Badgerfest 2021: Day 2 – The Bread Shed, Manchester – Saturday 16th October 2021

Badgerfest 2021 Poster

Badgerfest 2021: Day 2
The Bread Shed, Manchester
Saturday 16th October 2021
Review By Rob Sutton
Photography by Sheri Bicheno

Day 2 was here and it was time to head back to the Bread Shed, filled up with Maccies, to try and relieve the fuzzy head from the night before! Day 2, was the first day proper, where things really kicked off – 14 bands over 2 stages, and I decided that today would definitely require stamina!

Aside from a Maccies, a great way to get rid of a hangover is Telford based Metalcore heavyweights, Recall the Remains. These guys kicked the day off in perfect fashion with some old school metalcore. They use a fantastic blend of brutality and melody, not only in the guitars, but also vocally. The clean vocals provided by the guitarist are beautiful and look effortless as he sings and riffs simultaneously, backed by the familiar growls and screams from the lead vocalist. These guys have the genre covered to a tee, adding breakdowns which aren’t just chugs, and are refreshing from the majority of metalcore out these days. They had energy in abundance and a fantastic chemistry between the members on stage, this all led to them being marked as one of the bands of the festival and setting the benchmark for everyone else exceptionally high!

https://www.facebook.com/recalltheremains

Over to the second stage, and I will point out that it isn’t the biggest of stages and has a massive pillar in the middle, so probably isn’t the easiest stage to perform on. Opening this stage were Manchester based Metal/Rock band, Ashen Reach. These guys I have heard of before, but never actually had the chance to watch them. They don’t disappoint, as again they’re full of energy, and cleared up what was left of the hangover. Ashen Reach also utilise multiple vocalists, but using a singing style, as opposed to growls (although there were a couple of cheeky screams here and there). The harmonies were impressive and make your hairs stand on end, there was a lot of the rock influenced ‘oos’ which I think were perhaps a little overused within the set, but don’t let that take away from their phenomenal performance. Not only are they musically very engaging, but they really pump the crowd up and get them all singing along. A great way to open the second stage but I was left confused as to why the vocalist disappeared off stage for a whole section of a song?

https://www.facebook.com/ashenreach

From the upbeat of the second stage, to the eerie and horror themed antics of The Injester. These guys certainly brought something different to the festival, all wearing masks, covered in blood and with some creepy sounding keys in the background. Sadly this didn’t work for me, there was a lot less punch compared to the previous 2 bands, and it felt a little bit cobbled together and all over the place. This maybe the style they are going for, but it didn’t do anything for me, although it was an interesting watch.

The Injester live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/TheInjester

Callus is another band that I have heard a lot about but never actually seen. They brought their Stoner Metal to the second stage, with some absolutely belting riffs which got not only mine, but many heads in the crowd nodding. It’s much slower pace than the previous bands, but this is a welcomed change to the day. They performed a tight solid set, and I would certainly recommend to anyone who enjoys this genre.

https://www.facebook.com/Callus.band

Today seemed to be a lot slower pace than Friday’s brutality. And to this end, back on the main stage were Netherhall. They brought a much calmer performance to the day, and while the crowd look to struggle to fully engage with their take on Progressive Metal, I personally enjoyed it. I loved the weird beats and the tone these guys have, not to mention the almost Tesseract style voice that overlays. While metal is mainly headbanging and mosh pits, I found myself closing my eyes and losing myself completely in the music. There was minimal crowd interaction here which is possibly why they didn’t seem to get much engagement back, I think the set is just about the music and it is simply gorgeous to listen to!

https://www.facebook.com/NetherhallUK

Sadly, with only 5 minutes between bands, there was always going to be the odd band I missed. From what I very briefly heard from Everest Queen, they sounded solid, but I can’t say much more, as I missed a lot of their set.

https://www.facebook.com/everestqueenband

A few weeks ago, I travelled up to Wolverhampton to watch Black Tongue, and supporting them was our next band, Ashen Crown. At that gig they didn’t quite fit the theme of the night, so didn’t end up with the reaction they deserved. No such problems for them this afternoon, as they drew the biggest crowd of the whole weekend, honestly you could barely move or even get in! This is what Ashen Crown is about, fast music, lots of pits, and heads banging! This set was crushing and even with some sound issues at the beginning, they pressed on with absolute precision and professionalism. They may have played the Sophie stage at Bloodstock this year, but after such domination of a stage, they are well on track to be headlining festivals like this, and easily becoming top of their genre! This was simply incredible and by far the best I’ve seen them play!

