Ritual Festival 2017 Review

1 Conjurer CackBlabbathA day of heaviness awaits, this will be our first Ritual Festival, but first we’ve got to get a taxi to Canal Mills in Leeds on a sodding match day…

We finally arrive (it would have been quicker to walk) just in time to catch the last couple of songs from Conjurer. Which is a good job, as they are one of the main reasons we wanted to come here in the first place… and they only played five songs songs so we nearly caught 50% of the set.

As per, Conjurer are phenomenal. The outpouring of emotion on these dudes faces is testament to the application they put into this dark and heavy sludge business. And as we’ve said before, they are one of our favourite upcoming bands. Are they still up-and-coming? Well if they are they’ve nearly reached the top…

Although we’re a little bit pissed off at turning up late, we’re thrilled that we get to hear a new track. ‘Hadal’ sounds bottomlessly huge and ends in a prolonged blitzkrieg of feedback and screaming which well and truly welcomes us to the festival.

3 Kurokuma CackBlabbathThere are no clashes at Ritual Festival; two rooms on constant rotation. So, we’re running next door to catch another band on the rise.

This is the third week in a row that we’ve been to see Kurokuma. We don’t think they’ve applied for the restraining order yet but as long as they aren’t supporting Hellyeah we should keep out of their way over Easter. But, the way things are going we’ll probably bump into them again sooner rather than later.

Another cracking show from Kurokuma and another great mix of lumbering doom and the bongos! Seriously though, in a genre that can sound all a bit predictable sometimes; Kurokuma really push the boundaries and are a little bit more exciting.

Right then, we’ve just about caught our breath after a rushed introduction to the festival. We’ve seen a couple of bands, found the bogs and most importantly, found the bar!

4 Serpent Venom CackBlabbathNow, this festival covers all sorts of heaviness that is loosely labelled death and doom, but when we go and see our mums and tell them we like doom metal; what we mean is, doom metal like Serpent Venom. Proper, traditional, sabbathy, lumbering towers of riffs-style doom! Just how we like it…

We’ve not seen Serpent Venom for a while so it’s great to catch these guys today and even though they only have a short half hour in which to impress; they do so with ease. As we fully expected.

Like we say, we like out doom relatively simple given the choice and those grand old fuzzy riffs, smashing cymbals and Garry’s soaring lyrics all melt into perfection. We’ve been rushing around for a good few hours chasing our tails so a chance to watch Serpent Venom wow us with there heavy sermon is great. We can stand back, sip on a beer and nod away for thirty minutes. Bliss!

We’re excited to hear that these guys have a fresh album to record this year so we hope it won’t be too long before we see them again out on the road. Today is a timely reminder that these guys are just as good as the more lauded bands out there in this field of music.

A short but sweet set from some classy doom mongers.

So, three bands down and they have been three corkers! Ritual Festival is spoiling us here… no breaking us in gently today.

Corrupt 02Speaking of breaking us in gently, there’s not very much chance of Corrupt Moral Alter doing that is there? They are one ferocious band when they get going, and when they get going there’s not much stopping them.

Corrupt Moral Alter manage to get the second stage moving on command and their rapid interchange of dawdling sludge and headless bedlam is a real pleasure to witness.

The band erupt in a whirlwind of energy and are finished before we know it. We think there’ll be more mayhem to come throughout today, however.

Unfathomable Ruination hit up the main stage next. Showing off some cuts from latest album, ‘Finitude’ they are probably the heaviest band to appear here at Ritual Festival. And, shitting hell… they are heavy!

Ben’s vocals are deep and cookie monster laden with the music verging on the tech side, but they create one hell of a bounce when they are in full flow. So they fit right in on this bill.

6 Unfathomable Ruin CackBlabbath

Ritual Festival is largely one massive barrage of angry riffs. A relentless spray of heated aggression that is a never ending wet dream for us here at CackBlabbath (and plenty of others by the looks of it).

5 Bossk CackBlabbathIt’s always refreshing to have a slight change in pace however, and while Bossk are still undeniably heavy; they bring a bit of a sublime craft to our Saturday evening here in Leeds.

Bathed in blue light the Bossk chaps ease us into their set with a little more consideration than most bands to grace the main stage today. For all the ambient soundscapes that have us in a semi trance while we sip on the last of the Red Stripe, there are of course, just as many rollicking great riffs to compliment the airier material.

Vocals are few and far between, so the band appear mainly as a four piece as they captivate us with their post rock and sludge stained bliss.

Having just been added to Bloodstock Festival, it seems this band are in for a busy summer. This performance sticks out as one of the best of the day for many reasons and only wets our appetite to see them in August even more. Hopefully they’ll get a bit more time to strut their stuff and wow us again at Catton Hall.

CrepOver to the second stage, and Crepitation are already underway. Slam metal, it has to be said, isn’t really our bag. We were listening to Skid Row on the way up the M1 this morning and Crepitation are a long way from ‘Youth Gone Wild’ even if they are making the youth go… ah, forget it.

It’s a good job that Crepitation have a good side-line in stand-up comedy as their in between song banter is pretty funny. And to see the second stage erupt in energy when they start playing is breathtaking. We’re definitely in the minority with our opinion on the slam stuff as the whole room is moving to this band. There’s crowd surfers, stage invaders and a general uplift in mood in the crowd as everyone seems to be having a ball.

