Mammoth Fest Review

Mammothfest 2016

Live set review by Vicky Jackson-Milne

So the time finally came to travel off down to Sunny (bit rainy) Brighton for 3 days of heavy metal madness. It was a weekend that gave Brighton the chance to show that it’s Metal scene is alive and well and just because they are all the way down at the bottom, they’re not to be forgotten! Huh, that rhymes.

What seemed on paper to be a logistical nightmare, splitting the Friday and the Sunday over two different venues, and having just the one all day on the Saturday, from what I observed it seemed to run pretty smoothly.

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Mammothfest has had a bit of a stuttering start, like any smaller festival finding it’s feet in the industry. It’s first airing was in 2010, but with an unfortunate clash with Ozzfest, MF had to compete with a mammoth bigger than itself. This took the organiser Steve Dickson quite a while to recover from as unfortunately the draw of Ozzfest was stronger than Mammothfest’s offerings ofEntombed, Orange Goblin, Sylosis, Malefice, to name a few.

2014 saw a much more successful Mammothfest, and very well received all round with bands like Savage Messiah, Martyr Defiled, Meta Stasis and Cambion to name a few, and then an even better weekend in 2015 with Onslaught, Feed The Rhino, Hang The Bastard, Slabdragger and many many more. So you can imagine how excited I was to get my peepers in around this little festival to see what it was all about and how it’s grown over the years.

Friday was split over two great little venues, The Haunt and The Green Door Store. Both great little spaces for gigs with The Haunt being the bigger of the two. The plan was to hang around at The Haunt and catch the bands playing however, Heart of a Coward unfortunately cancelled last minute so I decided to catch the first band then head over to the Black Metal stage at The Green Door Store.

The Five Hundred brought their techy melody filled metal all the way down from Nottingham to open up the night at The Haunt. Much heavier than I was expecting, their sound was great though the vocals a little quiet, however, this was a brilliant set to kick everything off.

Heading over to The Green Door Store it was The Infernal Sea up next, New Blood 2013 winners and European tourers playing various festivals they treated the crowd to their experimental black metal with traditional undertones, a very dark and strong set. This led on to Londoners, Necro Ritual. Self described ‘Anglo-Satanic Black Metal’ NR smashed out there set with ease, brim full of death ridden riffs and pounding drums. Rounding off the night was up to Headliners Eastern Front bringing their World War II themed Black Metal from Ipswich. I have seen this band play several times and each time they hit the spot with all black metellers alike. With their female vocalist, Nina Piccirillo (formerly of Daemona) delivering her almighty scream, EF delivered their usual brilliant, tight and dark as fuck set, bringing in all of their influences such as doom and death metal into each song. I am used to Nina’s voice with Daemona, which my personal opinion I think suited better, BUT, this was the first performance i’ve seen with her for Eastern Front, so may just take me another show to really appreciate it, however, it went down extremely well with the crowd and was a very well deserved headline slot.

Saturday

We found ourselves at a cracking venue, The Concorde 2, full of Victorian charm and located right under the main road along the sea front by the beach. This was the only venue for the day, which was a blessing as the steps up and down to the road and back were killer! This place was a fantastic space, huge room for the stage and a really big bar area too for any overflow with added bonus of a large back stage area for the bands to relax in before and after their sets. Saturday was a great line-up, an eclectic mix of all things heavy and metal.

Mortishead opened up proceedings with their chunky riffage and deathcore sounds, unfortunately they paid the price of being on early and having only a small crowd to play to however, they held their own and played an epic set. One of the best of the day. Heavy as hell and left us feeling very impressed. Following them were horror blended punk, fancy dress masters Hell Puppets with their theatrical and massively energetic performance, so energetic that the singer resorted to shouting the lyrics at one point instead of singing, perhaps the man girdle the signer was wearing was a little too tight? Onwards with King Leviathan who invited us all to join in with their black mass, superb vocals and wonderful back drop of heavy riffs and drums, these guys played super tight and super thrashy but from the darkest end of the thrash spectrum, they get better every time I see them.

