As promised, please find below a selection of images captured at last weekend’s ‘Kin Hell Fest at Vox/Eiger Studios in Leeds. We weren’t there for every band as you know, but we did catch numerous bands over the Friday and Saturday. They’re not the highest quality but hopefully they capture the awesomeness of this weekend. Just like the fest itself, our approach was very DIY – no fancy lens or expensive kit, just a standard digital camera with a dying battery, and a mobile phone trying to do the job of a professional. Tsk. Anyhoo, enjoy!
@Vox/Eiger Studios, Leeds, 02/05-04/05/2014
The day has finally arrived. ‘Kin Hell Fest 2014 is to start today. The sun in shining, anticipation is full to bursting, and nothing can throw a spanner in the works. But family life so often gets in the way, and then there’s the issue of public transport. In the end, everything conspires for me to only arrive around 4:00pm. As a result, I miss the opening salvo of bands that get this festival properly underway. So apologies to Death Tripper, Ephemeral Foetus, and Pist, all of whom I never made it in time for.
Thankfully, I’m not to miss any of the remaining undercard and, having finally arrived and newly armed with a couple of tins of Guinness, it’s time to watch Necro Deathmort. The London duo play it slightly safe, sticking to the doomier side of their material, rather than the electronic stuff, most of which seems to be washed out by the constant reverberations from their guitars. That said, it is satisfying stuff and ‘Insecto!’ gets a great airing. It feels like the soundtrack to those forever falling dreams/nightmares, such is the sense of helplessness emitted from the vocalists’ yells. From one end of the country to the other, as Fife quartet Iniquitous Savagery bring the weekend’s first dose of slam death metal, chucking in lots of sub-guttural vocals and provoking some silly slam dancing in the pit – no feet being flailed though so it’s all good. Merely lots of invisible oranges and arms being jerked in near-robotic fashion which by the end almost induces a full on pit. As for the band, it’s decent stuff and with time I expect they’ll develop into even more brutal territory.
Haar live up to their name by filling the stage and front floor area with billowing machine smoke before they get going. It feels as though it takes a while before they really get going as well – as a modern proggy black metal band focused on their sound as opposed to showmanship, the occasionally angular riffs don’t feel like a most comfortable fit for this crowd, but eventually it stirs into something more and given a little more time this could well have proven to be a truly enthralling experience. Not such a problem for Evisorax keep it really brief – about 15 minutes, well below their allotted schedule – and it’s at this point that for myself, at least, the spark is lit and the crowd don’t need an invitation to go nuts just as the band’s vocalist paces up and down, jumping into the crowd once or twice, and at one point instructing individuals in the pit ‘kill him! to stir up the raucousness. When new song ‘Locust Breeders’ ends the set, it leaves everyone wanting more, which it seems the band didn’t have tonight. A minor shame, as this band took the day by the scruff of the neck and shook it senseless.
From the fast, to the slow, Oxford quartet Undersmile bring the pace right down with some of the finest doom/drone riffs you’ll likely hear this weekend, led by their two chanteuses whose collective drawls work in tandem to further propel the sense of slow motion sickness. There’s an art to watching this sort of music particularly as it drags on, bar a faster section that comes from nowhere late on, but there’s no way that Undersmile are boring or tiring. It’s an intriguing thirty five minutes.
Technical gremlins are afoot as Ingested prepare, leading to the first delay in the schedule. Fifteen minutes later, they start up and purge on for thirty minutes of ridiculous slam-death action. This time it’s a full on circle pit that gets their slam on and you can tell just how crazy Leeds are for this band.
Pentagram Chile will forever go down as one of those magic moments for this fest in my book. A UK exclusive and if you missed it, you missed out. Anton Reisenegger and crew are bang on form with their ripping old-school death metal. Tomas Lindberg joins them at one point and after slam riffs and drones all day, it’s good to hear a guitar squeal as Anton lets rip through the course of the set with wailing solos sandwiched between some of the finest death metal riffs to have been unleashed from the vault of metal history. 28 years is a long, long time to get your band up and running, but Pentagram are worth the wait and any true metal fan will realise their importance. More so now.
