After a whirlwind of a night in Finland, there was no sleep for the wicked and following an early-morning flight and four different trains, it was time for Eradication Festival at Fuel in Cardiff. A two day event in its first year, the Saturday featured death metal and the Sunday featured black metal. We headed down for the weekend – check out our review and photos from the event below.
Day 1: April 25
Getting proceedings started on the Saturday was Trespasser (7/10) and although they played a rather standard blend of death metal, it was a good set in any case. With their singer having red paint in stripes across his face and performing from the crowd at times, there was no way you’d forget the performance and it was an all-round great start to the event.
Up next was The Dweller (7/10) and it was nigh-on impossible to tie their singer down, with him constantly performing from the crowd and even disappeared up the stairs that led to the toilets at one point! Getting a good response from the crowd with a lot of people getting into the performance, they kept the momentum going from start to finish and although the music itself wasn’t the most engaging, it went down a treat all the same.
After a short delay, Extinction took to the stage and unfortunately as they only wound up being able to play two songs due to being stuck in traffic, it wasn’t really long enough to get a fair impression of the band – however they sounded very together, and the two styles of harsh vocals – high and low – worked well when utilised at the same time.
Having not heard of Daemona (8/10) prior to Eradication it was a surprise to see them come onstage with a female vocalist, as death metal is traditionally a male-dominated genre, but it was refreshing to say the least. There was a lot of power and body to her vocals and they lent themselves well to the music. It was a massively tight performance and you could see each member giving it their all, which was great to see.
Three-piece Obscene Entity (6/10) were up next, however they were playing as a two-piece at Eradication due to ‘unforeseen circumstantial events’, as described on their facebook. At times the set wasn’t the most engaging but perhaps that was simply due to them being down a member and having to adjust their set and performance accordingly. Despite this, the band soldiered on and still gave it their all, which was really good to see.
Sadly, as I was running on empty at this point due to not having eaten anything since arriving back in the UK from Finland, I ducked out during Spawned From Hate‘s set to grab something to eat and unfortunately upon my return, they were just closing up their set so I wasn’t able to witness their performance – my apologies.
Getting back on track with Democratus (7/10), it was impressive to discover that it was actually one of the first shows for the band because there was a great togetherness to the performance and it was like they’d been playing together for years. On a few occasions the vocals lacked a little support but as a whole it was good to get a bit of melody on a day filled with brutality and noise, and everything just flowed well from song to song – there was a lot of potential and there’s a definite possibility that this band could go far in the business.
Up next was Party Cannon (8/10) who were entertaining to say the least. To say the crowd lapped up their performance was an understatement and the Scottish outfit put on a great show, feeding well from the crowd. A particularly good element of their sound was frontman Stony’s wide range of vocal styles, ranging from deep undecipherable grunts right up to high-pitched squeals, and it was great that none of the members stayed put in one place – indeed, most of the vocal performance came from the floor rather than the stage! Sadly at the end of the performance, it looked as if they were going to throw balloons into the crowd and really bring a party to the room, but the bag appeared to split open at the side of the stage and it meant the balloons went everywhere but the crowd. Still a great performance all the same though!
Warlord UK (6/10) took to the stage next and although they had a lot of interesting aesthetics onstage such as a microphone stand with chains wrapped round it, and a severed foot adorning one of the amps, the performance itself wasn’t the most gripping or engaging, especially after the onstage antics of Party Cannon. The music wasn’t bad but it just wasn’t a standout or memorable performance, which was a shame after I’d heard such great things about the band – but a lot of people mentioned afterwards about how much they’d enjoyed Warlord UK, so maybe it was just me.
Things picked up once again for penultimate act Skinned (9/10), who came all the way from America, and it was wild in the room right from the get-go. The set was extremely powerful, with a lot of body to it, and the riffs were headbanging-inducing to say the least. The whole room responded really well to them, with frontman Dale constantly commenting how good the crowd was, and the atmosphere was one of the best of the entire night. At one point, a pink cowboy hat was thrown up onstage and Dale graciously put it on for a bit, much to the delight of a particularly enthusiastic group of fans down the front. Skinned were one of the highlights of the Saturday for sure, and hopefully it won’t be too long before they grace our shores again – they will surely garner a great reception in Cardiff if they were to return.
Finally it was time for local heroes Desecration (8/10) to grace the stage and even though the crowd went wild for Skinned, they were off the chain for Desecration with numerous pits throughout the performance. One of the best things about Desecration is that they’re an entertaining band that frequently make jokes between songs – for example, when a cameraman decided to take to the stage and film from there, frontman Ollie good-heartedly joked about him stepping all over his pedals and when he exited the stage, bassist Andi referred to him as Louis Theroux, which was pretty amusing.
The set was peppered with music both old and new, with Desecration treating us to a currently-unreleased song, and going right back to a song from their very first and rather infamous album Gore And Perversion so it was a good mix of tracks from start to finish and even when Andi was plagued with a broken microphone (which received a quip of “does anything ever go right for you?” from Ollie) the band just carried on, making sure they gave the best performance they could.
All in all, it was a great end to the first day of the festival and as the cheers rang out in the venue, it was clear that everyone else had had a great time too.
Photos from Saturday, featuring Obscene Entity, Democratus, Party Cannon, Warlord UK, Skinned and Desecration. Scroll down for Sunday’s review and photos!
