Concerts, Death Metal, Hardcore, Noise

Converge, Gatecreeper, Frozen Soul & Frontierer @ Junkyard (Dortmund)

Converge, Junkyard
Bands:Converge, Gatecreeper, Frozen Soul & Frontierer
Date:14th of August, 2023
Location:Junkyard, Dortmund
Promoter:Positive Records
Photos:Thomas Transcended

Converge are a cornerstone in the Hardcore music genre. We can hardly think of another band that influenced and influences so many other bands. Knowing them since You fail me, it has always been a no-brainer seeing them live. Another great thing about Converge live shows are the openers and this night was no exception.

The scorching Scotsman Frontierer kickstarted this warm summer night with their melange of Hardcore and glitchy electronic noises. With their latest 2021 album Oxidized still being a great Mathcore record, the crowd welcomed them with open arms and moving bodies. Musically they were the closest band to Converge and did a great job of getting the crowd to move closer and closer to the stage.

This was my first time seeing Frozen Soul live and I have to admit that I was quite keen to find out how this band works in live spheres. I know that our boy Max has already seen these Texans (almost several times?) and he is a huge supporter of everything this band does / releases. Going by the fact that their second album Glacial Domination dropped this year, we of course also had some new hot material to look forward to. 

Unfortunately, it seemed as if the mixer had quite a struggle with the sound of the band. First of all, it took quite some time to get the soundcheck done and of course the first thought was that we are now going to face a very picky band. When having heard the sound that was presented at the beginning of their set, though, it became quite clear that there certainly was some struggle getting their sound straight. This was quite a pity when the set started, since Frozen Soul clearly also feasts on a certain blast as a foundation of their sound and this clearly was missing in the beginning. However, band and mixer found their status quo during the set and after a few songs, it drastically improved!

Although this was a bit messy, Frozen Soul did not lose their energy on stage, that is for sure! Right from the beginning, these Texans showed that they were keen to get on stage and burn their energy with their amazing music. Once the sound problems were cracked, this turned out to be an absolutely great show. The set consisted both of songs off their debut and their current full-length. I was very happy to see Chad Green’s infamous chain mic stand on stage in real life. 

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Same goes for Gatecreeper, I also haven’t seen these guys live before, although they already played the JunkYard pretty much a year ago. Especially their latest EP An Unexpected Reality really got me going with this band. I mean – of course their previous full-length releases were incredibly strong and showed decent riff-driven Death Metal. However, with their EP, Gatecreeper presented a musical style that was totally surprising. The first set of tracks with a straight-to-your-face Hardcore / Death Metal / Powerviolence mixture and the final track as a maximum-length epic Doom finisher. And damn well this worked perfectly on stage. 

Right from the start, it seemed quite clear that the mixer had less trouble setting the sound for Gatecreeper. This was also why they convinced right from the start. Funny enough, it was our boy Thomas who made me aware of the fact that some of the riffings of Gatecreeper reminded A LOT of Trap Them – I mean it’s quite obvious, since Trap Them also took their inspiration from HM-2 OSDM, nevertheless, I just didn’t notice to that spot. You certainly heard a mirror crack in my head at that spot. 

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To me, this was the absolute highlight of the evening. Certainly the best band at that night (obviously going by the fact that I’ve seen Converge several times already, since their set was pure, raw energy as usual). But it lead me right back into re-listening their entire back catalogue.  

Those tours between albums more exciting to me than “normal” album-cycle-tours. Hidden gems are unearthed again and setlist also include other surprises. You fail me bruiser “Eagles become vultures” kickstarted the set and the following “Dark horse” kept the crowd moving. The Axe to fall tracks took the biggest portion of the setlist on this evening and it was a goddamn pleasure hearing most of them live in a long time. The sound was clear, the faces of the band were bright and the audience was more than ready for it.

Maybe the favorite block of songs was that mid-tempo maelstrom of “You fail me“, “Predatory glow” and “Hell to pay“. All three songs haven’t been played that much on tour but are among my favorite songs by them. Especially “You fail me” never ceases to amaze me in a live environment. 6 minutes of aural skin shedding. All we love we leave behind is my hidden champion of the Converge canon, so it’s closer “Predatory glow” put a big grin on my face.

Jane Doe still holds up as one of the greatest (Hardcore) records ever made. Every song off that record has infinite amounts of kinetic energy. “Thaw” was the begin of the first final spurt of this evening. “Eye of the quarrel” and the Axe to fall duo of “Reap what you sow” and “Cutter” drained nearly all of the remaining energy out of everyone.

The “official” set closed with “Worms will feed/Rats will feast” (why don’t they incorporate more Ballou and Newton singing?), just to maul the crowd once again with the 1-2-combo of “I can tell you about pain” and the indestructible “Concubine“.

Converge are the torch bearers of Hardcore. Ethic, skill and art, those are their cornerstones and with every time I see them live, they proof, that the gap they will leave behind will be more of a canyon.

Setlist Converge:
Eagles become vultures
Dark horse
Under duress
Axe to fall
You fail me
Predatory glow
Hell to pay
Eye of the quarrel
Reap what you sow
Worms will feed/Rats will feast

I can tell you about pain

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