Live review: Vader, Immolation 16 April 2017 The Arch, Brighton

By on 26 April 2017


So it was Easter Sunday and a lovely sunny day in Brighton, especially with the perfect location of The Arch venue right on the beach. Everything was chilled and serene outside, but once you stepped inside, you were consumed by darkness and chaos on a massive level, but in the greatest sense and as you would expect for a colossal all day metal event.

The first act to take to open the main stage were Enslavement, a local Brighton band who combined traditional death metal, slamming metal, thrash and grindcore to make for one hell of a brutal extreme sound. Considering it was early in the day, they managed to conjure up a pretty decent response and reaction from the eager crowd, with enthusiastic and dedicated metal heads aggressively head banging and showing their appreciation for the first offering to kick off this extreme event.

Next up was Mutually Assured Destruction again doing the local scene proud, this time delivering an interesting concoction of fun fast paced thrash mixed with a crossover of straight up metal, which gave them a unique flare, along with their hyper stage presence to drive their sound more. They played their rapid and hard-hitting song, ‘…In Space’ which they declared was about Harry Potter in space, which is pretty random and different.

Hades Lab hailing from the UK brought a new level of savagery with their blend of black, death and grindcore. Unfortunately, the band were victims of technical issues which threatened to ruin their set, but like champs, they persevered and carried on and overcame it to make sure they delivered a crushing and ferocious blow.

Things started to heat up dramatically half way through the day with the help of Bristol old school death masters Seprevation who got the crowd going wild, and saw the emergence of the first serious mosh pits of the day. Their evil slick thrash death sounds were coherent and defined, making them stand out, along with their professional demeanour and style.

Seprevation were a tough act to follow, but that was no concern for the dominating Divine Chaos from Slough UK, who took things to the next level, with some of the best and most brutal pit action, it was mental and chaotic as you would expect from these extreme thrash champions. Possessing great stage presence and authority, their hot-blooded antics saw them soar from start to finish.

Ones to watch Krysthla continue to spread their intense heavy metal at an insane rate, so there was an air of anticipation before they came on, with the crowd eager to hear if the hype is deserved. Quite simply yes it bloody well is – they crushed it and excelled, and the whole room was bouncing to their thunderous rhythms and riffs. They played their crushing well-known song, ‘Luminosity’ taken from their successful debut, ‘A War Of Souls And Desires’ as well as treating us to some new offerings such as opening and epic track, ‘The Minor Mystery Of Death’ from their latest and chart-topping record ‘Peace In Our Time’, breaking into the Amazon UK official chart, claiming the second spot in the hard rock/metal list with the likes of Mastodon, Deep Purple and Kreator. They managed to create a larger than life sound and stomped their way to excellence.

All the way from Austria Monument Of Misanthropy proved to be death metal maniacs and kept the momentum strong and done a respectable job of getting the crowd ready for the two main acts of the night. They played to a packed room and were clearly excited and happy to be here, as part of this destructive tour.

Heavyweights Immolation from New York, US hit hard and played a majestic death metal set, spanning their three-decade career, including taking us back to the beginning with the song of the same name ‘Immolation’ from their 1991 debut ‘Dawn Of Possession’. They also graced us with the popular, ‘A Spectacle Of Lies’ from ‘Kingdom Of Conspiracy’, and of course played many a track from their new album ‘Atonement’ which was unleashed earlier this year and went down a storm, as they played new favourites ‘When The Jackals Come’ and ended on the great and relentless ‘Epiphany’, the last track from the new album. The fans and the band had amazing energy throughout their blistering set, which gave way to many a pit and endless headbanging, which saw them close in triumphant style.

The time was upon us for the mighty headliners Vader to take to the stage, they entered with an atmospheric opening with dramatic music and lots of smoke, then finally through the mist the band appeared and a mini light sabre shined through the darkness, coming from the drummer James Stewart’s drumstick. They opened with ‘Tempest’ a song from their latest album, ‘The Empire’, and as you would expect played lots of new offerings after including, ‘Angels Of Steel’ and ‘Prayer Of The God’. There was no mistaking that Vader was headlining, it was evident from the crowd’s reaction which was absolutely nuts, there was a constant mosh pit going throughout their entire hour set that never died down, it was like nothing else we had witnessed. They impressively managed to blitz through their back catalogue and made sure to get some of their most classic and revered songs into their jammed pack set, such as ‘Triumph Of Death’ taken from 2014’s ‘Tibi Et Igni’, and also a few from 2012’s ‘Sothis’ with the title track amongst the carnage, along with ‘Dark Age’. They were in their own calibre, having perfected their craft over nearly four decades now, to deliver stunning technical death metal to the masses. Vader reigned supreme and was rightfully at the forefront, being the kings of death metal and exhibiting why they earned this status to a ravenous and ecstatic crowd.

Words by Carina Lawrence.


Infected Dead kicked off the second stage with some brutal death metal. The much smaller stage gave the set a much more intimate vibe, plus the venue felt packed out towards the front. The Medway five pieced unleashed waves of shredding riffs and fiddly little solos on top of blast beats fronted by a mixture of savage shrieks and deep growls. It was intensely in your face, and the crowd loved it, chanting and punching the air with their fists.

Brighton based progressive death band Stone Circle followed up with a slow grooving riffs and occasion up-tempo segments. Vocalist Joe Ashwin produced some deep growls and he threw in some nice clean to match the melodic prog segments. The heaviness was balanced out by some nice whiny guitars solos and intricate drum patterns. The music was rather entrancing in a way that the crowd wasn’t as responsive during the songs, but as soon as they finished there were huge cheers. It was one of the softer, more experimental sets on a day dominated by masses of extreme bands.

Polish metallers, Vigil, produced an even more mainstream sound by mixing groove metal and industrial influences. Blending the ferocity of Machine Head with the mysterious nature of Korn. Lots of enticing riffs caused a sea of headbangs and a few people of for having a mosh, but sadly the set was killed by technical difficulties and was cut short.

Internal Conflict continued the diverse nature of the second stage by delivering blasts of modern metal and metalcore vibes. Brutal throaty shouts fronted up-tempo crunchy riffs, erratic drum pattern and fierce breakdowns. The clean singing let the performance down a little, the heavier side of the band was far more appealing. But overall it was a solid performance.

King Leviathan stole the show on the second stage by being the only band to pack it out the whole way through. Being local favourites and regulars at Mammothfest events this was hardly surprising, but you could tell the band was thrilled. We were treated to some new material, three brand new songs to open the set, which was a lot more melodic and darker than their usual blackened thrash metal approach. The crowd loved it, headbanging and moshing away, general rocking out. Lead man Adam Sedgewick had the audience in the palm of his hand, getting all kinds of phenomenal responses with each interaction. The best reactions came from fan favourite, ‘The Shrine’ which had wild pits and massive fan ‘chants’. Expect more great things to come from King Leviathan once their next album drops.

Vader’s touring buddies The Drowning headlined the second stage in what could best be described in an unlucky attempt to reach new fans. Nearly everyone was at the other stage watching Immolation for the early part of The Drowning’s set. A mere twenty or so people witnessed the much contrasting sound to Immolation’s intensity, instead, they saw a melodic metal set that was a lot more approachable to someone that isn’t entirely into the extremities of death. Headbang worthy grooves were topped off by entrancing melodies and monstrous vocals. It was a nice combination just a shame it was overshadowed by a more popular act.

Words by Makky Hall



About Miranda Yardley

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