Mammothfest Presents #3

author MAK date 10/05/17

In the third and final installment of spring events hosted by the Mammothfest team, they step out of their dominantly metal comfort zone a tread lightly and into the much more carnal world of hardcore. A sunny Saturday afternoon return to The Arch in Brighton saw seventeen bands spread across two stages, featuring popular hardcore bands such as Brutality Will Prevail and Giants along with death metal band Raging Speedhorn as major pulling factors for the day. Though the reason for the event in the first place was to celebrate the release of Worthing metallers, Bleed Again’s debut album,“Momentum”; this was an album launch party for them to play a bigger stage with strong calibre bands, playing to essentially a hometown crowd.

As described in the previous "Mammothfest Presents" feature, The main room at The Arch 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.

All photos courtesy of Luke Bateman

Operation Kino

Operation Kino - Main Stage

Brighton based hardcore band, Operation Kino kicked the event off on the main stage to a humble sized crowd. Perhaps about 30 people in the room were eager enough to come down early for the opening band. Described as Post Hypnotic Jazz Cum Punk, Operation Kino came out with a completely raw tone and an erratic attitude, throwing out a mixture of frantic rhythms and funky grooves. Though, when it got heavy, it was ferocious. Vocalist Alec Greaves came out into the crowd to shout right in people’s face, aiming to get a better response from a static audience. The banter between the crowd and the band certainly lightened up the mood a great deal, it was easy to tell that most of the audience at were mates of the band with plenty of joking around. Musically the band was technically mindblowing, the atmosphere was rather enjoyable too overall. An easy-going start to the day with a taste of the ferocity to expect later on. [6½]

Confronted

Contronted – Second Stage

Worthing band, Confronted followed up over on the second stage with something a lot more full frontal, delivering a wave of crossover and thrash as frontman Ryan Hull ran around the floor like a raging bull. He shouted viciously as he barged into various crowd members aggressively and threw himself to the floor in a passionate wreck. Some audience members loved it, others not so much, and felt like the behaviour was too imposing. The frontman just wouldn’t keep still as he climbed on anything he could, including the bar on several occasions. At points he also brought out a floor tom to hit while surrounded by crowd members, this was until he broke the skin and wore the drum as a hat. The maniacal behaviour was rather distracting from the music but highly entertaining to watch. The riffs were extremely crunchy and the odd crowd member headbanged enthusiastically in the open areas. To finished the performance off, Confronted impressively covered Soulfly’s “Seek 'N' Strike”, in which a small portion of the crowd sang along. Brilliant set, I was captivated the whole way through. [8]

Bleak Falls

After Confronted, I caught the very back end of Worthing quintet, Bleak Falls. It was the last couple of songs, where they provided the main stage with some melodic hardcore. The band delivered some nice two-step grooves, though, for the most part, it was highly emotional as the frontman unleashed is throaty shouts through his wavering voice. One song was about open talking about depression, with the frontman strongly telling people if they are having trouble that there is always somebody who will listen. At this point the crowd was starting to grow a little bit more, it was definitely more noticeable with huge cheers at the end of the set.

Everest

Everest - Main Stage

Brighton’s own Everest continued the melodic hardcore vibes with some appealingly brutish metal on top. Similar to the Bleak Falls vocalist, the Everest frontman, Nicholai Dienemann unloaded with more emotional throat tearing shouts while we were bombarded with shredding technical riffs and earth-shattering breakdowns that reminded me of early Parkway Drive and August Burns Red. For the most part, it was an attack on the ears that encouraged some headbanging, but not a lot else. To entice some pit action, new bassist, Tom Betteridge came out into the crowd to dance around and eventually the first mosh pit of the day was triggered. A small but violent frenzy took over in the crowd for at least one song before going back to being static. Everest still received a huge response after each song, with mass cheers and applause, but it seemed too early for the crowd to want to do more than that. [7]

Alaina Roar

Alaina Roar - Second Stage

Local lads Alaina Roar took over with some fairly standard metalcore vibes, with the typical aggressive verse of dominant down-tuned riffs and roaring shout followed by catchy clean vocals and infectious melodies. There was a sparse crowd at the second stage, and it grew thinner after either the mix levels went haywire or the guitars cut out, suddenly you couldn’t hear them and it sound was incredibly bass heavy. This became tedious after a few songs so I left midway through the set. [6]

