The biggest metal event ever to take place in Reading, Berkshire was held this weekend and we went along to witness the mental metalism of FACEBARMAGEDDON 2017
With almost 50 bands, on 2 stages, over 3 days, this was every metaholics dream come true…
The full-on, bad-ass, headbanging enormity of the undertaking hit home early on Friday evening when fans of seven bands squeezed into the “Blue Stage” venue [because a completely separate pagan festival was taking place on the stage next door.]
Metal-heads were thrilled to witness GAY BUM, and the sensational Wakefield 5-piece thrashers DYCHOSIS — whose “Isolation” is a lightning-fast zirconium body-blow of pure energy — and the Friday-night headliner — Bournemouth’s magnificent bashers AL B DAMNED.
Saturday began with the crazy antics of RAISED BY OWLS whose blackened grindcore is marked by brilliantly comedic moments.
And with bands such as the South-coast doom-crew THUUM [who reminded us of Mastodon-cum-BLS and whose frontman Bear played with living-force and distinctive adamantine energy & had the look of a Klingon war-leader about him] the day was a whirlwind of heady & vigorous metal bombardments.
Another stand-out act were Manchester’s comedic punk FOOTPRINTS IN THE CUSTARD whose rabid cunnilingering had the crowd pleading for more…
The somnolent landscaping and decaying structural integrity of the fest was completed in the evening by the immensely powerful London hardcore outfit CONFESSIONS OF A TRAITOR who performed with hyperactive ability and super-endowed ferocity.
We also went crazy for the locally-based death-metal squadron END OF SALVATION and the highly anticipated emotion & non-luminous energy of RAGING SPEEDHORN [the Saturday headline act.]
Overnight snow dealt big-trouble and misadventure… and so some of the expected bands just couldn’t make it… [let’s say half, and be done with it.] The journey to the Thames Valley … across a country that had come to a freezing overnight stand-still with a subtle layer of sub-zero slush had become too daunting for most…
And yet the headbangers journey continued more-or-less undeterred on Sunday with a super-array of stunning acts that included a suprise appearance by the Cornish Space Rockers CYBERNETIC WITCH CULT [en route back to the West Country, so passing through] who were able to step in and make good. Now that’s heroic!
FIRE AT DAWN discharged their sonic cannons a little later than first advertised, and SEVEN MAIN SINS continued the magnitude continuum on the Blue Stage next door.
With other top bands such as the progressive sludge-Meisters ZHORA [whose incredible “Infernal Liturgy” video is out now] and the Sandhurst NWOBHM hawkers PRIMITAI delivering outstanding displays, this was a day to be remembered.
Later, too, we enjoyed the indisputably ruthless King Leviathan who played a pulviscular set.
Festival headliners EVIL SCARECROW [now with their über-impressive — yet malevolent and untameable — Blackstar Amps] played their show early-on to give everyone a fighting chance of escaping before the ice set in… yet gave a thoroughly engaging & ridiculously entertaining set that had everything in it: From pantomime pizazz, to virulent vitality, from angular axe-work to terminal velocity percussion, extravagant histrionics a-plenty and enough crazy absurdity to make this a never-to-be-forgotten finale.
So big thanks to Ivor and his team, Matt and Bones, Sharon, John, Helen, Ellie and Ryan, the Caribbean BBQ personnel, Craig and Phil and especially Pixee on the door for putting on such an effective and important metal-fest. And an even bigger thanks to the bands who made this such a stonking success and the friendship and solidarity of all the audience for having participated in an important celebration of metal and supporting live music.