Category Archives: Live Reviews

LIVE REVIEW: Mammothfest 2017, The Arch, Brighton UK – 6th-8th October


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LIVE REVIEW by Carina Lawrence / Dark Art Conspiracy

Brighton’s annual dedicated metal festival Mammothfest makes a bigger impact each year and this year’s event was no exception, especially as they impressively managed to bag 3 UK exclusive headliners with Rotting Christ, Fleshgod Apocalypse and Amenra.

Since its return in 2014 Mammothfest has always mustered up a formidable line-up, comprised of heavyweight acts such as Textures, Venom Inc, Sylosis, Entombed, Martyr Defiled and more in the past, as well as always showcasing the best and upcoming talent, they even have a whole stage devoted to this, named the Rikstock stage, after Mammothfest director Steve Dickson lost his close friend and business partner, Rik Mosquero to brain cancer, he went on to name the stage in his honour and highlight the emerging artists, Rik himself was in local band Hole In The Sky who have frequently played the festival, including this year’s event. Along with the bigger calibre acts they bring in each year, the festival has successfully managed to upscale its venue as its new current home is The Arch located on the seafront and is a perfect central spot in Brighton, whereas previously the festival has hosted at different and smaller venues across a weekend, highlighting again the growth and expansion of this massive metal event.

Continue reading LIVE REVIEW: Mammothfest 2017, The Arch, Brighton UK – 6th-8th October

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LIVE REVIEW: Download Festival – System Of A Down, Biffy Clyro, Aerosmith, Donnington Park UK – 9th-11th June 2017


Download Festival –LIVE REVIEW by Carina Lawrence / Dark Art Conspiracy

2017_DownloadFestival_MattEachus_008 [Web].jpegPhoto credit: Matt Eachus – Download Festival 2017 (Biffy Clyro)

 

Download festival has a special atmosphere and is regarded as one of the ‘biggest and friendliest’ festivals in the world, and most certainly in the UK, being the largest dedicated rock/metal festival the country has to offer, with 80,000 rock and metal fans descending onto Donnington Park in Leicestershire to witness rock’s finest. The festival has hosted the biggest names in rock such as Metallica, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and much more. Festival organiser, Andy Copping describes the festival as the ‘spiritual home of rock’ and anyone who has ever attended will find it hard to disagree, it really does have an amazing atmosphere with everyone united to enjoy their favourite bands. The fact that this year it was some of the best weather Download had seen for years made the three days even more incredible. The weather was on metal’s side and saw the packed weekend shine and go down in spectacular style.

 

Friday 9th June

2017_Download_PauloNuno_0005 [Web].jpegPhoto credit: Paulo Nuno – Download Festival 2017 (Motionless In White)


Motionless in White got their moment on the main stage following their hard work. It was an early set but the crowd was out to support them and they had some good participation throughout. Because of their daytime slot frontman Chris Motionless remarked that they couldn’t have lots of lights and stage theatrics, so to pack more of a punch, they played new song ‘Necessary Evil’ from their new album ‘Graveyard Shift’ for the first time to make their set a bit more special. They also played other popular offerings ‘Devil’s Night’ and ‘Eternally Yours’ which may have also won over some new fans.

American pop punk act Four Year Strong played the smallest stage going at Download Festival, the Firestone stage, giving fans a chance to see a more intimate set before taking to a bigger stage later in the day, however they pull in a big crowd and engulf the small stage, with everyone jumping around and having fun.

Metal giants Mastodon brought the masses to their set and impress with their technically crafted prog mastery and massive hooks. They don’t need overly fancy lighting or production, they just rely on their music and showcase their excessive talent. They played songs across their back catalogue including ‘The Wolf Is Loose’ and ‘Black Tongue from 2011’s ‘The Hunter’ as well as showing their diversity with ‘Show Yourself’ taken from their latest expansive album, The Emperor Of Sand’. A glorious performance.

2017_DownloadFestival_MattEachus_028 [Web].jpegPhoto credit: Matt Eachus – Download Festival 2017 (Five Finger Death Punch)


American heavy groove metallers Five Finger Death Punch were one of the stand out bands of the opening day, delivering a crushing set and mental mosh pits whilst firing off their best songs ‘Never Enough’, ‘Wash It All Away’ and ending with ‘The Bleeding’. However one of the highlights and most moving moments came when they performed the acoustic ‘Remember Everything’. They weren’t afraid to get up close and personal as frontman Ivan Moody and lead guitarist Jason Hook went into the crowd and grabbed the eager fans hands to show them some love back. It was a powerful set that was well balanced with hard-hitting numbers and slower songs. The band were truly humbled by the crowd’s reactions and glad to be back on the main stage at Donnington.

2017_DownloadFestival_MattEachus_001-2 [Web].jpegPhoto credit: Matt Eachus – Download Festival 2017 (Prophets Of Rage)

Prophets of rage impressed with their politically charged anthems, which was particularly fitting given the UK general election the day before, so they had plenty to get motivated about in what was their first ever UK show. They went down a storm with everyone pumping their fists and united as one, grooving to their perfect festival anthems. Their set list consisted of all the well-known and classic hits that you would expect from each member, such as Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name’, ‘Testify’, ‘Take The Power Back’, Public Enemy’s ‘Fight The Power’ and Cypress Hill’s ‘Insane In The Brain’. The highlight of their set, and most emotional and beautiful moment, was an instrumental of Audioslave’s ‘Like A Stone’ led by band member and long-time friend guitarist, Tom Morello, which was a great tribute to their fallen comrade and legend Chris Cornell. 

