There were a few sore heads in Birmingham in the aftermath of Alestorm… but that didn’t stop the party from going off with a bang on HRH Metal’s second day. HRH Mag’s Richard Holmes was at the O2 Academy to witness the action.

Fired up

Fire Red Empress had the unenviable task of opening HRH Metal’s main stage on Sunday – yet the quintet rose to the challenge, charging headlong into a gutsy, passionate set of razor sharp metal, and pulling an initially subdued crowd with them for the ride. Singer Jennifer Diehl was an inspiration…and the cover of Beastie Boys classic Sabotage? Well, that was just off the scale.

Rock royalty

Italy may not be one of the biggest players on the power metal scene, but it’s clearly a case of quality over quantity: Elvenking’s slick, classy performance really stood out at HRH Metal and frontman Damna seemed genuinely touched by the HRH response. But his band truly deserved the love shown to them, especially after treating us to the likes of Neverending Nights.

Skarred for life

Not many people made it to stage three for Skarthia’s evening set…those who did, though, witnessed something special. The Londoners’ thrashy, muscular metal was a revelation, as was amiable frontman Avichai Myers, who put in one of the day’s most commanding performances. We Will Prevail they sang – and we’re sure they will.

Pride of the West Midlands

It was fitting that Memoriam – who boast a heritage that takes in Bolt Thrower and Benediction – were one of the main attractions on Sunday’s bill. Fitting that at the home of metal, some of its finest sons were able to lay down a lesson in savage, crushing extremity. The quartet, whose roots lie in Birmingham’s embryonic death and grind scenes, were here to play in front of friends, family and a hugely appreciative audience. And they certainly lived up to expectations, with a set hewn from crusty, politically charged old school death metal, and a pulverising delivery that left the first few rows absolutely shellshocked. Drone Strike, Resistance and Reduced To Zero mixed it with new tracks such as Bleed The Same, and hearing frontman Karl Willets eulogizing about Birmingham’s traditions of tolerance, diversity and inclusiveness brought a lump to the throat. Fearsome band, fearsome reputation, fearsome performance.

Footprints in the Grave…

German metal royalty Grave Digger and Manchester party rockers Footprints In The Custard went head to head on Sunday night, in a full volume, festival topping soundclash that shook the O2 Academy to its core. On the main stage, Christopher Boltendahl and friends soared through ‘Digger classics such as Excalibur and Witch Hunter, while stage 2 was treated to a large chap in a mankini…and songs about Ainsley Harriot, autoerotic asphyxiation and Gail from Coronation Street. Yep, you heard that right.

Exclusive Images Courtesy Of HRH Mag Festivals Photographer Simon Dunkerley


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