The very last day of the festival was not for the faint hearted, as it boasted some of the heavier bands of the weekend, and it really was time to squeeze every last ounce of energy out of the crowd. However opening up the morning was something to soothe those hangovers and get things off to a more relaxed start, with an acoustic set from Esme, who brought her hearty vocals and elegant guitar work. It was a soothing start to the day. She also threw in a cover of Halestorm’s, ‘Miss The Misery’ which she definitely had the voice to pull off.
Once she had finished, it was time for the hard stuff, with Spiral Dive playing next as Hypothesis had pulled out of playing the festival. The band who have been going a whopping 10 years, showed how in sync each member are with each other, they were rather quite flawless from start to finish. Playing together that long means you can really hone in on your live performance and they were the wakeup call all the heavy heads needed! Sunday was off to a flyer!
The Mariana Hollow quickly followed suit and I have got to say this is a band that I have the upmost respect for, especially with their bass player Scott Chesworth being blind; he is a true testament to what the human body can do despite being disadvantaged, not only that but he is a fantastic bass player! Rebecca Spinks takes lead vocals on a band that are producing a unique take on alternative metal at the moment, tracks like ‘Don’t Lose Your Head and ‘Final Call’ showcase the band’s ability to blend some really powerful yet dark elements into their writing process, its technical and the band produce a spin tingling performance, to really leave the crowd talking about this band!
London based Designs of Chaos were up next who brought a pretty face melting performance, despite being so early on in the day, and those who were still in bed would have be shaken by the sound this band produced. Their deathly guitar riffs and aggressive vocals would keep any headbanger more than satisfied, especially with tracks like ‘Infected in Humanity’. Sunday was the day for brutality and they certainly delivered that, it was loud, in your face and everything you would want at a metal festival.
The turn over times were incredible all weekend, a maximum of a ten minute wait between each band, meaning there was less waiting around and more music on offer, coming on next was Silent Descent who brought their trance-metal to an intrigued crowd, not going to lie on paper it doesn’t look great, but played live it is a complete mind fuck in the best possible way, this band have added enough elements from each genre to create something new and original. You have to give them a lot of credit for having the balls to do what they do and when they do it so well, they certainly will gather a bigger following as they grow as a band.
Bringing some Nightwish-esque metal to the Rock and Metal Circus was the excellent Splintered Soul, who treated us to songs from their latest offering ‘Lore’, with pint sized lead singer Erica Mengod producing pinpoint vocal accuracy, they were the only band from that genre there this weekend and they pulled the biggest crowd of the day so far, which was great to see, as they really are mesmerising to watch. People don’t seem to realise they that are actually fronted by two women, with violin player Sally Jo shredding as if it was a guitar, this band have so many dimensions and deserve attention!
Diaries Of Heroes brought a performance for any musician watching to take note, their technical metal is performed with so much conviction, the band have clearly worked hard on their live shows and tracks ‘Shine Upon The Sun’ tick all the metal melody boxes, it’s easy on the ear- this band have already supported big acts like Motorhead and Anthrax, after watching their set I expect this to continue, there is something big brewing here.
Balls Deep may seem like a joke band when you see their name, but after watching their set this is a band that you should all take seriously, they do not mess about here. With a building reputation within in the underground scene it’s easy to see why they have made such a name for themselves, they are on a rampage to prove that they have what it takes to make a big break, with songs from their Christie EP dominating their set, they brought the thunder.
The next band looked like they have just escaped from a Saw film, with Meta-Statis coming onto to stage with blood stained white jump suits and a masked synth player, to bring even more destruction to the festival, they reminded me of the love child between Job For A Cowboy and The Defiled. They had the synth structures of the latter and the raw aggression of the former, and it’s a combination that seems to be working for the band, they were one of the loudest bands of the weekend!
This weekend proved that this was such a ridiculously strong line-up, especially when Lifer took to the stage, yet another band that has graced the plains of Catton Hill this summer. Their concoction of doom metal and stone rock is a recipe for success, which had the crowd in the party spirit once again, it’s a true testament to this band’s song writing skills because they have developed some fantastic material. Tracks like ‘Curse Them Out’ and ‘Nothing Left To Lose’ are as good live as they are on record, and the band’s tracks belong on big stages and after this performance they are more than ready for main stages at festivals!
Reign Of Fury are another band living up to their name, they rode and unleased utter fury, they completely owned the stage, with their Evile-esque thrash metal, it sounded huge and was heavy as fuck! If you are a fan of thrash metal, especially British thrash metal, then do go and pick up their EP ‘Psycho Intentions’ and their album ‘World Detonation’ they are exactly you thrash-heads should own!
The guys in Skreamer had been camped out all weekend to enjoy what the festival had to offer, which is great to see from the band. They are a band that work non stop on their music and are one that love to tour around to make their live show even better, and Rock and Metal Circus gave them the opportunity to unleash even more chaos on the weekend, which of course they did. From the moment they started playing to crowd knew that this is a band who want it all and they sure are brilliant live musicians, the skills these guys have is something to look up to. Playing tracks like Blackened Heart, the headbanging was relentless and the sound spot on!
So much excitement surrounded the next band to play, with Wretched Soul’s brand new album already being critically acclaimed by the music folk, it was no surprise people couldn’t wait to see them play, especially tracks from the album ‘Veronica’. The band’s blend of old school metal and modern day melodic death metal really is a brilliant live spectacle, and this band really do exude so much talent and charisma, their set will no doubt go down in rock and metal folklore now, it was thunderous and it was as if the great Greek god Zeus was crashing down lightning bolts from the heavens, metal delivered at such a high velocity really is astonishing and this band have everything you want!
Enemo J were drafted in late to replace Gravil and having been confirmed to play 2014, this was the chance for the band to show the crowd what they can expect next year from the band. They are a band that have had a pretty impressive career already, 3 albums under their belts, slots at Download Festival as well as supporting the likes of Korn, this experience meant they gave a professional and classy live performance; it was absolutely mind-blowing they ripped apart the stage and unleashed hell. It was complete anarchy in the best possible way, Craig Hartwell is an exceptional front man, with his boisterous style. Tracks like their 2011 single ‘Never Fade’, sounded like a mash of Sepultura and Slipknot, it’s something you have to see live!
So here we go then, the very last band of the weekend and closing a day that has been an onslaught of heavy hitting music from the outset, it was time for Collapse to headline the final night of rock and metal circus, closing the curtain with an almighty bang. From the minute they walked on stage, it was clear to see what their intentions were, give this festival the ending it so rightfully deserved; their explosive set was fitting to say the least. The metal scene is about to get another caged beast into the mix, this band who have released their debut album ‘Arms and the Covenant’, have their sights set on playing in the big leagues and after their blistering headline set tonight, I think Rock and Metal circus has pulled a right gem out of the heavy metal bag.
It’s music to make get up and move, its aggression that’s fuelled by electrifying energy, when they drop songs like ‘The Cursed’ and ‘The Death Of Man’ it’s plain to see why this band have been tipped by the likes of Metal Hammer and Terrorizer to become the next big metal band out of Britain; they are on a path of destruction and we should let them carry on their rise to the top. Rock and Metal circus has produced one hell of a lineup this year, and overall the whole weekend has been well run, clean, all topped off with fantastic live music and a friendly atmosphere. Spread the word people and let’s make 2014 even bigger!
Review: James Hingle
Photos: Craig Hutton