Due to the roaring success of the first Badger Fest hosted last year at Manchester’s Star and Garter we see the event return for its anticipated sequel, this year hosted at the Rebellion Bar.
It isn’t hard to see that over the past few years we have seen a rise in local events here in the heart of Manchester. From day-long events mixed with themes and barbeques, to memorable local gigs featuring the best of what we have to offer, to new and exciting bands showing what they have in terms of sound, style and charisma.
The Manchester scene has grown incredibly well and as such we see one of our own create, and play an event that has been able to gather bands we love, cherish and drink with on a weekly basis. The mind behind this already legendary gig is the one and only John Badger, drummer of some of our city’s best and one of the hardest working individuals you will find in the metal scene today.
Here I review what has been one of the best days of the month, in fact one could say the year as a whole. Today we look into the sequel that is Badger Fest 2.
Starting off my day we head to the Snake Stage to witness the band Hedra. Combining traits of groove and hardcore influences we see the band start their set with a furious array of ferocious bass lines and groove-ridden guitar, mixed with a harsh but aggressive vocal style that sweeps across the second stage like a relentless beast preparing for war.
This is a band that is capable of bringing a lot more to the table if given more time to do so. Even with this abbreviated set we see a unit prepping for an all-out assault which has the potential to unfold into a tyranny of bestial ferocity – a band to surely keep your eye out for in the near future.
Up next we have, on the main stage, the mighty Promethium. Through their time as a band we have seen them grow and evolve, continuing to perfect their art and creativity. Today we see yet another example of this growth and evolution as the band tear through a set of thrash influenced British heavy metal performed to the greatest of their abilities. In the few times I have seen this band perform live there is always this kinetic energy that seems to form through their time on stage, a unique passion that can be easily seen through today’s set especially.
A band that incorporates hard hitting thrash with a death metal tinge, God Shaped Devil rise with intensity and prowess. They kick off their set with an array of fast, hard hitting riffs – that if ever concentrated into a particle beam would disintegrate every member of the crowd in an instant. Being one of my personal favourites of the day, God Shaped Devil showcase a set that is hard for the competition to live up to. When you are able to compress that much energy, charisma and concentration into what you’re doing then you have a sure-fire winner right before you.
This being said, God Shaped Devil are very much a fun band to watch. Seeing an act with this kind of talent, mixing different and familiar tones together to create what they have is surely something to admire.
By far a band that everyone in tonight’s audience has been excited about since their conception, Frozen in Shadows were up next. The project was announced this year, a combination of some of Manchester’s most loved and idolised bands. In a sense, we have a Frankenstein’s monster before us featuring limbs of Impavidus, Prognosis and Footprints in the Custard.
With this band we take a step back to a very classic era of death metal, mixing together traits of the British death metal era of the nineties and most certainly a large element of the Swedish melodic death metal spectrum. Frozen in Shadows deliver a relentless assault of extreme metal magic upon the crowd of Manchester, giving everything they have and showing no sign of slowing down. Quite the opposite, in fact, like a twisting turbine it becomes faster and faster delivering a hurricane of chaotic excitement blasting through tonight’s audience.
All in all tonight’s set gave everyone a taste of what is yet to come from this creation. As the band grows we will hopefully see more of what this machine is capable of.
When it comes to fan favourites you can always count on the addictively heavy Skeletal Damage to bring the noise.
Infusing elements of thrash and a massive groove edge, Skeletal Damage raise the roof at tonight’s Badger Fest with a heavy barrage that quakes the Snake Stage. This is a band that, for as long as I can remember, have been able to create and bring some of the nastiest and heaviest tunes to the Manchester scene. It goes without saying that these guys bring an onslaught of dedicated fans that have continued to support them through the years and tonight we see their hoard gather for the feast.
Immense guitar playing and thunderous drums make this band a force to be reckoned with. Accompanied by a vicious energy of sonic terror and bass lines that crack the earth before our very feet, truly Skeletal damage are a band with more to come and absolutely much more to unleash upon the populous.
Bringing an extreme groove to tonight’s show we have Reprisal. It being my first time seeing and hearing the band, I became curious to see what these guys had in store for tonight’s audience. I’d say that what we have here is what would happen if Pantera and Obituary had a baby – which honestly is pure bliss to the ears.
