Our Guide to Ieperfest 2017

Our Guide to Ieperfest 2017

By Glen Bushell

Aug 4, 2017 20:30

Fiercely independent, Ieperfest has gained a reputation as being an important stop for many bands touring Europe each summer. This year, they celebrate 25 years of the festival, and it is set to be one of the best in their history.

This year will see an exclusive performance from Hatebreed, the return of Harley Flanagan of Cro Mags to Europe, and a last minute addition of Madball. Aside from the hardcore scene forefathers, there are also a number of up and coming bands such as Venom Prison, Life Betrays Us, and Mont Dore, as well as old favourites including Arkangel, Rykers, No Turning back and dozens more.

There is also more than just music at Ieperfest, as they promote the finest vegan food you will find at any festival, and provide a platform for many organisations to voice their opinions on animal rights, environmental issues, and more.

With a line up as stacked as this one, it’s hard to narrow it down to the most essential, but we have given it a go, and selected 15 bands that should not be missed at this year’s Ieperfest. See you there!

First up, let’s take a look at Friday…


While they may have transcended the hardcore scene where they cut their teeth, that fire still beats within the heart Hatebreed. Crossing over into the metal scene with ease, the Connecticut band never forget where they came from, and will celebrate that at Ieperfest by playing their debut album, ‘Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire’ in full. 20 years after it was originally released, classic tracks such as ‘Before Dishonour’, ‘Burn The Lies’, and ‘Puritan’ still hit like a sledgehammer, making this the most unmissable set of the weekend.

Napalm Death

There’s not much that can be said about Napalm Death that hasn’t been said before; everyone knows them, everyone respects them, and every bit of credit thrown their way is deserved. Their set at Ieperfest in 2013 was one of the most memorable in the festivals 25-year history, and the grindcore legends have a lot to live up to this time. However, Napalm Death does not deal in bad performances, even blowing away the hipsters at this year’s Glastonbury Festival.

Life Betrays Us

London hardcore band, Life Betrays Us, have been making a name for themselves across Europe in 2017. They will be representing the UK with full force when they make they debut on the hallowed Ieperfest stage, blending the renowned London style with a classic NYHC groove. Hard and heavy, Life Betrays Us will wake you up early on the Friday morning.


Having been one of Canada’s finest death metal exports for nearly 30 years, Gorguts are still a brutal force to be reckoned with. Last year they proved they haven’t lost their fire with the excellent EP, ‘Plieades Dust’, and the newer tracks will sit perfectly alongside the attack of their vitriolic back catalogue. Not their first time on the Ieperfest stage, Gorguts will make a welcome return this year.


Out in Europe in support of their latest album, ‘Conformicide’, Havok have shown they are one of the leading bands in modern thrash. Adding something more than just speed to their arsenal, they have taken thrash metal to a new level this year, creating something that will appeal to more than just the battle jacket wearing faithful. Get ready to bang your head and light up a circle pit on Friday afternoon.

Venom Prison

Devotees of the site will notice how much Venom Prison have appeared on our pages this year, and with good reason, too. Their debut album, ‘Animus’, was a stunning display of death metal brutality, proving they are one of the best aggressive bands in the UK. Having been praised by both critics and fans alike, 2017 has been Venom Prison’s year, and the start of a long legacy for this important band.

And on the Saturday…


The slow burning riffs of Crowbar are always welcome at Ieperfest each time they arrive, and have played numerous mesmerising sets at the festival over the years. This time, however, they have a new album under their belts, ‘The Serpent Only Lies’, which is a continuation of the NOLA sludge titan’s classic sound. They will offer a slight reprieve from the faster hardcore and metal of the weekend on Saturday evening, but will be every bit as powerful.


Hardcore sometimes spits out bands that gain hype quickly then lose that momentum in the blink of an eye. Turnstile have been one of the bands to generate more hype than most, but have been able to keep their upward trajectory since the release of their 2015 album, ‘Non Stop Feeling’. Filled with a positive attitude, their brand of modern hardcore will turn their set at Ieperfest into one of the biggest parties of the weekend.

88 Fingers Louie

During the ‘90s, 88 Fingers Louie were one of the Chicago punk scene’s best-kept secrets before they disbanded in 1999. They would reunite in 2009, eventually giving way to their excellent new album, ‘Thank You For Being a Friend’, which captured their glory days while showing they can still tear it up with the new blood of today. Surprisingly, this will be their first time at Ieperfest, and a performance that is long overdue.


Belgium has always had a penchant for spawning some of the best bands in aggressive music, and one band that always stands out is Arkangel. Making a name for themselves in the ‘90s with their militant vegan straight stance, the notorious metallic hardcore band have gone on to become one of the most recognised acts in the scene. This may be their first appearance at Ieperfest since 1998, but remember; Arkangel is your enemy.

Finally, on Sunday…


Replacing a headliner at the 11th hour is never an easy task for any festival organiser, but when Walls Of Jericho sadly cancelled their European tour, Ieperfest found a more than suitable stand in with Madball. Returning to the festival after headlining the final night in 2013, the kings of hardcore will bring the weekend to a close in the only way they know how; deliver a career spanning set that serves as a reminder of why we all love this so much. Hardcore still lives.

Zeal & Ardor

Ieperfest always likes to deliver a diverse line up, and Zeal & Ardor stand out like a sore thumb by offering something completely different. Following the release of the critically acclaimed debut album, ‘Devil Is Fine’, Zeal & Ardor combine chain gang slave music with atmospheric black metal. While it may sound too bizarre, the spellbinding juxtaposition has to be heard to be believed.


Another one of the more unique bands on the bill, Japanese noise-titans, Boris, cover such a spectrum of genres among their monolithic back catalogue that they carry something for everyone in their arsenal. From crushing doom riffs to swathes of euphoric post-rock, and even a nod towards hypnotic shoegaze, Boris will intrigue and inspire when they make their Ieperfest debut.

Jesus Piece

Having recently signed to Southern Lord, rising PAHC band, Jesus Piece, will bring their heavy hardcore to Ieperfest for the first time on Sunday. In a world where it’s hard to stand out in hardcore, Jesus Piece have the goods to be the band that make a difference in the modern era. If you have tired yourself out too much by the time they hit the stage on the last day, they will be the wake up call you need.


After having to pull out of last year’s event, Terror well be welcomed back to Ieperfest with open arms of the Sunday evening. Their devotion to hardcore shines through in their music and they continue to keep the faith. The last time they played Ieperfest was in 2012 which was short and sweet, but this time they return in full effect with the set both themselves and the crowd deserve.

Ieperfest takes place at the crossroads of Poperingseweg and Hazewindstraat, 8900 Ieper on August 11-13. All relevant information and remaining tickets can be found at the official Ieperfest website.