Tag Archives: festival

Live Review: Holy Roar X at The Dome/Boston Music Rooms 21/5/2016

Holy Roar’s tenth birthday party took place across 2 stages at The Dome and Boston Music Rooms on the 21st of May 2016. No fewer than 18 bands played live during the day and while we would have liked to have seen all of them, there’s only so much a man can take. Regardless, this was a hugely enjoyable and celebratory event for one of the most consistent and long-lasting UK heavy music labels. So here are some thoughts on the 15 bands we managed to catch throughout the day:

What a start to the day. Helpless might only have a single EP to their name but they’re a vicious, fiery band that plays some of the tightest dark hardcore I’ve seen in years. I was instantly enthralled by Helpless and I’m looking forward to seeing where they go from here.

Next up we had some explosive and emotional young post hardcore talent in the form of Up River. There’s something very Vales and Svalbard about their music which is no bad thing as we’re treated to a passionate performance full of youthful energy. Up River are definitely a band to keep an eye on.

We’ve made our love for Eulogy very apparent on the website for quite some time now and seeing them live just solidifies exactly what we like about them. This was a brash, scrappy performance by the metallic hardcore quartet and another fantastic early set from HRX.

What’s left to say about Svalbard? They just get better every time I see them. The post hardcore band is firing on all cylinders and from the moment Serena screams, “We’re fucking Svalbard from Bristol!” they have the audience eating from the palm of their hand. Svalbard are unstoppable right now and this was another flawless performance from one of the UK’s best bands.

I don’t know if this was due to seeing them directly after one of the best sets at HRX, but Haast’s Eagled felt like a bit of a downer for me. The band make long-form, sludgy desert rock that was certainly accomplished but essentially a polar opposite to the barrage of glittery guitar melodies and blast-beats that I’d just witnessed via Svalbard. Maybe in a different environment I’d enjoy Haast’s Eagled a little better, but today was not that time.

This was our first special set of the day seeing Employed to Serve perform their debut album Greyer than You Remember in its entirety. Another Scumscene favourite, Employed to Serve basically prove to everyone in attendance why they’re the most exciting mathcore band in the country. Greyer than You Remember is an incredible record and Employed to Serve perform it with all the bile and fury you could possibly want. This was one of the best sets of the day.

My God was this a surprise. Meek is Murder are a band that has been on my radar for a while now but this is the first time I’ve seen them live and it was jaw-dropping. The band deal in some vicious, angular hardcore and their performance is about as no-nonsense as you could want. The band obliterates their set-list and put on an amazing performance to boot. If hardcore is your thing then you need to check out Meek is Murder right now.

Holy shit! The Long Haul are back for a one-off reunion show and it’s like they’ve never been away. The Long Haul still look like a band of fresh-faced hardcore upstarts and they power through their set-list with an unnerving ease. This was all over far too soon and it instantly reminded you why the band are so dearly missed.

Like Haast’s Eagled set earlier, I felt like Apologies, I Have None were battling against being a band that couldn’t really match the energy of what had come before. The pop-punk act seem like a strange fit for Holy Roar and while their bouncy emo melodies are perfectly serviceable, they just didn’t push my buttons in the way I like.

I don’t think Giants are for me. There’s nothing particularly wrong with their angst-ridden hardcore and there’s certainly a lot of crowd-killers in attendance that are loving this set, but the band didn’t feel like they were doing anything a thousand other hardcore bands have done better.

Allow me to get hyperbolic for a second; OHHMS blew me away like no other band has done since… well, probably Rolo Tomassi to be honest. The band’s psychedelic, groovy doom is heavier than a sack of breeze blocks and the quartet put on a feral performance that sees every member of the band chewing the scenery. This was a hypnotic performance that I cannot recommend enough. Go and see OHHMS live.

Another special set, Vales take to the stage to perform their debut EP Clarity for the last time. Vales are hinting a new direction for their next release which seems like an odd decision when you see how the audience hang onto every last word of the songs from Clarity. Vales clearly mean a lot to many and their explosive post hardcore is some of the best in the UK. Clarity might not be representative of the band members anymore, but you can’t deny it’s a record that exudes a youthful ambivalence to trends and gimmicks and their performance tonight bolsters that sentiment perfectly.

My notes for Slabdragger’s set simply read, “The heaviest band” and I’m quite inclined to leave it at that, but I’m not going to because I want to tell you how incredible Slabdragger are live. Fucking incredible. The room explodes as the band unleash an onslaught of monolithic riffs. Nobody can compete with Slabdragger and this was probably my favourite set from HRX. Slabdragger; you beautiful bastards.

