A salvo of noise will bombard the labyrinthine corridors and halls of Leeds University Union on Saturday 3rd November 2012. Once again this warren of passageways plays host to the potent Damnation Festival. Leeds University has been a venue that has seen many bands play and record their seminal live album, The Who, John Martyn, The Groundhogs and indeed The Macc Lads. This year’s festival promises to uphold a tradition of healthy extreme metal which undoubtedly will please devotees.
Formed in 2008, Leeds own Blacklisters deliver a staggering array of belligerent noise, held together by sharp arrangements and a charismatic stage presence which amalgamates into an enormous blissful racket. Their latest album release “BLKLSTRS” gives the listener a flavour of that live experience, but the only way to experience this four piece is up at the front with the head in the speaker stack. Hopefully that is where you will find this reviewer at the Eyesore stage at 4.30pm.
Dublin based Gama Bomb formed in 2002 to create the kind of music that was being unleashed upon the world with bands such as Megadeth, Nuclear Assault and Anthrax. Signed to Earache, Gama Bomb purveys tightly constructed, frenetic thrash, with more than a hint of fun, which, as with Blacklisters, is always welcome at a festival event. Anyone wishing to download a free album of theirs, “Tales from the Grave in Space”, to get them in the mood for their 5.40pm appearance on the Jägermeister Stage can do so at the Earache website.
Continuing to fly the flag for hardcore punk, and doing so since they formed in 1985 in Ipswich, Extreme Noise Terror play the Terrorizer Stage at 5pm. One of the original bands who were christened “grind” alongside Napalm Death, Electro Hippies and Carcass, they featured on the legendary John Peel sessions “Hardcore Holocaust” album, which helped this music to reach more appreciative ears. They continue to tour the world extensively taking in such disparate locations as Japan and Brazil. Sadly in February of 2011 one of the bands founder members Phil Vane passed away aged 46. Extreme Noise Terror will be bringing vitriolic crust punk to Leeds University as they have done for many years, and hopefully, for many more.
On the Eyesore Stage at 6.40pm London based doom trio 40 Watt Sun
will be smothering the audience with a thickly layered concoction of distorted guitar riffs, elongated over equally distorted percussion and brooding, elegiac, yet passionate, lyrics. Hopefully they will be engulfing those who have found themselves considering the band, within that lair of corridors, with huge slabs of melancholia from their debut release “Inside Room” on Cyclone.
Those lucky enough to have an hour or so to spare around the Terrorizer Stage at 10pm will be able to witness one of the most exciting events in the extreme metal calendar this year. Washington DC based Pig Destroyer takes to a UK stage in a rare appearance in the wake of their recently released new album “Book Burner”. Creation of guitarist Scott Hull, Pig Destroyer has been releasing exquisite shards of extreme gruesomeness and irritability on such albums as “Prowler in the Yard” and “Phantom Limb” since 1997. Where “Phantom Limb” saw the band expand the song structures into something more substantial, their latest release sees a return to the brief, yet all too crushing, compositions that will surely be reverberating around the walls of this revered educational institute for many more evenings.
At a time in the UK when only the privileged are able to gain access to a university education, the Damnation Festival 2012 will be an edification that will stay, with those concerned, throughout their career as lovers of extreme music.