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HRH Metal 2019

O2 Academy3 Birmingham 17th February 2019.

With the momentum from yesterday still riding high and fueling the enthusiasm for day 2, 1pm sharp saw me back over at HRH Metals Stage 3 to catch our opening Sunday band, Seven Hells. And if there was anyone still semi-conscious from the previous day, then they couldn’t possibly have stayed that way for long as Seven Hells brought down a reign of metal which was utterly immense in stature and performed with undeniable skill. This guys are certainly leaving some big footprints across the up and coming music scene and today’s set was a brilliant example of Seven Hells doing exactly that.

My next must see band on Stage 3 were Awake by Design, whose long standing presence has provided many a fan with a great live music experience and songs that stay with you long after the last note is played. The thing that I have always admired about this band, is their ability to deliver this huge melodic metal sound that just seems to thrive upon their attention to musical detail and the tireless energy that front man, Adrian Powell seems to posses never fails to breathe life into an audience. Today’s set delivered the great hope that we will be seeing more of this band in 2019 and with some new music rising up on the horizon aswell, Awake By Design look primed for a very productive year indeed.

My next pit stop was to be over on stage 1, where Fury were going down a storm – but then don’t they always! When you combine great metal with big personalities and add in a sprinkle of Va Va Voom, the outcome is something that you have to be part of and the proof of that could be heard loud and clear from the impressive size audience present. My only regret was not catching today’s set in full but I’m sure they’ll be plenty more opportunities to catch the band again live as Fury were simply born to perform.

With time marching on and stages 1 and 2 now in full swing, time became more pressing but one band that I was desperate to see today were Netherhall. Today’s set from the band marked two big occasions for the band – 1. their first time appearance at HRH Metal and 2. after having been lead vocaless for quite some time, tonight’s set would provide the debut performance of Matthew Preston in this prominent role. The progressive metal power in the music of Netherhall, always seems to capture the attention of those experiencing its presence and Matthew clearly seemed to be under that same spell too, as both vocals and music gelled superbly together.

Stage 2 was the next stop off point for me to catch local hero’s Left For Red. With their set already in full flight, it was a bit of a battle to get to the pit and one thing for sure, the HRH Metal army knows a great band when they see one. Up on stage the momentum, riffs and vibrant metal groove was running at full steam and clearly the band were enjoying performing as much as we were enjoying watching them. HRH Metal is a great ambassador for supporting the talent of up and coming bands such as Left For Red, so here’s hoping we get to see them back again for next years event – over on Stage 1.

You know when everyone who’s seen a certain band tells you how brilliant they are and every review you’ve read about them seems to hold the same opinion? Well for me, tonight was my first chance to catch THAT band live – Witch Tripper! Hailing from the Nottingham area, this hard working trio are known to never let any dust settle on one of their performances and the set they delivered over on Stage 1 was everything and more I’d hoped it would be. With endless energy, sweat and raging riffs by the bucket load, Witch Tripper certainly owned that stage and boy, did that audience love them too. Band of the day for me and an experience I can’t wait to repeat.

The remainder of my day was spent on a whistle stop tour trying to photograph as many bands as possible across all three stages – a busy day for sure but today’s line up really was quite something, as was the support and hard working endeavors of all those behind the scenes who make events like HRH Metal happen.

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

HRH Metal 2019

O2 Academy3 Birmingham 16th February 2019.

Now in it’s third year, this event appears to be going from strength to strength and seems to be attracting the metal elite! Although I was only able to attend the Saturday, there was a total of 21 bands available for me to experience! Sadly, I couldn’t cover ever single one them in this review so I feel it more beneficial to pick out the bands that really impressed me, in the hope someone of influence might read this review and also appreciate the fact I’ve mentioned these bands and book them for their event or festival, because let’s face it, summer is fast approaching and there’s many events ahead of us!

The first band to really impress me were the French outfit Temnien, simply because they’re from France! This is a country not really known for its metal acts but the global success of Gojira may have sparked a metal revolution among the young men and woman, in the country? These guys pack a mighty punch, a brutal assault to the senses, which was a relentless barrage of metal – riff after metal riff! I think it’s also safe to say they enjoyed their set up on stage 3, here in Birmingham, the birth place of heavy metal!

Starting over on the main stage were Ballsdeep, with their second appearance on this stage and this tells me, they’re doing something right! Personally, I think these guys deserved to be higher up the bill than they were, as they are a quality metal act, ever professional and all round great guys, who produce great metal! Having a whole 50 minutes to impress the crowd, they did just that. If I was to ask one thing, from their up and coming new album, that they’ve recently announced, it would be to consider writing a ballad! Strange request, I know, but throughout their 50 minutes set, it was all at the same tempo and speed! Forgive me for sounding old, but as much as I love my metal, I can’t help but think of the likes of Slipknot, Metallica and even Slayer, who’ve managed to slow it down, in their own style and vary their live sets. It’s just a though lads but I do love what you do!