Creating a style of sound that echoes furiously through Rebellion, Reprisal slaughtered tonight and brought an absolute roar into the later portion of Badger Fest. A shining example that there are bands coming out of everywhere that will destroy and conquer, a band seriously worth looking into and hopefully one I will be able to see again in the near future.
Being a band that has been cemented in the Manchester metal scene for some time, Impavidus are a great talent. They display true showmanship, one of many qualities that are presented to tonight’s audience as the band give their all, letting the grand times role.
For tonight’s show, we see Impavidus as always deliver a large slab of hard hitting melodic extremeness that hits hard. In the time that this band has been around I don’t think I have ever seen a bad Impavidus show. As we can see tonight, the energy is alive and very much electric. As their set reaches its end there is no sign of exhaustion from any of the members. They show the crowd just what they are made of and how much they enjoy what they do – inspiration on stage. Impavidus is an act that will always leave you wanting more, a thirst that can never be quenched.
One band that I kept hearing about through the day was This is Turin. I had never before seen this act live and had not really heard much of them in the past, but from what I had been told they were a band that I needed to check out. So what can I really say about these guys other than… holy hell! This is Turin showcased tonight an array of different styles from within the extreme genre, from fast and very technical guitar riffs to blast beats.
This band has a very talented roster of musicians that are capable of doing what they are required to do, like a well-oiled machine. This Is Turin simply gave everything and more for tonight’s crowd. We saw a selection of hard and rough vocal talent mixed with technical and brutal prowess that seemed to show no sign of slowing down. An entertaining band indeed, and one that I would highly recommend for the death metal addict looking for something new to add to their collection.
Aggression at every point is the best way to describe this next band. If Suffocation, Napalm Death and Massacre had come together in creating life from their own flesh, After the Abduction would certainly be the result of this ritual. From the time the band came together they have been able to make a large name for themselves in British death metal, combining guttural force and sheer insanity. When the band take to the stage, fans new and old know what is about to come.
Tonight’s show features intense brutality and absolute carnage, so much so that it is a surprise the stage was capable of withstanding the pure punishment it was treated to. Description aside this is a band that never gets boring the more you watch them. The fact that these lads are able to create new and interesting ideas is incredible. With any After the Abduction show there is a sense of the old guard lingering in their style, whether it be the grind infused bass and vocal performance or the flesh-ripping guitar tone, you can bet these guys will use everything in their arsenal to pound all in sight.
Tonight was no different as After the Abduction brought their “A” game and so much more. They’re a band I feel could benefit anyone who’s had a crap day and wants to infuse every negative emotion into a ball and throw it against the wall. They would enjoy these guys every time, the perfect soundtrack for utter chaos and murderous intent.
Prognosis are one of the staples of the Manchester metal and rock scene. Through their years of being a band they have grown and evolved their sound into something that has become the anthem for those who need a great night, a great gig and an excellent array of musicianship to boot.
Closing off the second stage we see the lads bring everything into full gear as usual. With the demonically heavy-hitting chords of Danny Daemon and company we witness a show that sets off the match and lights the fuse within this barrel of progressive epicness that is Prognosis.
Tonight’s show includes new material from the band’s recently released and highly anticipated record Definition. These songs are perfect in the live atmosphere that is Badger Fest, and the crowd would very much agree on this point, though at the same time we still get fan favourites. Prognosis as always deliver.
We close off the show with tonight’s main stage headliner Divine Chaos. This is a band that always surprises me each time that I see them, whether it be in London or in the great city that is Manchester. Bringing a thrashy death vibe into tonight’s show we see the lads in full force – fast epic relentless riffs that shred the skin from the bone, bass lines that shudder the chest to the lungs, drums that in every moment leave you gasping for air and vocals that shred the lining of the eardrum leaving nothing behind.
This is a band that knows what they’re doing and love it all the same, which can be easily seen from the excitement of each member bringing their sound to a fresh audience. It’s no surprise to see the Badger Fest crowd excited as this is an act with an excellent reputation for bringing a class A show every time. No matter where you see these guys, you can expect great things to happen.
The bands at Badger Fest 2018 brought their best, played their best and brought what is an event for the ages. Whatever the next Badger Fest will bring, it will always give each and every fan a new experience to draw from. Tonight was a unique and emotional experience for me, seeing familiar faces come together in the name of metal and have a brilliant time.
I would like to thank the organisers for their hard work in making this an epic experience, and of course, to John Badger – you brought it as always. Until next year!