LIVE: Ghostfest @ University Union, Leeds (26/06/2010)

Date: June 26th, 2010
Venue: University Union, Leeds
MySpace: www.myspace.com/ghostfest
Website: None available

Rating:

Since starting 5 years ago, Ghostfest has sold out year after year due to its large fan following, great line-ups and clearly resulting in deserved success. Though this year didn’t sell out completely the festival has managed to move into it’s biggest venue, allowing for them to unleash their biggest year yet!

MONSTER (MAIN) STAGE:

DESOLATED – 4/10
Openers for the main stage Desolated sadly don’t quite cut it for getting the weekend started in a good and expected fashion. Though their songs are furious and hate fuelled, it’s nothing that can’t be surpassed or could’ve been replaced by something more impressive. Original bassist Dan was replaced by another female bassist last minute, which could be the catalyst which might have made the difference for a better show.

TRC – 7/10
Hailing from the southern depths of London, hardcore punk guvna’s TRC (or The Revolution Continues) have an onstage swagger and charm which is cheeky and charismatic. ‘Bastard’ and ‘Cocky Is Back’ are fun and pissed-off all at the same time, like an angst-ridden clown chasing you on a bouncy castle. Definitely a plus point if some of their members look like they might beat your dad up.

LOWER THAN ATLANTIS – 7/10
Unforeseen complications a last minute shift of days with More Than Life brings Lower Than Atlantis to deal their cards earlier than originally expected. Standing as one of the more melodic and accessible bands of the whole weekend, a surprising amount of hardcore dancing and moshing was ensued through a set including ‘Far Q’ and ‘No Belts’. Their cover of Foo Fighters‘Everlong’ also managed to score them one of the biggest sing-a-long moments, combined with Mike Duce‘s comedic banter made for a somewhat nice breather for the day.

BLEED FROM WITHIN – 7/10
Scottish metalcore madness is the recipe from Bleed From Within, who come across like an older Atreyu way before they entered the mainstream metal scene. ‘The Healing’ and ‘We Are Gathered Here Today’ sound like huge stomping giants of tracks when stripped down to their live form, given that extra raw edge with frontman Scott Kennedy‘s energetic and bouncy nature.

THE ARUSHA ACCORD – 8/10
Like Monuments earlier on in the day on the smaller stage, The Arusha Accord use the two vocalist method to get the force of their technical metalcore across to the Yorkshire crowd. Opening with the contagious as it is crunching ‘Dead To Me’, it’s easy to see how much their popularity has risen since the release of their debut in 2009. Upon announcing the gig being one of their last for a long while, the floor instantly explodes with a huge array of hardcore dancers, while those on the front row give it their all singing to the madness onstage before them.

AZRIEL – 7/10
Many in the crowd were unsure whether or not Azriel would be able to play at this year’s festival, with their lead singer having to leave the band through wrecking his vocal chords over the years. Kindly their previous temporary vocalist was able to fill his shoes for their set, allowing things to still go ahead as planned. Even with this against them, this Scottish metalcore outfit still put out a brilliant set. The crowd got straight behind them with a huge pit breaking out almost instantaneously with many of the crowd singing along with the songs. With a great stage presence as well as going into the crowd during the set, their show was greatly received by the people who were there.

CLONE THE FRAGILE – 4/10
With it being a one-off reunion show since their split a few years back, it goes without saying that anticipation for Clone The Fragile‘s set was fairly high. It’s a shame though that for a reunion show it just wasn’t very special at all. Fan favourites like ‘Sworn To A Promise’ and ‘White Lillies For Your Deathbed’ are great to finally listen to live for all those who hadn’t manage to see them in the past, but they’re not portayed with enough conviction and honesty to bring them to life.

