Thrilling with excitement, shaky legs and sweaty palms. It has been a long time since I have had these feelings before an event. After years and years, it was finally my time to go to my first Masters of Hardcore. Stories from friends who had been before and the line-up got me extremely hyped. An event attracting more than twenty thousand of hard heads from all over the world must be good, right? Let me take you through my night at Art of Dance’s Masters of Hardcore 2017- the Skull Dynasty!
Entering the Holy Grounds
Damn.. I have been to a lot of big events but boy, the immense crowd waiting for the doors to open was sick… From the train station until the Brabanthallen, there were Hardcore fans everywhere. It was quite crowded before the entrance, but you could smell excitement (or was it nervous sweat?) in the air. After I finally put away my coat in my locker, I immediately got lost while trying to find my friends in the venue. The floorplan was actually not that complicated, you just have to plant it in your brain and you’ll be fine. There were large canvases of the floorplan all over the Brabanthallen, which was nice. I couldn’t find my friends anyway, so I just decided to walk around by myself for a while. And there it was… In full glory… The giant skull and logo of Masters of Hardcore. Walking into the Skull Dynasty (main stage) was like walking into my very first event ever: thrilled!
D-Sturb & Requiem
Coming from a non-Hardcore background, I decided to start at the Samuraw (Raw Hardstyle) stage. After the opening by TWSTD, the two youngsters D-Sturb and Requiem hyped up the crowd during their 1,5 hour b2b set. The ambiance reached a peak when they played Thyron’s ‘How It’s Done’. Deservedly so, the crowd went insane over this Gearbox banger. D-Sturb and Requiem closed their set with two of my personal favourite tracks: Requiem – ‘Trevor’ followed by High Voltage & D-Sturb – Nasty Bitch. This was definitely a great end of a remarkable set.
My friends had to calm down after this super start so we went for a quick bathroom break, a pit stop at the bar and returned to the Samuraw where B-Front was playing. B-Front is not the first artist you think of when you think of Masters of Hardcore. However, this mysterious and melodic man also knows how to play it the Masters of Hardcore way: sticking to his usual sound but still hitting hit hard! During this set an amazing laser show popped up, damn… Didn’t see that one coming.
These men sure let us know who’s boss. Crypsis, Chain Reaction and Radical Redemption returned to Masters of Hardcore as Minus Militia after two years, but this time guided by the voice of their newest and fourth member Nolz. The Samuraw area was packed during these hyped up thirty minutes. A true kickroll fest evolved during the track ‘Overdose’, described by fans as one of the best track of their latest album Militant Mayhem. Shit really went down when they played ‘Masters’, their tribute to this massive event that they premiered two years ago at Masters of Hardcore – 20 Years of Rebellion.
Sub Sonik – Strike One Showcase
After the big knock out by Minus Militia, it was up to Sub Sonik to storm the stage. This WE R star played a Strike One album showcase (check out our interview with Sub Sonik and the album review [insert links]). Sub Sonik kicked off his set with the opening track of his album ‘I Am The One’. It was a rather sudden, but euphoric transition: totally different sound, same awesome ambiance. Unfortunately, we had to leave this set early because we had to enter the maze of the Brabanthallen again to find our way to the Skull Dynasty for our first full hardcore set of the night.
Outblast – The Last Show
A true hardcore legend had a true hardcore farewell. The scene said goodbye to the legendary Outblast who has contributed to forming the hardcore scene to what it is today. Ambiance guaranteed! And oh man… when the first sounds of ‘The Voice of Mayhem’ filled the venue, the crowd went absolutely bonkers. The Masters of Hardcore anthem of 2010 might already be classified as a golden oldie, but it never gets boring. Thousands of fans went full throttle, giving this man a worthy goodbye with their own voices of mayhem. Outblast can look back at this moment with a smile forever. And so will I, what an amazing last show!
