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Beermageddon

Stoke Prior Worcestershire 26th August 2017.

So the 6th Beermageddon is upon us and our annual pilgrimage to Bromsgrove is imminent. Sadly, I could only make the Saturday, of this three day event, well four unofficially, as most people arrive on the Thursday to get set up and start the August Bank Holiday early.

As this festival runs until the Sunday, that means everyone gets Monday off, to get home and relax before work on the Tuesday. How thoughtful. As always, the weather was fantastic this weekend but I always find the weather calms down towards the end of summer. If I was to put on a festival, I’d do it towards the end of summer, rather than at the beginning, but that’s because I’ve lived in the UK all my life and know how volatile the British weather can be. You’re safe though, I’m not brave enough to put on a festival, but I’d love to try! haha!

As I was only here for the day, I thought I’d get down early to make the most of it. On arrival, I was greeted with many familiar faces, one such face, I’m always happy to see is our Clare Watkins-Gallar of Project Alpha TV, who took me straight over to the stall, where her husband and master chef had brought two amazing cakes along with him, that he’d baked to raise money for a worthy charity. Naturally I purchased a slice, the orange flavored one, as the other cake was a nine layered monster. I don’t think my stomach could of handled that much cake, but I heard many tried! Well done sir!

Although Beermageddon has sold out every year, since it started six years ago, it appeared busier this year. Maybe that had something to do with yet another amazing line-up. I wish I could have made it down on the Friday, as it sounded like a right laugh.

As it fell on the 25th of August, Jim thought it apt to bring forward Christmas, 4 months early, which provided everyone with this years fancy dress ideas. I hear people even managed to cook Christmas dinners with only camping gear, which is pretty impressive but they did it and Beermageddon provided all the trimmings, a tree and even the decorations!

This years game was pass the parcel, which was basically alcohol (like every year) wrapped up. These are just some of the many reasons this festival is so unique.

When everyone’s together it really is like one big happy family, which gets bigger every year!

Many new faces this year, only increasing the family even further. I’ve even seen this years youngest member, at a mere 1 year old, who was actually conceived at Beermageddon 2016……how many festivals can say they’ve had children conceived at their festivals, not many, I bet!

We say, visit Beermageddon online and follow them on facebook.

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

 

Beermageddon

Stoke Prior Worcestershire 26th August 2017.

Beermageddon is now starting to get a very good reputation amongst the more extreme metal bands from across Europe these days, with bands wanting to come and play the festival, which is great for us because when else would we get the chance to see the likes of Zephyra, Godslave, Unlight and Totengefluster (I’ve still no idea how to announce this band name properly), some of which I’ve only ever seen before at Beermageddon, in previous years.

Before the European’s take over the festival, there were four of the best underground British bands from across the UK up first, the first of which was Footprints in the Custard from Manchester, a band I’ve tried to see on several occasions before now but without success, for one reason or another. Dubbed as comedy punk metal, they may like to cross dress a little – which is fine but whilst holding a 12 inch inflatable cock is always better! I believe someone in the crowd through it at Russ, the lead singer, who assumed said person had clearly seen them play before. Song titles are ridiculous and the lyrics which accompany them even more so, which is just the way we like our joke music. Silly, funny and outrageous, we can’t be serious all the time, we go to work for that! When drinking our own body weight in beer, we need the likes of Footprints in the Custard to cheer us all up and start a full day of music ahead, the right way! We needed that and thoroughly enjoyed these guys, thanks for the memories!

Amazingly, the next band on today, Wolfbastard, were also from Manchester and consists of only three members. Where they lack in musicians, they make up for in noise, beautiful black metal noise, to be precise! Fuck knows what genre pub crust is, as stated on the bands FB page but it sounds good? I’ll be honest, I didn’t stick around too long for these guys as the sun was shining and I needed food but what I can remember is, these guy’s don’t take themselves too seriously and appear to have a good time on stage and with the crowd.

Bloodyard hail from Lancashire, generally and it seems like forever since I last saw them play which was back in February when they performed at HRH metal in Birmingham. I was pleased to see them on today’s bill! I would of been pretty gutted if I’d missed this lot to be honest, as I love them. Donna, the bands lead vocalist, is only a pint sized sheila but she can half belt out some death growls! I managed to have a good five minutes chat with Donna before she was whisked away, as is usually the case at these events, but I did learn that due to some very unfortunate events, the band are yet to release their debut album, which has been recorded twice already. I hope for the bands sake, they can get this album recorded soon because we can’t wait to hear it!

