30th September 2017
The Star and Garter, Manchester
Review by Khaine
Been a while since I’ve done a live review, but I thought I’d give it a bash for Badger Fest!
This festival hosted more of the heavier bands, was reasonably priced and at The Star and Garter in Manchester. The venue is well placed, just behind an industrial estate with a TON of taxis and a train station directly opposite. There is also a small car park behind the venue for people who come by car, like me. The venue itself is very nice, with plenty of seating downstairs and the actual event taking place upstairs. Normally I’d comment on disabled access, but I believe the next Badger Fest is looking at changing venues, so it may not be useful information any more.
Obscene Nihilist were the first band to take the stage, really setting the scene for the rest of the day. The drums set a nice, fast pace and accompanied the pounding bass lines. What really surprised me was the dual singers, both male and female. Deep, growling lyrics accompanied the music and the whole performance was tight and professional. The guitars? Just wow… amazing, crunchy riffs that get your head bobbing along without you even noticing. They certainly kicked things off in the right way!
Following on from that were Reaper, a bunch of lads I know well from the Liverpool music scene. They won our Metal to the Masses and got to play at Bloodstock, so it was nice to see them on a more local festival. I always describe them as “old school thrash”, because they really remind me of Kill ‘em All era Metallica, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Fast riffs, blistering solo’s and clean vocals really help set these chaps apart from most other bands on the scene of late.
Moving on, Obzidian took the stage to continue assaulting the ear drums of the patrons. Fast and furious guitar riffs were accompanied with thundering drums and a bass line that really got your feet tapping along. The vocals were more of a deep growl, but I did notice there was a hell of a lot of rhythm and melody for this style of band. It was a very nice surprise to say the least! Great show and I hope to catch them again in the future.
Our fourth band of the night were Kringer and the Battle Cats, whom I have never heard of or seen. With that in mind, the inclusion of a trombone kept making me smile for god knows what reason. I have no idea why, but I really liked that since it was very different! For audience interaction, they had everyone make “cat pawing” gestures (for lack of a better way to describe it) and the singer ended up on his back, in the middle of the crowd at one point. Excellent show, not sure if they were my kind of thing, but I enjoyed it regardless.
Next on the stage were Beyond Salvation, another very growly band with the frontman also pulling rhythm guitar duty. There were two standout things for me, one being the fact you could actually feel the bass lines in the floor. I have no idea why, but that’s something I really enjoy in a band. The second was the fast and furious guitar rhythm that got your head nodding along without even realising it. Again, not sure if this band were my kind of thing, but amazing performance and I recommend checking them out if you like your metal loud and growling.
Band number six were Amethyst, who I’ve heard a lot of good things about but never had the chance to actually see live. The frontman was pulling rhythm guitar duty again, and the vocals were growling once more. But I did notice they weren’t as deep as the previous band, which meant the songs were a lot easier to understand, a simple fact that I really enjoyed. The bass player also had a 7 string bass, which is something you don’t see very often, but it produced some unique and enjoyable bass lines. All in all, I see why people like them and they’re worth a watch!
Deified were next on the stage, and this is a band I’d been looking forward to as I’ve seen them before. Bands with growling vocals typically aren’t my thing, but these chaps do it damn well. There also have amazing guitar rhythm’s to get you moshing along without even realising it, which is probably a contributing factor to why I enjoy their shows. Once again, they absolutely fucking destroyed it and the cover of Raining Blood was very much appreciated!
Another band I’ve heard good things about quickly took to the stage, and that was Impavidus. While the vocals did have growling parts, the fact that the vocalist was female allowed for some clean, high pitched sections that I felt blended together exceptionally well. Guitar work was excellent and the bass line could be felt deep in your chest, which is something I tend to enjoy. I can see why I’ve heard good things about this band and their set was exceptionally enjoyable.
For me, Bloodyard were the last band of the night, and I’ll explain why later. I’ve seen these before, because they played the Liverpool Metal to the Masses a few years back. Again, it’s another growly-style band, but I really enjoy them for some reason. The vocalist is also female, but you wouldn’t know that if you just listened to the music, because that woman has some power in those vocal chords! The guitar rhythm’s tend to be very fast-paced, while the vocals aren’t. It creates an interesting dynamic that I really enjoy, and their set was just as good as I’ve seen in the past. Catch them live if you can!
As mentioned, I missed the last band Krysthla, but that was due to health reasons. It’s a shame, but it is what it is.
With all the bands out of the way, it’s time to talk about the actual festival. Between the bands there were two announcers to keep the energy going, getting everyone to cheer and applaud for the ones that just played and introducing the folks taking the stage next. At the back of the venue there was merch on sale, as well as a raffle and a “Name the Badger” competition.
The whole event was AMAZINGLY well ran. All bands were on the stage at their appointed times, I don’t recall them over-running at all and I was very impressed since this was the first Badger Fest. Clearly the organisers and helpers knew exactly what they were doing.
Badger Fest 2018 – The Sequel has already been announced, and if they run it as well as this one, it’s going to be an amazing experience! Thanks to John Badger for allowing me to review the fest, and I’m really looking forward to next year.
Bring on Badger Fest 2018 and let’s smash it out of the park!