2017_Download_CSM_3112 [Web].jpegPhoto credit: Caitlin Mogridge– Download Festival 2017 (System Of A Down)

Headliners System Of A Down didn’t disappoint, delivering an incredible set comprised of all their best hits, the whole arena was buzzing, singing and head banging to their spectacular non-stop 31 song set; ‘Chop Suey’ was particularly special. They played all the songs the crowd wanted and more, including ending on ‘Sugar’ from their debut self-titled album which was unleashed in 1998 and showcased their weird individual kooky style wonderfully. No other band in the world sounds like them and all their songs translated perfectly blasted out in a festival environment. Let’s hope a new System Of A Down album is on the way soon but in the meantime, we are more than happy to listen to their impressive backlog.

Saturday 10th June

British rap metallers Hacktivist did a great job of opening day two of the festival on the main stage, managing to draw a good crowd and injected some high energy into their early 11 am slot, demonstrating just why they earnt their spot there.


Creeper draws in an even bigger crowd, highlighting that putting them on the main stage was a wise decision with their goth-tinged punk. They take to the stage ahead of their idols AFI. They had good crowd participation, with lots of swaying arms, singing and applause. Definitely a successful main stage debut to be proud of. They offered something a bit different and refreshing with nice powerful live dual vocals from frontman Will Gould and keyboardist/vocalist Hannah Greenwood and a largely fun uplifting sound, which included songs such as ‘Black Rain’, ‘Misery’ and ‘Hiding With Boys’, before ending on a powerful emotive ‘I Choose To Live’, giving a motivational talk about living life instead of in fear, in light of the recent tragic terrorist events in the UK.

2017_Download_Saturday_RossSilcocks_0045-2 [Web].jpegPhoto credit: Ross Silcocks – Download Festival 2017 (Alestorm)


Everyone’s favourite pirate metallers Alestorm took to the second stage to play their first ever set at Download, bringing in a large crowd, most of whom were suitable dressed for the occasion, clad in their best pirate outfits. They played all their best party anthems, such as ‘Drink’ and the popular ‘Shipwrecked’. Most of their songs are about drinking, which was perfect for a sunny Saturday afternoon festival vibe. They also treated us to some new songs from their latest album ‘No Grave But The Sea’, including self-titled song ‘Alestorm’, the excellent ‘Mexico’ and their most hilarious and ridiculous offering to date ‘Fucked With An Anchor’ which provided many laughs and lots of fun, with everyone comically shouting as one the lyrics, “Fuck you, you’re a fucking wanker, we’re gonna punch you right in the balls, fuck you, with a fucking anchor, you’re all cunts so fuck you all!”. A definite highlight that won’t be forgotten. Frontman Christopher Bowes later tells us that said “for a brief time we were selling more records than Shikira” with their new album, and asked if anyone had brought or illegally downloaded the album declaring they didn’t care either way. They finish their epic set with their superb cover of Taio Cruz’s ‘Hangover’ which seems fitting. This was a very successful quest for Alestorm and hopefully, we will be seeing them again at Download as a result of this, with their piratical comedic tracks bringing both humour and party vibes, the perfect combination.


American deathcore quintet Suicide Silence took to the Zippo (second) stage next, making for an extreme change of pace and tone, being one of the heaviest bands of the day. They managed to produce some pits and played the likes of the brutal ‘Disengage’ and ‘Conformity’, taken from the latest self-titled album, which was a bit tamer for them, offering up some diversity. However, they seemed to find it hard to build real momentum and therefore didn’t stand out as much as some other bands. This may have been because of the triumphant set Alestorm put on, so in comparison, it seemed a bit bleak and bland.

[2017]_[Download]_[Sarah Koury}59 [Web].jpegPhoto credit: Sarah Koury – Download Festival 2017 (AFI)


Punk rock legends AFI put on a mighty performance which also marked their first time gracing the main stage at Download. For some reason the band don’t play in the UK often, which is a damn shame as they put on a flawless performance, especially with Davey Havok’s exceptional and varied vocals. They stormed through their set, barely without a pause, so managed to play all their hits such as opener ‘Girl’s Not Grey’, the classic ‘The Days Of The Phoenix’ and ‘The Leaving Song Pt II’, before ending on the energetic ‘Miss Murder’. They had great presence, aided largely by Davey, who was alluring and engaging, especially as at one point he looked directly into the camera so only his face was visible on big screen, whilst passionately singing and baring his soul and getting up close and personal for the crowds. A very powerful non-stop set.

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Photo credit: Ben Gibson – Download Festival 2017 (A Day To Remember)


Florida rockers A Day To Remember have come a long way earning the main stage slot before headliners Biffy Clyro. They make an interesting comical entrance with a voice pretending to be the actual stage talking. As you would expect they draw a large turnout and their catchy anthems cause many to crowd surf and singalong. The open with well-known hit ‘All I Want’, and go on to play other popular songs ‘Right Back At It Again’, new song ‘Naivety’ which is made all the better, as the band kindly decide to throw out free t-shirts to the crowd. They surprised fans with ‘End Of Me’ which they hadn’t played in a while but thought this prestigious appearance was the perfect time to bring it back. Their set saw some of the biggest and best stage productions of the day with well-placed fire and massive beach balls dispersed into the crowd. Saving their best until last, they closed their brilliant and fun set with ‘The Downfall Of Us All’.

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Photo credit: Paulo Nuno – Download Festival 2017 (Wednesday 13)

Ex-Murderdolls frontman Wednesday 13 and co headline and demolish the Dogtooth stage. His solo project sees some of the best and strongest work he has done to date. The tent was absolutely packed with everyone cheering and doing whatever Wednesday commanded. He said it would be a special show and didn’t disappoint, especially as they enlisted the help of performers Pyrohex who added to the dark creepy ambience with their fire show and undead makeup to match the eeriness of the band. Wednesday 13 had a few outfit changes throughout including a sinister mask on the back of his head which again added to all the wonderfully weird imagery. Following the recent release of new album ‘Condolences’, they primarily focused on this and played single ‘What The Night Brings’, ‘Cadaverous’ and ended on title track ‘Condolences’. A killer and unforgettable set that confirmed just why they were headliners.

