Mammothfest 2016 – Day 2
Concorde 2, Brighton
Saturday 1st October 2016
After a successful opening night for the festival packing out the Green Door Store with their Black Metal stage, and Textures kicking ass at The Haunt, the excitement was certainly high on the morning of day two. The Saturday showed the growth of Mammothfest with two main factors; one, that it was being held at the Concorde 2, the biggest venue the festival has ever used. Two, the fact that metal legends Venom Inc were headlining the event. You could just feel positive atmosphere before the doors even opened.
Bristol based extreme industrial metallers, Mortishead opened the Saturday antics at the Concorde 2. With a frontman dressed up like a dapper gentleman in a suit and a keyboardist wearing a creepy mask, the quintet produced a sound not too dissimilar to demo era Slipknot; it was just a little stripped back to the essentials and spliced with a Marilyn Manson tone. It contained the same sinister style riffs and simplistic industrial beats on top of steady double pedal blasts. Everything was just delivered with a vicious tenacity.
It was of course early and the Concorde 2 slowly started to fill, but the eagerness from the audience to get lively wasn’t really there yet, as to be expected when you are the first band out nine on the day. The sparse crowd that did turn up were happy to not their heads and enjoy the ferocious sounds produced by Mortishead. It was a nice array of modern metal influences to get you in the mood for a full day of various subgenres on show.
Hell Puppets hit the stage in their usual Halloween season inspired style attire; the frontman wore a straight jacket covered in blood, while other members wore all sorts of gruesome facepaint and uniquely odd clothing for a metal band that made the band stand out from everyone else. Musically they delivered the sort of horror punk meets metal vibe that we expect from Wednesday 13 and Murderdolls.
The antics on stage were far more entertaining and somewhat controversial, the straight jacket frontman swung around a baby doll, and midway through the set, a man wearing shark mask came on stage to prance around. It was silly but highly amusing. The crowd were clearly more into it as there was a more enthusiastic reaction and a couple of fans got erratic and had a private mosh between them.
To this point, the energy in the room had been fluctuant. A vicious opening act and a fun follow up, it was then time for shit to get dark as Blackened Thrash band King Leviathan unleashed their cultishly evil sound for the masses. The local favourites drew in a positive crowd, but that didn’t stop frontman Adam Sedgewick from unleashing his trademark verbally abusive nature in encouraging more people to come to the front.
King Leviathan had recently been in the studio recording a new album, and we were treated to some of that new material to open up with, plus providing more later on. One was called ‘Agony’, which if I heard correctly was about sexual masochism. The riffs dominated your ears and Sedgewick‘s vocal capability had vastly improved over the last year, he made switching from a power singing voice to aggressive shouts look effortless.
Last year the Brighton band were impressive openers for Mammothfest, this year they had stepped up their game even more as one of the weekends more memorable sets on performance alone. There was less moshing involved but a sea of heads was banging. The crowd response in cheers, claps and metal horns in the room showed how much the crowd enjoyed their set.
King Leviathan were a tough act to follow, but Divine Chaos were up to the challenge. Their extreme thrash/groove metal vibe provided a whirlwind of guitar shreds and an atmosphere that unleashed the first proper mosh pit of the day. High tempo riffage, machine gun-like drumming and savage vocals ignited the front part of the crowd to cause some chaos for a good portion of the performance. It was great to see the crowd finally letting loose.
Along with the shreds, Divine Chaos produced some guitar mastery in the fiddly mesmerising solos, they were truly captivating. It was another impressive set on a day that kept on delivering, it just deserved a bigger and even more responsive crowd, the moshing was a good start, but you still got the feeling it was too early to truly get involved in anything over exerting.
That same feeling continued when it was apparent that the vast majority of the crowd took a break during Sworn Amongst‘s set, anyone who did stay was rather static. This was somewhat surprising considering the Hull metallers have been dubbed as heroes in the underground metal scene, I was certainly expecting more buzz for them. Either way, the quartet battled through their set as if the venue was filled and unshackled their anger through brutally technical riffs, rollercoaster-like grooves and gargantuan shouting vocals.
