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Review by Sheri Bicheno

Its been some time since I was at a Warhorns event. The first was in 2018 on my 31st birthday - and that was one of the BEST birthday’s I’d had.A field full of mates, camping with some close ones, mead, metal and a wonderful vibe. Shenanigans were had and new people were met… Glyn and co put on a blinding event and I’ll never forget it.This time, the wonderful team at Warhorns have teamed up with the equally awesome Dan’s and their team at Heavy Metal Entertainment. These guys are the oracles of all underground metal news and vlogs, thrown in with some tongue in cheek banter, very honest opinions and a massive dose of humour, sarcasm and wit. So to see that these two forces had teamed up to bring an all dayer of some of the best bands in power, thrash and pagan metal, was an absolute treat.

I’d been scooped up on the way to Wakefield by Akilla’s Dave and Kath and after dropping all at the hotel around the corner and letting Kath adorn my face with nordic protection runes, I left for the venue. Venue 23 is super deceiving from the outside. The inside is a generous size and has an open space for the stage and two areas for seating (merch) and standing. First up, Midlands legends Womenonwar took the stage to inject some power struck parody into the crowd! Getting the crowd geared up, the place was bouncing and coming alive with the first offering of the night. The place was buzzing with people spilling in and a sea of battle jackets and helms bounced along with renditions of ‘Call To Arms’ and Brothers of Metal. Guitar shredding galore with powerful buggy bassnotes hit the crowd for the first of the evening.

Blackened side of Death Metal with Yorkshire’s Valfar turned up the doomy metal energy next. The Ballad of Plainfield drove buillet speed energy with elements of sludgy grating guitars and raw vocals. The energy here was pretty huge with a heavy as fuck atmosphere and low chuggy basslines. With the odd guitar squeak circling around some gorgeously heavy melodics and battering ram style vocals, this track saw to it that the crowd had it’s first pit and bodies flying about,Melodic stinging riffs and beautifully entwined blast beats took the pure evil tone to another level.

Talking of blackened Death, a bunch that have crafted so intricately through the last few years are the brutal guys in Blood Oath. If you’ve seen them rip up the stage donning (fake) blood and a killer presence, they cant go unnoticed. Infernum Diabolos, I’ve said it before… has to be my favourite track on the from these fellas and it really shows what Blood Oath are fully capable of. The killer riff that introduces us to this track takes us forward into a slow but absolutely belting headbanger before laying waste to some speed induced riffs and beats, with twists and turns of changing pace, something i absolutely adore in a good death metal track. Mark ‘Thrax’ Johnson’s vocals here are as ever threatening and rumble from the depths whilst Monuments to a Ruin gives way for Fraizer and Mike to work their riffs together to conjure some jawdropping heaviness into the crowd.

One genre I adore is always melodic death metal and tonight;s champions are some of my favourite people - Norwich/Cambridgeshire’s answer to melodic death Akilla.Armed with enough on the smoke machine to blind a lighthouse, the atmosphere these guys create whilst on stage is utterly mesmerising. A furious riff starts straight off ‘Serpent and the Son’ giving way to an intense energy that hits your soul.. I’ve always said these guys know how to balance the melancholy and light with their brutal tones and beautifully melodic inputs. Ross’s vocals are exceptional and are matched to the moods that Akilla emit. Bassist Kath wields her strings so intricately on this track not just providing the low and chuggy bassnotes but also the offering of the backbone to Ginge’s drums before David’s winding melodics of the strings of Blood and Bone comes along and gives a much more brutal turn of events.

Deciding that they’d rather play sooner than later, headliners Venaheim make a surprise next appearance and kickstart things with a beautifully cosmic instrumental introduction. At this point, the inflatable pineapples are in the air, the lantern’s are swinging on the stage and the story telling starts.Vocals from Zino van Leerdam are melodic and channeled and the guitars are full of power!! They have an epic sound in their live setting that alternate between slow and gentle and fast and catching.

These folk sections differ in some way but in stunning dreamlike elements not dissimilar to blackened metal such as Rotting Christ in areas.. 

Reuzenspraak is a strong fan favourite. The vocals are rough but with so much feeling.and lands in a awesome ending that leaves you mistified before Gevallen in de Nacht kicks in with a stunning intro to conclude the set.

One of the UK’s most fun pirate bands Red Rum head up the evening well into the early hours with talks of rum, creating conga lines and human rowboats. This set is chaos and plenty of it right up to the rendition of They’re Taking The Hobbits To Isengard to conclude the evening.

What an amazing event put on by HME and Warhorns… here’s to their future collaborations!

Get yourself to one. You’re missing out!


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