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Note: As only a few members of the site were able to review the festival weekend, we were sadly unable to cover every band performing throughout the day.
Extended to a full three-day weekend and being one of the only festivals to be hosted at a wild animal park, Hevy is most definitely a unique beast that’s growing from strength-to-strength year after year since its creation. Now onto the second day of the weekend, all four stages of the festival were open for business, and our ears were open to the huge array of bands.
BASTIONS – 8/10
Unfortunately, Hang The Bastard couldn’t make the Saturday slot, and so re-arranged for the next day instead, which meant Bastions playing two slots this weekend. In their place was the Welsh hardcore act Bastions. Despite being elevated onto the biggest stage of the weekend they didn’t look phased by the occasion at all and took to bringing their dark brand of chaotic hardcore the masses. Slowly gathering a name for themselves, they blast into their set with some vigour, a bit too much for some revellers at such an ungodly hour, but clearly time doesn’t affect these hardcore noise mongers. Playing tracks from their impending record including the brooding ‘In The Shadow Of A Mountain’ and ‘Dark Father’, Bastions showed that they have the potential to blow the scene wide open. A fantastically dark start to Saturday.
GOLD KIDS – 7/10
Is any set complete without the vocalist smashing the microphone into his head repeatedly? Apparently not according to Italy’s Gold Kids, as they cause a ruckus in the pit and to the surroundings of the Jagermeister stage. ‘Growing Pains’ has an army of bodies flying over the barrier as onlookers take in the terrible sound on the main stage, yet Gold Kids try to make the most of it as the rain starts to dither from the skies.
NOVEMBER COMING FIRE – 7/10
NCF‘s set is short, powerful and energetic. Their sound is essentially a hardcore one, but when performed in a live setting it has a somewhat sludgy feel to it. As the band deliver each aural blow, the crowd respond the only way they know how. As it all builds to the climactic finish of ‘Transgression’, there is a real sense of awe as NCF manage to shake the ground with their earth shattering hardcore.
THE CARRIER – 6/10
The first rain of the weekend isn’t enough to keep the fans away from The Carrier‘s so-so set They get the mosh pits going as soon as they start, but there’s something half-hearted about the performance and the response from the crowd. The rain doesn’t help, but there are also many other more exciting hardcore bands on offer at this festival, and The Carrier just feel average. A guest appearance from Killing The Dream frontman Elijah Horner is a nice touch, but a broken bass guitar and increasingly muddy sound means that The Carrier‘s encore loses most of its punch.
FEED THE RHINO – 8/10
Filling in for Trash Talk after they pulled out, and splitting the time with TRC, Feed The Rhino make the most of their time on the main stage. For a relatively unknown band from Kent, FTR are brimming with confidence today, and force their ‘noise and roll’ songs into the baying crowd, who respond with cheers and plenty of 2-stepping. Lee Tobin is a capable front man and has a scream that could strip paint, while Oz Craggs is the enthusiastic and likeable bassist without even having to open his mouth. They may not draw a lot of people, but the quality of their music and the conviction with which they perform will ensure that in future years this band will definitely be climbing up the bill.
TRC – 7/10
As one of the late replacements for Trash Talk, TRC aren’t really a band you can avoid nowadays. Having been on the line-up for Ghostfest and Download, amongst a variety of other tours and one-offs, if you haven’t seen TRC before, where the fuck have you been? Finishing on ‘London’s Greatest Love Story’, they bring the usual hardcore mob mentality and explosion of enthusiasm to the hilt.
THE GHOST OF A THOUSAND – 9/10
As TGOAT come out for their final show as a band after seven years, a rapturous applause and a sea of people greeted them. A band severely underrated and under appreciated, they rip into songs like ‘Black Art Number One’ with a pulverising ferocity and even throw in a rather unpredictable cover of ‘Back In Black’ by AC/DC. You can quite clearly tell that they have had the times of their lives in the years that the band has been together, and it’s definitely sad to see them leave, even if they did play ‘Bored Of Math’ last. Truly devastating to see such a great and talented band disband, but my god they did it in style.
ARCHITECTS – 8/10
Having recently re-recruited ex-bassist Ali Dino, Architects vocalist Sam Carter voices his pleasure at being at Hevy and duly mixes up their set with both ‘Hollow Crown’ stuff and snippets from ‘The Here And Now’. Ballad ‘Hollow Crown’ reverbs around the arena and campsite as a chorus of voices, although not quite angelic sounding, echo about so much so that even the animals will have been swaying with their lighters in hand. ‘Follow The Water’, ‘Heartburn’ and set closer ‘Early Grave’ get the best reactions of the set as the Brighton stalwarts go from strength to strength in every aspect.
THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN – 10/10
Not a band that comes around too often, however, Greg Puciato (famed for his onstage antics) and his band members bring the mathcore noise to Port Lympne, and leave everyone in the crowd doing multiples of infinity through every orifice of their bodies. In the dark of the wilderness, the pure erratic nature of the swinging time signatures leaves everyone with a dizzy headache and a fucking good one at that. The band are truly dedicated to their sound and physically embody the chaos of their sporadic songs, leaping and contorting, thrashing at their instruments. It’s a fantastic sight that, coupled with their uncompromising aural assault, makes for a unique and rewarding experience. Even when they are cut off after they run over their time they return, playing just through their amps with an un-miked drum kit to run through a couple of bonus tracks for the fans within earshot. It’s an unexpected treat that only serves to make the night even more memorable. Absolute blinding set by the best headliners the festival organisers could have asked for.
ARCANE ROOTS – 7/10
Judging by the impressive turn-out, Arcane Roots should have been higher up on Saturday’s bill. Their music is like a thoroughly enjoyable kick to the head, with raw, thrashing guitars, obtuse rhythms and the sweeping howl and screech of Andrew Groves filling the tent with violent but technical alt rock. Throwing themselves in to the show with full force, the band are exciting to watch as well as to listen to. Andy, who looks a bit like Simon Neil but with Cedric Bixler-Zavela‘s voice, is a quirky and interesting figure, and although Arcane Roots don’t quite explode today, they certainly put in an impressive performance.
SPY CATCHER – 6/10
There’s been quite a bit of buzz going around indie-punk rock band Spy Catcher. Perhaps a large amount of hype is subject to the fact that Gallows bassist Stu Gill-Ross is amongst their ranks. Playing a lot of songs from their new debut album ‘Honesty’ (we rated 8/10), their set is a little bland and doesn’t always manage to live up to the standards that have been set for them. However, there is something mesmerising about their sullen, blank faced punk rock and with huge numbers like ‘Remember Where You Were When Micheal Jackson Died’ under thier belt, the name Spy Catcher may be one that you hear a lot more of in the coming months.
ME VS. HERO – 7/10
It felt good hearing some northern accents in the deep doldrums of the UK, and immediately the easycore sound of the Blackpool fivesome makes the ground shake and the gang chants reverberate everywhere. With huge catchy hooks and the odd human pyramid popping up in the crowd, they soared very confidently through a set of songs, old and new. ‘We’re Not Going Home’ brings the singalongs and ‘The Days That Shape Our Lives’ bring the mayhem in the Rock Sound/Macbeth tent. Holding the crowd in the palm of their hand right until the end, the band left the stage having again proved why they are right at the top of UK pop-punk.
THE XCERTS – 7/10
From the outset, it’s very clear that this is not a festival for The Xcerts. Their performance is gutsy and they put their best material forward, with raucous run-throughs of ‘Scatterbrain’, ‘Slackerpop’ and ‘Distant Memory’, but for the most part they are underwhelming. Die-hard fans stand by their band and give cheers of encouragement, but the majority of the crowd look less than excited.
TITLE FIGHT – 9/10
You literally cannot move for space around the back of the tent, and as for trying to get inside to get in amongst the action… forget it. A sea of bodies make their way over the barrier in what seems to be a ritual for the Kingston, PA band anytime they are over on the UK shores. Opening with ‘Symmetry’ and some time after, a rant about the heavy handedness of the security at the front, they close the set with the same energy you’d expect from them. A lot of sweaty and happy people leave the tent just shortly after, never a band people will bore of seeing.
OFF! – 6/10
Veteran punks Off! have the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands as soon as they hit the stage inside the confines of the biggest tent on site. Although, as soon as they begin playing, the tent seems five times smaller as the crowd explode. What their songs lack in length they make up for in tenacity. Whilst Keith Morris‘ vocals may be wearing a little thin as he grows older, he certainly makes up for it as he’s nothing but a blurry ball of sweat throughout the entirety of their set. It seems as though the emphasis of the band is certainly playing loud and playing fast whilst not worrying about very much more substance, but that’s okay for me.
BROTHERHOOD OF THE LAKE – 5/10
Not to dissimilar to a cult by the looks of their intro, it seems the Plymouth group just don’t have anything that particularly stands out amongst most other bands of the same ilk. Whilst they clearly have stage presence aplenty, it just seems that they lack the oomph to interest the early birds in the Saturday crowd.
HEART OF A COWARD – 8/10
Having had to call in a last minute stand in guitarist in Monuments‘ Olly Steele after Tim James “bailed”, Heart Of A Coward took to the stage and made the most out of a pretty crappy situation. Fronted by ex-Sylosis vocalist Jamie Graham, the quintet brought a huge performance and a catalogue of energy as they assaulted the crowd with their groove metal madness. To the naked eye it was impossible to tell they had a ‘fill in’ guitarist, as the band looked as healthy as ever, and sounded stronger than ever as they devastated the tent with ruthless passion.
HEART IN HAND – 8/10
A band that seems to be on the lips of everyone who loves melodic hardcore, or those who just like their metal underground, the reaction to the entrance of frontman Charlie Holmes and his band of brothers shows just how far they have come since their inception in late 2008. Encompassing crushing breakdowns and ferocious hardcore, ‘ThreeFifteen’ leaves everyone in and around the tent stunned and wanting more, however, you don’t always get what you want. Definitely a band to go and watch if you have the money in the near future before they blow up and become ‘too mainstream’ (yeah, right).
