The fact that Burning Manc Festival went ahead is an achievement in itself. With the new one day extreme metal event in Manchester facing extreme financial difficulties in the build-up, thanks to crowdfunding and overwhelming efforts from the NOIZ Promotions team, Sound Control graced a bill laden with bands that represented the sound of hell. But, did the final product live up to the hype?
After a stumbling start and minor sound issues at the beginning of their set, Scottish outfit NNGNN‘s enormous sound was incredibly crushing, which is commendable due to the fact that the band operates as a two-piece unit. Through consistent blast beats from drummer Tam Robbie, the rhythm was at breakneck speed here. This was complimented by slick riffing from frontman Graham McLaren added enough to the wall of sound to keep the crowd focused. The lacking of bass didn’t dampen NNGNN‘s impact as McLaren unleashed line after line of guttural snarls, ensuring that NNGNN kicked Burning Manc into life.
Consistently throughout SCUTUM CRUX‘s performance, the intensity was at an all time high. Matching the sheer ferocity of the classic black metal formula thanks to frequent blast beats and piercing shrieks from vocalist Demiurge, to say that SCUTUM CRUX fitted in on the lineup was a massive understatement. That said though, for all their intensity and raw energy, the band’s performance increasingly became a muddled wall of explosive noise. Lacking any real variety in the riffing and tempo hampered the band making a lasting impact and resulted in a performance that felt dragged and repetitive.
Thankfully, NECRONAUTICAL kicked things up a gear with a utterly mesmerising set. The four-piece outfit’s blend of black metal oozed varying paces of rhythm and ferocity to keep the crowd focused throughout their performance. The dual riffing from guitarists Naut and Carcarrion added an extra level of balance to the ferocity here whilst Naut himself delivered consistently savage vocal deliveries. Held together through monstrous drumming from Slugh and bassist Anchorite, the live sound of the band was held together, which never broke the immersive atmosphere. With the band releasing their second record, The Endurance At Night, earlier this year and being under the banner of Cacophonous Records, NECRONAUTICAL are becoming a force in UK black metal and their explosive performance at Burning Manc Festival only reinforced this.
With NINKHARSAG dropping out on the day of the festival, it was over to SATHAMEL to keep the festivities raw and explosive. Similar to NECRONAUTICAL, SATHAMEL kept the quality on the rise thanks to utterly magnificent performance. With their blackened death metal approach adding rare sprinkling of melody in the riffing, it bolstered the impact of the band’s live sound to great effect. The dual riffing from guitarists KVN and Aksahl had the rhythm ebbing and flowing consistently but the vocal deliveries from frontman Kruk was the true spectacle here. Kruk‘s harsh shrieks and venomous growls were the perfect compliment to SATHAMEL‘s raw noise, resulting in a overall sound that was utterly enormous; one that engulfed the venue and kept the quality of Burning Manc to the highest level.
It could of gone two ways for local outfit FOETAL JUICE. Being the only death metal band on Burning Manc‘s lineup, which is mainly built up with black metal bands, the band’s impact could have washed over those in attendance. However, the end result was completely the opposite, as FOETAL JUICE gave a performance that was absolutely monstrous. With the band releasing their debut full-length, Masters of Absurdity, days before their performance at Burning Manc, it made sense that their set focused on material from their new opus. And for good reason to, as FOETAL JUICE oozed energy and aggression. The combination of Ry Whittaker‘s guitar and Ben Read‘s bass resulted in a thick wall of sound, with savage riffing leading the charge of FOETAL JUICE‘s sonic assault. Down-tuned and utterly raw, the riffs on display here packed enough hooks to keep the crowd moving in perfect time whilst frontman Sam Read kept the momentum at an all time high. Sam‘s vocal deliveries were a solid combination to the raw backing sound, with a range of guttural blasts and piercing shrieks acting as a solid companion. It was a gamble for sure, but FOETAL JUICE defied expectations and injected energy and aggression as Burning Manc erupted into a war zone for the duration of their performance.
After the sheer monstrosity of FOETAL JUICE, it almost felt slightly odd to witness the symphonic black metal experience of HECATE ENTHRONED. The use of Pete White‘s keyboards added an additional element to HECATE ENTHRONED‘s overall sound, with the added melodies helping the band stand out in a lineup consisting largely of black metal bands. The melodies helped drive home the thunderous blast beats and pummelling riffs from dual guitarists Andy Milnes and Nigel Dennan which kept the overall sound of the band feeling sharp and ferocious. The vocal deliveries from frontman Joe Stamps were largely impressive, with sharp shrieks fitting the grim backing tone from the band, although slight variation in pitch would have been a welcome addition. With a lengthy set, HECATE ENTHRONED for the most part displayed a performance that was engaging and intricate; the added melodies on show here helped the UK outfit showcase their individuality in a scene that is alive and kicking with solid talent
Headliners MELECHESH was Burning Manc Festival‘s main draw and for good reason. Billed as the band’s only UK date and first appearance in Manchester, there was an awe of excitement as the band took the stage to close of the day’s festivities. The black metal outfit, originating from Jerusalem, approach black metal differently than most of their colleagues and this approach was key to the band making an instant impact on the live stage. The complex riffing from frontman Ashmedi and guitarist Moloch helped drive the band’s intensity; from the whirlwind riffing of Tempest Temper Enlil Enraged to the intoxicating lead riff on Ladders To Sumeria, MELECHESH provided enough hooks to keep the crowd firmly fixated on their performance. Ashmedi himself was in good spirit, whose intricate guitar skills and iconic vocal shrieks drove home the impact of the band on stage. With a setlist comprised of plenty of material from latest record, Enki, alongside fan favourites, there was something for everyone here. From the captivating closing riff on Multiple Truths to the blistering speed of Grand Gathas of Baal Sin, MELECHESH opted for a shock and awe approach to their live performance and the end result was a sight to behold. Upon conclusion, the performance felt like a event, a rare spectacle if you will, one which showcased the triumph of Burning Manc Festival and further bolstering Manchester as a haven for extreme music.
Check out our extensive photo gallery of the day’s action in Manchester from photographer Becky Callaghan here: