Badgerfest 2021: Day 1 – The Bread Shed, Manchester – Friday 15th October 2021

Badgerfest 2021 Poster

Badgerfest 2021: Day 1
The Bread Shed, Manchester
Friday 15th October 2021
Review By Rob Sutton
Photography by Sheri Bicheno

This was a weekend I’d been looking forward to for a long time! Good friends, good bands, and beer. Day one was the shortest of the 3 and only had the main stage open, but this worked nicely as a warm-up into the rest of the weekend.

Kicking things off were Badger and the Mushrooms. By the name of them, I wasn’t expecting anything too serious, and this became immediately apparent, as Danny (Prognosis/Bass) was wearing possibly the darkest sunglasses known to humankind! The whole band has been put together by the main man himself, John Badger, who was in his usual place, behind the kit. Joining him onstage were a selection of the most talented musicians in the Manchester scene, Arun (Beyond Salvation/Guitars), Johnny (Zebedy/Archetype/Guitars). and Nathan (40,000 Leagues/Vocals). All of these guys were there for one purpose only, to kick the festival off in style. There were no original tracks, just a selection of covers, ranging from Rage Against The Machine to Disturbed, all performed flawlessly, really giving the crowd a chance to get a few beers down them while singing along to rock and metal classics. One thing that caught my eye in particular was Nathan’s voice. While I have seen him in his band many times before, this performance really showcases just how good his voice is – he was on point! Great way to kick things off!

Badger And The Mushrooms at Bagder Fest

Next up, and the beginning of the originals, were Manchester based BruteAllies. I have seen these guys before and what stuck in my head was the awesome light up coat worn by the singer, it’s quite something! These guys are loud, and they provided us with some cracking riffs backed with heavy beats, and brute-al Randy Blythe style vocals. The crowd seemed to love it and so did I. The swap between the bassist and guitarist highlighted their ability to play anything on anything, too. This was their first gig back after the global hiatus, and it did feel like there were some nerves on stage (also the joy of being the first band on), so I feel like there is still more energy to come from them,  once they get back into the swing of things. If you like fast, heavy music, these are a band I would recommend!

BruteAllies at Badger Fest

https://www.facebook.com/BruteAllies

From the lights of a coat, to the darkness of blackened hardcore next, from the insanely heavy Grief Ritual, who hail from the South West UK. This performance was in your face and relentless! From intense breakdowns to pained screams these guys had all basses covered. Speaking of bass, the bassist was bouncing around like Tigger on Red Bull! His feet were barely on the ground! To contrast this, the vocalist genuinely looked like he was ready for a cage fight – truly invested and passionate in the music. This was a tight set from a band I honestly had never heard of before, and I found myself headbanging for the entire set, and lapping up every blastbeat and every riff these guys could throw at me. The set flew by and I was left wanting more. One of my finds of the year!

Grief Ritual at Badgerfest

https://www.facebook.com/griefritual

Basement Torture Killings are a band I have listened to for a while now. A punishing grindcore band who leave no teddy bear ungutted in their quest for raw speed and precision. This performance surprised me; I was not expecting the voice I heard to come out of the tiny lady on stage. She has an incredible voice and probably one of the best death metal voices in the underground scene. The music is brutal, and the stage show matches, although in a slightly more comedic way. We witnessed the beheading of a beloved teddy, who’s head made its way onto an audience member’s head, and from what I heard, caught the attention of the Manchester police, too (probably confused). This was a very enjoyable set and continued the heavy theme of the night fantastically.

Basement Torture Killings at Badger Fest

https://www.facebook.com/Basementtorturekillings

With the penultimate act of the night, Agvirre, we saw the return of John Badger behind the kit. This was the second time in as many months that I had seen them, and while last time I didn’t quite get into the music, this time was a bit different. I think the bigger stage suited them. I felt the angst in the voice and the pain in the music. While they’re different from the previous 2 bands, being more on the Post-Black Metal side, it still strangely fitted tonight’s theme. Musically, they are very different and grab influences from many genres. They were an interesting and (this time) enjoyable watch, though I’m not sure why the keyboard faces away from the crowd. From the audience comments I heard, they made a lot of new fans, and rightly so. This was a solid, dark, and almost depressing (in a good way) 35 minutes that I would happily watch again.

https://www.facebook.com/agvirrewrath

Tonight’s atmosphere had been building up for one thing, and I’m not talking about a hangover on Saturday morning! I’m talking about UK grindcore legends, Foetal Juice. Somehow, this was actually the first time I have seen them, and I was not disappointed! The speed and technicality these guys displayed tonight was the very reason why they played on the Bloodstock main stage. Pits were in full swing to just about every song, and heads were furiously banging away! These guys provide no rest, just a constant assault on your ear drums. Remaining professional during technical issues is something a lot of bands struggle with, but while there were some issues here,  Foetal Juice powered through, so the energy of their performance didn’t waver in any way. Ending day one with a band like this ensured the audience won’t be able to headbang for the rest of the weekend… Oh well, it was worth it! Perfect headliner to round out day one!

Foetal Juice at Badger Fest

https://www.facebook.com/FoetalJuice

This may have only been the first day, but my neck hurt, I felt an impending hangover looming! Judging by the rest of the audience, I wasn’t going to be the only one feeling a little worse for wear on Saturday morning. Fantastic first day and every band smashed it, bring on day 2!

Badgerfest Links:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rob Sutton and Ever Metal. All photographic images the property of Sheri Bicheno. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Dark Juan’s Top Ten Releases Of 2020

Dark Juan’s Top Ten Releases Of 2020
By ‘Dark Juan’

Yes, my dear children of the night. It is that time again. It’s near Yule and the Krampus is rampant. At least that was what I said to Mrs Dark Juan during a night-time meeting in the hall leading to the bathroom. The Smellhounds are currently quiescent, Mrs Dark Juan is currently creating felt art and I have a bit of time off from wrangling young gentlemen, and also the Mighty Gothikpanzer flew through its MOT, so in a rare moment of sober good humour I present to you all this list of what I consider to be the records of the year. There’s going to be a few honourable mentions at the end, because this year has been a fucking BANGER for new metal, even though we have all been confined for the good of our various realms… Shall we dance?

10. Häxan – White Noise (July 2020)

An astonishingly assured debut album from a young British three piece, variously from Cheltenham and Wales. “White Noise” is based on the sound of classic hard rockers and these three young ladies kick serious amounts of arse. If I were to rank this list on the amount of songs by a single band reverberating around my poor damaged head, Häxan would have fucking aced it, folks. Harking back to an age when hard rock was king, yet somehow managing to convey a modern edge, HUGE fucking stadium rock choruses and killer riffs abound and the songs just drip snotty attitude and the kind of swagger you’d normally associate with veteran bands who have been massive for decades. This, unsurprisingly, is a Very Good Thing indeed and this album is still on fairly constant rotation in the Mighty Gothikpanzer after several months because of its sheer quality and the obvious enjoyment the band have in playing their music. Plus, I love Sam Bolderston’s voice, and this slab of good time, party rock and roll is an excellent addition to any metal fan’s record collection for when you want to dial back the heaviness and listen to something groovy.

www.facebook.com/haxanband


9. Basement Torture Killings – Lessons In Murder (May 2020)

Primal, British old school death metal. Uncompromising and a listening experience not unlike having your face marched over by a thousand hobnailed boots for the rest of time, this record reminds us just how good death metal can be when played with passion and excitement. Vocalist Beryl is at her most effective when employing a Jeff Walker-esque high pitched snarl and the music is the soundtrack to all the worst horrors you can perpetrate on the human body with a bit of imagination and a room full of power tools. Speedy, bloody and shockingly violent, Basement Torture Killings took my face off with their sheer intensity and ferocious commitment to death metal. A top-notch addition to any collection of extreme metal.

