We Must Obey’s Top 10 Albums of 2011

2011. What an incredible year for rock and metal. This year has seen no end of fantastic, top-level releases, as well as a few disappointments and one or two downright stinkers too. It’s been a year where some of the biggest names have taken one or two risks and experimented on their whole sound. This came with varying results, displaying the occasional success and more often a jaw-dropping ‘what the hell?
Before I go into the main list, I’d just like to give ‘props’ to a few albums that didn’t make the list, because deciding on a top 10 was mighty difficult given how good a year its been. So take a bow:
Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl
Vektor – Outer Isolation (Heavy Artillery)
Hammers of Misfortune – 17th Street (Metal Blade)
Bong – Beyond Ancient Space (Ritual)
KEN Mode – Venerable (Profound Lore)
Pyrrhon – An Excellent Slave but a Terrible Master (Selfmadegod)
All of which sit highly in our thoughts for simply being kick ass records. But without further ado, here’s the ten we settled on, ten records that reign supreme over the rest in 2011, ten records we’ll surely revisit again and again.
10. Mastodon – The Hunter (Roadrunner)
Mastodon have sat firmly atop my personal best of lists each year they’ve released a new studio album, always managing to blow me away with how each they seemed to make every slight transition. ‘The Hunter’, however, is their boldest move yet, shifting away from conceptual pieces and elemental themes, in favour of more straight-up rocking action. I personally found it to be a bit of a grower but eventually I fully embraced Mastodon’s latest effort – how can you not love the single of the year, ‘Curl of the Burl’, the bizarre ‘Creature Lives’ and the beautiful centrepieces of the title-track and ‘The Sparrow’, among many others? Mastodon is truly on course to become the next great heavy metal band, and with staggering ease too.
9. No Made Sense – New Season/New Blues (self-released)
I still can’t believe the No Made Sense story appears to be over. After their incredibly received debut ‘The Epilannic Choragi’, they probably disappeared under your radar; that reception should have guaranteed them a bigger audience. Alas, it feels as though they effectively said ‘fuck it’, shoved this album on Bandcamp as a freebie and announced their immediate split. A damn shame and yet another British metal band that will wind up as a footnote in British metal’s recent troubled history. But damn, what a parting gift. Recorded entirely live, it was a stormer from start to finish and monstrously powerful, particularly with an awesome final riff to close off their short career. What the three members will go on next is anyone’s guess – I just hope they have a rethink and give the album the love it deserves.
8. Black Spiders – Sons of the North (Dark Riders)
The UK rock sense seemed worryingly sparse in recent years, with a seemingly short supply of bands set to become the new Motorhead, Therapy?, The Wildhearts, etc. Enter the Black Spiders, who finally lumped their debut album ‘Sons of the North’ onto the wider world to rapturous applause. You won’t find a collection of songs harder rockin’ or arse-kicking as these. ‘Sons’ exudes raw attitude and a real fuck-you mentality, a premise long part of the ‘Spiders’ brand of rock. For the last few years, the notion of proper British rock ‘n’ roll has been sullied by fashion over real substance. Hopefully, this is the start of a renaissance and when the charge is sounded, the Black Spiders will be the ones carrying the flag into battle.
7. Evile – Five Serpent’s Teeth (Earache)
Evile’s career so far has arced in such a way that it’s encapsulated much success and indeed tragedy in the shape of bassist Mike Alexander’s death in 2009. Having regrouped with new bassist Joel Graham, Evile didn’t just recover but, holy balls, they returned with a vengeance. ‘Five Serpent’s Teeth’ represents a coming of age for Evile, without question their finest album to date. Whereas second album ‘Infected Nations’ saw Evile head down a less thrashy road, ‘FST’ found Evile embracing the thrash spirit of old; that being mostly no-nonsense battery and songs to die for. Their unstoppable rise continues – long may the finest UK thrash band since Sabbat reign.
6. Wormrot – Dirge (Earache)
The unstoppable rise of the biggest thing to come out of Singapore (eclipsing black metal compatriots Impiety by some margin) continues to astound and explode people’s heads. Wormrot certainly delivered a cracking grind album with ‘Abuse’ and further impressed on the split with I Abhor, but no one was prepared for this barrage – 25 songs, eighteen minutes, and fucking enjoyable all the way. In my review I described the album as a ‘meteor to the face’ (one of the songs on ‘Dirge’) and I still hold that opinion today. Don’t be too surprised to find if you walked into my house you’d find just a frazzled pair of shoes billowing smoke from the floor, such is the intensity of this record. Wormrot often proclaim on the social networks ‘in grind we rot’. Yes we do.
5. Wolves in the Throne Room – Celestial Lineage (Southern Lord)
