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By June 2012, BLIKSEM the band enters the studio to record “Face the Evil” (Alone Records, 2013) the long-awaited debut album. Combining blistering tandem guitars, thrashing drums, pounding bass and furious vocals, the resulting eight songs not only explore themes including revenge, oppression and madness but also celebrate the timeless glory of metal. Mastering done by Herbrand Larsen (Enslaved) in the Earshot Studio in Bergen, Norway.
The storm began brewing in 2007, when Jeroen De Vriese (guitar), Toon Huet (guitar), Rob Martin (drums and backing vocals) and Jan Rammeloo (bass) began crafting their high energy thrash 2.0. In late 2008, their quest to find a singer on par with Chuck Billy or Dave Mustaine takes an unexpected and brilliant turn with the arrival of Peggy Meeussen. Her commanding razor-edged vocals are reminiscent of the late Dawn Crosby (Détente/Fear of God) and Nicole Lee (Znöwhite), slicing through the existing legions of goth or guttural female-fronted bands. Line-up complete, Bliksem starts to send shockwaves across the Belgian underground.
The band goes on to play Holland’s Paaspop, which features fellow heavy acts like Hell, Enslaved and Accept as well as Dutch chart toppers, and the renowned Eindhoven Metal Meeting (with Exodus, Heathen, Immortal and other metal greats). The momentum continues, and Bliksem is asked to support Channel Zero, Angel Witch, Vanderbuyst and Prong and requested for after shows for Mastodon and Megadeth. Meanwhile, Bliksem creates a buzz in the leading alternative media in the Benelux including 3voor12/VPRO and Kindamuzik.nl, which calls them one of the bands to watch in 2012-2013.
In 2012, Trix Music Centre in Antwerp chooses Bliksem as the first-ever metal band to be its new “Artist in Residence,” an honor previously bestowed on highly successful Belgian bands such as School is Cool, The Hickey Underworld and Triggerfinger. Festival appearances include Waterpop in the Netherlands, a perennially popular and varied event that draws some 20,000 visitors, and Torhout’s heavy-duty Masters@Rock Festival alongside Soulfly, Clawfinger and Channel Zero.
Bliksem are now rapidly moving forward and ready to take the rest of Europe.