Speaking of bastards, it’s time for Hang the Bastard to play Hellfire Reign in its entirety and with original vocalist Chris Barling making his first appearance in four years. The sludgecore giants suffer some technical difficulties throughout their set but this doesn’t bother anyone in attendance because the room felt like it might explode with the amount of energy the band were creating. I thought Hang the Bastard’s performance tonight was a bit sloppy in places but I suppose that’s to be expected when you summon a mosh-pit as violent as this.

In the words of Holy Roar’s own Alex Fitzpatrick, “Only Rolo Tomassi could headline” and he’s not wrong. The band power through a set list that sees the band cherry-pick a few songs from each of their releases in chronological order and it never lets up. Rolo Tomassi are one of the most unique and important UK mathcore bands and even if their change in sound in more recent years has polarised you, their performance tonight can’t be denied. Rolo Tomassi are still one of the most enthralling live acts around and this is a fitting end to an incredible day of music. Happy birthday, Holy Roar. Here’s to 10 more years.

News: Official Alt-Fest Announcement Due Monday


The Alt-Fest organisers have finally spoken. In a statement on the event’s official Facebook page, the Alt-Fest organisers have promised to make a full statement by Monday the 4th of August regarding the supposed cancellation of the festival.

“Currently we are working all hours to deal with some extremely challenging & stressful issues for Alt-Fest. We will be able to provide an official statement with full information before Monday and answer any questions you may have at that time.”

The post has been inundated with responses and mostly of the negative kind. XP8 who were booked to play are claiming they have sent the festival multiple messages without response and when they finally received a response it pretty much echoes the current statement:

…we finally got a facebook message from the promoter, Dominic, last night.

in that he mentioned again what he told us in reply to our public comment to their only statement so far, and that he never got any of the 5 emails we sent him yesterday, and he also remarked that he doesn’t have any spam filters… guess those email…s just vanished into thin air.

anyway: he basically only told us in private what he/they told you all… to wait till they come up with an official statement.

that’s it, no further information whether the festival is cancelled or not, or any reasons why this is happening: this is the only FACT I can provide you – we don’t know anything yet.”

Interestingly the organisers still aren’t committing to saying the festival has been cancelled. Could this mean the event is simply downsizing? Are replacement shows being organised for ticket holders? Are the organisers stalling because they’re about to tell Kickstarter backers they won’t be refunded? I guess we’ll have the answers come Monday.

News: Looks Like Alt-Fest is Cancelled


The Kickstarted Northampton-based metal/rock festival Alt-Fest appears to have been cancelled after acts like Marylin Manson and Cradle of Filth have pulled their appearances. Rob Ferguson of Transcend Music has also reported the festival is cancelled. Furguson is responsible for several acts who were due to appear at the festival one of which was headliner Fields of Nephilim.

Alt-Fest was crowdfunded with a successful Kickstarter campaign that saw them raise £61,762 but it appears this wasn’t enough to fund all of the event’s costs.

There is currently no official word from the Alt-Fest organisers which as you can imagine is angering those who backed the festival and booked travel and accomodation in advance. As Kickstarter is not a shop, the event organisers don’t have to refund the money they raised but if they want to gain the trust of these backers for any future projects I’d recommend they pull their finger out and do the right thing.

[Source: Classic Rock]

News: Hevy Festival Cancelled and a Series of Gigs Offered as Replacement

Hevy Festival 2013 has been cancelled (sort of). The festival organisers could not secure Port Lympne Wild Animal Park for another year and have decided to refund ticket owners.

However, the festival will go on ahead as a series of London shows instead. 2 have been announced and the full details now follow:

Hevy Fest
Sunday 4th August
O2 Academy Brixton
Tickets: £28

Killswitch Engage
Comeback Kid
*Special Guests* TBA
Evergreen Terrace

Horse The Band
+ support TBA
Saturday 3rd August
The Borderline
Tickets: £14

Tickets for these shows go on sale Wednesday the 12th of June at 9am.

Hevy have also confirmed that plans are in motion to host a Black Flag-headlined show as well but there are no solid details available at this time.

[Source: Thrash Hits]

Touring: earthtone9

Alt-metallers earthtone9 have a couple of cracking festival dates lined up for this Summer in support of their brilliant new album IV.

A rather special performance is also scheduled for ArcTanGent festival which sees the band performing their seminal arc’tan’gent album in full.