The word floating in the ether is that this is to be the last Wolves In The Throne Room album, or at least as we know it…But in a year where black metal was seemingly dominated by the word ‘transcendental’ – no thanks to a Mr. Hunt-Hendrix of Liturgy – ‘Celestial Lineage’ was the black metal album that transcended all others. Effortlessly seaming together traditional black elements with acoustic passages, harp sections, ghostly vocals from Jessica Kenney, ‘Celestial Lineage’ was a calling from the forests to the sky, an ascension ritual, and wow did it feel real. If this is the final WitTR album, the Weaver brothers, Nathan and Aaron, can be content with having created a timeless masterpiece that will echo for all eternity.
4. Revocation – Chaos of Forms (Relapse)
In a scene full of guitar geekery, polyrhythmic drumming and deriritive copycats popping up every two seconds, it’d take something exceptional for another straight up technical death metal band to come up with an eye-catching record. Revocation aren’t trying to reinvent death metal in the same way as, say, Ulcerate, but they do what they do exceptionally well, and after two barnstorming albums prior, ‘Chaos of Forms’ completes a stunning proverbial trifector for them. It’s loud, technical and by-Nigel heavy, but all phased through a melodic, care-free swagger and even a Hammond organ solo. Revocation are undoubtedly one of the best the scene has to offer – now, wider world, will you please wake up?
3. Batillus – Furnace (Seventh Rule)
One we didn’t get round to reviewing this year, but one thoroughly deserving of praise. Without doubt one of the heaviest records I’ve ever listened to. Bustling with atmosphere and vile intensity, Batillus knocked me sideways with their full debut album. I’ve been into the band since their inception as a dronier, instrumental doom trio, but the addition of Fade Keiner (ex-Jarboe of others) on vocals and on synths/effects has given them an atmospheric and venomous edge. It’s cold and unforgiving album, those effects showing their hand at numerous turns, and heavier thunders rains from the sky like ten ton anvils. Clearly there’s still room for development – that’s the exciting part. Definitely a band to keep an eye on, definitely a record to pick up.
2. Crowbar – Sever the Wicked Hand (E1 Entertainment)
For a while it seems we might never get another Crowbar record. After 2006’s ‘Lifesblood for the Downtrodden’, frontman Kirk Windstein’s involvement with NOLA-supergroup Down increased as the band’s mainstream popularity rocketed, and he even had more time to record two albums in Kingdom of Sorrow with Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta. The news of a follow-up to ‘Lifesblood’ was greatly received, and ‘Sever the Wicked Hand’ was one hell of a return from one of the lords of sludge metal. Lyrically, Windstein dispels numerous demons and holy mother of pearl, it’s thunderously heavy, at times producing memorable skullcrushing breakdowns and wake-the-fuck-up shifts that make this possible the best Crowbar record since ‘Odd Fellows Rest’.
1. YOB – Atma (Profound Lore)
In a year in which a number of particularly high profile bounds have sought to alter their sound or dabble in experiments – gambles which haven’t always paid off – its relieving in a way that our number one album of 2011 is one from a band that’s not straying too far from its original template – instead, they refined it, like any master craftsmen, and proceeded to write quite simply the most mind-blowing album all year.
YOB’s ‘Atma’ is five tracks of unequivocally crushing traditional doom metal, which flourishes of psychedelia scattered throughout. Mike Schiedt delivers an incredible vocal performance, from his trademark nasal sounds to some truly guttural, terrifying roars. The trio masterfully build up riffs time and again, only to bring the hammer down with gargantuan might. Underpinning ‘Atma’ is its two longest tracks, both of which feature Neurosis’ Scott Kelly with stunning guest appearances. First, the centre track ‘Before We Dreamed of Two’. A whopping 16:10 in length, it combines Eastern mysticism within its guitar, laying down a cracking riff, before Scott Kelly comes along and damn near steals the show. His delivery of the lyric ‘distant silver shore/bring my body’ resonates far beyond this album, such is its impressive delivery. The second, ‘Adrift in the Ocean’, sees Kelly in a more understated but no less impressive vocal role, and serves as proof of YOB’s ability to produce killer riffs, jarring the senses on the slightly shorter tracks, and calling the great white waves on the two biggies, crushing all in its path. Five tracks in fifty-eight minutes; never does this feel like a slog, or an endurance test or any sort. Instead, it manages to be completely jaw dropping in its beauty and altar worshipping in its crushing dominance.
Put simply, 2011 would not have been the same without ‘Atma’. A classic in every sense of the word, and a deserving number one for 2011.
Peter Clegg
LABELS: BATILLUS; BEST OF 2011; BLACK SPIDERS; EVILE; MASTODON; NO MADE SENSE; REVOCATION; SINGAPORE; UK; US; WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM; WORMROT; YOB
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We Must Obey’s top EPs/splits/demos of 2011

