LIVE: Mammothfest Presents… Feed The Rhino + Supports – Green Door Store, Brighton 01/04/2017
Feed The Rhino were to be one of the headliners at Mammothfest 2015, but unfortunate circumstances prevented them from performing that time. However, staying true to their word, they made it back to Brighton to headline this standalone all-dayer; an eleven band bill featuring supports from some of Brighton’s finest, other favourites from previous Mammothfests, and some new faces too.
Opening the day was a last minute addition to the bill, a new band Tension Head from Weymouth. Although perhaps not a typical Mammothfest metal act, their tight grungier sound was not unappreciated and the keen crowd gathered early to watch. Shared vocals from the two guitarists added further interest. Definitely ones to watch.
End Of Salvation brought us back to more familiar contemporary death territory with some tasty expressive playing, much flailing of hair and banging of heads, not least from their charismatic frontman who would not have looked out of place on the bigger stages. The fluid bass and drum work provided a constant satisfying punch to the guts.
Brighton’s own Hawka took to the stage next and battered the room with some seriously heavyweight grooves. Their frontman spent time amongst the crowd, screaming in faces at close range, and doing a good job of loosening the early atmosphere.
Another local band Kickfist continued the bruising next; the band with blackened eyes impressed with an industrial twist to their punchy melodic metal sound. They covered Prodigy with a cool version of Firestarter and their masked vocalist showed his skills with a baseball bat, smashing a metal beer barrel so hard the bat was reduced to splinters.
As Flame Rise were another band from the growing Weymouth music scene, alongside today’s openers Tension Head, to make the trip along the coast to Brighton. Twin unclean vocals, sharing different ranges, dominated their hard hitting metalcore approach, with the two frontmen prowling the stage and pit area tag-team style, each engaging the crowd when the other wasn’t. The enthusiastic response was clearly appreciated by the band. Expect to hear much more from these guys.
No strangers to Mammothfest are Core of iO, whose set marked the half way point of the day. Once again they delivered a masterclass in tech metal proficiency, minds were blown, and jaws dropped. Stunning drumming, bass and guitar work were joined by a typically charismatic vocal from singer/guitarist Bob Tett, whose voice seems to get more and more impressive with each show.
After storming the opening night at last years festival proper, The Five Hundred were back to pummel Brighton once again. New song The Rush showed the band are continuing to developing their brutal riff game nicely, the older songs from their Winters EP setting a high bar marker from which to compare. Despite being away from the live scene a while the band still delivered, and looked like they were having fun to boot. Early pitting grew throughout the set to leave the venue a sweathouse by the end.
It was to a packed room that Seething Akira brought their twin vocal electronic dub rock party, and from start to finish the energy levels were at a maximum. Frontman Charlie Bowes surfed the crowd around the venue in one of the day’s most memorable of moments, while his vocal partner Kit continued to press everyone into further mania. Their latest release, Backlash featuring Olly Simmons from The Qemists, went down particularly well in the room, boding well for the debut album coming soon.
Seething Akira’s bass player stayed on stage to play with Bleed Again, who were without their regular player Jon Liffen for this show. Liffen also provides the clean singing so some of the songs sounded a little different than usual, but the energy levels remained at a high throughout and there was still the usual level of crazy at the front. The much anticipated debut album was teased between songs. Drowning In Dreams, and Decimate were particularly crushing, and Icarus finished the set in style.
Main support for the evening was Magna Carta, whose punkish feel to their blend of electronic / dnb infused rock brought more scenes of chaos to the front of the room. Although the band have yet to release any material, they drew upon their ex-Collisions roots to build a great set of songs. James Hayball’s excellent hardcore voice and Andrew Trewin’s energetic guitar work went well together to give the sound a unique grit often lacking when bands crossover these styles. The latest addition of a keyboard player to bring the group to a five piece hints that the new format is still developing, but the future looks an exciting one.
And so to the day’s headliners, Feed The Rhino. There isn’t much to say about the band that hasn’t been said already, and this show was very much business as usual, which means carnage. They were typically tight, but still kept the feeling that everything could come crashing down at any minute. From the opening one-two of Butchers and Caller Of The Town the room went nuts. Vocalist Lee Tobin had his shirt ripped in an early foray in to the crowd. A couple of health warnings about the venue’s beer soaked cobblestone floor didn’t calm those at the front, but whenever anyone went down they were soon helped back up, the atmosphere in the room was such that everyone was looking out for one another. Featherweight, Give Up, and Left For Ruins were all class, but Tides, played late on in the set, was a real standout of the day. The slow build to its eventual crashing finale is always best felt in a small venue with a big sound, and Feed The Rhino, to use their own words, smashed the granny out of this one tonight.