www.facebook.com/Basementtorturekillings


8. The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous (April 2020)

I have had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Black Dahlia frontman and all-round good egg Trevor Strnad for Ever-Metal.com. It was the first ever interview I had conducted with a metal superstar, which has scared me half to fucking death to the point I haven’t done another, and I am ashamed to admit that there was quite a lot of abject and pathetic fangirling from your favourite pseudo-Satanist metal hack. Kudos to Trevor, who was most gracious during the times I was waffling in a panicked fashion. Thankfully, “Verminous” is quite simply a jaw-droppingly fine record from a band who have discovered the secret of expanding their sound into new dimensions without losing the core of what they are. This album is going to be impossible to top – Strnad has never sounded better vocally from subterranean grunt to head splitting howl, the songwriting and experimentation on display is astounding, and the band have lost none of their snaggletoothed bite and awesome power. Yet more proof that heaviness does not preclude melody, The Black Dahlia Murder are absolutely, ahem, MURDEROUS in their intensity and wild eyed, flailing power and this is the watershed moment in an already stellar career for these American extreme metal stalwarts. A most worthy purchase, should you choose to indulge yourself.

www.facebook.com/theblackdahliamurderofficial


7. Master Charger – Origin Of The Lugubrious (August 2020)

Fellows in the British doom/stoner scene with Red Spektor, Master Charger are an order of magnitude heavier. Taking their cues from classic Sabbath, Master Charger dial down the psychedelia and turn up the heaviness quotient to something akin to a sonic avalanche. Yes, these guys are heavier than a planet with your mum and sister standing on it wearing underwear fashioned from neutronium. Sonically dense and Mogadon slow, Master Charger play artfully crafted doom metal with a stoner edge and are blessed with the voice of the pleasingly alliterative John James, whose whiskey and Marlboro Red soaked vocal is a joy to hear. Master Charger are fucking magnificent bastards and this is a record of such colossal heaviness that there were earthquake warnings in New Zealand when I played it.

www.facebook.com/mastercharger


6. Red Spektor – Heart Of The Renewed Sun (October 2020)

A SLIGHT change of pace and style to the previous entrant, Red Spektor served us up an absolute PEACH of an album in “Heart Of The Renewed Sun”. Effortlessly melding 60s psychedelia, the bluesiest of blues rock, metal and stoner, RS carried me off into internal mescaline fuelled musical visions of infinity, without all the tiresome bad tripping that normally comes whenever I take vast quantities of acid. Yes, for all I like to have my face melted by the speediest and rawest of heavy fucking metal, there are times when I want to trip balls and have my mind expanded. Red Spektor are the PERFECT band to take you on a tour of your own psyche. This isn’t to say that they ain’t heavy though. They are a gaily painted, super heavy battle truck bristling with acid gas projectors. If you dig melody and experimentation, grab this album.

www.facebook.com/redspektorband


5. Olivia Neutered John – Gorewhore (May 2020)

Holy fuck, not since the early days of Carcass or The Berzerker have I heard such demented savagery. Olivia Neutered John play old school grindcore in such a visceral way. It’s raw and bloody and ONJ are taking names and not taking any fucking prisoners. If you’re looking for melody, forget it. This is just sheer bastard powerviolence with a strong anti-paedophilia message. Considering my career in putting back together the recipients of abuse, this is a message Dark Juan not only gets behind, but will be joining Olivia Neutered John on the front line armed to the teeth and screaming for vengeance. The songs are short, sharp, devastatingly speedy shocks, not unlike stabs to the heart with cruelly serrated blades, yet the warped sense of humour necessary for grindcore lurks just behind the utter sonic destruction of the music, and ONJ make this list because there are painfully few bands making grindcore record these days, and I fucking love it. And they have the BEST band name EVER!!!

www.olivianeuteredjohn.bandcamp.com/


4. Quinn The Brain – Open Wide EP (May 2020)

Red raw and visceral nu-grunge with a serrated punk edge. No, stick with me here. Texans Quinn The Brain are ANGRY. They are fucking furious and they want the world to know it. Painfully emotional, but dripping with wry humour and a not inconsiderable amount of bile, this four track represents a surprisingly complete body of work from a band who easily evoke the memories of the classic riot girl bands of the 2000’s. Arta Salehi’s vocal especially reminds the verbose idiot writing this of the great Kat Bjelland of Babes In Toyland and the equally great (and very tall) Brody Dalle, of The Distillers. Plus, they are named after an episode of Daria (remember that show?) which is also a massive plus. Proof that heaviness doesn’t come just from metal, Quinn The Brain’s music is as flayed skin emotional as you can get.

