The sound of perseverance is what we can hear on this expedition to the far North West, as in this (submarine) backwater some local promoters have been endeavouring to keep a scene alive and breathing/screaming. Though through some ups and downs they can still assemble a quality line-up of underground extreme metal for a day and nights worth of entertainment.
Having enjoyed previous trips up here we were incentivised to go back hence getting on the road with refreshments before midday and after ensconcing ourselves in our Majestic accommodation we wandered back to the venue, an excellently sized and equipped social club (more welcoming than the nearby “Kill One”!?!), in perfect timing for the first band.
Not a great deal of folks in for this early afternoon kickoff but Manchester’s Wolfbastard don’t hold back anyway. Stripped down but charging d-beaten hardcore with the stench of death (metal) running through it, the lads are great entertainment, as is their jazz mag merch catalogue. Bit of a shift to a more metalcore approach next with Glass Houses, not particularly my thing but can still admire some skilled musicianship, especially the laid back/focussed bassist. Our hosts Repulsive Vision blast through their set of driving, punk influenced death metal, really marvel about how much variety they get into the short structures of their songs, much to appreciate on their forthcoming “Harmless Entertainment” album. Things move up another gear with Newcastle’s Horrified next, still in the death genre frame, but strikingly good in their execution, plus a really good harsh vocal tone. Late additions Scotland’s Scumpulse next mix things up a lot more, ending up somewhere in blackened crust stylings but they really have become an impressive and impactful live act since I first saw them a couple of years back. With seemingly less time in existence but still with a stunning level of crafted atmospheric heaviness are Conjurer, elements of black, doom, and hardcore all combined to an enthralling set that again has me looking forward to them having some release material. Yorkshire’s Burning Flag seem to take a little time to get into their flow but once up and running it’s something special indeed, harsh and intense dark punk that retains an irresistible groove, great entertainment
After such a consistently good battering take a breather to go and beat some dwarves up at a nearby supermarket and return to find Decrepid still in full flow. Death metal in a relentless, fast and furious fashion topped with a monotone growl it does sound a professional act and there’s no doubting the energy invested. No Sin Evades His Gaze throw us at a bit of a tangent again, with a pretty progressive take on metal grooves, can appreciate the variety even if the style is not for me. Speaking of tangents we rotate our focus (by this time, there was little…) to the “acoustic stage” half way up the venue for Iron Sea Wolf, and their acoustic folk punk with a good bit of fiddle stomping draws a gathering and lightens the mood. Preston thrashers Solitary fire things up again with a solid and storming set, reminding me favourably of the hi-energy of Testament, while still having their own take on the tried and trusted genre, getting them due respect and a good crowd response. We’re then left with Skelethal, the touring headliners over from France. And a splendid finish they provide, having a real strong riffing attack to their old school death metal mayhem, they too get great appreciation and seem to really enjoy themselves, as did I, despite being told to behave and maybe breaking my wrist, and throwing a drink over their merch list when discovering they’d sold out of vinyl. After quite an organisational break the survivors are treated to one of the best metal parties I’ve seen in ages, the possibly one-off appearance of Motorvision. This was the instrumental core of Repulsive Vision added to by loads of randomers and guests from the other bands to do a rip-roaring short but oh so sweet Motorhead cover set. It was a hilarious, chaotic, drunken, uplifting celebration; even the Bomber flew in for an appearance. The beaming smiles at the finish summed up what great fun the whole event had been and here’s hoping that the event is for from dead and buried for next year! I’m off to the Netherlands to recover…