Of course, the band everyone is here to see is Napalm Death, and after a further delay – as all major headliners seem to incur – the biggest name in grind walk on stage and follow the opening ‘Multinational Corporations’ with ‘The Silence is Deafening’, and at that moment I’m as close as I’m willing to get to the stage without being annihilated. This is all top stuff – no barriers, it feels like an old-school show in the sense that bodies are flying everywhere. There was a brief stoppage during ‘Unchallenged Hate’ when Barney noticed someone on the floor and called for first aid. A few minutes later, everything appeared to be OK, and the song appropriately resumed smack in the middle, and all went nuts again. The ‘Utilitarian‘ material gets a good thrashing as ‘Everyday Pox’, ‘The Wolf I Feed’ and ‘Errors in the Signals’ all serve as further incitement to jump around and stage dive. Sadly I can’t stick around much longer than that owing to the last train home. Still, I leave following the end of a brutally urgent ‘Suffer the Children’ and the jog back to the train station as all the more worthwhile having witnessed another show of urgency and rage from the definitive band of the scene’s thirty years of existence.
This means I didn’t catch any of the last three bands either, including Famine, who by the time I’d left had nearly sold out of their limited editions of their new CD, each packaged in a coloured envelope with a different design. I have it on good authority from my long time co-conspirator Mike though that Lock Up were excellent, and that A Storm of Light, a last minute coup for the festival, played out a decent set, although the crowd by now had dropped owing to the early hours.
In the end, it turns out I did get to seeTrudger, and boy am I glad the schedule got moved back a little. Initially I can’t hear the vocals but that’s soon fixed and the lead guy is definitely a gruff growler. But they’ve got some cracking riffs, and the first time they properly drop the doomhammer, wow. They’ve know how to drop it.
Gets Worse are a tight, solid powerviolence band, but really need a bigger crowd or a smaller room to create an atmosphere of any sort, at this time of day at least. Not so much an issue for Wizard’s Beard whose guitarist and vocalist perform almost entirely on the floor in front of the stage. The descriptions of them as redefining heavy aren’t far wrong. The rhythm section – including two bassists – supports the floor duo in laying the thick foundation for their colossal riffage to unfold, the vocalist in particular really getting into it as he paces the floor, rocks out uncontrollably and at one point throttles himself with the mic lead. The last song of their set sees the band yell out loud in unison without the need for a microphone. This is without question – discounting anyone playing a blinder on the Sunday* – one of the sets of the weekend.
It never occurred to me that Keighley heavy metallers Arkham Witch had pulled out before the fest began, so it’s left to Monolithian to follow that up the previous set. The bass/drum duo from Falmouth do this very well, however, making up what they lack in numbers in sheer energy and power, combining sludge and doom riffs with some occasional injections of blackened crust. If you weren’t rocking out to this you obviously weren’t trying hard enough.
Upon re-entering the room it’s not the death metal troupeAcrania setting up, rather Dutch grind two-piece Jesus Cröst. Turns out Acrania pulled out as well, so now the bill is running ahead of schedule. This is my first time seeing Jesus Cröst, and it will be mine, and indeed everyone’s last – as they explain to the crowd, they chose to finish their career as a band in Leeds in tribute to Heresy, who also finished their career in Leeds. And so they thrash away through some of tightest grind going, with stop-start intervals and occasional signals from the drummer to incite a bit more from the crowd, who are getting down to the fast jams coming from the stage. It doesn’t take long for them to complete their set and depart from the stage for good – but wait. Cröst allow themselves an encore, and asking the crowd to give them the biggest circle pit Leeds has ever seen, they get a half decent effort followed by what has to be the first attempt I’ve ever seen of a human pyramid in the middle of a pit. It collapses upon the eighth person climbing atop the foundation, unable to sustain. But truth be told, the anarchy below is a fitting farewell to the duo, who certainly made a few new friends tonight just by being nice. And playing awesome grind. Good luck and adieu.