Ashen Crown live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/ashencrown.uk

Throughout the last few months, we have gotten used to band members having to miss gigs, but what has been fantastic to see is they way bands have adapted to the unusual circumstances. Ascaris were a drummer down, and using, as they described, the most expensive drummer – a laptop. I will say their drummer was beautifully in time! In fairness the remaining 2 were also both extremely tight. They bring a brutal mix of Black and Death Metal, without using the cheesy corpse paint or hail Satan phrase. These guys play fast, and their hands are blurs on the fret boards. It was a solid performance. If you like your Blackened Death Metal fast, relentless and incredibly polite, Ascaris have you covered!

Askaris live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/AscarisOfficial

Back for some more Stoner Metal next. As I’ve said, it isn’t my genre of choice, but King Goat brought another brilliant performance, all while allowing the smell of incense to fill the room. It was slow, great riffs, all performed fantastically. Again, I would recommend checking them out if this is your style.

https://www.facebook.com/kinggoatbri

Next, and from across the border, was Godeater! I first heard about these guys when I saw them announced for Bloodstock. They were heavy then, and they were even heavier here! These Glaswegians have so much energy I’m not sure how they got through the set. Not one of them stopped moving for the full half hour, apart from the drummer because well… drummer! There is so much weight to their take on Deathcore, and they were by far the heaviest band of the day so far, and the pits show that! They were in full swing and mighty at that. 

Their tasteful use of samples adds just a little bit more to their overall sound and made them sound huge! It’s always a risk as a vocalist to go into a pit, more so if the mic is wired, but here he did (someone give this guy a wireless mic, as I’m pretty sure a few people tripped up). What impressed me about this was even though he was in the pit, he continued to deliver flawless vocals and this is all while being bashed from pillar to post! The only thing that let them down was the slightly flat cleans, but they did again add another layer, and along with the samples, really stand these guys out in the Deathcore scene. Honestly, these guys are a band to watch in the future, they’re brutally heavy, full of energy and perform to an exceptionally high standard. Godeater are the full package!

https://www.facebook.com/godeateruk

Continuing the theme of heavy were Blood Oath, and with their blood-soaked attire, I was expecting a strong Black Metal influence here. But I was wrong. What we were met with was a concoction of many extreme genres, predominantly Death Metal, and yes there was plenty to headbang to here. I don’t think there was a single head still in the crowd for these guys, as they drew one of the bigger crowds for the second stage. We were also blessed with some new material and boy does it sound HUGE. I really am excited to go and watch this when it’s released. Blood Oath are insanely tight, have some soaring riffs and solos, with some machine gun-esque drums, all with vocal styles from a catalogue of genres, did I hear a bree? These guys were fantastic, and for me my favourite of the second stage, and my find of the day!

Blood Oath live at Badgergest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/BloodOathUK

For many years my friends have been banging on about Red Method and how I really need to see them, well, now I have! All dressed in red, rather appropriately, they bring a mix of Nu-Metal and Djent, with a sound resembling that of old school Slipknot, albeit on ironing boards (8 string guitars). They performed with sheer aggression and passion; they are in your face heavy! I loved the addition of the keys and samples all played live, and not on backing tracks, though I was amazed the keyboard remained in one piece after seeing what AVD (keys) did to them when he was in The Defiled. One thing I love about watching heavy bands do breakdowns is all the members headbanging in sync, Red Method pulled this off fantastically and got the whole room bowing! While the cleans aren’t the best in the world, they were clear enough to get half the crowd singing along, and this was the first time I’d properly seen this crowd sing. Red Method sound so heavy that no amount of gym time would be able to pick them up, they have a new fan, and I can’t wait to see them again.

Red Method live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/RedMethodBand

More Sludgy music from the second stage was next, with King Witch. This Stoner band is fronted by a lady, and her voice is beautiful, almost like a Siren soaring over the down tuned heaviness provided by the guitars and bass. Again, it’s not my genre of choice, and does mean I can’t say too much on them, but they felt a bit different and they were enjoyable.

https://www.facebook.com/kingwitch

So, onto our headliners and they come with a serious reputation behind them. They have opened the main stage at Bloodstock a few years ago where a very, very hungover Rob attempted to stand and watch them but instead fell into a heap on the floor. Luckily, no such issues today though I am kicking myself for not watching them fully at Bloodstock… Krysthla destroyed it here! They are filled with incredible riffs that had me windmilling away, and pretending I had the faintest idea how to play guitar. Added to that were some incredibly consistent growls, and some nice cleans in the mix, too! They remind me of Divine Heresy, a band I used to absolutely love! There were blast beats, rapid guitars; just everything about this set was on point and tight. I’m not normally a person who ends up raving about a headliner but in this case they are by far one of the best headliners I have seen at a festival. I was left in awe, is there anything these guys don’t have? Massive pits? Check. Crowd surfing? Check. Taking Rob’s money as he heads to the merch table? Check. What a band, what a show and what a way to end day 2!

