riffer

The first Riffer had been in the giddy days of spring and was an integral part of the lead up to the ‘Kin Hell Fest weekend, so although the former had been a great party the ultimate failure of the latter in the numbers game had left the place and the scene somewhat saddened.  How great then that the return of this all-dayer format should have swept away all that past away in a tsunami of shit-mix drinks, an awesome selection of underground bands, and eye-watering stupidity/hilarity.

clentsch

Didn’t really start on the best footing personally as my solo trek over was somewhat delayed due to me being quite smashed through an impromptu night before out in Bangor, but I dragged myself up and over the Pennines eventually.  Then took the sensible move of getting something to eat with my friends who I was staying with before getting to the venue, a rehearsal room / stage space in the industrial areas on the south side of the city.  Even at this early afternoon hour there’s a good gathering already, but we’ve missed one band entirely, the black metal of Forneous.  Caught the last couple of songs from Clentsch (above) though, and that definitely was enough to leave me wanting more.  The three-piece were playing down on the floor instead of on the stage, all the better for impact as they played some intense, brooding sludgy hardcore.  The full sesh from Pist next, hailing from Manchester way.  As their name suggests there’s a real swagger and stagger to their heavily distorted grooves, good humoured and another celebration of filthy riffing.  They’ve got gigs coming at both Hard Rock Hell and Hammerfest over in North Wales so be sure to check them out.  Hardships from over this way somewhere were somewhat of a revelation next, unknown to me but credit to organiser Paul for picking a good eclectic mix as ever.  Super-fast paced metallic hardcore delivered with real venom, there’s a large slice of Slayer in there too with spazzout solos and atmospheric South-of Heaven style breakdowns.  Much enjoyed.  A shift of headspace next with Envoys, pushing the progressive metal boundaries for all they are worth.  Made a big impact on me with an early day sesh at a previous Kin Hell Fest and they are still as focused as ever.  They are uncompromising in their own way, in that you need patience to be absorbed into the drift of the tides of their tunes, but you still find yourself being hooked by their fiercer outbursts.  Speaking of ferocity, Liber Necris deliver it in spades.  Had seen and been impressed by their sharp, blistering, blackened death at a gig over here a few years back but they seem even more honed in their harshness now.  I’m reminded favourably of the refined brutality of Anaal Nathrakh but without the trad metal light relief.  Time to punk it up a bit now, with Satanic Malfunctions (from Scarborough) who are old school but new to me.  In fact it was an interesting surprise to see them added to next year’s Obscene Extreme line-up after their announcement here so obviously they are held in respect.  And when they played I could see how very well they would be suited to the madness over there, as their hardcore is unleashed in speedy blasts, edging into grind territory, with a wild-eyed singer machine-gunning the lyrics out.  Pick up their new album “Them”.  I remember when Nu Pogodi used to be a punk band but now in the final stages of their evolution (sadly they are winding up soon) they are pretty full on grind onslaught.  (Everyone blame the {superbly mulletted} drummer!)  This is no bad thing though, as their explosive thrashing is face-meltingly wonderful, the vocal interchanges relentless and impassioned.  They will be missed but hopefully new projects will spring from the fertile ground they leave behind.

sloth

Just when you things can’t get worse we have Sloth Hammer (above).  I’d describe them as a drum and bass band as those instruments are definitely at the core of their ultra heavy doom experimentalism, but you could also call them a theatre troupe as the layers of insanity that are piled on top of that are just head reeling.  The whole things is pretty much one huge ad lib song but the layers of samples and electronic noise plus the two front men, suited , balaclava-ed and Giallo gloved are a horrific prospect.  This is off-set by actually crying with laughter at one of them being dragged corpselike through the crowd, or Rob from Foetal Juice having his head crushed in a “Wet Floor” sign like some low budget Silent Hill extra.  As ever, an experience.  If we were looking for a return to semi-normality it was never going to come from Scouser’s Neuroma.  As noted at their recent show at the all-dayer over in Liverpool, they are back with a bloody vengeance now, and really at the top of their game in sick gut-slamming death metal.  Proper insistent rhythms and catchy breaks, with the added joy of their hilarious titles and inter-song banter.

forest

Having just missed them at Damnation festival in the knowledge I could relax and see them here, we are drawn in to the dark of A Forest of Stars (above).  A gothic orchestral ensemble, with epic gloomy twisted tunes but very adept at building to some supreme black metal heaviness within their progressive structures.  Particularly hypnotically stunning is second track “Raven’s Eye View” with the relentlessly thundering drums blending into a whirling flute loop, the whole vision and visionary scope held in the clawed hand of the seemingly  magikally possessed frontman.  They have ultimately soothed us with an uneasy calm before the storm as three members of Neuroma then return to close the evening out with their colleagues in Crepitation (below).  I’d seen these years ago but was not prepared for the sheer madness that erupted now with their goregrind mess.  Yes, all the survivors in the crowd were as much to blame for the stupid and hilarious mess that ensued, and inflatables and party cannons ruled, but there was such an awesome feral power to their vicious two vocalist , like the good old days of ENT meets someone like Inhume.  Fair play for them and the organisers for bringing the no holds barred party flavour of OEF to this little corner of Leeds, its experience and quality that is appreciated and makes for a great day/night all round, many more please.  Just let me have a little lie down for a bit…

crepitation