HRH Metal returned to Birmingham O2 Academy this weekend after a hugely successful inaugural shindig in 2017. HRH Mag’s Richard Holmes was there to get a taste of the mayhem (and a tot or two of rum)…
As 2017’s HRH Metal proved, this is a festival where up and coming bands can make a real impact. Take Metaprism for instance. The Bournemouth sextet have just released their sophomore album, Catalyst To Awakening and last night proved why their gaining momentum at home and abroad, thanks to tracks like Unleash The Fire. The dual vocal performance of Theresa Smith and Joey Draper on stage three was a joy to behold… and you wouldn’t bet against the band hitting the main arena next year. Hull trio XIII also made a few new friends with their angular, gritty alt-metal… and a passionate delivery that warmed up the mid-afternoon crowd.
Warcrab and Ironrat could have easily graced last year’s HRH Doom Vs Stoner line-up and their punishing, deep Iommian tones were the perfect antidote to the more lighthearted fare over on the main stage. Warcrab brought a truckload of sludge from Plymouth and dumped it all over the second stage, pulverising an audience who’d clearly bought into their deathly, NOLA-soaked anti-anthems, while the fearsome Ironrat burrowed their way further into the heart of the UK’s stoner scene, courtesy of a triumphant, brutally intense set on stage three.
Over the last seven years, Monument have been flying the flag for classic, unashamedly British heavy metal… and as yesterday’s set showed the Londoners have become extremely good at it. This quintet have a knack for injecting real energy into their NWOBHM-inspired ditties and in frontman Peter Ellis, they boast a set of pipes to rival those of any of their contemporaries (and even some of the old guard). Throw in the dual axework of Lewis Stephens and Dan Baune, and anthemic songs like Lionheart and Rock The Night, and you had one of Saturday’s most impressive performances, all wrapped up in a Union Jack.
Fun, frolics and fantasy were the order of the day on the O2 Academy’s main stage: Evil Scarecrow’s Crabulon, mutated pincers held aloft, gave Maiden mascot Eddie a run for his money, The Dread Crew of Oddwood baffled and enthralled in equal measure with their acoustic sea shanties (straight from Southern California!) and Birmingham’s Hærken gave us a death metal take on Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, while dressed as druids and Scottish clansmen. A NASA astronaut, flying saucers and even Link from Zelda graced the stage at one point. Anyone who thinks metal can be a little po-faced these days should have been at HRH Metal on Saturday…
What the duck?
…speaking of which. Alestorm came, saw and conquered with a typically exuberant set in Birmingham – all under the watchful eye of a giant yellow bath duck. Christopher Bowes and co. brought their Piratefest to the second city, inspiring plenty of rum quaffing and hearty merriment, and wooing the crowd with a greatest hits set featuring everything from Captain Morgan’s Revenge and Nancy The Tavern Wench to Magnetic North and Mexico. Celebrating a decade of plunder on the high seas, Alestorm had a packed O2 Academy eating (and drinking) out of their hands: the boys have a special connection with the HRH community and last night that bond was reaffirmed.
Exclusive images by HRH Mag Festival Photographer Simon Dunkerley and Sean Larkin