Tuesday, 12 April 2016

#322: NOIZ ALL DAYER - LIVE IN MANCHESTER

The NOIZ ALL DAYER was an epic gig that took place at Rebellion, Manchester. From noon til 3am we were treated to some of the greatest Metal acts that the UK has to offer, plus a very special guest travelling all the way from Israel! At just £12 this was an absolute bargain, plus there was an art exhibit, guitar and pedal workshops and merchandise stalls to boot!
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Kicking off a day of insanity was perhaps the most experimental band of the day, making it a challenge from the very start for those prepared to endure this entire marathon of Metal! Khost are an Industrial Drone duo signed to the Cold Spring label. This mysterious duo consisted of a bassist and a guitarist/vocalist, backed up with electronics and ambience pre-programmed on a laptop with a drum machine. Their set opened with eerie, dark ambience before kicking into insanely heavy, zero BPM lashings of strung out chords, backed up with deep guttural growls. Khost don't exactly deliver much of a physical performance, standing static on stage, but they make up for this with a haunting atmosphere and Industrial soundscapes. This music sounds like it came straight from the deepest, darkest dungeons of Dracula's castle. Khost exist somewhere between Sunn O))) and Godflesh. Their performance obviously divided the early birds in the crowd, but it is probably something they have come to expect. Having seen them a few times before this, I've not always understood Khost, but this was the best I've heard them sound yet! 7/10.
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These Bury based party animals openly admitted that they aren't used to playing at such an early time, and they didn't even have a chance to get drunk yet! If you have seen Pist play before, you'll know they like to get messy. Fortunately they still turned out a fantastic show! Guitarist John Nicholson is an absolute riff machine, and the band have managed to fuse that Southern NOLA Metal sound with a distinct British charm. Vocalist Dave Rowlands tried to fight his sobriety by swigging not just a pint but a bottle of wine too! Regardless, he turned out an energetic and charismatic performance with his exquisite gravelly tone. Pist stormed through a high energy set full of groove laden, face melting riffs. "Detached" and the thrashy "68" were strong highlights from their new album, but it's their self titled anthem that really blew my balls off! Pist playing sober ain't so bad you know, and they were fully in charge of their performance! 8/10.
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The first time I saw Vodun perform in Manchester a couple of years ago, they ended their show by setting the drumkit on fire and causing smoke alarms to go off and the venue to be evacuated! Fortunately for Rebellion, they didn't start a literal fire this time around, but they sure did spread a metaphorical fire across Manchester (yeah, I'm going with that segue!) Vodun are a heavy Rock trio who dress in ragged tribal clothing, covered in striped body paint. Naturally their music incorporates a lot of tribalism sounds, especially created by their insanely energetic drummer and the use of extra percussion such as tambourine and cowbell. I gotta have more cowbell!!! Vodun's guitarist churned out some heavy and frantic riffs that had a dirty, Stooges style guitar sound. The lack of a bassist emphasised the grittiness of the guitar, that sometimes went into psyched out fuzz grooves. The cherry on the top of the cake though, was their excellent lead vocalist. Her powerhouse vocals were very soulful and her low tone made for a good contrast to the guitar sound. Like the other two, she was a ball of raw energy, dancing all across the stage and using her voice as an instrument. Vodun bring it hard, fast and sweaty, and they were one of the bands that people were talking about most throughout the day! 9/10.
