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Live Reports :: Blood Axe Festival 2011

Live report : Blood Axe Festival 2011

All Winds of Plague live concerts Winds of Plague [Death Metal]
All For The Fallen Dreams live concerts For The Fallen Dreams [Metalcore]
All Loyal to the Grave live concerts Loyal to the Grave [Hardcore]
All Day Of Mourning live concerts Day Of Mourning
All Ill Communication live concerts Ill Communication
All Xibalba live concerts Xibalba [Hardcore]
All Crystal Lake live concerts Crystal Lake
All Birthplace live concerts Birthplace
All Shark Ethic live concerts Shark Ethic
All Inside live concerts Inside
...
Saturday, August 27, 2011 - Club Asia, Tokyo
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Photographer : Guillaume Catella, Yoko Ichikawa




Club Asia

The Club Asia, one of the most famous nightclubs of the trendy district of Shibuya, hosts tonight the Hardcore fest “Blood Axe Festival”. Organized by Loyal to the Grave and its leader Kobayashi (Koba-san), this fest gathers not less than 11 bands, most of them Japanese, with some foreign big names like For The Fallen Dreams and Winds of Plague at the head of the bill.
That’s all for the better as the conditions here are excellent. The lights are elaborate, the room is not very deep but wide so that more people can stay close to the band, and the photographers have access to the pit and to the stage.





Angagement

While people are still queuing outside to slowly be accepted passed the doors, Angagement have already begun their show. The venue is then still quite empty, but that doesn’t hold up the band, full of energy. The vocalist drops the mic to go mosh with the audience, while the bassist makes faces, totally absorbed by their music. The band plays brutal and violent hardcore music, very efficient. Even if they are yet only 40 people, the venue is already quite warmed up, which is a good omen for the 10 bands to come.

Listen to the band there :
http://www.myspace.com/angagement

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Inside

While the following band is setting up its stuff, the screen at the back of the hall displays some videos of other metalcore bands, a good idea to keep us warm while waiting.
Now is the turn for Inside to get on the stage, another band that seems to be close to Loyal to the Grave and that often tours with them. Even if the public is less energetic, the singer keeps moving everywhere … and we’ll actually encounter several times the vocalist and bassist during today’s other shows … as they’ll take every occasion to throw themselves in the crowd and for body surfing.
Their performance ends up after 30 min of a good show, and the band quickly leaves the stage.

Listen to their music there :
http://www.myspace.com/insidetokyo

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Shark Ethic

After some mysterious samples, Shark Ethic gets on stage. Japanese band based in Nagoya, with 2 westerners at the vocals and drums, their hardcore is more mature than the previous ones. They come to defend their first album “Torn Between”, released only 3 days before the show, on August 24.
Josh, the vocalist, addresses the public in English and simple Japanese. Their performance has no pretention but is brutal and efficient. It’s worth checking their album and following lives !

Listen to their music there :
http://www.myspace.com/sharkethichc

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Birthplace

More “metalcore” than the others, Birthplace is a Japanese band from Tokyo (note that their bassist is Kobayashi, the organizer of the Blood Axe Festival). With15 years of activity, their compositions are powerful, and well mastered on live. Having toured with some of the biggest (The Dillinger Escape Plan, Terror …), they know how to lead the audience and to entertain them, even if Birthplace seems quite more static than the previous bands.

Listen to their music there :
http://www.myspace.com/birthplace

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Crystal Lake

Formed in 2002, Crystal Lake also originates from Tokyo and has released their second album in 2010. After a short melodic introduction, Crystal Lake unleashes its brutality and energy, and proves to benefit from much more experience. The riffs are rather slow but heavy and impressive, and the double bass drum blows our ears. The vocalist incidentally tells us that the band recruits … a vocalist, as their previous one left the band a few months ago.
Their excellent performance ends after 30 minutes, leaving the impression of having been knocked down by a truck.

Listen to their music there :
http://www.audioleaf.com/crystallake168/

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Xibalba

Tonight first foreign band is Xibalba from California. Contrary to all the others bands, they are very static, much like their hardcore / death metal slow and heavy, even pachydermic I would say. Having some problems on the drums for several minutes, they don’t even try to keep the public warm, and the mood gets slightly down.
The slow pace intensifies the dark side of the “doom” side of their music, while the vocalist chops its texts shouted in his mic (which I strongly disliked). I’d recommend them only to the fans of hardcore/doom.

Listen to their music there :
http://www.myspace.com/placeoffear

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Ill Communication

Back to the pure hardcore with Ill Communication, another HxC band with some punk influence, from Tokyo. After the dark performance of Xibalba, the colors are back on stage thanks to good and colorful lights effects. Cap on the head, the vocalist knows how to make the metalheads react, even if the band lacks some maturity or experience in their music.

