Desertfest London 2016: Various Venues -Camden, UK

Desert fest london 2016 schedule ghostcultmag

Given that so many festivals are shutting up shop – Heavy Fest announced only last month it was closing down for good – it’s nice to see London hosting Desertfest for its fifth installment. Although its shed the Prog and Heavy Metal stages from last year, it’s still a glorious weekend of celebrating all things bong and Black Sabbath across some of the best venues in London’s Camden town.

 

Crowbar, by Jessica Lotti Photography

Crowbar, by Jessica Lotti Photography

 

Friday:

Friday night saw big name bands such as Corrosion of Conformity, Crowbar, Raging Speedhorn and JK Flesh (Justin K Broadrick of GODFLESH) join forces with lesser known but excellent bands like Lionize, Asteroid, Black Pussy, Guapo, Teeth of the Sea, Gurt and more.

 

Saturday

Saturday is opened hairy doomsters Poseidon, and they nearly rattle the Black Heart apart in the process. Their thick, monolithic slabs of reverberated riffs draw a decent crowd for so early in the day and probably shake out a few fillings in the process. Thought the vocals leave a little to be desired and the near-pitch black lighting means there’s little in the way of audience connection, it’s a pretty solid start to the day.

Counterblast, by Jessica Lotti Photography

Counterblast, by Jessica Lotti Photography

Taking on of the early stints at the Underworld, Counterblast are loud, abrasive, and largely joyless. One of the few bands to go for synths and a triple vocalist attack, Swedish quintet combine the sludge of early Mastodon with a crusty punk edge. There’s a lot going on, and it’s a challenging listen, but also rewarding if you stick it out.

UK four piece Telepathy are first instrumental group of the day, and the first to make an effort to engage with the audience during their set. Playing a decent mix of post-metal with doomy influences, they don’t let a torn drum skin spoil the show. A band with promise, but perhaps not enough quality material to sustain the whole set.

Conan, by Jessica Lotti Photography

Conan, by Jessica Lotti Photography

Over at the Electric Ballroom, Scouse purveyors of “caveman battle doom”, Conan, draw a massive crowd. It’s easy to see why; massive, grinding riffs, thunderous drums and plenty of chances to headbang. However, the pained screams of Jon Davis’ vocals are an acquired taste and if they’re not your cup of tea, it all quickly becomes a chore to watch.

It takes until the mid-afternoon and Dusteroid’s blend of heavy desert rock and spacey vocals before the afternoon takes a slightly more chilled direction. They’re the first band to lay the riffs on thick without approaching nosebleed-inducing levels of aggression.

Truckfighters by Jessica Lotti Photography

Truckfighters by Jessica Lotti Photography

If you take the fuzzy rock of Queens of the Stone Age and have it played by AC/DC’s Angus Young, you might be halfway to a Truckfighter’s live experience. Niklas “Dango” Källgren is easily the most energetic person at the festival, and not just because of what people have been smoking all day. Before the first song he’s already run across the stage a few times and thrown his shirt into the crowd, and once he’s strapped in he’s jumping, windmilling, playing solos behind his head, and throwing every kind of rockstar shape possible. Blessed as well with a good frontman in Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm, Truckfighter’s blend of big melodic rock with plenty of fuzz makes for one of the most entertaining shows of the day and is rewarded with an energised response from the Ballroom.

Pelican, by Jessica Lotti Photography

Pelican, by Jessica Lotti Photography

It’s not always easy for instrumental bands to not only fill a venue, but play music that grips the audience for the whole set. Pelican and Russian Circles, however, are two bands how have perfected the dark arts. Pelican play first, and their heavy take on progressive post metal is a delight. It’s got the grind to make you bang your head, but also the atmospherics to get lost in.

Russian Circles, by Jessica Lotti Photography

Russian Circles, by Jessica Lotti Photography

Russian Circles, despite having two less members than Pelican, make a lot more racket. Less proggy and chin-stroking in nature, but more direct and bigger on riffs, they act as the other side of good instrumental music. It might be quite as thoughtful, but it’s easier to mosh to. Both bands get rapturous applause between each song, and hardly a word has been said onstage for almost three hours between the two band’s sets. But it doesn’t matter. Epic bands don’t need to chat when they can create massive soundscapes.

At last year’s event, Manchester’s Ten Foot Wizard provided a surprise in one of the best sets of the weekend. And it’s no surprise that they do the same again this year. Having them close the tiny Devonshire Arms after the main headliners was an act of genius by the organizers. Shame that nearly the entire festival tried to cram into what was literally the back corner of a local boozer. 10FW know how to put on a good show; it’s sweaty, it’s fun – where else would you gets songs like ‘Turbo Dick’ (working title) or ‘King Shit of Fuck Mountain’? – and they know how to write a good rock tune. The mix of Clutch’s boogie with a touch of QOTSA-style guitars, plus a band who know how to rile up the throng in front of them, makes for a killer end to the day. Plus there’s a Theremin solo!

Sunday

If the Black Keys had balls and a sense of humour, they’d be a lot like Dyse. The German two-piece are on an early shift at the Underworld, but deliver a huge helping of rawkus rock and roll. Between each sweaty song, the audience are treated to a dry dose of humour; where else would you get a drummer singing Grandmaster Flash’s ‘The Message’ before diving in? Although not quite as alluring on record, live they are probably the best thing from Germany since Rammstein. Less fire though.

Over at the Black Heart, fellow German outfit The Moth lay on some decent heavy metal-inspired doom with some occasional ventures into more death/sludge territory. They can clearly write a meaty riff but live it all falls a bit flat.

Necro Deathmort are one of one the biggest oddities of the weekend. An electronic two-piece, their music is a strange mix of synths, vocal effects, and guitar distortion and reverb. It’s dark, haunting, and very introspective: the band don’t acknowledge the crowd or look up from the deck until the very end, when we’re treated to a little wave. It’s actually surprisingly very good, but at almost complete odds with everything else that’s playing this weekend; more like music to get lost to in a dark room than rock out in a large venue. Which might explain why it was so under-attended, which is a shame.

Elder,by Jessica Lotti Photography

Elder,by Jessica Lotti Photography

Over at the Koko, Elder couldn’t be more opposite to Necro Deathmort. The Boston, MA, boys are all about riffs, guitar solos and long psychedelic jams. They almost outshone John Garcia when supporting him in London last year, and have no trouble filling the big stage with their blend of 70s rock and big doom thunder. Of the six songs they manage to squeeze into their hour long set, we’re treated to a new one that definitely fits into the standard Elder mould. The crowd lap it up and this is clearly a big destined for more success.

It’s a shame to see the crowd thin out after Elder leave the stage, because they miss a treat in Trouble. Probably the oldest band in attendance – and occasionally showing their years with the cheesy moves – you won’t see better examples of twin guitar leads this side of Iron Maiden. Frontman Kyle Thomas, formally of thrash outfit Exhorder, has a great set of pipes on him and handle’s the band’s older material with ease. It’s hard to argue with classic such as ‘The Tempter’, ‘The Skull’, or ‘At the End of My Days’, while the new material have a real energy about it. The cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘Supernaut’ is a particular highlight.

Electric Wizard, by Jessica Lotti Photography

Electric Wizard, by Jessica Lotti Photography

Closing out the Koko and festival is the mighty Electric Wizard. Along with the likes of Orange Goblin and Kyuss, Dorset’s finest worshipped Sabbath long before it became cool, and have spent 20-odd years honing their brand of satanic, psychedelic, druggie bliss. Played to a background of 70s exploitation skin flicks, frontman Jus Oborn snarls his way through the more modern epics like ‘Witchcult Today’, ‘Dunwich’, ‘Satanic Rites of Drugula’, ‘Black Masses’ and of course a handful from 2000’s magnum opus, Dopethrone. The band have changed little on the whole over the years, and each track is and ode to zoning out and wallowing in a fug of massive riffs. There’s no encore, and nothing from their upcoming but untitled new album. But it’s still a hell of a closing act, and one of par with Sleep’s closing set from last year.

The crowd Electric Wizard, by Jessica Lotti Photography

The crowd Electric Wizard, by Jessica Lotti Photography

 

Electric Wizard, by Jessica Lotti Photography

Electric Wizard, by Jessica Lotti Photography

It’s been a great weekend that showed off some of the best Britain has to offer when it comes to dirty stoner, epic doom and everything between. Roll on next year.

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WORDS BY DAN SWINHOE

PHOTOS BY JESSICA LOTTI PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Housecore Horror Festival III: Part 2- San Antonio, TX

Housecore Horror Fest

On Saturday we were running a little late to the venue for Housecore Horror Festival III. I made it just in time to catch most of NAILS’ set, most of which Todd Jones was visibly displeased the entire time. While dozens of kids could be spotted wearing their hardcore and metal shirts all around San Antonio, the floor of the theater was lightly peppered with kids there to watch the band. Coupled with the fact that there was little to no moshing, or just overall lack of general mayhem during their caustic performance, it was leaving a bad taste in Jones’ mouth.

Nails, by Emma Parsons Photography

Nails, by Emma Parsons Photography

Catching only snippets of Poison Idea and Crippled Bastards, we jumped over to see Providence, RI power-violence group Dropdead. Seeing our fellow New Englanders in the south was cool. Dropdead are here with a message, and that message hasn’t changed, nor will it ever; says singer Bob Otis. Otis is also the main lyricist and mouthpiece of the group, and he made a speech about animal cruelty and corporate greed. The group wants you to leave their shows informed, if anything. After getting crushed by Crowbar, then sped back up again by Negative Approach, we close in on the headliners of the night , Corrosion of Conformity, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, and New York’s own Suffocation.

Dropdead, by Emma Parsons Photography

Dropdead, by Emma Parsons Photography

Phil Anselmo gives a backrub to Pepper Keenan of COC, by Emma Parsons Photography

Phil Anselmo gives a backrub to Pepper Keenan of COC, by Emma Parsons Photography

COC, back with Pepper Keenan at the helm, had a setlist full of classic tunes ending with ‘Clean My Wounds’. Jesus then showed up to clean the crowds wounds and sung with Pepper, followed by stage diving off both ends of the stage to “bless” the theater. To the untrained eye, ANB look like four people standing around waiting for something to happen. But as soon at the lights dim and the projector flashes their name, the audible noise of our butt holes tightening with excitement shadowed the opening notes of the set. It was strangely entertaining to see such a large stage completely devoid of a drum kit, yet welcome.

Suffocation, by Emma Parsons Photography

Suffocation, by Emma Parsons Photography

Suffocation began much like that of ANB, a few people standing on stage waiting for the go ahead amidst sound checking. Once the OK was given, the lights go down and the grindcore onslaught began. Shortly before the small tour they embarked on leading to Texas, the Suffo guys asked the fans what songs they wanna hear in an online poll, and boy did they deliver. From classics to more recent jams, few songs were spared. A love song, ‘Entrails of You’,  seemingly penned by Ed Gein himself for a long since passed lover was a highlight.

Agoraphobic Nosebleed, by Emma Parsons Photography

Agoraphobic Nosebleed, by Emma Parsons Photography

Agoraphobic Nosebleed, by Emma Parsons Photography

Agoraphobic Nosebleed, by Emma Parsons Photography

Agoraphobic Nosebleed, by Emma Parsons Photography

Agoraphobic Nosebleed, by Emma Parsons Photography

Sunday Funday! Day three of the festival and the wear and tear is starting to show on just about everyone, but spirits remain high. Maybe they were just waiting for the headliners or even just to hang out and shop upstairs at the booths in the convention floor. By the way I got a great haul of shirts, patches, and the god-like Boss HM-2 guitar pedal; the most Swedish of all metal pedals! The fest had great vendors with booths both local and internationally based. Often times it was hard to traverse due to hall size and all the people, but with a little courtesy and sucking in of the gut, the metal head marches on! After being preoccupied with a handful of other tasks and waiting in lines, I got to chit-chat with horror film legend Mr. Bill Mosley for a bit before heading back over to the stage,

Author And Punisher, by Emma Parsons Photography

Author And Punisher with Muscle And Marrow, by Emma Parsons Photography

 

Author And Punisher, by Emma Parsons Photography

Author And Punisher, by Emma Parsons Photography

Next up was the barrage that is Author & Punisher. Tristan Shone was joined onstage by tour mates Muscle and Marrow for a song, but was mostly accompanied by projections and skewed video segments. They were followed by YOB who were flawless, even with a sick Mike Schiedt. Had he not told me himself that he was ill, I’d have never known.

YOB, by Emma Parsons Photography

YOB, by Emma Parsons Photography

YOB, by Emma Parsons Photography

YOB, by Emma Parsons Photography

Shortly after YOB’s set I caught up with Mike to have a chat and we found ourselves at Whataburger a block away. We got to talking about touring, music and the state of metal. We discussed the weekend so far and previous tours they had been on, and our mutual love and admiration for Neurosis. In short Mike was my own personal Yoda for an hour and I couldn’t have been happier. Next I briefly checked out Autopsy and Incantation and while both are awesome and historic in their own right, at this stage of the game I was so tired every thing was blurring together tonally. Old school death metal just wasn’t for me that night. To close out the weekend Dawn Of The Dead was screened with the live film score to accompany the film performed by Goblin. Unfortunately by this time it was getting close to midnight, and the walk to the hotel was getting longer. My hotel bed was actually starting to look comfy.

Phil Anselmo watches the bands on stage at Housecore Horror Fest III, by Emma Parsons Photography

Phil Anselmo watching bands from the stage at Housecore Horror Fest III, by Emma Parsons Photography

The long trip was totally worth it, and I’m very honored to have gone and shared this weekend with both the bands, the fans, and fellow metal heads. Thanks to the staff of The Aztec Theater for being both friendly caring, and above all professional. Lastly every one behind the scenes working with Philip Anselmo to put the Housecore Horror Festival III together.

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HCHF III REVIEW PART 1

WORDS BY ANDREW FRANCIS

PHOTOS BY EMMA PARSONS PHOTOGRAPHY

Festival Preview: Philip Anselmo’s Housecore Horror Festival III

Housecore Horror Fest

Philip H. Anselmo, metal legend and horror film aficionado puts on his third annual Housecore Horror Festival this weekend, in San Antonio, Texas. Kicking off tomorrow night with a pre-party, the fest runs all weekend at The Aztec Theater and The Korova venues, as well as at the Holiday Inn Riverwak Hotel from November 12th to 15th.  Ghost Cult Magazine will be there to capture all the action.

One of the best, and deepest lineups in the history of the fest, this year’s talents with such immense talents as King Diamond, Anselmo’s own Superjoint, Goblin, YOB, Exodus, Suffocation, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Autopsy, Incantation, Corrosion of Conformity (with Pepper Keenan), EyeHateGod, Crowbar, Poison Idea, Nails, Zombi, Black Breath and many more from across all genres of heavy music.

King Diamond. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

King Diamond. Photo Credit: KevinEstrada.com

In addition to the concert portion there will a screening of 80 underground and legendary horror films from some of the greats as well as up and coming directors in the genre. Some of the films will come from Phil’s personal collection and he is sure to be on hand to lend a word or ten on the matter. There will be celebrity panels, signings, and vendors galore as well. Special guests include GWAR’s Don Drakulich aka “Sleazy P. Martini” who will host a special screening of Skulhedface and a secret bonus film that GWAR fans won’t want to miss, a onetime screening of cult classic, Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things with original cast members Alan Ormsby and Anya Cronin in attendance, a premiere of a never-before-seen short film from Coffin Joe, the world premiere of the controversial, massacre-ridden American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock, a special director’s cut of zombie-Viking-black metal-biker film, Saga, starring Ted Skelljum of black metal icons Darkthrone and a an appearance by iconic bodybuilding champion/actor/ songwriter/

Superjoint, by OJC Pics/Omar Cordy

Superjoint, by OJC Pics/Omar Cordy

screenwriter/musician, Jon Mikl Thor, who will be screening his new documentary followed by a performance on The Korova stage. Additional special guests include comedian Dave Hill from the Metal Grasshopper films, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 star Bill Moseley, president of Unearthed Films/producer of the American Guidea Pig Series Stephen Biro, world renowned tattoo artist Paul Booth and more! For a detailed 2015 film screening list visit: http://housecorehorrorfilmfestival.com/films.

Housecore Horror Fest Aztec Theater Day-To-Day Lineup:


Friday, November 13th
Doors at 5:00 pm

Child Bite – 5:30 – 6:00
Warbeast – 6:15 – 6:55
Eyehategod – 7:15 – 8:00
Exodus – 8:20 – 9:05
Superjoint – 9:25 – 10:10
King Diamond – 10:30 – 12:15

Saturday, November 14th
Doors at 1:30 pm
Gasmiasma – 2:00 – 2:30
Nails – 2:45 – 3:20
Poison Idea – 3:35 – 4:15
Cripple Bastards – 4:30 – 5:10
Dropdead – 5:25 – 6:05
Crowbar – 6:25 – 7:10
Negative Approach – 7:30 – 8:15
Corrosion of Conformity – 8:35 – 9:25
Agoraphobic Nosebleed – 9:45 – 10:35
Suffocation – 11:00 – 12:00

Sunday, November 15th
Doors at 1:30 pm
Muscle And Marrow – 2:00 – 2:30
Gristnam – 2:45 – 3:15
Author & Punisher – 3:40 – 4:20
YOB – 4:40 – 5:30
Ghoul – 5:50 – 6:35
Zombi – 7:00 – 7:50
Incantation – 8:10 – 9:00
Autopsy – 9:20 – 10:20
Goblin (Dawn Of The Dead live score) – 10:45 – end

HOUSECORE HORROR FESTIVAL The Korova Day-To-Day Lineup:


Thursday, November 12th – Preparty!
Doors at 6:30 pm

Aggravator – 7:00 – 7:45
Protest – 8:00 – 8:45
The Black Moriah – 9:00 – 9:45
Black Breath – 10:00 – 10:45
Idolatry – 11:00 – 12:00

Friday, November 13thvember 13th

Doors at 12:00 pm

Butcher – 12:30 – 1:00
Bloodfuckers – 1:15 – 1:45
Fat Stupid Ugly People – 2:00 – 2:30
Hellshock – 2:50 – 3:30
Valdur – 12:30 – end

SATURDAY, November 14th

Saturday, November 14th

Doors at 5:30 pm

Krigblast – 6:00 – 6:30
Kill it Again – 6:50 – 7:30
Classhole – 7:50 – 8:30
Ossacrux – 8:50 – 9:30
The Unnaturals – 9:50 – 10:30
Thor – 10:50 – 11:30
Fang – 11:50 – 12:25
Disfigured – 12:40 – end

Sunday, November 15th
Doors at 7:00 pm

Los Revolucionarios – 7:40 – 8:15
Honky – 8:40 – 9:30
Big Okie Doom – 9:50 – 10:30
Mountain Of Wizard – 10:50 – 11:40
Hellknife – 12:00 – end

Get tickets for Housecore Horror Fest III here:

Housecore Horror Fest on Facebook

Housecore Horror Fest on Twitter

The Aztec Theater online

The Korova Theater online