99-08-21 Ochtenddauw – H-Street – Stroke Of Grace – Redemption – Ananda – Sabeth – Product – Mörser – Reveal – Spineless – Bloodpact – Thumbs Down – Pray Silent – Ensign

Posted: August 15, 2019 in VV 1999
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Introduction => 99-08-20&21&22 Ieper HC festival

Laurent Chopard & Olivier Bresson (from Besançon, France) wrote in their zine Co-existence:

(1) Overall, the second day announced to be more metal/old-school HC and it needs to be said, the least enticing. I’ll remember however some likeable stuff such as ‘Reveal’ and their wild cover of ‘Inside Out’s No Spiritual Surrender, ‘Lifecycle’ [???] and their SxE hard-rock, ‘Bloodpact’ for the very militant side, ‘Ananda’ and their chaotic metal or ‘Mörser’ for the impressing aspect (3 singers, bassists) more than for the music. Big disappointment was ‘Sabeth’ who seem to want to be early ‘Helmet’ without getting anywhere much because of an incredibly monotonous voice. As for ‘Ensign’: they quickly tired me despite the giant mosh-pit in the audience during a song.

(2) On Saturday the festival started with a band of local heroes, with little importance, that allowed me to finish my night. I arrived on the site for ‘H Street’, who made a good impression. I took advantage of the next bands to replace Laurent at the distro (Sell or die!) and make a tour of the record-fair. This day only the performances of ‘Bloodpact’ (We can be old-school and committed, right Guy?) and ‘Ensign’ (boys-band on tour) challenged me.

(1&2) Determined to take advantage of this night, we took some precautions (earplugs,…) but unfortunately the Belgian summer-nights don’t resemble nights of Ibiza, so we found ourselves victims of a chill we rarely experience in the East. Laurent managed to sleep an hour, Olivier none. Once out of the tent, surprise, the Belgian army paraded outside of the camping-site, determined to recruit two or three depressed vegan warriors who were looking for a new home since hardline stopped. In addition the soldiers organized their own festival in the camping-site. What a contrast to the troops heading for the Vort’n Vis.

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‘Ochtenddauw’ – “H8000 twisted power Metal.”. A local band (from Ieper; they rehearsed at the V.V.) with Wouter Keirse (guitar; keyboards in ‘Eclipse’, guitarist of ‘Warcraft’), Vince(nt) Tetaert (guitar; drummer of ‘Lifecycle; also in ‘Alignment’), Peter Leuwers (bass; also in ‘Lifecycle’), Ward Spruytte (drums; also guitar in ‘Solid’) & Steve Lammertyn (vocals). They had a demo out that year.

‘H-Street’ – “Snotty old school, start piling up now!”. SxE band from Vienna, Austria with Dan(iel) ‘El Toro’ Braaf (guitar), Thomas ‘Tom’ Krutzler (vocals), Mario Schöbinger (bass), Rob(ert) (drums) and Georg Ondrak (guitar). They did a demo (’98) and a self-titled 7” (’99). They got a massive response for covering ‘Token Entry’s The Edge here…

‘H-Street’ (photo by Marco Pasini)

‘Stroke Of Grace’“Limburg softcore! Great riffing!!”. Band from Belgian Limburg playing “pretty original and diverse metallic emo-core” with references to ‘Refused’ or ‘Abhinanda’: Stijn Vliegen (vocals), Jurgen Werelds (guitar), Steven Duchateau (guitar), Manu Fredericks (bass) and Luc Nicolaers (drums). Their CD The Body, The Soul, The Spirit was released in ‘98 (Flying World recs). They were also on some compilations.

‘Stroke Of Grace’ (photos courtesy of Stijn Vliegen)

‘Redemption’ – “Vegan metal mosh – split mCD presentation.”. From the “Roma Straight Edge Legion”. A band that was compared to ‘Catharsis’. They did a self-titled 7” & a mini-DC (Until The Next Day) on Surrounded recs (Maurizio Ricci’s label) in ’97 & ‘98, and a split-mCD with ‘Timebomb’ out on War.ds (’99). ‘Gipsy Rufina’ (Emiliano) was the “founder and everlasting member of the band”. The members were Liv Cosentini (guitar), Pierpaolo Perilli (vocals), Simone Achille (guitar), Dario (drums) & Emiliano Liberali (bass).

‘Ananda’ – “Terrifying metallic HC, sort of ‘Acme’ meets ‘Carcass’.” had already played at the V.V. on 95-07-02 & 96-09-22. They switched vocalists in 1998 which “marked a drastic change in their sound from screamo to heavy gloomy hardcore sludge”: Michaël joined in December ’97. Their Profane LP (2000) co-released by Snuff recs (Didier Severin & Roderic Mounir of the band ‘Knut’, Genève) and Molaire Industries (label run by Fabien Thévenot of ‘Iscariote’). Members were Jérôme ‘Gunthar’ Lacombe (bass), Jérôme Mizou (drums), Michaël Clergeot (‘Mikachu’; vocals) and guitarists Stéphane ‘Stu’ Joly (ex ‘Undone’) & Thomas ‘Tom’ Guillanton (ex ‘Fingerprint’/’Jasmine’).

