Ghostfest is Leeds’ annual celebration of the very best and most exciting bands that the hardcore and metal scene has to offer today. Now in its seventh year, the festival has come from humble beginnings to one of the most anticipated events on the UK festival circuit. Bunking up to an extra third stage for this year’s festivities, and therefore a shed load of bands, we headed there to catch on some music intensity.
POLAR. – 7/10
The self-confessed ‘big beat’ hardcore outfit from Surrey have a particularly hard task at hand opening the main Impericon Stage on Sunday morning. As many members of the audience have now been drinking for almost two solid days, it’s their job to grab everyone by the throat and drag them into having a good time. Luckily, the five lads aren’t lying when describing their sound, and the biggest of beats crashed around the main stage. After some positive bullying from frontman Adam Woodford, the shaky crowd finally find their feet and wake the fuck up.
DEMORALISER – 9/10
If you walked in as Demoraliser were about to take to the stage, you could be forgiven for thinking that Ghostfest had finished early and the headliners were on already. The floor in front of the stage is hulking with a mass of bodies and people are hanging off of the banisters surrounding the room just to get a clear glimpse of them. As soon as the first note was struck, confetti cannons blast into the air, sending the crowd into a frenzy of excitement that lasted for the entirety of the band’s set.
TRC – 9/10
North London genre smashers TRC take to the main stage for the third year in a row to play their unique blend of traditional hardcore spliced with a sprinkling of rap to a sea of eager fans. They may have had their fair share of grief in the past as track ‘H.A.T.E.R.S.’ explains, but today, they’re welcomed with open arms and this only enhances their performance. A nice treat in the form of guest vocals during ‘Go Hard Or Go Home’ courtesy of Heart Of A Coward‘s Jamie Graham blows everyone away. Hit after hit from their debut ‘Bright Lights’ makes for one of the most entertaining sets of the entire weekend.
BURY TOMORROW – 8/10
Bury Tomorrow may have had their problems earlier on this year, but their set at this year’s Ghostfest proves to everyone that they’re still one of the bands that are championing the British metalcore scene at the moment. With their near perfect combination of soaring guitar work, harmonious vocals from guitarist Jason Cameron and the deafening roars of lead singer Daniel Winter Bates, the band show everyone how metalcore should sound. The crowd go particularly wild for ‘Royal Blood’ and ‘Lionheart’. An excellent set from some of the biggest players in the genre.
YOUR DEMISE – 7/10
Love them or hate them, Your Demise are certainly great showmen. Straight from the word go, Ed McRae demands that he needs to see as many people come over the barrier in order for him to finish the songs in a satisfactory manner. The main stage security certainly earned their pay that night as a dangerous amount of fans hurled themselves towards the stage and over the barrier, keen to share a gang chant on tracks such as ‘Shine On’, ‘Scared Of The Light’ and ‘Miles Away’. For fans of older Your Demise, a treat of ‘Burnt Tongues’ causes a pit so big I was almost pushed through the glass of a disabled lift. The band finish with ultra ballad ‘The Kids We Used To Be’, inciting approximately 80% of the people watching shouting the words back at them.
EMMURE – 10/10
Maybe not everyone’s first choice for Ghostfest‘s closing act, Emmure have come through much criticism to bring their dance fuelled groovecore to Leeds and quite frankly, it was astonishing. Frontman Frankie Palmeri takes to the stage with his furious presence. A man of few words, he lets his music speak volumes. ‘Children Of Cybertron’ explodes through the speakers, sending the entire crowd into a ferocious and bloodthirsty brawl that doesn’t stop until the guys leave the stage. ‘Solar Flare Homicide’ and ‘Dogs Get Put Down’ also make it into the set, but fan favourites ‘R2 Deepthroat’ and ‘Drug Dealer Friend’ are the highlights, simply as there’s nothing quite like four hundred people all yelling “BITCH” at the top of their lungs simultaneously.
Emmure look and sound like a band on top of their game. Musically and lyrically they were as destructive as they were accurate and whether you love or hate their no nonsense take on brash metalcore, they were a perfect end to one of the best weekends of the hardcore and metal calendar. Long live Ghostfest.
THE EYES OF A TRAITOR – 9/10
The Eyes Of A Traitor play one of the loudest and most devastating sets the weekend had to offer. Packed onto the tiny Monster Stage, the band unleash their interesting and refreshing take on melodic metalcore. The small venue suit the band and fans fine as lead singer Jack Delany hurls the microphone into the crowd for the majority of ‘Come To My Senses’, much to the crowd’s delight. Throughout the whole set, Delany probably spends about 30% of the set on stage. The other 70% sees him either crowd-surfing or hanging from the dangerously low ceiling.
EMPIRES FADE – 8/10
Manchester’s Empires Fade have enjoyed a fantastic year so far, playing at Crash Doubt Festival and supporting the likes of Legend and Demoraliser, and bringing their melodic yet ferocious noise to Ghostfest. One of the most surprising aspects of the band were the clear but terrifying vocals, so much so that they should;ve earned them a slot later on in the day that resonated in the crowd’s ears with throat shredding brutality. If you like your beatdowns, you need to see Empires Fade live and check in to two-step city. With riffs reminiscent of Parkway Drive and some double bass pedalling mad enough to dislodge your spine, it’s easy to see why Kerrang! named them ‘one of the top 10 unsigned UK bands’.
VILLA RISE – 7/10
Australians Villa Rise can only really be described as absolute beatdown abusers with their thirty minute set, mainly consisting of titanic riffs that everyone can get down to. The only aspect of the performance is that not a lot of people were there to see it. However, the people who did show up took full advantage of the room on the floor and spend the duration kicking the shit out of each other. A real must for any hardcore fans.
Written by Steven Potter