s Crystal Viper. The band under the guidance of metal queen Marta Gabriel effortlessly works its way through galloping NWOBHM, ballsy hard rock and even the odd power ballad. They might not be redefining heaviness here in Kortrijk, but their honest love for the genre should sink its fangs into your metal heart from the first note.

Brand of Sacrifice

(Swamp Stage - 13h10-13h55)

The deathcore outfit Brand Of Sacrifice can easily be named as one of the bands that are responsible for the huge boost the genre has experienced in the past couple of years, among bands like Lorna Shore or Slaughter To Prevail. Where Lorna Shore has a distinct symphonic touch to their deathcore, Brand Of Sacrifice adds a hefty amount of groove and mixes in electronic samples to perfection. This band is where you need to be when you need a rough awakening with some slamming music. Those breakdowns will shake you to the core!

Twilight Force

(Prison Stage - 13h40-14h25)

Roll a D20 and make a saving throw against over the top fantasy metal. Sorry you failed. At the sight of Twilight Force, your head will start banging uncontrollably, and you cannot resist putting your fists up into the air and sing along to their infectious choruses, sweeping synths and solos. If you’re going to sing about dragons, paladins, and princesses. You have to do it like these guys and go all in. Yes, it’s silly, but this rollercoaster is even more fun than a ride at the Efteling or Disney amusement parks.


(Helldorado Stage - 13h50-14h35)

The Portuguese black metal outfit Gaerea is quite the sight to behold live. Besides being a rising name in the contemporary black metal scene with last year’s new album ‘Mirage‘, when putting them on a stage things really become special. The masked band every time plays like there is no tomorrow, and the desperation is almost palpable when the vocalist throws himself on the floor and his whole being into the performance. Gaerea live is cathartic, special, immersive, really quite the experience.

Predatory Void

(Swamp Stage - 14h25-15h10)

When the crème de la crème of the Belgian underground comes together, just that has to pique your interest. Lennart Bossu of Amenra fame enlisted his fellow bass player Tim de Gieter who recently has been amazing us with his own project Doodseskader, along with Cobra the Impaler’s Thijs de Cloedt on guitars, from Belgium’s premier death metal combo Carnation, Vincent Verstrepen behind the drum kit, and finally Lina R from Cross Bringer as vocalist. With this veritable who’s who of homegrown artists, they have created a seething, heavy mastodon whose ‘Seven Keys to the Discomfort of Being’ is sure one of the most hailed debuts of the year with a relentless blend of death, black, sludge and post-metal into something truly amazing.


(Helldorado Stage - 16h25-17h15)

You’re in the market for some filthy blackened speed metal? This day in the late afternoon, the Helldorado Stage is the place to be! The masked misfits of Midnight will set up shop there and are going to blast you away with their uptempo blackened metal creations that at times almost have a black ‘n’ roll feel. We know now already that this is going to be one hell of a dark and demented party, and we’re all for it!


(Helldorado Stage - 17h50-18h45)

Having old school death metal is all good and well, and we’re getting that in spades at Alcatraz, but in case you’re feeling a bit more adventurous for an hour or so, head over to this Swedish quartet from Arvika. Tribulation just got an EP out ‘Hamartia” that even has a Blue Öyster Cult cover. While playing straight-up death metal in their early works like ‘The Horror’, they have consistently reinvented themselves with each next release, adding in psychedelia, progressive and gothic rock without losing an ounce of gloomy melodic power.


(Helldorado Stage - 19h25-20h20)

In case the summer sun is getting a bit too much for your pale skin, allow the Austrian demons of Belphegor to take you to the depths of hell. You will not find a more evil concoction of death, black and doom, nor any that sounds so darn heavy. Expect a blistering performance that will devour your soul and be a true celebration of all that is dark, evil and occult!


(Prison Stage - 19h30-20h30)

How could we not mention these guys in a list of shows that are a must-see at this year’s Alcatraz? Biohazard is an absolute legend in the metal and hardcore scene, having been a major influence to many bands. And they’ve been dormant for almost a decade, with each member focusing on their own projects. But suddenly they’re back and are touring the world with the original line-up! For the youngsters under us: if you don’t know these guys, you need to go see their show, a whole new world might open. And for the older generations under us: have fun with what most likely will be an hour of old school fun that you might not have experienced in a long time. We’re ready to go shout along to some of their biggest tracks like ‘Sellout‘ and ‘Punishment‘!


(Helldorado Stage - 22h40-23h40)

Yet another highly influential and legendary band within its own scene, are the guys from Godflesh. Get ready for industrial metal, as pure and straightforward as you can get it. We’ve been able to catch them live several times in the past years, and they’re quite the experience. There simply is nothing the same as the way they pummel you with their harsh tones and beats, crushing bass, and relentless vocals. If you’re unfamiliar with them, but like some industrial metal, this is a band you don’t want to miss out on! And they actually just recently released a killer new album with ‘Purge‘, we’re looking forward to hearing some of those new tracks live!


(La Morgue - 23h45-00h45)

You like your metal old school, but need it to have a bit more of a kick and higher tempo than what is being played on the Prison Stage by KK’s Priest? Get your ass to La Morgue for the speed metal of Exciter! The band has been around for over 4 decades and shows no signs of slowing down even a little bit. Last year we saw them in Helsinki in a club, giving us one of the most intense and energetic shows of the year. And with La Morgue’s more club setting, this is the perfect place for them to do it all over again. We’re all heavy metal maniacs and this is the time and place to let it all out!


(Helldorado Stage - 00h25-01h30

After over 30 years in the business, Amorphis have long made a name for themselves and don’t really need an introduction. But we still wanted to include them in this list, because there’s just something about their live shows that hit differently. And as Finland is our second home, how could we not talk about the one and only band on this year’s line-up? Even after seeing them live many times, the atmosphere at their live shows still gives you goosebumps. Tomi‘s voice never misses, touching even the deepest, the darkest spots of our souls. You just haven’t experienced them completely until you see them live.

If you really want to get ready or in the mood, check out all the music we put together in one playlist of the bands playing at Alcatraz 2023: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3wYi5jWdgWJIYyZ1T3ovrB

See you at Alcatraz! If you see us, come and say hi!

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