Let’s face it, the UK hasn’t really got a big festival to support its grind/hardcore/powerviolence scene… that was until now, thanks to Zac of technical deathgrinders Oblivionized and recently formed Confine, there’s now a FREE festival situated in London that’s racked up an impressive line-up for a UK festival, let alone a free one. The two-day event is held at The Unicorn on Camden Road – so there’s a single stage and no clashes to worry about. GREAT!
So who’s in on the noisefest? Well, for the first day (10th August) Bong Goblin, I Like Bugs, Meadows, The Atrocity Exhibit, Black Veins, Dead Like Me, Confine, Gets Worse, Corrupt Moral Altar, Livet som Insants and with The Afternoon Gentleman headlining. On the second day (11th August), you’re treated to the likes of Sky:Lark!, Shut-In, Man Hands, War Wolf, Evisorax, Human Cull, Atomck, Oblivionized, Coffins and the festival finishers being the mighty Magrudergrind.
Basically, you get to see a lot of great extreme bands from in and outside the UK. If you prefer your sludge stuff, then Meadows and Coffins will whet your appetite. If you want pure grind, Human Cull and Atomck are happy to oblige – if you want to get a mixture of both, then go see War Wolf.
If you’re still not convinced, here are my recommendations:
The three-piece from Washington D.C. have made a big name for themselves in the grind and powerviolence circles ever since they began in 2002. Having both the similar boundary-crossing hip-hop moments and the mix of strong social/political lyrics and sense of humour as poweviolence legends Spazz, Magrudergrind are harsher and also give real strong live performances, rarely standing still. Basically, if you go to BLEH fest and don’t see them, you’re either drunk, foolish or both.
Live at OEF 2011
Coffins hail from Japan and are one of the biggest names in the whole death metal/sludge combining folder: just think of the meanest death metal riffs, down-tuned, lathered in dirt and played slower while the classic death metal growls continue. Very heavy stuff. The band has also released a new album in 2013 – “The Fleshland” – five years after their highly-praised “Buried Death”. It’s gonna be cool to experience them live.
The Frozen Styx
Oblivionized are another three-piece, this time based in London, and have a real technical take on the grind/death metal sound – imagine Psyopus and Fukpig fighting over a mic, guitar and drums and you’ll get the picture. Having released a split with US blackened grinders Plague Widow earlier in the year, and releasing another split with Human Cull now, Oblivionized have been hard at work lately. Also, it’s rare for either Zac (vocalist) and Sammy (guitarist) to stay on stage.
Hope Is The First Sign Of Defeat
Another band I was fortunate to catch earlier this year while they supported Bongripper, Conan and Humanfly at Bristol. The Brighton trio (are you sick of that number yet?) formed out of the ashes of the mighty Dopefight and while you can expect that sludge influence to carry over into this band, there’s also strong hardcore and powerviolence elements too – the band constantly slip between all three influences. War Wolf are a mean beast live, well worth your time.
An Ignorant Species
Another band that mixes the motions of hardcore/crust and sludge, Meadows are a four-piece from Suffolk who bring a more stoner vibe to their material than War Wolf – so expect big riffs and even bigger grooves. The band also released a split with the rising titans Slabdragger, and their self-titled EP just slays. Again, another band that would be cool to experience live.
The Head of Henry Grey
Going back to the trios, Atomck are grind machine originally from Newport, and they deal out a very harsh form of grind – the type where you’re dragged by your feet while your teeth and stomach scrape along the concrete. This isn’t an insult though, far from it: this is the good grind if you’re looking to be sonically punished with short and sharp songs featuring tortured low, mid and high vocals (which are pretty insane). They’re entertaining live too.