THE ACACIA STRAIN – 5/10
As day one’s main headliners, you’d expect nothing but the highest of quality in performances from The Acacia Strain, or at least the effort to achieve that and show everyone who’s already played just how it’s done. This wasn’t the case, they were surpassed even by the first few bands on the second stage. Though their music is very in-your-face and aggressive, the band just seem to reel them off one after another with no intent of making the extra effort a headliner should. Vocalist Vincent Bennet comes across as the most miserable and depressing man in the world, claiming that he hates “everything and everyone that there is to hate”. I know you’re an angry band guys, but so are most of the other bands over the whole weekend. Let’s not take it too far. Even during a short interval due to a crowd injury they take it without heart and care, instead tossing slices of bread into the front rows. Other bands would’ve been more deserving, and next time should definitely be considered.

HONOUR OVER GLORY (SECOND) STAGE:

CURSES – 7/10
Winners of The Road To Ghostfest gig competitions, Curses have the weight upon their shoulders of being the opening band who should ignite an the array of explosive action to follow suit for the entire weekend. They don’t take this lucky opportunity lightly, and deliver a set of hardcore with some similarities to of Every Time I Die that sets a high bar for those to follow on the Honour Over Glory stage for the rest of the weekend.

MONUMENTS – 3/10
With more of a nu-metal/egyptian kind of vibe coming from Monuments, they come across as one of the slightly more accessible acts Ghostfest has to offer. It’s a shame that the band’s set is a little boring and bland, regardless of whether nu-metal is an almost dead genre or not. In short they come across as a poor man’s Korn or Disturbed with their skat vocals, but even with their dual vocalist approach Monuments‘ stage presence is slim to none.

THROATS – 8/10
Blistering to the ears and insanity onstage, Throats easily top it as one of the weekend’s most furious, intense and energy-ridden bands. Opening with ‘Wake’ it’s a surprise the speakers aren’t torn apart, and all five members flail and explode with fury from start to finish. It’s fast and reckless, and can only be best described as organised chaos, and though their set only lasts around 20 minutes it’s a set you won’t soon forget.

THIS IS COLOUR – 7/10
This Is Colour‘s sets are mental, with the band having to do little more than play to get the crowd into a fury of moshing, crowd surfing and stage diving. However, This Is Colour do a lot more than this, making interactivity a huge part of it all, aswell as having eccentric stage antics and playing their music with phenomenal talent. With their metalcore/thrash metal sound attracting a huge amount of people to their sets, they’re obviously onto a good idea there. Playing favourites such as ‘Brothers In Arms’ and ‘Superhero: Returns’, keeping the insanity levels of the crowd high. All in all a fantastic set from a band who sure know how to please.

IGNOMINIOUS INCARCERATION – (pulled out)

MARTYR DEFILED – 7/10
For some reason, vocalist Matthew Jones looks like a blonde, Nottingham-grown version of Oliver Sykes. The similarities pretty much end their though, with Martyr Defiled‘s bludgeoning death metal leaving BMTH looking like something close to a pop-rock band. The music is fast, heavy and impressively executed, and equipped with a stage presence that puts others more exposed than them to shame, you wouldn’t be a fool to think Martyr Defiled have a good future approaching them soon.

TRIGGER THE BLOODSHED – 5/10
It’s when Trigger The Bloodshed come onstage where things get a little bit uncomfortable. Their technical death metal is intricate and definitely precise and exact, but to be frank it’s just too much and too overwhelming for anyone to really get into it live. Breakdowns come once or twice in the entire set leaving little room to breathe or work out what exactly is going on, sadly leaving Trigger The Bloodshed as a less than average live act.

KNUCKLEDUST – 8/10
Underground hardcore legends are greatly appreciated in the confines of Ghostfest, and one of the biggest ones to be classed under such a status is Knuckledust. As soon as they begin their set it’s clear from the crowd of their appreciation for everything this band has done. Hardcore dancing becomes the majority on the dancefloor, and it’s pushed to the extreme that those just peacefully spectating are even getting hit by the appreciatives. Songs like ‘Dust To Dust’ are drenched in hardcore aggression that just shines through the reasoning of the ‘legend’ tag, spitting out hardcore like a taunted camel, and leaving the Honour Over Glory stage knowing their name has been spread to the younger and less aware generation, and hasn’t been dented at all.