Temples Festival 2014 – Day Two | Diary & Photoset

main

Photos (c) Ross Silcocks / More info

 A superb selection of bands from all the way across the metal spectrum…

It’s Saturday. It’s sunny, and a lovely day for strolling back to Motion for more metal. At least it would be, if we didn’t feel like we’d been slapped across the face with a JCB. Hair of the dog it is, then. Upon arriving at the festival site, we learn that the organisers are now allowing people to bring in their own food, due to the cancellation of the vegetarian caterer. Whilst we don’t need to do so, we note that this is a superb move. Big commercial festivals simply wouldn’t give a shit, as they’ve already got your money. Hats off to you, chaps.

Once more, that take-no-prisoners festival act rating system:

✮ Poor  |  ✮✮ Average  |  ✮✮✮ Decent  |  ✮✮✮✮ Very Good  |  ✮✮✮✮✮ Magnificent

So, who’s first? Aha, it’s Throne (✮✮✮). Much like yesterday, we start the day with some chunky sludge that isn’t amazing, but competent and entertaining. We feel they could do with some harsh vocals in places, but this doesn’t detract from the huge sound, or prevent the distortion from shaking the whole room.

Following this, the second stage is very well attended for Bristol’s own Svalbard (✮✮✮✮✮). We hadn’t managed to catch these post-metal wizards before, so we weren’t sure what to expect, but within minutes our jaws are practically touching the floor. The four-piece, with shared male-female vocals, absolutely kill it, combining guttural lows with massively atmospheric highs, plus insane energy levels to match. Bristol can be extremely proud of this lot.

We’re worried that Sonance (✮✮✮✮), also from Bristol, won’t be able to follow the brilliance we’ve just seen, but thankfully they prove to be very impressive. Their ambient/drone doom is fantastically miserable, genuinely sounding like the reason they play is to exorcise all of their crippling mental pain. It’s thoroughly bleak and thoroughly enjoyable.

Saturday’s Bristolian hat-trick comes to a close with True Valiance (✮✮✮), who assault us with their muscular sounding death/thrash. What they do is very well executed, and they offer excellent energy and banter, which brings the mood up nicely.

We take a little break to eat something and collect our thoughts on the excellent fare that Bristol has to offer, before heading inside to catch Mob Rules (✮✮), who play thrash, with an almost classic rock feel to some of the riffs. Their frontman storms about the stage displaying brute masculinity, and we’re quite enjoying it, until an amp failure strikes. This isn’t the band’s fault of course, but when their guitarist launches into an impromptu poetry interlude to cover this up, it all seems to fall flat.

Conan (✮✮) now take to the main stage, with their drone doom that’s so slow you can almost get a beer in between guitar notes. It’s chunkier than all the Yorkie bars in Yorkshire, but the vocals are a let down, and it just serves to make us feel a bit sluggish.

We need a wake up call, and Unkind (✮✮✮) well and truly provide one. Their thrash offering is played at a ridiculously fast pace, tight as hell, and the crowd are going completely apeshit. Just what the doctor ordered.

It’s now the turn of A Storm of Light (✮✮✮✮), who proceed to thoroughly justify being one of our pre-festival picks. Their post/doom metal is powerful and crushing, with some truly evil sounding brown tones thrown in. We watch most of their set from the balcony as the floor is rammed with a sea of people, all slowly banging their heads in unison. It’s so good that afterwards, we decide to digest it over dinner at a nearby pub.

As we return to the site, Wolf Brigade (✮✮✮✮) are coming onto the stage in the second warehouse, which is so rammed that we can hardly move. Their old school worship thrash is absolutely frenetic, particularly the kick speeds (which are frankly inhuman), and the crowd seems to match the energy levels displayed by the band.

Throughout the day, we’ve naturally been talking to random people, and asking who they’re most looking forward to. One of the bands that have come up most often are Amenra (✮✮✮✮), who are now taking to the main stage, and proceeding to thoroughly justify this excitement. They sound like the bastard love child of Isis and Majalis, replete with battering guitar work, haunting melodies, and heart-rending screams. The backdrop of chaotic clouds swirling around a lonely mountain really captures the mood of being swept up in a desolate maelstrom. A definite take home band.

The penultimate slot of the day falls to Doom (✮✮✮), the crust/grind veterans usually mentioned in the same breath as Napalm Death, et cetera. The music itself feels a little tired, but they play with plenty of enthusiasm, and their loyal crowd go wild.

Now, it’s the turn of Neurosis (✮✮), to close out the day, who completely fail to grab us, which is a bit of a shame. They play their big blackened doom very competently. In fact, it sounds just like it does on record. Unfortunately, this is the problem. We’re happy for bands to sound true to their studio material, but tonight it feels like our headliners are just going through the motions, without any real spark or feeling.

Wandering home (okay, to the pub), we reflect that a dull closing slot shouldn’t detract from what has been a superb selection of bands from all the way across the metal spectrum today. Sunday still has a lot to live up to, and we can’t bloody wait.

Check back with us soon for Sunday’s thoughts, and for now Svalbard’s ‘For What It’s Worth’ here: