Kicking off Temples Festival with a torrid mix of grind and punk Teef are a rude awakening. Sadly the shrieking of their vocalist is only appropriate during the more intense moments with several mediocre riffs tempering what should have ignited the blue touch paper. Oblivionized are much better. Nasty atonal riffs á la Discordance Axis, the Londoners bash through relentless cuts from their ‘Life Is A Struggle, Give Up’ platter in a fashion which forces early comers to take note or die.
The second band in the second stage were Leeds based grinders The Afternoon Gentlemen. Unperturbed by waiting for the displaced Young And In The Way to conclude their set on the main stage they managed to bring their own brand of party atmosphere. The massive bouncy energy of the band transferring into an enthusiastic crowd with ease. Crowd surfers were present very early on as well as paramedics. The Yorkshiremen Pummeled the crowd with song after song playing some newer tracks from the record they have coming out later this year. Grind is one of those genre’s that has to be done right and the ‘Gents certainly do it right but their performance struggles to hold the attention of the audience with many drifting away towards the end of the set.
Enabler are a revelation. Taking to the stage displaying a terrifying ferocity, they receive a huge reception from the crowd. A particularly potent mix of hardcore with a large side helping of metal. The second they started like a kick to the gut and it was immediately obvious they weren’t here to mess about, and the audience knew it. This was an impassioned performance which was quite incredible to watch. In a festival with no shortage of amazing bands Enabler proved to be a real highlight.
Deathwish signees’ Harm’s Way deliver their pulverising metallic hardcore to an appreciative small crowd. Brusing mosh fodder which won’t change the world but can certainly help work up a sweat.
Most of us rarely start a festival by being told to fuck off, but for those of us that headed over to catch an early set by blackened crusters Young and in the Way, that’s exactly how Temples 2015 kicked off. While many wouldn’t dare insult the fans, it fit perfectly into their take no prisoners sound. Those squeezing themselves into the tiny third for a dose of filth from the New Zealanders Meth Drinker were treated to a wall of slow gnarly distortion.
Trap Them’s first UK show in four years is heralded with unbridled enthusiasm and the group reciprocates every last bit of energy they receive, delivering a watertight set of no bullshit brutality. Numbers from ‘Darker Handcraft’ eventuate intensity and unhinged aggression. Seering filth encrusted riffage and brutal blasts see the main stage temperature rising to fever pitch.\\
Sacramento’s Will Haven punish the main stage with Grady Avenell cutting an intimidating figure onstage.The dissonant groove of ‘Fresno’ ignites a thunderous response with material from new EP Open The Mind To Discomfort getting a good airing alongside juicy cuts from the quintet’s stellar back catalogue. Sheer unbridled aggression tempered with the eerie melodies conjured by Jeff Irwin and Anthony Paganelli ensure this performance is nothing short of enthralling.
Ramping up the speed again, Magrundergrind whipped up the festival crowd as beer cans were replaced with people being thrown through the air. With the songs averaging just a minute apiece there was plenty of time to cram in the crowd pleasers. Eight hundred bruises and a sore neck later, we’re pretty sure that was a good time… if only we could think past all the concussion.
Nails may have been the more extreme proposition but Weedeater were no less deranged. Frontman Dixie looks truly unhinged, his cross-eyed forty-yard stare burning holes in the crowd while Travis Owens pounds his kit mercilessly with style, even showboating with his sticks without missing a beat. Resin tinged anthems like ‘Gimmie Back My Bullets’ provide more than enough material for those who the motto ‘tune low, play slow’ is a way of life.
It quickly became apparent that songs about “people who talk fucking shit,” is a mantra for Californian based Nails. Repeated before most tracks, it quickly turned into a bit of light comedy relief, which was welcome as the band were on devastating form that evening churning out track after track of ground-shakingly heavy grinding. Despite their popularity, Nails sound feels more at home in a grimy basement cellar, and seeing them on such a large stage just didn’t seem to translate as well as it should have. The same could not be said for Pig Destroyer. Heading out for the first of their two sets that weekend they threw the crowd into the nastiest cuts of grindcore from their collection. Members of the crowd who had any space to breath could count themselves lucky as the room dissolved into a crushed mass of bodies. The sacrifice? Flailing limbs and flying bodies: wherever you stood it was a slaughterhouse.
Who knew metalcore could fit in so well in this line-up. While the genre may have a bad reputation among doom fans, Converge are providing a lifeline to the genre with their powerful and energetic performance. Twisting the wires round his throat and clasping his head, front man Jacob Bannon seems endearingly honest performance backed by their abrasive, twisting backing. Converge proved that twenty-five years of performing is no excuse not to pull out a blindingly energetic set.
A rare UK outing for Bongzilla ensures the outdoor stage is packed despite impressive opposition from Boston trailblazers Converge. Dealing in the kind of lumbering riffs that revel in their atavistic primitively, they’re the idea doom act to close a darkened stage with their Neanderthal low end anthems. Undeterred by the completion, the Wisconsin act delivers a herculean performance of Sabbathian might which while somewhat myopic in is focus, remains a potent high which concludes day one in style.
WORDS: ROSS BAKER, CAITLIN SMITH & RICH PRICE