‘Kin Hell Fest 2013 Preview – Saturday

If our preview of Friday’s line-up for ‘Kin Hell Fest 2013 got your metal juices flowing, the Saturday will literally have your tongue on the floor. A huge fifteen bands will take to the stage from Saturday afternoon, heading deep into the evening.

Masochist – 12:30-12:55

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Local tykes Masochist brought us ‘The Extent of Human Error’ late last year and set out their stall as another fine brutal death metal band, adding grind flourishes to their sound to provide an excellent mix that’s seem them backed to become one of the UK’s top extreme metal acts. Hopefully those of you still recovering from Friday’s antics will oblige these guys early this Saturday morning!

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Nu Pogodi! – 13:10-13:35

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All female kick-ass hardcore punk/d-beat crew full of political and sociological rage, doing it well in the vein of Discharge, Crass, etc. The definitive soundtrack to humankind plunging itself into further unrest and turmoil. Nu, nu, nu Pogodi!

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Sloth Hammer – 13:50-14:15

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Organiser Paul Priest’s other band Diascorium will no doubt have dizzied the audience on Friday but it’s with this band that he and his fellow crew will bring things right down to a torturous crawl with their improvised drone goodness. Their original release was entitled ‘Pure Unbounding Misery’, and that’s exactly what to expect, as they expel you into the abyss.

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BongCauldron – 14:30-14:55

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Winners of the vote on the final band to be announced, home town trio BongCauldron will bring, as their name suggests, a heavy brew of sweet stoner grooves, sludge bombs and doom hammers. Influenced by all things good like Sleep, Weedeater et al, riff out!

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Prolefeed – 15:10-15:35

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Noisy chaotic hardcore punk in vein of Vitamin X, The Horror, et al, Prolefeed are swift, fast, and raging. Their debut EP ‘Murder Rob for Cult Status’ was released earlier this year and was over and done with inside five minutes. Make no mistake, turn up even slightly late on this band and you’ll miss out on all the fun. If the first two bands don’t wake you up, Prolefeed will.

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Regurgitate Life – 15:50-16:20

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When Sam from Oblivionized isn’t delivering dizzying riffs of agony with his main band, he can be found here in his solo project Regurgitate Life, successfully managing on his own the power of four or five. Guaranteed to crush you all.

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The Atrocity Exhibit – 16:40-17:10

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Another band back for seconds following their fantastic performance at the inaugural edition of the festival, The Atrocity Exhibit, and off the back of 2012’s superb ‘What Time the Hidden Death?’ Come on over and get down to some fantastic crossover sludge grind!

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Cancerous Womb – 17:25-17:55

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Another member of the ‘Split Roast’ Five (including Diascorium and Magpyes) to perform here, this Scottish death metal trio who lavish themselves in the depravity the genre can bring from time to time will certainly bring crushing brutal riffs and blastbeats aplenty, all in poor taste and with precision par excellence.

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Ishmael – 18:15-18:45

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Wondering where the doom might be? Well look no further, this is where it begins. Plymouth’s Ishmael are quite simply one of the most agonisingly crushing doom bands in the UK right now, if not yet the world, and their debut album ‘Hell Is Empty and All the Devils Are Here’ is one of the most intense albums I can recall in recent history, a prime example of how heavy, bleak and thoroughly punishing the band’s sound is. Fronted by Dani Hawkins, a lady with the most uncompromising of vocal talents, Ishmael are without doubt going to be the most fascinating and evil-sounding bands you’ll hear all weekend.

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Flayed Disciple – 19:00-19:30

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Death-thrashers Flayed Disciple have made great strides over the last year, seeing their name spread in the wake of their phenomenal debut album ‘Death Hammer’ as well as their videos for ‘The Westboro Massacre’ and the sickening ‘The Shrine of Dahmer’. Another in the new wave of British death metal, their riffs of precision will greet Leeds mid-Saturday and will be sure to open up a great hole in the floor. Rumours that Steve the Zombie will appear on stage are unconfirmed.

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Asomvel – 19:45-20:15

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A dream to some…a nightmare to others’ is their motto, and these classic Yorkshire heavy metallers celebrate their 20 th anniversary this year. Expect old-school riffs and attitude aplenty, fans of Motorhead, Stuka Squadron et al rejoice! Grab your self a beer and bang thy head!

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Palehorse – 20:35-21:10

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Guitars out, bass in! Veterans of the heavy brew, South London’s Palehorse bring their relative years of experience and their crushing sonic weight to Leeds, promising a fantastic mix of crushing sonic waves, moments of relative serenity, steeped in sludge and sheer audible force.

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Alkerdeel – 21:25-22:05

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Belgian mob Alkerdeel are making the short trip over the Channel for ‘Kin Hell Fest, bringing with them raw, agonizing, black sludgy drone/doom, shrouded in darkness and misery. One of the cruellest crawls of the weekend.

