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Holding the status as one of the UK’s greatest hardcore and metal festivals, Ghostfest has returned for yet another year of intese music that brutalises the ears and, in some cases, the body too. We headed down to the 2013 edition of Ghostfest to get involved with the pits, blood and all of the heavy music the festival has to offer year in and year out.
ODESSA – 6/10
Getting day two started nice and early, Odessa bring their fusion of metal and hardcore (so, metalcore) to the table and get the first few pits of the day going. Maybe it’s the rather early slot or the fact that they’re performing on a stage much bigger than they’re normally used to, but Odessa don’t appear to be on their top form. Still, the kids go nuts, and clearly the band have reeled in a few new fans.
MARTYR DEFILED – 9/10
Things get kicked into overdrive for Lincoln’s Martyr Defiled, who almost literally demolish the stage the stand upon. Bassist Harry Johns throws his bass about everywhere and doesn’t stand still for a moment, frontman Matt Jones flings himself into the crowd whilst screaming along to the likes of ‘Lifeless’ and oldie ‘Flawless’. However, stand out moment comes during ‘Goldstein’, as Matt stands against the barrier and legion of fans roar “Sit the fuck down, I know who you are” back in his face. Sensational.
SILENT SCREAMS – 7/10
Locals upstarts Silent Screams are treated to mosh pits and crowdsurfers aplenty during their set, and the band are loving every single second of it. Newest recruit Joel Heywood‘s voice is rather formidable, and though he opts for delivering the bands songs in a heavier front than originally recorded, it pays off in their favour for the Ghostfest audience. It seems when album number two drops, everything is going to explode for these guys.
THY ART IS MURDER – 8/10
Coming all the way over from Australia, other side of the world dwellers Thy Art Is Murder may be the most distant band on the line-up, but during their performance it’s clear distance doesn’t matter when it comes to extreme metal. Frontman Chris Mcmahon originally comes on, hood up with a thick windbreaker, strange as the room is almost hotter than the sun. However, things get hotter as their set continues, with sweat dripping down the sides of the walls all in the name of brutal metal. TAIM are a band set for great things.
HEART OF A COWARD – 8/10
Set as one of the best up-and-coming British metalcore acts around today, their set at Ghostfest definitely justifies the claims. Frontman Jamie Graham has definitely soared since his early days back in Sylosis, and dominates the crowd. Easily drawing one of the biggest crowds since their inception, the band don’t waste the opportunity, and the amount of people screaming along to ‘Deadweight’ indicates the path to success is definitely within Heart Of A Coward‘s sights.
BAR SCHOOL 101 – 7/10
After frontman Ozzy Porkchop jumps down from the stage and suffering from a twisted ankle less than 20 seconds into their set, the rather unknown Bar School 101 are a very short lived affair. However, after one song in, the band reveal themselves to in fact be British hardcore outfit Your Demise and continue on with the set under their normal guise. As what will be their final Leeds date, the crowd go insane to the likes of ‘Burnt Tongue’ and ‘Born A Snake’. Of course though, it’s set closer ‘The Kids We Used To Be…’ that sees the band out the way they should be.
CHELSEA GRIN – 9/10
Deathcore mainstays Chelsea Grin are one of the heavier bands to grace Ghostfest this year, and frontman Alex Koehler is a great commanding frontman. At one point he states the last time they were in Leeds they had a few people jumping off the side barriers, and from that point on a wave of fans jump off the sides into the crowd on the floor, one of which lands face first but jumps back up and joins the pits for the likes of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’.
THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA – 8/10
With the job at hand to close this year’s Ghostfest weekend with a massive bang, The Devil Wears Prada without a shadow of a doubt get the job done right. The whole room screams “I know a ghost” along with frontman Mike Hranica at the beginning of ‘Danger: Wildman’ and the pits just never seem to stop throughout their set which includes ‘Mammoth’ and ‘Outnumbered’ to name but a few. Their showcase of upcoming album material like ‘Gloom’ also displays that TDWP may be headlining Ghostfest today, but in time may be headlining a festival more than twice this size.
SURVIVAL – 6/10
Setting alight the mainly UK hardcore drive line-up that is set to play on the Hype Clothing stage for the day, straight-edge four-piece Survival get the crowd moving/pitting/fighting ninjas/throwing limbs/whatever you want to call it. However, it feels like the perhaps the band are bit unsure of themselves, which judging on their set they shouldn’t be, and through this extra confidence they could achieve much more.
MINDXCONTROL – 5/10
The hardcore flag is still being waved when MindXControl take to the stage, and the uber violence from the crowds in the pits continues along with them. Their high pitched hardcore keeps the floor moving from start to finish, but with very little to work around, they come across as a band who may have only pulled a few newbies in that may have been watching.
FRUSTRATION – 7/10
Dublin’s Frustration are an exhilirating live act. Despite their rather annoying repeated commands to “support UK hardcore” after every other song and to “avoid the screamers on the other stage”, it cannot be denied that Frustration know exactly how to give the crowd exactly what they want.
DEAD HARTS – 7/10
Steel city up-and-comers Dead Harts and their punk hardcore approach is a welcomed change to the bands who played before them, providing a bit more a punk rock edge to proceedings. They’re all over the place on stage, and so are the crowd on the floor, trying to clamber to the front and over the rail to sing along.
BREAKING POINT – 4/10
Frontman Louis Gauthier is now with his original band Breaking Point for the day, after being with Brutality Will Prevail on the main stage the day prior. Much like the problems facing BWP the day before, the vocals throughout the set are incredibly quiet, and with this happening two days in the row on two separate stags would suggest this isn’t a sound problem and, once again, effectively dampens the overall impact of the set.
BROKEN TEETH – 8/10
Manchester hardcore lot Broken Teeth are one of the more anticipated hardcore acts of the weekend, and their set definitely justifies the hype. Bodies are flying in the pit, people are throwing their faces over the barrier to scream down the microphone and Broken Teeth are setting the bar for all acts to follow onstage. Dale Graham, of course, gives another shoutout to the UK hardcore scene, and if it keeps producing bands like this then the scene is healthy.
AGNOSTIC AD – 8/10
The slightly more melodic hardcore efforts of Agnostic AD brings a bit more of a hook filled presence into the room, and though the lyrical messages in some of their songs may not be the most positive, including a song or two about depression, the band are on top form and set themselves as one of the highlights of the stage all of Sunday.
KNUCKLEDUST – 7/10
London based hardcore veterans last headlined the second stage of Ghostfest back in 2010, and now they’re back to destroy everything once again. Admittedly, things take a little while longer than expected to pick up, but once they do they prove once more why they’re known as one of the kings of the UK hardcore scene. The crowd are pitting like crazy, to the point where it has to be seen to be believed, and as such once again Knuckledust close the Hype Clothing stage the way it should.
Unfortunately, we were unable to review any bands who performed on this stage. Sorry.
Written by Zach Redrup
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.