How is it going, my fellow local scene dwellers? Here I am again to report on another one of my many Friday nights spent in the underground. That sounds like it could be a series, doesn’t it? “Tales from the Underground”. Sure seems like it would be right up my alley. But I digress… This time I thought I would give another go at a hardcore show, since it had been a while I’d gone to one of those. And not just any kind of hardcore, but beatdown hardcore. For those of you who are not familiar with the genre, I shall quote one my favourite lines from George Orwell’s 1984, which might give you a better idea of what to expect: “imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever”. I believe it is the best description possible for one of the most brutish, simplistic and violent subgenres of hardcore. Although it is not a subgenre I usually prefer, tonight was rather fun.
The MCP Apache biker club in Fontain-l’Evêque is never too crowded but this time was different. You ought to know beatdown hardcore is a much-loved genre in the South of Belgium, tough not exclusively. I also saw some familiar Flemish faces I had not seen in a long time. Not surprising since some of these guys have always been well-known to this particular scene. Needless to say, the place was packed. A welcome change. As usual, I greeted the venue’s boss, grabbed a drink and chose a good spot from which I could enjoy the second edition of Slamapache.
Putrefying Carnage (***)
First up: Putrefying Carnage. Locals from Charleroi who are sort of getting started in the scene. Indeed, the band has been around for approximately three years but is only now getting around to playing shows more regularly. They are currently in the process of writing new material and I have to say I’m looking forward to hearing more of them. They started their set with a few more classic beatdown tracks which did not quite stand out as much as I’d hoped, until they played a new track which bears no title yet. A little risky, if you ask me, but the track sounded so cool that I immediately forgot about that. Stylistically it got really close to slam death metal which, some of you may know, is one of my preferred genres for partying. This is where Putrefying Carnage should be headed. Standing out most here were the vocals. A strong alternation between a classic hardcore grunt from first vocalist Jaz and a downright impressive vocals range from Brieux, their second singer who would just as easily fit in the grindcore scene. I was however a little puzzled as to why he was donning papal regalia, but I don’t judge.
Up next: Ashes into Blood. More locals, this time from La Louvière, who bring us a mix of deathcore and beatdown. What you get are fun grooves with plenty of melodic hooks you can typically find in the former genre. They even switch it up by tossing in some thrashy ooka-ooka’s and the occasional blast beat.. Unfortunately the drums couldn’t keep up which gave an impression of incoherence between the musicians. Now my main issue with this set were the breakdowns. I can already hear your complaints: “Bro, if you don’t like breakdowns, don’t go to a beatdown show”. Fuck that, all right? I love breakdowns, but only when they are well-placed and don’t feel forced. A tip here would be to feel the room. If a crowd that is there exclusively to mosh and violent-dance doesn’t do exactly that during the breakdowns, there may be either too many, or they may be poorly calculated. Not my cup of tea, but I believe the more deathcore-seasoned fan will enjoy Ashes into Blood more thoroughly.
This shit was fun AS HELL. Trennjaeger are a slam ‘n’ roll band (yes, it’s a thing… apparently) from Oberberg, Germany. Where the denomination comes from is beyond me, but I can roll with it. Pun intended. While they did experience some sound issues and a whole lot of feedback for the set’s duration, they clearly made the best of it and you could tell from the crowd’s reaction. It seemed everyone was in the mood for some slamming death metal and goregrind. Trennjaeger brings a fun mix of solid blast beats, catchy grooves and heavy breakdowns. Having seen plenty of bands like this before, I did not think I was watching something unbelievable but they were a welcome variation in the line-up. At first glance the vocals were going to be an issue, because the singer could not get the necessary power out of his lungs during the sound check. That, kids, is why you should go easy on the alcohol before getting on stage. Notwithstanding he pulled it off, I’m happy to say. But I’m not a fan of that mic cupping. Which, as I have stated in previous reports, explains the constant feedback from the speakers. Stop cupping the mic! I will stop saying it when you stop doing it. The best moment of the show though was when they treated us to a cover of Baby Killer by Devourment.
Spawn of Disgust (***)
I quoted George Orwell earlier, but had you been there to behold the violent dancers going at it during Spawn of Digust, you would have understood on the spot. The music these Germans play is typical beatdown: hardcore licks and grooves alternated with extremely aggressive breakdowns. You could tell most of the people present in the crowd were here for precisely the latter. Those are mosh pits that I dare not enter. These are martial arts simulators, man. Like buttonmashing at Mortal Kombat while blindfolded. Beatdown moshpits include roundhouse kicks, windmills and crowdkilling. A fight or two unsurprisingly broke out between a few people and the bikers had to step in to calm them down. Strangely enough nobody got kicked out of the venue. I think everyone kinda expected the level of violence that usually goes with the genre. In short: the music is not as impressive as the crowd “dancing” to it.
Chamber of Malice (****)
Chamber of Malice are one of the main reasons I do enjoy a beatdown hardcore show every now and then. They manage to incorporate a good portion of slam death metal elements in their sound. More blasting drums, deep zooming riffing, and extremely well-placed brutal breakdowns. Not only does it make up for the usually boring guitar lines you come across in the genre, but it shows the actual prowess of the musicians. And the Germans in Chamber of Malice sure can play, man. Again, plenty of violent dancing to go around. This time with more headbanging involved. I really dug the variation is the music, however short their set turned out.
So there you have it. Another night fueled with extreme music and auditory and physical violence. What better way to start your weekend?
FYI, for more gigs at the MCP Apache venue click here. Give it a shot and, who knows, you might discover something to your liking.
Remember to support your local scene as much as you can!