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The first of two bands who were poached and added to the bill at the zero hour! Dystopian Future Movies are a Post-Metal trio from Nottingham. Funnily enough, their music wasn't as bleak as their name suggests. They had a strong sense of melodicism and played with the contrast between quiet and loud. Their songs often began calmly and grew in intensity and weight, in line with the Post Rock blueprints. Dystopian Future Movies brought some crushing riffs when they needed to, but being the middle of the day, I enjoyed the clean melodic parts equally as much. Frontwoman Caroline Cawley had a lovely, hushed clean vocal that I found really refreshing in a genre usually dominated by screaming males! Caroline brought a dreamy, ethereal vibe that channelled The Cocteau Twins. Whilst Dystopian Future Movies may not have had the same visual flourish as Vodun before them, they made up for it with atmosphere and tasty textures. 8/10.
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This trio from Glasgow were the second band to be expertly added to the all-dayer at the last minute by promoter Eytan. Fvnerals followed on very nicely from Dystopian Future Movies. They also emitted a gloomy, yet melodic atmosphere. They had a similar setup to the band that played before them, but trading a bassist for a Korg Synthesiser. Unfortunately I struggled to hear the keys at times as they were a little too subtle in the mix, but this was preferable to when you hear Metal bands where the keyboards completely overpower everything else! But rather than using the synthesiser as a lead, I felt that vocalist Tiffany used them more as an atmospheric device to give mood and texture to their sound. Fvnerals played a fantastic set and I would say their sound is an interesting new take on Funeral Doom. I am used to hearing Funeral Doom bands like Ahab that have gurgling cookie monster vocals, so hearing Tiffany's clean vocals was very refreshing. Her baritone still matched the low pitched sound of the riffs, which were expertly churned out at a slumberous and agonising pace. The vocals and synths gave off a ghostly sphere, whilst every crushing riff cut like an oozing, gaping wound. Fvnerals were simultaneously brutal and beautiful. 8/10.
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This Stoner quartet from London came racing out of the traps like Greyhounds! That is to say, they were insanely energetic from the very first note of their set. Limb hit the Rebellion stage with a real punch in the face from the first moment and somehow managed to shrink the stage with their larger than life attitude. With a sound not dissimilar to Pist before them, Limb's riffs have that Southern US sound nailed, with their vocalist even acknowledging a love for ZZ Top. His powerful gravelly vocals, combined with the groovy mixture of Thrash and Doom riffs, certainly brought to mind an influence of Clutch. Their powerful fuzz bass shook the ground and I could feel the vibrations pulsing through my body. They even threw in a Johnny Cash cover that sounded like it was filtered through Motorhead. The thing that stood out most was their huge passionate energy and their love for the groove. I'd certainly give an arm and a leg to see Limb play again! 8/10.
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So, here is the review that I've kind of been dreading to write, as I have too much of a personal bias towards this band... Iron Witch are a 5 piece Sludge Metal band from Liverpool who masterfully deliver nasty EyeHateGod inspired chaos. The band haven't played that many gigs over the last year or so, as they made the decision to have a lineup shuffle around, losing two guitarists, gaining a new one and deciding to have lead vocalist Chris Fane coming away from the mic and switching to guitar. Iron Witch also have a Crust Punk side project called Siege Mentality, who have been filling in at gigs during Iron Witch's short hiatus, and their vocalist Dave Mould is now Iron Witch's new frontman.