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Photo credit: Ben Gibson – Download Festival 2017 (Rob Zombie)

Keeping up the dark horror themes, legendary horror-rock filmmaker and musician Rob Zombie headlined the second (Zippo Encore) stage and turned it into his own weird and wonderful world for the duration, with superb visual production, including fire and confetti and theatrics including some alien sex dolls to accompany ‘Well, Everybody’s Fucking in a U.F.O’ with Zombie declaring what a big issue alien abduction in the world is and that not enough people talk about it, which made for a change of subject from the norm. They played all their massive hits such as ‘Living Dead Girl’ and ‘Dragula’ as well as gracing us with some great covers of Ramone’s ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ and Alice Cooper’s ‘School’s Out’ which went down brilliantly with the huge crowd. Zombie was obviously impressed with the crowd and reaction himself declaring that there was “nowhere else like this in the world”.

2017_DownloadFestival_MattEachus_001 [Web].jpegPhoto credit: Matt Eachus – Download Festival 2017 (Biffy Clyro)


I opted for the heavier offering of Rob Zombie who catered for the metal heads on the second stage but I did manage to catch some of the Scottish rock trio and Saturday headliners Biffy Clyro. Despite being an interesting and perhaps slightly controversial headliner choice, they pulled in a massive crowd and played all their best hits, with brilliant stage production and pyrotechnics, before ending on an epic firework display. I think it’s safe to say they won everyone over and completed their first ever Download headliner slot with style.

 

Sunday 11th June

The first act of the day for me was heavy metallers Orange Goblin from London who had an early slot on the mainstage, but despite this, they had a decent turnout considering and delivered a belting set which ended on the massive ‘Red Tide Rising’.


Melodic extreme metal act In Flames from Sweden had the crowd clapping in anticipation before the emerged on the main stage and later chanted their name in appreciation. Although their music may be serious, lead vocalist Anders Fridén has quite the sense of humour and in between songs he made the crowd laugh with his dismay at the lack of beer they were supplied which he clearly was not impressed with. They end with the crushing ‘Take This Life’ to the joy of fans.

2017_Download_Sunday_RossSilcocks_0009-2 [Web].jpegPhoto credit: Ross Silcocks – Download Festival 2017 (Steel Panther)


One of the highlights of the whole weekend was glam rock masters Steel Panther with their crude, hilarious and debaucherous antics, which had the vast crowd laughing immensely throughout. You get two for one with them, as the deliver a comedy show just as much as they put on a brilliant rock show. Some particular notable comedic moments were when the band claimed that other bands were trying to sabotage their setup as they are intimated by the ‘best band in the world’, their many sex tales and jokes poking fun at bassist Lexxi Foxx. The best thing about the band is yes they are silly and don’t take themselves seriously, but they are damn good musicians also and demonstrate this with all the best and funniest hits such as ‘Just Like Tiger Woods’, ‘Death To All But Metal’, ‘Poontang Boomerang’ and the standout ’17 Girls In A Row’ where the fittingly invited women on stage, so the stage was absolutely packed with ecstatic women posing and dancing with the band which was a brilliant moment. They closed their epic and slapstick set with the super catchy and perfect festival anthem ‘Party All Day’ (Fuck All Night).

Swedish progressive metallers Opeth brought class and sophistication to the second stage, and simply oozed with skill and craftsmanship from the start to the finish whilst delivering classic songs like ‘Ghost Of Perdition’ and ending on ‘Deliverance’. The new title track song from their new album ‘Sorceress’ made for the perfect opener and worked well in the live environment. Mikael Akerfeldt’s vocals impressed, going from sweet and ethereal to sinister and dark. A stunning set, the only downside being how short it seemed and given some of their songs can be on the long side, they didn’t manage to play all the songs you would expect.

2017_DownloadFestival_MattEachus_051 [Web].jpegPhoto credit: Matt Eachus – Download Festival 2017 (Slayer)


American Thrash metal heroes Slayer headline the second stage and get straight to business with a non-stop relentless set. As you can imagine being one of the heavy hitters of extreme metal they brought carnage and immense mosh pits, only like Slayer could. It was a chilling and exciting moment to hear the monstrous classics ‘Reigning Blood’ and ‘Angel Of Death’ blasted out which they saved for the encore.

2017_Download_BenGibson_vaerosmith-9 [Web].jpegPhoto credit: Ben Gibson – Download Festival 2017 (Aerosmith)


So the time came for rock royalty Aerosmith to take to the stage at Donnington for the final time, after many fond memories, with this special performance also marking their last UK show as part of their farewell tour, as a legendary band that have been around impressively for nearly 50 years. They kept the eager crowd waiting, and as the festival neared to an end you saw the full scale of the masses that had descended on the site. They made quite an entrance with a montage video intro accompanied with the dramatic O Fortuna music to show the history of the band and their performances at Donnington over the years. The wait was worth it as they played all their top hits such as ‘Crying’, ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’ which gets the biggest singalong as expected, along with ‘Dude’ (Looks Like A Lady) and of course in the encore they go out on their world known ‘Walk This Way’. Being a band of their magnitude and reputation they were geared up with massive production and visuals to fit each song such as elevator imagery for ‘Love In An Elevator’ and fire engulfing the band on the screens, adding to the grandeur. One thing is for certain Aerosmith will truly be missed.

2017_Download_PauloNuno_0105 [Web].jpegPhoto credit: Paulo Nuno – Download Festival 2017

This was a special year for Download festival celebrating their fifteenth anniversary and the weather was perfect for the occasion, enhancing the experience and atmosphere whilst watching rock and metal’s finest, including witnessing a few goodbyes and debuts, adding to the rich rock history of Donnington Park. The atmosphere was brilliant, with dedicated rockers seeing the festival as ‘home’ and a place to be yourself and enjoy the music old and new. The increased security in light of the recent tragic events in the UK was dealt with professionally and extremely well and everything was smoothly run, making everyone feel safe and they should be highly praised for this. The bands and the festival goers all had a blast and now we all eagerly await Download 2018.

