Listen up people, it’s that time of year again: Damnation Festival is gearing up to give the walls of Leeds University Student Union a good thumping, and the entire campus is going to be swarming with long-haired people in black clothing. Well, more so than usual anyway. As befits tradition, MetalRecusants are here to give you the lowdown of what to expect at this establishment, where £34 can net you 27 bands. Yes, you read that correctly. This time there’s a new doom-focused stage that’s been added, showcasing the finest that Britain and Ireland have to offer, while the other stages return with their own particular bents. These four articles are to give you all a little taster as to what each stage will offer. This time, the Terrorizer stage.
This stage have taken the black and death metal angle, with some unconventional stuff mixed in for good measure. This stage can boast the only grindcore/powerviolence band on the lineup, The Afternoon Gentlemen, who make use of two bassists for an extra-thick sound, and a maniacal shrieking frontman as suited to the genre. These riotous Northerners are bound to kick up dust, all in the name of good humor judging by the hilarious song titles (“Seven Deadly Tins” and “Bus Fare Saviour” to name a couple). Be sure to check out other tracks of their “pissedography” on Bandcamp here.
Sticking with the unconventional, we have the mysterious Voices to consider. Formed from the ashes of the much-missed Akercocke, this entity have taken the former band’s punishing and genre-defying blend of avant-garde black and death metal and pushed it even closer to the abyss. The band referring to their shows as “exhibitions” seems somewhat apt after witnessing what they brought to Candlefest in August: an intense and manic performance of material from the quartet’s much-lauded début From the Human Forest Create a Fugue of Imaginary Rain. This set is required viewing for fans of Akercocke and off-kilter black metal in general.
Moving to folkier climes within the blackened circle, we have two old friends to re-introduce. First up, a reincarnation of Romanian folk-black metal legends Negură Bunget, who recently changed their entire lineup save for drummer Negru, who’s been with them since their formation in 1995. I have a lot of respect for bands that sing in their own language, and these guys are no exception, with 6 albums in their somewhat bewildering native Romanian. As for the music, well imagining a more atmospheric and cinematic version of old Primordial is a good starting point, but it’s not so simply described as that. Judging by their latest album Vîrstele Pămîntului (Earth’s Ages in English), it’s shaping up to be an entrancing experience, so wrap your ears around “Dacia Hiperboreana” here in preparation.
Our second old friend is the Greek melodic black metal outfit Rotting Christ, whose solid career from their grindcore origins through black metal and gothic metal (and now a mixture of the two) speaks for itself. Their latest album Katá Ton Daímona Eaf̱toú certainly has a very occult and ritualistic ambience to it, although there are also many older classics to choose from. One could even dream that Alan Averill (who is performing with Twilight Of The Gods) may drop in to perform “Thou Art Lord” as he did on Aealo…
Finally, the death metal representation is strong on this stage. We start off with a touch of oldschool-styled DM in the form of Diamanthian. Drawing from the East-Coast tradition of Immolation and Suffocation, these guys tick all the appropriate boxes of guttural growling, chaotic solos and thundering riffs. They’ve also secured the seal of approval from fellow Liverpudlian Jeff Walker of Carcass, who aided them in recording their début album The Infinite Descent, a sure-fire sign that they’re worth checking out. There’s two albums to blast, so start off with “Christ Dementia” from Arcana Doctrina here.
If that’s not enough, then Dyscarnate‘s bludgeoning brand are sure to fill that void between your ears. Comparisons can be somewhat drawn to Behemoth: if you remove the black metal origins, you get this very angry trio from southern England who recently decimated UK Tech-Metal Fest. Take it from me, “In The Face of Armageddon” (here) is imperative listening from their sophomore And So It Came To Pass, as is the rest of the album, and fans of modern death metal should earmark these guys as priority viewing.
Finally, perhaps the names Gregor Mackintosh and Hamish Glencross will be familiar to some of you. Two of the biggest names in UK doom metal (Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride respectively) came together 3 years ago to make Vallenfyre. This is doom-death metal the oldschool way, honoring both the old bands and the tragic passing of Gregor’s father, which inspired him to form this band in the first place. Their début A Fragile King is an impressive opening statement, and one can only imagine their the sophomore is going to be even stronger. Those who long for the days of Lost Paradise and fancy a bit of crusty doom-death kicked through them need to check these veterans out.
That’s all from the Terrorizer stage, stay tuned for previews of the three other Damnation stages: Doom, Eyesore and Jägermeister!