FESTIVAL REVIEW: Damnation Festival 2022 Live at BEC Arena Manchester


Crowd at Damnation – Credit: Rich Price Photography

Following the highly successful 2021 post-lockdown return of Damnation Festival to Leeds University, 2022 sees the event move back to its original home city of Manchester, now expanded to take place in the 6000-capacity BEC Arena.

 

The move, whilst probably inevitable, was always going to be something of a gamble. Some of the smaller rooms at the Leeds, Damnation were getting dangerously crammed, and the festival’s repute, ticket-buying demand, and band-booking clout had outgrown its former venue. But, on the other hand, many had come to regard the Leeds University Union, for all its quirks and eccentricities, as Damnation’s home.

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FESTIVAL REVIEW: Muddy Roots Festival 2022 – Live at Junebug Boogie Ranch


 

For more than a decade, music fans have gathered at the Junebug Boogie Ranch in Cookeville, Tennessee for the Muddy Roots Festival. An aggressively DIY event, Muddy Roots celebrates Punk, Roots, Metal, Folk, and just about everything in between.Continue reading


FESTIVAL REVIEW: ArcTanGent Festival 2022 Live at Fernhill Farm – Bristol UK


 

Having steadily grown since its inception in 2013, ArcTanGent Festival’s 2022 event is a three-day, five-stage (plus single-stage warm-up day) outdoor affair showcasing a curated lineup of over 120 metal, rock and alternative artists with a focus on post-rock, progressive and experimental styles. 2022 marks the return of ArcTanGent to Fernhill Farm near Bristol following the inevitable cancellation of the previous two years’ festivals.

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FESTIVAL REVIEW: ROADBURN 2022 – Part 2


Rejoicing still in the simple fact we can have a physical Roadburn again, the final two days definitely wore on our pandemic shocked psyche and physique. Stumbling more and wearing down in a way I’m not used to, I mentioned to some friends during the weekend the Pandemic has made us all old, and 5 days on our feet now feel a lot longer. Saturday started with the feeling it felt like a Sunday, traditionally called the afterburner, because by that time you are fairly burnt out.

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FESTIVAL REVIEW: ROADBURN 2022 – Part 1


After three years of waiting and longing, finally there will be an in person Roadburn Festival again. While the 2021 online edition Roadburn Redux, was in itself, innovative and the best digital festival I’ve seen set up during the dark days of the pandemic, nothing beats being physically shaken by bass heavy music and hugging friends from all over the world you only see once a year.

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FESTIVAL REVIEW: DesertFest London 2022 – Various Venues


Desertfest, GloomyLightsPhotography

2022 is a special year for desert rock / stoner rock / doom metal extravaganza Desertfest London. The event, which takes place across multiple venues in and around Camden and has become a mainstay of the UK heavy music scene, was cancelled in 2020 for obvious reasons and then rescheduled as a special 10-year anniversary event for 2021. Inevitably, the 2021 festival was again cancelled, so the 2022 edition is not only the first Desertfest London for three years, but also a chance to celebrate in earnest a “Decade in the Desert”.

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FESTIVAL REVIEW: Damnation Festival 2021- Live at Leeds University


In the time since its 2005 inception Damnation Festival has grown to into a four-stage affair that has become a mainstay of the UK metal scene. 2021’s festival on 6th November was significant for a number of reasons. Firstly, it marked the event’s return after a year off due to COVID restrictions. Secondly, it sold out in record time; as soon as the UK government announced the end of all restrictions (back in March), all tickets were swept up within a matter of weeks. Thirdly, the lineup had to be dramatically changed, with many major international acts such as Wolves in the Throne Room and Pig Destroyer having to have their appearances cancelled due to then-ongoing uncertainty surrounding travel restrictions. Fourthly and finally, 2021’s Damnation marked the end of its 14-year tenure at Leeds University: 2022’s festival will return to Manchester (where it first took place for two years) at a larger arena venue.

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FESTIVAL REVIEW: Riot Fest 2021: Live at Douglass Park


One of the titans of the North American summer Music Festival season is Riot Fest, and we were damn glad to see it come back strong in 2021. Especially after Lollapalooza did such bang up numbers coming back, and kept the safety methods strongto minimize the effects of the pandemic, you knew Riot Fest was going to go hard, and bring it big time. Even with the departures from the lineup of Nine Inch Nails, Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, and others, it was as stacked a lineup as the fest has ever had. If you’ve ever been to Riot Fest, Lollapalooza, Coachella or any other festival, you’ve witnessed the power of live music bringing people together. At Riot Fest 2021, we learned that even a global pandemic is no match for a community this passionate and devoted. What makes Riot Fest particularly special, though, is the integration of bands and artists from several generations, and the consequent mingling of their fans. Whether you’re twelve or sixty years old, there’s someone on the lineup for you.

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FESTIVAL REVIEW: Bloodstock Open Air 2021 Part 1



We’re back!

Sure, we might be having to follow a series of new Coronavirus safety protocols which may or not become a regular thing for live shows, but we’re back. And judging by the size of the opening day crowds spilling out from the main entrance, car parks and campsites, not a moment too soon. Since its inception Bloodstock Open Air has always attracted early birds who like nothing more than to arrive long before the gates even open, but this time feels different. Everyone seems to be here early. Coiled springs desperate for release. The festival’s twentieth anniversary isn’t just a celebration of metal this year, it’s a genuine escape.