Whoever said the short form of music was dead needs their head examining. Yes, as far as the mainstream pop shite goes, full of illiterate idiots that will be here today, gone tomorrow. But no, as in the alternative underground that will forever reverberate. We’ve consumed more EPs, demos and split releases than ever in 2011, a lot of which haven’t even made it to a review on here due to time constraints, and while they can’t be compared rightfully alongside full-length releases, it’s entirely fair that they can be judged on their own merits. So here, without further ado, are our top 10 shorter form releases of the year.
10. Wormrot – Noise (Scion AV/Earache)
If 2009 announced the arrival of Wormrot on the world scene, 2011 was the year they well and truly exploded onto it. Not content with releasing the stunning ‘Dirge’ and getting one-up on the pirates in the process, they contributed a flexi-disc 7” vinyl to Decibel magazine and additionally teamed up with Scion AV to put out another five tracks of grind madness. There’s one or two tiny hints of new sounds in there, particular a punk-ish (even Maiden-ish?) section in the closer ‘Perpetual Extinction’ but largely it’s the Wormrot we’ve come to know and love. Grind!
9. Enslaved – The Sleeping Gods EP (Scion AV)
The notion of a black metal band flirting with the musical offshoot of a major car manufacturer is proverbial blasphemy to trve black metal fans, but Enslaved long threw off the shackles off ultra-grimness and have long offered up something different with every new release. ‘The Sleeping Gods’ was no different and although it’s not their finest material, it showcased the multiple faces of Enslaved, through storming riffs (‘Alu Misyrki’) and ominous Norwegian folk (the title track) and yet more besides –  not a single track sounds the same here, ‘The Sleeping Gods’ is an essential addition to any metal (and in particular Enslaved) fans’ collection and further strengthens Enslaved as one of black metal’s premier acts.
8. Sea Bastard – Great Barrier Riff (self-released)
The general consensus in the UK sludge/doom scene is that an act with the potential that Funeral Hag had will be missed; but at least that potential has been plundered into Sea Bastard, forging together three former Funeral Hag members with former Jovian guitarist. This, their crackingly-titled demo, is three huge tracks spreading over nearly fourty minutes of debut material that serves as another huge hope for UK sludge/doom in 2012.
7. Mogwai – Earth Division EP
Would the masses say this is Mogwai’s best material to date? Almost certainly not. But as a reminder of what Mogwai are capable of, this more than does the trick. The Scots here supplied four incredible tracks, providing an ideal accompaniment to their latest album ‘Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will’, and even as a shortform release, it for me excels the majority of all 2011 releases across various formats and sizes. The lone vocal track ‘Get to France’ is just phenomenal, just drifting by in its simplicity and revelling in it at the same time. It’s not exactly rock by any stretch but its expansive and ambitious, something Mogwai can still claim to be above everybody else this long into their career.
6. Big Business – Quadruple Single EP (Gold Metal)
Big Business have been accumulating more members than putting out actual albums since 2009’s ‘Mind The Drift’, and though we still wait for the follow-up to that incredible record, the ‘Quadruple Single’ EP was a tasty reminder than the bastard offspring of Karp and The Melvins are one of the finest forces in rock. Any band who can pull a track like ‘Guns’ out of the bag, with its solitary line ‘Guns/guns/guns are better than everything else’, to a riff stomp of the exact same rhythm, are absolute genii. Sure, they might now have two guitarists, but it’s still about the finest rhythm section in rock right now, in Jared Warren and Coady Willis. Now come on lads, full length follow-up please?
