Published on July 24th, 2018 | by Gareth Allen0
HRH DOOM VS HRH STONER – SHEFFIELD
HRH Doom vs HRH Stoner reaches its third chapter this year at the O2 Academy Sheffield, on the 29th and 30th September, with a stunning line up over two stages. Heading up the metal charge are some amazing headliners, in Elder and Crowbar. Elder represent the very pinnacle of what is possible musically, when doom is developed in a prog direction, with stunning expansive and heart stopping instrumental sections.
Crowbar with their New Orleans influenced sludge metal are heavy beyond belief, with massive distorted riffs and agile languid rhythms, that can’t fail to intoxicate the listener. Add in the crashing unforgiving doom of Conan, and the quirky dynamic and musically adventurous metal of OHHMS, and you have with the rest of a line up, a great weekend of metal ahead.
To give you a taste of what to expect, here are some of our highlights of the second chapter of HRH Doom vs HRH Stoner, which took place in 2017.
Kurokuma, a three piece doom behemoth from Sheffield started things off on the main stage on the Saturday. Their sound is characterised by disturbing screamed vocals, sorrowful full on guitar riffs full of sustain, and jazz influenced rhythms, full of subtle flourishes. It’s a great sound that can head of in all sorts of musical adventures, sometimes a wailing wah-wah drenched intense guitar solo, and at other times screeching swirling feedback.
Sheffield’s own Regulus play a form of infectious boogie metal which comes with a high physicality and energy. From the main stage, incredible cascades of blues notes envelop around the vocal, transforming into a crushing doom riff, and ending with a boogie section that speeds up the pace. They receive a great response from the audience, and guitarist and vocalist Luke Jennings replies in kind “You guys are fucking awesome then!”.
Boss Keloid generate a sea of head banging with their groove riffs and powerful heaving rhythms, with some wonderfully melodic vocals that weave in and out of the songs. There are also some very engaging and tricky prog elements. ‘Axis of Green’ shows the full span of what the band can do with all these elements in play.
Saint Vitus, with original vocalist Scott Reagers back in the fold, are one of the early pioneers of doom metal in the United States. They are a formidable band live, with Dave Chandler’s low and growling guitar playing, dominating everything. Scott’s vocals have expanded the sound of the band, adding depth and stretch. On the final number Dave plays his guitar behind his head and with his teeth, in the style of the legendary Jimi Hendrix. He has clearly enjoyed this set and the audience reaction.
On the Sunday Bast, a three piece with a roaring sound, who know how to really explore a musical space, commence with a musical piece lasting almost 20 minutes. Vocals are growled, and the drums sound metallic, and the guitar and bass are room filling. They can vary the pace, from down tuned slow, to an aggressive charge with blast beats. The second number has some beautiful single notes etching from the stage, accompanied by the drums hitting a periodic doom crash. Just fantastic!
Black Moth, with the incredible vocals of Harriet Bevan, absolutely storm the main stage. They have a driving metal sound, with some United States 60s west coast like influences. Especially on a track like ‘Looner’, you can almost hear a super charged Jefferson Airplane or Janis Joplin take flight. A great set!
Gurt are one of the highlights of the Festival and almost defy description. They play what can best be described as manic sludge punk metal, and in vocalist Gareth Kelly, have a very charismatic band front person with a fantastic full on intense vocal style. Each song is a rollercoaster of energy and pummelling riffs.
Kadavar from Germany are worthy headliners on Sunday. This three piece combine rock, metal and psychedelia in the most heady and dynamic of mixes. A song like ‘Tribulation Nation’ is just relentless in its thrashing style, and Hawkwind like electronics. The extending out of songs into psychedelic like jams is awe inspiring.
So if that was the second chapter, we can’t wait for the third chapter in September! This festival feast of some of the heaviest metal around, just goes from strength to strength.
Photographs by Lewis Allen