Last weekend we went to Syndicate, the 10 year anniversary, in the Westfalenhalle in Dortmund! It is the flagship event of Germany when it comes to hardcore. With over 20.000 visitors it also belongs to Germany’s biggest indoor hard dance event you can visit! With 4 areas, providing music ranging from Hardcore to uptempo, hardcore classics, techno and hard techno and finally to hardstyle, Art of Dance and I-Motion turned the Westfalenhalle Dortmund into a true hard dance music Mecca!

This year’s line up for the Masters of Hardcore main area offered huge names, such as Mad Dog Live, Angerfist Live, Thorax Live, Scarphase Live, Miss K8, Destructive Tendencies vs. Day-Mar, Nosferatu, Tha Playah vs. Fuyran and many more. The main reason to go to Syndicate is definitely the Masters of Hardcore floor, with it’s grand stage design, insane show and crazy sound.

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We just entered the Westfalenhalle and enjoyed the final beats by these two giants in the Hardcore Industry. They closed their set with some Dutch hardcore and their final track; Peacock & Death by Design – Rising Spirit! The floor and whole Westfalenhalle was already packed. We guess Tensor and Re-Direction and Meltdown did a great job as well!

A 30 minute dazzling ride through Mad Dog’s discography. Of course, he did drop Rewind, Agony, Ama Shishi and Back to the Oldschool. He also dropped the Ameno remix, but with an Up Tempo edit, which was really amazing to witness! It was the last track of his set and he put up the BPM to the max. That’s how you finish a set in style! The crowd went insane while Enter the Dogfight, good to see that the German crowd ain’t that spoiled yet!

Just before this year’s anthem maker had the honour to spin a 30 minute live set, the organizer Art of Dance and I-Motion took their visitors back in time, to the very first edition of Syndicate and its anthem, followed by every anthem of the past decade. Underlined with a crazy show, fireworks, fire, an uncountable amount of lasers and lights this was truly a highlight. We had truly goosebumps when Korsakoff’s anthem passed by and the whole area screamed WE ARE SYNDICATE!

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He came from the sky, assisted by a mechanical system, Thorax joined the stage from the ceiling. What an entrance right?

He did start with the anthem of Syndicate 2016, assisted live by MC Tha Watcher. This is truly one of the best anthems of the last decade. Perfectly fitting Syndicate and with a melody, you won’t forget that fast. We think it’s one hell of an anthem, just like his set was. It all started one decade ago and now we are here – 20.000 people raving together! We guess for most of the people the Syndicate is something like their way out of reality once a year! Many dedicated people!

The set was filled with crazy atmosphere, dreamy melodies, and brutal kicks. After the opening show he did drop his big bangers. Think about Policy of Evil and Dark Angel. Finally, Thorax gets what he deserves, and that in his home country at Syndicate! We really loved his set. He mixed fast and the drive and tempo of the set was just perfect. One moment we definitely won’t forget: The whole area turned red, flames came up on the LED screens and his track Policy of Evil was playing – damn, this atmosphere! This is what Thorax defines and what makes him worth to visit.

Next up was the queen of Syndicate, Korsakoff and played a more freestyle set, packed with awesome melodies, well-known radio songs mixed in a hardcore edit and of course many happier hardcore tracks like her collab with The Viper Temptation.

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We skipped Tha Playah vs. Furyan and rather went to Crypsis. He did drop the title track Program Hostile, Torture (Frequencerz remix), Bathe In Blood (with Radical) and Legs in the air (with Adaro). The sound system was so loud at every area of Syndicate but still pure quality, you have to feel the bass, right? He has also dropped non-Crypsis tracks, About Me by Regain was echoing through the hall, it was hell on earth! The kicks, the atmosphere, indescribable! Crypsis did end his set with Just for the Thrill, the crazy hardcore collaboration with Unexist ft. MC Satronica!

We also checked out High Voltage Live. Compared to his live set at Q-Base we couldn’t really hear a difference. Which was not bad at all. Because his tracks work so well on a big sound system, the atmosphere and the very wide kicks made it again worth to visit. Although the sound at Q-Base’s Hangar was way better and therefore his whole set, we still enjoyed it at Syndicate. We think his album will be great! He has his very own style and as previously said, the atmosphere is amazing.

