Eradication Festival 2017
Eradication Festival returned to Fuel Rock Club in Cardiff bringing a line up of extreme metal madness to the Welsh capital. Despite being a Cardiff resident this was the first time I had managed to make it to Eradication Festival and my anticipation levels were very high with some phenomenal bands on the line up.
Things kicked off on the Thursday night with a handful of bands playing. Getting to the venue straight from work the first band of the evening were Sublime Eyes (7). Lumbered with the early slot these Norwegians still played to a half full room and brought an enthusiastic reception with their modern melodic death metal sound. It took them a couple of songs to really get going but once they did, heads were banging and voices were cheering.
Next up were Organ Dealer (7) who completely upped the pace and intensity with their set of grindcore madness. Some of the crowd were lapping it up and others were a bit intimidated especially with frontman Scott Moriarty's very in your face approach but it was a very fine set of grinding ferocity. Following them were the UK's own Wretched Soul (8) who very much surprised and entertained me with their mix of thrash, death and traditional heavy metal. The songs were savage, melodic and anthemic all in one. Due to overrunning and time constraints the band were forced to cut their set a bit short but they won me over as well as many in the audience.
It was back to insanity for Department Of Correction (8) who were easily the most off the wall and psychotic band of the evening. Hailing from France this three piece played an absolutely schizo brand of grindcore. Razor sharp guitar riffs combined with some absolutely inhuman drumming and the demented screams and gurning of frontman Grégoire Duclos. This was exactly how I like my grind, completely and utterly mental.
Finally were the headliners and most anticipated band of the evening for me the mighty Norweigian death metal masters Blood Red Throne (10). The venue was absolutely packed out and buzzing with excitement as the band took to the stage and unleashed one of the most devastatingly heavy and brutal death metal sets I have witnessed. The band were on absolute top form and wasted no time in obliterating the crowd with a set that mixed material from their latest album Union Of Flesh And Machine with selected cuts from their back catalogue such as Homicidal Ecstasy, Primitive Killing Machine and Unleashing Hell. A broken string meant one of the guitarists disappearing to fix it for five minutes so the audience were treated to a Pantera jam with Arvid Tjelta from Sublime Eyes temporarily jumping on vocals. With a fixed string it was back to business with a a finishing trio of The Light, The Hate, Smite and Mephitication. A mighty fine start to the festival.
Unfortunately due to work I had to miss most of the bands playing in the daytime on Friday but I headed straight from work in time to catch Forgotten Remains (7) whose savage mix of death and thrash metal helped clear the cobwebs from a day at work. The songs were a little repetitive with most of them being at the same pace with little to distinguish between them but it was still an enjoyable set and a cover of The Haunted's D.O.A. got heads a banging.
Matt - This was the day I also managed to attend, having missed Forgotten Remains, I walked in just as Animator (7) was starting their set, the Irish band play classic thrash metal that leaves little to the imagination, with the crowd at the front of the stage going mad, I'd say it was job done for the band who managed to whip the room into a frenzy with their music.
Next band I managed to grab were Solothus (9). This band was a complete surprise for me having never heard of them before this festival and these guys from Finland played a devastatingly heavy set of death/doom metal. A variety of tempos and styles were employed throughout the songs from crushingly slow doom to mid paced head banging riffage to blasting death metal. The ultra guttural growls of Kari Kankaanpää complimented the dark doomy evil atmosphere of the music and special mention must go to lead guitarist Veli-Matti Karjalainen whose lead guitar solos were absolutely jaw dropping.
Matt - After the very impressive showing from Solothus, Sworn Amongst (7) had a lot to do to match the band that proceeded them, their style of metal moves into the groove-laden groove scene and saw the crowd swap, such is the nature of this festival, if one style of extremity doesn't suit then another will. Big grooves riffs filled the room and got people moving but with many of the hardcore struggling to get their breath back after Solothus, Sworn Amongst didn't quite hit the spot for many although being good at what they do and giving a good account of themselves.
The final band I of the Friday were UK thrashers Bull-Riff Stampede (8). These guys played an amazingly tight set combining old school thrash metal with elements of modern metal and melodic death metal. The songs ranged from mid paced stompers to ripping thrash anthems all played with intensity and passion. A great way to see out the second day of the festival.
With work requiring my good behaviour for the previous two days of the festival Saturday was party time and the day provided a fine soundtrack for some partying - plenty of death metal! After a bit of lunch and a few pre-drinks I got to the venue in time for one of my most anticipated bands of the day the mighty Blasphemer (9). Blasphemer played a blinding set of no frills old school death metal. Having formed back in 1990 Blasphemer knew their craft and had heads banging relentlessly to killer riffs full of that violent old school groove which is so lacking in much modern death metal. A fantastic start to the day and one of the best bands of the weekend.
Next up were Anoxide (7) who have a modern take on death metal but with plenty of old school influence. Savage riffage, blasting drums and the ferocious vocals of frontman Omar Swaby. Nothing to write home about but played with passion and conviction and to a crowd who went nuts for every second of their set. They were followed by Chainsaw Castration (7) who played an ultra brutal slam variant of death metal. This style leaves me a bit cold on record but when seen live is great fun with absolutely monstrous riffs and silly amounts of brutal breakdowns. There are plenty of bands doing this sort of style and many better but Chainsaw Castration were bags of fun.
A brief rest-bite and the next act on were my most anticipated of the day avart garde death metallers The Monolith Deathcult (7). The Monolith Deathcult are a strange entity mixing the brutality of death metal with industrial, electronica and symphonic influences. Unfortunately the band were a victim of poor sound with everything seemingly turned up to maximum the multiple layers of sound the band has becoming lost in a wall of noise at points. The band played phenomenally though with their experimental sound either winning over or completely alienating members of the audience. Had thier been a better sound mix The Monolith Deathcult would have been one of the stand out bands of the day for me.
The finally it was time for slam's finest Crepitation (8). Having caught these at Ritual Festival in Leeds a few weeks back I knew exactly what I was letting myself in for - high levels of silliness, absolute brutality and totally insane vocals. The band played to an absolutely packed out room with the crowd down the front going absolutely bananas. The band fed off the levels of chaos and insanity in the room and played a glorious set which entertained and laid waste to the audience.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to make the Sunday of Eradication Festival but the experience I had was certainly memorable. Hats off to Gavin Davies for organising this festival as there's nothing else like it in South Wales at the moment and he managed to bring some incredible bands to Cardiff. With next years festival already confirmed and the first wave of bands announced I highly recommend any extreme metal fan in the South Wales area and beyond makes an effort to attend this fantastic weekend.