[pictures – lorraine peaker]
Well back to Manchester again, as the post festival autumn always seems ripe with busy touring bands, and my return this is city is practically on autopilot after all these decades of nipping up the M56 and back. I wasn’t entirely sure about this one with the filthy (metal) Yorkshire types of Vallenfyre going to be at Damnation Festival in November, but the prospect of seeing them a bit more up close here at Rebellion won me over. And very glad I was with my decision too.
Still a reasonable turnout for a Monday night and pretty soon after arrival Oldham’s finest Wolfbastard roared into life. When I caught them before they had singer Joe but he has left the pack to look after his own cub so now they are down to a three-piece (by their own admission “the same fat bastards from Burial playing different songs”). Doesn’t detract from their intense performance though, of blackened d-beat terrorism. Some superb intense drumming barrels along their stripped down songs, shared harsh vocals and a tongue in cheek delivery as opposed to the normal po-face black metal misery. They have a new album in the works that will hopefully capture this beast.
Didn’t know Implore before this gig and resisted the bass/vocalist trying to sell me their as-yet-unreleased album while I was scouting the merch. They were an absolute revelation though and the impact of the show took me right back to buy it. Hailing from Germany though with roots even more widespread they ticked the crossover boxes for a whole lot of stuff that I adore, crust, grind, hardcore and death. Not without melody, and phenomenal drumming again always a key to a band hitting home, literally. Delivered with a real furious passion by their frontman, resplendent with Lemmy chops, (engaging in spitting duels with his bandmates and himself too) the shifting dynamics within the raging riffing really gave it a load of hooks in spite of the unfamiliar material. I think it wasn’t only me in this boat as after a quiet opening they were definitely winning more over by the end. “Subjugate” is the album due any day now, featuring a track with a guest vocal from Gregor Vallenfyre too, though he didn’t join them tonight.
Saving himself for their own show maybe, as he later admitted his voice getting ruined only a couple of nights into the tour as they were. It’s not his main job, he has had more of a career as Paradise Lost’s guitarist but now onto their third album (“Fear those who fear him”) this side project has a rotten life of its own. With side screens and smoke swathed stage it’s an atmospheric gradual opening to their set, doom laden riffs to before the beats kick in and they deliver their old school infused death hardcore. Also a surprise to see the front man shaved of his signature long dreads, instead sporting a short Mohawk and emphasising the core of that Discharge running through their attack. Their collective tone is something absolutely that I savour, chronic down-tuned filth, a monstrously dark sewer dwelling thing. They’ve gone beyond simple HM2 worship by apparently getting new custom made refined versions to deliver the “Left Hand Wrath”, love it. They have a battering mix of songs old and new (including a 40 second one, which apparently they tried to make shorter), a true rumbling and crushing onslaught, but brilliantly off-set by Gregor’s hilarious banter. Dead-pan and miserable, bemoaning chavs, ex-wives, politicians and his bandmates, it is a star turn that has the place in stitches I enjoy the whole thing so much I can’t wait to see them again in November, which is a rare accolade for bands where I’m always looking for new experiences.