The final countdown to GMM 2015: part 2

Thirteen days left until Graspop Metal Meeting 2015! This edition  we are welcoming more than 100 bands to the stage. Time to take a closer look at those bands.


Last year Leif Edling had a great time at Graspop with doom legends Candlemass. This year he’s back for more with the band he put together in 2013. Avatarium is a wonderful new doom metal band featuring talented singer Jennie-Ann Smith. Smith is not your average female metal vocalist and as a result, Avatarium sounds just that little bit different than most doom metal bands. Following their critically acclaimed self-titled debut, they released their new ‘All I Want’ EP in November of 2014. It’s a promising taste of things to come with catchy tunes that push the doom metal envelope. The future’s looking bright indeed. (Text: Stef Maes)

Friday 19 June - Metal Dome - 12:20 to 13:00


Butcher Babies

Butcher Babies burst upon the scene in 2010 and they made an immediate impact. Their shows are self-explanatory: Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey aren’t content to just sing the lyrics. They are huge Wendy O. Williams fans so they merrily raise their middle fingers to the world and are infamous for their aggressive stage act. They also like to get creative with adhesive tape. Musically, they thrive on the onslaught of raging rhythms and infernal riffs laid down by the rest of the band as they scream their lungs out. With their 2013 full-length debut Goliath putting them firmly on the extreme metal map, this is one GMM debut you don’t want to miss. (Text: Niels Desmedt)

Friday 19 June - Mainstage 2 - 13:10 to 13:50


In Hearts Wake

Down Under is well represented at GMM2015: apart from Parkway Drive and Northlane, this edition also marks the GMM debut of the Australian metalcore outfit In Hearts Wake. Their mix of pounding metalcore and ethereal samples is creative and original. On a personal note, they share the environmental concerns of many of their genre peers. Their latest album ‘Earthwalker’ is entirely dedicated to the issue of global warming and its effects on their home country’s fauna and flora. Fans of The Ghost Inside and For the Fallen Dreams will welcome In Hearts Wake with open arms. (Text: Nick Tronckoe / Translation: Nick Devos)

Friday 19 June - Jupiler Stage - 13:10 to 13:50



Aborted is undoubtedly one of the best Belgian metal bands in history, even if singer Sven De Caluwé is the only Belgian in the current line-up due to the many personnel changes. Aborted stands for a mix of no-holds-barred grindcore and death metal. ‘Necrotic Manifesto’, last year’s follow-up to 2012’s ‘Global Flatline’, is a very competent album by a mature band that knows where its strengths lie. Aborted are not innovators; their music respect the conventions of the genre but they do what they do exceptionally well. Twenty years into their career, they still exhibit the same hunger and uncompromising attitude that marked their early work. Blastbeats and double bass galore, brutal death metal vocals alternated with menacing high-pitched screams, fast and dirty riffing and not even a hint of compromise: the perfect ingredients for a bone crushing metal show. (Tex: Steven Verhoeven / Translation: Nick Devos)

Friday 19 June - Marquee - 13:15 to 14:05



‘Back Street Symphony’, Thunder’s stellar 1989 debut, kicked off what promised to be a very successful career in hard rock, a promise confirmed by their sophomore release ‘Laughing on Judgement Day’ (1992). With the advent of grunge, though, the band’s popularity slowly started to wane and even though their third album was commercially successful, EMI and Thunder parted ways. The band finally split in 2000 but just two years later, several reunion shows at Monsters of Rock UK launched a successful comeback crowned with the release of a new album, ‘Shooting at the Sun’. ‘Robert Johnson’s Tombstone’ (2006) brought new commercial success but in 2009 the band called it quits again. After a four year hiatus, they reformed yet again and hit the road. Their new record, ‘Wonder Years’, is set for a February 2015 release. (Text: Wim Vander Haegen)

