Following its debut in the UK last year, the mighty Impericon Festival has made a return to Manchester. After starting as a modest festival in Leipzig, Germany, Impericon has rightfully achieved worldwide notoriety and has secured a reputation as one of the most promising hardcore and metal festivals around today. This year sees a diverse bill, consisting of deathcore titans Whitechapel and hardcore punks Stick To Your Guns, to name a few.
Swedish rockers Adept (***) have the unfortunate slot of opening the festival as hundreds of fans gradually pour through the door. Reassuringly, this doesn’t stop the five-piece from packing an energetic and engaging set that sets the bar high for the acts to follow, treating fans to the likes of ‘Dark Clouds’ and ‘The Lost Boys’. Frontman Robert Ljung dedicates fan favourite ‘Secrets’ to Manchester and expresses his gratitude for the festival, with today sadly being its last date.
Southampton’s Desolated (***) have certainly been busy over the last year, touring Europe on The Taste of Anarchy tour, extensively performing across the UK and preparing material for upcoming album, ‘The End’. Vocalist Paul Williams sadly announces that the show was their last performance with bassist Dan Ford before he enters the RAF, but thankfully his bandmates helpn deliver a memorable final performance for their retiring bassist, delving into tracks ‘1985’ and ‘Death By My Side’, to name but a few.
Worthy of making their hometown proud, Manchester’s own Ingested (***) fortunately pulled an impressive and engaging set. Vocalist Jay Evans engages the audience throughout, yelling “let’s get this place fucking moving” before tearing the room in half, initiating the day’s first wall of death. The band’s set, however, is disappointingly cut short, leaving a laborious wait for the next act to take their turn.
California’s Being As An Ocean (****) provide a satisfying contrast to the proceeding bill of much heavier acts. Dual vocalists Michael McGough and Joel Quartuccio‘s mix of clean and gritty vocals blend extremely well, creating a powerful hybrid. Lengthily titled tracks ‘This Loneliness Won’t Be The Death Of Me’ and ‘Nothing, Save The Power They’re Given’ contribute to a well-constructed set, showcasing the best of the quintet’s career thus far.
Taking heavy to a whole new level, deathcore titans Carnifex (****) bring a set consisting of thundering bass drops and the devilish cries of vocalist, Scott Lewis. Pulling the lead in the seemingly ongoing competition, Carnifex are granted their wish to see the biggest and most violent circle pit of the day. Set highlights include ‘Dark Days’ and ‘Die Without Hope’ from their 2014 full-length of the same name, as well as ‘Lie To My Face’ from their 2007 debut. Lewis yells “I want everyone to lose their fucking mind with me” before diving into set closer, ‘Hell Chose Me’. Sure enough, they do.
Returning after an impressive performance at last year’s proceedings, Deez Nuts (***) are no stranger to the Impericon stage. With the release of ‘Word Is Bond’ last month, the band have more than a few new hits to share with the now packed out Manchester Academy. The set draws to a close with their 2013 single ‘Band Of Brothers’, before vocalist JJ Peters shamelessly urges fans to purchase or pirate their new material.
Hardcore punks Stick To Your Guns (****) manage to inject a heavy dose of energy into the already pumped audience, with frontman Jesse Barnett bellowing “If you came here to stand around, you’re in the wrong place, motherfucker”. The band initiate the biggest sing along of the day as fans chant along to hits ‘Bring You Down’, ‘Such Pain’ and ‘Against Them All’. Barnett‘s crowd interaction makes the performance all the more special as he jokes “I’ve never seen so many beautiful people in one room. Well, some of you are ugly, but most of you are beautiful!”
Parading onstage to a bizarre country/bluegrass intro, Whitechapel (****) are soon to unleash their signature hellish vibes. Unlike the acts that proceeded them earlier today, Whitechapel cease the need to demand crowd movement. Set highlights include performances of ‘The Saw Is The Law’ and ‘Fall Of The Hypocrites’. Following a short lived set of five songs, the crowd’s persistent chants for the band to return are soon answered, as they race back onstage and break into closers ‘Faces’ and ‘I, Dementia’.
Always certain to deliver a good show, LA’s The Ghost Inside (*****) don’t disappoint. Set opener ‘Between The Lines’ sees a room of over two thousand sweaty fans chanting the lyrics “What do you stand for?” right back at the band. Frontman Jonathan Vigil yells “this song is about accepting people in the world for their differences” before exploding into the excellent ‘Out Of Control’. Closing number ‘Engine 45’ sees a cluster of fans surf their way towards the barrier in a crazed attempt to high five Vigil.
Headliners Suicide Silence (*****) certainly have a lot to follow after excellent performances from predecessors The Ghost Inside, Whitechapel and Stick To Your Guns. Fortunately, the band deliver a performance that rivalled record quality and includes a few surprises along the way. Former All Shall Perish vocalist Eddie Hermida responds to crowd’s frantic chants, shouting “as much as I appreciate it, the band’s name is not Eddie, we are mother fucking Suicide Silence”, before the vocalist later demands a crawl of death, as previous attempts of a wall of death at the festival fall interrupted. This is obviously ignored by fans, as they proceed to dive into one another as soon as the crawling ends. Fans reach new peaks of excitement as Whitechapel frontman Phil Bozeman joins the band to perform the brutal ‘Unanswered’.
Written by Kieran Harris