Reviewed by Leo Kindred
First up on this most hefty of line-ups is up and comers Bloodshot Dawn. Their set is a masterclass in fast-paced, thrash tinged death metal, performed with some nods to the cheesier end of the spectrum with the leads and solos. For the most part though they’ve convinced the crowd, and with some serious riffing skills they’re going to be ones to watch in future.
Next up are British act Dyscarnate. You normally shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover but this is exactly what it looks like. Muscular in sound and body, with vocalist/guitarist Tom Whitty being actually broader than his guitar is lengthwise, Dyscarnate put one in mind of Dying Fetus or Misery Index, minus any shredding.
Competent and uncompromising what they have in sheer iron balls they lack in variety, and ultimately, over the course of their set unfortunately, boring me and others rigid. They could honestly be playing the same song continuously, all fine if you love pitting and the like but when they finish it’s welcome.
Xerath are a djenty success in the UK metal scene, with heaps of the now ubiquitous Meshuggah-esque chunk-a-chunk that bands like them, Uneven Structure,Textures and the like have been making hay out of.
Big and stomping the set is replete with the curious time signature repeat riffs which cause some to spontaneously erupt in jizz and others, like me, to stand and regard with polite incomprehension. As a sonic experience though it’s undeniably impressive with keyboard backed massiveness, causing the pleasing sight of people headbanging in 16/5 time, or whatever.
Decapitated! From the moment this, a gig with a fan-voted setlist, was announced it was an automatic winner. These Polish innovators of modern death metal, sadly touched by tragedy in their recent past, could of just come on stage and farted into microphones, breaking off to occasionally shout “Gangam Style!” and it would of been a success.
Guitarist mastermind Vogg, his hair covering his face in the classic death metal Cousin It impression, dictates the sound of an absolutely fucking vast sounding set. Where rhythmically edged bands can leave me bored it’s simply not possible to ignore the weight of this ultra-dense racket. It sounds like he’s got a fucking galaxy in his guitar!
Newer songs like ‘Pest’ sets a good tone and the excellent auto-headbang-along-ability, for lack of a better adverb, of all the 19 tonne riffs from Nihility through to most recent album Carnival Is Forever rules with a rare and impressive intensity. An outing of personal fave ‘Post (?) Organic‘ sprawls like the Mongol steppe before plunging into a chaotic whirlwind of myriad riffing that makes me wish I still had long hair for windmilling. Mid-set dreadlocked vocalist growler Rafał Piotrowsk dives into the audience, deciding presumably that being on stage to deliver vocals just wasn’t brutal enough, and slamming into people in the pit would do the job nicely.
Throughout the titanic set a surprising amount of atmospheric numbers appear to have been voted in, which creates a brooding, steely, astral experience before the apocalyptic finale of ‘Spheres of Madness‘ and ‘Winds of Creation‘ brings down the curtain, (not to mention the roof, the sun and the sky in a 2 million year rain of cosmic fire), on what has been a crushing gig.
Good lord that was heavy.