5. Gripe – Pig Servant (self-released)
Pig Servant’ was the second of two releases in 2011 from Athens, Georgia hardcore/grind/powerviolence crew Gripe, the first being the Grindcore Karaoke-backed ‘The Future Doesn’t Need You’. The first was a statement of intent; ‘Pig Servant’ was that intent pinning you up against the wall by your throat. Featuring Mickey Rourke’s ‘blood for blood’ speech from Sin Cityas an introduction to the first track, ‘Ghetto Rapist’, was a masterstroke, and damn near everything afterwards destroyed all in its path. Clearly they can only get better, but what is certain is that someone should come along and sign them up right away.
4. Alpinist/Masakari – Split (Antifascista)
The d-beat sound has made a remarkable comeback in recent years. In truth, it never died, but bands like Trap Them, Black Breath, Nails etc. have all contributed to its uprising. Without question though, the split album by German hardcore/d-beat crew Alpinist and the merciless US powerhouse Masakari is one of the finest. Alpinist displayed a remarkably mature approach in their assault, displaying one or two untypical influences in a standout show. Masakari, on the other hand, were simply Masakari, uncompromisingly in-your-face and displaying a level of sonic violence that few can even match, let alone outfight.
3. Between The Buried and Me – The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues (Metal Blade)
Even in restricting themselves to three tracks, the evolution of Between The Buried and Me knows no boundaries, continuing to piss on their contemporaries from a great height as even in a year without a full album release, they still find space to shove in a section consisting of accordion and castanets during ‘Augment of Rebirth’ and still make it fall perfectly into place amongst a progressive death metal overture. It might only be an EP, and only three tracks, but even these 30 minutes alone stand up to their album works for pure quality, and further cements Tommy Rogers and co. as musical genii for the 21st century.
2. Trash Talk – Awake (True Panther Sounds)
Trash Talk have been evolving from their powerviolence beginnings to a fair few people now, no doubt aided by their association with Matt Caughthran and in particular Joby J. Ford from LA punks The Bronx, the latter of whom acted as producer here and on previous album ‘Eyes and Nines’. The latter showed promise in their potential metamorphosis; ‘Awake’ was a perfection of that metamorphosis. Although no less hardcore in its delivery, Trash Talk managed to capture the classic punk vibe in the same fashion as the likes of Black Flag and The Circle Jerks within nine furious minutes. A furious petrol bomb of defiance and ear-to-the-street rallying that no one should be without.
1. Iron Witch – Single Malt EP (Witch Hunter)
It was a real close call deciding between the top three – literally tighter than a gnat’s chuff – but Liverpool’s answer to Eyehategod, Sourvein and southern sludge in general take We Must Obey’s short form crown for this stunning whiskey fuelled assault. Describing them as the best UK sludge band since Iron Monkey might seem lofty but that’s the genuine feeling I get when listening to Iron Witch or watching them play live. And ‘Single Malt’ is truly misanthropic and all kinds of kick-ass heavy, swinging broken glass-haymakers like ‘Jailhouse’, ‘Booze Blues’ and more across the course of the EP. Seriously, the sheer bile that spills out from this record is unreal. That’s how intense it is. And that’s the mark of a great, and I mean truly great, sludge metal band. Wider world, watch out for Iron Witch in 2012.
Peter Clegg