Countless Skies, from Hertfordshire, are a new band for me live, yet I’ve known of them for sometime! Getting to see them perform at Beermageddon this year was a real treat, not only because they’re awesome but for me, they were one of my finds of the day and off the back of today’s performance, I would go as far as to say, I’d like to see them headlining the Friday slot next year, but that’s still to be determined by the public vote, which takes place every year. Last year, Outright Resistance won their headline slot for this year and by all accounts, they didn’t disappoint either. Countless Skies commanded one of the biggest crowds of the day and wowed us all with their take on the melodic death metal genre. Ross even pulled some of the best metal faces of the day! As I write this review, I’m listening to the bands debut album ‘New Dawn’ which is helping me power on through! Check it out, it’s on Spotify!

Another of my favourite bands of the day, happened to be the next band on the bill, Zephyra, yes, I’ve spelt it right this time. These ‘super Swedes’ are fronted by another amazing female vocalist, Åsa, who is married to the bands lead guitarist, Tony. Although their FB page doesn’t currently list their bassist or drummers names, I know, from today’s performance that these two positions have recently changed and the two musicians who now make up the band and who we saw before us today, have only recently joined so for them to come over and virtually give their first ever live performance here in the UK and miles away from their homeland of Sweden, must be both a daunting, yet exciting prospect? The bands latest album ‘As The World Collapses’ is an absolute powerhouse of an album, as is Åsa’s vocals on it! To have seen them live is a great honour! Although they live so far away, thankfully I won’t have to wait too long before I see them again, as I’ve been invited to watch them perform at this years ‘The Quinphonic Festival’ which is in its 5th year and takes place at Birmingham’s Round House over the weekend of the 7th and 8th of October, alongside some other great female fronted bands, o yes, I’m super excited for that one! Girls certainly rock. For more info please visit The RoadHouse Birmingham.

Godslave, are an amazing thrash metal band from Germany, who we got to see for the first time at Beermageddon, two years ago now. I’ll happily say these guys are amazing at what they do. No one does thrash better than these guys, well, for an underground thrash metal band, anyway! Their set was epic from start to finish, it even felt like a headlining set if I’m honest, hint, hint! Although they’re from Germany, they appear to be coming over to the UK more and more, while also attending many other European festivals, so they’ve set up a crowdfunding page to help get the funds they need to purchase a new tour van. In exchange you’ll get the opportunity to purchase some rather unique fan packages, which don’t come around all that often. If you’re a fan of this band, like we are, go check out their funding page, at Startnext’s website.

It’s not uncommon to see Mr. Jim Beerman get excited whilst introducing a band playing his festival but the next band up, Unlight, got Jim a little more excited than usual. He even confessed he soiled himself when they contacted him to ask if they could play at Beermageddon this year! Without a moments hesitation, Jim obviously said yes, so what’s all the fuss about then? As the band are from Schwarzwald, which is situated within Germany’s Black Forest, it’s no surprise that this band plays black metal! The region is often associated with the spooky tales from the Brothers Grimm, so plenty of material for them to use within their music, I dare say. I’ll admit, I kinda shit my pants too, when I saw this band take to the stage, what with the 12inch nails all over their arms! They also had that famous mixture of both black and corpse paint decorating their faces, which many of the Scandinavian black metal bands are famous for, so it’s safe to say they looked the part, but did they sound it, HELL YEAH THEY DID! BRUTAL!

Totengefluster, topped today’s bill and are a band who many people struggle to get their name right, when pronouncing it. I still can’t get it right but it’s always interesting to see people struggle with it, when in a conversation. The first and only time I’ve seen this band play live, was back in 2014 now, again at Beermageddon. Since then, the band have changed their bassist, who now appears to be one of the sexiest female bass players I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen a few, she also appears to be one of the scariest, I’ve ever seen, which is a deadly combination, I must say! Two years is a long time, yet this band are every bit as brutal as the last time I saw them play live. I’ll be honest, I can’t listen to too much black metal in the car or at home, but I love its energy when played live! The colours, the costumes, the instruments and the people involved go all out to make their music their art and this band are by no means an exception to the rule, a true spectacle and one to behold for yourself. Seriously, don’t dismiss this genre based on first appearances, as there’s so much more to it than you’d think. Tonight’s headliner was a triumphant set and one they should be proud of! Go Totengefluster!

