The time is almost upon us. This coming Saturday (31 May), the legendary Goffertpark in Nijmegen will open its gates to 30,000 metalheads for the annual FortaRock Festival, Holland’s biggest annual hard rock and metal festival. This year, the one-day festival is headlined by the legendary Iron Maiden, and All Things Loud will be there! Read on for an insight into the best bands playing this year.

The best place to start when looking for whom to see this year is obviously at the very start of the day. Kicking off midday sharp is Amsterdam metalcore quintet The Charm The Fury, who are set to shake the Monster Energy Stage right to the core with their fierce brand of metal and hard rock. With comparisons to We Came as Romans and Architects, this group is the next big heavy band to come out of Holland. Successful sets at Vans Warped Tour last November and as Fall Out Boy’s after party band in Amsterdam this March proved just that! One hour later, the place to be is the Tent stage, where newfound heroes Ghost are on. The Papa Emeritus-fronted sextet blend 70s hair metal and classic rock with faux-satanic lyrics, so as to parody today’s “serious” satanic bands. If you’re expecting fast tempo death metal and wall of deaths erupting throughout the tent, this is not the place to be.

15 minutes before Ghost finish their set, Orlando’s Trivium are the second band to take to the main stage. With a mix of gutsy screams, clean vocals and fast drum tempos interspersed with guitar drops, Trivium is one of the must-see bands on the main stage. Over on the Monster Energy Stage straight after Trivium finish are alternative Christian rockers Skillet. Being perhaps slightly out of place on the bill, Skillet combine nu-metal, alt-rock and big choruses in a melodic yet powerful way. If you’re up for sticking your lighters in the air and taking a break from the hectic crowds, make your way over to the Monster Energy Stage. Following on the main stage are Swedish metal giants Sabaton, worth checking out if you’re into grand, melodic metal mixed with church organs and fierce vocals.

With 18 bands over the course of 11 hours, there’s plenty to choose from over the 3 stages. Following Sabaton’s main stage set are French newcomers Gojira, on in the Tent. It’s another fierce brand of fast tempos and fierce guitars, combined with gutsy shouted vocals. Over on the Monster Energy Stage at the same time are the most alternative band on the bill Deafheaven, whose experimental black metal-meets-shoegaze sounds so brutal yet so happy at the same time. The Californian two-piece mix the two genres together with icy precision, leaving the listener not sure what to think. On one hand this is purely ferocious black metal, yet on the other hand it wouldn’t be out of place if it shared a bill with bands such as My Bloody Valentine. Over on the main stage, though, the names only get bigger and better. Alter Bridge are the fourth band to take to the this stage, and are definitely worth seeing if you’re into grunge-metal, blended with large alt-rock choruses and squiggly guitars.

Blues-rockers Graveyard play an early evening set on the Monster Energy Stage, worth watching with fries in one hand and a watery festival pint in the other whilst you lose yourself to mid-tempo blues rock. Once that’s done, legendary thrash metal group Slayer hit up the main stage as sub-headliners. With a new album due in 2015, this set will be the bands only show in Holland for the foreseeable future following former guitarist Jeff Hanneman’s unfortunate passing last May. Over on the Monster Energy Stage after Slayer are fellow giants Anthrax. Formed around the same time as Slayer, both bands are very similar in style as well as in legend status. Of the two bands, Anthrax is the more melodic and up-tempo, which is set to ensure a manic crowd. Closing the whole evening is the legendary Iron Maiden. There is no good reason not to watch Iron Maiden, as it’s simply just watching the legends at work. Classics like Run to the Hills and Fear of the Dark (amongst others) will surely keep the large crowd on their toes whilst the rest of Maiden’s magnificent stage show stuns them. Music aside, expect plenty of special effects, pyro and crazy lighting. You can’t miss Iron Maiden at all.

If you’re still struggling who to see this year, check out the FortaRock website for more, or listen to our Spotify playlist here!