Negative Measures

Negative Measures - Second Stage

Brighton hardcore punks, Negative Measures couldn’t quite draw much of a crowd at Manchester Punk Festival a couple of weeks before this event. Though it was a different story all together here as they completely packed out the second stage. The quartet have quite the strong local following it seemed. After a taster just weeks prior, I saw much of the same in Brighton. Negative measures provided more technical, yet brutal riffs unleashed with relentless energy. This time it felt like vocalist Jack Goring was in his element, standing on a box overlooking the filled up venue and he produced savage barks. It was a great display of imposing breakdowns, combined with grooving riff work. I caught maybe half of the set before going to see Death Remains at the other stage, but what I saw this time left a much stronger impression. [8]

Death Remains

Death Remains - Main Stage

Death Remains were on the last legs of their headline tour around the UK, which also featured Bleed Again. Just a week before this show, the London act also released their latest album “Destroy/Rebuild”, in which a lot of the songs performed were from the new album. Death Remains came out of the block like a punch to the face with the deepest of chugging riffs and monstrous roars from frontman, Barry O’Connor, who had an intimidating aura to him. The London lads were on that fine line of whether to consider them metalcore or deathcore, as the sound was evil, yet the plucky guitar work was ear-pricking and attention grabbing. For the first part of the set, the crowd was fairly sparse due to most people watching Negative Measures. Though in drabs, the crowd grew in size and in response levels as gradually the cheers got louder and the odd fan jumped around. [7]

Murder Mile

Murder Mile - Second Stage

Murder Mile came in with a strong crossover vibe, throwing in the brute force of 90s groove metal and the raw nature of hardcore. It was like listening to Pantera in the riffs, with the carnal ferocity of Black Flag. James Hayball's ferocious roaring shouts were also reminiscent of Phil Anselmo to add to that 90s tone. Songs such as "Brass Knuckles" created mass headbangs in the crowd of another packed out second stage. Sadly I only stuck around for a few songs because I wanted to catch all of Bleed Again, but this was a fantastic wave of pure stripped back aggression. [7]

Bleed Again

Bleed Again - Main Stage

For what was pretty much a hometown show full of friends and family, and a special occasion because it was the album launch set for their debut release, “Momentum”, this was always going to be a fun performance. Launching right into album opener, “Decimate”, the Worthing lads flooded our ears with incredibly crushing riffs and James Dawson’s throaty shouts. The fairly large sized crowd launched into a sea of headbands and roared enthusiastically every time the frontman provoked them. The “Wooah” chants came in for “Walk Through The Fire” and the pits opened hard for a bruiser such as “Slavery”. Yet it was sing-a-long anthem “Icarus” that had fans jumping around and losing their voices before the iconic album closer “Through My Eyes” stole the show with yet more “wooahh” chants. The set couldn’t have gone much better for them, with a near packed out venue and a strong crowd response, it was quite brilliant to watch. [9]

The Mausoleum Trap

The Mausoleum Trap - Second Stage

Over on the second stage, The Mausoleum Trap were already in full force by the time I get there. Frontman Elliot Dixon followed a similar suit to Confonted’s vocalist by rampaging around the room and into the crowd, getting close and personal, just climbing anything he could. The set completely untamed as the band produced chaotic riffs and merciless chugs as Dixon passionately shouted as much as much as his lungs would let him, with a dangerous look in his eye. Everything about this reminded me of early Gallows. Towards the front, a couple of people moshed along, but most of the people were happy just to let the band and the frontman get wild in their faces. [8]

Giants

Giants - Main Stage

Giants sadly produced one of the most disappoint sets of the day, which was a shame as they were one of the bands I was most excited to see, it was also very surprising. The crowd just wasn’t there for them, which I couldn’t quite understand, there were other bands just like them on the bill, providing melodic hardcore emotions and the grit of punk. But, alas maybe 30 people stood and watched what was actually a pretty good performance delivered with real passion. A highlight came come the catchy anthem, “Against The Grain”, which at a few people singing along and dancing about, but it wasn’t really enough to save the disheartening set. [6]

