Stoke Prior Bromsgrove Saturday 25th August 2018.
Now in it’s seventh year, this festival has sold out every year since its conception and 2018 has been no exception. In one respect this fact is remarkable, especially when you consider the amount of festivals that have fallen by the wayside this year but when you look at what Beermageddon delivers over the three days of the August Bank Holiday weekend, its hardly a surprise that this event is such a success!
Evil Scarecrow’s drum tech likened Beermageddon to a mini New Blood stage reunion and some, I’ll take that! When you look at the quality of bands on offer, the ability to park next to your tent for free and see many of the same people, for a third of the price, it’s a no brainer really! I believe Bloodstock coined the phrase ‘coming home’ when attending a festival and many other festivals appear to be catching on with its meaning but I’ve ALWAYS felt at home when I’ve attended Beermageddon – I love my fellow Geddonites, each and every one of them!
As with the past couple of years, I’ve only be able to attend the Saturday at Beermageddon, as I have to rely on others (the details of which I won’t go into here) but I am eternally grateful to those involved, as it allows me to attend at least one of the three days on offer! My only reason for mentioning this, is to apologies to the bands that played on the Friday and the Sunday, it’s nothing personal, I wish we could have been there to see you all, but alas, it just wasn’t possible!
As the Saturday is Beermageddon’s second day, it was no surprise that the bands started at 2pm, as many attendees would most likely be nursing a hangover from the previous days events! Bang on 2pm and our first offering was primed and ready to rock our socks off and they go by the name Jackal’s Backbone and this quartet hail from North Hertfordshire and just so happen to have a self proclaimed female front woman, who packs a mighty punch, both vocally and through her low tuned bass guitar!
Shall I go into the whole ‘female fronted’ phrase being sexist, or not…….. I will say this, it’s not being sexiest, it’s merely a description that gets to the point as when stated, you can either relate or not but that doesn’t mean the band are any better or worse for the fact, as is the case with male fronted bands. I’m aware people feel very strongly about this topic, but the fact woman are being recognised more and more within the metal community is something I’ve personally championed for a long time! I’m far from being sexiest, believe me, cheeky, maybe, but not a sexiest!
Seven Hells are a bands I’ve enjoyed watching immensely this year, although I’ve only seen them twice. I was instantly blown away when I saw them perform at Uprising this year and I’ve been hearing great things from other people who’ve also seen them play the likes of Bloodstock and of course, here at Beermageddon. Marc Cross is a true inspiration and is someone who never gives up on a dream, which is something I admire greatly about him. It appears, he’s found the band for him and together they are destined to do great things together! I caught up with the band after their extremely well executed set, you can listen to what the band said, here – https://youtu.be/4nW5oDYck9g
Due to conducting my interview, sadly, I missed most of Trivax’s set so apologies to them, however, the last song I did see appeared to be going down very well with the crowd, so I’ll be on the look out for these guys, where ever possible.
Agrona are new to me and this is why I love attending this festival as Beermageddon certainly has it’s finger firmly on the pulse, when it comes to emerging talent, not only domestically, but globally as well. Although this Blackened Metal outfit are from another country (strictly speaking) it’s only as far as Wales, Cardiff to be precise! Although the genre isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, you can’t take anything away from the bands within it and the lengths at which they go to make their live shows as theatrical as possible! I loved this band, they certainly helped to spark my imagination and I’d like to think this showed on the photos I produced.
Twilight Embrace are a band that I discovered at the first ever Beermageddon, way back in 2011 and I distinctively recall how impressed I was with the bands vocalist Andy and the power in which he executed an awe-inspiring set, they blew my socks off! Little did I know at that time but that performance was in fact his first ever with the band. I’ve also learned today that the band have been trying to get rid of him ever since! Only Joking! The band have been very quite of late due to life simply getting in the way, however, when this festivals organisers heard of their re-emergence back to the land of live music, they didn’t hesitate to book them for this years event and I for one, am glad to see these guys back at it. With the promise of a new album currently in the writing process, I hope I’ll get another opportunity to see these guys play again soon!
Shadow Flag were up next and these guys too, have left a lasting impression on me, thanks mostly to their amazing set here today which almost felt like a headlining gig as it seemed to fly by! Hailing from Cheltenham, these guys are a stones throw away from Amplified Festival and knowing this, if I ever get asked, I’d certainly recommend this band to that festivals organisers in a heart beat. In all honestly, that statement would be true for every band I saw here today, as they were all very talented bands!
Greves, a Melodic Black Metal band….I never knew you could get melodic black metal, ah, the wonders of genres never ceases to amaze me – anyway, these four guys win a medal for travelling all the way from North Carolina to be here with us today. They also go down in this festivals history books as they are Beermageddon’s first ever cross Atlantic band and do you know what, they weren’t that bad! Personally, I thought they aired more on the side of a thrash metal band, what with all the fret work produced by David in his jaw dropping guitar solos – I love a good guitar solo, who doesn’t! Their energy was great, they were humble and all round nice guys. To be honest. I wish them all the luck in the world and hope to see them again sometime, when they’re massive and selling out arenas! I wonder if they’ll remember me then? Only time will tell!
Thankfully, Jim saved his ace card for the last band and my word, what a band! MartYriuM come all the way from Malta, that hardened metal music loving nation……hang on, I’ve been to Malta and the people there are as far from the Blackened Industrial Death Metal band I see before me now! Clearly, your origins do not define you or the music you love to produce and these guys are a true testament to that statement!
I quote “MartYriuM’s performances are both aggressive and theatrical, full of dark acts and occult imagery that will unleash infernal chaos from within your wretched soul”. Seriously, if this statement alone doesn’t get you excited, then I hope the images I produced during this bands amazing headline set, will! I’m counting the days to when I can witness this band perform again! Unbelievable, my jaw still hurts from when it hit the floor! Take a bow guys!
Well, after the conversations I’ve had, the bands I’ve seen, the great food I’ve eaten and of course, the beer I’ve drank, it’s just helped to reaffirm my belief that Beermageddon truly is a hidden gem of a festival, just waiting for you to discover it too!
Until next year, keep it metal, the blacker, the better! I’m now off to eat a ham and pineapple pizza!
In Jim Beerman we trust! Beer, Beer, Beermageddon!
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)