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Harvest Festival 2005

2005-09-07 GB – London - Club Koko

Nile - Unleashed - Pungent Stench - Behemoth - Belphegor - Incantation - Killing Mode

The thought of 9 hours of unrelenting DEATH F**KIN’ METAL is enough make any grown man weak at the knees. Especially when your nursing a hangover of enormous proportions from the previous night’s birthday celebrations. Luckily I’m hardcore… ;-)

Armed with my dictaphone, a guest pass in my pocket and wishing I had taken some ‘dutch courage’… I was just about ready to interview US Death Metal titans NILE. (See separate transcription on the site) Quite an un-nerving situation for myself, being that I’m not a ‘hack’ and was talking to one of my fave bands ever…but it went well…albeit very short…

News reached my ears that 3 of the bands I personally wanted to see had pulled out, thus leaving me with a pretty dour taste in my mouth early on. Hate Eternal, Soilent Green and Blood Red Throne all dropped out to be replaced by UK’s own KILLING MODE, old-school ranters PUNGENT STENCH and Austrian dark metallers BELPHEGOR.

Kicking off the day later than planned due to various technical problems: ‘Straight outta Brighton‘ Metallers :: KILLING MODE :: Peddling their own brand of death-thrash with hints of grind, in the vein of more stripped down Repulsion. Almost ’metalcore’ in a way, but thankfully without the gash singing. These boys kept it brutal all the way, persevering through a few monitor problems and an overall sound that didn’t have any defining guitars…

US death metal stalwarts, :: INCANTATION :: came next. Heavily promoting their recent Decimating Christendom album, complete with backdrops behind the band. Simple and effective black-tinged death metal. No frills, just a simple and effective battering of the senses. The sound improved as the day went on, but again the guitars were slightly out of the mix.

Austrian blackened metallers :: BELPHEGOR :: hit the stage with more leather and spikes than should be allowed. It’s always fun to see a band peddling the old-school metal image without shame or even a hint of humour. I did laugh to myself but that was quickly smacked off my face as soon as the band started blasting. On record they are awesome… Live… well, let’s just say it’s a whole different entity, Unrelenting blastbeats and Christ-raping solos was the order of business for BELPHEGOR, ultra-tight and menacing. Culling material from their new album mainly, Watching the live incarnate of BELPHEGOR is one hell of a bullet-ride. I recommend it if you like having you senses battered relentlessly, and who doesn’t occasionally!?

After the din has died down from the crushing performance of Belphegor’s twisted take on extreme metal, expectation was apparent in the air… the noise rose once more for Polish heroes :: BEHEMOTH :: And doesn’t their name just sum it all up!? This band is massive… crushing… brutal… groovy… scary and tighter than a really tight thing. The show no remorse as they batter the crowd with material from their whole career, highlights including material from Demigod, my personal fave. The ghostly faces onstage added more atmosphere to the grinding sections and some of the (dare I say it!?) ‘breakdowns’ would have buried ANY metalcore bands… and in fact probably about any band really. Human drum battery ‘Inferno’ behind his kit was a mass of head banging and brutality, Total f**kin destruction was the order of the day and BEHEMOTH certainly blew me away. Best band of the day.

Cult metallers :: PUNGENT STENCH :: slithered onto the stage and set about playing their brand of groovy death metal. It’s finally good to see this band live, after I first heard them on the Club Mondo Bizarre album many moons ago. Taking most of their set from their last album, but sprinkling a few ‘classics’ in there. The Stench were tight but unspectacular. Nailing the songs with aplomb, the band seared through their set effortlessly. Maybe an additional rhythm guitar would have made the sound a little fuller when the solos were going off, but that’s just my opinion. Shame there was no rendition of Parade Of The Decapitated Midgets

Swedish legends :: UNLEASHED :: were next. By this time I was quite tired and well…there’s only so much battering I can take. I pretty much switched off for this band. I was well aware of their main songs, like Into Glory Ride, which were nailed with precision. The band prompted some great crowd interaction and the crowd lapped it up, as I’m sure a majority of the crowd were quite intoxicated by now. A full house saw UNLEASHED lay down the law, but I for one was waiting for the headline act…

Slying loitering around the stage area for the previous 2 bands, the guys from :: NILE :: were building up a frenzy before they even hit the stage. I overheard many a punter saying how much they were looking forward to seeing the ‘Egyptologists Of Metal’ lay waste to the UK once more. Sporting a new drummer, the massively talented George Kollis and the youthful but criminally talented new bassist Joe. With a nod of acknowledgement from opposite sides of the stage between Karl Sanders and Dallas Toller-Wade, the sample was started and the lights dimmed… The noise of the crowd went up…then all hell broke lose… Oh yeah…NILE were in the house.
NILE ripped into the opening salvo and everyone’s jaw dropped. Ultra tight and streamline, frighteningly crushing and possible one of the most technically proficient bands on the planet at the moment.
A majority of their set came from ripping up material from the recent god-like album, Annihilation Of The Wicked, the Floridian 4 piece absolutely owned. Bottom line: older material from Black Seeds Of Vengeance went down like a brutally evil treat. The kind that you know isn’t right for you, but you still go and have it anyway. Brilliant.
Sadly, by now I was pretty much dead on my feet. I left after an hour of NILE to make sure I caught the train home… Being stuck 200 miles from home didn’t appeal to me… Besides I had my dinner waiting for me… heh heh

“Biggest Laugh of the Day” aware goes to the BELPHEGOR frontman who insisted on talking in a death metal voice in-between the songs… Well done that man!
I couldn’t understand his broken English anyway…let alone when he insisted on saying everything with a subhuman growl, truly brilliant!

“Best Metal Scowl Of the Day” goes to the BEHEMOTH trio of frontmen for some superb metal grimacing!

Massive thanks to Pol from Metallysee Promotions for sorting me out the interview, the guest pass, being a top bloke and generally being a calm head in a day of chaos! Check them out for more info on this guy's company.


story & pics © Defiance