Krysthla live at Badgerfest 2021

https://www.facebook.com/krysthla

I learnt a few things today, I can smoke a cigarette in less than 5 minutes, the quality of the bands at this festival is insane, and that I either needed to have taken someone who knows about Stoner bands, or learn more about the genre myself! Nevertheless day 2 was insane! 

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.

Beermageddon 2021 – Day 3 – Netherhall

Disclaimer: This photo album is solely the property of Beth Jones. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of these images, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Beermageddon 2021 Day Three

Bearmageddon 2021 Poster

Beermageddon 2021 Day Three
Stoke Prior Sports & Country Club
Stoke Prior, Bromsgrove
29/08/2021
Review by Beth Jones & Rick Tilley

The festival life throws up some weird and wonderful goings on, that only exist inside that little bubble for the time you’re in it. It’s because everyone uses it as a chance to let their hair down, and leave the grey, soul-destroying world of adulting behind for a few days. And a perfect example of this led us into the final day of the festival, in the shape of an unnamed gang of campers having an all-night party accompanied by a rather loud, and very eclectic playlist.

It was lovely to hear the happy singing at 1am. It had become slightly less lovely by 5am however, and I think this sentiment was shared by the majority of others on the campsite. So, when someone eventually shouted, “Will you shut the fuck up!!”, I’m confident I wasn’t the only one who did a little silent round of applause. ‘The Floral Dance’, much as it’s a very unique tune, is probably not the best thing to play full blast at 5am, whatever the setting! However, this…er…interesting night did manage to fuel sleep deprivation to the point of being hyperactive, but not quite hallucinating, meaning we were ready for the final day!

First up was the job of taking the traditional Beermageddon group photo. At the helm of this mission was press co-ordinator, photography extraordinaire, and all-round top bloke, Will Tudor. Gathering together a bunch of people three days into field dwelling (most of whom had an 80% proof ABV blood alcohol content) and making them all look the same way, is a little like herding cats who’ve been on a cat nip bender. But Will has a big voice, and the photo was achieved without any deaths. Result!

With that, and a belly full of bacon and caffeine, it was time to turn our attentions to music again for the beginning of the final day. And providing the opening were Melted Messiah, a Stoner/Sludge, Jazz/Doom Black Metal duo from the wild North (Dunfermline, Scotland). Considering there was only 2 of them, they made a very big sound. Lots of crunchy rumble and distorted fuzziness from the guitar mostly filled the gap where there would usually be a bass, delivering a very doomy sound. And you could definitely hear some jazz influence in the drumming. They were good, and endearing, and the crowd looked on with pleasure.

Melted Messiah

https://www.facebook.com/MeltedMessiah

Dead Mob were next, taking us from the sublime to the caw blimey! Hailing from up the road in Birmingham, this young Hardcore band were a bag of excited energy, which flowed out across the audience and made the entire room lurch. They certainly blew away any sleepy heads that were still trying to bring themselves round. But apart from being loud and full of chaos, these guys were tight and extremely talented. They brought me a lot of joy – at the ripe old age of 41, it’s great to see a young band who know exactly who they are and throw every bit of passion into their performance that they can muster. From a photography point of view, they were really fun to shoot, too. Constantly throwing shapes and moving, laying everything bare, and letting the audience feed off their power. Awesome set.

Dead Mob

https://www.facebook.com/deadmobuk

Next up, and keeping the pace afloat, were At Dawn We Attack; A 5 piece from the West Midlands who are a joyfully chaotic, crunchingly heavy multi-genre crossover collective, all of whom clearly have an appreciation for facial hair! Frontman Bryan was a live wire, thriving off the crowd, and ending up in it at one point, too. The best way I can describe him is, if you took Devin Townsend in the Strapping Young Lad days, made him smoke 50 Marlboro and drink a gallon of JD in quick succession, gave him some dreadlocks, and then injected him with the Tasmanian Devil, you’d be somewhere close. By now the room was bouncing. Damn it was good.

At Dawn We Attack

https://www.facebook.com/atdawnweattack

It was time to turn our attention to some good, salt of the earth, Old-School Thrash Metal next, with the maiden performance of UK Thrashers, Sun Of The Endless Night. With more than a little hint of the Big 4 in their sound, these guys took us through a rip-roaring set that continued to tear to shreds any Sunday-ness that we still had left. Powerful riffs and smashing rhythms, along with angry gravelly vocals made for a show that was confident and impressive, and I would recommend anyone to check them out.

