Tonight is billed as a face-off between two rather amazing record labels and a takeover of the Underworld. Basick are celebrating their 7th year in business and S.O.A.R, their 6th. Tonight's showcase features some of the label's finest acquisitions from various genres, so if you want Technical, Death, Hardcore or the latest industry buzzword 'Djent', then these are your labels.
Kicking off today's mega all-dayer are technical, heavy proggers, Visions (Basick, 6) who start off a tad slow and look a bit static. But they grew in confidence as the set went on and the crowd numbers rose. The Peterborough-based bunch show some serious talent and a good knowledge of their instruments, with fretboard-covering riffing and crazed drum breaks. Unfortunately, some massive issues with the sound took some of the momentum of the set as their guitarist was left to jam some Limp Bizkit. They could be one's to watch.
Here to deliver a lesson in how to meld together metal with hardcore influences are Reading ragers Terakai (S.O.A.R, 8). They explode straight out of the traps with scathing fury and frontman Joe Knipe is snarling and tearing his way through the set list. The whole band show good energy and have a real weight behind their music along with the odd melody strategically deployed. The crushing beatdown and the wonderful tapped riff from set closer 'Paradox' open up a wild pit and the Underworld is beginning to come alive.
Bringing in a vast array of varied influence are noisy southerner mob No Consequence (Basick, 7). They combine a predominantly hardcore sound with lashings of melody and the odd dash of prog. Their music is enjoyable and unpredictable as they journey through the swagger of their beatdowns and the complexity of their technical song structures; they top the whole thing off with heartfelt, clean vocal parts and a deathly bellow. Despite the range of influences in their music the songs remain coherent and the numbers start to swell at the front of the stage.
Before even a single note can be played by Against the Flood (S.O.A.R, 7), a complete madman is stomping around the front of the stage, in tartan trousers, and kicks the kids in the front row into life. "This man knows what to do" laughs frontman Matt Church as the energetic techy hardcore mob kick off. It's a solid performance from the Surrey based crew as they sit somewhere between Architects, Biohazard and Periphery.
Dyscarnate (S.O.A.R, 9) offer the heaviest sound of the evening with their uncompromising slab of death metal. The monstrous three-piece produce an immense wall of sound and destroy absolutely everything in their path. Bludgeoning cuts from their latest opus 'And So It Came to Pass…' bluntly cave in your skull with furious riffing and bass tones that register on the Richter scale. 'A Drone in the Hive' and monolithic anthem 'The Promethean' are devastatingly brutal and wreck necks throughout the Underworld. With Dyscarnate's array of carefully crafted, bruising tracks and titanic sound, they could achieve death metal domination.
Can Basick retort to such sonic destruction? Well apperntly Rémi Gallego's brainchild, The Algorithm (Basick, 9) can, by bringing a party like no other. Bringing with him the uber-talented drummer Mike Malyan from Djent-masters Monuments creates a euphoric rave amongst the metalheads. His torrent of digital sounds and beats draws in a huge crowd and gets everyone on their feet. The Algorithm are very unique in their delivery and seemingly adapt to any crowd. This is a star in the making and unlike anything I have ever seen. Catch him next time round!
First and foremost, high praise is due for Demoraliser (S.O.A.R, 6) for putting out a t-shirt with Pip-Boy from Fallout on them! After my inner nerd was brought out by this truly genius merch design, I made my way to the floor. Demoraliser are very straight forward and blunt. Huge breakdowns and throat shredding vocals dominate their sound and a nice bounce and grunt from Emmure, blending in some melodic guitars leaves us with a rather unoriginal sound but you can't doubt the ferocity of their live show.
British hardcore is spawning bands across the country at an alarming rate. There is a lot of quality coming through the ranks and melodic upstarts Heart in Hand (S.O.A.R, 8) are one of the top talents of the genre. The raw energy of the band is driven home by tattoo-covered frontman Charlie Holmes who bounds about the stage and never fades. They have an arsenal of cracking songs from debut album 'Only Memories' to show off to the baying crowd.
Chimpspanner (Basick, 8) is the project of mercurial bedroom guitarist Paul Ortiz. He creates the nimble-fingered anthems completely solo. Jaw-dropping technicality and 8-string wizardry are the main draw of the Colchester-based shredder and his band of skillful brothers. Mesmeric tapping and fretboard scaling solos rip and tear through the PA as the masses have gathered in awe of their talent. They delicately layer their sprawling displays of talent over dreamy samples leaving everyone with their mouths embedded in the puddles of cider by their feet.
There really is no winner tonight in this Basick vs Siege of Amida showdown, except the lucky punters who grabbed a ticket early and saw 10 bands for £6! What a fantastic night! 10 bands all varying in genre, coming together to put on a hell of a show and prove that these are two of the finest labels our country has to offer.