Eradication Festival 2015 - SaturdayPhotographer: Nadine Ballantyne
Site: www.nadineballantyne.com Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/nadineballantyne
Day 2: April 26
Back for more on the second day of Eradication Festival, opening the black metal day was the excellent Christgrinder (9/10). Just as good live as they are on CD, they powered through an excellent set including highlights such as their song about being ‘raped, killed and raped again’ (the suitably titled Raped, Killed, And Raped Again) and track Faster Than The Speed Of Darkness, which was a rather short and fast-paced number that was said to describe a certain member’s love life. One of the best things about Christgrinder is that yes, whilst their set may be peppered with jokes (which is good, because black metal can be an all-too-serious genre), they always give 100% and give a great performance musically as well. If this band is playing a show near you then make sure you check them out – it will be worth your while to do so.
Second band Exquisite Ending (6/10) were next to take the stage and although the aesthetics onstage were good – there was an analogue TV behind the band, which played black and white images from a VHS tape – the music itself was nothing out of the ordinary as it was just very traditional black metal, so it was a little difficult to fully engage with the music as a result. However it was a good performance and the potential was there for the band to take things to the next level.
Having interviewed Drekavac (4/10) in the past, I was interested to see what the band’s live performance would entail but it sadly wasn’t all that impressive. There was a severe lack of movement on the stage, largely down to the frontman’s massive platform shoes that he seemed to struggle standing up in at times, and the drum machine accompanying the outfit sounded very mechanical – however the inclusion of the drum machine was down to the fact that their drummer had recently left the band and they still wanted to honour their slot at the festival, so it wasn’t quite a ‘true’ Drekavac performance. Hopefully it was just an off day, because musically Drekavac is a very enjoyable band.
Things then picked up with Vehement (7/10), who played a rather tight and in-your-face set with a lot of aggression to the music, with plenty of opportunities for headbanging! Their music leant more towards death/extreme metal than black metal at times, but it didn’t really matter because there was a great amount of energy to the performance they gave and it injected a bit of life into the room, following the gloominess of the two prior bands, which was great to witness.
It’s always a pleasure to see The Infernal Sea (9/10) play live and once again, they didn’t disappoint at Eradication Festival. With a tonne of smoke to add atmosphere right from the start, and members wearing plague masks, it was a majestic set from the four-piece. The way they just put their all into the performance was phenomenal as it’s always nice to witness a band giving it all they have and, like I mentioned in my last live review of them in 2014, the way drummer James windmilled whilst not hitting a beat out of time was indeed something to behold! Playing both old and new songs alike, with every single one packing a punch, all I can say is that if you haven’t seen this band yet, you’re really missing out because they’re definitely one of the best bands in the British black metal scene right now.
Next to take the stage was Verdelet (6/10) and something that immediately caught my eye about this band was how great their corpse paint was – they could perhaps give Carach Angren a run for their money! Admittedly the set did drag a little, with the songs sounding a little similar to one another, and it felt like they were onstage for a very long time as a result, but they had a good stage presence and were a very striking band. However, the ending to their set was a bit strange, with the band simply walking off the stage with no prior warning and it left the crowd a little confused about what was coming next, with a few people shouting for more.
Primitive Graven Image (6/10) was the next band onstage and, as with Verdelet, their music was a tad ‘samey’ and didn’t really help them to stand out from the crowd. They did, however, get a good amount of crowd interaction and at one point even threw a free cassette tape out into the crowd for someone to claim! In all honesty it wasn’t the most memorable of performances and at times it did seem like there was sound issues, but it was by no means a bad show.
After some sort of delay – possibly down to a sound issue – Ethereal (8/10) took to the stage and as always, put on a great performance. When a band is as tight and well-oiled as Ethereal, it’s a pleasure to watch them in any scenario, and it was another enjoyable set from Liverpool fivepiece. This time even saw frontman Naut spitting stage blood from his mouth at one point in the performance, which was certainly something nobody would forget in a hurry, and they played a well-balanced set, playing both new material and songs from their back catalogue.
I am in two minds about Old Corpse Road (7/10)‘s performance at Eradication Festival. On the one hand, the crowd lapped up their performance, with a lot of people screaming and singing along to their song The Old Corpse Road and everyone got very involved for The Witch Of Wookey Hole but on the other hand, there was moments in the set when some of the songs seemed to drag due to the sheer length of them – so at times it was somewhat difficult to remain focused. It was definitely a good set but sadly it wasn’t quite a great one, which was a shame as I have seen them perform better in the past.
There’s a saying that goes “save the best until last” and this was indeed the case because the best performance of the weekend came from closers Hecate Enthroned (9.5/10). Having seen Hecate perform numerous times over the past month or so, their performance at Eradication was their best of the three even though they suffered from time restraints, sound problems onstage and even had to sadly cut some of the songs from their set (to the protest of some of the members onstage mid-set!) but they made the most of it all the same.
After a strong and powerful start to the performance, at about four songs in frontman Elliot demanded a mosh pit, saying that if nobody started one then he’d come into the crowd and start one himself, and what happened next was perhaps the most insane and energetic mosh pit of the entire weekend, which pretty much continued right until the end of Hecate Enthroned’s performance! Sure, it perhaps wasn’t the most perfect of shows and it would have been nice to witness a full set, the band still did themselves proud and when a crowd is so into a performance, it really adds a lot to the set as a result – which was exactly the case with Hecate Enthroned.
As a whole, Eradication Festival was a great weekend. It would have been nice for there to be a few stricter guidelines with regards to photographers and filming, and the 15-minute changeover time (especially for the higher bands on the bill) was a little optimistic, but for a festival in its first year it was still good and the lineup was awesome – now bring on Eradication 2016!
Photos from Sunday, featuring The Infernal Sea, Verdelet, Ethereal, Old Corpse Road and Hecate Enthroned.