Having been my first time at this hardcore/punk/metal festival in the heart of Kent in the UK, I wasn't entirely what to expect. Several trains, tubes and buses later I arrived at my destination in the middle of nowhere, which was surprisingly set in a zoo. An actual zoo, as in monkeys and shit. It's as crazy as it sounds, but god damn was it worth the entertainment! After a night of pure partying on the Thursday, the Friday morning consisted of a hangover trip to the zoo before watching any of the bands.
The first band to see was Terraform 4/5, probably one of the heaviest bands on the festival's lineup altogether, and to be honest it was just a random incident that I stumbled across them. The band's genres catered for too many to list, but did include a ton of groove, death metal and modern pinches of djent. Despite being a fairly young and new band to the scene, their success will rise rapidly - and as an opener for a festival, this is just the beginning for these scorching UK lads. Another random watch was the incredible Oathbreaker 5/5 from Belgium. The female fronted vocalist added to the diversity and literally scared the entire crowd into a freaky hypnosis with her rapid shrieked hardcore style of vocals. Definitely a band that I intend to follow after such a blistering performance.
As the afternoon dwells on, the bands just kept on punishing the ears of every festival attendee. Next up on my list to watch was the mighty The Safety Fire 3/5; a band I've been a fan of for years, who played a unique mix of tracks from both their beautiful albums. Having been one of the only bands at the festival with such passion for prog rock and metal, they stuck out and lit up their small crowd with bellowing tunes and massive guitar riffs. However, not the best I've seen them live, but still playing a set that wet the appetites of any new fans that afternoon. UK's very own Devil Sold His Soul 3/5 also whipped up quite the crowd, with their fairly new vocalist demanding attention 24/7, proving there's still life in the band whilst playing new tracks from their forthcoming EP.
Festival highlighters for me, Kvlertak 4/5 deserve ultra brownie points for the vocalist's massive owl face mask that probably confused the majority of the audience watching from the main stage. Riff central and metal monstrosities - this band know how to put a crowd into action, but it was second stage headliners Tesseract 4/5 who truly ignited the festival's atmosphere into an almost evolutionary stage. This is the type of band you don't expect to see hyping up a storm at a festival, but in the end you're gobsmacked at the melody and beautifully well demonstrated instrumentals side of things that almost put you in a complete daze. Vocalist Daniel Thompkins proves with his gentle, but soaring vocalst that progressive metal is back on the menu.
Saturday's bands hit just as hard as the day before, starting with UK melodic hardcore crew Acres 4/5. Another young band, who appeared in their late teen years but demonstrated the genre better than most of the bigger bands among the scene. Definitely better than their peers in Heart In Hand 2/5 who almost begged for attention throughout their set, as Charlie Holmes' vocals lacked a little something to get them off the ground. The Hell 4/5 however showed a more fun side to things in the hardcore genre. Handing out inflatable hammers to their packed third stage tent to elevate the success of their second album 'Groovehammer' in which the mosh pit exploded with beatings of said weapon, as well as the band suddenly attacking security just for laughs. Comedy geniuses definitely going for gold, and earning themselves recognition for being the most intriguing, comedic, and awesome band at the festival.
Yes they're going off the radar after a final tour, but it's been a slippery slope for UK's own Heights 3/5 since their founding vocalist left the band, with their replacement not as together as his predecessor in terms of talent. At least they played several old school tunes from their debut album, but definitely lacked a boost they needed to go out with a bang. The Catharasis 3/5 and Dead Harts 4/5 are currently hardcore heroes in the scene, revolting the UK underground with similar riff attacks as the mega famous Black Sabbath. Dead Harts especially are a band to watch, with The Catharasis following one step behind them.
The Ocean 5/5 were as mesmerising as the ocean itself, a set packed with huge melodies in their riffs. Sadly, the tent wasn't as full as you'd expect but to the one's watching they had the right idea, and were definitely catching the right band at this time. Opening for the Saturday's second stage headliners, Structures 4/5 who only managed to play a short set due to technical problems, yet seemed to blast through them without giving a fuck. Structures were mental, almost as mental as the apes in the zoo next door (Who probably didn't appreciate the noise as much as the fans watching did). Ending the night and festival on an all time high with their tracks from the latest album 'Life Through A Window', boasting in confidence, technicality and honour for the metal genre.