Tuesday, 16 August 2016

There's No Problem With British Metal: Ritual Fest All-Dayer 06/08/2016

A little while ago I angrily commented underneath a Facebook post relating to a misinformed article regarding the state of British metal, that appeared on the website of a monthly UK metal publication that was "supposed" to support it. Seeing as my comment seems to be deleted, here's a link to said article for you to peruse - http://teamrock.com/feature/2016-07-27/british-metal-has-a-massive-problem-and-here-s-why.

I've decided that instead of just stating that I thought the article was wrong, I'd qualify why it's in rude health and getting better by using yesterday's Ritual Festival all-dayer as a case-in-point, while also giving the bands and organiser involved some promotion.

Yesterday's shenanigans featured 10 bands, of which 9 were from the UK. Danish band Hexis were added at short notice as part of their UK weekender and the three main bands OHHMS, Conjurer and Bast were in the midst of a UK tour themselves. I'll apologise now for the lack of photos. Shortly after starting this blog I realised that me, consuming beer and trying to take photos didn't work.

It's always a tough job opening an all-dayer or a festival, especially at 1pm on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Derby's Twisted Swan had the dubious honour of warming up those who turned up early, with their own brand of funky, experimental heaviness. It's always a good sign when the openers put as much effort into their set and the headliners do and as it was my first time catching them, I was impressed. Next up was a set from local Leeds thrash/death band Cryptic Shift. The last time I saw this four-piece was at Bad Apples (Leeds), but they seemed to have changed a bit since then. Old-school death and thrash akin to the like of Slayer and Noisem was on offer, as well as plenty of screaming leads and dual-guitar harmonies. They were another band well worth getting down early for. I've featured Sheffield- trio Kurokuma on here before, but hadn't seen them live so them being on the line-up made the day even better. Their combination of drone, doom and psych proved that it's not just all about hardcore in the Steel City and getting to chat with them later in the day was good too. They've got a new EP coming out next month, so keep an eye for that. Bury's PIST have always been great value whenever I've seen them before and while being slightly less inebriated at Ritual, they were still spot on. Their sludgey grooves and general heavy metal attitude showed exactly why they played Bloodstock last year. They played a number of tracks from their recent album "Rhythm & Booze", which went down really well with the well-oiled crowd. The Bendal Interlude closed out the first half of Ritual in mighty fashion. Having reviewed "Reign Of The Unblinking Eye" earlier in the year, they were another band I was looking forward to seeing for the first time and they didn't disappoint. Stoner/doom/sludge was very much the order of the day so far, but TBL produced a rousing set with tonnes of volume for good measure. Danish merauders Hexis upped the pace during the second half of Ritual. With the house lights off and via the blinding light of a sole strobe, their mix of hardcore and black metal made for the set of the day (in my opinion.). It was so good to see them again after what seemed like an age. Next up was Iron Witch who had recently released their new album "A Harrowed Dawn". They made sure that songs off the new record were given a decent airing and showed that their new line-up is gelling really well. I purchased a copy of the LP too (which looks and sounds amazing by the way!). Bast took to the stage shortly afterwards and the trio blew the crowd away with their brand of doom/sludge that made the darkened upstairs room of Belgrave feel even more disorientating. The crowd seemed to gain extra energy during their set and the band reciprocated by seemingly getting heavier and heavier. At this point, fatigue was starting to kick in for me but the heavy, blackened hardcore of Conjurer soon put pay to that. They gave a great performance and showed exactly why they're a part of the Holy Roar Records roster. Angular riffs, Holy Terror-inspired heaviness and claustrophobic screams took the mood and the volume up a level. Ritual's headliners were post-metal/doom band OHHMS and provided a fitting end to proceedings, with compositions that were as pensive as they were majestic. They were well worth waiting for, as they created a very different atmosphere to those before them. A mix of atmospheric metal and subtle stoner/psych bought the day to a dramatic end. Days like this can usually be an endurance test but thanks to the variation of styles and bands performing, Ritual all-dayer was a great day and a great advert for the British metal scene. Here's to next year!

Listen to all the bands that appeared below:-


Ritual Festival Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/RitualFestivalUK
Twisted Swan Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/twistedswan/home
Cryptic Shift Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/crypticshift
Kurokuma Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/kurokumauk
PIST Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pistband/home
The Bendal Interlude Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/THEBENDALINTERLUDE/home
Hexis Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Hexisband/
Iron Witch Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ironwitch1977
Bast Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Bastmusic
Conjurer Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/conjureruk/
OHHMS Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/OHHMStheband/

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