Internal Conflict are a band I’ve covered many times over the years, ever since their first appearance at the Intake club for a metal to the masses event, where they impressed me greatly. Since then, they’ve successfully played many great shows and many great festivals, which they greatly deserve. Between playing the first ever Uprising and seeing them here today at HRH Metal III, they’ve enrolled the services of a new (for them) drummer, the mighty Chris Bentley who I know all too well, from his days in Beholder! Cut this guy open and he would bleed metal, it’s just in his blood! His playing style has helped to solidify this band, stepping them up to a whole new level! They are now a formidable force of nature and one to be reckoned with! I’m expecting big things from this band and with the backing of the team around them, that will soon become a reality!

The next band that literally melted my face off, was Finnish band Lost Society, playing on the main stage! I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure Samy, the bands lead vocalist and guitarist said this was their first time touring the UK, or it’s been a long time since their last tour! I never knew this thrash monster even existed, until today and I love my thrash! The bands energy levels were high, as was the atmosphere, before, during and after their set! They even managed to get a wall of death going! Since appearing at HRH, they’ve announced they’re to play Download festival this June, which is great for them! It might even afford the band a new pair of jeans…between them! haha!

The award for most entertaining band of the day – other than Trollfest, goes to ‘At Dawn We Attack’ as their set was absolute bonkers and very enjoyable to watch, as a spectator! Self proclaimed non photogenic metal front man Brian Hancox is anything but! What a character he is, with his dreadlocks flying through the air, whilst administering wrestling moves on a poor unsuspecting stage 3! These guys also play thrash metal, with a twist! I know our own Sue loves these guys, so for me to finally see them play live, was a real treat! Hope to see you again, this year!

The last band of the day, happen to be the final band to feature in this review/round-up from the Saturday at HRH Metal III and they were Trollfest! Many of my colleagues had asked if I’d seen them when they played at Hammerfest on the Mash & Barrel stage, which unfortunately I hadn’t, but they all said how much fun this band are. During my research on the band, I noticed they only sing in their native Norwegian language, which did put me off a little bit! When they took to the stage though, any preconceived notions I’d had of the band disappeared amid the chaos and mayhem that is Trollfest! Lead singer Trollmannen, greeted us as Her Majesty’s Royal Metal Festival and gradually introduced us to the, now known as fairies, within the band, but on the day, I thought were dressed up as Disney princesses, as he was dressed up as a king, his crown being the largest balloon head piece, I’ve ever seen, which kept falling off! If entertainment, during a live show, is your thing, then these guys are the band for you!

As ever, many thanks to the team that makes up the HRH family. It was great to meet Toby as well, who takes over Claire’s role although it was sad not to see her here this weekend! Until the next one, stay metal and crazy for that matter!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins.

HRH Doom Vs Stoner

O2 Academy Sheffield 29th September 2018.

Now in it’s third year, it’s of no surprise that this particular event just keeps getting better and better! With the wealth of bands available within these genres, the band bookers must have a daunting task when it comes to booking a festival such as this, as they just don’t know how us, the general public will react! I think its safe to say, HRH is one of only a few festival that get it right, virtually every time! This year was exceptional but we were only able to attend the Saturday.

Having seen the line up for the Sunday, which looked even better (if that’s possible), we were feeling a little bummed that we couldn’t attend both days! I’ve now also seen next years line up and my word, it’s going to be an absolute cracker…AGAIN! Monolord headlining, we’re there! Before that though, we wanted to pen a few words about this year, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

Proceedings kicked off around 2pm, which gave us plenty of time to get up to Sheffield, get parked and say our hellos. At first, I thought attendance was a little thin on the ground but as the first band took to the stage, we were virtually crammed to the rafters in both rooms for the duration of the days event.

First up this weekend we had a rather hungover Sedulus – according to them, however that didn’t stop these psychedelic stoners from London, blowing away the cobwebs that had formed since my last outing, which was back in August for Beermageddon! Surprisingly, I even managed to obtain a smile from Rich, one of the band’s guitarists, which is unusual from the first band of the day but it was welcomed non the less. The other guitarist, Amit, hid behind his long black hair, which was more of what I was expecting to be honest, especially considering the genre of bands appearing today! These guys are all about the music, which is fair enough. Luckily for them, I love both these genres, so I persevered!

As Stage 2 hadn’t opened yet, the day continued with the second band on the main stage today, who go by the name Ancestors! These guys had travelled a very long way to be here today, all the way from Los Angeles in fact! The fact it took longer than allocated for them to get set up must of really upset them as it would appear Justin’s guitar was producing more power than it should have and when he tried to pick up his lead, to plug it into his guitar, he let out an almighty scream, as it gave him one hell of a shock! Once they got going, it was no surprise to see most of the stage lights go out, as these guys play a mixture of Post-Metal, Post-Rock, Progressive, Psychedelic, Doom Metal, Space Rock, all rolled into a very hedonistic one hour set! I enjoyed this bands creativity and their experimental sound. Their set also awarded me one of my more dramatic images of the day, with light beams all a glow!

