07 June 2019

Live Review – Breaking Bands Festival – Stoke Prior Bromsgrove – 25/5/19

Not only is this a convenient little festival that’s only a 20 minute drive for me, it’s also one of the best organised events of the year, always a storming line-up and two stages that don’t clash. Camping and every amenity you could ask for and the Yorkshire Pudding Wrap on Sunday was irresistible. Heads up to Jay McGuire and everyone involved in putting this together. Now in its 5th year and growing in popularity, The Breaking Bands Festival manages to stay easy going, friendly and family orientated. No wonder it sells out months in advance. 

Photo Credit :  Drew Scott Photographic

DEATH VALLEY KNIGHTS 

Up on the main stage inside the social club, we are taken to Valhalla with these four. I caught a few off the EP ‘Valhalla Vintage’, fast riffs from these Viking thrashers with ’Taste of The Hill’ ‘Legacy’ and ‘Be The Grizzly’. Fronted by the muscular Jake Thorsen, they hit the stage like a meteorite, making a heavy impact on the crowd, despite it only being lunchtime. Ones to watch, it was a fervent performance, classic metal with a fresh approach. 

 

CROOKED SHAPES 

Out on the acoustic stage, these three guys did an amazing set, check out their EP ‘Fallout’ lovely soul filled rock with decent vocals and class guitar. A lot of talk around the field, hoping they return to do a full electric performance next year. Fingers crossed.  

CHASING DRAGONS 

The essence of Chasing Dragons is Tank, the tattooed and colourful female vocalist. Who not unlike Lzzy Hale, can command from the front with unyielding vigour. The songs this afternoon, on the main stage are all from the ‘Faction’ LP. ‘Bare Knuckle Lover’ has a hook and displays Tank’s capability to adjust her style. ‘We Are The Wall’ has some grunge guitar from Adam and more down trodden vocals. Great drumming from Kate, she’s cool to watch as well. ‘The Connection’ puts the brakes on for a while, a beautiful transition. ‘I’m No Devil (I’m Just A Girl) came out as a single, we are back to their throbbing and powerful attitude for this one. The Dragons finish with ‘Devil In Her Eyes’, yep loved them. 

GODSLAVE

This German thrash outfit, that have crossed the Channel to be here, have been in existence since 2008. Several albums have been donated, including the recent ‘Reborn Again’. Madness endures as all the band, except for drummer Tobi, mix with the audience, running around us, head banging, shaking hands and sharing selfies, while they play an assortment from the last Ten years. They are firm favourites, everyone loving their enthusiasm. Lots of Green and Black ’Reborn Again’ T Shirts are seen about afterwards, thats a good sign.  

COLINA PEARL 

Outside doing an electric slot, Colina Pearl added some flavour to proceedings. A self titled EP is out now and I would give it a listen, not just another rock band, this fairly new band to the scene, are quite remarkable. 

REAPER-X

Following on outside Reaper-X are, at 6pm, giving it some. Tracks from the new LP ‘Rise’ have some airing in the warm sunset and bassist Jake goes walkabout, enticing more of the Breaking Bands punters to venture inside the marquee. They are even joined by a head-banging dinosaur at one point ! ‘Noose’ and ‘Red Menace’ are chucked into the pot and ‘Fury In Flames’ ends the show. Thrash Metal in fine form, I think Reaper-X nailed it actually. Another band that would get my vote, to play the main stage in the future. 

THESE WICKED RIVERS

After a short break, I return to the outdoor stage for These Wicked Rivers. The guitar of Arran Day and vocals of John Hartwell, who also plays rhythm guitar, are a combination that produces some wicked noise, here in the marquee. Think Black Stone Cherry and a dollop of Cream, they are softer yet more intense than others. Just over 5 years together and Derby based they are already Planet Rock favourites. The single ‘The Enemy’ from 2015 was a regular on their Radio playlist. Not surprising, as todays performance demonstrates the bands remarkable song writing. 

THE HERETIC ORDER  

The great thing about the Breaking Bands Festival, is that there is no overlap and its a short walk from one stage to the other. Back inside on the main stage, the Heretic Order are just about to get underway. ‘Omens’ is the first of many, from the LP ‘Evil Rising’. Conjure up a band of four, who describe themselves as Horror/Occult Metal and go by the names of Lord Ragnar Wagnar, Dr Pain, Count Marcel La Vey and Priestess Morgana. Then you begin to grasp the level of gore and evil, that the Heretic Order throw at you. Vocalist Lord Ragnar, is a living corpse, drenched in tattoos, dreadlocks to his waist and deadly contact lens’s. I love the Rams head adorning his mic stand. Bass player Morgana is resplendent in a PVC dress, also looking deathly with her black hair and jewellery. ‘The Forest Of The Impaled’ and ‘Mortification of The Flesh’ are impressive, riffs from Count Marcel aplenty and you realise it’s not just the theatrics that are appealing about this band. They plug a gap in the market, alongside Mercyful Fate and King Diamond, that others fear. As quoted in their bio ‘Now is the time to heed the malevolent word and join The Heretic Order’. Awesomeness. 

   

DEVILFIRE

The last band outside today are Birminghams Devilfire. A melodic rock outfit, fronted by Alex Cooper, who founded the band back in 2013 with drummer Lars Wickett, ex Uli Jon Roth. Probably the most sleaze driven outfit here today, all of the songs they play are from the 2017 ‘Dark Manoeuvres’ album, after an intro ‘A Thousand Times’ is the beginner. Alex is a pleasing frontman, with his boyish looks and charming demeanour. He sings with passion and ’She’s Like Fire’ is one that stands out for me. ‘Waiting For A Rockstar’ is the last number, a massive haul of attitude and it rocks us into the ground, they certainly left their mark.  I was also impressed with the range of merchandise on the table, Devilfire hip flask or lighter anyone?

 

PULVERISE 

I’ve never seen Pulverise before, not counting earlier on when they were in fancy dress and partying outside. So didn’t know what to expect, although I was warned that they were different! They categorise themselves as ‘Rap Metal Partycore’ and yes it’s hard to find better words to depict the scene in front of me. Vocalist Jojo, who describes herself as ‘Chief Gobshite’ is a non-stop bundle of energy. A forty minute set comprises of tracks from the 2018 ‘Chaos Games’ and ’Sulk’ introduces the Breaking Bands audience to Pulverise. Imagine Skindred, Biohazard, Faith No More and Pantera, rolled up into a ball and chucked in your unsuspecting face. Wow, maybe not everyones favourite flavour, as this isn’t your normal type of rock band, but I do kind of like the crossover. ‘Filth’ ‘Bolotics’ and finally ‘Fooled You’ brings the party to a close.    

GIN ANNIE follow and WITCH TRIPPER are the headliners tonight. I wrote about them recently when they were at Rockforce, so can just say both were their usual awesome selves. Brilliant performance from the Gin Annie guys, whose career is moving faster than the speed of light, supports to Ugly Kid Joe and Geezer Butler’s Deadland Ritual are coming up soon, well deserved. Witch Tripper were as unrelenting and brutal as ever, such a good choice to end the Saturday night on. 

   

Special thanks to Drew Scott for the use of his photos.