I've followed Iron Witch for a couple of years now, being blown away by their performances at Damnation Festival and the very first Riff Fest, and being a proud owner of some of their 7"s and their compilation CD of early songs, "The First Four Beers". Well this was my first time seeing the brand new Iron Witch, and to be honest I found it very hard to adjust. Yes they still pelted me with a vicious Sludge assault and I heard a clear attempt to move away from their early EyeHateGod inspired sound which is admirable. But being so familiar with the old Iron Witch left me with mixed feelings. Firstly, the band is now much closer to the setup of their side project Siege Mentality than before, to the point where it feels like the two bands have now merged into one. Obviously, Iron Witch are much slower, but the sound was aesthetically very similar, with the guitars sounding haggard and rusty. The thing that I missed the most was that I thought Chris Fane's vocals used to be the icing on the cake. He used to belt out an exquisite, torturous tone that I loved. New vocalist Dave works great in Siege Mentality, but just doesn't share the same range and tone as Chris. Chris always felt like his vocals matched the drunken sorrow of the guitar riffs with true affinity, that I felt wasn't captured in tonight's performance. Dave's roars felt limited and repetitive over the course of their set.


I didn't recognise any of the songs in their set, so I get the feeling Iron Witch are confident in their new sound and their new songs from their forthcoming LP. The last song they played stood out the most to me, always changing in moods and dynamics, though it felt like there were too many different parts stuck together. It is always admirable when a band chooses to change up their sound, and this big line-up change must have been a risky decision for a band that were playing at such a positive momentum. I have to try and let my bias go, because their performance was still very good, and if this had been the first time I had seen Iron Witch I would have been very impressed and given them a higher final rating. But there is still this nagging, lingering part of me that isn't quite convinced by their new direction, so I am taking that into account also. Maybe I've not had time to adjust, maybe I'm being a miserable old fart, but I definitely missed the old Iron Witch sound, and I didn't feel the same rush of feelings that I was hoping for. Iron Witch are a band I still hold great respect for though, and I hope they go on to prove that this is actually a step forwards and not backwards. 7/10.
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With their second full length album "Herb Your Enthusiasm" just days away (unless you got an early pre-order through the post), the Enthusiasm for the Herb Your was exceptionally high in Rebellion as the evening struck the clock. Looking around me, I saw more Boss Keloid shirts being worn than any other and the crowd that amassed around them was perhaps the biggest of the day. They opened with the brand new "single" "Lung Mountain", which was just overwhelmingly beautiful and hypnotic. Boss Keloid draw from Progressive Rock, Tech Metal, Sludge and Stoner and have such a versatile pallet . They don't just flatten you with strung out Doom power chords, but weave in twiddley arpeggios and are often switching up tempos. Their fantastic drummer Ste was a joy to watch, reminded me of Meshuggah's Tomas Haake, favouring precision over flashiness. Paul "Uncle Crow" Swarbrick's guitar playing was hypnotic and mesmerizing, evoking an almost spiritual and meditative spectrum. His brother Adam kept things earthbound and grounded with his slamming bass grooves.


Boss Keloid's deadliest weapon though is their throat juggling vocalist Alex Hurst. Seeing his tremendous vocal range, his huge energy and charismatic stage presence is awe inspiring. He really uses his voice as an extra instrument, bringing a Jamaican flavour to the mix. His "captain caveman" vocals are so versatile that he can do throat singing, tribal wails and ferocious screams within the same song. I also saw him using a pedal to trigger different vocal effects, whilst carefully dodging the threat of a rogue wang from nude pitch invader Collier, adding more range and scope to the songs. Alex certainly takes the role of vocalist to the next level and can go places where other Metal vocalists haven't thought of, bringing to mind the man of 1000 voices, Mike Patton.