‘Ananda’ (courtesy of Vincent de Roguin)

‘Sabeth’ – “Turbo stuff, like ‘Helmet’ meets ‘Botch’?”. Band from Böblingen, South Germany with Carsten Pflugbeil (bass), Felix Böhlken (guitar/vocals; ex ‘Dawnbreed’), Thomas Hahn (guitar; nowadays Thomas Harsem, producer) and Steffen Falcke (drums). Marten Thielges was only on their debut. They did their first (self-titled) 7” themselves (’96). Their next releases were on Marco Walzel’s Join The Team Player recs: the Zwei 7” (’98) and the Cobrajet LP (’99).

‘Product – “Rapid old school by really dedicated people.”. Italian poison-free (vegan SxE) band from the Milano area. Stefano Bertelli (guitar; was in ‘By All Means’ – but not when they played the V.V. in 95-08-20), Stefano Milani (bass), Chris(tian) Paracchini (drums), Dan(iele) Casti (vocals) & (Pier)Paolo Bruschi (guitar). Green recs put out their Dedication 7” (‘98) & Not An Answer 7” (’99). A 7” (Watch Your Step) came out on Genet recs (’99), together with New Type Crew (a mCD version of the 7” containing bonus-tracks previously released on their 1st 7”).

‘Product’ (courtesy of the band’s fanpage)

‘Mörser’ from Bremen were not announced; apparently they replaced ‘Enemy Of The Sun’, who had split up. They played diabolic ultra-fast death/grind with 3-4 singers, 2 bassists, guitarist & drummer. At that time (I think): André Wendelken (drums; also ‘Carol’, etc.), Sven ‘Svenion’ Nienaber (guitar; also ‘Minion’, etc.), Matthias ‘Matze’ Trenne (bass; also ‘Carol’, etc.), Sven Seelkopf (bass; also ‘Metöke’, ‘Systral’), Björn Schmidt (vocals; also ‘Carol’ & ‘Systral’, etc.), Denny Schmidt (vocals; also ‘Systral’), Daniel ‘Grabi’ Grabowski (vocals; also bass in ‘Assay’, ‘Rusty James’) & Ulf ? (vocals). At that time they had an LP (Two Hours To Doom, ’97) out, and a split-7” with ‘The Swarm’ (’98) on Markus Haas’ Per Koro.

‘Mörser’: (1) Sven Seelkopf [taken from Bords Perdu fanzine] – (2) Sven Nienaber [courtesy of Sven]

‘Reveal’ – “Emo-metal, ‘Unbroken’ meets ‘Converge’?”. Another GoodLife – Genet recs band: Dissection Of Thought EP (GL 97), Through The Eye Of Perfection Evolution Dies Slowly CD (GL 98) & To Explore The Invention To Create CD (Genet 2000). Maarten van Oers (drums), Mischa van Rodijnen (guitar), Geert van Hoesel (vocals) & Dave van Beek (bass) were from Dongen (near Breda, NL).

‘Reveal’ (pic by Peter Hendricks) [drumset switched around so one can see the crowd]

‘Spineless’ – “Emo-metal, H8000 rocker-jacks! Last show?”. This band (from Kortrijk) played their first gig at the Vort’n Vis on the fest in August ’96. They were Kristof Mondy (bass; Yoda zine; later ‘AmenRa’), Colin H. Van Eeckhout (vocals; later ‘AmenRa’), Pedro ‘Fifi’ Fioen (guitar; also ‘Congress’), Mathieu Vandekerckhove (guitar; replaced Koen Sandra in ‘97; later ‘AmenRa’) and Stefaan Buyse (drums). Their music was brutal sXe H8000 metal-core. After their initial demo (’96) Hans Verbeke of Sober Mind recs released the Painfields 7” (1997) and the A Talk Between Me And The Stars album (1998). The band played the V.V. quite a few times. After Spineless ended in 1999, 3 members started a new band called AmenRa, which is still going nowadays.

‘Bloodpact’ (USA) were described as “old-school feat. ‘Earthmover’ & ‘Trephine’ members” or “political pissed-off hardcore”. They were from Ann Arbor/Detroit (Michigan): Andy Dempz (vocals; +/- recs, ex ‘Earthmover’, also in ‘Ruination’), Annie Sullivan (bass), Dustin Schoenhofer [see below] or Adam Arola (drums), John Skinner (guitar). At the time of this tour they had a split-LP (with ‘Varisty’; on +/-) and a 7” (As Good As Dead; on Element recs) out. Later they would release some stuff on Reflection recs and on Genet recs.

‘Thumbs Down’ – “Belgium’s old school HC pride.”. ‘This band (from Antwerp) played “youth crew hardcore”. They’d played at the Vort’n Vis before (97-08-16, 98-05-10 & 98-08-15): Roeland (De Keulenaer?) (bass; or was he already replaced by Andries Beckers?), Ken or his replacement Benjamin Buschgens? (drums), Raf(aël) Balrak (guitar) and Steven Tuffin (vocals). They were signed to Genet recs (Going For Gold 7” – with bassplayer Roeland – in ’97, No Retreat No Surrender 7” and Crossroads LP in ’99).