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The Afternoon Gentlemen – 22:25-22:55

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The self-styled kingpins of ‘power joogle pogger violence’, Leeds’ very own The Afternoon Gentlemen return to ‘KHF to once again for the crowd to get wasted to before TAG lay Leeds to waste, having done so to venues across Europe and America for the last couple of years. This is what your booze was made for.

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Rompeprop – 23:15-00:00

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Headlining the second night by special invitation are the Dutch goregrind group Rompeprop. With below-guttural vocals, low-end riffs and subject matter not for the faint of heart or easily offended, Rompeprop are one of the heaviest bands who will play this weekend, but not without a fun element. Never ones to take themselves seriously, one look at their performance at Obscene Extreme Festival 2010 will show the band are happy to bring the party to you, and hopefully the ‘Kin Hell Fest will party just as hard as the Czechs did that day!

Acoustic Womb – 00:15-00:30

And after all that gonzoid madness, Cancerous Womb will reveal a more sensitive side as their acoustic alter egos Acoustic Womb. Lighters in the air for ‘Torn From Gunt to Cunt’ Anyone?

We’ll return tomorrow with the final part of this year’s preview, going through Sunday’s also amazing cast.

Peter Clegg

Best albums of 2012

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We’ve finally reached the end of 2012, and my has it been a blast. The greatest year in the UK’s sporting history. A supposed prophecy that was never realised. A glorious year for rock and metal and all its various forms.

The music this year has been so exceptional that its been harder than ever deciding on the final ten. As such, honourable mentions must go to the following:

Ginger – 555% (Round/Pledge Music)
Dope Body – Natural History (Drag City)
Eagle Twin – The Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale (Southern Lord)
Burning Love – Rotten Thing to Say (Southern Lord)
Every Time I Die – Ex Lives (Epitaph)
Napalm Death – Utilitarian (Century Media)

All of which are records which you should check out, if you haven’t already, and they only missed the final cut by a whisker. Damn, if 2013 is better than this we will truly be spoilt.

Without further ado, we present our top ten albums of the year.

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10. Deftones – Koi No Yokan (Warner Bros)

The Sacramento crew continue to impress on album number seven, despite, for me, not reaching the stratospheric heights of ‘Diamond Eyes’ on this occasion. From start to finish its another wildly esoteric ride reaching soaring heights and dark depths, creating a new set of anthems that Deftones fans will sure echo throughout cavernous arenas well into 2013 and beyond. Tracks such as ‘Romantic Dreams’, ‘Entombed’ and ‘Tempest’ are absolutely lush, and there’s not many bands these days who can create the level of atmosphere around a song like Deftones can. There’s simply no stopping them right now. 

 

wpid-898529953-1.jpg9. Krallice – Years Past Matter (self-released) 

In a year which has seen Felix Baumgartner skydive from the stratosphere, and in a year where Voyager 1 is reached the interstellar medium, I have wondered what soundtrack would best embody a human odyssey into the far outer reaches of space. And no, I’m not talking about the Voyager Golden Record. Now a human venture going that far is not likely to happen in our time, our offspring’s time, or the next generation, or the next generation…but if it did, and we can preserve a vinyl pressing of Krallice’s ‘Years Past Matter’, then that voyage will go beyond anything what even Carl Sagan imagined. Maybe that’s an overexaggeration. But still, ‘Years’ is without question Krallice’s finest vision yet, where all out speed subsides slightly to a more bombastic and expansive approach. The artwork alone should tell you what a vast journey this is, and it doesn’t disappoint, whether it’s the propulsion into the interstellar void (‘IIIIIIIII’) or the thrilling closing 16-minute epic (‘IIIIIIIIIIII’).

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8. Gorod – A Perfect Absolution (Listenable)

I was perhaps one of the few slightly disappointed by French tech-deathers Gorod’s previous album ‘Process of a New Decline’, so I was particularly impressed by the results shown on ‘A Perfect Absolution’. Don’t mistake their inclusion in their list for one of mere marked improvement, because Gorod have never lacked the quality – there’s just something about this album in particular that had real oomph. In a year where people went nuts for The Faceless’ ridiculous aping of more celebrated progressive greats, Gorod put on a technical masterclass in death metal, knowing when to bring on bursts of speed, when to usher in groove phases, even shaking with a bit of flamenco that won’t have gone amiss to, say Athiest or Cynic. All with excellent skill and precision. Lyrically, it all centres on 10th Century Kiev. Jolly good! All in all Gorod ought to be a bigger name in these circles, and it’s their noticeable inclusion on next year’s Bonecrusher Fest (with Job for a Cowboy) that has got me excited for 2013 already.

