Impericon Festival @ Manchester Academy

Impericon Fest

@ Manchester Academy
04/05/2015

Review by Toria Morgan
Photography by Jas Stephenson

Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015
Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015

When myself and photographer Jas Stephenson agreed to this gig we had no idea what we would be letting ourselves in for! It was no less than a heavy metal marathon which lasted around ten hours, during which we dug deep within ourselves to find the stamina to keep up with the more than enthusiastic, and getting steadily more rowdy festival goers. Packed like sardines in the biggest room of the Manchester Academy along with veteran and newbie rock music lovers alike, we witnessed a sample of everything from the up and comers in the metal industry to the way more established, from all over the world.

First on the agenda was a band called Adept, a Swedish ‘Metalcore’ band which formed in 2004. The band consists of Robert Ljung as vocalist, Jerry Repo on guitar, Filip Brandelius on bass, Gabriel Hellmark on drums and Gustav Lithammer on guitar. They kicked off the event it great style. Though the venue was not full to capacity yet, like it was towards the end of the day, they had an eager crowd gather to watch them and from what I gauged they went down quite well! They were, after all, kicking off the beginning of a show; a tough spot for any band but they did well and managed to set the tone and pique the interest of myself and the rest of the crowd. I could even tell they had some fans of their own down the front. There was a lot of movement and general appreciation for their sound.

Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015
Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015

The second band were Desolated. A five piece band from the UK comprised of vocalist Paul Williams, Rich Unsworth on bass, Tommy Defelice on guitar, Dan Ford on drums and Deathcore Andy. They and their fans seemed to be sporting hockey jerseys. Their sound was that of the death metal/metalcore genre and was well received by the audience. I saw a great deal of movement down the front of the crowd and during the song ‘End Of The Line’ the audience even shouted their song back at them when the microphone was turned onto them.

Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015
Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015

All in all I enjoyed them! Paul Willams, the vocalist was a great front man, often cheering the crowd on and keeping them moving, raising energy levels of all inside the room. Their sound was polished and well put together and their look suited their music. The fans were certainly happy to see them.

Though it was still relatively early in the day, the crowd were chomping at the bit for more music. This truly was a festival atmosphere and festival drinking rules clearly applied, those being that there were no rules. Standard procedure was to purchase a drink as soon as you arrive and keep a steady pace until the end, a feat only the most seasoned and disciplined amongst us can maintain without reaching total inebriation. Those that couldn’t hack the pace either left voluntarily or were escorted out by the unsung yellow coat heroes manning the Manchester Academy that day.

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Ingested were the third band of the day, bringing with them their own brand of ‘slamming death metal’. They received a hearty welcome from the audience and even received premature cheering during their brief sound check. A testament to the anticipation they were generating amongst fans. Their music was heavy, frantic and chaotic in a way that was totally pleasing to my ears.

They were made up of Jay Evans as vocalist, Sean Hynes on guitar and vocals, Sam Yates also on guitar and vocals, Brad Fuller on bass and Lyn Jeffs on drums. The lead singer, Jay Evans seemed extremely energetic and pleased to be there, he was so into his music and the band were Mancunians which went down very well with their home crowd. They had good command of the stage and I remember a few of their riffs stood out to me, catching my attention and showing off a very clear talent for tunes.

Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015
Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015

They were to sort of band that made a big entrance, lots of drums and strobe lights at the same time, always a crowd pleaser. I guess I should be tipping my hat to the lighting guy for that one. I noticed a pit happening during the song ‘Divine Right.’ Over all I genuinely liked these guys, I appreciated the vocals very much so and on a completely separate note I noticed that one of the guitarists had a fine head of hair. I always appreciate when a band’s look is something to take note of. Well done!

Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015
Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015

Being As An Ocean were band number four. Approaching the half way mark and energy levels were higher than ever. These were an American hardcore band from California that I thoroughly appreciated and were my personal favourites of the whole show. They formed in 2011 and the band name comes from a quote by Gandhi; “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” This in itself should give you an idea of the calibre of lyrics that came out of the mouth of the vocalist Joel Quartuccio.

Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015
Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015

The rest of the band is made up of Tyler Ross on lead guitar and backing vocals, Ralph Sica on bass, Michael McGough on rhythm guitar and vocals and Connor Denis on drums. This band were actually like nothing I had ever heard. Great vocals from both the lead and the guitarist, but they both sang in different styles which was a fantastic touch and set them apart from the rest.

Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015
Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015

They produced great riffs, great drums and very listenable to tunes but they had one thing that, in my mind at least, left the others in the dust. I called it ‘mid song poetry’ in my notes. Where they calmed down the music and the vocalist just let loose some incredible lines somewhere between a rap and an incredibly well timed poem. Deep lyrics, words of wisdom, lines that made you think, lines that evoked emotion. I loved it!

On top of all that they had great crowd interaction, there was lots of clapping in time with the music from the audience and then there were people like me, standing slack jawed and in awe not moving at all, trying to listen to the lyrics. I really would recommend giving these guys a listen, I thoroughly enjoyed this set.

Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015
Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015

Carnifex were next, an American deathcore band from San Diego, California. Formed in 2005, this five piece contained; Scott Lewis as vocalist, Jordan Lockrey on guitar, Cory Arford also on guitar, Fred Calderon on bass and Shawn Cameron on drums. These guys fit the genre of Modern Death Metal and were another band gracing our shores from California. This band had generated the biggest audience of the night so far. There were tons of mobile phones and cameras in the air trying to get a snap of them.

Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015
Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015

They had the crowd jumping and in my notes I described them as ‘proper metal.’ During their set I witnessed crowd surfing at its finest and the audience cramming up close to the front. Clearly eagerly anticipated by their followers. The lead singer was energetic and entertaining to watch and I had great appreciation for the amount of hair windmills on the stage. I’m guessing playing a song while wind milling is a little like patting your head and rubbing your stomach so bravo.

Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015
Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015

Stick To Your Guns an American hardcore punk band from Orange County, California. Members of the band include Jesse Barnett as vocalist, Andrew Rose on bass, George Schmitz on drums, Chris Rawson and Josh James on guitars. These guys had a delightful mix of vocal styles too, these mixes of screaming and singing seem to be working well for bands at the moment, it provides the listener with a range of sounds and I personally find it more engaging than just one or the other. They come under the genre of Hardcore Punk and I was quite entertained!

They had the crowd singing their songs back to them so they were obviously quite well known and very well liked by this particular audience. The lead singer was appreciative of the crowds interaction and that is what I like to see. They seemed to be the most exciting band so far, the crowd were enthusiastic and it was at the stage in the day where drink had been flowing for a while and the concert was in full upward swing. I enjoyed the tunes to their songs very much and they received massive applause, the biggest so far of the day.

During the interval between Stick To Your Guns and the next band was the time my energy was flagging. Luckily The Academy had set out a pen at the back of the venue for smokers and people generally needing fresh air or a break from the phenomenal heat generated inside the building. Each entrance back into the concert room was like walking into a wall of hot air, so a break was often needed. Luckily The Academy had put on a barbecue in the back to feed the hungry masses and I treated myself to a rather expensive hot dog that, to be honest, was worth every single penny of the five pounds I spent on it.

Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015
Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015

Renewed, I returned to watch Deez Nuts. I had seen many people sporting Deez Nuts merchandise and judging by the people on the way out of the hall after their set ended they well and truly delivered! I saw sweaty bodies, red faces, hair askew and even ripped tshirts. Things had indeed gotten brutal during this set.

Deez Nuts are an Australian hardcore punk band, formed in Melbourne Victoria in 2007. It is currently made up of vocalist JJ Peters, guitarist Matt Rogers, bassist Sean Kennedy and drummer Alex Salinger. Their sound was extremely entertaining and I liked their set. There was a lot of chaos in the crowd, tons of movement, chanting and clapping in time. These guys were extremely well received and whether it was because of the alcohol flowing or the calibre of their playing, I’m not sure. But they managed to whip the crowd up into a violent frenzy. Exciting, loud and complete madness. I was impressed.

Whitechapel were up next. An eagerly anticipated band, I had spotted their merch on almost everyone. It seemed like their name was on the back of every tshirt in the place. The band is made up of Phil Bozeman on vocals, Ben Savage on guitar, Zach Householder on guitar Alex Wade on guitar, Ben Harclerode on drums and Gabe Crisp on bass. Originating from Knoxville Tennessee, these guys really knew how to work the crowd.

Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015
Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015

The name ‘Whitechapel’ was chanted relentlessly before they took to the stage. Even though there was still one more band to go, the crowd went wild for the American rockers. They simply come under the genre ‘Metal’ and it was exactly that, metal at its finest. No frills and complicated subgenres, just real metal. They were so obviously appreciated by their fans, greeted by massive deafening applause, easily peaking the atmosphere for the entire day. Their fans showed amazing solidarity, I saw a couple of them who had clearly never met before, bonding over the fact that they were both Whitechapel fans.

Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015
Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015

By this time of the day the arena was absolutely packed to the back doors. I could barely move as I was jostled around while making notes. It must have been a funny sight. Eventually I cast aside my note pad and allowed myself to enjoy their set which I did! There was a fantastic atmosphere, crowd surfing, chanting, mosh pits, the crowd singing their songs back to them everything you could hope for. I made a mental note of the particular quality of their guitar playing. Great and catchy riffs, excellent vocals. These guys were the business, polished and real professionals.

Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015
Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015

As if Whitechapel weren’t enough to get the audiences moving next up was The Ghost Inside. The band currently consists of vocalist Jonathan Vigil, guitarist Zach Johnson, bassist Jim Riley and drummer Andrew Tkaczyk. For these guys I saw great anticipation from the audience, people on people’s shoulders and a sea of cameras. They had great energy, their music was high octane and ‘in your face.’ The band definitely made a statement! I saw pits breaking out everywhere, by this time the crowd was definitely at its peak of excitement.

Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015
Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015

The Ghost Inside’s sound falls into the genre of ‘Melodic Hardcore’ and come, yet again, from California. They formed in 2004 and it would seem have gone from strength to strength, particularly judging from the reception they got on our turf. They had the crowd jumping and fully interacting, it was great to see.

Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015
Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015

All of a sudden we reached the grand finale, Suicide Slience. The last set of the night had arrived and it too was not to be missed. Impericon Festival definitely had a very loud and very energetic climax to the long, long day. The band is made up of vocalist Hernan “Eddie” Hermida, guitarists Chris Garza and Mark Heylmun, bassist Dan Kenny and drummer Alex Lopez. Their sound comes under Deathcore and they hail from California.

Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015
Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015

The crowd were more than ready for them and this was possibly the liveliest part of the night. They had everything: crazy strobe lights, crashing drums, excellent guitar playing and vocals. While they weren’t my personal favourites, they were darn well entertaining. They provided the perfect end to what was an excellent experience, even if it was a relentless ‘all-dayer’ from which it took some time to recover. I had an absolute blast and the bands I recommend giving a listen to are most definitely ‘Being As An Ocean’ and ‘Whitechapel.’ There was something at Impericon Fest for every sub genre of metal. I personally had a blast, loved the atmosphere and was entertained the whole night.

Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015
Impericon Festival @Manchester Academy 4/5/2015
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