 

https://downloadfestival.co.uk/

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#darkartconspiracy #metal #festival #download2017 #downloadUK #UK

LIVE REVIEW: Turku Saatanalle V continued… 3 months later: BATUSHKA, KORGONTHURUS & WORMWOOD


Turku Saatanalle continued… 3 months later.

By: Serena Solomon / Dark Art Conspiracy


The most anticipated band of Turku Saatanalle V, Batushka, finally made it to Turku along with the homegrown black metalers Korgonthurus who also didn’t make it to their TSV appearance. The double make-up gig also included a much anticipated bonus – hailing from Sweden, melodic black metalers; Wormwood.

At Ravintola Kåren, the venue hosting the gig, it is more typical to find events that involve cloth covered tables and fancy food being held there. Needless to say, when the venue was announced for this gig, I was quite intrigued. The last gig I attended there (or was even remotely interested in attending) was a cover band night hosted by Åbo Akademi’s rock club three years ago. Not only is it rare to see a gig such as this hosted there, the more frequented venues in Turku have a completely different setting and ambiance. Experiencing this kind of gig at Kåren was refreshing in a way, but in other ways, felt off… such as watching Korgonthorus in all their corpsepainted rustednail-covered bracer glory– then looking to the left and seeing a renaissance style mural taking up the entire wall, complete with crystal chandeliers. 

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Despite having to get used to this new atmosphere, the bands played, the people watched headbanged, moshed, and even meditated?

 

 

 

Korgonthurus

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 Upon entering the venue, the curtains were closed (scoff) and doused in red lighting as atmospheric music played in the background (nothing I could recognize).

The curtains were pulled back and the band was in position… which was a bit comical and theatrical, completely out of place in comparison to the simple “walk on” typical for this type of gig. They had a bit of sound difficulty but their performance and the acoustics of the place distracted and the crowd soon relaxed and got into the music.


Their sound was solid for their genre but compared to the other bands playing that night, to me, they were like a base coat for a more intricate design- a solid band to set the mood for something more anticipated and unique.

 

 

 

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Wormwood
The crowd was noticeably more attentive when the curtains opened for Wormwood. The band also, in my opinion, started with one of their strongest songs (
The Universe is Dying) and the crowd was hooked.(4 left)
They, too,had some sound problems but powered through and it didn’t hinder their show a bit. Their presence and sound had that something unique I had been waiting for during Korgonthurus. And similar to the headliners, only having one album, in my opinion played the best songs off the album.

Their energy on stage was infectious and I think my memory of the gig is partially foggy due to my own energy catching up and running around to try to capture it all and enjoy at the same time. My only complaint is that they didn’t play longer! Also to the asshole who kept putting his arm around my waist, fuck you.

 

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Batushka

Initially it was hard to discern when the atmospheric music being played between bands ended, and Batushka’s intro began. But then,the stage hands came to light the candles-enter the frankincense I was hoping for.

That sensory element only certain bands can pull off and an added component that can almost be noticeable if missing.As the candles continued to be lit, one solitary undistorted guitar played the intro to their music to set the mood. Though it is known a large portion of Batushka’s show and stage presence revolves around ritual and symbolism, I couldn’t help but remember someone complaining at Turku Saatanalle, that these days there is more ritual activity happening on stages at such events than actual instrument playing. The person had a point, but I also think many fans of such music appreciate the variety in stage presence and activity on stage embracing and supporting the bands imagery and lyrical themes.

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It also surprised me that some unexpected things happened as well as a few things being left out from what I was expecting after watching some of their live videos online (to get a feel of what was coming). I didn’t think their activities on stage could vary that much but it was, in a way, a good thing that it was a bit unpredictable (for someone who had never seen them before).

Though their faces were covered, the main vocalist successfully portrayed some emotion and somehow translated facial expressions through hand gestures and body language. 8.jpgI could visualize, for example, when he had his hands out towards the crowd a certain way, what kind of facial expression might go with such gesture, which gave a bit more of an idea of at least the mood behind the lyrics (since I could not understand them). The setup of the stage was also interesting to me. Of course, the vocalist/frontman is up front and, to go along with their ritual/mock-religious ceremony theme, was set up behind a podium/alter. The backup vocals had their place somewhat behind and to the side… but three of the four musicians were far far behind, in the shadows, as if they should be heard and not seen. 9.jpg One of them I couldn’t even manage to get a photo of and it wasn’t the drummer. I’m curious about the significance of that.

It was also incredibly interesting to observe the crowd’s reaction and response to their music and show. At some points, the vocalist directed the crowd to “shh”… and they did. 10.jpgOther times, I looked around and saw people with their arms extended and palms out as if truly at some religious ceremony. Others seemed as if they were meditating… eyes closed or open. Feeling and interpreting the music in ways I have never seen at such gigs, as if it was more of a ceremony to them than a metal gig.

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Check out rest of the photos at https://darkartconspiracy.com/concert-photos/

#darkartconspiracy #metal #music #news #report

LIVE REVIEW: Turku Saatanalle V


Turku Saatanalle V

February 3-4, 2017 at Gong in Turku, Finland

Photos and Report by Serena Solomon

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This year, Turku Saatanalle went through hell. And not in a good way. Due to personal issues, illnesses and in one case, the venue deciding one week before the festival that they were banning Naer Mataron (their words on the issue) from playing based on a steaming pile of misinformation, the lineup was constantly evolving. Even in the days leading up to the festival, Facebook followers cringed at any new notification from the promoters. But despite the bumpy, shit covered road that lead up to the fifth consecutive Turku Saatanalle, it was a great festival and consensus seemed to agree that it was near flawless and very well arranged.