Bill Bailey – In Metal

Bill Bailey
In Metal

The world would certainly be a poorer and gloomier place without Bill Bailey. The self styled Part Troll has been splitting sides for years with his rambling style of comedy, mixed with warped musical renditions of the Hokey Cokey and the BBC News theme of all things.

But though he’s more well known to the wider public for Never Mind The Buzzcocks and his role as Manny in Black Books’, he’s had plenty of musical dabblings as well, least of all the excellent ‘Insect Nation’. And here he bestows ‘In Metal’, an album of metal-styled songs based on his Sonisphere Festival performance earlier in the year.

There’s not much I can say without giving too much away, cos the humour is part of its charm of course. Don’t expect full on metal – if anything there’s its more rock, with the odd metal styling thrown in. That said though, the Rammstein version of ‘Scarborough Fair’, as well as a welcome ‘metal version’ of ‘Das Hokey Cokey’ show a little bit of steel, although they’re more laden with synth, and the heaviest it gets, on , is ruined by a lyric that quickly becomes tired. The best moments are the tracks ‘Leg of Time’ and ‘Love Song’, which are genuinely hilarious at times and have exactly the direct effect.

I suspect hardcore Bailey fans will find more to enjoy about his sending up of metal than the casual fan or listener, and its not as though he needed to do this to further his wildly successful career. But for the most part its an enjoyable diversion from the often too serious world of heavy metal, and surely that’s what ‘In Metal’ is all about and nothing more?

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘In Metal‘ here

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Shining – Live Blackjazz

Shining
Live Blackjazz
Indie
Without question, Shining (NOR) were one of 2010’s top emerging bands. Although they began in 1999 (as a jazz quartet), and later embraced metal fully with 2005’s ‘In The Kingdom of Kitsch You Will Be A Monster’, 2010 was the year that, for me, they truly impacted with the imperious ‘Blackjazz’. Melding black metal, jazz and more in a more intense fashion than ever before, Shining landed themselves in many people’s top albums of 2010 list way before the year had even ended. It was strange, malevolent, gonzoid and somehow cohesive.
Live Blackjazz’ isn’t a performance of that album in full, although the bulk of material from the album is present here. It compiles a full Shining performance comprising of material from that album plus older albums including ‘Kitsch’, and manages to do the rare job of doing what most live albums simply cannot, which is capture the raw, volatile energy of a band at the peak of their game. None of the craziness that manifested the studio album of the same name is lost, with frontman/saxophonist Jørgen Munkeby still screaming the ‘one three seven five’ out of ‘Fisheye’ and sounding nothing short of on the edge on the likes of ‘Madness and the Damage Done’ and ‘Exit Sun’. The closing cover of King Crimson’s ‘21st Century Schizoid Man’ is just as apocalyptic as it was on ‘Blackjazz’, enhanced by its domineering live presence
If you haven’t yet checked out Shining then you really owe it to yourself to immerse yourself right away into one of the most original bands of our time. Rarely does metal lend itself to diversity as much as it does with Shining, and without question this is an opportunity to grab with both hands and ears.

Peter Clegg

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‘Kin Hell Fest @ The Well, Leeds, 13/11/2011

(Originally posted on 12/12/2011 – now with live footage!)

Ninkharsag; I have no idea what that means, but every time I saw the name on a flyer it said to me “black metal,” which I suppose is helpful. Deeply rooted in the early days, this band would probably make those who use the words ‘kvlt’ and ‘trve’ do something sticky in their pants if they weren’t all miserable cunts and actually went to gigs.

