Friday 23rd June 2017
The Booth Hall
Review by Gavin Brown
For the fourth installment of the Hereford Heavy events, there was a split on the bill geography wise, with two of the bands hailing from right here in Hereford, and two from further afield.
Heading up the hometown bands were powerful metallers The Seventh Circle and Djent metal band Enmerkar, joined by South Wales metalcore mob Conflicts UK and Gloucester death metallers Ascaris heading to The Booth Hall to complete a heady bill that encompasses all different styles of the metal spectrum. Something that all the bands had in common was that they are all heavy, perfect for tonight’s proceedings.
We arrive at the venue to find that Enmerkar had already started their set wasting no time in pummeling the crowd with their technical metal, and it was great to see it was going down a storm.
The band are very energetic onstage and play with a mixture of vitality and brutality and look as though they are having the time of their lives onstage. They may play extreme music, but the smiles on their faces as they ended their set, having gone down so well, was telling.
Between each of the bands, the likes of Entombed, Neurosis, Goatwhore, Mayhem, Iron Maiden and Skeletonwitch were blasted out over the PA adding to the atmosphere and the fact that tonight was a metal lovers dream.
THE SEVENTH CIRCLE
The Seventh Circle were up next and wasted no time in battering the audience into submission with their savage Pantera-sequel metal. Frontman Andy Willerton spent most of the gig on the dancefloor, stalking the place and snarling his lyrics like a rabid dog while the rest of the band’s heavy groove ignited the band’s vibe.
Tracks like ‘Fatal Wounds’ went down a storm, and when they declared that they’ve never been good at writing love songs before ‘Love Is A Dying Corpse’, they unleashed another barrage of aural viciousness that sounded better than any old love song anyway – much to the audience’s delight.
Nothing short of immense from start to finish, this was a lesson in brutality with the whole band giving it their all and the crowd reciprocating in kind more than once with some dancefloor action.
Conflicts UK were up next and while not as in your face heavy as what had gone on before them, they had an intensity that matched that heaviness defiantly. Their brand of metallic tinged melodic hardcore got the crowd excited, and as well as the heavy parts, there were plenty of more serene moments that saw plenty of lighters raised aloft in the crowd – these two conflicting styles complemented each other nicely.
The response from the crowd was impressive with the band’s vocalist looking genuinely humbled by the reaction on more than one occasion. This was a set that saw a lot of crowd participation with the band joining in as well. As they finished their set, they left to a deservedly rousing applause knowing full well that they had definitely made more than a few new fans in Hereford tonight.
The night’s final band were Ascaris, whose blackened death metal was the heaviest style on show. They wasted no time in demonstrating not only their extreme metal stylings, but also their faultless playing with the twin vocals of guitarist Samuel Godding and bassist A.D Marcovecchio given a thoroughly impressive workout that was reminiscent of prime Carcass, and the drumming of Christopher Barton was insane as he held it together at the back with a stunning display.
Ascaris play no nonsense death metal with a hint of black metal that brought to mind Carcass, Nile and cult US death metallers Incantation – but the band have their own style of brutality and demonstrated it with a fiery passion, adding to their sound and vibe, and the bands set, despite it stretching into the witching hour, mesmerised the Booth Hall crowd.
When the band declared “We are Ascaris from Gloucester, we play fast, heavy extreme music”, there was absolutely no way anyone could disagree, and as they finished off their brilliant set with Crimson, a call for a last chance to dance and the dust finally settled, they had succeeded in bringing the night to an extreme end in the most satisfying way possible.
All four bands tonight were fantastic and shows the breadth that heavy music can take with every band giving their all. Roll on Hereford Heavy 5, it can’t come quick enough!
Booth Hall Photography by Nick Vidal-Hall
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