I was curious going into it, since there was such controversy from the venue, how the attendees would behave towards the venue itself. I had already witnessed on Facebook negative feedback and bashing towards the venue for their misinformed conclusions. However, I didn’t witness or hear of any drama or negative situations myself at the festival. The most memorable mishaps were mere technical difficulties that barely deterred from the live show’s aesthetic.

DAY 1

Early doors were announced to keep the line moving but there wasn’t much of a crowd half an hour before the first band Azaghal, who stepped in for Sielunvihollinen. The stage stayed empty for a while, and some great atmospheric music played, setting the mood. All that was missing was incense.

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As Azaghal (Hyvinkää, Finland) started playing, it seemed not many people were as eager as expected to come early. However, once I resurfaced from behind my camera after the first few songs, I noticed the floor was full. They played a much more memorable performance than the last time I saw them, more into the music and successful in setting the tone for the rest of the night.

IC Rex (Jyväskylä, Finland) made a few heads turn before they even started playing. As the other members were still setting up and doing soundcheck, the vocalist was, what I gathered after watching him for a while, performing some kind of ritual that grew in intensity as it continued ending in him hastily laying down a symbol with duct tape on the floor and stomping on it while screaming.

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I wasn’t sure whether or not the ritual was for the audiences benefit or his own since he started out not making much of a spectacle of it as the others were still setting up, and stayed facing away from the audience the whole time. This was one of the more active, and intense bands of the night, including the backdrop that changed from a plain black and white symbol to a whole collage of colors and symbols that only added to their somewhat trippy and “what the fuck is happening” vibe.

As Nécropole (France) took the stage, the vocalist stood there, calm and composed and almost looking out of place in comparison to IC Rex’s vivaciousness, as the band and stage crew tried to fix some technical difficulties.

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It took a bit to get used to, but after a while, his vocals made sense in their unique sound. At some point there was an unexpected (to me) loud roar from the crowd after one specific song, but maybe something significant happened on stage that I missed.

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It made me wonder if they had been one of the more anticipated bands, though their name didn’t come up in casual discourse with attendees much. Though their sound was high pitched, passion filled and no less raw than other bands, their ambiance seemed to transpire as one of the more peaceful/somber/melancholic bands of the festival.

Morrigan (Germany), who filled in for Naer Mataron, though only a two member band, surprisingly had the same amount of atmosphere and full sound as their predecessors. Their raw, authentic style of performance and music was a contrast to the other bands of the night. Maybe one for the fans of early black metal. They seemed to do a longer set than the other bands,

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though maybe that was just my perception as a photographer… less people on stage to photograph, less to distract, more time to actually watch the band.

As the crowd eagerly waited for Ajattara (Helsinki,Finland) to take the stage, the vocalist of IC Rex provided entertainment for those who were around him in the crowd. Whether it was his own excitement to see Ajattara, or adrenaline from playing a good gig, or other influences, he was bouncing around the audience babbling chants and shouting praises and seemed to be performing rituals on/with random audience members. This heightened the anticipation of the crowd, who, based on my own excitement, was already very much looking forward to the final band of the night. And they did not fail to fulfill our expectations.

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I saw them at Nummirock this past summer for the first time, and was blown away by their performance. After listening to a band for over a decade, it is always a great experience to see them live for the first time. And the second time was no less impressive. They were the perfect addition to the lineup, and a great ending to the first night, leaving us amped for the next day.

DAY 2

Malum, a local band from Turku, who stepped in for FrΩnt, started the second day. I was surprised how empty the venue was for most of their set, since all of their shows I had attended locally were near sold out. The vocalist begin the night with a “Hail Satan!”. I have to say, it has been really interesting watching this band’s stage presence evolve over the few years I’ve known them.

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The visual focus is directed to their vocalist, since the other members are mainly cloaked in black, but he commands the stage well as a front man of an up-and-coming black metal band. The whole band has a stoicism and stealth about them that grabs your attention just as much as any energetic band that jumps all over the stage and spews blood at the audience.

”Ok, I’m awake now!” was my thought as Naðra (Iceland), who took the place of Mannveira, opened at full speed. They began their set as abruptly as Malum ended. In contrast, capturing the off-the-wall presence Malum did not need to portray the same amount of ambiance.

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I shot the band continuously and was surprised after resurfacing half way through that the “full speed” aesthetic they begin with had not faltered one bit (the audience seemed to be keeping up as well). Though entertaining, it made me question how Misþyrming’s set would be since its basically the same members in different places.

Archgoat (Turku, Finland) was announced the day before the festival to take the place of Korgonthurus. Though they were the last band added to the ever evolving Turku Saatanalle V lineup, the anticipation was thick in the crowd. Though they lived up to expectation without question, their technical difficulties were the only memorable fuck-up moment through the whole festival.

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The vocalists bass popped a string (or so I heard) and he kind of just gave up on it for a few songs. It did not deter from the sound or performance at all, in my opinion, and of course, the crowd was more supportive than ever and really into the show. They definitely maintained their status as a most desired addition to the festival, and as a respected death/black metal band from Finland.

True Black Dawn (Helsinki, Finland) was one of the pleasant surprises of the festival for me. They exuded such a specific kind of ambiance, and everything about their live presence seem to come together perfectly.

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Their musical and visual style was definitely unique to this festival, yet somehow contributed to the incredible coherence of the festivals flow, and highlighted the diversity.

As previously mentioned, I was eager to see Misþyrming (Iceland). Originally, they were one of my anticipated bands, but since Naðra put on such an intense, high energy show not a few hours before, I was curious if their set would suffer. And to me, since I had never seen them live before, it did not suffer one bit.

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Misþyrming seemed to be one of the bands most people I heard talking were most interested to see. It seemed the audience (and I) enjoyed the show thoroughly. It is funny though, since they are mainly the same members, how much more Misþyrming was mentioned than Naðra.