‘Pray Silent’ – “Clevo style HC – LP/CD presentation.”. A Swiss (from Sankt-Gallen) vegan straight-edge band (metal-core) signed to Bruno VdV’s Genet recs. They’d played the fest the year before aswell (98-08-15). The band consisted of Andi/y Grob (guitar), Attila Varga (vocals), Etienne Geyer (guitar), Philipp Zimmerman (bass) and Roger Cadalbert (drums). They were compared with H8000 in ads…

‘Ensign’ (courtesy of the band’s fanpage)

‘Ensign’ – “Topclass old school, back after touring with ‘S.O.I.A.’!”. Hardcore punk band from New Jersey. Nathan Gluck (bass; replaced Walter Svekla), Ryan Donoghue (guitar; replaced John Fraunberger), Ryan Murphy (drums; ex ‘Undertow’; replaced Chris(topher) Ross) and Tim(othy) Shaw (vocals). Early on they were signed to Dave Mandel’s label, Indecision recs. They came back the next year (2000-08-18)…

Brob

For us it was the hugest audience we have ever played. It was a pleasure for us to play there. I think it was the biggest HC festival in Europe and everybody was there. I am not involved in the HC-scene anymore but I think about the gig in Ieper very often. I loved it.

Carsten Pflugbeil, ‘Sabeth’ bassist

I was at the ‘Ieperfest’ as a stage-hand ‘for Sabeth’…

Johannes Schreiber, ‘My Hero Died Today’

Thomas Harsem had taken over guitar for me when I moved to ‘Dawnbreed’ (now ‘Monochrome’).

Marten Thielges, ‘Sabeth’

I have a couple of pictures and 2 videos (‘H-Street’ & ‘Mainstrike’) from that Ieperfest.

Danny Braaf, ‘H-Street’ guitarist

That was an amazing gig!!! We came over from Bremen only for that night. I think we’d just come back from our US tour a few days before. So it wasn’t sure we could make it over to this festival. The organiser decided to put us on the running-order as a secret special headliner. We played before ‘True Blue’ I think. [These played the next day.] Even most people of the festival-team didn’t know we were the ‘special guests’. When we got on stage there were already rumours running through the crowd and a lots of people were already standing waiting up-front. And a lot of people surrounded us on stage (as you can see on photo). After the show we met some guy of ‘As Friends Rust’ in the backstage-kitchen. He was totally sad about missing us because he was informed too late were playing (he was on the camping-area). At that time ‘Mörser was: André – drums, Sven – bass, ‘Matze’ – bass; ‘Svenion’ – guitar, Daniel ‘Grabi’ – vox, Björn – vox, Denny – vox.

Ulf had left the band earlier to move to Berlin. Hajo (short for Hans-Joachim) was the guitarplayer of ‘Carol’ and ‘Rusty James’. There were much more bands we all played in but not every band released something.

Sven Nienaber, ‘Mörser’ guitarist

One of the Top 5 shows in 20 years.

Sven Seelkopf, ‘Mörser’ bassist

I believe we opened on Friday??? This was something we’d been looking forward to for a long time. I’d been visiting the fest for several years. That weekend some of my favourite bands were on the bill (‘As Friends Rust’, ‘Hot Water Music’, ‘JR Ewing’, ‘Reveal’, …). Some of them played in Tongeren (Pumpkeskal) aswell. There were quite some people from the beginning of our set; one of the biggest crowds we had. It didn’t go smoothly though: because of nerves and the over-enthousiasm, I myself as singer was the cause that the lead-gitaar was out of tune from the first note on. That wasn’t very helpful to calm us down :-). In the end it mustn’t have been that bad because Bruno [Genet recs] asked us that very day if we could play at the Frontline together with ‘The Get Up Kids’ a few days later. I still have the live recordings of our set somewhere. Apparently all bands were recorded. What also stuck, is the fact that is everything was so well organised. We didn’t have to ask anything: everything was made clear to us from our arrival. Something we didn’t anymore later on. ‘Ieperfest’ was a starting-point for ‘Stroke of Grace’. That was because of the international character of the fest. Because of that we got the opportunity to play a number of shows in Germany.

Stijn Vliegen, ‘Stroke Of Grace’ vocalist

Always loved playing at the V.V.! A personal highlight will always be ‘IeperFest’ [not yet that name] 1999, I think it was. Where we had the hugest circle-pit I’ve ever seen!!!

Nathan Gluck, ‘Ensign’ bassist

Hey, I did play in ‘Ensign’, was one of the original members, but left the band in 1996 or 97 before they toured Europe. Tim and Nate were definitely in the band. Not sure if Chris Ross was still drumming or not at that point. John F had been playing guitar but was probably out. I think I saw them in Seattle in 99 or thereabouts…

Walter Svekla

I did not play with ‘Bloodpact’ in Europe.

Dustin Schoenhofer

additions wellcome!…

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