Listen to their music there :
www.myspace.com/mlhc 

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Day of Mourning

This young Korean metalcore band has yet released only one EP (Hail From Deperdition, in 2011) but seems already fully experienced. The two guitarists are focused on their excellent play, very technical, and the compositions are complex and well written, reminding Periphery or August Burns Red. Their leader, Carlos, the only one westerner adds that their EP is available for download, and I strongly invite you to check their short but dense 4 tracks EP there : http://www.mediafire.com/?24s2p7iu4my5s4r.
An excellent surprise, and one of the best discoveries of this fest.

Listen to their music there :
http://www.myspace.com/dayofmourningmetal

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Loyal To The Grave

The 9th band of this exhausting fest is Loyal To The Grave, the organizers of this excellent “Blood Axe fest”, commanded by the 3 brothers Kobayashi the vocalist and Kohama and Shinohara the 2 guitarists. They are strongly influenced by US hardcore, with basic but surprisingly efficient rhythms and riffs, resembling Hatebreed. With already 13 years of activity, Loyal to the Grave is one of the original builders of Japanese hardcore, and have toured in the US with Hatebreed and Terror among others. They know how to lead the audience, all particularly as they are at home in Tokyo.




Their performance quickly switches to one big happy mess, with several bands joining and gathering on the sides of the stage. Note that the venue is rather small and even if 100 to 200 fans came tonight, it’s not a huge proportion compared to the 50 members of the 11 bands playing today ! While body surfing is forbidden and any attempt bound to fail because of the security guy, the other musicians take the opportunity of having access to the stage to surf on the audience (or rather throw themselves on them). “Inside” vocalist also joins Kobayashi for a few tracks, before throwing himself in the pit.
To sum up, it was one of the hottest performances, 100% HxC, festive and with a really good spirit.

Listen to their music there :
http://www.myspace.com/loyaltothegrave168 

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For The Fallen Dreams

This crazy fest soon comes to an end, with the two heads of the bill : For The Fallen Dreams and Winds of Plague. FTFD were formed in 2003 in Michigan (US) and serve us an energetic metalcore embellished with melodic passages. Their last album “Back Burner” released only 3 months ago is their 3rd one in only 3 years. Skillfully mixing powerful riffs, excellent guitar technics, melodic choruses with clear voice (that surprisingly delighted me, even if I usually strongly prefer growls), For The Fallen Dreams music easily wins the approval of the audience. The band also seems to be used to big lives and know how to entertain the crowd and command them. The band often comes closer to them, particularly Dylan the vocalist and Kalan one of the two guitarists, that let the metalheads shout in the mic or touch the strings of the guitar, or even dive into the crowd.




Even if a problem pops up on the drums (the bass drum is pierced) and wastes a few minutes to replace it, the band knows how to fill in the dead time to keep the ambiance warmed up.
The lights are also excellent, colorful, lively and elaborate to match the peaks and valleys of each song.
I didn’t know this band before, but it’s definitively one of my top 3, after Winds of Plague and before Day of Mourning.

Listen to their music there :
http://en.metalship.org/bands/Fallen For The Dreams

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Winds of plague

At last after 11 bands following one another during 8 exhausting hours of live, now is time for the last band to close this bustling fest. Winds of Plague was formed 10 years ago and originate from California, as one might guess with their festive spirit, and the feeling to be on some Californian beach full of bodybuilders (well, a good sample of what we can see in their video “California”).
Anyway they indeed deserve being at the top of the fest and grant us a real entertainment show, that blows us away. Very luminous and colorful, the venue quickly becomes full of toilet paper rolls thrown in the air as garlands and inflatable beach balloons jumping everywhere (with even an inflatable dolphin). Johny Plague, the vocalist, even cracks some small fireworks to the closer people. People start body surfing again, such as during Loyal To The Grave, and Koba-san takes the opportunity to throw himself on the audience with his buoy to swim on the metalheads.




This visual show still doesn’t mean Winds of Plague don’t apply themselves on their music. With their own unique and untypical formula, they play a mix of pumped hardcore and death metal, with symphonic elements added thanks to the beautiful Alana and her keyboards. Well, despite Alana the testosterone prevails, particularly when Johny decides to take off his undershirt to fully display his muscles, soon imitated by Andrew Glover. And when the time has come for the band to leave the stage, the audience doesn’t have enough time to calm down that Winds of Plague are already back to grant us the two last tracks that will finish blasting us and put an end to these grueling 8 hours of show.




And when the chaos is indeed ended, the Japanese discipline and order take back the control of the venue, the public leaving the room in less time than I need to realize. Johny stays a few more minutes with the fans, generously accepting to be taken in photo and exchange a few words with last ones overcoming their timidity. We are then asked to leave the venue for the staff to finish cleaning.
We then leave the “club Asia” with a very good feeling, of having attended a fresh and festive hardcore rally, that convinces us to check as soon as possible several of the excellent bands that played tonight.

Listen to their music there :
http://en.metalship.org/bands/Winds of Plague

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on October 23, 2011 by NanoRoux
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