Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 15/4
support Anti-Clone + Hell Puppets + King Leviathan + Vehement
author MAK date 16/12/16 venue The Haunt, Brighton, UK
To celebrate a successful year, the organisers of Mammothfest, which is the United Kindom’s only metal festival on the south coast, decided to put on an end of year party at The Haunt in Brighton to close the year out with a bang. Originally the night was booked to feature American death metal act, Necrophagia, but those plans, unfortunately, fell through. Instead, the Mammothfest team picked some old festival favourites to fill up the bill. Extreme tech-metallers Meta-Stasis headlined on the night with support from the UK’s favourite Nu Metal act, Anti-Clone and local acts Vehement, King Leviathan and Hell Puppets. All of them providing a variation of metal subgenres. Venom Inc’s very own “Demolition Man", Tony Dolan, played host on the night, as he introduced each band before their set and kept the hype going between sets.
Eastbourne Black Metal quartet, Vehement, kicked off the night with an extremely evil atmosphere. The vocalist provided beast-like growling vocals, which were layered on top of deep, droning riffs. The stage lights flashed in an extreme manner, matching the tempo of blast beats constantly. It intensified the extreme vibes. The sound was so loud that it was one of those sets where you wished you wore ear plugs.
It was early on and the crowd was pretty thin at first, it was very stagnant in terms of movement too. Though, after each song the early attendees erupted into applause and cheers to the black metal outfit. It was a typical opening set where the crowd was mostly happy to stand and watch with a pint in their hand and just react in the breaks between songs.
Brighton’s, King Leviathan followed up with some blackened thrash metal, in which they were treated to a larger crowd than the opening act. At the beginning of the set, the sound was incredibly muddy. Vocalist Adam Sedgewick was drowned out by the shreds and hard-hitting beats for the first few songs. It was hard to tell if my ears just adjusted or the sound actually improved after that point. Despite the sound hiccup, King Leviathan was up to their usual antics of providing a mixture of high tempo riffage and some soothing melodies, fronted by Sedgewick’s shouts and impressive singing voice.
The frontman’s usual banter of tearing into the crowd to hype them up was as entertaining as always. The crowd was a lot more active, we saw a sea of headbangs and plenty of horns in the air when prompted. There was even a wall of death during the last song, “The Shrine”, even if it was hilariously mistimed. The Brighton lads received a huge roar at the end of the set which elevated the positive vibes around the venue, there was a lot more buzz and excitement.
To keep that variety flowing, Brighton’s Horror punks, Hell Puppets provided a stage show and a different kind of sound completely. It was like The Rocky Horror Picture Show meets Slayer and Sex Pistols. Someone took to the stage dressed like Mary from a nativity play, Holding an upside down cross, she was then followed by a nun with black metal face paint tearing up a Bible. The obvious theme was being anti-religious vibes, albeit being a Christmas gig.
It was a chaotic performance, and that was mimicked by the audience. The pits got harder, beers were spilt, at one point someone tried to stage dive and realised it was a bad idea. The band unleashed a mixture of thrashy riffs and heavy grooves, while the vocalist mixed up death metal shouts and Johnny Rotten style raspy spews. The highlight of the set came when a man dressed as a shark in a Hawaiian shirt hit the stage to slow “Jaws” like chugging riff. Then Hell Puppets launched into a high tempo-mosh pit masterpiece in which the shark amusingly joined in. The set was thoroughly enjoyable to watch, it’s never a dull moment when Hell Puppets are around.
Some might say that nu-metal is dead, tell that to Boston, UK band Anti-Clone, who provided some nu-metal and early 2000s alternative metal vibes in both look and in sound. They dressed like someone blended Slipknot, Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie together, and they sounded like Korn and American Headcharge with bass heavy rhythms, shouty, rap-like vocals and bouncy beats which enticed the crowd to jump around.
Even the mannerisms were stolen from Slipknot as Anti-Clone copied the crouch down to jump up segment. It worked out though as the pits remained as violent as the previous set. The stand out moment was when the band wanted a crowd singalong, it wasn’t working that well so King Leviathan’s Adam Sedgewick came on stage to lend his roaring voice and to rock around. It was a fantastic collaboration between Sedgewick and frontman Mr Clone. It was the highlight of the show up to that point.
Finally, it was time for one of the most diverse bands on the bill, best described as Jungle Djent. Meta-Stasis provide a unique brand of intricate tech-metal, backed by a DJ who provided jungle beat samples and scratches. The atmosphere on stage was rather erratic and incredibly explosive. The time signatures were everywhere and the drumming ranged from double pedal blasts to blast beats and all round mind fucking techniques. The crowd loved it, they cheered loudly after each song. While the audience wasn’t as active as they had been throughout the night, there was some moshing going on still and plenty of fans singing back. At one point the vocalist climbed a speaker stack, looking like we as going to jump off. Though it was just a tease as he rocked out for a bit up there before coming down to unleash more savage shouts.
For the final song of the night, the evening’s host, Venom Inc’s Tony Dolan joined Meta-Stasis on stage to play bass. A moment which will go down as a career highlight for the Tech outfit. The appearance of the metal legend excited the crowd a great deal and the pits got more intense for one last track.It was a great night for emerging UK metal, some acts have established themselves before, others are still making a name for themselves; King Leviathan and Hell Puppets sure did that with this show. The Mammothfest team put on another fantastic show and it was a great little taster of what the festival delivers to Brighton each year. This show will have wet the palette for UK metal fans, ready for next year’s big event.