Whatever issues Grave Miasma had before starting up, seemingly with the cab? I’m no expert. Whatever the case, it eats into the time gained from Acrania’s cancellation so we’re back on schedule by the time they start up. It all seems ultra professional – incense sticks, goat skulls, band members in fake blood – but let’s not mock, these guys are the real deal in old school death metal, shredding riff after riff, in completely fist pumping, chest-beating glory. Pound for pound one of the tightest line-ups this fesyicalThe crowd get right into it, which sadly can’t be said for Deviated Instinct. It’s a relatively sparse crowd for them and there’s no lack of effort on their part, but whatever shenanigans are going on at the front of the pit, you get the feeling not everyone’s paying attention, for which a band so influential deserve better.
There’s still much japing around at the front when Hawk Eyes step up, but they seem to be engaging the crowd more at least, owing to being the most rock friendly act on the bill. They show why they’re one of the best rock acts in the country right now and their singer brings down the mic stand to floor level and moves it around at various points in the song to continue his performance amidst the raucous crowd. Though that act in itself is a prelude to Khuda, who may not be the biggest name on the bill but their name and reputation in these parts meant this was always going to be a special moment, and just as they did in 2011 when they played the original KHF, they set up in the middle of the floor and for one last time for this festival they play an incredible set. Encircled by the crowd, they jam out a fantastic set punctuated by some crunching and occasionally lovely chilled riffs, and tip top drumming, combining in superb fashion at the end with possibly the most beautiful way to close out a set of such intimate surroundings.
Time continues to tick away, however, and in the end Anaal Nathrakh are too long setting up for myself to feel it worth sticking around to judge them purely one one song, and so it was away for my train home I would go. And thus, missing out on Birdflesh, The Day Man Lost, and the not-so-secret band Sloth Hammer. That is where our coverage of proceedings here ends.
Hang on, you ask. Where is Sunday’s coverage? Well, my time is so often divided up between my family, work, running, and indeed this festival at this time of year. Last year it worked fine as my co-conspirator Mike could cover the Saturday last year while I did the Friday and Sunday. This time around, Mike is far more occupied as bassist/vocalist for Wort, bassist for Pist, and a promoter in his own right with Manchester-based CLDH. He was back on the road with Pist on the Saturday, and he always wrote for us voluntarily, and I would never hold him down to ensure a full report here. So that left me, myself and I, and owing to a clash of dates and occasions I could never commit fully to this year’s fest. Hence I appealed for anyone attending if they’d like to voluntarily contribute with a review of Sunday’s coverage that I’d be most grateful for. That has not been forthcoming yet, and so we can only leave it there. I hate for this review to be incomplete, but there are times when my family come above all else and Sunday was one of those days. So if anyone out there has anything to add, please do let us know. We may feature it.
Thanks once again to Paul Priest for making us welcome at this festival, and all involved in the organisation of the festival from promoting to playing and trying to make the thing run like clockwork. And cheers to the fans who like me came out in support of this fest. I will always remember the first moshpit human pyramid! I had a blast watching these bands and Mike I’m sure will say the same about playing the fest and checking out some of the bands too. We’ve been proud to support this festival from its origins as a one-dayer, and we are proud to have been there almost all the way to the end. Because sadly, as a follow up post will detail, this really is it, though we can always hope for its spirit to live on in the future should it be reinvented or reanimated in any way.
We will have a full gallery of photos from the fest during our attendance on Friday and Saturday very soon.
Welcome back to our comprehensive preview of ‘Kin Hell Fest 2014. If Friday’s line-up wasn’t enough for you, Saturday’s bill features no less than 15 bands, ranging from the fastest to the slowest, and indeed spanning the modern era of extremity to its very origins. There should be something for you all here. Doors at 12pm Saturday, first band at 1pm. Go!
