Review & Photos by Tony Gaskin
My fears about such early starts were unfortunately proved correct with just a handful of people watching the first couple of bands which was a shame because both Spiral Dive and Schemata Theory deserved to have had a larger crowd.
Spiral Dive refused to let the early start stop them having fun though and played through a set of hard rocking tunes that did manage to drag a few people in that had been nursing their hangovers with the deliciously strong coffee from the magic coffeepot of DeliKate!
Schemata Theory had a few more people to play to by now, but their modern metal with a twin vocal assault was perhaps a bit too energetic for some people, although I did enjoy it. I wasn’t sure why they need the two singers at first, it wasn’t the usual metalcore style of scream/clean, but the interaction and melodies soon won me over. Some great guitars here, and the drum/bass combo was one of the best of the weekend.
Early afternoon then and one of the bands I’d been especially looking forward to, The Mariana Hollow. Fortunately a good proportion of the festival goers had finally roused themselves and the quintet from London let rip and blew away the last remnants of fug in my head with a blistering set of dark, brooding metal. Rebecca Spinks on vocals portrays a dual personality, on the face of it petite, sweet, angelic even, but once on stage she gives off an aura of malice, as if she’s been possessed. She has quite a unique voice and uses it for full effect to mesmerise the crowd, simply a virtuoso performance. The rest of the band are equally as talented, but seem happy to let Rebecca take centre stage. The music is so well written that the rhythm guitar of Richie Walden and Gabriel’s lead are clearly defined, whilst the bass is the power house that drives it all. Up there with the best of the weekend.
With short change over times and no let up at all, we had to make a decision when to have a break and which bands we’d skip, so after a hearty meal we managed to get back just in time to catch the very colourful Splintered Soul.
Power Metal with a violin is the order of the day for Splintered Soul. A huge sound from these lot, diminutive singer Erica Mengod belies her small stature with a powerful voice, whilst Sally Jo on the violin adds the colour and flamboyancy to the band. Chris Frost on guitar is the technical mastermind behind this band who blend elements of folk/power/progressive music into a heady mix that is quite stunning. I took time to stand just behind the mixing desk and I don’t think I’d heard a better mix all weekend, I could pick out every element of this complex band, proving what a great job the engineers were doing.
Unfortunately for Diaries Of A Hero, having to follow that was going to be tricky, but they did a sterling job in keeping the majority of the crowd in the room, with their fast heavy metal keeping the adrenaline running and the heads banging. Great vocal harmonies and more great guitar riffs. You recognise them from having toured with Motorhead / Anthrax. Ones to keep an eye on.
Another band who have come up on everybody’s radar recently are Balls Deep from Stoke-on-Trent. A well received acoustic set at this years Bloodstock and an extensive gig schedule since have ensured the name is on every bodies lips!
High energy rock and roll, heavy riffs and bludgeoning bass get the crowd banging their heads enthusiastically all through their set. A heady mixture of classic British rock with a punk attitude.
Meta-Stasis looked as if they meant business with all the theatrical make-up and costumes, but as a technical death metal band, they fell a bit flat for me. They failed to provide the brutal wall of sound I would have expected and the arrogance and antics of front man Nick Hassan left me unimpressed. Lets move on shall we.
Lifer on the other hand beat us senseless with a tidal wave of sound. A compelling mix of Hardcore and Southern Rock soon dragged the crowd back in. If you are into the likes of Down and Converge then these would be right up your street.
Today had been a mixed bag and Reign of Fury were one band that failed to live up to their high billing, their set seeming tired and lethargic. The heavy thrash was there but lacking in energy and enthusiasm.
Skreamer were going to be our headliners as we were going to have to depart after their set, and what a set it was. First saw these guys at Beermageddon, and they blew me away then, but tonight they took it up a notch. Front man Sam Morter was born to be up there, he feeds off the crowds energy, channels it through his guitar and vocals, and slings it straight back at us. The rest of the band are just as energetic and it’s infectious. But they can back up all this energy with superbly accomplished songs that lift this band above the flotsam of mediocrity that has crept into the underground metal scene. Check out the songs “Opiate” and “Blackened Earth”. Second only to the Breed 77 set and on a par with the likes of more experienced bands like Mordecai and A Thousand Enemies, 2014 promises to be a big year for Skreamer.
So that was our experience of the inaugural Rock and Metal Circus Festival and overall a great weekend. A few inevitable teething problems, but with the 2014 Festival already announced, I’m sure Sam and the team at RoarRock will continue to work hard to support British Rock and Metal and make next year even better.
Read Tony’s review of Day 1 here
Read Tony’s review of Day 2 here
See more of Tony’s photos here;