wpid-Converge-All-We-Love-We-Leave-Behind-album-cover.jpg7. Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind (Epitaph) 

After the guest-laden ‘Axe to Fall’, which for my liking didn’t fire on all cylinders, Converge returned with the excellent ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’ to the widespread critical acclaim they’re surely used to by now. A searing block of molten anger, despair and reflection, the desperate on-the-edge approach to their craft is what continues to set Converge apart from everyone else. I truly felt like I’d gone seven rounds with Ballou, Newton and co after the first three tracks, and how the rest of the album developed delivered knockout punch after knockout punch, even during the ocean drift of ‘Coral Blue’. A superb record from a band still unashamedly as energetic as when they began. Youngsters, take note.

 

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6. Ufomammut – Oro: Opus Primum (Neurot) 

High things were expected of Ufomammut following their switch to Neurot Recordings, and boy oh boy oh boy oh boy did they deliver. Many people seem to prefer the second, slightly leaner part of ‘Oro’ – ‘Opus Alter’ – to ‘Opus Primum’, but for me, the longer, more intense ‘Primum’ is the power element of this couple. Every thick groove oozes through swathes of abstract elements, spoken words and psychedelic trips, further empowered by the band’s visual collaborators, Malleus whose images made ‘Oro’ even more hypnotizing. The album’s third track, ‘Infearnatural’, is particularly embodying of this description, where guitarist Urlo delivers an echoey chant before landing back into the sweet, slow, crushing doom groove. By far the most inebriating ride of the year, ‘Oro’, and in particular ‘Opus Primum’, not only lived up to the hype; it squashed it flat too!

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5. Neurosis – Honor Found In Decay (Neurot)

An album I got around to too late to publish a full review for before the turn of the year, but undoubtedly deserving of its spot on this list. Scott Kelly has immersed himself in numerous projects since the last Neurosis album, ‘Given to the Rising’, and especially so in the last year; but none is more immersive and rewarding as his main band’s latest. Everyone’s got their own take on the best Neurosis album, and while I don’t rate this as high as, say ‘Enemy of the Sun’, its still pretty darn close to their best – and that is leagues above many other bands’ best. An enthralling journey through darkness and doom, ambience and hush, there’s many a fine moment to behold – ‘My Heart in Deliverance’ in particular stands out as one of the songs of the year, not just the album itself. As always, completely encapsulating.

Woods of Ypres - Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light4. Woods of Ypres – Woods 5: Grey Skies and Electric Light (Earache)

It was the album that was supposed to launch Woods of Ypres towards the mainstream, a new beginning. The tragic accident that took singer and founder David Gold’s life at 31 means not only a premature termination of a potentially commercially successful band, but that ‘Woods 5: Grey Skies and Electric Light‘ feels like more than just another album. It’s doomy metal with a few less of the black metal pervading their sound on previous releases touches, but with songwriting and musicianship par excellance. Throughout the fragility of life and its tipping point into death are lyrically displayed, with a sadly prophetic feel to it all. But what a final album to end on, with tracks such as the slightly tongue-in-cheek ‘Career Suicide (Is Not Real Suicide)’ and the poignant funeral march of ‘Kiss My Ashes (Goodbye)’ showcasing exactly how great a loss Gold is to metal in general.

wpid-Between-the-Buried-and-Me-Parallax-II.jpg3. Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax II: Future Sequence (Metal Blade)

The juggernaut that is Between the Buried and Me shows no sign of slowing down, now on their seventh album barely into their thirties. And if ‘The Parallax II: Future Sequence’ is anything to go, then they’re maturing very well indeed. Those Pink Floydian-tendencies seem stronger than ever in the quintet, as ‘Parallax II’ is a space-opera deluxe from start to finish, continuing the story that began on 2011’s ‘Parallax I: Hypersleep Dialogues’ EP. Every second is thoroughly compelling, twisting through dream-like melodies, frenetic riff-fests, ambience, blastbeats, and those oddball moments which you’re either a fan of or not. I fall firmly in the first category. Everything truly comes together on this record, with ‘Silent Night Parliament’ and the reprise of ‘Goodbye to Everything’ being a fitting epic finale worthy of stadiums, not clubs. A wonderful album set in glorious spaaaaaaaaaace. 