Not only did Boss Keloid deliver an outstanding performance of selections from their new album, but you feel a true sense of unity and vision when watching this band perform. Each man brings a part of their own soul and personality to the sound. Boss Keloid's dense sound is like a layer cake of different flavours and textures, all working in perfect harmony. 10/10.
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I've seen Witchsorrow a few times now, as they are always a great choice for any all dayer or festival and today was no exception. This trio of Doom deliver a vintage Sabbath-esque sound, with a thick soup of bass provided by Emily Witch. Guitarist and vocalist Necroskull (that's his birth name you know) has such great passion for his craft, always standing loud and proud on stage. Witchsorrow opened with a slow as fuck slab of Doom. Their evil riffs sound like giants plodding their muddy footprints, smashing the earth as they wander. After a couple of slower tunes, Witchsorrow mixed up their set with some faster, Thrashier numbers. Both styles suit Witchsorrow really well, but for me the slower they are the better! They clearly show a great passion for their craft, with lyrics and a sound that makes me picture creepy He Man-esque skeletons. Their music certainly scolded a curse onto Manchester tonight, the curse of neck pain from such furious headbanging! 8/10.
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If Josh Homme had formed a band that settled perfectly inbetween Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age, then they would probably sound a little something like London Desert/Stoner quartet Steak. Steak performed a raw, blistering set of warm groovy riffs with a bluesy and swampy sound. Their vocalist had a real snarl to him and tonally he reminded me a bit of Chris Cornell, minus the high notes. They performed a set full of positive energy and the crowd fed off it. Their sound didn't really explore outside of the Desert/Stoner blueprints too much, but they were certainly a lot of fun. I felt that their impact was lessened slightly, since a few other bands earlier on the bill had already covered this kind of sound rather well, but when it comes to this Steak it sure was juicy and well done! 7/10.
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Coming straight after Steak and playing a similar sound to some of the other bands on the bill could have ended up dampening the impact of The Wounded Kings, but I felt they managed to rise above. This powerful Blues Doom quartet from Dartmoor delivered a heavy sound laced with psychedelic vibes. Their songs rocked with hard, punchy riffs, but it was their transitions into spaced out psyche jams that impressed me the most. The Wounded Kings weren't afraid to lose themselves into a sea of bubbling wah and tremolo guitars. Vocalist George Birch sounded quite similar to Iggy Pop (think The Idiot/Lust for Life era). "Vultures" was a great highlight of their set which upped the energy. Also mega props to their drummer Myke Heath who spent the whole set battling through a possessed drumkit gone haywire as cymbals kept flying off the stands! A kind soul in the audience jumped on stage a few times to fix the drumkit, shortening delays to the show. 8/10.
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This hard as nails 5 piece certainly amped up the evening. Hang the Bastard brought utter fury and aggression to the Rebellion stage. These Londoners delivered a mixture of crunchy Hardcore and Sludge riffs somewhat reminiscent of Raging Speedhorn. Their lead vocalist Tomas Hubbard felt a little too prominent in the mix. He delivered an extremely raw scream that had a blackened essence to it. Though his vocals sounded a little off tonally compared to the low and dissonant sound of the guitars. Bassist Joe Nally would sometimes deliver more typical Hardcore screams to balance up the sound. There was a lot of sweaty passion, and the whole band really gave it welly. Ultimately I felt there was a lack of variation in the riffs and the tones compared to most of the bands that had played before them.


Since seeing Hang the Bastard at the Noiz All-Dayer, I have learnt that they have decided to disband. I am very glad I got to see them play, and I wish them all the best in their future endeavours. 7/10.
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Retro Rockers The Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell were such a breath of fresh air today, and really stood out from all the other bands. The first thing I noticed as they took the stage was that this trio looked and dressed nothing like any of the other bands. They had a look to them reminiscent of Anvil or Spinal Tap, with as much humourous banter to boot! The Admiral's guitarist donned a flying V guitar, whilst their bassist had this cool as fuck, oddly shaped custom made bass. Their sound had a strong pinch of the 70s and 80s NWOBHM sound, channelling Saxon and Motorhead. They simultaneously managed to sound classic, and yet very refreshing. Lightning guitar solos, harmonised vocals and a strong connection with the crowd defined this band. Though their songs certainly aren't breaking down any walls, they are still expertly crafted and show a true love for a vintage sound without sounding dated. They performed exceptionally well and put on a hell of a show. The Admiral were by far one of the most pure fun acts of the Noiz All-Dayer, turning Rebellion into party central and putting big smiles on all our faces! 9/10.
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Because two bands were added to the bill earlier in the afternoon, it did push things back by an hour or so, meaning it wasn't until after midnight 'til we got to see Soden play. This Worcester based trio must be the kindest and most patient men on earth, because their set seemed to be plagued by about four people claiming to be their vocalist, jumping on stage and screaming completely out of time to the music. The Soden guys could have easily kicked them off stage, but they carried on playing. Either Soden are an Instrumental Metal band, or perhaps they were trying out some kind of free for all improv jam, allowing the crowd to get involved! During one song, their bassist even stepped aside to let Pissed Pist guitarist John Nicholson play the bass, and he actually seemed to do an alright job of it! What Soden did perform was very entertaining, reminding me of Chicago Instrumental Post-Metallers Pelican. They had great stage presence and chugging riffs built on shifting dynamics. I'm guessing not all their gigs go down this way, but God bless 'em they made it a fun and memorable show! 8/10.
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If Boss Keloid are Manchester's Metal band of the moment, then Barbarian Hermit are sneaking up right behind them, ready for the kill! Barbarian Hermit have been on a phenomenal run this year, releasing an astonishing Demo CD that is good enough to be a full length debut album, and they have performed a string of knockout shows in their hometown. Their momentum still hasn't ran out yet, even though they ended up playing at 1am! Rebellion still had a very strong crowd at this point, not just because our Manchester Metalheads are made of titanium, but I think a lot of the crowd simply could not leave without seeing their favourite 50s nostalgia singer, Barbara Herman! The Hermits delivered a Horror inspired show, with vocalist Si pulling off a live version of face swap with a demonic entity, and the way they managed to get Buffalo Bill to come along and do his tuck in dance routine on stage was very special indeed!