Friday 19 June - Mainstage 1 - 14:00 to 14:45


Blues Pills

Although these guys are only in their early 20s, Blues Pills’ 2014 debut sounds like a seasoned band firmly rooted in the 60s and 70s. The American-Swedish-French quartet plays well-thought-out, soulful and bluesy rock reminiscent of the heady days of Aretha Franklin, the 60s incarnation of Fleetwood Mac, early Led Zeppelin and a smidgen of Jimi Hendrix or even Cream. The firm female vocals of Elin Larsson call Janis Joplin to mind and the band marries groovy bass lines and drums with the seemingly off-the-cuff solos of 18-year-old (!) Dorian Sorriaux. (Text: Wim Vander Haegen)

Friday 19 June - Metal Dome - 14:00 to 14:45




Inimitable, unique, theatrical and intense are all adjectives that describe the cabinet of curiosities that is Sigh. Ever since their 1993 debut ‘Scorn Defeat’, this Japanese extreme metal band has shied away from genre clichés, choosing instead to integrate avant-garde, classical music, psychedelia and jazz into their music. The lovely, blood-splattered Dr. Mikannibal’s grunts and screams alongside frontman Mirai Kawashima and they also like to use props onstage. The band gradually evolved from a black metal sound to a more experimental approach. Due to their isolated position, they’ve only ventured into Europe on a few rare occasions. Those who have seen them, though, will confirm that their shows leave a lasting impression. (Text: Morbid Geert)

Friday 19 June - Marquee - 14:45 to 15:35


Asking Alexandria

The history of Asking Alexandria reads like a fairy tale. What started as a moderately popular screamo band has metamorphosed into a metal band that sells out big arenas worldwide. It wasn’t plain sailing though: singer Danny Worsnop had a few run-ins with drugs and alcohol but that’s a thing of the past now and Asking Alexandria is shaping up to become the next big thing. Boys grow up and turn into men, a fact that’s obvious from their third album. On ‘From Death to Destiny’ (2013), AA have toned down the metalcore influences in favour of a more hard rock oriented sound that is sure to recruit new fans. (Text: Nick Tronckoe)

Friday 19 June - Mainstage 2 - 14:55 to 15:40



From the birth of the Santa Barbara CA based band in 1995, SNOT was a controversial force in the underground music scene. With a primordial mix of hardcore punk, metal, and funk – the band wreaked havoc up and down the west coast as they quickly began sharing stages and sold out shows with bands such as System of a Down, Korn, Coal Chamber and many more great upcoming bands of that time. Tragically, vocalist Lynn Strait was killed in a car accident in 1998. SNOT disbanded, but got back together in 2008 with vocalist Tommy Vext to pay tribute to their fallen brother. In 2014 the band embarked on US tour to perform the classic “Get Some” album in its entirety.

Friday 19 June - Jupiler Stage - 14:55 to 15:35


Ne Obliviscaris

We don’t often get to welcome Aussie bands at our festival and when we do, they’re usually hard rock bands or black metal or thrash bands from the Australian outback. Ne Obliviscaris is something else entirely. Their remarkable debut ‘Portal of I’ features a well-crafted mix of black, death, heavy and doom metal influences as well as classical elements and a proggy touch. Their music has also struck a chord in more academic music circles: one of their songs has been incorporated in the curriculum of the prestigious Sydney Conservatorium of Music! Their recently released sophomore album ‘Citadel’ raises the bar even further. The band’s musical prowess leaves the listener breathless without ever losing sight of the bigger picture. It’ll be interesting to see how this translates in a live setting. (Text: Stef Maes)

Friday 19 June - Metal Dome - 15:45 to 16:30



For years, the Netherlands have been leading the pack when it comes to female-fronted metal bands. One of the flag bearers of this metal subgenre is Epica, a band whose popularity is not limited to the Low Countries: this symphonic metal band is a major draw throughout Europe and South America. Their recently released 6th studio album ‘The Quantum Enigma’ marks a stunning return to form after the somewhat indifferent reception that befell ‘Requiem for the Indifferent’. As a whole, the new album ties in with the bombast of previous albums while the individual tracks are less intricate but spine-chillingly effective. Epica shows are also visual masterpieces and their seventh appearance here reaffirms their status as a GMM favourite. (Text: Stef Maes / Translation: Nick Devos)

Friday 19 June - Mainstage 1 - 15:50 to 16:40