Sun of The Endless Night

https://www.facebook.com/UKThrash

Another band fresh from an appearance at Bloodstock graced the stage next; Alt/Progressive Metallers, Netherhall. Melodically I liked them. But in terms of performance, they were quite a stark contrast to the upbeat, feeding off the crowd, and quenching the onlookers’ thirst for engagement in return atmosphere that we’d been served with the last three bands. The invisible 4th wall between the audience and the stage seemed more noticeable than it had done the rest of the day. For me this made their set a little difficult to get into. But variety is the spice of life, and this is, of course, just my opinion.

Netherhall

https://www.facebook.com/NetherhallUK

After what had been a superb day so far, I decided it was time for food. Having cased out the menus looking for what I could eat at the beginning of Saturday, I knew exactly where I was heading – Little Al’s Kitchen, for Slow cooked beef. And it was the most awesome slow cooked beef and roast potatoes I’ve eaten in a long time (his Chilli on Saturday night was also superb)! I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so well at a festival ever and chatting to Al after partaking of his magnificent food made it clear that this was indeed his mission – to feed people properly and cater for intolerance ridden awkward heads like me – YAY! Between Al, and JW Catering, I’d managed to not eat shit all weekend, and that is an achievement!

https://www.facebook.com/Littlealskitchen
https://www.facebook.com/Jwcateringuk

Feeling full up and ready for more music, I headed back to the hall for the penultimate band of the festival, Symphonic Black Metallers, Kull. They were a new name to me, and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but from the second they started, I was in my element. Huge, full on symphonic synths, ridiculously precise rhythms, intricate and demonic guitars and bass, and the vicious and hypnotic vocals and presence of front man, Tarkan, made this the standout performance of the weekend for me. This thunderous and all enveloping sound had me transfixed from start to finish, and as soon as the performance was over, I headed to the merch stand to buy their music (incidentally, this was the point that I discovered their former guise. They used to be Bal-Sagoth!). The power of this music was addictive and I needed more! It’s been on in my car pretty much ever since. L-O-V-E-D IT!! I will be watching out for an opportunity to catch Kull again very soon.

Kull

https://www.facebook.com/Kullmetal

And so, we reached our conclusion, with festival headliners, and all-round crazy nutcases, Acid Reign. The first time I saw Acid Reign was at Hammerfest 2018, so I was sure of two things. Firstly, we were in for some fun, and secondly, making a pictorial record of said fun was going to be hard work! The best way to photograph Acid Reign, and in particular front man, H, is to become a telepathic mind reader so you know where he’s going to, so you’re brain to hand co-ordination has time to make you press the button before he becomes a blur. I’m new and a novice at this photography lark, be gentle on me, please!!

First world photographer problems aside, what a show these guys gave us. The room was rammed full, and the crowd lapped up every second of this raucous romp through Thrashland, injected with comedic capers, crowd interaction, and a hell of a lot of love. From H disappearing in the middle of a song, and reappearing carrying a tray of beers he had just purchased from the bar to bassist Pete Dee getting involved in a pit, while still sustaining a steady bass line, this was a very special way to finish a very special weekend. No-one was frowning, no-one looked stressed, everyone was just having a great time.

Acid Reign

https://www.facebook.com/acid.reign.thrash

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was a wrap. I’m not scared to admit that I got a touch emotional when it finished and the house lights came up, because it was all over. Apologies to Will Tudor, and Tony Gaskin for welling up in your general direction! We had just lived three days of pure blissful joy. I’m so glad that I talked myself back into going, and so grateful that we got to be there covering the event for Ever Metal. So, some huge thanks are due. To Jim Beerman, for being the Godfather of Beermageddon, and never giving up, to bring this beautiful thing to all of us. To Will Tudor for his infinite wisdom, photography and otherwise – I have banked all his lessons. To all the crew for creating, maintaining, and running this event like clockwork. To the bands who smashed everything out of the park to entertain us, the bar staff who kept our thirst quenched, the caterers who filled our bellies, whatever time of day we wanted it, and the security staff who kept us all safe, but had a good laugh with everyone too.

Incidentally, it appears that there were zero covid cases linked to this event, which in the current climate is a fucking magnificent achievement. But maybe that’s because this was more than just a festival, it was the reunion of a huge extended family, back together after far too long apart. And we were honoured to have been allowed into that family. See you next year xx

LINKS:
www.beermageddon.co.uk/
www.facebook.com/beermageddonfestival
www.facebook.com/groups/247287828724525

Beermageddon 2022 Event Page
www.facebook.com/events/247818157211596

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones, Rick Tilley, 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.