The next band I got to witness were Divine Chaos who brought their traditional Thrash metallings with them to the stage, fast and brutal to pep the growing crowd up their energy performing was exceptional. Sworn Amongst were a nice addition to todays line up and for me one of the most memorable of the weekend. Hailing from ‘Ull up north, I can’t quite get on board with their proclaimation of being ‘pioneers of death metal’ BUT, they have a mixture of thrash, djent, glam and rock n roll all mixed in to make one heavy sounding set, reminding me a tiny bit of Motorhead. They blended all of these sounds fairly seemlessley and were very much enjoyed by the audience. Smashing on to the stage next were One Machine bringing their full on metal from London. Full on metal with a thrashy undertone, these guys were fast, heavy and loud and brought a wide range of vocals too. Reminding me a little of King Diamond. An excellent set from the ‘international metal band’.

It was at this point that I had to scale the epic staircase of doom up to road level to locate some sort of food, but, managed to make it back in time to catch the second to last band Ingested. All the way from Manchester, these guys brought a plain and simple throw down. A slight tinge of Grind with a fist full of death metal and speed, Ingested spewed out their dirty riffs and guttural vocals to the crowd that lapped it up to quench their thirst. I very much look forward to checking them out again. Finishing off this epic day of metal were headliners Venom Inc. A surprise and very popular addition to the line-up this year, it definitely helped with the ticket sales for Saturday! Adorning the stage with their everso anticipated presence, VI played through a set riddled with classics and had the crowd singing along to most of them and constantly chanting Venom, Venom, Venom. You could see how much the band were enjoying themselves up on stage and the energy in the room was entirely different to the rest of the day. Finishing off their set with ‘Black Metal’ the crowd were left with smiles on their faces having just screamed, chanted and head banged their heads through the entire set.

Sunday

Sunday’s festivities were again split between two stages, this time though they were a stones throw from eachother. With The Albert hosting the Rikstock stage all day with bands such as Basement Torture Killings, The Heratic Order and a one off performance from Here There Be Monsters, I decided to set up camp at The Green Door Store for the day for the Doom and Stoner stage, which is where I managed to grab PIST and King Goat for interviews, which you can check out on Metal Gods TV YouTube channel!

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Launching the day of sludgey doominess was Garganjua. A band with their roots stuck firmly in the Doom scene, low down, heavy and slow, a great opener to the day. PIST brought their ridiculous energy on to the stage next with their speedy and groove riddled riffs to shake your head to. Tempo changes galore and not even a guitar issue could stop them, just a shame the little story we started to be told had to come to an abrupt end when the guitar kicked back into life! We were also treated to a little duet with a vocal from the singer of Bong Coldron. I genuinely cannot wait to see these guys again. Incidentally, BongCauldron were next to take the stage, brothers in arms with PIST, these guys brought a good speedy side of sludge to the party, very loud and a fantastic sound. Time to slow it down a little with King Goat with their sludgey doom style and haunting vocals, bringing a certain atmospheric feel to the room their first few songs were very slow and experimental sounding, which they then upped the tempo making them sound even heavier! Definitely a band to watch out for if they come to a town near you. Conjurer up next fresh from their New Blood Stage appearance at Bloodstock 2016. They had an almost techy sound to their guitars, though threw in a lot of heavy heavy riffs. Again their tempo changes were seamless with both increasing pace then slowing down to straight doom. A little mixture of everything I think of the day. Heading on into the night brought us Bast, a mixture of fast grooves, sludgey riffs and a good dash of doom thrown in too, these guys played awesomely well and managed to blend those styles effortlessly. Second to last band on to begin the countdown to the end of the night is female led band Black Moth. Very soulful vocals across the top of really quite melodic sounding doom. Quite a haunting sound produced by these guys (and gal), would happily listen to them again. Finishing off the day and in fact Mammothfest’s tenancy at The Green Door Store are headliners Conan with their typical doom style that everybody loves and longs to hear. Conan have established themselves in the UK and Europe as one of the go to Doom bands, and it was definitely not a set that could disappoint. Very well played, the vocals were spot on and I think the smaller room that they were playing in actually really helped with the atmosphere of the set. Dark and smokey and full of Doom. A perfect way to end the weekend.

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Mammothfest is a good little festival with the potential to grow even bigger. I know Steve Dickson’s ambition is to eventually be a massive open air festival so it will be interesting to watch it grow over the next few years and see what path this woolly mammoth takes.

Here is link to other gig photos by Vicky click here