||DEATH IN PLYMOUTH: THE RETURN OF PLYMOUTH DEATH METAL FESTIVAL
9th February 2017
Plymouth Death Metal Festival, a one day event, albeit small by many other festivals' standards, was a resounding success as the Metal community gathered together for a celebration of all things Metal and what the event lacked in size it made up for in quality.
Ten superb acts alternating across two stages, The Junction Stage and The Underground Stage, conveniently located a short stagger apart, across the road from each other in the Mutley Plain area of Plymouth with no clashing of sets so everyone could see every band as well as allowing plenty of preparation and sound checking time for subsequent acts.
The whole event was very well organised and ran like clockwork. This one day event was first held back in February 2014 at the White Rabbit and featured two of the acts returning for this event; Desecration and Warcrab.
THE UNDERGROUND STAGE
Black Skies Burn
The honour of opening the festivities went to Oxfordshire based Death/Grind four piece Black Skies Burn to an already decent sized gathering and their Napalm Death/Pig Destroyer (amongst many) inspired sound was humour rich and crushingly delivered. Included were tracks from their upcoming split release, 'Brian Blessed Are The Sick', with UK Hate Grind, one of which was an excellent cover of Extreme Noise Terror's 'Deceived'.
Spawned from the Cornish Death Metal bands Decimation and Hinnom, Human Mycosis, were the next on this stage to bring their brand of old school, circle pit Death Metal delivered with a high energy, dirty gargling, groove and battery. Their set featured tracks from their 'Scattsville' EP, which is available for download via their Facebook page.
No local Metal gig is complete without the mighty Warcrab from Plymouth, in fact not inviting them may even be illegal. Either way, their carefully crafted blend of sonic edged Death/Sludge/Doom Metal always goes down a storm and this was no exception. Their set was crushing and dynamic and was bizarrely and spontaneously enhanced by a lone stage diver, an impressive if not insane achievement in such a confined venue.
Recently playing this venue in a joint headline gig with Egyptian Metallers Scarab, London's progressive Melodic Death Metal De Profundis attired in their usual black shirts and leather trousers wowed the crowd, particularly the ladies, with a superb set drawn from their four full lengths including their latest, 'Kingdom Of The Blind'.
Final band on this stage were Welsh Death Metal legends Desecration band whose music speaks for itself, giving the most focused set I've ever seen from them but I still think they made the setlist up as they went along however with studio full lengths, including their most recent, 2014s 'Cemetery Sickness', which is reviewed here.
They've plenty to choose from and also included an Extreme Noise Terror track, not really a cover as they are three fifths of the band, so just more of a compact version of 'ENT', effectively delivering two bands for the price of one.
THE JUNCTION STAGE
Openers over on the Junction stage were Bristol's Craniation delivering their crushing blend of Death and Thrash Metal. They have one demo currently out and are midway through writing their debut album which must be going well as they delivered a well filled set. Fronted by Millie Crampton (Basement Torture Killings, Human Harvest) who, despite her diminutive stature, can growl with the best of them, all delivered with a huge smile, a scary combination when you add that to the lyrical content of their material.
Death Doom duo Monolithian, Simon on bass and vocals and Shannon drums, from Falmouth, are on the verge of releasing their second full length, delivering the best set I've seen from them to date and good to see Simon has recovered from last year's potentially career ending finger injury. There may only be two of them but soundwise they deliver with the power of a runaway juggernaut headed straight for you.
Southampton's Black Metal quartet Verdelet aren't Death Metal but their own brand of loud'n'fast passion filled Black Metal is always hugely popular in Plymouth, the only important factor, and their performance was, as always. theatrically and musically intense, always a great band to have on in any event line-up.
The penultimate band on this stage, Dublin's Brutal Death Metal five-piece Warpath have a determined approach their Metal: "The mission is to dominate the global Metal scene," and they certainly dominated the stage with their set, drawn from their two full lengths, 2007s 'Gorefare' and 2010s 'Malevolent Reprisal', their powerful and aggressive blend of brutal guttural vocals also delivered with a bit of an unnerving smile from vocalist Derren, alongside an equally brutal slamming groove riffing and a sea of blast beats. In total, vastly entertaining and engaging.
The evening ended with London's brutal Death Metal bruisers Unfathomable Ruination. Imagine if you took a big shovel full of suffocation, origin, death and internal suffering and mixed it up in a cement mixer, then this band would be the brutal concoction that would come out.
With two full lengths, 'Misshapen Congenital Entropy' and 'Finitude', plus an EP, 'Idiosyncratic Chaos', they had plenty of crushing material from which to draw their set from and delivered the goods with impressively brutal style.
In total a superb evening of great music, great beer and great people. I'm already looking forward to the next one and I imagine everyone else who attended feels the same.