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Graspop Metal Meeting: A BLUNT Preview

Photo by Robin Looy / via Facebook

While select members of Team BLUNT are headed to France for the illustrious Hellfest, on the same weekend (June 17-19) others will be bringing you words and images from what is set to be a stellar Graspop Metal Meeting. The latest installment of the long-running metal extravaganza (established in 1996) will again take place in Dessel, Belgium, so we had our veteran metalhead Brendan Crabb fill us in on what to expect at this year’s fest.

The European festival circuit is a must for any bona fide heavy music fan, and Graspop is considered one of the premier events of its kind. It’s a scene synonymous with true passion for true heavy metal. Oh, and some rather potent beer as well. One of the more appealing aspects of said festivals is the manner in which all manner of styles not only co-exist, but are embraced by the masses. Trends be damned – trad-metal, extreme metal, grindcore, rock, punk, classic rock and more are all key components, impervious to the factionalism which often undermines heavy music, and without the genre segregation that you may encounter in other parts of the world.


Photo by Jens De Haes / via Facebook

The 2016 line-up is brimming with major drawcards, including Black Sabbath continuing their farewell tour. Fresh from wowing audiences Down Under, Iron Maiden and those expansive production values will prove ideal festival fodder. Volbeat may be an up-and-coming act in markets such as Australia, but are a main stage-conquering juggernaut in Europe. Also, in this scribe’s view, seeing King Diamond was one of the highlights of Wacken 2014. This year at Graspop he’ll perform the classic Abigail record in its entirety. Sounds like devilishly good fun.

Twisted Sister (also in the midst of their final run) and Foreigner are sure to afford the sing-a-long factor in spades. Gojira will also have just unleashed their bruising new platter by the time Graspop takes place, while Nightwish’s lavish presentation and overall bombast is bound to be a hit. Tailor-made festival fare such as Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, Behemoth, Dropkick Murphys, Ghost, Pennywise, Saxon, Skindred and Amon Amarth will also leave an impression. The opportunity to catch Aussie deathcore mob Thy Art Is Murder with new touring vocalist Lochlan Watt out front should also be a highlight.


Photo by Stijn Verbruggen / via Facebook

A large number of acts will also be making their inaugural appearance at Graspop. These include punk legends Bad Religion, hard rock titan Udo Dirkschneider, the brutal symphonic fare of Fleshgod Apocalypse, true metal warriors Grand Magus, rock favourites Halestorm, djent mob Monuments, crossover heroes Municipal Waste, the mysterious female-fronted black metal project Myrkur, guitar hero Zakk Wylde, tech-metal maestros Sikth and our very own metalcore heroes The Amity Affliction.

Book a flight and take the plunge, as festivals such as Graspop are an experience unlike any other. Or start saving now for the 2017 edition – you won’t regret that decision. A ticket would make an ideal Christmas present for any metalhead, too. Just allow yourself a few days after the festival to recover; we here at BLUNT are certainly going to need it.

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