Damnation? Damn Sexy More Like!
If Damnation Festival were a body part, it would be a penis. A massive throbbing bellend, waved in the face of conventional booking strategies. Firstly, instead of picking up the latest Metal Hammer, pointing at whichever bloated, irrelevant band are on the front cover, shouting “Want that one!” & dribbling a bit, they put together a diverse, genre-spanning line-up of genuinely interesting bands. Then, rather than charging enough to buy a decent sized, semi-detached house, ask for a very reasonable £27 for a day of mind-mangling metal in the centre of Leeds. We’ve not had a better offer than that all year.
London’s Mutant seems to really enjoy their position so close to exploding onto the metal scene that they’ve not actually bothered blowing up yet. 18 months ago, the hype was palpable as their Laserdrome EP was met with rave reviews, mass hysteria & possibly some sort of parade. Since then, they’ve played up & down the country, supported Evile & thrashed Bloodstock so hard it had bruises for a week. All this momentum carried them in their quest to open the Jägermeister stage & their up-tempo tech-thrash is a perfect boot to the arse of those of us functioning only on near-fatal levels of caffeine & bacon. Shredding, twin guitars lead us inside the Super Computer before engaging in some Psycho Surgery. Frontman Tom’s OTT metal banter fits perfectly with their brand of retro-futuristic noise & their material is unbelievably tight, even with minor sound issues threatening to interfere. It might be too early for the majority of the crowd but Mutant’s high-octane antics set the bar very high leaving all but the most hardy of gashes well & truly thrashed.
Skipping Panic Cell just in case they incited any anti-Semitic racism, over on the Terrorizer stage, it’s nice to see Colonel Blast at full strength. New vocalist, Darryl Jones (This Is Turin) immediately sets about making stage his own, stalking it’s breadth like the bastard child of Gollum & Richard O’Brien. Blast beats, chugging guitars, gut wrenching screams propel a schizophrenic & disjointed but never incoherent hardcore/death metal hybrid in it’s quest to wreck necks & soil underwear. On the epic For The Greater Good they generate a wall of sound that would have Phil Spector wanking into an exit wound for days. Even a knee injury doesn’t stop them as guitarist Ben Whitfield plays the best part of the last track on his back.
We’ve got a lot to thank Sheffield for. A failed steel industry, Bring Me The Horizon & now Rolo Tomassi who sound like that elusive Final Fantasy 7 remix album At The Drive In never got round to releasing. Singer, Eva Spence exudes sexuality like a particularly filthy librarian at the Christmas party. Unfortunately for me, the rest of the band secrete levels of hip that leave me feeling physically unwell. They are far too slender, attractive & fashionably haired for my constitution, having about the same effect as reading whole issues of NME & VICE back to back.
Luckily there was something far less stomach churning stirring over at the Terrorizer stage. Aberdeen’s Autopsy loving Autopsy fans, Bonesaw who, if you can’t tell, are somewhat enamoured with the band Autopsy. If they were to play death metal any more old school, it would be wearing one of Chuck Schuldiner’s nappies. They also successfully kicked off the first pits of the day unless Panic Cell sparked some sort of Jäger fuelled hoe-down but luckily we missed out on that so we’ll never know. Anyway Bonesaw’s murky, punky sound might not be big nor clever & it’s certainly nothing new but they prove that Aberdeen has the monopoly on morbid-as-fuck death metal riffage.
Lawnmower Deth are almost certainly my favourite garden implement fatality based band. This is partly because Trowel Murder are fucking shit (not really, I made them up) but mainly due to the fact that I can’t imagine another band that could have a man dressed as King Diamond in a poncho crowd surfing & a man dressed as Satan bouncing on a trampoline without coming across as a cack-peddling novelty act. Steering clear of the contractually obliged audio abortion Billy, they stick to the crossover thrash genius of Ooh Crikey. It might be dumber than a room full of goregrind fans discussing their favourite method to fuck a stabwound but it’s a genuinely hilarious set as they blast through Flying Killer Cobs from the Planet Bob, Sheep Dip & Satan’s Trampoline. Complete nonsense of the most enjoyable variety, just a shame I had to stay (relatively) sober & wasn’t face down in a puddle of my own sick by the end.
Well, that’s enough for part 1. You’ve probably all got day jobs to get back to & I’m off for a wank & a cry. Check back soon(ish) for Part 2 featuring SSS, Sabbat, Paradise Lost, Earthtone9 & Dillinger Escape Plan.