The sun rose over the O2 Academy in Birmigham and once more the doors were flung open for the final day of the third rendition of HRH Metal. Having been a fantastic day yesterday, expectations were high with a buzz amongst the audience that they were in for a fantastic day of great music and entertainment.
Seven Hells opened up today’s proceedings on Stage 3. With a style similar to melodic metal and a packed room, the early dwellers that had gathered were really enjoying them. Master Charger followed suit with the room becoming even busier as their set went on. As before, the crowd really enjoyed the grooving music with heads nodding and banging along to the music. Awake By Design continued the trend of having a busy room in Stage 3, with their melodic metal very similar in style to Beast in Black. Whilst musically they were very good, the vocals were not really for me. The crowd that was there did enjoy what was on offer though and suitably whet everyone’s appetites for the rest of the day.
Opening up the main stage, Romanian metallers Dirty Shirt had some good melodies and crowd that was slowly gathering was enjoying them. Rustlung continued the Stage 3 party with their mix of catchy riffs and harsh vocals packing the room with banging heads once again. Fury followed on main stage with considerable crowd gathered to see them. With the superb soaring vocals of frontman Julian Jenkins, the expert bass playing of Becky Baldwin, blistering speed fretwork of Jake Elwell and fantastic drumming from Tom Fenn, the band delivered a headline worthy set with lots of people mentioning how good they were throughout the rest of the day. Having some members of Dakesis guesting on songs towards end was a very nice touch and further cemented them as one of the best bands of the weekend.
Over on Stage 3, with their mix of modern metal and Fallujah-style elements, Netherhall gradually filled the room as their set went on and the slowly expanding crowd that was there were having a great time. Opening the Stage 2 party, Left for Red, with their unique brand of metal, slowly but surely drew an ever-growing crowd away from the other stages. Witch Tripper were next up on main stage with their genre-striding no nonsense performance hitting the perfect chord with the large crowd that had gathered to see them and have some fun.
The Five Hundred continued Stage 3’s festivities with their differing brand of metal to Witch Tripper gathering a good size crowd to have some fun. Bloodshot Dawn were next up on the second stage with their unique brand of tech death packing out the room and proving to be the first of two performances that day for drummer James Stewart. Ward XVI were next up on Stage 3 and easily had the biggest crowd of the weekend in the room. With the room bursting at the seams and people forming large queues to enter, their superb performance proved to be a instant hit with some of largest cheers coming from the room that weekend.
Def Con One were next up on Stage 2 bringing some very heavy metal to the slowly growing crowd. With a very energetic frontman and a nice mix of both harsh and clean vocals, the audiences heads were definitely banging. Acid Reign continued Stage 1’s party with their unique brand of no-nonsense thrash metal. Frontman H entertained like always and the moshpits kept coming aplenty. What more can you ask for?
The heaviness continued on stage with three-piece Headpress, creating a gigantic wall of sound capable of smashing through the thickest of barriers. Slowly growing a crowd after the end of Acid Reign on Stage 1, they were easily one of the heaviest bands of the weekend and got the heads banging and crowd moving. BloodYard continued the Stage 2 festivities with vocals from front woman Donna Hurd being similar to Venom Prison’s vocalist. Whilst their sound was rather muddy with not a lot of clarity to the guitars, the crowd that had gathered enjoyed them with heads once again banging and pints raised in appreciation. King Creature rounded out the third stage for the weekend providing some excellent melodies and very enjoyable entertainment to a growing crowd. With their unique style of Hard Rock, the band proved to be the perfect choice to end Stage 3 with as they packed the room with people who were having a fantastic time.
Devilment were next up on main stage, but started late due to some gremlins that decided to appear. Despite the delay, the band delivered a great performance with newish keyboardist and vocalist Anabelle doing a cracking job. Blood Oath rounded out the second stage and even though they clashed with Decapitated, gathered a sizeable crowd. With their unique take on death metal, the band had heads banging and were again a great choice to end Stage 2 with.
Finishing the weekend, Decapitated walked out onto a rather sparse stage with just some lights, a drum riser for interim drummer James Stewart (his second performance of the day) and a small platform for vocalist Rafał Piotrowski to stand on. Having seen them just 5 days ago in Manchester, I knew what to expect in terms of the setlist and performance. What I didn’t expect however, was for all my expectations to be blown away by an even better performance than Tuesday’s. Somehow, the band seemed to be on even better form than earlier in the week and pulled out all the stops to deliver one of the best, if not the best, performances of the weekend. The crowd that was present seemed to think that as well with moshpits and crowdsurfers galore for the entirety of the set.
And with that, the final day of this year’s HRH metal came to an end. Fans need not worry though, the festival will be back next year with Equilibrium, Krysythla, Evil Scarecrow, Psychostick and more already announced. Until next year!
All Photos courtesy of Sean Larkin Photography