Angerfist & Miss K8 live
After that it was up to the hardcore hero Angerfist and the goddess of hardcore Miss K8. They opened their set with their collab ‘Bogotá’. I was in the front of the venue and I could see that it was packed! Miss K8 mixed in last year’s Masters of Hardcore anthem ‘Raiders of Rampage’ and you could feel the same special atmosphere as during The Voice of Mayhem. People just go crazy over the Masters of Hardcore anthems! Overall, it was a set with steady and stable quality. Exactly what I expected it to be. All of my favorite Angerfist and Miss K8 tracks were played so for me this was without a doubt my favorite set of the night.
Destructive Tendencies live
The three men of Destructive Tendencies had the honour to produce this year’s anthem, with which they kicked of their live set. Fireworks everywhere, awesomely put together anthem show. Amazing way to put a concept into effect. I had a full overview from the back of the venue of the VIP deck and mannnn. Those fireworks combined with thousands of people going crazy during the anthem were amazing to witness from a distance. Besides the anthem, other highlights of the set were the collab with Angerfist ‘Fortress of Solitude’ and of course ‘Sounds Becomes One’. The last mentioned tracks gives me goosebumps everytime. Combined with the major dedication during this track even my goosebumps had goosebumps.
After their tendencies really got destructive and blew the roof off, me and my friends hurried back to the Samuraw stage to still enjoy some E-Force. With his upcoming album ‘Edge of Insanity’ there was no other way than that this set would be amazing. And yuuup, there it was: ‘Stresstest’ which made the crowd go AAAAAAAHHH! And if that wasn’t enough, he spun his collab ‘Pleasure & Pain’ with Delete. I think I can conclude that this man is BACK! The Edge of Insanity will probably be one of the best albums of 2017!
Radical Redemption live
Always a legend, always a success and always fan boys and fan girls everywhere. In my opinion, there were not enough fan boys and fan girls around during this, yet again, AWESOME RADICAL REDEMPTION LIVE SET. This man really has his own unique and Radical-ish way of producing a live set: packing around 30 (I did not count, please forgive me) of his best tracks into thirty minutes. Radical Redemption never disappoints me. I almost fainted when I all of a sudden heard a low voice saying “Civil Disobedience”! It is my all time favourite track by Radical Redemption so I almost jumped to the ceiling with excitement. Damn, you Radical! Furthermore, it included ‘Just Like You’ and Brutal 0 until Brutal 37.5. I can talk about this set and each track for ages, but I won’t. It was simply BRUTAL!
I spent the first fifteen minutes of Warface’s set catching my breath again after the extreme workout I had during the previous set. One of the highlights of Warface’s set was definitely when he brought End of Line’s newest addition Killshot on stage to play his track ‘Beastmode’. It was nice to see a proud Warface and a goddamn happy Killshot rocking the stage together. They transferred this vibe to the audience seamlessly. The rest of the set was classic Warface. As if we didn’t have enough Radical Redemption yet, Warface threw in their collab ‘Undercover’. I was a very very very happy girl.
No other way to end Masters of Hardcore than at the Skull Dynasty area. After catching a glimpse of Delete & Regain we sprinted to the main area again to end this party with the one and only Partyraiser. Although the venue was not packed like it was a few hours before, the ambiance was still just as awesome as when we left the area. We knocked out our last bits of energy while Partyraiser was kicking it up a notch with an up-tempo hardcore set. I noticed that the floor was not covered in empty plastic bottles and cups like it usually is in other venues. Strange detail, brainfart. But it sure made it easier to dance with legs feeling like lumps of lead.
So… How was my first Masters of Hardcore?
Do you really want to know? It was massive, insane, awesome, unique, indescribable, absurd, crazy and for me finally something different again. I am completely sold. I have marked my calendar for the upcoming years. There is no way that I will be missing any future editions. Taking Masters of Hardcore with me into my grave because HARDCORE WILL NEVER DIE!
Picture Credits: Masters Of Hardcore
Text: Rosalie v/d Veld