This Is Hardcore Festival has just announced the lineup for this year’s festival, and it’s unbelievably awesome. Continue reading
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
The first annual Deathwish Fest was met with a ton of enthusiasm from hardcore and metal fans far and wide. Set in Cambridge MA, at the legendary Middle East Night Club over two days, near the home base of Deathwish Inc. (Records), it was a near immediate total sell out, before changing venues. Headlined both days by Converge and Trap Them, Day One also featured Cult Leader, Doomriders, Blacklisted, Modern Life is War, Self Defense Family, and Harm Wulf. Picking up on Day Two with the review is our own Sean Pierre-Antoine.
I was almost certain I wouldn’t make it to Deathwish Fest since tickets kept selling out mere minutes before I could get online to buy them when I had the money to. And by the time tickets had run dry, I was too financially disadvantaged to even fathom attending, and thus I thought my life was spared from the madness sure to unfold during this showcase of the best that Deathwish Inc. -run by Jacob Bannon of Converge- has to offer to our perpetually rotting world of pain. Luckily, a friend/musical collaborator scored a couple of extra tickets from someone at non-extortion prices, and long story short, I didn’t have to see Devourment instead that night. I hear they were kind of disappointing anyway, but we’re not here to discuss the merits of something I didn’t attend. These are the facts.
Unfortunately I ended up missing the first handful of bands because I was not in possession of my own ticket. Poor planning on my part, and my benefactor being a little later than planned factored into my not catching Boston’s most negative wrecking crew in New Lows, Harm Wulf, a project run by George Hirsch of Blacklisted (celebrating the birthday of Robby Redcheeks), and what I have heard described as “Deafheaven if they were hardcore”, the angular Oathbreaker. No matter, as I have seen and caused my share of mayhem during NL, am unfamiliar with Harm Wulf and Blacklisted, and I’m sad to admit, but Oathbreaker just doesn’t pique my interest.
I was, however, quite interested in catching North Carolina’s YAITW (mercifully short for Young And In The Way), a mixture of Cursed style hardcore/crust/sludge and the most cruel black metal their side of the Mason-Dixon Line, drawing from the legendary Mayhem, among others. For three years they have done this, and for three years it has been good, for there was equal amounts headbanging to the sections that were reminiscent of Norwegian masters, and hardcore pit thuggery that reminded you of their Deathwish heritage. With Black Metal and Hardcore imagery becoming ever more intertwined in a morass of inverted crosses, endless images of our beloved moon in varying states of decay and occult significance, and desolate wastescapes dispensing of all colour schemes in favour of nihilistic monochrome, is it any small wonder that a band like YAITW is here to fill the void our souls once inhabited before we picked up out first Misfits record?
Next up were the Louisville delegation, Coliseum, fronted by artist extraordinaire Ryan Patterson, who has penned album and merchandise designs familiar to anyone into hardcore with a sludgy bent, which is, coincidentally, the kind his crew plays. I really do want to like this band more; they simply fall into the same camp as their peers in Doomriders, who have killer imagery and a respectable mix of sludge, hardcore, and good old fashioned home-cooked rock’n’roll -I call it ‘rock’n’core’, spread that term if you want-, but unfortunately the music just doesn’t get me excited in that visceral way, and I see that as a huge impediment to their appeal. It’s no fault of theirs, as they do wield riffs massive as the hands of a bearded giant, and their tempos are certainly foot-tapping enough to keep them out of the ‘smoke break band’ category for me, but even during their most rousing songs, the crowd moved nary an inch except to either nurse their drinks or socialise while the band dutifully chugged away on stage for the whole of their set.
Blood stayed at a low boil until hometown heroes of Boston Hahdcoah, Shipwreck Ad took the stage for what was one of the shortest but also more fulfilling opener sets of my show-going career. Packing in only three or four songs of intense East Coast hardcore the way only witnessing Lansdowne Street on Game Day can provoke, this rare but special appearance was quite a treat for those both familiar and not. Being gentlemen and not overstaying their welcome, they allowed Salem, NH/Seattle, WA hardcore polymaths in Trap Them to perform their evil works unimpeded. For an unlucky 13 years, Trap Them has been a caustic fusion of face-fucking grind, low-fi crust, and dizzying metalcore, topped off with that infamous murky Swedish deathsludge guitar tone. Consistently potent and amusical in its hateful delivery. Opening with a new track entitled ‘Salted Crypts’, which is just as negative as the material before, this band shows no signs of ever brightening their musical worldview, and perhaps it’s best/worst if they keep it that way. Whether their assault is a dirgey 3-4 minute long breakdown interspersed with ear-piercing feedback, or tumbling down a mountain of human skulls at breakneck gallop speed, I felt my lips peeled back in a perpetual, hateful snarl that just wouldn’t disappear until each song, or rather, nihilistic sermon, was over. Is it really true what your parents say about rock’n’roll making you evil?
By the time the night’s honorees in Converge made it onstage, you can guess I was already a little tired from the earlier acts, because one has to get their money’s worth. It is with great pleasure that I may now announce that I survived Deathwish Fest without injury. The boys opened up with ‘Dark Horse’, and comboed immediately with ‘The Broken Vow’ and ‘Aimless Arrow’, which ensured that few lungs were left unshredded even in their first few minutes. The nightmare in summary; ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’ roared past in what seemed like merely a minute when in reality it is four; ‘Axe To Fall’ crushed like a fallen monument upon the helm of a once grand civilisation; ‘Drop Out’ crept in and out of the shadows before disappearing in a flurry of semi-melody; ‘Trespasses’ and ‘Last Light’ reached out to crush the exposed and wounded hearts of all who can identify with the countless disappointments that Converge’s lyrics detail in resplendent tortured aesthetics. Joined onstage by Stephen Brodsky of like-minded metalcore pioneers Cave In, the band ended their set with a special encore of ‘Plagues’ leading into their celebrated 9-minute epic from No Heroes, the coveted ‘Grim Heart/Black Rose’, for a rare performance. God, if you exist, cross out my curséd soul; it would bring me to tears were I hydrated enough.
WORDS: SEAN PIERRE-ANTOINE