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Live Review: Mangata Festival, Nottingham

Review and Photos by Sheri Bicheno

Returning on a slightly bigger scale than last year, Nottingham's newest and one of their most exciting events took place at three venues with mutiple stages in the form of Mangata Festival.

I'd attended the event last year at the Old Cold Store and it was absolutely killer. The sun was shining, the deathcore was flowing and the venue itself devised of the outdoor open area and the indoor smaller stage. This year was held at Rescue Rooms, Red Rooms just above it and the Tap and Tumbler just down the road. Upon arrival is a warm greeting and the Rescue Rooms is a great venue for those who want a different vibe in each room. The main bar is brimming with bands with merch, people just chilling having a drink and the outside area some great street food and people who'd rather be outside chilling out and chatting. First band for me was Math band A-Tota-So in the Red Rooms. A room with a small stage but a huge atmosphere doused in red lights and a heaving stage floor. A-Tota-So heave in with a proggy intro with some elements of sludgy dynamics and angles of contrast to soak up.

Far Enough gave QOTSA vibes to start with in the light of desert rock infused tones before skipping in with some intricate guitar streams and proggy basslines. These guys would be the ideal band to absorb if you're looking for a dreamlike stoner vibe. Really enjoyed their set!

Staying in the Red Rooms, the first slice of Deathcore is served as Nottingham's Azazel with The Five Hundred/Draconian Reign's Kelsey James filling in on the drums. Made of exceptionally filthy, slab induced riffs and tech infused bassnotes, Azazel bulldozed the red rooms and turned the place upsidedown. Gritty bass tones and blast beats fuelled the absolutely digusting breakdowns and sent the room into Mangata's first chaos of the day.

Downstairs in the main stage of the Rescue Rooms, one of the UK's most exciting underground thrash bands Hellfekted took to the stage doused in bright lights and grinning faces. "We like to see movement!" frontman Liam commands the energy of the crowd, which is brimful to the back of the venue. And they did not dissapoint!

Death of Iron remains one of my favourite tracks - the energy from start to finish in it's live setting is frankly, fucking incredible. Starting with a speedy under riff that blends into a rhythm of duos, the harmony over the top came in like a battering ram about to hit, hyping the crowd into a feral ball. The guitars between Becky Webster and Liam Stubbs are insanely good. The speed and depth of thrashy but steady notes combine into the rhythm of the kit to deliver a mindblowing set. Liam's vocals are pretty diverse where he displays gruff chords with higher screams, delivering such a killer set.

Staying in the main stage, next up are Nottingham newest Deathcore favourites Draconian Reign - i've missed just one of their shows since their debut last year and every time they are mind blowing. Doused in hues of blue and darkness, they are pure absorbing in energy and visuals. The absolute pipes on frontman James Hibberd are flawless - and the make up of how these guys work together is so tight. Approaching the stage the guys are in black and immediately the atmosphere is plunged into darkness. Intro “The Awakening” serves as a dark synthy suspense flowing into heavy technical breakdown riffs to give a taste of what’s to come… Symphonic deathcore at its finest. “It Came From Hell” serves as one of Draconian Reign’s most popular songs from their first EP Necromantic and is still as striking as ever. Sticks and pedal lord Kelsey is a pure machine, wielding the devastating blows that blastbeat their way through the track with precision, picking up the odd moments of technical tempo changes.

“Necromantic” sees to it that the crowd are submerged into a pure frenzy.

The tempo still drops towards the brutal core side of these guys, but in it’s live setting, Draconian Reign has some extremely raw death splinters that root themselves deeply into the set.

Upstairs in the Red Room, prominent Deathcore legends Harbinger squeeeeze themselves onto the stage - and the lads make use of what they can whilst delivering a pummeling performance. Bassist Kris Aarre fully gets into this vibe whilst delivering crushing tones on top of the speakers, with headbangers of the crowds down the front almost on top of the band, its actually a sight to behold where back in the day, getting proper down to the nitty dritty and feel like you're part of the show re-lives itself right here. "Let's keep this energy going!" Vocalist Dilan Alves lashes encouragement into the crowd and things get rowdy. He engages with the crowd and delivers outstanding gutturals vocals that echo across the room and the whole place trembles. Guitarist Charlie is master of frets today. His technique delivers tech infused djent and deathcore that has filthy reverbarim with the outstanding blastbeats of the kit. Love Harbinger anywhere they play.

Heading back downstairs, London/Brighton's devils of death metal Red Method shower the stage in an energy so ferocious that the whole room turns into one giant pit of bodies. These guys pour their souls into their performance with absolutely stunning musicianship of filty neckbreaking riffs and breakdowns that gnarl and rip with blastbeats into a chasm of pure chaos. Frontman J has the crowd eating from the palm of his hand, he is interactive with everyone and pulls the backbone of the loudest tremble so far of the stage with his dynamic and relentless energy twinned with vocals that melt your face off. With 'Messiah' 'The Absent' and my favourite 'Ideaology of the Sick' theyv deliver one of the best sets of the day.

Back to the Red Room for Godeater, the energy in the room is filled with steam and hot, heavy harmonies that flit with tech-djent maddening tones and some stunning atmomspherics amongst blast beats as heavy and absorbing as the gorgeously soul burning riffs. The vocals are incredibly powerful and weave in between high rasps and deep gutturals that turn in tone as the set reveals a stunning plethora of ethereal moods and heavy as hell moods. Ansolutely stunning.

Back to the main stage, Raging Speedhorn set another high bar with attitude and pure gritty tones. Vocalist Frank throws a beer into the crowd and with this defiance, launches full pelt with Dan into duo vocals that are ground shaking. The energy is vicious and the place is in chaos with a slight debaucherous feel to the air. The sheer ferociousness these guys deliver is astounding. Don’t trifle with them, they know how to party. Their presence on stage is pure aggression and fire. Fast as f* ear hammering thrash elements and then SMASH!

Frank is a non stop force on vocals “SPITFIYYAAAAAAA” The whole room is going mental!! "Buy a burger and fuck off" 

The energy is poised for brutal tech death outfit Heart of a Coward headlining tonight. A sonic assault striaght to the core, the fusion of low ebbed tech infused guitars and killer blast beats on the drums makes way for filthy vocals to emit into the crowd.

Decay and Hollow is amongst the set that completely catapults the energy of the crowd to the rafters with sickening beats and polished guitar techniques that blend in and out of brutal tech death to deathcore. The closing track, ‘Deadweight’, is a fan favourite and leaves no stones unturned and takes no prisoners. No one is going home with their faces still on...

The Mangata Fest team are exceptional and ran a tight ship with no obvious hiccups - the team are friendly and the day was a killer atmosphere. What an extraordinary event!!


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