We sent our latest recruit, Daniel Cairns, along to Damnation Festival 2012. He wore a sensible blazer and watched Pig Destroyer. Fair enough.
Six things Daniel Cairns learned when he went to Damnation Festival 2012:
1) We missed Ravens Creed because they sound like they’re the kind of band that appeal to people that watch Italian power metal videos without laughing, so grind munchkins Atrocity Exhibit were the first port of call. Despite the fact it was about 2 in the afternoon (many of the crowd are usually still in bed by that time) quite a few people turned up to see them, and most left pretty impressed. Atrocity Exhibit aren’t going to change the world, but they’re pretty shit hot at what they do.
2) Hardcore sluggers Hang the Bastard are equally fun, but the lumbering colossus of a singer is far too nice between songs. ‘We’d like to (puff) fahkin’ thank you (huffpuff) for coming today.’ God, what happened to the days where bands would actively insult their audience? Oh well, it makes a difference from telling the crowd to batter each other.
3) Textures on the main stage meanwhile are, well they’re a bit dull to be honest. After the neo-primitivist addled battering afforded by Hang the Bastard and Atrocity Exhibit, their noodly mathcore isn’t anywhere near as engaging. It’s hard not to be a bit ennui stricken with everything tech metal these days to be honest, and Textures don’t really do much to stand out.
4) Gama Bomb follow. People that think wearing cut off denim and waking up covered in vomit next to a pile of clipped toenails is the sign of a fulfilling life are chuffed. They’re… enthusiastic at least, so points for effort. Maybe Gama Bomb are better when you’re pissed or genuinely happy and without a care in this awful world, but they’re annoying otherwise.
5) My Dying Bride is where things get serious. Sort of. They’ve never really changed in the 20 odd years they’ve been around (their one attempt to deviate a bit musically resulted in a massive backlash, because metal fans are clearly so very open minded), but that’s ok they’re good at what they do. Of course they’re completely miserable, but they’re miserable in a way that’s oddly… fun? They’re insanely daft and overwrought on record and that translates pretty well live, newly coiffured singer Aaron Stainthorpe gesticulating a bit like Father Dick Byrne from the Eurovision episode of Father Ted. While peers like Anathema have grown up a bit and bought clothes that aren’t black, one imagines My Dying Bride are still languishing in their living room, perma-frowning with wine glasses filled with blood (Ribena when their mums are around), like a bunch of northerner vampires. Good work goffs.
6) Pig Destroyer were likely the main draw for many, but to be honest they were somewhat underwhelming. They’ve got an excellent new album, a slavishly devoted fanbase, and yet things just aren’t happening. Scott Hull’s guitars are far too low in the mix, and the drums dominate everything. It’s all far too quiet as well. Pig Destroyer live should be a face flaying experience, not an exercise in occasionally recognising part of a song and going ‘oh yeah that bit’s good.’ This is before the technical hitches. Hull’s guitar starts throwing a wobbler, leading to several aborted versions of ‘Piss Angel’ and a general feeling of ‘perhaps we should have seen Electric Wizard instead.’ After about ten minutes of technical fuckbuggery they’re back on track. They’re good, and they’re clearly tight as heck, but the damage is kind of done by this point. Must do better.
To read Hugh Platt’s review of Damnation Festival,
click here. To check out all of our bleedin’ coverage of Damnation Festival 2012 in one handy page, click here.