||WILDFIRE'S HORRORFLY STAGE DELIVERS HEAVY WITH A CAPITAL H
Sworn Amongst. High intensity...
At Wildfire 2016 there was once again a relative cornucopia of bands treading the boards over the main Incendium stage and it's smaller sister stage, Infernus, but lest we forget the new addition for 2016 in the shape of the Horrorfly stage (sponsored by local music events company Horrorfly Promotions) that was active on the Saturday and Sunday, which showcased some of the heaviest bands around that may not have fitted into the ethos of the other stages.
Located in the main lodge building, a total of eighteen bands graced the Horrorfly stage throughout the afternoon and early evenings of both the Saturday and Sunday but this was obviously going to clash with some of the bands performing on the main stages which led to a certain amount of juggling in order to give each of the three stages fair coverage.
The fact too that the Horrorfly stage was located further out of the way compared to the other stages meant a smaller but more dedicated audience could get their fix of music that some of the more extreme bands had to offer and it's clear from the selection on offer that Horrorfly Promotions very much have their finger on the pulse where good, heavier bands are concerned as groups travelled from all over the country to perform.
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Triverse Massacre were supposed to open up the stage up at the stroke of midday on the Saturday but there was a delayed start due to technical issues so it was nearer half past when things finally got going. A new name for me, Triverse Massacre quickly settled into the groove and managed to draw a sizeable crowd. 'Expect The Betrayal' had a dedicated number of headbangers doing their thing whilst drummer Mike Collins put in a stunning performance with his machine gun style snare drumming. For me, the highlight of their set were tracks from their new EP, 'With Bared Teeth And Truths'. 4/5
The next band I caught were Coventry based three piece, Pelugion. It was an impressive display from the band with bass player and frontman Andy Sweeney coming across best with his strong vocals and solid guitar playing whilst at the other end of the spectrum guitarist John Pittaway was struggling to be heard in the mix. Still the boys put the effort in and were rewarded with a good reception at the conclusion of their set. 3/5
Local Glasgow band Corrupt The System were up next and it was good to catch a bit of their set before heading back up to the main arena. I'm always happy to take the time to watch them do their thing as they're a very articulate and entertaining band and if there was more time I would have stayed longer as once again the band put in a strong and entertaining performance. 4/5
Next up was Internal Conflict who were another new name for me and impressed from the get-go. The band seemed to be having a ball as they jostled around on the small stage in front of a noisy and appreciative audience. Bass player Dan Laffar was working the stage area so hard he nearly tripped over at times whilst vocalist Adam Kyle paced up and down like a man possessed. This may have been the band's first time in Scotland (and they had to endure a six hour journey to get here) but as Kyle said, it was "more than worth it!" and who am I to disagree? 4/5
Recent Metal To The Masses finalists Burning The Dream have been making a name for themselves over the last couple of years and it's nice to see them being properly recognised. Frontman Paul Kelly always gives a dynamic performance and despite the relative size of the stage, he's not willing to compromise on his performance here. The band had a lot of support at Wildfire and Kelly was in confident mood as he steered the band though a solid set. With the EU referendum result still fresh in the mids of everyone, Kelly introduced '12 Gauge' as being written about "shooting Tories in the chest", which went down well with the audience. Not usually a politically charged band, the song seemed to hit the right note with the crowd. 4/5
Another band making waves in the local Glasgow scene are Acid Trial who may be a fairly new name on the scene but their fanbase is growing quickly after some local gigs to help spread the word. Describing themselves as "sludgy, heavy and dirty", the band rose from the remains of Mair (who appeared at the festival's 2013 event), and Acid Trail's performance was as heavy as it was entertaining. Fronted by Del Wilson, he got the noisy audience involved with the rest of the band, especially bass player Caitlin Shaw who let slip an occasional smile in between the concentration as the band showcased material from their new EP. A band to watch for in the future? I'd certainly say so. 4/5
South Wales based Lifer came to my attention late last year when a copy of their debut album, 'Black Mountain Rising', landed on my desk here at MetalTalk Towers. Mixing the sounds of old school thrash metal with low and grimy groove, this was my first taste of the Lifer live experience and having given their album a healthy four out of five, I discovered their live shows are just as good. Live, the band put on a great performance which was only hampered by technical problems which were outside their control as the vocals of Richard Scrivens were lost in the mix but the band put on an energetic performance, especially guitarist Mark Webley. 4/5
Sworn Amongst. Commanding...
Saturday night headlining act were Hull based quartet Sworn Amongst who had played the festival before back in 2013 when it was still under the Les-Fest banner, and they impressed me enough to walk away with a shirt and a CD then and they didn't disappoint here once again. It's been a while since I last saw them and it was great to see them back on stage. Frontman Sy James has a commanding demeanour about him whilst the band were on top form during their high intensity performance. Jonny Barker's guitar occasionally got lost in the mix while drummer Jonny Harper made the floor shake as he hit the bass drum with incredible power. They played for a small but enthusiast crowd and it was a great way to end the day as everyone made their way back up the main arena. 4/5
As the Sunday broke, so did the clouds which reduced the number of people visiting the Horrorfly stage but there were some punters who actually stayed there all day. The first band I caught were Glasgow based progressive death metallers Blood Thread, who drew a sizeable audience. A track about "skinning David Cameron alive" went down well with the audience whilst 'Judas Cradle', about smoking too much pot apparently, also resonated with the audience. Dikie put all his effort into the drums whilst frontman Tony Mitchell had his between song chat down to a tee. Overall, it may have been a band I'm not familiar with but one I'd certainly like to hear more from in the future. 3/5
Blood Thread. Progressing...
With so much going on in the main arena, there was no time to catch many of the other bands from the Sunday, but I always have time for those Glasgow Groove Metallers Dog Tired. For me, it wouldn't be Wildfire without an appearance from them and they've now appeared on the festival bill for the last three years running. They absolutely owned that stage once again this year and I still can't fathom why they weren't included on the main stage bill. Their new album got an airing with the title track, 'It Came From The Sun' going down best and the reception told you all you needed to know. The band really work together so well and frontman Chris Thomson knows how to get a crowd involved – not that they need asking twice - a supreme performance from start to finish. 5/5
It was up to Glasgow thrash/groove metal/grindcore exponents Co-Exist to close the Horrorfly stage and they did so in fine fashion. I've seen a number of these guys in different bands over the years and their individual experiences lend themselves to a very hardcore but entertaining set. Using their set time to the best of their ability, there was no question as to why this particular band were chosen to close the stage – for me it was between Co-Exist and Dog Tired for my Horrorfly Band Of The Weekend but I just can't simply choose one. Two stunning bands who absolutely should have been on the bigger stage. 5/5
All pictures - (c) Johnny Main 2016