This weekend sees Europe’s premier punk and hardcore festival Groezrock return to the Belgian town of Meerhout for two days of three chords and the truth. If you’re a punk/hardcore fan and you’re going then expect to be spoilt for choice – but here are ten bands that you really don’t want to miss out on!
Sick Of It All (Saturday, Impericon Stage)
Now in their fourth decade as a band, it’s arguable that Sick Of It All are the greatest hardcore band of all time. Having never stopped touring, recording or releasing music, and with a seemingly ageless energy onstage, they are still setting the bar higher than any of their peers or the countless acts they’ve influenced that have come in their wake. 2014’s Last Act Of Defiance was another sweat-soaked, raw-as-fuck sounding example of this music at its purest and adrenaline inducing best. The idea that they’ll incite the most violence and get the largest circle pit of the weekend going is basically a given.
Hatebreed (Friday, Main Stage)
One of the most punishing and consistent live bands on the planet, you know exactly what you’re going to get with a Hatebreed show; namely Jamey Jasta’s inspiring barks and indefatigable spirit over some of the tightest metal-tinged hardcore anthems in the world. And with new album The Concrete Confessional ready to drop, we might even hear some new material too – depending on what sort of mood Jasta is in. They’ve made it almost impossible for any band to follow them in the past, expect more of the same at Groezrock.
Walls Of Jericho (Friday, Impericon Stage)
Having been absent from our world for some time now, it’s been one of the most pleasant surprises of 2016 to see Walls Of Jericho come hurtling back to form with the stunning No One Can Save You From Yourself. It finds them as bristling, furious, and crucially, heavy as they’ve ever been in the past. And with a back catalogue of metallic hardcore like they have to call on, that’s no mean feat. If they can pull off a live show to match it they’ll be a highlight of festival for sure.
Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes (Saturday, Impericon Stage)
When Frank Carter departed Gallows, and left the kind of spite-fuelled punk that he made his name from in the process, we thought that we might have seen the last of his unique brand of chaotic wanton destruction. But with last year’s Blossom album we got the old Frank back. Expect a set full of kicking, screaming punk rock and our Frank busting his body for our entertainment.
letlive. (Saturday, Impericon Stage)
If you were at one of their recent trilogy of London shows than you’ll know that letlive. are on the form of their lives. And when you consider their lives so far, that’s a frightening proposition. With a new album incoming that relies more heavily on the soul aspect of their soul-punk sound, you might have expected a live show that tones down the chaos. Not at all. Instead letlive. pick and choose the times to explode so when the tidal wave does come, it’s a tsunami. And that storm’s name is Jason Aalon Butler, possibly the best frontman on the planet at present.
Despised Icon (Friday, Impericon Stage)
With a pretty good shout at being the heaviest band at Groezrock, and certainly the most metal friendly, Canadian deathcore punishers Despised Icon arrive having been back on the touring circuit since their 2014 reformation. They might stand out on the bill like a sore thumb here, but we’re always up for hearing choice cuts from their excellent 2005 album The Healing Process. Plus it’ll be a hell of a laugh to see a bunch of Sum 41 fans being subjected to such punishing brutality.
Northlane (Saturday, Impericon Stage)
The Aussies have been kicking up a storm for a good few years now, but what seemed like a bit of an underground buzz is turning into full -lown fever pitch excitement for Northlane. Much of it has to do with the scope and breadth that new vocalist Marcus Bridge has been able to bring to the band with his jaw-dropping vocal range. But this is no one-man band, a listen to last year’s Node shows a group of musicians at the absolute peak of their powers. This is going to big a big year for Northlane, make sure you see them before it all goes supernova.
Youth Of Today (Friday, Back To Basics Stage)
If Sick Of It All have become the most revered kings of New York Hardcore then there’s no doubt that Youth Of Today would sit easily in the list of the most influential. Featuring a cast of musicians that went on to play in the likes of (deep breath) CIV, Shelter, Quicksand, Gorilla Biscuits, Rival Schools, Glassjaw, Judge, Better Than A Thousand and Head Automatica – Youth Of Today were the torchbearers of the early straight edge movement. But it’s not just the influence alone that put them on this list, their warp speed and energetic punk rock is still as exciting as it was back in the ‘80s. A glorious throwback and one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend.
Broken Teeth (Saturday, Impericon Stage)
One of the many upcoming bands from the UK, Manchester’s Broken Teeth are pulling up trees all around the underground hardcore scene in this country and it’s set to be one one of the most exciting and intriguing performances of the weekend. And, having heard their excellent debut album At Peace Amongst Chaos, we fancy them to smash it with their thrash-inspired, beatdown pounding.
Rancid (Friday, Main Stage)
Yeah maybe this isn’t the type of thing that we usually rep for here at Hammer, but you can’t argue with quality. And to see arguably, along with NOFX, the finest punk rock band of the last 25 years play their best album in full is not something that you want to miss whatever your musical persuasion. …And Out Come The Wolves is a masterclass in gutter level, three chord punk rock with all the personality, storytelling, song writing and phlegm that makes this music such a fizzy rush of adrenaline. Rancid are a class act. Full stop. If you’re there, put them atop of your list of priorities.
Groezrock takes place in Meerhout, Belgium, on April 29-30. Visit the official Groezrock website for more information.