I was so lucky to catch this year’s Hardcore X-Mass edition at Mixtape Club in Sofia representing Eastern European’s Finest HC bands (and not only) right for the holiday season! In the beginning I was a bit sceptic about the two stage situation, but it ended up working really well! The annual gathering is a great way to catch up with the local scene for somebody like me who could only come to Bulgaria once a year and a great way to wrap up the year for anybody else!
I arrived around 6:30 PM as even as a native Bulgarian and a former Sofia resident I had a rude awakening to the arrogance of the local cabs and had to walk from my friend’ place where I was staying. Anyway 😀 the first band I got to catch was Savage Ravage which had a very fresh sound and solid energy. As a young band I think they have a lot of potential and hopefully a bright future (cause as we know it’s not all about talent and potential…)
Next on the bill were Brond – an interesting alternative band from Sofia where all 4 members sing. Check them out here – video of their performance below. 😛
Fifth and way too early on the night IMO were Secret Society HC – International Hardcore project featuring members of Last Hope, Vendetta, Expectations, DC Disorder, Trapped Under Ice, Indignity, Dog Eat Dog, Another Day, BFH, Adriatic, Get-Some, Brothers in Blood, Тъмно, Панака, Meanstream, Comin’ Correct. They totally kicked ass, unfortunately I don’t think the audience fully appreciated how badass and unique they were – largely due to the timing.
Regardless, the energy started picking up escalating with my dear friends from Vzriv. Representing my home town Plovdiv they’re a legendary oldschool hardcore band that I remember going to shows to when I was 13 and they recently celebrated 15 years on stage so yeah it adds up perfect actually. Their original frontman Hunjev returned recently and now they have two frontmen. They were really fun, with fantastic stage appearance, old school/punk vibe. Also responsible for some of the best pits of the night and one of my two favorite bands for the night.
And my second favorite came right after actually. I was really impressed by Redound – a beatdown HC band from Sofia found in 2003 with a really refined sound and technical skills! Not surprisingly they’re touring Europe and featuring cool bands like Cold Hard Truth on their recent album The End Game. Redound definitely deserve more exposure and I hope to see them playing in the States sometimes where I think their sound would be much appreciated.
After Redound we moved back to the smaller room to hear Violent Chapter from Serbia which were also really solid and more on the metal/hardcore side. According to their FB page “Message they send is inspired by events happening in their environment, personal experiences and global activities. As long as there’s inspiration for riffs, beats and words to be spoken through the music, this band will last.” As a fellow melodic metalcore fan I really enjoyed the occasional clean vocals!
We went even further west in Europe with the next band – No Turning Back from The Netherlands, whose sound is a blend of the old school NYHC groove, fast breaks and massive sing alongs anthems,
before returning back to Bulgaria for two of our finest and most recognized hardcore bands. Last Hope – the kings of the Balkans as No Turning Back described them on stage heated up the atmosphere with a bunch of stage diving, circle pits and great vocals.
After 8 hours of music some of us were really tired and other really drunk – which was the case with the closing Piranha yet it was perfect and Eastern European as fuck. With cool sk8 punk vibe, vocals of the legendary Alexander Paravanov – Shuta who bathed his head in Jagermeister then combed himself so he can be I’m quoting “nice and sleek just like my dick” and guitar player Axel playing on the stage lying down, the audience constantly bringing them more shots until they were too wasted to play and had to quit the show, I couldn’t wish for a better ending.
I couldn’t catch 2 bands at the show and in my review – BFDM and King Of Sorrow – you should check them out though!
The one band I missed and I’m sure we all did was Melekh. 2017 was the year of the passing of our dear friend and creative titan Boro, a huge loss for the scene and all of us. 🙁 Rest in Peace bro.
Thank you Bulgaria! I went to many great shows this year, but this one is surely the closest one to my heart! <3