www.facebook.com/quinnthebrain


3. White Crone – The Poisoner (February 2020)

Friend of Ever-Metal.com, general lovely person and top-notch blues musician Lisa Mann visits the results of a lifetime’s love of classic metal upon us and by Satan it’s a fucking banger of an album. Traditional metal all the way, it remains spectacularly vibrant and is more exciting than being caught in a ladies’ finishing college somewhere near Cheltenham wearing nothing but a bow tie and a wry grin, whilst carrying a bottle of champers. Lisa’s voice brings back echoes of the great metal vocalists, her barrel lunged delivery both powerful and excellent, along with top notch songwriting, guitar playing and some of the finest bass work you’ll ever hear irrespective of genre. The woman is a musical goddess and I will forever champion White Crone.

www.facebook.com/whitecrone


2. Protosequence – A Blunt Description of Something Obscene (May 2020)

My face still hasn’t recovered from the beating it has taken from this supertechnical death metal band’s record. If you love Necrophagist, you’ll fucking love this band. There are only four songs, but then the guys have thoughtfully included instrumental versions of each track and they are explosively brilliant. Stunning guitar work and drumming proves that death metal is not just a bunch of hairy arses battering their instruments and regurgitating their own giblets in a vague approximation of music. Fucking hell, boys, girls, and all other genders, this album is almost classical in musicianship such is its depth and complexity. I have played it a million times already and I show no signs of stopping.

www.facebook.com/protosequence


01 The Machinist – I Am Void (November 2020)

Holy fucking fuck. Jesus Christ in a chariot driven sidecar. It is conceivable that The Machinist are my new favourite band. You are all no doubt aware that I regard The Berzerker’s self-titled debut album as the most violent and psychopathic record ever, and the benchmark for sheer brutality. Well, my faithful followers of all known genders, those worthy Australian nutjobs have finally been toppled from their throne by The Machinist’s extraordinary fusion of black metal, death metal, power electronics and industrial. For a debut album,” I Am Void” is simply staggering and utterly breathtaking in both scope and execution. My people, honest to both the false God and our Lord and Master Shaitan, this release is a landmark in extreme metal. It simply can’t possibly get any heavier or faster than this without shredding causality and destroying the universe. Best of all, they are fellow Mancs!

www.facebook.com/TheMachinistUK


So, there you have it. Dark Juan’s top ten records of the year. 2020 might have sucked humungous hairy balls because of the worldwide pestilence and plague, but by God the world of metal didn’t. A vintage year for the music we love, my family of weirdos. If I may, I wish to share a few honourable mentions because there were several bands who missed the cut by a gnat’s chuff…

Bofo Kwo – Space/Time Carnivorium (June 2020) – Demented Finns tell the tale of three intergalactic cannibals and their adventures to a death metal soundtrack. As insane as it sounds.

www.facebook.com/BofoKwo

Sertraline – Clouded Minds And Silver Lines (May 2020) – Young, British prog metal band gifted with exceptional vocalist in Lizzie show that prog metal can kick arse in a big way.

www.facebook.com/WeAreSertraline

Lucifer – III (March 2020) – Absolutely gorgeous international doomsters with classic rock sensibilities and image keep up the exceptional quality of their releases with their third record.

www.facebook.com/luciferofficial

Bull Elephant – Created From Death (August 2020) – “Created From Death” is the story of a slain African elephant that occultist Ahnenerbe SS attempted to bring back from the dead as a new form of battle asset. However, before re-animation could be completed it was intercepted by a mysterious witch-shaman, pursuing her own agenda and redirecting the undead creature’s purpose. With Nazi attack wolves.”

