Only a day for me at this year’s annual local gathering of holiday camp based shenanigans, so I had to work really hard on condensing my drinking and socialising to a background of heavy music to a narrow window between midday and four in the morning.
Started on a high though with openers on the second stage, Callus. I thought the name was familiar and had in fact played alongside them up in their home area of Lancaster a while back, but they certainly struck home with a force this time. Helped by the excellent loud sound here the progressive and groovy thrash was hard hitting and inventive, and certainly earned them lots of plaudits from the early-ish risers.
First trip to main stage with the attractively (to me) named Fit For An Autopsy but this was more -core than death- metal, over from the States. It was polished and professionally delivered but not really my cup of vodka.
Local heroes Redwood Avenue (above) had garnered support for their slot back on the second stage, and were obviously and rightly super-chuffed to be playing something so big on their doorstep. Again, there was lots to appreciate in their strong performance but stylistically the nu-metal heavy/soft was not for me. I had also found myself under the bad influence of Scouse ladies and back here for Jukebox Monkey (below) next, which wouldn’t have been my thing at all if I’d judged in advance, but turned out to be some great stoner rock from down south, perhaps suiting my mellowing tastes as the day wore on. Great, varied riffing and an excellent vocalist gave a really solid show.
Though to the main stage for a reunion with British thrash mentalists Acid Reign (above). Though they’ve been reformed just a few years back their attempt to play here last year failed through transport disasters so I think this was my first time seeing them in decades since the good old days of Wrexham Memorial Hall. And they were probably even better, re-energised with vocalist H an absolute blur around and off the stage, added to tight as the proverbial playing from the old men. With hilarious interaction and empathy with the crowd it was a proper celebration and reminder of all that’s good about the UK underground, long may they continue (again!).
Time to slow things down with a dose of doom, first catching Death The Leveller, from Ireland. Only a three-piece again but created some pretty huge sombre riffing with a gothic, deathly undercurrent. A real vibe achieved through their performance, me and a lot of the crowd gathered suitable entranced.
Limb (below), from London, I had last seen some five years back (see review) but the memories came back strong as they lurched through their filthy swamp of riffing, sample laden and insistent sludgy grooves. Really great level of impact and churning, head melting in a good way.
Bit of a bad clash then with the quality blackened thrash of the Americans Goatwhore providing the opening of the touring package which had handily filled the top of the bill this evening on the main stage. I’d seen them before and got enough of a flavour of their dark intensity before doing the right thing (seeing as they’d got me into the event) and going to see OHHMS (also below). They were already well into their doomy flow, frontman Paul already lost in his strange dream world of anguished Sabbath-esque freakout, while the powerful nod-inducing riffing kicked on behind. Among the many-faceted doom scene they really are doing something interesting, intangible, majical.
Not sure what happened for a bit then (spells must have been cast), but only caught the very end of tech death metallers Obscura on the main stage before settling in for headliners Sepultura (below and top). Ten years since they headlined the first Hammerfest in Prestatyn, resulting in a broken rib for me during “Troops of Doom”, and they are still going strong. Unlike me. While they are plugging their new (hence unfamiliar) album “Machine Messiah” they mix it with their extensive back catalogue of heavy thrash and tribal rhythms. While not quite as stunning as their gig at the Live Rooms in Chester a year or two back it still a powerful force of twisted nature, and I love them for finishing with “Arise”. Pirate metal action with Red Rum to finish at the second stage is always a good idea but then they only inspire to “Make Port Drink Port” which I interpret as head back to the caravan and finished getting sunk. Job done, the usually high party standards from friends from near and far alike, long may that continue too.