See below for the list of dates:

June 13 – The Albert, Brighton (Download warm-up show
June 15 – Download Festival, Donnington, Pepsi Max Stage
August 29th – ArcTanGent Festival, Somerset (performing arc’tan’gent in full)

News: Carcass to Headline Damnation Festival

Grindcore/melodeath legends Carcass are set to headline this year’s Damnation Festival on the 2nd of November. This also marks the only UK festival date the band will play in support of their new album (still untitled at this time). Check out the full word from Bill Steer:

“We’re very excited about the prospect of returning to Damnation Festival this year.

“Our appearance there in 2008 was a major highlight for us and this time around, people can expect to hear a fairly different Carcass set.

“The old favourites will be in there, of course, but we’re also planning to play a couple of the less obvious tracks from our past, as well as songs from the album we’ve just completed. Join us!”

Tickets for Damnation Festival are available to buy for £32 via this link: CLICK HERE

News: Funeral For A Friend Name New Album, Reveal Release Date

Welsh post hardcore legends Funeral For A Friend are to release their new album ‘Conduit’ on January 28th 2013. The band will release the single ‘Best Friends and Hospital Beds’ on November 12th marking the first new material from the band since Pat Lundy replaced Ryan Richards on drums earlier this year.

The band’s vocalist Matt Davies-Kreye gives us the lowdown on the album title:

“Five people on a stage, a conduit for the message and the music, delivering that to people who want to listen in, be a part of whatever it is that we’re doing and being involved. It’s purely about delivering the message.

After 10 years of being a band, we see how much what we’ve done has affected people who care about our stuff. Whether it’s lyrics or whatever, these songs transcend us and become something more to a lot more people.

It sounds lofty I know but that’s how it feels to us when we meet the folks who dig our band and who treat these songs with so much love and respect. It blows our minds constantly.”

Funeral For A Friend are to appear at the UK edition of the Vans Warped Tour at Alexandra Palace on November 10th. Here’s a damn good reason why you should still care about this band:

Touring: †Hymns† Are Back With 2 New Members

Alt rock duo †Hymns† are back after a small break and are no longer a duo. A post on their tumblr has revealed they will be playing 4 shows with the addition of 2 new members. No words on who these additional members are or what they will be playing (though my guess would be bass and keys) but we’ll keep you posted as we learn more. The dates now follow:

5th May – Camden Crawl @ the Underworld
11th May – Great Escape
14th July – 2000 Trees
19th August – Beacons Festival

[Source: †Hymns† Tumblr]

News: Sonisphere is Officially Cancelled

One of the UK’s biggest rock and metal festivals has cancelled. Sonisphere which would have taken place on the 6th to the 8th of July at Knebworth House is officially off the calendar. The full statement from the festival organisers now follows:

“It is with very heavy hearts and much regret that we announce the cancellation of Sonisphere Knebworth 2012.

Putting the festival together in what is proving to be a very challenging year was more difficult than we anticipated and we have spent the last few months fighting hard to keep Sonisphere in the calendar. Unfortunately circumstances have dictated that we would be unable to run the festival to a standard that both the artists and that Sonisphere’s audience would rightly expect.

We want to express our deepest regrets to the artists and to thank all the staff, suppliers and contractors who worked so hard with us to try and pull off what has proven to be an impossible task and we know how much they share in our disappointment. We also want to send a huge thanks to the Sonisphere fans who stuck by us and we are so sorry that we can’t fulfil what we set out to do.

Ticket holders will automatically receive a full refund direct from their ticket agents.

Team Sonisphere.”

Sonisphere was to be headlined by Kiss, Faith No More and Queen with some bloke from American Idol on vocals. Refused were also due to play their only UK date in their current calendar and Hundred Reasons were to return to play their debut album ‘Ideas Above Our Station’ in full as a tenth anniversary performance.

Rumours were circulating that Sonisphere had undersold and that it was clashing with the Olympics but the statement makes no reference to either. Regardless, this is a pretty heavy blow for extreme music fans in the UK.

News: Desertfest Looks Amazing

Desertfest is a 3 day festival across 3 different venues in Camden and is looking to be one of the highlights for any extreme music fan’s calendar. The festival runs from the 6th to the 8th of April and features bands playing in The Underworld, The Purple Turtle and The Black Heart.

Friday’s headliners include Karma to Burn, Orchid and Asteroid, Saturday features Orange Goblin, Slabdragger and Grifter and Sunday hosts Corrosion of Conformity, Viking Skull and Gorilla.

Newly announced today is the mighty prog-metal beast that is Astrohenge who shouldn’t be missed under any circumstances. We also recommend getting down the front and flying the Union Jack for Dopefight, Trippy Wicked and Dead Existence.

Tickets for the whole weekend can be bought for £70 before all that booking fee/p+p malarky or you can grab day tickets from as low as £26.50