Esoteric Youth – 13:00-13:25
Describing themselves as ‘the most evil band out of Manchester since Oasis’, this blackened hardcore crew who have been making inroads into the fulcrum of the UK scene since emerging with their demo in 2012 – their bleak crusty diatribes should prove a wake-up slap in the chops for anyone still recovering from Friday’s madness.
Gets Worse – 13:40-14:05
Another local act, these guys were named in our top 10 short releases for 2013 with ‘Negative’. They have no time for false grinders, pit violence, and indeed as Manowar, and a cracking Scottish blog might say, ‘wimps and posers, leave the hall’!
Wizard’s Beard – 14:20-14:50
Smashing stoner/sludge metallers in the vein of Iron Monkey, Weedeater, etc. who continue to raise the bar in what is deemed ‘heavy’. Blogs and zines have raved about their records ‘Pure Filth’ and ‘Four Tired Undertakers’, so buckle up and get your grooves on. This is about to get heeeeeavy.
Noise Complaint – 15:05-15:30
Cosmopolitan crossover thrashers Noise Complaint are rooted firmly in the UK, bringing together members from the USA, Italy and Brazil. Speed is the name of the game here and you’d be well urged to keep up. These guys are nuts.
Monolithian – 15:45-16:15
This Falmouth duo are creating welcome noise in the UK scene for their bleak and heavy jams that outgun and rise above more populous doom bands. Released a cracking split with hardcore crew Let It Die last year.
Arkham Witch – 16:30-17:00
Keighley-based traditional heavy/doom metallers with anthems of Lovecraftian horror, upholding metal values, mythology and famous comic books characters among others. Cracking retro worship.
Acrania – 17:15-17:45
Brutally pounding death metal from London featuring members of Pathology and Bloodshot Dawn. Brace yourselves – circle pits are coming!
Jesus Cröst – 18:00-18:30
Word is this is going to be the last show ever from the Dutch two-piece, who’ve been ploughing out good-time speedy grind for over 15 years now. With that in mind, let’s give them the ravenous send off they deserve.
Grave Miasma – 18:50-19:25
Fantastic old-school death metal crew from London who released the future underground classic ‘Odori Sepulcrorum’ in 2013. Being hailed as one of the flagbearers of the old-school renaissance of the genre by many leading blogs and zines, it’s time to fall under their spell.
Deviated Instinct – 19:40-20:15
For me, personally, these guys are going to be completely unmissable. Legendary 80’s crust-punks who reactivated in 2007 and put out their first record in 21 years with 2012’s ‘Liberty Crawls to the Sanctuary of Slaves’. This year marks 30 years since their inception, one of the true pioneers of the scene, and fans new and old can expect a raucous and furious show. Expect the pit to go truly nuts at this point.
Hawk Eyes – 20:30-21:10
Mad scientists of rock who incorporate elements of punk, hardcore, electronic and all manner of experimentalism to their sound, bothering mainstream rags and trendies as well as accumulating a rabid following. Hometown show for this lot, guaranteed to be packed out.
Khuda – 21:25-22:05
They’re back! Following their decision to disband early in 2013, Leeds’ post-rockers Khuda have reformed to record a new album and to play KHF, in doing so returning to the festival where they stole the show according to our occasional scribe Mike who witnessed them back in 2011. A truly awesome experience to watch and a swerve in direction from the madness that precedes it.
Anaal Nathrakh – 22:25-23:30
The reigning overlords of British extreme metal arrive in Leeds as Saturday headliners and ready to lay waste to the Vox Warehouse.
Birdflesh – 23:50-00:25
One of the most crackers bands to ever raise hell in grind, Swedish trio Birdflesh bring hell to town in a UK exclusive performance. Expect wild costume, bonkers antics and some classic grindcore from the scene freaks.
