Yorkshire Riffer 4 @ Temple of Boom, Leeds

Posted by vibrations on 15-02-16

Mr Yorkshire Riffer Paul Priest continues to mine his massive network of connections throughout the underground UK metal and hardcore scene to put together yet another line up that delivers minimal repetition from previous Riffers and with no diminution in the quality of the brutal, crushing, rifferama on show.

Meatlocker

With one or two notable exceptions, the Meatlocker plays host to a series of bands that could be loosely described as coming from the grind/hardcore persuasion, so the songs are mostly short, furious and fast all day, with the narrow oblong room providing an excellent setting for some literal bouncing off the walls. Leeds’ Ona Snop (it's possibly an anagram, work it out) get things off to a great start with their sub one minute, sock in the solar plexus grindcore which, like all the best pop music, is just so much fun. The fabulously named Lugubrious Children may well include a couple of Ona Snopers but their take on grind proves to be much more intense and threatening, with a level of sophistication and technically adept execution that belies its brutality.

First out of town (Liverpool) band Horsebastard ratchet up the speed and intensity considerably with flailing drums and pig squealing vocals. The songs are punctuated with vertiginous drop dead halts and velocity swerves and there is much abandoned moshing and crowd surfing. Fellow Liverpudlians Siege Mentality go for a less genre specific approach that introduces elements of metal and punk which takes the gas of the momentum a bit.

Arguably the key question of the day was, would Yorkshire Riffer be ready for Super Luxury?The short answer was ‘No’, but incredibly after the chocolate log episode, cropped shorts and pink tank top swaps, collapsed stage furniture, a cowboy hat and a genuine power cut, the band contrived to turn in the performance of the day. Super Luxury specialise in performance as provocation and were clearly intent on testing the supposed prejudices of a metal/hardcore audience, with singer Adam Nodwell playing it overtly gay (hence cropped shorts, pink tank, cowboy hat and disco moves). The fact that after the initial ‘Wtf?’ moment the audience enthusiastically embraced the whole mad enterprise spoke volumes and rather puts the nonplussed reaction Super Luxury get from audiences in their usual Indieland habitat to shame. And behind all the props and theatrical grandstanding, the doomy noise the band produce fitted in well too.

Back to what passes for normal at Yorkshire Riffer, Newcastle quintet Live Burial had been steadily drinking most of the day and finished off by handing round bottles of Buckfast to an equally lubricated audience during their set with inevitable results. What the band’s music lacks in originality is more than made up by the utter commitment to its ferocious delivery, with singer Jamie Brown and bassist Lee Anderson ranging freely among, and often on top of, the audience or under its feet. Not one beat was dropped though. Red Eye Revival closed Meatlocker with some efficient old school death metal which sadly occasionally descended into mere by-numbers heavy rock ('Get Wasted in Summer').

Main Room

The only unifying thread running through the bands playing the Main Room is the idea that modern metal bands are happy to bend genres out of shape, or mash up styles with the sole intention of playing what they want to play, the way they want to play it. Hereafter, all specific genre references are to be taken as vague pointers only.

One man and his (8-stringed) guitar Dopehammer has the privilege of launching the whole day, but it’s a thankless task providing a soundtrack for people mainly orientating themselves and chugging the first beer of the day. After a shaky start, Sheffield trio Kurokuma lob the first grenade of the day with a shudderingly heavy set of intense doomy sludge. Brutal repetitive riffs sit comfortably alongside changes of pace and demonstrate a fine tuned sense of tension and release. The vocals suffer from a poor mix though. Blind Haze doff their stylistic caps to a more direct, traditional form of metal but play with spunk and spit, whipped along by some no fucking nonsense drumming.

Genre Mash-up Medal of the Day goes to Conjurer, who manage to bolt together death, black, doom, prog, even a dash of thrash, metal without it sounding like an unholy mess. In fact, the results are as smooth and seamless a brain blasting as you could hope for. Allegedly merely a brutal death metal band, Omnipotent Hysteria generate a swirling roil of almost abstract, beatless sound that, either by accident or design, takes on the characteristics of black metal. This is mainly due to the impossibly fast drumming that provides a smeared and suspended cradle for the guitars and pig squealer vocals.

Colchester quartet Telepathy play inventive instrumental prog metal that stays just (barely) on the right side of widdly pretension. “We’re fucking Svalbard, from Bristol” says Svalbard guitarist and singer Serena Cherry by way of introduction after a few songs. The quartet have a welcome hardcore edge to their withering black/death metal and the intensity of the music does not let up, even the ambient breakdowns provide a mere half a breath respite before the raging guitars kick off once more. Cherry is the only female performer all day.

Crust punk veterans Extinction of Mankind wind the whole thing up, their advanced years proving to be no barrier to making abrasive, still angry music, a testament to the rejuvenating powers of Punk Rock, no doubt.

Steve Walsh




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