Having barely recovered from the last all dayer, which of course saw that wonderful 33-34 Wales victory over France, and it's time for another. So, without further ado, lets' go.
The first impression of Sub-Form is that they make a good noise, and have a capable vocalist, but one who goes through about 6 different vocalists in their set. There's Korn, Rap, Pantera, Pitchshifter. Ok, so that was four. The problem is, that although this shows diversity, it's doesn't show his own character. They're faithful reproductions rather than originals. If they can sort that out, then there's promise. I've also got the demo so I'll give it a few listens soon and we can go from there.
Killswitch were next, and suffer from a poor mix which makes the rhythm section too dominant, the guitars too muted and the vocals too high in the mix. And it's in the vocals that there's the main problem. They go for the aggression and the hardcore approach almost, but it just doesn't seem to work. It's a bit clumsy. Musically it's straight to the Machine Head / Pantera with a dash of Slayer and is competant. But let down by a poor mix and the vocals. But, I've got the demo of them as well, so we'll see what I think when I've had time to listen to that a few times.
Lysis are next, and coming from the extreme school of metal again, they tend to emphasise the problem Killswitch had with the vocals. Zaq goes for the extreme as well, but is able to control things and mix it up, going from a death metal growl to a more spoken approach. They've also got a song in Arabic, which is a different slant on things, and new tracks such as Fracture seem to show that they're honing they're style, along with demo highlight Dark Mind Rise. Zaq at one point lifts his hand to rest on the roof beam. And promptly pulls it down. "Sorry about that" he apologises at the end. So I've seen them twice now. First time they blew up the PA, second time they brought down the roof. And you thought it was just One Minute Silence that wreaked havoc wherever they went.
And now we move in to the Belgian selection to the days festivities, as the next three bands have made the trek across the channel. First are Oil, who take to the stage in matching black shirts that immediately sets Rocket From The Crypt in the mind. Musically it's more hardcore but melodic, and it sees the hardcore kids that have come along start dancing, pointy to the sky and taking stage diving and crowd surfing to a new concept by carrying the person around instead of passing them along. It makes a nice change musically, it's almost like the intermission within the heaviness of the day. But that would sound as it was doing a diservice to Oil. They announce that they have shirts but have sold out of the singles, which is a shame as I would've been buying one.
But buy one is what I did for the next band, PN. Coming across as a metallic hardcore outfit with elements of Slayer to the sound, they were a revelation to me. Opening with what turns out to be the opening track of their latest album, Message Of Hope, the big dreadlocked guy who allowed me to put some zines on his stall is suddenly conducting things from in front of the stage. There's also an air of intelligence about the guy, and they remain philosophical despite their car having been broken into while they're over here. Great, pick on the foreign cars to break into. Show what a great country the UK is. Fuckers. I still wanna go with the treatement I thought up when my car got nicked a few years ago. Catch the fuckers, then let me crucify them 'till they pass out. When they wake up again, drip sulphuric acid onto their genitals. Ok, so that may be seen as extreme, but it's not as extreme as wiring the car so it blows up if they nick it. But what gives people the right to break into other people's property. You want to try it, you should be allowed to try the consequences if you get caught. Trendsetter is about the Belgium scene that is apparently "divided if you don't wear the right clothes or listen to different music." Exactly, you should get along, as today partly proved. Great set.
Victims of Society are up next, and things are begining to run seriously behind schedule, so set length is begining to be compromised. Which is a problem with these events. It's great value, but there comes a point where you can outdo yourself. Anyway, VoS finish a fine representation of Belgium, though the vocalist did suffer from having the highest vocals of the day, and sounding to me like he was from Spain rather than Belgium. And a guitarist resplendant in his Manowar t-shirt.
It's back to the UK now, with the fourth Nottingham representative of the day in 3rd Stone. Mixing up a metallised hardcore to my mind musically, they also have the variation of two vocalists who spend no time on stage. As a result the first few songs are marred by virtually inaudible vocals from both, but that's rectified and the highlight of a short set was I, or is it Eye? I don't know, but it was. Good stuff.
I'm begining to flag now, and it looks like a few others are. Some appear to have left, maybe the "pure" hardcore is over, and it's left to the remaining bands, Freebase and Stampin' Ground to turn in their metallised brand. Freebase suffer possibly the shortest set of the day in order to give SG a fair chance. And there's the "entertainment" of the man that appears to be known as Mad Frank. Another metallic style, there's also a sense of humour about the band. I've only heard a couple of their songs via the Household Name UKHC compilation, so can't give you names. And the set was too short to describe. The only thing to say really is that I'll be getting the album when it's out.
And so it's Stampin Ground who have the short straw of finishing things up after the previous 8 bands. An example of where headlining isn't necessarily an advantage. I've maintained my record of not having danced at a gig since December '97, and even I'm knackered. But from somewhere people manage to find reserves of energy, and SG are at least afford something approaching the reaction they deserve. If you've not heard it by now, then the latest album, from which the highlights of the set are taken, is a must get. It's as good an example of the metal / hardcore crossover as you'll get. Not so new vocalist Adam really does seem to be at home now, and they've established a consistency and a level of performance second to none. The music is held together onstage by Mobs and a more animated than I've seen before Ian and Scott, with Ade providing the variations in speed on the drums that many forsake. The Death You Deserve, Shapshifter, Emasculate. They're becoming classics of the scene, and there plenty of metal cries and signs tonight. It's over too soon in many respects, but it encapsulates on of the positive elements of the HC scene in that the sets are compromised without fuss, complain or ego. They work together and ultimately it wins through. And as at the end, the stage is swamped by various people from different bands and those that found the energy down the front, it's my time to slip out quietly after 7 hours or so.
And time to go home, go through all the CDs and demos I picked up. But that'll come later. Tomorrow. First I need to watch the recording of the rugby and see if England failed where Wales so gloriously triumphed. Bugger off, don't tell me the result ....
Damn, England won. Ah well, at least Wales had another manificent victory as well.