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Wrongstock Festival

Live Review

Venue: Camden Underworld

Russ Russell's massively wrong piss-up

Just as bands are revered for possessing a unique sound, producers are heralded for their in-studio technique: Ross Robinson is famous for his borderline abuse of bands, Andy Sneap's guitar tones turn others a funny hue of green and Rick Rubin battles constant accusations of doing, well, nothing. Russ Russell's organic approach and undying love for the extreme has bore witness to some of the most vitriolic, downright nasty metal to ever scathe human ears – in honour of the man himself, Wrongstock has infested Camden. Here's what we learned while we were there...

Extreme metal is one of the broadest – yet united – fronts within music

Wrongstock boasts a bill brimming with variety – you've got Norwich thrash newbies Shrapnel, who do a mighty fine job of mashing faces with their Kreator-tinged racket; there's the scummy punk bastards Oaf, featuring Metal Hammer's very own Dom Lawson shrieking like a castrated ocelot backed by a drummer clad in tweed; and let's not forget the smatterings of black, grind and death metal present this evening. It's a smorgasbord of savagery – a palette of pestilence, if you will. 

Speaking in a funny voice a la Dani Filth is still a thing

Wherever the badger face-paint goes, the funny little voice inevitably follows. While Sidious remain a musical malevolence to be reckoned with – tracks from their blackened death debut, Revealed In Profane Splendour, sound absolutely crushing – the customary, faux orc growl that escapes when addressing the crowd is just a bit... well, silly. 

Metalheads are absolute pros when it comes to crab impersonation

Following a stupendous slot on Bloodstock's main stage last month, Nottingham's Evil Scarecrow set about recreating a similar atmosphere within the sweat-drenched, beer-stained confines of the Underworld. That they do – Dr. Hell and his cadaverous cohorts succeed in ripping through 30 minutes of blackened, bombastic melodies with a little help from the crowd along the way. Because, of course, you can't have a song about an evil robotic crustacean (Crabulon, FYI) without an army of bearded drunkards scuttling side-to-side and brandishing pincered hands now, can you? Point is, Evil Scarecrow are one of the most immensely entertaining acts in the UK right now and they're packing the tunes to prove it.

DripBack are brilliant even when the sound isn't

Despite the mix exhuming from the speakers making little more sense than a pensioner drowning in cat piss, DripBack are on formidable form. Sure, it's a shame that the little tremolo-picked intricacies on Shallow Lives are lost tonight, but the sheer vigour and intensity with which these boys perform is testament to their ability within the live arena. This is brutality for the next generation. Napalm Death, watch your back.

We're really, really going to miss The Rotted

Even though the former Gorerotted/Screamin' Deamon geezers have only released two full-lengths since their inception six years ago, the band have decided to go their separate ways – which is a shame, because we bloody love 'em. Stripped back, caustic anthems of hate like Apathy In The UK are churned out like nobody's business, and by the time man-mountain Ben McCrow initiates the final sing-along to death-punk anthem Rotted Fucking Earth, you can see what this band means to those in attendance; the crowd are bashing into one another and belting out these lyrics like they're at a Take That concert. A very violent Take That concert, mind you.

It's a rotted fucking earth indeed – and a whole lot quieter without you. R.I.P The Rotted.

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