Evil Scarecrow live at Damaged Stock 2011 - Photo by Jon Davies
On arrival, Laceration Of Fate were already tearing up the stage with a set of brutal, uncompromising modern metal, pushing all the right buttons and getting an increasingly loud response from the slowly building crowd. Their tight grooves and powerful drums definitely shook away the cobwebs for those who arrived early.
They were succeeded by Nottingham thrash metallers Incinery who delivered a punishing set of belligerent vocals and impressive guitar chops, rampaging through tracks from their recent “Dawn Of War” EP along with a cover of “Territory” by the mighty Sepultura to produce the first of many pits.
|Mantra live at Damaged Stock 2011 - Photo by Jon Davies|
Totally shifting the tone of the evening, Gehtika managed to both perplex and beguile the crowd with their unique mix of vaudevillian theatrics and industrial metal stomp. With an eclectic and heavy sound that belied their unusual appearance, the four piece soon had the audience responding loudly to their thrashing grooves and barked vocals, stamping their name indelibly on the memory of all those who saw them.
Arguably the most extreme act on the bill, Bloodguard bulldozed through a concise set of warp-speed death metal, thrashing at their instruments with focussed intensity; their combination of hyper-kinetic blast-beats and sharp-edged guitar melodies whipping up a sea of banging heads and whirling circle pits.
|Triaxis live at Damaged Stock 2011 - Photo by Jon Davies|
As counter-point to this tight, focussed fury, the graceful and flowing power of Old Corpse Road provided a perfect accompaniment and contrast, their lengthy songs winding and storming with passion and pride. Their striking use of keyboards and powerful 4-way vocal delivery lifted their emotive, folk-infused black metal to new heights and saw the assembled crowd totally enraptured by their performance.
Confounding expectations Northampton thrashers Valhalla proved themselves a far more ambitious and nuanced collective than many of their peers, their skilfully adept and unflinchingly precise performance showcasing their technical talents and complex compositions to great effect. Unfortunately mounting hunger forced me to decamp from Rock City temporarily, missing the performance of low-slung groove-monsters Mantra, who apparently had the whole place banging their heads and raising the horns. Next time perhaps.
|Evil Scarecrow live at Damaged Stock 2011 - Photo by Jon Davies|
My return coincided with the penultimate set of the evening, with Triaxis providing a classic and timeless set of quality heavy metal. Soaring and powerful clean vocals, backed up by some well-placed backing harmonies and shouts, adding smooth textures to the groups biting riffs and galloping drums. Their fiery performance was punctuated by some impressive and mesmerising guitar solos, culminating in a fist-pumping run through of Iron Maiden classic The Wicker Man.
Following a short break for the raffle (yes that’s right, a raffle – more metal gigs need to have a raffle) it was time for the headline act, the incomparable Evil Scarecrow. Punctuating the pomposity of their introduction with cheerful aplomb, the group ploughed through a meaty set of old favourites and new surprises, with highlights including the infectious refrain of new song Elephant Boy, the absurd Lovecraft-meets-Monty-Python horror of The Book Of Doom and the modern classic that is Blacken The Everything. Closing with an inspired cover of The Final Countdown the group ended the evening in triumphant style, having raised well over a thousand pounds for charity and irreparably damaged the minds and livers of hundreds of happy punters.
Damaged Stock took place at Rock City on Saturday 3 September 2011.