The last band of the festival was a bit of a head scratcher for me. Profanatica (USA), who took the place of the most anticipated Batushka (the band I, personally, was looking forward to most), was unique, to say the least. I had left the venue as they were setting up to grab a drink downstairs and get some fresh air. When I returned, I was fidgeting with my camera, head down until I got to a decent spot in the crowd. As I looked up, and assessed the stage, I couldn’t help the cartoonish head tilt and brow furrowing. With the drummer as the vocalist, the drum set had been brought up to the front of the stage. The band also donned unique costumes of… I don’t even know what to call it… medieval robes? Complete with head coverings.

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They put on a good show, and there was still a good sized audience, but in my opinion, Batushka would have been a much more fitting and satisfying ending for the festival. But I guess you can’t have it all, and if that was the one form of a complaint, I’d say that means it was a pretty awesome and successful festival .

The bands and their uniqueness from each other flowed really well, almost creating a symmetrical balance between the two days, and despite all the last minute drama and lineup changes. Both days, we had a local up-and-coming band, a local well-known band, a band that woke us up with their insane energy, a band that confused us a bit, and a much anticipated foreign band. Out of the three years I have personally attended this festival, this years was most memorable.The bands themselves were mostly well received and gave great performance…

However, the festival this year topped all the others just based on the fact there was such diversity between the bands, yet it all flowed flawlessly, is if it were meticulously planned that way, not thrown together days before in a fit of fuckness due to cancellations and drama. Major props to the promoters and everyone involved in the success of this years Turku Saatanalle \m/

Disclaimer – my Finnish isn’t so good, so a lot of my interpretations of the events are just that… my own interpretations. Bare with me.

#darkartconspiracy #metal #music #news

LIVE REVIEW: Mammothfest presents: Brutality Will Prevail, Raging Speedhorn, Bleed Again plus supports – The Arch, Brighton UK – 6th May 2017


LIVE REVIEW: Mammothfest presents: Brutality Will Prevail, Raging Speedhorn, Bleed Again plus supports – The Arch, Brighton UK – 6th May 2017 by Carina Lawrence

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Headliners Brutality Will Prevail Cause Carnage!

All Photos Courtesy of Luke Buteman and Ajit Dutta (Raid Studios)

 

This marked the third ‘Mammothfest Presents’ show of the year (following hosting headliner shows with Feed The Rhino and Vader), and this time it was a seriously hardcore and metalcore affair, offering more diversity. These shows are aimed at different rock/metal genres and continue to highlight the importance of supporting local acts, especially with this third instalment, as this event was to celebrate the launch of upcoming Worthing metallers Bleed Again debut album ‘Momentum’, and what a way to launch your album, amongst heavyweights such as heavy metal veterans Raging Speedhorn and modern hardcore heroes Brutality Will Prevail who headlined the event.

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Confronted

So I unfortunately missed the opening act, Operation Kino on the main stage, so I headed to the Rikstock stage (second stage) to see what was happening there and saw my first band of the day Confronted a crossover hardcore thrash band from the South Coast, UK. I’m very glad I witnessed this – for an opening act to put on an unforgettable and mental set like they did was unforeseen. Vocalist Ryan Hull quite simply was unhinged, with his confrontational and unpredictable stage antics. He literally pushed and shoved the crowd, and got right in your face, and managed to get around in places that he shouldn’t, such as behind the bar and standing on the counter, as well as just randomly and aggressively descending to the floor and laying in awkward places. You can see why they are called Confronted, luckily this went down well with the crowd for the most part, who were enthralled yet perhaps on edge understandably. He also kept getting a floor tom drum out sporadically and dragging and throwing it around whilst amongst the crowd. By the end, he had enough of the drum and smashed through it and wore it on his head, adding to the comical factor of their set. Humour aside, they have a brilliant aggressive sound and went out on a high, closing their energetic, brutal and awe-inspiring set with an impressive cover of Soulfly’s ‘Seek ‘N’ Strike’.

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Bleak Falls


After a 3-year break, Worthing act Bleak Falls are back on the live scene, luckily for Brighton, as their melodic emotive hardcore went down well with the crowds, especially aided by front-man Rudi’s passionate, emotive and deep performance. They had great energy and as you would expect after their break, they came back fighting with new song ‘Love Hate Love’ which is the title track taken from their upcoming full-length album, which hopefully will be out soon, but the exact date isn’t yet confirmed.


Five piece metalcore band Everest also from the South of the UK, managed to get the first real mosh pit of the day when commanded. They were very safety conscious giving everyone a heads up so you knew when to expect things to get more savage. Bassist Owen helped engage and get the crowd going more-so by coming into the crowd a few times to rock out with the fans. This was a strong set with their hard hitting sounds receiving some good applause and appreciation from the crowd.


Seek nothing from Germany although they deliver hardcore music, injected some light heartiness into their set through vocalist Mike, with his great sense of humour, including shaming his sister in the crowd for being on the phone, having a dig at themselves for ruining people’s day after all the good bands, and also starting a new saying and getting people shouting “trifle of mosh” which could catch on. Jokes aside they have a great serious sound and ex-bassist Anthony Giles from Brighton made a few guest vocal appearances throughout the set, which made for some good collaborations and dynamics, throwing the mic into the crowd and screaming back at each other.


Death remains have built quite a reputation for their energetic and relentless shows and they lived up to this, with their great melodic sound and dominating stage presence. They recently unleashed their sophomore album ‘Destroy/Rebuild’ and treated us to some new tracks, including closing with the brilliant ‘Rebuild’ which is also the final track on their album. This show marked the end of their tour with tour mates and band of the day Bleed Again, and what a way to finish up.

