Bonecrusher Festival 2012
Betraying The Martyrs, Molotov Solution, Within The Ruins, Beneath The Massacre, Carnifex
@ The Underworld, Camden Sunday 12th February 2012
Review by Patrick Lee
Photography by Charlie Maddox
The European “Bonecrusher Festival” has been running for three years now and has had absolutely stellar line-ups each time around with some of the biggest current names in extreme metal and this year is no exception!
The atmosphere inside The Underworld in Camden could only be described as electrifying, with so many fans bloodthirsty to hear some brutal vocals, insane shredding and neck snapping breakdowns from some of the true masters of their craft.
First up to take the reins are French-based Christian Metalcore band Betraying The Martyrs.
At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking that these guys are just another band similar to ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, don’t get me wrong I love those guys, but when they burst onto the stage and Aaron Matts (Vocals) unleashes his devastatingly low growls you KNOW that these guys mean seriously heavy business!
They effortlessly blend the brutal deathcore-esque segments with much more melodic segments with Victor Gullet (Keys, Vocals) providing some clean and pretty catchy vocal passages, beefed up with Aaron backing him up.
Instrumentally too, these guys really pack a punch, constantly changing things up across their songs so as never to give a chance for things to get boring, but not TOO quickly to ruin the vibes, from solos, to really keyboard-heavy lead parts, to full on head-to-floor breakdowns!
These guys have been brewing up a real storm lately and it’s easy to see why, they have their own little podium for Aaron, and while it starts off looking like nothing more than a gimmick, you can really see the energy it brings out and the sheer aggression he takes out on it!
From jumping to just totally slamming every ounce of force he has on to it, it looks awesome and different too. They look good elsewhere too with some of the most synchronised headbanging and jumping that I think I’ve ever seen!
I would definitely recommend these guys, I’m quite surprised they aren’t higher up on the bill! This night looks to be promising…
Next up, are 5 guys straight from the city of vice itself: Las Vegas, Nevada who inflict a massive deathcore head rush to all in the close vicinity!
Molotov Solution blast through their set of groove-influenced deathcore and there are pits aplenty! As soon as Nick (vocals) shouts the immortal words “CIRCLE PIT!” there are swarms of people only too happy to oblige him.
The fans close to the stage were screaming lyrics right back at him and he seemed to be loving it. As for the rest of the band one of the guitarists was going pretty crazy, but by far Shane (Bass) was the most psychotic and animalistic of the bunch.
From near enough doing the splits whilst headbanging and playing bass to glaring and pulling all sorts of crazy faces at the crowd, it had me pondering as to whether there was anything this bassist couldn’t do!
Whilst one of the guitarists is only temporary for the time being, you would think he was with them since the bands conception as they seemed so suited together!
As if BTM didn’t already warm the crowd up, these guys made damn sure everyone was ready for…
Within The Ruins from Massachusetts blasted on stage with such ferocity and force that a sabre-toothed tiger on a formula 1 racing car would struggle to match!
This tech-death-math-core band started off with one of their newest songs “Controller” and yet the crowd were screaming along and pitting like crazy as if it was one of their earlier songs! These guys may have only had one guitarist live (the other guitarist left in 2011) but you wouldn’t have noticed with the sheer shred-tastic skill that Joe Cocchi (guitar) commands with an efficiency and tightness that you’d be hard pressed to match!
I’ve seen a fair share of bands that have tried to pull off doing two guitarists work with one guitarist, and most have failed epically, but somehow it feels as if this was how it always was!Tim Goergen (Vocals) commands most of the crowd into some of the biggest circle pits of the night and when they start off their final track of the night “Invade” Things really get hairy down at the front as the mosh pit morphs from bounce-pit to circle-pit to mosh-pit at Tim’s command (It was so crazy that I HAD to jump into the pit myself and I ruined my shoes- no pun intended).
The energy these guys have is applaudable, running around the stage somehow managing not to trip over each other and still being able to function musically is quite a feat!
Especially when the songs are as Technical as ‘Within The Ruins’ another band who like to mix things up. Blistering solos one minute, catchy hooks the next and not to mention some pretty intense breakdowns thrown into the blender too!
These guys are definitely another of the nights better bands, and are quite possibly one of my personal favourite bands around today and for their first time over here they nearly brought The Underworld down to rubble!
The penultimate band of this evening is ‘Beneath The Massacre, a “Technical Death Metal” band from Quebec in Canada.
I put the genre in inverted commas because personally they are more deathcore than anything in my opinion, not that that’s an insult mind you (I’m actually rather fond of deathcore) but when the vocalist says half way through the set “Do you like breakdowns? Good because there’s like nine of them in this next song” I started to get quite bored and worried as to whether it would change.
I must say, I like a good breakdown as much as the next guy but when a band pretty much makes their entire set into one, it gets quite boring quite quickly, and most of the time when they do get a good groove on and people start to headbang a shredding solo kicks in then leaves us with the same boring stuff we’ve just had over and over and over…
The vocals are pretty good, but there doesn’t seem to be an awful lot of energy put in by any of the band members (Apart from the drummer who was absolutely racing around the kit to his credit!)
All-in-all it came across as a bit of a mess of noise and pretty much the polar opposite of what the OTHER BTM of tonight did fantastically.
It seems that the crowd shared my opinion too as the previously crazy crowd, were now standing there staring at the vocalist, most of them not even headbanging except in certain places of aforementioned groove.
If the two BTM’s had switched places things would probably have been better.
The final band of the evening more than made up for the last band though. As the “Imperial Death March” theme from Star Wars pumped out from the speakers, you got a taste of the carnage, darkness and sheer brutality that was about to be released onto the London crowd.
The atmosphere went from electric to completely genocidal as the mighty Carnifex came onstage soon after the theme ended.
That was it, The ENTIRE crowd went ballistic as Carnifex started their first song and there were quite easily some of the most brutal pits I’ve ever seen in my life.
Anybody brave enough to stand at the front was totally crushed by the sheer destruction of their fellow Carnifex fans! The fan vocals never cease to amaze me as mid-way through early destroyer “Slit Wrist Savior” everything stops and the crowd suddenly shout “Fine, fuck you then” at the band before they continue barraging the crowd with relentless brutality.
The second from last song is crowd favourite “Lie To My Face” Which not only do the crowd get more bloodthirsty than a vampire at a bloodbank, but they do a similar thing but shouting “What The Fuck?” which leaves the people who haven’t really listened to carnifex before, shocked and thinking “what the fuck?”.
The technicality of this band is awesome and you never get the sense that they’ve just thrown breakdowns in there for the sake of it, the breakdowns in their songs sound like they have as much meaning and place as the death metal riffs, the machine gun drumming and every single vocal line do.
They ended their set with a bang in the form of “Hell Chose Me” the title track to the album just before their latest and everybody in the crowd gave every last ounce of energy in their bodies willingly to make the pits even more extreme than they already were!
Walking out of the venue, you could hear even more chattered excitement about the bands that just played than in the queues waiting to get in!
Bonecrusher Festival once again delivered an extremely sick night of extremely awesome music and all I can say is bring on next year!
I have no idea how they’ll be able to top it but it sure will be interesting to see them try to top that!