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Review: Tenth Annual LDB Festival In Louisville, Kentucky

The 10th annual LDB Fest, otherwise known as Life and Death Brigade, was held last month in Louisville, Kentucky. This festival is always in Louisville and that’s something I want to highlight. Oftentimes, Louisville is an overlooked city, a mere pitstop while driving through the midwest, but it truly holds much more. Besides the fact it is home to one of the most arguably tough and true hardcore music festivals (and bands for that matter), there’s a myriad of activities to do and some delicious food and drink to enjoy. Keep that in mind if you ever find yourself heading to LDB Fest.

LDB Fest started as the popular tattoo you might have seen on some of the attendees at a hardcore show, “Midwest Blood Fest,” back in 2013. It recently merged with Life and Death Brigade – hence the name change. This year’s fest has also joined forces with Boston based record label Triple B Records for the name LDBBB Fest.

With each passing year, the fest has gained popularity, an outpouring of support from both the hardcore and local community, and has booked increasingly sought after bands. This year’s lineup alone boasted bands such as Hatebreed, Obituary, and other bands like Pain Of Truth, Gates To Hell, Never Ending Game, and Angel Du$t.

Coming off of their well received latest album, Not Through Blood, Pain of Truth was one of the most anticipated bands to see this year. Not Through Blood, is a true ode to the hardcore community, from the frenzied riffs, to the obscene amount of features from some of the most respected vocalists in the scene — this album was bound to be a memorable experience live. And it was. As soon as they hit the stage, the atmosphere in the venue changed. The crowd immediately erupted into utter chaos. The same jarring energy Pain of Truth gives to the crowd is the same energy they receive from them. It’s that transfer of emotion every live act strives to experience when they perform. It’s been cool to watch them develop a substantial crowd over the past three years performing at LDB, and I’m sure it will not be their last.

I’ve been fortunate enough to catch quite a few Angel Du$t sets over the years and while I have not kept up with their newer catalog, I still found myself enjoying the tone of their set at LDB. This is probably because their setlist was balanced with some older songs, that were certainly some crowd favorites of the day, and a few “newer” songs to get everyone accustomed to their semi-new sound. It was pure nostalgic fun and I think that’s why Angel Du$t will always have a chokehold on me. It’s hard to deny the groovy riffs and catchy basslines.

I saved my favorite set of the weekend (and the best) for last — Obituary. LDB also saved them for last, as they were one of the final bands to close out the weekend. Obituary has been making waves in this industry the past 30 years and have clearly withstood the test of time. It’s no wonder why they are still as popular, if not more, in the present day. They delivered an electrifying set that absolutely captivated every single person in the room, fan or not. Opening up with, “Redneck Stomp,” a three minute instrumental track, was the perfect choice to set the tone. Bodies were flying, heads were banging and it was the perfect union of chaos. Their entire set showcased Obituary’s talents perfectly: ear splitting riffs and vocals, while simultaneously achieving “groovy death metal” status.

Honorable mentions of the weekend also go to Gridiron, Never Ending Game and Louisville locals Gates to Hell. I didn’t fully get to watch each of these sets completely, but from the small moments I experienced, each of these bands and more came correct. I strongly encourage everyone to make it out to Louisville for LDB Fest at least once in their lifetime — it is not one to be missed.

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