Says it all, really.

www.facebook.com/bullelephant

And last of all, we remembered the sadly missed Wayne Static with Static-X’s “Project Regeneration Vol. 1” (July 2020) which was simply magnificent nu-metal and a more than fitting tribute to one of our Lost Boys.

www.facebook.com/staticx

I’m done. I’m utterly spent. May you all make merry and receive all the love in the world from your families and significant others. A joyous Yuletide to you all. Remember to spell Santa correctly, kids, otherwise you’ll be getting a surprise you won’t forget in a hurry.

To read the original reviews follow these links:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Basement Torture Killings – Lessons In Murder

Basement Torture Killings – Lessons In Murder
Bizarre Leprous Productions
Release Date: 22/05/2020
Running Time: 33.45
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Ah, the sheer joy of murder. That release you get when the first jet of arterial blood sprays your face and then the completion you feel when you watch the light and the terror fade from the eyes of your victim, mainly because they have refused to be turned on to the Left Hand Path and away from their False Prophet and his strange dad in the clouds. The One Who Walks Backwards requires nothing more but adulation and the occasional blood sacrifice, which isn’t too much to ask, is it? Children are a burden anyway. Turn towards where all the cool kids are going and embrace Shaitan and piss off all manner of upstanding, elderly Christian neighbours! If you do it with the prodigious power of Basement Torture Killings played at a similar volume to a Saturn V rocket lifting off then it will be entirely to your credit when you take a trip downstairs and the Horny Old One is assigning you your own personal Hell. Which in my case would be no virgins, No alcohol, endless boy bands and K-Pop (and FUCKING BABYMETAL! WHO THE FUCK THINKS BABYMETAL ARE A GOOD IDEA UNLESS YOU HAVE STRANGE AND DISGUSTING IDEAS ABOUT TINY, PSEUDO TEENAGE JAPANESE GIRLS?!? Oh, wait…) and meat dishes all about the place. Delicious, aromatic viands that I can’t eat because animal flesh does not pass my lips.

Basement Torture Killings (for the rest of this review will be being referred to as BTK because I am fucking lazy. Just realised they share the same initials as good old neighbourhood stalwart and dedicated family man Dennis Rader) hail from that bastion of good taste, manners and politeness known as the UK and already I am a fan simply because of Beryl. Now there’s a lass after my own depraved black heart if there ever was one. An acid growling lady who’s just my type – deranged, homicidal and covered in gore up to the armpits. In fact, so far I love the lot of the demented fuckers – Tarquin is an accomplished death metal guitarist and appears to have three arms, such is the speed of his playing. Dr. Krause clearly has time on his hands after exploratory surgery to hit the bass like a man possessed and The Faceless Killer is clearly an insane mutant with many more limbs than are required for a normal life. All are absolutely batshit crazy and Dark Juan desperately wants them to be his new best friends as we all share similar interests…

The music on this record is classic splattercore, a la Autopsy and early Carcass, complete with the warped sense of humour that runs through every Carcass release. It’s also nearly as brutal as The Berzerker. I said nearly. Nothing can touch the brutality of The Berzerker’s debut record. However, just the thought of a BTK and The Berzerker tour has given me butterflies in my tummy and sent a tumescent explosion of sex wee clear out of the window of Dark Juan Terrace, much to the chagrin of my neighbour Leon and his dog, Shadow. Shadow seems less concerned than Leon. Call the underwear ambulance, Dark Juan has utterly fucked another pair of pants.

Now, you are all no doubt aware that I like a bit of death metal and splattercore because I incessantly bang on about how amazing Carcass are and BTK are most worthy contenders for the throne. Lessons In Murder is a fucking terrific classic DM record. It ticks all the boxes and I even like the slightly ropey production because it lends itself better to the music than the Morrisound clone jobs that most DM bands use. My only real complaints are that the cymbals are too high in the mix and the bass is extremely quiet. I love Beryl’s vocal style, although she is more proficient at the more highly pitched Jeff Walker-esque phrases, but she is a very good DM vocalist and the lyrics are dark as fuck too. We have murder, rape, torture, snuff and all other kinds of things that make me want to show the Christian virgins of the parish just what damnation feels like. The guitar phrasing of a number of the songs are very Cannibal Corpse like but it all still sounds fresh as fuck because it is played with passion, and dare I even say that there are a couple of bits where melody creeps in and adds a whole new dimension to the horror. Otherwise, the use of more crunchy guitar tones than usual for the genre lean the whole aesthetic more towards Carcass than the American classic DM bands like Morbid Angel and Death.