The temperature of The Well is lowered as the grim hypnotic riffs flow between rolling drum fills and dark melodies. Ninkharsag have the same trance inducing quality to their music that Burzum have although they don’t follow in the same minimalist vein. They don’t compromise the song for the sake of speed, and the drums often emphasize the groove of a riff giving more weight to the track than endless shred/blast, although there is plenty of that to go around. I felt that the vocals didn’t quite match the power that the rest of the band created but Ninkharsag basically sound how black metal should do, evil as fuck. I was in fact so impressed, the urge to maniacally crab walk around screaming came over me. Unfortunately the ratio of beer to hangover was so far to the latter that by doing this I’d probably have fallen over and died. One black metal lunatic was completely overcome by the performance, he immediately set off out outside and set fire to a pile of leaves. Not quite a church but still.


Colonel Blast
bring death metal but not as you’re used to. There’s a lot of shredding and build up riffs to big moments that sound like some sort of post death metal pinnacle, uplifting rather than minor orientated. Amongst these moments there’s moody acoustic dynamics that are eventually savaged by all out death metal, jittering riffs and gruesome vocals delivered by a front man who gesticulated wildly, throwing punches around his unaware band mates, and at several points I feared for the safety of the bassist. There’s often a feeling of moving over several different types atmosphere within one song, all surrounding one moment of sheer power to follow these disjointed parts. Colonel Blast have defined death metal their own way, and it sounds good.

Oblivionized push the boundaries of the term tech death, the speed and ability of the musicians is incomprehensible to me. The complete insanity of what’s going on is probably a little lost in a live show and I won’t pretend that I knew what was going on most of the time, apart from the drums being ridiculously fast. If you like your death metal as intense as possible and have bionic hands, then these guys would be right up your street, or you could combine a CD with strobe lighting and have a useful tool for extracting information from a prisoner of war. I honestly can’t get into what’s happening and the only appropriate action I can think of while listening to Oblivionized, would be to internally combust or lose my mind. The vocalist also adds a strange style of chaos to the noise. Chaos however is what the band are obviously going for and they do achieve it.

The Atrocity Exhibit were up next and they bring on the filth; an unmistakable gravel like tone slaps you in the face and bastardized punk riffs give you that feeling in your gut that only something so brilliantly rotten can achieve. With the same kind of energy that Magrudergrind or Napalm Death can supply, the Atrocity Exhibit make me want to destroy everything in a grind induced frenzy and generally spaz out. The riffs are simplistic nasty, and seldom without massive groove. Obviously dedicated fans of all styles disgusting, the groove sometimes slows up into a sludged out stomp along, while piercing, abrasive screams tap into the feeling perfectly. Amongst the best underground grind bands in the UK, raw as hell and ferocious.

 

Foetal Juice bludgeon the energetic and appreciative crowd with fantastically sickening death and grind. I however, am sick of talking about the dodgy cunts so that’ll do. (Look at the Cannabis Corpse gig for more on these).


In a welcome change of pace, Wizard’s Beard appear to crush you like some sort of malevolent steam roller, assuming you didn’t have legs and couldn’t escape. The band drops into a disgustingly grim and droning start, each note pulling you further into some kind of sonic nightmare. Screams and shrieks punctuate howling feedback and fill the space between notes. As the tempo increases (not too much) the crowd are drawn in by planet shifting noise. The band are an interesting mix of droning depression and groove laden, schizophrenic blues. The groovier parts have an Iron Monkey type vibe to them, which is even more apparent with the similar all out throat ripping vocal style. While some parts of the set definitely stood out over others, the band has a distinct sound and can be crushingly heavy. One sinister and freakish crowd member of the crowd known as “Professor Big Bulge” described them as “swamp sludge, slow, heavy and powerful”. To be honest, that sums them up.

The band Diascorium is a violent attack on the idea of traditional song writing, and the musical equivalent of Mental illness. Insane sweeps are followed with slamming down beat brutality and a melodic interlude can descend into a complete cacophony within seconds, all while guttural/shrieking vocals perforate your ears. What surprises me about Diascorium is there one of the few bands I’ve seen that really make this work. The changes aren’t whimsical and work for and compliment the whole song. While it would be easy to watch them and focus on how impressive the musicianship is, it isn’t a regurgitated gimmick. There’s was plenty of crackin’ normal paced riffage and even the odd doomy bit to mix it up. One great thing about this was if something’s not to your taste in a track, you can guarantee there’s something in the pipeline that you will appreciate. This made them a fantastic band to watch live and they were certainly appreciated on the night.
 