And the noises these guys come out with. Hells bells, it has to be said. They are quite impressive.

The one security guard in attendance is defeated before he’s started so just watches the madness unfold. As do we. Utterly bonkers was that!

Well Ritual Festival is well and truly underway now, and although we’ve already ticked a lot of our favourite bands off the line-up… ahem, Conjurer and Kurokuma are winning so far; we’re getting towards big band territory now.

Big bands, if you’re into wallpaper stripping, floorboard straining heavy stuff that is. There’s a certain clientele this festival caters for, and we’re all over this line-up.

3 Anaal CackBlabbath

In between the constant rotation of bands, we’ve had a little sit outside in the sun with a beer and we’re eyeing up the pizza cart for any break in proceedings. There’s an extensive merch selection too, which already has a wallet feeling a little lighter. But, shit is about to get serious because Anaal Nathrakh are on the main stage next.

They are missing a guitar player thanks to Norwegian Airlines, but despite that obvious loss they still sound absolutely bloody huge!

11 Anaal CackBlabbathDave is sporting a Dead Man’s Shoes shirt today, which he’s had for a while but only just slimmed down to fit into since buying it, apparently… It’s appreciated by us and at least one other chap at stage right. It’s a great film.

Fun Fact: ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ was filmed in Matlock, CackBlabbath’s southern headquarters. Matlock is just as grim as in the film if you were wondering.

And after that bombshell… the show is wonderful, complete and utter chaos.

Stage divers climb onto the stage podiums to leap into the crowd. Most of them are caught, apart from a couple of comedy splats onto the concrete tiles. ‘Depravity Favours the Bold’ really turns the mayhem up a notch before the bass goes down too! So now they are a guitar and bass down, but still sound brutal as hell.

To see Anaal Nathrakh in full flow is mesmerizing as they bring unrelenting energy to the Ritual crowd. A real bomb-blast of a performance that quickly goes top of our lists… for now!

Dave threatens to play on all night as he’s not been paid yet, which brings a little bit of tension into the air. It’s not really a common occurrence to have an extreme metal band revealing their business woes onstage. But it sure fired the band up.

‘We Will F*cking Kill You’ is a suitable example!

In the end, Anaal Nathrakh don’t go on all night out of respect to Canvas (who are on next), but we all trot off having seen a damn fine if slightly unusual show!

Everyone seems to be pretty hot on this Canvas reunion and they cram into the second stage room keen to catch a glimpse of this comeback. It’s not our cuppa really so we take a well earned five minutes and have a sit in the beer garden and have a little chill time. There is plenty still to come…

Judging by the newly purchased march on display in the crowd, Canvas were hot property today. CB always has it’s finger on the pulse… in the beer garden.

13 All Pigs Must Die CackBlabbathNow we’ve been blown away by a steady stream of bands all day. Some of them we were very familiar with, some less so. If you’d have said that All Pigs Must Die would be the band of the day at Ritual Festival before we walked into the building. Well, we wouldn’t have agreed.

Pretty shoddy on our part but we’ve never paid a hell of a lot of attention to All Pigs Must Die. We’ve had nothing against them but we’ve never really delved into their catalogue and this particular branch of cackblabbath.online have never seen them live before.

Amidst the screeching feedback and blistering energy we quickly decide that we’ve been missing out. All Pigs Must Die are fucking huge! A battering ram of a band and the aggression from formidable frontman Kevin Baker is irresistible as he barks his way through the set. The girthy guitars tickle our fancy as the band sound as though they are powered by a couple of Rolls Royce engines.

They smash through a relentless forty minutes of pure mayhem and we can’t help but be mesmerised by the performance. A band on scorching form if we ever witnessed one.

It’s always sweeter when you don’t expect it. That’s the beauty of having all these great bands on a plate for you at festivals like this, you’re always going to be surprised by someone. Today we realised that we like All Pigs Must Die quite a lot!

Cheers Ritual Fest x

Straight on to the next one and Misery Index keep up the general pattern of outright brutality. By far the biggest band to grace the second stage today, they have the place packed out and from time to time, moving like a swarm of drunken wildebeests.

ihsahn 01Another intense show, but at some stage we have to have something a little different. Ritual’s big coupe for this year is Ihsahn for their only UK show in 2017.

Now, we maybe wanted a change in pace, but due to some electrical/technical problems the wait for Ihsahn is a long one. Nobody’s fault, of course, but as we stand waiting for everyone to get some sound out f their instruments it’s a good excuse for one last drink. JD it is!

Ihsahn finally hit the stage a bit later than advertised but immediately lull us into their spell with their considerably more laud back material than we’ve been hit with for the last few hours. Its different and it works well. We couldn’t take another face-melter of a band anyway…

And it’s Ihsahn that bring down the curtain on the festival.

Ritual Festival has been a blast. A few glitches here and there aside, the festival treads a steady line between charming DIY and the proper big festivals. The relaxed atmosphere really sucked us in and the fact that they ordered belting weather for us to utilise the outside area was a real winner too.

It was an endless outlet of energy that never gave up for too long but bands of the day have to go to All Pigs Must Die, Conjurer and the mighty Kurokuma!

So our first taste of Ritual Festival was a good one and we’ll be back next year! If they’ll have us…