As with every other Beermageddon I’ve attended before, so out of the six there’s been so far, I’ve only missed one of them (through no fault of my own) as with all the others, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, as always. For as long as they invite me, I will attend this festival, year after year, after year, after year, as it is, without a doubt, one of the best, most friendliest and most welcoming extreme metal festivals in the UK today!

We recommend Beermageddon and we follow them on facebook.

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

beermageddon

Stoke Prior Sports and Social Club Saturday 27th August 2016.

As people were nursing some severe hangovers after a brilliant nights entertainment (Friday) and the fact that the first band of the day wasn’t until 2pm, ensured that everyone would be up and fighting fit for a full day of fun and frolics!

Witch Tripper were entrusted to kick things off in style and now knowing these guys well, I knew they’d do a great job and thankfully, they didn’t disappoint. This trio from Mansfield are one of those true hard working bands whose material reflects this perfectly. Probably one of the more placid bands on today’s bill so they managed to nurse us in gently, but they are by no means soft – oh no, as they pack a mighty hard rock punch, right between the eyes. Before the show, I managed to have a quick chat with the bands bassist, Chris, who showed me his war wounds, blisters the size of gold balls from all the gigs they’ve played recently. Having played at many festivals this summer, these guys have had a dream year which I’m sure will continue throughout the remainder of 2016 and well into 2017! Thanks for the T-shirt too, I’ll be wearing it with pride, where ever I can!

witch-tripper

The name of our next band reflects their style perfectly, Cruel ‘to’ Humanity and my word, they are brutal. They certainly left no one in the room stood still, with their outright assault on the senses! I know I’ve seen this band play before as I recognised the band members, especially the lead singer although saying that, they do come from Derby, which is local to me so it could have been anywhere. Trust me, once you’ve seen this band play, they are extremely hard to forget. I feel suitably warmed up now!

cruel-humanity

On a personal level, I really enjoyed the next band, Solitary, as they were a full on thrash assault and I like thrash. Not only that, I hung around a little longer to take a few more photos than usual, so that’s always a good sign! Strangely, although the band have been around for over a year and are signed to Corpo Records, I’ve never seen them perform live, until now that is. I must say, these guys are very talented, especially their lead guitarist Andy, well, what do you expect, they’re a thrash band and any thrash band worth their salt, has to have a member of the band who can thrash the f**k out! I’ve just noticed Solitary are playing Hammerfest, next year so if you’re going, make sure you check them out – they are well worth a watch!

solitary

Oooooo, it’s that band, Outright Resistance next and who hasn’t heard of this lot, just lately! Sadly (for them) my first encounter with this band was unfortunate as they had all their gear stolen. Metal heads, being the amazing bunch that they are, successfully crowd funded them the necessary funds to replace their missing instruments and enabling them to continue entertaining the masses and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to see this lot play, they are insanely good! My next encounter with this band, was seeing them perform on the Yagermeister stage at Bloodstock this year, where I believe they managed to start the first ever mosh pit that stage has ever seen, which is no mean feat as it’s tiny. How they all managed to fit on that stage is beyond me, especially after seeing today’s performance as the whole band have so much energy, they couldn’t contain it, the stage just wasn’t big enough today, so they decided to share that energy out in the crowd, which was great to see. Mid song, Paige, the bands lead vocalist, decides to go walk about and generallyy, she’s a polite and delicate flower off stage, but on it, she’s spitting venom and metal heads love her for it! It appears they can relate with her anger, so she can instantly connect with the crowds that come to see her and the rest of the band perform! Seriously, if you’re a fan of metalcore, check out Outright Resistance!

