The final countdown to GMM2014: part 8

Four days left until Graspop Metal Meeting 2014! This edition  we are welcoming more than 100 bands to the stage. Time to take a closer look at those bands.

Black Label Society

Few guitarists capture the imagination more than American multi-instrumentalist Zakk Wylde. For many years he was Ozzy Osbourne’s partner in crime and in the meantime, his own band Black Label Society built a large and often fanatical worldwide fan base. Despite a pretty turbulent lifestyle, Wylde has always kept his eye on the ball when it comes to his music. He co-wrote many of Ozzy’s more recent hits and was the Madman’s faithful sidekick on stage. Black Label Society was founded in 1998 and released its debut ‘Sonic Brew’ in the same year. Wylde made his recording debut with Pride & Glory and when they disbanded he embarked on a brief solo outing. Things really started happening for Zakk with the formation of Black Label Society. The band’s bluesy and southern-rock inspired metal hit a nerve with the public at large. It’s obvious from the first four studio albums that Wylde is a multi-talented musician: he not only took care of all the vocals but also recorded all the instruments with the exception of the drums. These last few years BLS has kept the fans in check with little tidbits like the ‘The Song Remains Not the Same’, which was designed to make the wait for the imminent, ninth studio album ‘Catacombs of the Black Vatican’ more bearable. The new material will undoubtedly be well-received by the Graspop faithful. After all, there’s a reason why Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society are GMM regulars. (Text: Wim Vander Haegen)

Sunday June 29 - Mainstage 1 - 14:05 to 14:50


In 2012, Alestorm masterbrain Christopher Bowes founded a new power metal band inspired by the mysterious and misty decor of the medieval Scottish Highlands. On their 2013 concept debut album, Gloryhammer tells tales of epic battles, fiery dragons, witches and wizards, but always tongue-in-cheek. You’re curious to see how Bowes & Co ply their dark trade on stage? All will be revealed at GMM 2014. (Text: Wim Vander Haegen)

Sunday June 29 - Metal Dome - 14:05 to 14:50

Schirenc Plays Pungent Stench

Regardless of how busy your GMM schedule is, there’s no excuse not to go to church over the festival weekend this year. From the country of The Sound of Music and Governator Schwarzie, we bring you Schirenc Plays Pungent Stench, the reincarnation of... that’s right! Oozing death grind with grisly lyrics on necrophilia and amputation but delivered with a biting sense of humour and played as tight as a duck’s arse. Especially for all you nostalgic souls out there, this unsavoury trio has put together a set with nothing but songs from the first four albums, all of which sound as relevant in 2014 as they did back in the day. Now has anyone seen my amputation saw? (Text: Geert Struyven)

Sunday June 29 – Marquee - 14:45 to 15:35


letlive. is undoubtedly one of the odd bands out in this year’s lineup. While this extremely energetic post hardcore outfit from LA has been labelled ‘alternative metal’, ‘experimental rock’ and ‘hardcore punk’, the bottom line is that no other band sounds quite like letlive. Tell you the truth, we wouldn’t be surprised if they turned out to be the greatest discovery of this year’s edition. Jason Aalon Butler’s versatile and emotional singing voice harmonises perfectly with the rest of the band in spite of the fact that his aggressive vocals and ditto stage act belie his gentle disposition. Don’t be surprised if Butler’s antics result in injury or he decides to climb the scaffolding. ‘The Blackest Beautiful’ was undisputedly one of last year’s most memorable releases and predecessor ‘Fake History’ also met with widespread approval. If you can appreciate a band that’s not afraid to experiment and incorporate jazz elements into an explosive punk/hardcore mix then letlive. is just what the doctor ordered. Mark our words. (Text: Steven Verhoeven)

Sunday June 29 - Jupiler Stage - 14:55 to 15:35

Suicide Silence

Suicide Silence are regarded as the founders of deathcore, a mix of death metal and hardcore. They left their calling card at GMM2011 and things were running smoothly for the Californians. Then, on 1st November 2012 disaster struck when singer Mitch Lucker was killed in a motorcycle accident. Following Lucker’s demise, their future hung in the balance but 2014 is shaping up to be the year of resurrection for Suicide Silence. It’s been two years since Suicide Silence last crossed the Pond so the European fans are really looking forward to this one. (Text: Nick Tronckoe)

Sunday June 29 - Mainstage 2 - 15:00 to 15:45

Rhapsody Of Fire

Gather round all ye dragons, warlocks and courageous knights and welcome Rhapsody of Fire to Graspop Metal Meeting. The proud history of this Italian symphonic power metal outfit is almost as epic as their music. After releasing their first six albums as Rhapsody, they were forced to change their name to Rhapsody of Fire for legal reasons. In 2011, guitarist and co-founder Luca Turilli decided it was time to explore new horizons but this didn’t stop the band from releasing the landmark album ‘Dark Wings of Steel’, a throwback to the band’s glorious beginnings. 2014 is looking very promising as well so dust off your sword, shine that armour and saddle those horses for there are dragons that need slaying and fair maidens are waiting to be rescued. (Text: Niels Desmedt)