The Day Man Lost – 00:40-01:00
Preston grinders The Day Man Lost reformed to play the festival last year and emerged as one of its highlights. These guys are brutal, easily one of the most essential UK grind bands on the scene, and will provide a perfectly crazy end to the Saturday with short sharp blasts of purified rage.
+ We Must Obey officially supporting ‘Kin Hell Fest 2014!
We are very happy to confirm that once again, ‘Kin Hell Fest have added We Must Obey as one of its official supporters/promoters of its festival, after our coverage of the 2013 edition. We’re absolutely honoured, thrilled and suitably stoked to be part of the alumni, as the fest is set to be even bigger than ever before.
A lot has happened though considering our coverage dropped somewhat because of my running/fundraising exploits and generally a lack of access and family issues to contend with that has really got in the way. ‘Kin Hell Fest have indeed added more in the way of details since then and as such, I’ve constructed this mega-post to get you all up to speed with what’s going on.
What we know so far:
The latest additions
Some stonking bands were added to the line-up very recently, including perhaps the biggest name to be drawn to the fest so far, in the name of Birmingham’s harshest extreme metallers Anaal Nathrakh. Also added are Rot in Hell, hardcore merchants featuring members of UK scene legends Voorhees, as well as Dutch groovy grind/powerviolence freaks Jesus Crost, Falmouth doom duo Monolithian, brutal German slammers Pighead, and Derby’s twisted-punk psychos Ephemeral Foetus
We also got a self-confirm for the first time in the fest’s history, as Leeds post-rock duo Khuda, who split last year, confirmed their appearance at the fest in a one-off reunion set!
Just a couple of days ago, the festival organisers outdid themselves again, with the announcement of five more bands, including Swedish comedy grindnuts Birdflesh, playing their first UK show, a one-off exclusive, since 2006, and Leeds riff lords Hawk Eyes. Both play the fest for the first time and diversify the line-up further than ever before. Also making their first appearances are London’s old-school progressive heavy metallers Amulet, and UK-based crossover thrashers Noise Complaint, comprising members from the USA, Brazil and Italy. Finally, returning for seconds this year are one of 2013’s most impressive acts, Preston grinders The Day Man Lost. Man, they crushed the fest on the Sunday this year and by George, its great to have them back.
A pre-show will take place on Friday April 26th, 2014 to serve as a preamble to festivities. This show will take place at Eiger Studios in Leeds, with a line-up to be announced.
The main festival itself will take place on the weekend of Friday May 2nd to Sunday May 4th, 2014, at the Vox venue in Leeds.
27 bands have been announced so far:
Anaal Nathrakh; Wodensthrone; Birdflesh; Hawk Eyes; Deviated Instinct; Ingested; Khuda; Conquest of Steel; Crepitation; Evisorax; Pighead; Necro Deathmort; Jesus Crost; Acrania; Haar; XisforEyes; Amulet; Gets Worse; Noise Complaint; Iniquitous Savagery; Monolithian; The Day Man Lost; Rot In Hell; Wizard’s Beard; Ephemeral Foetus; Famine; Death Tripper
12 more bands still to be announced, plus the pre-show line-up which is set to be an all-dayer, with announcement of 11 bands for that show at the beginning of 2014, bringing the total up to 50 bands!
Early bird tickets for the fest are now on sale at a modest £49 for at least 39 bands. But be quick – they’re limited to 200 and likely to go quickly! Head here to get yours. More tickets will go on sale at a later date, for both the main festival and the pre-show. The fest are also exploring camping and travel options. Keep your eyes and ears on those if you live many miles away from Leeds.
The revamped ‘Kin Hell Fest website is now up and running for 2014. Bigger and better than before, go check it out for the latest news, tickets, band profiles and forum discussion.
Phew, that was exhausting. But rest assured, we aim to pick ourselves back up and support this festival loud and proud, heading into 2014 and beyond. Stay tuned for further updates!