The songs are all short, sharp and utterly lethal blasts. If you want something to drive down a late-night road to, don’t listen to BTK. You’ll be picking up the most unfortunate whores at truck stops and butchering them to the point of not being recognised as a human being. Not good when you are delivering a load of bathroom ceramics to Motherwell. The whole record clocks in at a speedy 33 minutes long and this is a Very Good Thing because death metal should always be the aural equivalent of several sharp and fast stabs to the gut with a serrated knife. Each song starts with a small vignette from serial killer interviews or from educational films about murder before proceeding to remove your face, trample it into the dirt and then stamp on the raw flesh left attached to your skull with fucking big ass hobnailed combat boots. This is death metal with the pretension fucked right off. BTK exist for one reason, and that’s to kill each and every last motherfucker in the room with them, which will harm merchandise sales, but if it makes Beryl happy then I’m down with it.

I can’t pick a standout song because I have been transported back to my happy teenage days of discovering new levels of brutal music and how it made me feel happy when I was dreaming of eviscerating innocent religious folk on their own altars. Basement Torture Killings remind me of why metal is great – the simple happiness of listening to people just like you playing their hearts out and just living it, you know? Every song is crisp and razor sharp and deadly in the extreme. There should be warning signs around it and an exclusion zone. It’s infectious, heavier than a pair of plutonium underpants, faster than an airline asking for a bailout and so much fun it hurts my poor, blackened heart. I love BTK. I really do. A future classic death metal/ grindcore record.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has had to temporarily change from Blood Splats to Blood Gallons as splats just don’t seem to cut it right now. It also recommends this record to your attention if you are one of the young, new neophytes to the Protectorate Of The Faith because by God it will have your parents worrying about you and just what you get up to in the churchyard at night, you filthy little perverts. 10/10 for the most fun I have had with my clothes on in ages. Now to get Beryl out of hers…. Be seeing you!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Armchair Psycho Or Pure Predator (A literal description of the fans of BTK.)
02. The Three Step Hit Formula (I did a four-step once. That was at the Grand Hotel in Llandudno before it set on fire. I fainted dead away. Then my appendix exploded, and I had to have it out in Gwynedd Hospital. It’s a salutary experience waking up in a foreign country’s hospital with Pobol Y Cwm on the TV and a small, wiry and clearly homosexual nurse with a gold tooth called Dafydd asking whether you are OK… Er, yeah, what the fuck’s going on?)
03. DIY Store Murder Kit
04. Exercising Your Dominance (Dark Juan has no trouble with this.)
05. Erotophonophilia (Lust Murder) (Sexual arousal or gratification contingent on the death of a human being, fact fans! Otherwise known as a normal Saturday night around Halifax. Especially around the back of The Acca…)
06. Public Displays of Aggression (Generally giro day in Aldi when there are only two bottles of white cider left.)
07. Psychoflage
08. Resolving The Body Problem (Just don’t call Dyno-Rod.)
09. The Pen Is Mightier Than Another Splayed Corpse (It is not mightier than the sword, otherwise I’d be spending the rest of my days in chokey.)
10. Objectification (Something Dark Juan DOES NOT do…. No, fuck off. I don’t.)
11. The League Of Extraordinary Killers (I SOOOOOOO hope this is a thing and they are taking applications for membership. People are always on at me to extend my circle of friends.)

LINE-UP:
Beryl – Horrific Goratory Of Perverse Verse
Tarquin – Hideous Sermon & Manipulator Of Ripped Sinews
Dr. Krause – Low End Bowel Rupture
The Faceless Killer – Beater Of Human Skins

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/Basementtorturekillings/
www.basementtorturekillings.bandcamp.com/
www.instagram.com/btksnuffgrind/
www.youtube.com/user/BTKMurderTV

www.facebook.com/BizarreLeprousProductionCz/
www.bizarreleprous.bandcamp.com/music

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.