Mammothfest Presents #2

author MAK date 21/04/17

After a successful first “Mammothfest Presents” show at the beginning of April, featuring Feed The Rhino headlining at the Green Door Store, It was time for us all to be introduced to the new home of Mammothfest events for the rest of 2017. We headed to The Arch on Brighton’s seafront, a two-stage venue, which as a whole is much bigger and created a stronger festival feel to it. The main room is an underground room which looks like it has been cut out of a cave and given a modern feel to it. The connecting venue, otherwise know as “The Hub” on the other hand was a tiny tunnel looking room, it was dark and intimate. This suited the death and extreme metal vibe of day with brutal bands such as Vader and Immolation as headliners.

All photos courtesy of Luke Bateman

Enslavement

Enslavement - Main Stage

Death metallers Enslavement opened up the main stage with immense force, frontman Harry Jones looked imposing with his dominant stance and his menacing stare. Jones unleashed fierce pig squeal along with ghastly screams and grunts. Waves of monstrous riffs and blast beats filled the room which was already pretty packed out early in the day. Around the venue, you could see a people headbanging and towards the front, a couple of people were having a playful mosh. After each song, the crowd erupted into cheers and applause for the Brighton band, the start of the day couldn’t have gone better. [6½]

Infected Dead - Second Stage

Infected Dead opened up the second stage with some brutal death metal. The much smaller stage gave the set a much more intimate vibe, plus the venue felt packed out towards the front. The Medway five pieced unleashed waves of shredding riffs and fiddly little solos on top of blast beats fronted by a mixture of savage shrieks and deep growls. It was intensely in your face, and the crowd loved it, chanting and punching the air with their fists. [6½]

Stone Circle - Second Stage

Brighton based progressive death band Stone Circle followed up with a slow grooving riffs and occasion up-tempo segments. Vocalist Joe Ashwin produced some deep growls and he threw in some nice clean to match the melodic prog segments. The heaviness was balanced out by some nice whiny guitars solos and intricate drum patterns. The music was rather entrancing in a way that the crowd wasn’t as responsive during the songs, but as soon as they finished there were huge cheers. It was one of the softer, more experimental sets on a day dominated by masses of extreme bands. [7]

Vigil - Second Stage

Polish metallers, Vigil, produced a much more mainstream approach with their sound by mixing groove metal and industrial influences. Combining the raw heaviness of bands such Machine Head and Pantera with the mysterious nature of Korn or Marilyn Manson. Vigil unleashed a never-ending onslaught of enticing riffs, which caused few people to mosh around, but sadly the set was killed by technical difficulties and was cut short. This was a shame as musically they were one of the most entertaining bands of the day.[5]

Internal Conflict - Second Stage

Internal Conflict continued the diverse nature of the second stage by delivering blasts of modern metal and metalcore vibes. Brutal throaty shouts fronted up-tempo crunchy riffs, erratic drum pattern and fierce breakdowns. The clean singing let the performance down a little, the heavier side of the band was far more appealing. But overall it was a solid performance [7]

Krysthla

Krysthla - Main Stage

After checking out Krysthla’s recent album, “Peace In Our Time”, they were a band I was looking forward to the most at this event, and I was not disappointed. Neither was the rest of the crowd that fill the whole room. Opening with “Depths”, Krysthla slew through shredding riffs and grooves akin with intricate melodies and captivating solos creating chaos from the get go. A sea of headbangers towards the front and pits opened hard. Throughout the set the band received a great reception the entire way through, I lost count how my time people punched the air and shouted “OI”. It was ferocious and a show-stealing performance. [9]

King Leviathan

King Leviathan - Second Stage

King Leviathan, however, stole the show over on the second stage by being the only band to pack it out during the whole event. Being local favourites helped and as regulars at Mammothfest events this was hardly surprising, but you could tell the band was still incredibly grateful. The Hub crowd was treated to some new material, three brand new songs to open the set, which was a lot more melodic and darker than their usual blackened thrash metal style. The crowd loved it. Again in the form of mass headbanging and moshing, the audience was fully enthralled with this new sound. Lead guitarist and vocalist, Adam Sedgewick had full control of the crowd, getting all kinds of phenomenal responses with each interaction. The stand out reactions came from fan favourite, ‘The Shrine’ which had wild pits and massive fan “owweeeooo” chants. [8½]

Immolation

Immolation - Main Stage

Over on the Main Stage, I caught a bit off Immolation, who were completely “in your face” and by far the most dominatingly extreme band on the bill. It was blast beats and shreds galore with a strong red light creating the most evil of tones. The crowd was just as full as it was for Krysthla, just a lot more responsive, cheering hard for every song and everyone raising their metal horns. It was old school, you could just tell from a number of leather jackets and patch laden jean vests. As much as everyone else seemed to enjoy it, it was a bit too barbaric for even my tastes, so I didn’t stick around long.

The Drowning - Second Stage

Vader’s touring buddies The Drowning closed the second stage in what could best be said as an unlucky attempt to hook in new fans. Almost everybody was at the other stage watching Immolation for a good portion of The Drowning’s set. A mere twenty or so people saw the much contrasting sound to Immolation’s extreme intensity. Instead, it was a melodic metal set that felt a lot more approachable to someone that isn’t entirely into the extremities of death metal. It was still full of Headbang-worthy grooves, topped off by entrancing melodies and monstrous vocals. It was a nice combination just a shame it was overshadowed by a more popular act. [7]

Vader

Vader - Main Stage

I thought the room was full enough for Krysthla and Immolation, but that paled in comparison to the jam-packed crowd for Polish headliners, Vader. Make no mistake for anyone that had a good set, they were great, but none of it compared to the reaction Vader received the moment they hit the main stage through a massive cloud of smoke. You could only just see the drummer because of his bright orange glowing drumsticks as they kicked into “Tempest” a song from their latest album, ‘The Empire’. This was far more riff and groove-based than the all-out blast sensation that a lot of the death metal bands produced on the event. Machine gun like beats and thrashing shreds fuelled more pits, which seemed far more impressive due to everyone being packed in like a sardine can. What’s even more impressive is the pits stayed alive for the full hour that Vader was on stage. Having been a band for almost four decades, it shouldn’t be that surprising, though. Vader was a force to be reckoned with, without a doubt they took the bull by the horn and pushed the event harder than anyone else on the day. [10]

Overall this day way awesome and it shows the growth that Mammothfest is making, bringing in bands with the calibre to deliver a set like Vader’s is a sign of better things to come. It also shows how great the metal community is in the south, to pack out an event on a day most people are expected to spend with their families was incredible. As for The Arch, it’s a great venue and a suitable home for the next few Mammothfest events, the multiple stages in one building instead of having to move around to different venues helped in terms of convenience for the punter and the team that ran the event, it seemed to flow incredibly smoothly. With the hardcore and metalcore all day event just a couple of weeks after this one, it will be interesting to see if that runs just as well. Different kinds of bands and audience will be a test to the kind of pull that Mammothfest has.

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