Moroccan local bands toe to toe with Decapitated, delivering a crushing 21st edition for L’Boulevard Festival in Morocco

Author Oussama El Ouadie - 6.12.2023

Another edition of Casablanca’s L’Boulevard Fest comes to a close, and what a weekend it was.

After being initially planned from the 15th to the 24th of September, Morocco’s biggest underground music festival has had to postpone its initial dates to the 16-19th of November, due to the tragic earthquake that hit Morocco on the 8th of September.

A special edition, condensed into one week end rather than the usual spread over two weekends. Let’s focus on Saturday, November 18th which marks the Rock/Metal day of the fest.

Opening the day up was the Tremplin competition which saw black metallers Tagrest open the show with a unique performance, before Malak’s soothing indie rock added some contrast to the day. Stain and We Come For War then came to respectively clench the 2nd and 1st prize of this edition’s competition. Stain blasted a heavy stomping display of riffs for their debut show, which helped set the audience on fire and open up countless mosh pits. WCFW then brought the full extent of their experience and technical mastery to the stage and saw the public bounce to their groovy deathcore sound.

Next up was Chikno’s unique metal sound, combining Moroccan folklore and heavier music elements in a nowadays popular formula that brought the audience together in some headbanging fashion, to prepare the ground for Old School’s thrashing sound. The Casablanca thrashers laid waste to the festival ground contributing in some relentless circle pits.

Then came the next act : local headliners Thrillogy set the stage ablaze with their eclectic sound, varying influences from the most aggressive of death metal to the grooviest elements of metal, embellishing the mix with some virtuosic solos and dual harmonies that only they have the secret for. The Ahenjir brothers bewitched L’Boulevard with their dual guitars, dual vocals and haunting screams, while Alee and Abdou held the rhythm and grooved their way through the show in clinical precision.

The main event of the night, of the year in the Moroccan Metal Scene, and of some Moroccan metalheads’ musical lives came shortly after, when the legendary polish death metal act Decapitated seized the stage, teaching the Moroccan public a lesson in metal. 27 years into their career, the polish band is still as passionate, genuine and true to themselves as they were at the start. And although their sound evolved and matured with them, leading them to the heights that any aspiring musician dreams of, their feet remain firmly planted in the ground, and their music still smells of authenticity form a mile away.

A lesson in metal, but also a lesson in dedication taught by the polish band, which, through thick and thin, continued to pierce their way all the way to the top of the extreme metal scene, becoming a force to reckon with nowadays. I had already seen how brutal a Decapitated show was, but having them on home turf was a special feeling that filled every Moroccan metalhead with pride, seeing local bands toe to toe with such a mastodon of a band.

In their usual fashion, Decapitated delivered a crushing performance, so technically tight and sonically powerful, and served the fans with various titles from their repertoire including new bangers from the latest “Cancer Culture” as well as classic anthems such as “Spheres of Madness” and “Nine Steps”. This sealed a concert that shall remain forever engraved in moroccan metal’s collective memory.

This is how L’Boulevard’s 21st edition came to a close. It was a fest filled with passion, and a wholesome experience for every individual involved. Until next year.