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2. High on Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis (E1 Music)

2012 was in many ways the year of Pike – specifically for his recorded ventures and rereleased material, if not specifically the spell in rehab from which he has emerged victorious. Pike’s pre-HoF band Sleep were being celebrated by the rerelease of ‘Dopesmoker’, and indeed the early HoF days were being relived through the rerelease of ‘The Art of Self Defense’, but if ‘De Vermis Mysteriis’ showed anything, it was that Pike and his crew are more than capable of recreating that superb form. Previous High on Fire Records have ranged from anything to brilliant, to…well, alright I suppose. ‘De Vermis Mysteriis’ was something else. The most varied HoF record yet, it drew heavily on the fictional grimoire authored by Robert Block and picked up by H.P. Lovecraft, styled on an idea Pike derived about the Immaculate Conception and time travel, and featured many a centrepiece moment, whether the Jeff Matz-led instrumental ‘Samsara’, so evocative of the great Cliff Burton, or the truly majestic ‘King of Days’, one of Pike’s finest vocal performances to date. The traditional power drive of the band is always present, but the varied approach to their latest record makes it their most essential since ‘Blessed Black Wings’.

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1. Panopticon – Kentucky (Handmade Birds/Pagan Flames)

We already saw evidence in 2011 of US black metal coming to the fore with acts like Wolves in the Throne Room providing undeniably transcending moments and Liturgy shaking things up with their divisive take on the genre, along with the Krallices and Nachtmystiums of America doing very well indeed. This year, it has further aged into a fine creature, showing it is capable once again of further breaking any shackles that confined the genre. No one act – or indeed, one man – showed that more than Austin Lunn, aka A. Lundr, aka Panopticon, on the breathtaking fourth album ‘Kentucky’. 

Folk and metal may not be unusual bedfellows any more, but to take a further strain of folk, bluegrass, and to attempt to meld it to black metal is daring by anyone’s standards. To truly pull it off requires a masterstroke. Lunn does that, and so much more. It’s the ultimate love letter to his home state, from the two bluegrass instrumentals that bookend the album, every bit as beautiful and evocative of the images of Blenheim Forest contained in the vinyl releases, to his depiction of the issues that Kentucky struggled with through its history – the massacre of Cherokee Indian women and children at Ywahoo Falls (‘Bodies Under The Falls’), and in the main, the story of the toil, the uprising, and the demise of coal miners in the 1930s. The heavy songs appear between the traditional miner songs that are covered here, and you’d be a soulless individual not to want to sing along to ‘Which Side Are You On’. It absolutely nails the passion of the miners in that time period – partly achieved through samples – but more to the point, it becomes utterly flooring. The sprawling ‘Killing the Giants as they Sleep’ combines with a truly haunting rendition of ‘Black Waters’ that will emotionally drain you, leaving just the title track jam to pick you back up as the credits roll.

Its testament to Lunn’s ability as a multi-instrumentalist that he doesn’t sound sloppy at all, not on one single instrument. He can match any extreme drummer for speed and ability, adds a hardcore-esque buzz to those guitars that distinguish it just slightly Panopticon’s sound away from traditional black metal, and the flute that he plays over the top of the heavier tracks completely works, every time. Admittedly, this heavy brew won’t be for everyone, and no doubt there’s some smug so-and-so’s out there who won’t be able to get off their elitist pedestals long enough to truly appreciate this. Their loss. ‘Kentucky’ is unquestionably the boldest statement of creativity in 2012, a fantastic snapshot of the Bluegrass state, of how far metal has progressed, and what it has achieved over the course of forty plus years.

Peter Clegg

Ufomammut – Oro: Opus Alter

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Ufomammut
Oro: Opus Alter
Neurot

The indelible and esoteric trio from Italy known as Ufomammut have already dropped one stunner on us this year, the first part of this two-part trip, ‘Oro: Opus Primum‘, and as promised, the second part, ‘Opus Alter‘ now greets our ears.

It’s impossible not to compare ‘Opus Alter‘ with ‘Primum‘, unfair as it seems. It’s more than a companion piece, its a continuation of ‘Oro‘s theme. And that feels evident as this latest part progresses. Opening track ‘Oroborus’ features a groove-shaking riff that only changes nearly four minutes in for another riff, going round and around like the self-consuming serpent of lore, with some effects designed to unsettle just slightly. Repetition seems to be a theme running through ‘Oro‘; the aptly-titled ‘Sublime’ utilizes a build-up into one cracking riff and then back out again, while ‘Luxon’ is basically a reprise of ‘Infearnatural’ from ‘Primum‘. It seems to feel more immediate than ‘Primum‘ too, with less of the slow brooding and a little more forward purpose. Any questions asked about the truth that statement are firmly answered when ‘Deityrant’ brings down the curtain on ‘Oro‘ with a straightforward verve and a penchant for grooviness.

Overall, I feel as though I can’t resist a comparison with ‘Primum‘, and with that said, ‘Alter‘ is just a shade behind its predecessor in terms of its overall quality – but still a fantastic album in its own right, and in its entirety, ‘Oro‘ is nothing short of quintessential.

Peter Clegg

Ufomammut – Oroborus

Buy ‘Oro: Opus Alter‘ here

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