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Bleed Again


The band of the day Worthing metallers Bleed again certainly stood out with a stunning set as they should for their album launch show for the masterful debut album ‘Momentum’. They played all their finest and crowd-pleasing songs, which resulted in many a mental mosh pit, lots of bouncing and plenty of head banging for the entirety of their set. They fittingly opened with the blistering ‘Decimate’ the opening track on the album and went on to play the dominating anthemic likes of ‘Slavery’ and the perfect singalong ‘Icarus’ which had the crowd going wild. Latest single ‘Walk Through The Fire’ made a massive impact with the whole room appreciating their well-crafted melodic metal. They ended their soaring set with ‘Through My Eyes’ which gave the pit one more heavy workout. It is clear why they have earnt a respectful and well-known reputation for their energetic live shows, and have built a very loyal local fanbase as a result. With a brilliant debut now under their belt, Bleed Again are ones to watch and will no doubt be earning a lot more fans. For their hard work and efforts the man behind Mammothfest, Steve Dickson kindly presented them with a bottle of bubbly to celebrate their debut release and achievements.


British hardcore punk act Giants from Essex, UK were high on the bill with their great sound, which embraces melodic hardcore and the essence of punk. Unfortunately there was a low turnout for their set for some reason, but nonetheless, everyone who was there enjoyed themselves and enthusiastically danced and head-banged along to their catchy tunes from them 2016 debut album ‘Break The Cycle’.

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Raging Speedhorn

 


Second headliners Raging Speedhorn from Northamptonshire UK have been around since 1998 on and off and quickly established themselves in the UK metal scene. This was a special show as it was vocalist Frank Regan’s first show back with the band, joining other vocalist John Loughlin to deliver a dynamic and crushing unstoppable blow. The energy, intensity and craftsmanship were immense throughout their entire set. The crowds were constantly moving and some extreme circle pits opened up, with fans running around madly pushing each other in what was a very packed room. Their years of experience shined through, as their performance was tight, commanding and they possessed great stage presence and interaction. They have recently released their fifth album ‘Lost Ritual’ and played the instant fan favourite ‘Motorhead’. They also as you would expect played well known and popular classic songs such as ‘Thumper’ and the hard-hitting ‘The Hate Song’ which made for ridiculous crowd reactions. This was a punishing and highly enjoyable set, and was definitely one of the best sets of the day which you would expect from these heavy metal veterans.

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Brutality Will Prevail

 

It was clear to see that Welsh hardcore outfit Brutality Will Prevail were headlining, and who better for a day of predominately hardcore music to close the day. The level of crowd participation and mental antics went to a whole new level. There were safety barriers in place between the band and the fans, which was immediately broken as the fans were ravenous and grabbing front-man Louis Gauthier and sharing the mic with him, showing their devotion by passionately screaming the lyrics. From start to finish it was constant spinning kicks, circle pits and stage invasion, with fans wildly getting on stage and jumping off. Later in the set, they triumphantly carried Louis high above their heads to show their appreciation of their set and by the end, it was all too much, the crowd just couldn’t contain themselves as they fully engulfed the stage. The band themselves had heaps of energy impressively jumping at any given opportunity and with no depletion of their stamina in sight. They played some new songs from their latest killer album ‘In Dark Places’ such as the dark anthemic ‘Forever Restless’ and ‘Penitence’, as well playing some well-known tracks from them back catalogue, including their most popular song ‘The Path’. Their set was relentless and utterly exhausting, but brilliant and demonstrated why they were the front runners of this ferocious event.

This was a resounding success amongst the fans and bands alike, with everyone thoroughly enjoying themselves and letting loose, whether that was moshing, doing spinning kicks, jumping or taking over the stage, this was very brutal and was the mere definition of hardcore. Mammothfest now has three successful diverse all day gigs under their belts, all of which are contributing and building momentum and hype for the main festival, which takes place at The Arch venue yet again on October 6-8th. The metal scene is clearly strong in Brighton and these shows are a testimony to that. The shows highlight the ethos behind Mammothfest, bringing emerging and big acts together, offering something for all and showcasing the best local acts going. So spread the word of what savagery and enjoyment took place here and see you at the main Mammothfest event.

 

6-8th October: Mammothfest main event – Fleshgod Apocalypse, Rotting Christ, Tsjuder, Lawnmower Deth, Dragged Into Sunlight, Meta-Stasis, OHHMS, Lagerstein, Bleed Again & more! Tickets: http://mammothfest.uk/STORE/

https://www.facebook.com/events/373113623072880/

mammothfest poster line-up

 

www.mammothfest.uk

https://www.facebook.com/MammothfestUK/

#darkartconspiracy #metal #music #news #festivals

LIVE REVIEW: Mammothfest Presents: Feed The Rhino Plus Supports – The Green Door Store, Brighton UK – 1st April 2017


LIVE REVIEW: Mammothfest Presents: Feed The Rhino Plus Supports – The Green Door Store, Brighton UK – 1st April 2017 by Carina Lawrence / Dark Art Conspiracy

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Photo by Luke Bateman

Six months ago the Green Door Store was one of the venues to host the triumphant Mammothfest 2016 which included headliners Venom Inc, Textures and Conan and now Brighton metal heads gathered again here, for the first all day ‘Mammothfest Presents’ show of 2017, with headliners Feed The Rhino. The band were set to appear at the festival back in 2015 but were unable to, so to make it up to fans they had the honour of headlining the first of many Mammothfest events that are set to occur throughout the year, gearing up to the main festival taking place October 6-8th 2017.

The first band to kick things off were a very last minute replacement. An alternative grunge rock act from Weymouth called Tension Head – but what a welcome addition. They had a great groovy grunge sound, and marked a very different sound to what Mammothfest audiences are used to, being more accessible and mainstream, but it went down a treat with everyone dancing along. Even though the day was young as it was only 2pm the turnout was surprisingly good…

Next to take to the stage and in stark contrast to the opener was death metallers, End Of Salvation who churned out their very mosh worthy hardcore evil sounds. They also tried to start a new trend across the music scene by introducing a move for whose one are holding a beer in their hand, so that everyone can participate in some way. The audience tested this out and it provided some perfect comical material that made their set even more memorable.