Carbine

Carbine - Second Stage

I realised where everyone was during Giants when I headed over to the second stage, the venue was packed to the brim for Sheffield beatdown monsters Carbine, who were without a doubt the heaviest band on the bill in terms of sheer barbarity. The guitars were incredibly meaty and the chugs enticed violence in the pits towards the front with a sea of headbangs further back. It was a beautiful mess. The vocals from Alex Mckinnon were on the next level of evil, they were terrifying in the best way and it suited the dangerous atmosphere that Carbine delivered. [8]

Raging Speedhorn

Raging Speedhorn - Main Stage

Iconic UK metallers, Raging Speedhorn were perhaps band most people were excited for, whenever the other bands did the obligatory hype segment of mentioning other bands, Speedhorn always had the best response over any other band. So it was hardly surprising that the main stage was filled to the brim for the first time all day. Early on into their set, the Corby metallers pulled out tracks, “Motorhead” and “Dogshit Blues from their 2016 album “Lost Ritual”. My knowledge of the older material isn’t so strong, but the fans lost their shit to some classics, with huge pits that never ended. A lot of it was sludgy and aggressive, yet tt times the set had a Soulfly-esque groove metal to it. The dual frontmen patrolled the stage, both delivering demonic growls, both commanding the crowd impressively, egging on any kind of reaction to starting pits or raising metal horns. It was one of the best sets of the day. [9]

High Hopes

High Hopes - Second Stage

High Hopes couldn’t quite match the same intensity with their brand of melodic metalcore. It seemed an exhausted crowd took a break, with only a minority of people watching the second stage headliners. The Reading lads still powered through a set of delicious riffs and chugs sat behind some captivating melodies. One notable difference was that vocalist Nick Brooks was no longer in the band and was replaced by a new vocalist. I didn’t catch his name, but he’s from Lichtenstein and this was his first ever UK performance, the band is yet to state if he is an official replacement or not. From what I could tell he battles through the performance valiantly, with similar kind of raspy shouts and impressive roars to songs such as “Manipulator” and “Defender”. He certainly felt the love from the crowd that did turn up. It was a decent set but sandwiched between two much better sets, it felt underwhelming in comparison. [7]

Brutality Will Prevail

Brutality Will Prevail – Main Stage

I was anxious to see what this Brutality Will Prevail set was going to be like, throughout the day I had the sense the most people weren’t too fussed, and that Raging Speedhorn would overshadow them. I was proved wrong from the minute the welsh band launched into new anthem “Forever Restless” from the latest album, “In Dark Places”. The karate moshers were in full force with their arm flails and spin kicks, it was all out violence. That escalated dramatically as BWP then launched into popular hit “The Path”. The Barriers were ripped away from the front of the stage and fans got close to vocalist Louis Gauthier, grabbing his microphone and shouting along.

This felt like a proper hardcore show now, two steps galore with constant kicks and punches to the ever-flowing sluggish riffs. Occasionally a fan hurled himself off the stage on to the other crowd members, it was all fascinating to watch. Brutality Will Prevail brought the atmosphere of dread and danger to the venue, one that if you were anywhere near the front that there is a sense of “holy crap I might die”. It's one of the marmite factors of hardcore shows, but everyone seemed to dig it. An interesting factor about the set was that “metalheads” and “hardcore kids” were getting along seamlessly in the pits, having fun enjoying themselves. Something that social media tries to claim never happens, and that there is a divide between the subcultures. Towards the end Gauthier jumped into the crowd and surfed on top a sea of moshers, this was then followed by an epic stage invasion, an iconic moment that was the curtain call of a fantastic set and show. [9]

AFTERTHOUGHTS

Overall, this was a fantastic and highly energetic show, though maybe the most fluctuant of the three “Mammothfest Presents” events. The other two (Feed The Rhino and Vader headline events) seemed to gradually improve throughout, whereas this one had more ups and downs as the day unfolded. The set times were spread out a bit differently than the Vader show. This time it was staggered in a way you could catch a little bit of everyone if you really wanted, though if you tried you wouldn’t have any kind of break from music for eight hours.

What I liked most was the real reason Mammothfest thrives, giving local and emerging artists a platform to show their talents to the masses, and some of them really impressed throughout the day. While the brand of the festival grows and brings in more popular names each time, the organizers are not forgetting their roots and the reason they started these shows in the first place. It was a continuing factor over the three shows, but I think it shone the most on this day as a real showcasing for the Sussex hardcore and metalcore scenes.

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