As my brother in arms Flanders Fury told you all a while ago, here’s another Belgian hardcore classic for you all to discover and share with us. It’s not really H8000 material but it’s getting very close.
FACEDOWN was one of Belgium’s best kept secrets in hardcore during the H8000 era.
Since non of its members hailed from the illustrious H8000 area ( being West-Flanders in Belgium, also known as the 8000 postal area code) you couldn’t technically call this gang of Antwerp province based vegan warriors a H8000 band. But since they picked their influences from the same big basket full of great classic releases that the H8000 heroes composed their masterpieces in accordance to, it almost seemed as if they had been adopted by the H8000 scene. Many spots on stages all over the H8000 scene witnessed the brutal wall of sound named FACEDOWN. Aside stages, they shared the same ideals and ideas, even friends and who knows even the same small venue on the road. Cause DIY was the only way to go back then.
The band was from the Antwerp – Mechelen area as said earlier, and since that area didn’t have any such hardcore scene as the mighty H8000 it was pretty obvious that their talent could be appreciated by the H8000 kids who welcomed them with open arms to their own little get-together going on. Their eclectic style of hardcore was something the H8000 bands sometimes failed to deliver since along it’s path the H8000 sound kept getting more metallic than purely hardcore. From early American Hardcore influenced (SSD, MINOR THREAT,…) 8000 scene to 90’s metalcore ridden (CLEVO-HC, SLAYER, …) H8000 to some sort of Head bangers Ball in the end. Spreading the words of wisdom to educate on veganism, SXE ethics and other topics related to the H8000, they conduct it through a blend of heavy metalcore entwined with melodic vocal parts and many tempo changes that make their releases very diverse and enjoying to listen to.
|The best thing yet to come out of Antwerp ( just kidding guys, ‘T Stad is ok in my book)|
This outfit consisted of a couple of twins and their three other ‘carnals’ that shared the same urge to put their thoughts out there through the medium of homegrown hardcore music. The ‘Baeken’ brothers even had their own record label going during a certain period of time dubbed the ‘EVIL TWINS RECORDS’. That was also where they released their first 7″ ‘Friendship is Everything’ (1996), one of their best ever and a very wanted piece of Belgian hardcore nostalgia. With -for me at least- the classic song ‘The Shining Path’. Soon after came the follow up EP with the original title ‘Friendship is Still Everything'(1997), this time a collaboration with Ghent based record label GENET RECORDS. In the same year a MCD titled ‘Education, Contemplation, Dedication’ (1997) was released through GENET RECORDS. Next to a split with EARTHMOVER their last and final release as FACEDOWN was ‘Beyond All Horizons’ (1998) before dismissing the band and starting over with a new and totally different project. Some time after the end of FACEDOWN they formed a band called .CALIBRE.
With the name change to .CALIBRE ( yes, the dot in front was important!) came a whole new sound and audience that seemed to lead astray from where the H8000 crew was heading for at that time.
.CALIBRE. even made it onto mainstream Belgian radio with a song called .Calibre in 2001. The switch to a more mainstream label (EMI) had led to a musical turnaround with the release of the album “Kill The Logo”. A clean cut overproduced version of what once was a H8000 approved band. The ideals still remained throughout their life-cycle and they kept on spreading them with a fierce heart, but the way of executing those feelings had changed towards a more ‘popular’ sound. A sort of change from INSIDE OUT to RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE. Since a major breakthrough never really occurred the band disappeared from the mainstream radar as fast as they came. Original members Dani Mies and Niko Poortmans, respectively vocals and guitar in FACEDOWN, still continue to play together in a band called A SCHOOL OF QUIET. Yet another evolution was made towards a more rock oriented genre. ASOQ isn’t bad at all but miles away from their past.
“Beyond All Horizons” is a very nice album if you’re open to it. It has a rather strange structure where the usual FACEDOWN hardcore madness flips of in the split of a second to a different sound that has a more acoustic vibe and clean vocals. Going back and forward into your typical metalcore with melodic vocals breaking the whole thing up into some sort of chapters. To end it all they felt the need to experiment with electronic during the ‘Eurobeat’ 90’s with some beats and synthesizer-sounds, not a bad attempt but no killer material, just filler.
With titles as Severance, Suffocation, Demon and Wartime you can guess that the overall message of the lyrics is not of the petting zoo kind. No mr Nice Guy here. It’s basically the same message that the H8000 tried to spread to the youth of Flanders. Veganism, straight edge ethics, respect and contemplation are abundant here. The usual suspects such as Animal/Human rights, antifascist, anti religion, … are being put to court once one with well thought words of wisdom. You don’t hear many of these kind of lyrics in hardcore nowadays. Let’s just call it some content.
To me FACEDOWN still remains one of the best European bands of that era, alongside many H8000 bands such as LIAR, CONGRESS, NOF and SOY. They laid out the blueprints for today’s European hardcore scene. Too bad they felt they need to change their ways throughout the years, cause a band of that caliber is what we could use in today’s hardcore scene. Time to discover this band with history ,and who knows if they feel to the need to step up again , a future. I will be there, front row, will you?
WARTIME by FACEDOWN