Local Brighton band Hawka kept the energy going and with it brought more crowd participation, with frontman Rich jumping off stage and going to the entrance to entice more people in to witness their massive and crushing sound, inspired by the likes of heavyweights Parkway Drive, Machine Head, Korn and more.

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Crazy Kickfist with said barrel mentioned below!

One of the best sets came from interesting infused nu-metal/industrial punk-core act Kickfist who intrigued the masses with their unique metal and unrelenting sounds, including their unusual but great cover of Prodigy’s popular ‘Firestarter’. Lead by frontman, Zakk Zander who sported a black mask and a baseball bat, the crowds were enthralled and their industrial Slipknot-esque grooves saw the room head banging aplenty and move as one, as their sound commanded it. Near the end of their set Zakk whacked the bat against a barrel to add to their madness so aggressively that he broke it, making for an unforgettable performance.

At the point when As Flames Rise came on, it was still considered quite early at 5pm and I don’t think the band were prepared for the carnage that unfolded and by such a humbling crowd reaction, playing their energetic melodic metal to a packed room now. Here is where some of the progressing circle pit action started to emerge, goaded by their hard hitting dual vocals and fast paced brutal guitars.

Core of iO mixed things up, being one of the first tech metal acts to grace the stage, with a hard heavy rock twist to stand out even further. They showered us with technical dynamic and intelligible sounds, and really showed off their impressive craftsmanship. To keep things well balanced vocalist/guitarist, Bob Tett injected some light hearted humour, commanding the stage even when not playing any music.

Technical melodic metal act The Five Hundred made a mighty return to Mammothfest audiences after opening the festival last year, supporting Textures. As before they got straight to the point, immediately asserting themselves with a very commanding stage presence and sound which was crushing, especially aided by evil demonic vocals from John Eley that soared and punished your eardrums. The crowd were very responsive, particularly during their well-known offering ‘Winters’, as well as treating us to an instant fan favourite with new song, ‘The Rush’ taken from their upcoming EP, ‘The Veil’.

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Seething Akira’s Mental Set captivated!

The biggest surprise and moment of the night came from electronic dub hard rock heroes, Seething Akira who managed to take crowd participation and energy to a whole new level. They brought the party with their massive mental dance sounds, with the crowd going absolutely wild, with impressive pits forming. It was a non-stop spectacle that had to be seen to be believed. Inspired by the mental antics, frontman Kit Cuntrad threw himself into the crowd, in what was one of the most memorable and thrilling moments of the day, with the crowd proudly holding him high. Everyone in the room was jumping, moshing or bouncing, not a single soul was stood still, a sign that they simple destroyed it. This is a band you need to witness live.


Another anticipated and triumphant return back to Mammothfest was from Bleed Again, a fresh modern metal act from the South Coast. The band delivered one of the most energetic and unrelenting sets of 2016, coming close to upstaging bigger acts. This time round they caused quite a commotion yet again with their massive melodic metal, forcing the crowd to jump and shout along during their entire set, living up to their expectations. They were missing their bass player but luckily had Seething Akira bassist, Richard Speaight to fill in. Unfortunately because of this they didn’t play some of their most dominating songs such as ‘Walk Through The Fire’ and ‘Through My Eyes’, but they did play many a crowd pleaser with songs taken from their upcoming debut album, ‘Momentum’, such as ‘Drowning In Dreams’ and latest song, ‘Decimate’. They end on a belter with ‘Icarus’ which the crowds knew and shouted in unison.

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Magna Carta – masters of the metal party anthems!

An explosive set came from Brighton based Metal/Drum ‘n’ Bass crossover act, Magna Carta who evolved from Collisions. Merging new members of other bands to bring their formidable new line-up, with James Hayball (ex Terrathorn) and Steve Dickson (the masked man in Meta-stasis as well as the man behind Mammothfest!). They opened up the dancefloor of metal madness, with endless pits and bouncing unity that left the whole room with an electrifying atmosphere. The perfect main support to get the crowds ready for the monstrous headliners…

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Headliners Feed The Rhino had the crowd on their knees!

When Feed The Rhino took to the stage, the rammed room suggested the crowd were eager and hungry for Rhino! From start to finish they didn’t let up, offering an hour of craziness and endless energy. Lead singer, Lee Tobin couldn’t contain himself, as he darted around the room and off the stage to get up close and personal with the fans. The band clearly were admired by the fans who awaited their return, and the band themselves revelled being at the forefront of this event, keeping their promise to play following their cancellation in 2015, and making it up to everyone beyond expectations. They delivered a brilliant headliner set and ended the day on an extremely intense yet insanely fun note.

This was a very successful start to the Mammothfest shows. For an all dayer the crowd were energetic and dedicated throughout, even early on in the day, highlighting the importance of such events and how strong the music scene is in Brighton. The atmosphere from the bands and the crowd was amazing, with everyone enjoying themselves and having a blast, especially aided by the newly launched debut of the Mammothfest cider, with the unveiling going down a treat, another proud moment and success the team can add to their list! Mammothfest is thriving and I’m sure the word will spread of the carnage and joy that was witnessed here and will continue at the upcoming shows.

http://www.mammothfest.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/MammothfestUK

Other Mammothfest events coming up:

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6th May: Mammothfest Presents: Brutality Will Prevail, Raging Speedhorn and more for Bleed Again’s album launch show. Tickets: https://mammothfest.uk/product/brutality-will-prevail-raging-speedhorn/

https://www.facebook.com/events/1887206484828538/

mammothfest poster line-up bleed again

6-8th October: Mammothfest main event – Fleshgod Apocalypse, Rotting Christ, Tsjuder, Lawnmower Deth, Dragged Into Sunlight, Meta-Stasis, OHHMS, Lagerstein, Bleed Again & more! Tickets: http://mammothfest.uk/STORE/

https://www.facebook.com/events/373113623072880/

#darkartconspiracy #metal #music #news