Hangover defeated, I now faced a new challenge, which was staying upright and functioning with a great deal of beer and some very questionable local chicken inside of me while watching The Afternoon Gentlemen. The realisation that I couldn’t deal with the crowd at this point in time came as I first hit the deck, deciding to retreat towards the back and observe from afar. The Afternoon Gents bring awesomely psychotic violence in the form of music. Shredded vocal chords shout and screech in a constant barrage while relentless snappy punk and grind riffs create a whirlwind of flying bodies at the front of The Well. The bass crunches solo, with fuzz injected twang intermittently preparing you for the next bout of furiosity. The pace doesn’t let up but it doesn’t get boring; it’s kept fresh with stabs of sheer aggression and shredding followed by groove and power that keep the crowd moving.

 

The band are also pioneers of their self-coined genre ‘Power Joogle Pogger Violence’ which is their well practised art of running whilst playing with the retro toy known as “pogs”, and being angry at the same time.

I always though pirates were about disease, alcoholism and being sodomised but Skull Branded Pirates sound like they know otherwise. Power metal and melodic wizardry forms itself in tales of adventure from the seven seas. Good drinking music and a lot of fun if you’re not a cynical wanker (I am).

The drum kit has been moved from the middle of the stage and now sits amongst a captured audience, who are gathered in a circle focusing intently on two individuals in the centre. From the back of the room you can see no band, and the scene looks like a weird pagan ceremony’s under way, having said that, if I was at some sort of ritual of the earth and universe, I’d want Khudaplaying as well. It must be almost impossible to define this band with a few words and without mind expanding substances but here goes. A great deal of their sound seems to be influenced by post rock, looping, layering and building up to a sound that should be orchestrated by the big bang itself. Post rock however, wouldn’t exactly be a fully accurate description, a great deal of foreign rhythms and styles present themselves, some of which sound Baltic, yet these are still only part of a complex tapestry of sound. Many of the climatic moments do fit the post rock label but there’s no certainty as to how things will go. Psychedelic acoustic twangs ring out in slow spacey moments that build up to die out or explode with energy and percussive power.

A very interesting and dare I say original band that stole the day for me as I know they did for many others. As if Leeds shat this golden nugget out.
Astrohengebring the ‘omni metal’, which I’ve never heard before, but quickly decide is fairly odd. They give me the feeling of being chased around a dodgy fairground haunted house by Papa Lazarou, a scenario in which their music certainly fits. The instrumental four-piece have people stomping about the front with an odd combination of synth-fuelled riffs. There’s plenty of E-string thrashing amongst the groove and general anxiety inducing sounds. Astrohenge remind me slightly of Fantomas, but more riff focused.

The crowd that are watching Ingested don’t tell anything of the mixed feelings I’ve listened to through out the day. It’s easy to see why they’ve have gained popularity when watching live; they’re heavy and you know there’s going to be more than several points when you can stomp around pushing each other, or do that weird breakdown dance that makes me uncomfortable. I find parts of the set generic, predictable and very familiar, but there’s also quality death metal in there, plenty of fierce rhythms and some catchy riffs. Ingested have a formula and it works for those watching tonight, many of whom aren’t actually wearing New York caps and Ed Hardy t shirts!
 

‘Kin Hell Fest was a really fucking good day thanks to an awesome selection of bands

and a great atmosphere. It was also however, a very messy time, so the bands aren’t in the order they played, probably. Thanks a lot to Paul Priest and whoever else helped organise what was one of the best underground all dayers I’ve been to. Cheers to Jez Walshaw of Monster Riffage for the footage. Apologies to Decayed Messiah, who I unfortunately missed.
Bring on the next one!
Michael Collins