Sunday June 29 - Metal Dome - 15:40 to 16:25


Following a number of tumultuous years at the start of the millennium, Anthrax rallied with the 2011 release of their best album in years, one with a title that leaves nothing to the imagination: ‘Worship Music’. Live on stage Anthrax is an indestructible force and thanks to the Big 4 shows with their brethren of Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica, Anthrax reclaimed their rightful place at the top of the thrash food chain. What’s more, the band are currently working on a new album and with just a bit of luck we may get a taste of the new material this summer when Scott Ian & Co mosh it up at GMM 2014. Good times... (Text: Stef Maes)

Sunday June 29 - Mainstage 1 - 15:55 to 16:45


Co-founder Johan Edlund has been in Tiamat for over a quarter century. The band is the perfect example of how musicians can keep evolving by being open to new influences. Having started out in the late 80’s as a black metal act, they gradually evolved into a versatile band whose music not only incorporates grunts and the obligatory heavy guitars but also 70’s psychedelics and dreamy melodies. A Tiamat show is always surprising because the band plays it by ear. Figurehead Johan Edlund has matured into an artist pur sang so his rekindling of the Tiamat fire with last year’s ‘The Scarred People’ came as a bit of a surprise. The new CD is a more than worthy addition to Tiamat’s already varied catalogue and we’ll no doubt hear some of the new songs live this summer. (Text: Stef Maes)

Sunday June 29 – Marquee - 16:15 to 17:05

Thy Art Is Murder

Thy Art Is Murder blew away the fans in the Marquee last year and left them screaming for more. We’re always happy to oblige so we invited the boys from Down Under for a repeat performance. If you’re into crushing deathcore you’re bound to appreciate the Sydney foursome’s all-consuming musical violence. Over the last few years, the band’s fan base has been expanding rapidly thanks to the combination of their uncompromising and intricate deathcore and CJ McMahon’s rabid sneers. Their second full-length effort, ‘Hate’, is an absolute killer and the faint of heart would do well to steer clear of the front stage once these guys unleash their full fury. So buckle up, empty your pockets and jump into the fray! (Text: Steven Verhoeven)

Sunday June 29 - Jupiler Stage - 16:30 to 17:10

Bring Me The Horizon

Bring Me the Horizon are celebrating their tenth anniversary this year and that calls for a celebration. During that decade, this English band has earned a status as one of the flag bearers in the modern scene. ‘Modern’ is just the right word because BMTH’s metalcore with death metal influences is firmly rooted in the 21st century. On the band’s latest offering, ‘Sempiternal’, they continue to venture further away from the deathcore that inspired their early work while including prog rock and ambient elements that give the new CD a more versatile feel. Many critics consider ‘Sempiternal’ to be their best work yet and it may well propel them into the big leagues. With a new album that successfully bridges the gap between brutality and genius, who are we to say otherwise? (Text: Robby Embrechts)

Sunday June 29 - Mainstage 2 - 16:55 to 17:45

Vandenberg's Moonkings

Vandenberg's MoonKings is the brainchild of Adje/Adrian Vandenberg, the famous Dutch guitarist whose own band Vandenberg becomes internationally successful in the 1980s. Their worldwide hit ‘Burning Heart’ and Ad’s exceptional abilities bring the Dutchman to the attention of Whitesnake’s David Coverdale. Vandenberg finally agrees to join Whitesnake and folds his band. In 1987, Whitesnake’s ‘Here I Go Again’ gives Vandenberg a second worldwide hit, resulting in several world tours. In 1999, Vandenberg quits Whitesnake even though Ad and David Coverdale are still thick as thieves. VDB’s focus shifts to painting but you can only ignore your true calling for so long. In 2013 Vandenberg recruits vocalist Jan Hoving and two promising young musicians he judged in a talent contest back in the day. Vandenberg’s MoonKings don’t waste any time recording their debut and ‘MoonKings’ is released on 21st February 2014. They’ve been touring ever since and the reactions are very enthusiastic! We can’t wait…  (Text: Wim Vander Haegen)

Sunday June 29 - Metal Dome - 17:15 to 18:00

Death: dta

Death is widely regarded as one of the most influential metal bands. Founded by Chuck Schuldiner in 1983 at the tender age of sixteen, Schuldiner & friends were the ones to put death metal on the map. More than a quarter century after their initial release, records like ‘Scream Bloody Gore’ and ‘Leprosy’ have become genuine classics that have effortlessly stood the test of time. Schuldiner was never one to rest on his laurels and he continued to push the boundaries of the genre he pioneered. Just like any real artist, his relentless pursuit of progress and innovation led him to incorporate more progressive structures in his music, thereby moving away from traditional death metal. The future was looking bright for this guitar hero until disaster struck and Schuldiner was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He died on 13th December 2001 and Death subsequently disbanded. Then in 2012 several former Death members decided to pay tribute to one of the most influential metal musicians of the last quarter century under the moniker ‘Death to All’. (Text: Geert Struyven)

Sunday June 29 - Marquee - 17:45 to 18:40

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