Over the years, I’ve come to accept the fact that there are bands out there who just work with certain festivals and the regulars that generally go to a specific festival. Demons of Old Metal, or DOOM for short, are such a band, here at Beermageddon. The fans love them and they love the fans and as it has a great family vibe here, it’s easy to see why they would love it so much, as I feel exactly the same about Beermageddon. Although the band wear masks, mostly to protect their anonymity, it does help to give them a sense of theatrics which works well with their style of metal. Truth be told, everyone knows who they really are and what they really look like,but shhh, don’t tell anyone! This band are a real crowd pleaser, so I’m hoping to see them perform at a few more festivals in the future.

demons-of-old-metal

When I saw Old Corpse Road announced to play Beermageddon, I was extremely happy and excited at the prospect of seeing them perform live. This band are one who I love listening to at home and based on that fact, I knew I’d enjoy them live.. but sadly that wasn’t the case. Although they are extremely theatrical and tend to tell stories about all manner of things in their songs, their performance was lifeless. I do love this band and I do love their music, but after seeing the amount of energy the other bands before them had put into their performances, Old Corpse Road left me feeling just that, dead and discarded at the side of the stage. This is a little harsh and I don’t mean it to be because as I say, I love listening to them but live, they did nothing for me. If ever opinions were to be split down the middle, these guys would be the ones to do it. Most of the crowd loved seeing these guys play live and that is what matters as they appealed to some, but not all. You can also catch them at Hammerfest and if you do, let me know what you think!

Today, I mostly saw people wearing Kambrium T-shirts, so I was eager to see what all the hype was about. Having missed them at 2014’s event, I listened tentatively to those who did see them and the majority thought very highly of these guys from Germany. After a delayed start, mostly down to the amount of electronic gadgetry they’d brought with them, they eventually exploded into an ore inspiring set, mostly consisting of death metal! The band couldn’t wait to get back to play Beermageddon and they made it count, which the crowd appreciated immensely! As they were the penultimate act before Saturday’s headliner, I wouldn’t have wanted it to be anyone else. As the crowd cheered the bands name, over and over again, I could clearly see the crowds appreciation for this bands efforts, as they gave their best cheers of the weekend.

kambrium

As this was the fifth consecutive Beermageddon, all of which have sold out including this one, Jim felt it apt to ask the one and the only Def Con One back to headline tonight, as they played the first ever Beermageddon, back in 2011. That year, they actually closed the festival on the Sunday and I distinctively remember falling in love with them, right there and then. Since that show, which blew my mind, I’ve been fortunate to see these lovable Geordie’s a few times since and oddly, I’ve even become quite good friends with these guys too, which doesn’t happen all that often. This gives me a massive advantage when trying to photograph them live on stage, as when I stick my camera in their faces, they usually respond, sometimes in kind, but mostly, they flip me the middle finger. That’s not entirely true, but it does happen! Having headlined the Thursday night, at the prestigious Download Festival, which is officially called the Boardie Takeover, over on the Dog House Stage, it’s definitely a great show to play and as a punter, it’s the only thing worth watching on the Thursday. Just take a look at the pictures that were taken, the tent was rammed for these guys and tonight was no exception. Def Con One gave us exactly what we wanted from a headline show, an excuse to bang our f**king heads!

def-con-one

Sadly, due to personal reasons back home, I couldn’t attend on the Sunday, which is equally as special as the previous two days. I’m pretty gutted I missed Eradikator, Cambion, Haerken and of course Anihilated, but there’s always next time.

Last year, I proclaimed I understood Jim’s thought process behind the bands he chose. It never got confirmed if my prediction was right or not, but I’m going to try again this year, which in all honesty isn’t easy, however, I’m going to state the following. As this was the fifth successful year for Beermageddon, I believe Jim gave us the bands he felt would blow our socks off, the bands we wanted the most, but ultimately the bands he felt would ensure everybody had such a great time that we’d want to come back for the next five years to come. Jim, I don’t think you have anything to worry about mate as every year the line up gets better, the facilities improve and the people all feel like family.

Speaking of facilities, the food was a vast improvement and this is something that every festival should take heed of as seriously, check out Muffin Research’s Utility Kitchen as the food there was sensational! It was real food, consisting of curries, chillies, the best burgers I’ve ever tasted at a festival, wraps, toast and teas, you name it, they did it, AMAZING.

Horns up and see ya next year…. BEER, BEER, BEERMAGEDDON!

Photography and Review by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)