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Bloodstock Festival: Day Three – Catton Hall, UK


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As the final day of Bloodstock 2015 begins, it is once again with the shock of no sign of rain once again. Someone, somewhere must have made some kind of sacrifice to some form of deity to ward off the rain and giving perfect sunshine for the entire weekend. No doubt the usual washout day will rear its head again next year, but for today, there is plenty of heavy metal to enjoy.

Kicking off proceedings for the day is one very annoying clash between atmospheric black metaller’s Agalloch on the main stage and British heavy metal masters Triaxis, who reward the rammed Sophie Tent by assuredly knocking the cobwebs of people’s hangovers away with a spectacular showcase of straightforward but massively enjoyable metal. New cuts like ‘Liberty’ and ‘Death Machine’ prove just as immediate and strong as fan-favourites like ‘Black Trinity’ as they show just why they one of the brightest lights on the British metal scene today, as today’s set feels hugely triumphant. The same can’t quite be said for the following The Izuna Drop who’s electronica bass drop tinged sounds are interesting in principle but doesn’t translate well today as a thin, curious crowd quickly empties even further.

For all the critics of the modern day incarnation of Sepultura (WAH! THERES NO MAX CAVALERA ITS NOT SEPULTURA!) they’re overlooking three important factors: Firstly Derrick Green has been a part of the band by now longer than Max ever was. Secondly the band that they are today is a very different beast to the Max incarnation; yes they play the hits like ‘Roots Bloody Root’ and ‘Refuse/Resist’ but with a somewhat different tone to those days. And thirdly, they still pack a hell of a punch, giving a strong, somewhat safe set with very few surprises (other than a brand new song aired) but one that is never less exciting than before, as the main stage crowd gives a huge response, especially to those aforementioned hits.

The likes of Agalloch and Belphegor may have suffered some of their atmospherics due to the sunshine on the main stage, so its fortunate for Saille that they perform to a darker, more intense Sophie tent, where their brooding, melodic brand of black metal is allowed its full impact. Mostly static but full of intensity, their vivid tales inspired but the likes of H.P. Lovecraft proof menacing but so captivating, and they have surely made a tonne of new friends in this instance.

You always know what you’re going to get with Cannibal Corpse, from the bludgeoning barrage of their music to the recognisable stage introductions (“This song is about shooting blood from your cock”) but it never withers in intensity, and today they are as strong and reliant as ever. The staggering amount of crowd surfers during this set tells you how well they have gone down today, and why they are such a firm live favourite.

It may be hot outside, it may be the evening of the last day, but people still want to have a bloody good time, and apparently a bit of a boogie. Good job French swing/death metal oddballs Trepalium are at hand with perhaps the surprise set of the entire weekend. Not a huge name by any means on these shores but they pack out the Sophie tent, and after a confusing sound-check, absolutely explode. Volatile death metal meets catchy, jazz like passages with stunning effect as the what could possibly be the biggest moshpit the tent has seen all weekend is surrounded by people dancing like loons to four sharply dressed musicians and a shirt-less, voodoo mask like painted nutter of a vocalist. An unexpected highlight as they prove one of the bands of the weekend.

Zakk Wylde

Zakk Wylde

All three headliners this year were subject to vitriolic responses on the internet forums at their announcement, but today’s headliner Rob Zombie probably received the most flak. Coupled with the memory of recent, stripped back festival appearances not gaining plaudits and there is a swell of anticipation amongst excited fans and those who seem to be there simply wishing for a car crash performance. Not to mention the catastrophic stage problems that plagued Trivium and Within Temptation, there is a feeling that anything could happen; fortunately for the excited throng, all goes well this time around.

 

 

 

Rob Zombie, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Rob Zombie, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

 Rob Zombie, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Rob Zombie, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Opening with a storming ‘Teenage Nosferatu Pussy’, Rob Zombie’s part b-movie horror flick, part cartoon brand of industrial metal proves an excellent festival closer which oozes fun. Zombie himself proves very charismatic (if at times forced) whilst the excellent pair of John 5 and Piggy D jostle and challenge for attention on stage, both giving show stealing, virtuoso performances and their own unique visuals. Coupled with such a strong arsenal of songs and it seems silly to think how it could have failed; although there seems to be reliance on a couple of famous covers to gather some momentum: an awkward rendition of James Brown’s ‘Get Up…’ and note perfect, nothing special renditions of ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ and ‘Schools Ou’” which surely take time away from songs people may have wanted to hear. That being said the likes of ‘Superbeast’, ‘More Human Than Human’ and a rarely aired ‘Pussy Liquor’ hit the spot, bringing the festivities to a euphoric close on the main stage (for those who still have energy and urging for a more claustrophobic disposition, Godflesh pack out the tent later on in the night).

 Rob Zombie, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Rob Zombie, photo credit Fiaz Farrelly

Over the weekend some issues reared their heads again, from the stage show suffering of black metal bands in broad daylight to the near comical amount of main stage difficulties which nearly derail many a set, but none of this can detract from a tremendous weekend that gave fantastic weather and even better bands.

See you in a year Catton Hall.

 

CHRIS TIPPELL and SARAH WORSLEY