Almost Fatalfest is a monthly free event taking place in the town of Barrow-In-Furness at the Wheatsheaf Inn and comes jam-packed full of a wide mix of bands as well as free food and confectionary – what more can you want from a show?
Openers All Consumed got the night off to a fantastic start. To say that their frontman Rob had a great set of vocal chords on him was an understatement and his voice had a tremendous amount of power behind it, which really lent itself well to the heaviness of the songs. It was an engaging performance – I particularly liked it when there was a dual vocal attack from Rob and guitarist Darren – and it really got the pace going for the night. All Consumed really did themselves proud with their set and it was an engaging performance from the four-piece.
Up next was Emissaries Of Syn, who had a great chunky sound to their music despite the fact they were only a three-piece. Guitarist Matt was very involved in his performance, at one point venturing into the crowd, and bassist/singer Mark wore a skeleton mask for the entire show! It’s nice to see a band putting a lot of effort into their performance and it was a set that really played on their strengths. There was even a Misfits cover thrown in for good measure!
Third band of the night Nomad started off as a more difficult listen. The introduction was instrumental doom music and it was a bit of a struggle to connect with them at first, but as soon as their frontman joined them, the performance instantly went up a notch and the introduction was juxtaposed nicely with the rest of the set as a result. A very energetic performer, he knew how to work the crowd and spent a lot of his time down at the front, up close and personal with various audience members, which made for an engaging performance as a result.
After a few technical difficulties, Bong Cauldron took to the stage and the crowd was behind totally behind them as soon as they got going – there was the beginnings of a mini mosh pit at a few points of the set! With smoke billowing from the smoke machine so thickly that you could barely see anything, it gave the set an edge of mystery and atmosphere atop of the tunes. The band was incredibly tight and they put on a great show – the members were entertaining, which counted for a lot and it showed off how much effort they put into their live show.
The highlight of the night was absolutely Aklash, however. Playing some absolutely fantastic black metal, it was an absolutely stunning and atmospheric set and the band moved as one together, with lots of windmilling thrown in for good measure. The way vocalist/guitarist N.Millar interacted with the crowd was second-to-none, treating the show almost like a ritual, and the music was simply fantastic; well-constructed and perfectly delivered from start to finish. The set ended with a stunning violin solo, which mixed things up a bit because it’s not an instrument that you’d generally expect to see in the genre, but it slotted in fantastically and the tone of the violin really worked well with the drums and bass. A striking end to an extremely memorable set – absolutely incredible, to say the least.
Headlining the event was pirate metallers Red Rum, and to say they’re an all-round fun band is an understatement. When you see a band that is clearly having fun onstage, it just makes you want to get more involved as a result, and they kept a smile on my face throughout. With a cheeky little rendition of They’re Taking The Hobbits To Isengard, they instantly got the crowd on their side and they powered through a brilliant set filled with all kinds of fun and cheesy (meant in the best possible way, here!) songs and it was the best way to finish the night because everyone was just so into it.
There was a lot of crowd participation, with frontman Dave getting people to join in singing with them on occasion and the night ended with demands for dancing – with the best dancer or best costume winning their EP!
It’s rare for longer line-ups to consist of nothing but good bands because speaking from experience, there always tends to be a weaker act on the bill, but this really wasn’t the case with this show. Every band who played put on fantastic sets and it was an all-round great (and very well organised) night, with a lot of fun had by all who attended.