‘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
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