BRUTALITY WILL PREVAIL – 10/10
Despite having only arrived at the festival site an hour before due to extensive traffic on the M25, there was absolutely no sign of fatigue or tiredness as the band took to the stage. Opening on a massive ‘Trapped Doors Moving Walls’ when frontman Ajay screamed “set it off faggots!”, the tent exploded into a huge chaotic mess. The crowd were shouting every single word back at the band, and by the time the shout along of “When it’s time to sleep, the devil calls” dropped in ‘Heavy Eyes’, the noise was deafening. It was a totally masterful performance which was gripping from first to last, the band were completely in sync with one another and Ajay had the crowd hanging on his every word; “This is a mosh call, side to side, front to back, punch someone in the fucking face” he commanded, and you fully expected it to happen. Total domination.
AWAKEN DEMONS – 4/10
How often is it that you see someone in the pit wearing a balaclava? In my time of gig going I’ve never seen it, but then again there’s always a first for everything I guess. With most of their songs sounding pretty much the same, there’s not much substance to the Italian metalcore crew, and in all honesty, it just seems that the crowd are only there for the XbeatdownsX. Clearly enjoying their time on stage, they strum and they strum and they strum, yet it still all sounds the same; a shame really.
RISE TO REMAIN – 8/10
As has been mentioned a million times before, metalcore is a crowded scene right now, and it takes something really special to be noticed within it. Fortunately enough, Rise To Remain seem to have that special quality, with a major contributer to that being frontman Austin Dickinson, whose vocals are spot on throughout the entirety of their set. Unlike so many metalcore bands, Rise To Remain rely largely on Dickinson‘s clean vocals opposed to largely just screamed vocals. This gives the band’s sound more accessibility and more originality. As Dickinson announces this is the first time his band have headlined anything, they couldn’t seem happier about. Playing mostly newer material of their forthcoming debut ‘City Of Vultures’ it’s a testament to the quality of the band that they can still get people moving to songs that they have never heard before. This is a performance that is well crafted, mature and executed to perfection, and it made for brilliant viewing.
OUR PEOPLE VERSUS YOURS – 6/10
OPVY kick off the day’s proceedings with a fairly standard, albeit enjoyable performance. Their metalcore-lite sound is one that many bands have, although when you put in an energetic performance such as this one, it makes it seem all the better. It’s possible that with huge sounding tracks such as ‘Ariah’ that this band may have the potential to be swept up in the ongoing metalcore craze.
COLLAPSE THE CONTROL – 4/10
Having briefly stopped to watch these as I devoured some tasty, very tasty nachos from the vegan food place, I couldn’t help but think that they sounded (and looked) like an even more horrendous Asking Alexandria, and that is saying something. Mixing an ever so original fusion of badly synthesized trance and mind numbing breakdowns it just doesn’t do anything except hurt your ears, and not even in a good way. Encyclopaedia generica; you need to get one guys and give it a read!
FLOODS – 8/10
Having spent the summer playing the UK’s biggest festivals as part of the Red Bull Bedroom Jam, Floods played their final festival show of the year in some style. With vocalist James Power deciding that the floor is a better stage than, well, the stage, he barked his vocals from amongst the crowd, adding a certain intimacy to the set. Making most people waiting for the next band on the main stage sit up and take notice is something that most of the bands playing this stage failed to do, but not Floods. With an enthusiastic fan displaying numerous back flips throughout the set, playing a song they wrote about Cher Lloyd‘s undeniably awful ‘Swagger Jagger’ and being joined on stage by Heights vocalist Thomas Debaere, the St. Albans quintet are definitely ones to watch.
PAGE 44 – 5/10
Page 44 have the somewhat “easier” task of playing the slot just before The Ghost Of A Thousand. It means as they saunter their way through their set, more and more people arrive to see what’s going on and pretty soon a sizeable crowd is watching the band play. However, there’s no point having a sizeable crowd if you aren’t memorable enough for half of them to remember you. This is a problem that Page 44 suffers from. Like so many other bands on this stage over the course of the weekend, they simply do not do enough to be remembered amongst the masses. Credit is due to the band though, as they keep going for the full allocation and even try to evoke a mass sing a long to their single ‘Answers’.
ACODA – 9/10
Given the task of headlining Saturday night’s Red Bull stage were RBBJ finalists, ACODA. Bursting straight into their set as the final notes of Architects rang out played massively in their favour as they gained some attention, attention that they 100% deserved. Driven by their alt-metal sound, the band proved why they are deserving of their position at the top of the bill, displaying a ruthlessness and raw grit which is absent in too many bands today. Clearly pouring their heart and soul into a performance you would expect from a seasoned touring band, they left a huge mark on all watching, a mark which spelled ACODA.
Written by Dom Wyatt, Grant Bailey, Oliver Thompson, Josh Peett and Chris Loomes
Photos taken by Harriet Denton