As Desert Storm were up next, I decided to hang about for them! I generally have this band on repeat most days, so to see them play live was a real treat and thankfully, they didn’t disappoint! Matt’s vocals have so much gravel in, he’s practically spitting out sand! He also has the best swagger about him on stage, which suits the bands music perfectly! Even if people weren’t dancing (the majority were) just watching his hypnotic moves would be enough to find yourself swaying along with him! I love this bands bouncy beats as they accompany their riffs perfectly!

Sadly, I had no time to hang about as The Grudge were tearing it up, up stairs on stage 2, so off I swayed to check them out. The Grudge are new to me but after today’s performance, I’m hoping it won’t be the last time I see them – what a band! They had room 2 jumping along with them, especially Javier, one of the bands bouncier guitarists, who I later discovered, after speaking with him, is Spanish! This fact leads me onto four people in particular, who all turned up dressed as priests today! At first I thought they were all dressing up as Brother Pain, from Evil Scarecrow but it turns out they too, were also from Spain and thought dressing up would be a cool way to talk to people! What a great idea and it’s nice to see European fans making the effort to come to a festival, here in the UK!

As Ritual King were on this stage next, I thought I’d stick about! This was my third time seeing this particular band now, the first two of which were in my home town, Derby, when they supported those lovely fellas Witch Tripper, both bands I love! I recall having a conversation about this very show with the band back then and as I’m generally a man of my word (and I think they’re great) here I am, ready and waiting! I have to say, tonight’s HRH performance is the best I’ve see this band perform, as they appeared to go above and beyond, probably to coincide with the energy from the crowd and there was many in attendance! What a band and yet only a three piece! How they manage to create the sounds they do, is beyond me! If I was to hazard a guess, I’d have to say it’s down to the three very talented musicians that make up Ritual King from Manchester! Take a bow guys!

As Gevaudan were the only other band I saw on stage 2 (sorry Cybernetic Witch Cult) I’ll briefly say, what I saw, I thoroughly enjoyed! They also have an absolute legend in the band ‘Bruce Hamilton’ on guitar, who’s an avid music fan as well as a very talented musician and who I’ve personally encountered many times, over the years! I don’t think he recognised me though! Snigger! The band had great energy tonight and played up to the ladies in the crowd!

Throughout the day and up to the point OHHMS took to the stage, I’d had many conversations with people about this band, all of which said they really enjoyed them and I would too, so I was expecting a lot to be honest. They were certainly one of the most photogenic bands to shoot today, which was great. Musically, they were even better! I noticed the bassist had a child’s shoe strapped to his guitar neck, so later I asked him what the significance of this was. Apparently, it’s one of his four children’s items of clothing, he has attached to various pieces of equipment, which helps him to know he’s thinking of them, which I though was a lovely gesture! The bands vocalist was very charismatic and theatrical, who showed how a front man should be! Great to watch, even better to hear!

Elephant Tree were my find of the day though, having never seen or heard their music before, I was blown away with what I saw and heard. Their performance will live within my memory banks for a long time to come! Something about them appealed to me greatly, I think it had something to do with the great music they produced, yeah that’s gotta be it! Great set today and I can’t wait to see them play again. The sooner the better to be honest! It’s worth mentioning, I saw the bands bassist and lead vocalist having a right old jig during Stoned Jesus’ set! What a character!

Stoned Jesus are phenomenal noise makers, atmospheric and again, another three piece! Just check out their track ‘I’m the Mountain’ to see what I mean! This track is one of my all time favourites and seeing them perform it live was a real treat! Although I can’t attend every gig or festival that I’d like, the ones I do get to attend are all amazing for their own reasons! I’m quite lucky really, when I think about it and it’s truly humbling when I’m given the opportunity to witness a band, such as Stoned Jesus! These guys are future headliners, for sure! I’m aware these guys are currently on tour, so check them out if you haven’t already, although I know at least 45,000 people who have and I now they get these guys, as do I!

As headliners go, they don’t get much better than Elder, to be honest! The funny thing is, I saw both these guys AND Monolord at Dessertfest, opening the days events at KOKO, back in 2016! Now both these bands have worked their way to headlining slots, which is great to see! For their headline set, Elder enforced a three track rule, which I found Hilarious! If you’re a fan of these genres, you’ll know a fourth track equates to a full length album. Anyway, they opened with ‘Dead Roots Rising’ which is an incredible (12 minute) song, which only gets better at the playing time of 9:35! Hearing this track again live and by the time they reached that magical moment, I found I’d been transformed into a space goat and was floating within a mystical void, within my mind! This experience will certainly go down as one of many great musical moments I’ve witnessed over the years!

Thanks yet again to my HRH family, for a truly memorable event! Roll on 2019 and their 4th instalment!

To see more photographs from the day, be sure to check out music224 over on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/music224/albums

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)