:: Blood Axe Festival
Live report : Blood Axe Festival Lionheart [Hardcore] Rise of the North Star Loyal to the Grave [Hardcore] Murder Death Kill Crystal Lake CDC Angagement Shark Ethic Black Breath [Thrash Metal] Palm Blindside [Power Metal] ...
Saturday, August 25, 2012 - Club Asia
, TokyoView all concert info
Photographer : Guillaume Catella
Blood Axe Festival 2012
Just as last year, the now famous Hardcore event “Blood Axe festival” 2012 takes place in the Club Asia, in the middle of the seething district of Shibuya. Once again, experienced American formations will play along with Japanese bands for an exhausting rally lasting 9 hours. Organized by Loyal to the Grave
and its leader Kobayashi, the festival gathers even more bands than last year, with no less than 14 bands, starting at noon until the end of the evening.
Despite the narrow backstage that are barely sufficient for so many bands, the Club Asia is an ideal location for the festival, providing good lights (despite being a little dark), and hosting smoothly the few hundreds of headbangers.
As I unfortunately learned about the festival a few hours before its start, the first bands are not covered by this report … but 9 bands will already be long enough for the readers ;-).
American band formed in 2005, Black Breath serves us their mix of Death, Thrash and Hardcore, a bit distant from the main “Hardcore” thematic of the festival. Their original formula is pretty much effective and is gets a favorable reaction from the crowd, which is still scattered across the venue as the afternoon is just beginning. Let’s note the good technical skills of the band, especially of their main guitarist.
Site : http://www.myspace.com/blackbreath
Shark Ethic which were already present at the Blood Axe festival last year, came once again this year to play their punchy Hardcore. The quintet consists of 3 Japanese and 2 westerners, of whom Josh, the leader and vocalist comes from the USA. Simple but quite efficient, their formula is well mastered and succeeds in transporting the crowd.
Site : http://www.myspace.com/sharkethichc/music
Another band that already took part in the 2011 Blood Axe Festival, Angagement had the difficult task to start the hostilities last year. This time, the band is benefitting from a better position, and from an audience that is already warmed up. Despite this, the crowd is still rather static, at least compared to the overexcited vocalist that fortunately doesn’t lack energy. His bombastic speech between each tracks, is constantly interrupted by strong panting every two seconds, making the crowd laugh. The band unfortunately encounters some technical problem, but hey, our beloved leader doesn’t care much and throws himself in the pit, moshing without music.
Site : http://www.myspace.com/angagement
Now is the turn of the American from CDC to climb on the stage, with their fierce and vigorous vocalist Brooke, jumping everywhere. He does a good job encouraging and warming up the crowd … and exhorting them to buy their merch abounding with diverse clothing accessories. Let’s wish them good luck as they pursue their Asian tour with some dates in South Korea and China.
Site : http://www.myspace.com/cdc
Now THAT’s powerful ! The alternation between Japanese and western bands goes on, with the turn of Crystal Lake, which were already present last year. Celebrating their 10th anniversary, they display an amazing amount of energy on stage, with all the musicians going berserk, while the crowd surfing reached a higher extent.
Site : http://crystallakeofficial.tumblr.com/
Murder Death Kill
Then follows Murder Death Kill (MDK), an american band that blasts you in the face with their gutsy Californian hardcore. It’s brutal, violent, and it’s not one, but two vocalists (should I say mastodons) that discharge
their rage on the small venue, even squatting the pit for most of the time, among the crowd. Despite their recent formation in 2008, they have already gained much stage experience and built a notable reputation, even in Japan.
Site : http://www.myspace.com/murderdeathkill
Loyal to the Grave
The last Japanese band to come on stage tonight is Loyal to the Grave
, the organizers of the festival, renowned formation of the Japanese Hardcore scene ! Strongly influenced by US hardcore, their rhythms are rather basic, but extremely powerful and energetic.
Thanks to their 14 years of activity, they know how to satisfy the crowd, led by Kobayashi, the singer, who completely breaks his chains to unleash his surprising rage, always very close to the public.
The crowd surfing reach their climax, on this very festive show.
Site : http://www.myspace.com/loyaltothegrave168
Rise of the North Star
Rise of the North Star is quite a surprise, the only French band among all the Japanese and American formations, with a very strong identity. Within only a few years, ROTNS have built their unique genre, strongly influenced by the Japanese sub culture of Mangas and “Furyos” (bad boys), proclaiming to be born in the black alleys of the 80’s Shibuya (the liveliest and craziest place of entertainment in Shinjuku, where the festival is being held). They also incorporate much influence from the punchy New York hardcore.
Wearing schoolboy uniforms (blue uniform, white socks up to the calves, short pants for the vocalist, or also a simple particle respirator for one of the guitarist), all their imaginary world is impregnated with this Japanese culture of Shonen manga and Furyos, and even their videos are subtitled in Japanese. The band takes pleasure in disclosing very few information and even blurring their tracks to create some mystery.
Despite the fact that this tour is their first coming to Japan (except for the vocalist Vithia that already came a few times), Rise of the North Star has already built quite a reputation and is well received and appreciated by the Japanese crowd. Let’s note that the band, which already gathered some funds for the red cross with their song “Phoenix”, will take advantage of their tour in Japan to play in the city of Fukushima, infamous for the events of march 2011 that happened in the eponymous prefecture, to transfer all the gains to the disaster victims.
Taking a special care to their appearance and visual identity, ROTNS doesn’t leave aside their wonderful stage performance, very intense, nor their music, catchy and prone to headbanging, but also incorporating some technical elements and well mastered solo.
Such a success on all sides in only a few years insures them a brilliant future ! Check on ‘em !
Site : http://www.myspace.com/riseofthenorthstar
This 9 hours long exhausting rally is finally and unfortunately coming to an end, as the head of the bill, the American from LionHeart get on stage to strike the final blow to the washed-up crowd. Originating from California, and coming for the first time to Japan, this young band was only formed 2 years ago, but doesn’t lack stage experience, and know how to lead the audience (though on its level, my preference would still go for the French crazy schoolboys).
As the comparison with the 2011 Blood Axe Festival is inevitable, one might still regret that the last band, LionHeart, didn’t have the overwhelming energy of Winds of Plague which played in 2011, offering us an amazing and festive, messy final last year.
Site : http://www.myspace.com/lionheart