It’s not everyday that we get to watch such strong line ups over here and despite gathering together bands of different-ish vein, this whole tour is absolutely incredible and here’s why.
Coming first on stage, the Australians of Northlane did a pretty decent job. Playing mostly songs off their most recent record such as Genesis/Scarab and Aspire, it was also for them the occasion to present their new single, as well as a renewed line up. Although they had to do this pretty quickly, the band seems to have made a well-thought choice when welcoming Marcus Bridge as a new frontman. Investing the big stage with charisma, his take on Northlane‘s previous songs is quite interesting. As for their newest track, Rot, it seems quite a great fit for him as an interpreter. However, on the other side of the barricade, people seemed more chilling rather than reacting to the music, except for a few hardliner fans in the central front rows. Things got off a little bit more with final and popular song, Quantum Flux.
Next up were Carnifex and things are already different here. We’re far form the previous band’s metal core; instead, we’re diving into some darker shades of death metal from the very moment the band members walk on stage. With some heavy loaded guitars, completed by Scott Lewis’ imposing guttural screams, the performance itself was well executed and spotless. Playing a 30-minute slot, the americans had no time to waste : opening with Deathwish, Carnifex performed some of their recent successes such as Die Without Hope and Hatred Without Slaughter, not forgetting earlier work such as the popular Lie To My Face. Humble and forthright, the band delivered a quality performance that could only please the – apparently – numerous fans of the genre, present on that night.
Heaven Shall Burn are huge in Europe. And just in case we were forgetting it, the hundreds and hundreds of people shouting their lyrics and losing their minds to their performance were here to remind us of it. There’s no wonder why this is a co-headliner between them and Parkway Drive. Even though both of the bands aren’t riding the same wave – musically speaking -, they were equally successful in the way they’ve been received by the crowd. Led by the extremely charismatic Marcus Bischoff, the German outfit delivered a muscular performance, from the second they appeared on stage, during which the first pit openings appeared, the crowd went wild and heat (finally!) increased. Reaching some high points during songs such as Voice of the Voiceless and The Worlds in Me, the show will reach its peak for the second to last song, Endzeit, during which it felt like every single person filling the room was shouting the lyrics “Nothing, just nothing, nothing will wipe this heart out / We are, we are the, we are the final resistance”.
Not only these guys are excellent performers but they are also a great example of humility; visibly all smiles and thankful for the warm welcome in Deinze, the band left the stage after intense 45 minutes of music and sweat, while Bischoff jumped off stage to shake some hands at the barricades.
At this point, the tension is at its utmost and you could feel the excitement, resulting of a lot of anticipation. Parkway Drive haven’t been here in around a year and apparently everyone was missing them. This time the changeover seemed longer, but it didn’t take us long to understand why, when we saw the massive stage set, which was a new one for us. With this, in addition to a monstrous light show, Parkway Drive were definitely taking things to the next level.
Parkway Drive have become a huge deal in this music scene in the past few years – in Belgium, they played the MainStage at a recent edition of Graspop Metal Meeting for instance. Kicking off the action with Wild Eyes and confettis, the Australians appeared in full force, determined to make the most of the evening. This band’s performances are always memorable, not only because of its quality -indeed, these are some extremely talented musicians and performers, who never disappoint – but also because of their crowds, of hundreds and thousands of people united, gathering together to become one, singing not only the lyrics, but also all of the instruments involved, which is something we rarely encounter elsewhere even during the wildest shows. This is what happened here, as well, from the very beginning and the introducing “oh oh ohs” of Wild Eyes, to the legendary chorus of Carrion. Parkway Drive‘s particular musicality and stage presence is always memorable and Winston McCall and his bandmates’ joy of living is contagious, possibly creating the most enjoyable and entertaining atmosphere and making the whole performance something to never forget. Following up their most successful numbers such as Sleepwalker, Karma, Idol and Anchors, the security guards at the barricades became quickly overwhelmed with work as the waves of crowd surfers followed up at the same pace as the songs. If the set doesn’t seem long enough, Parkway Drive make it up to its length by creating a perfect balance between songs from all of their releases, even playing oldies (but goodies!) such as Romance Is Dead and Mutiny which has been a great success. 11 songs in and it’s time already for an encore. Parkway Drive rounds off the show with the traditional Carrion and one last confetti blast.
This was at first quite a surprising line up for us, as we weren’t quite sure if all of these metal subgenres could blend well for one same show, but what a pleasant surprise to see that fans from different horizons gathered altogether to celebrate great music and take time to appreciate all of the performances involved!