Let’s go back to the Masters of Hardcore area. Scarphase entered the stage and played an insane live set. Pushing it to the absolute limit – music-wise and BPM-wise. Besides their well-known tracks like Phase One, Black Scars or Middle Finger Ups they also premiered some new tracks. A kick ass show made the set really worth to visit.

Back to the Hardstyle Kingdom. The last beats of Act of Range vs. D-Sturb were blasting through the speakers. The place was really packed! 10 minutes later Radical Redemption and E-Force entered the stage and played a cool set. The mix of E-Force’s older tracks like In the House, yes, Seven or his newer tracks like Boomstick, mixed with Radical Redemptions tracks like Brutal 5.0 and even Brutal 6.0. Which is by the way really sick, but in our opinion can’t reach Brutal 5.0’s drive and quality!

The closing act at the Hardstyle Kingdom. Warface vs. Delete. We expected a heavy set and both guys delivered a heavy set. We were very happy when Warface dropped H8M3 for example. We didn’t hear that one for a long time. Delete played tracks like The Truth and Punishment or Phuture Noize’s remix of Level. In the end, both went really crazy by playing The Baddest in the Rebelion remix, Mutants in the Rooler vs. Malice remix and War Force’s Reloaded – sick track live! Ending their set with D-Fence, N-Vitral and Release The Kraken, they closed down the Hardstyle Kingdown in an insane way! We can’t wait to get our hands on this set!

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Time for the very last set of the night. Back to the Masters of Hardcore area. Destructive Tendencies vs. Day-Mar. With a slightly softer beginning and tracks of Destructive Tendencies new album Slaves to the Darkness we thought what the hell is happening. Last year Dr. Peacock closed down Syndicate, so we expected way more.

We were wrong and happy that they proved us wrong. After 20 minutes, they went totally nuts! The set became harder and harder, the tracks rougher and rougher. After 30 minutes, we heard the first industrial hardcore beats passing by and Day-Mar continued to wreck the place until the very end, with just the roughest, but still enjoyable hardcore!

The Venue and stages

We really like the Westfalenhalle as a location for Syndicate. It offers lots of space, especially on the tribunes on 3 floors around the main hall, but also with its 3 additional halls – the Hardstyle Kingdom, the Classic District and Rough Zone.

The stage in the Masters of Hardcore area was sick again! It had no particular design, but you could spot a huge X in the middle, behind the DJ booth. As well as some sort of two screens who could have been moved up and down, as well as open it and close.  Those two screens actually looked like glasses. Under the ceiling you had some sort of long “bridge” packed with lights and LED screens. On the sides, some sort of arms, also packed with lasers, lights and LED screens. Just like last year it felt really big and had this futuristic touch we love. Art of Dance and I-Motion really showed what modern stage design can be about. No patter, just straight constructions and screens.

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All other 3 stages also had some sort of X in it, just to show it’s the 10 years edition of Syndicate. We think all stages were fitting and had a cool look. Around the main hall you had the obligatory food corners and a wardrobe. This is sadly the biggest negative aspect of Syndicate. We know it can be changed, but, you seriously have to wait ages until you get your jackets and clothes back! So, better get them before the last hour! But besides that the venue is perfect and we really can understand why Art of Dance chooses it for Exodus!

The sound was again insane! Especially in the Masters of Hardcore area you seriously should wear ear protection! The whole floor is vibrating; your whole body is vibrating. There is not a single event, where you have vibrations that hard. The kicks are shattering through the place with such a power, but still not overtrumping the highs and mids.

By the way: Syndicate 2016 was live streamed at facebook! Just check Syndicates Facebook page and relive Syndicate 2016!

Syndicate 2016 was awesome – Everything fit. Especially the show and sound had been already worth visiting it. For this 10 year anniversary of Syndicate Art of Dance and I-Motion really showed what a great hard dance event is all about! We think this year’s edition was even better than last year, especially music-wise. We can’t wait for the upcoming editions. What we would wish – some sort of constructions hanging from the ceiling, which can be moved up and down, just like the satellites from 2012 and some more variation of the line up in all areas!

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