Much like the previous set, musically the sound was violent, but the talent of the musicians shone through guitar solos, intricate basslines and entrancing drumming. Quite honestly those in the smoking area and having a drink at the bar missed out on a solid performance, I for one was enjoying myself. Gradually more people filled the room and showed their appreciation, but Sworn Amongst deserved a far superior response than the timid cheers and applause they received. The crowd were a letdown, Sworn Amongst kicked ass.
London based metallers One Machine were a nice surprise; they were very much like Iron Maiden with an aggressive twist. Dickinson-like powerful cleans that impressed pretty much everyone in the room, especially during ‘Summoning of the Soul’, they were counteracted by high-pitched screechy screams that. The vocals were the most captivating feature, but you couldn’t ignore the commanding shredding riffs and the epic atmosphere they dispensed in ‘Forewarning’.
It was still a smallish crowd, it was the right point of the day that most of the audience to take a breather before the last few acts. But having just travelled all the way from Belgium to play Mammothfest, One Machine were appreciative of everyone who was watching, even more so of the clap alongs and arm swaying motions during songs. At this point in the day, it was certainly the best crowd reaction I had seen all day, with all of the interaction and huge cheers after each song.
From aggressive British heavy metal to something a lot more extreme; Deathcore act Osiah brought the much deeper, chugging riffs to Mammothfest along with monstrous roars and an overall sense of brutality that we hadn’t seen so far at the Concorde 2 stage. It was an evil atmosphere, imposing blue lights and a dark tone as breakdown after breakdown caused mass headbanging in the venue.
For a last-minute replacement band, the Sunderland band received a brilliant reaction from the crowd, we even had a minor circle pit that evolved into a moshpit close to the end of their set. Osiah raised the bar, creating a more fulfilling atmosphere in the room. Even the look of the band was imposing, with big burly men and mean look thick dread frontman flailing is long knotted hair around. It was certainly sinister.
Slam slam slam, all the fucking slam as British subgenre favourites Ingested were one of the more highly anticipated acts on the entire festival bill. I thought that Osiah set the bar on brutality for the day, Ingested smashed right through that bar with a level of savagery that nobody could beat. The sound was far more intense, more blast beats and grinding riffs, throat tearing vocals, it was nasty in a good way.
Based on the level of excitement that Ingested received when they hit the stage, it wasn’t at all surprising when the pits started and we saw our first wall of death of the weekend. Ingested were without their usual frontman, Jay Evans, but vocal duties were provided by Employed to Serve guitarist Sammy Urwin, who did a spot-on job subbing in. His look and mannerisms were certainly as sinister as the music he was fronting.
It was finally time for Venom Inc, or as quite a few fans were saying the true Venom. Your stance on the subject is neither here nor there, the musicians from the original band that reformed to make Venom Inc are true legends in the metal world and for a Mammothfest first, nearly 500 people crammed themselves in to watch and hear some classics. It was clear that the crowd was mostly made up of metal fans of an older generation; festival organiser himself said that the band had been going since before he as born.
It was heavy metal at it’s finest, you didn’t have to be a fan to appreciate the talent. Three men providing the sound that most bands need five members to do. Tony Dolan‘s bass was so down-tuned and distorted that it filled the rhythm section dominantly, leaving Mantas to unleash all kinds of melodies and technical prowess; mind melting solos and guitar mastery.
One thing that stood out was the “Venom” chants between each song and sing-alongs during them. Fans moshed more than they did for any other band, they surely saved themselves for the headline act. It was the most superior sight all weekend, seeing the venue going ape shit to their nostalgia buzz. Venom Inc acted up to it too, forcing the crowd to be louder, keeping them busy with group shouts; ‘Warhead’ certainly created a frenzy with everyone shouting the chorus at Mantas‘ commands.
It was another killer day at Mammothfest. It had its ups and downs, some bands stood out far more than others. The most important thing to take away from the day is that it just felt much bigger than last year. More people in one room, more established acts, it’s a massive positive for the whole event.
For more of the bands that played