Hit The Deck 2012
Nottingham Rock City, The Rescue Rooms and Stealth
April 22nd 2012

By Lewis Rickson

The first surprise for me of Hit The Deck was achieved by Japanese Crossfaith (7/10) who deliver a high energy performance that the Stealth could barely contain, however, the crowd only really got involved during their expertly delivered cover of the Prodigy’s ‘Omen’.
All band members, in particular bassist Hiroki Ikegawa were all accomplished musicians and their fusion of Metalcore and Hardcore with strings and electronica effects is something quite unique. If I was to have one criticism it was that perhaps the vocals were a little underwhelming and the between song interaction was minimal, however, as all band members are Japanese, I’ll let them off; their passion and energy make up for it.

The first band we catch in Rock City Main Hall was The Dangerous Summer (7/10) and their pop punk sound was a nice change from the Metal and Hardcore dominating the festival. This was perhaps also their biggest problem because from what I could make out the crowd didn’t appear to be all that receptive to their performance, and when vocalist AJ Perdomo expressed his excitement for the upcoming performance by Of Mice And Men this resulted in the biggest reaction from the crowd for the entire set. The lack of audience enthusiasm was no fault of the band though, who executed each song with finesse and skill.

As said previously the crowd in the Rock City Main Hall were mainly there for Of Mice & Men (9/10), arriving before and during the The Dangerous Summer’s set of in order to get the best possible view of one of the most exciting Metalcore bands touring right now. Austin Carlile is a prime example of a front man who seemingly without effort can work any crowd into a frenzy. Their confidence on stage is perhaps the bands greatest asset and their interaction with the crowd was one of the best I have seen, Austin offering his shirt and throwing it into the crowd for awesome effect, whilst ensuring increased sales of band merch. Every band member excelled in what was arguably the performance of the day (not quite) with each song delivered with real passion and ferocity, but without the harshness that you sometimes see with less accomplished performers. A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Heights’ (9/10) performance was the one I had been looking forward to most of all when it was announced, adding to the fact they were performing on the Valencourt Apparel Stage in Stealth just heightened the excitement to what was already shaping up to be a special set.
I am more pleased than anyone to say it was even better than I thought it was going to be.
During the day I had seen other bands give high energy performances but these guys are quite simply in a different league and the crowd bought into it without hesitation.
During their set vocalist Alex Montgomery orchestrated a mass breakdown, and there was even some crowd surfing despite the best efforts of the security. Add this to what can only be described as musical brilliance and what you have is what you can expect at any Heights’ gig – near perfection. I personally don’t believe that the perfect set exists despite others’ insistence, but this set was just about as close as you can get. Awesome!

I have to be honest I had no interest in seeing The Defiled (8/10), and when I saw their guitarist wearing what looked like a gas mask I had even less interest in staying for their performance but once their set was completed there was a distinct feeling of foot in mouth, because I was more than pleasantly surprised by what I saw. It would not be hard to imagine them performing in the Main Hall with their energetic and often chaotic style of live performance, but the Main Hall’s loss was the Stealth’s gain.
Their electronic influenced Metal was superbly performed and offered the crowd something very different from what they had seen at Stealth for the rest of the day and as they say “variety is the spice of life”.

To not see the entire set of The Cancer Bats (8/10) was without doubt the most gutting aspect of the day because their ability to take a wide array of influences from the Heavy Metal and Southern Metal genres and fuse it into punk rock and hardcore punk is something that is quite unique, and is to be commended for its sheer ambition.
Prior to hearing it I never thought it would work, but never has a person been so happy to be proved wrong, and, as a live set, it works even better. This was one of the few sets during Hit The Deck where there was genuine crossovers in the taste of the crowd which made for a great atmosphere and the Rescue Rooms was full as a result. Unfortunately I only caught about half the set in order to see Rolo Tomassi, and if there was an example of a situation for “wishing I was in two places at once” this would’ve been it.

Although Kids in Glass Houses were personally more of a favourite of mine, seeing Rolo Tomassi (7/10) instead was by no means a disappointment. The newest members of the band (Nathan Fairweather- bass, and Chris Cayford -lead guitar) seem to have slotted in brilliantly with Nathan in particular looking a highly accomplished musician.
Their unique Mathcore sound and fractured structure of their songs will not be to everybody’s taste but the Stealth crowd fully embraced it. This isn’t the first time I have seen Rolo and I have to say this wasn’t the best set I have seen the Sheffield 5-piece perform, but maybe this was my fault having overly high expectations, but considering the bands that I had seen earlier in the day you can hardly blame me.


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