If you have yet to hear this 5 piece, they churn out some of heaviest and yet catchiest Sludge riffs you will ever hear. Sure they can offer groove and a mixture of Thrash and Doom (as witnessed in their mindblowing finale "Alma"), but there is some extra kind of magic that these Hermits conjure at every show that just takes them to the next level, above most of their peers. Chris Wood's majestic fuzz bass is a powerful, perfectly paced pulverising machine, piercing the ground with it's noisy slumberous pace. The harmonious guitars are always refreshing, offering an eclectic array of ideas and influences, without sailing too far out of the sphere of Sludge. The drums pound and crash majestically, and Si's epic growl and ace vocabulary (centrifuge is my new favourite word!) is the icing on the cake. Every time I see Barbarian Hermit, it feels like the planets have just aligned. I may have some bias towards the beautiful music coming out of my hometown Manchester, (though I am actually a Londoner), but Barbarian Hermit proved tonight that they can stand proudly amongst the big league bands! 10/10.
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Until now we had seen some of the finest UK Metal bands the country has to offer, but our headliners Dukatalon reside in Tel Aviv, Israel. Though they may have come on at around 2am, there were still plenty of bloodthirsty Metalheads waiting for their final fix. The trio had waited very patiently to perform and decided to close the night with an almighty bang! Of all the bands that played today, Dukatalon unleashed some of the biggest energy, easily matching the highs of Limb and Vodun earlier in the day. Their sound is akin to very early Neurosis (I'm thinking Enemy of the Sun era), as they blistered through a set of Sludge/Hardcore crossover. Their spellbounding drummer Yariv Shilo rallied up the crowd before every track, taunting the half-tired crowd with encouraging remarks such as "We have only just started!" and "Come on Manchester, let's go crazy!" making their on stage presence so exciting. With such huge passion pouring out of this band, it would have been rude to disobey. The Rebellion crowd went crazy, slamming into each other in the pit and banging their already sore heads! Dukatalon's tunes were absolutely flattening, performed with the momentum of a runaway train. So much bottom end, with hard hitting guitars that chugged and punched you in the gut!

Dukatalon's show ended with a beautiful bum rush that saw promoters, bar staff, bands members and dedicated fans all joining them on stage, packed so tightly I'm amazed they even managed to play their encore! It was a magical and heartfelt thing to see so much love and passion being shared on the stage so early in the morning. In a way this encore summed up the entire All Dayer, it was a venue filled with community, positivity and hard dedication to the finest displays of Extreme Metal. Although the show may have over-ran, the batteries of the dedicated Metal community in Manchester will never run out of juice! 9/10.
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April 2nd 2016 @ Rebellion Manchester. Additional photos by Mel Hamilton.

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