Festival Review: CVLT Fest Resurrected, Rebellion, Manchester

This is shaping up to be a busy weekend in Manchester with the city expecting massive amounts of people just for sporting events, never mind the ten tons of heavy music about to flatten Rebellion over the next two days!

Day One Highlights

Hundred Year Old Man are up first, with their artful, deep and intense take with drones and sound manipulation bridging the slabs of heaviest post metal. There are many tricks in their bag with Violin bows being used on guitars and pulsing a rhythmic charge. Hundred Year Old Man’s sound is both harrowing and beautiful in equal measures sometimes both at the same time. This Leeds based outfit have truly hypnotised the swelling crowd from the off. As their fractured soundscapes permeate the bludgeoning riffing with intelligence and skill, they leave the crowd utterly stunned into submission. What a start!

Which sets the stage for the almighty, Mastiff, how much praise can we heap on one band? Loads it seems and here comes some more! It’s so heartening to see a band so clearly driving on more cylinders than should be possible and having the time of their lives. Early in the set, latest single, ‘Void’ utterly decimates Rebellion seemingly as a statement of intent! Mastiff are every bit as devastating as we’d expect and never had such a nasty sounding band been so joyous! Lead album single ‘Serrated’ gets dedicated to Harry Nott from Burner in his absence and sounds as gnarly as a backyard pool skate session with no protection. ‘Pitiful’ from their latest album ‘Deprecipice’ also sounds utterly savage live! Squealing slabs of noise punctured by THAT cymbal sound (seriously man best cymbals ever!) The bass sound is obscenely filthy too, it should be on a register or something! Golden oldie ‘Nightcreeper’ takes us into Grindcore territory and is utterly disgusting in all the best ways! Tonight, Mastiff are everything brilliant about UK extreme metal right now, heavy as hell, noisy as roadworks with a hangover and the most brutal fun you can have in a sweaty club. As the stage divers in the house will no doubt attest!

After that ugly display of awesomeness comes a wave of pure beauty, Pijn (Pronounced, pine we found out later) are absolutely majestic tonight with added strings courtesy of former Dawn Ray’d man Simon Barr which was a very pleasant surprise! Melancholia and forlorn melodies move like the sea and as sure as the ocean, moments of calm soon stir into crashing sonic waves. It’s a totally immersive experience live and a testament to the diversity of this bill expertly curated by Mike and the gang at Lizard King and Riffolution, everything exciting about festivals like ArcTanGent is represented here in a compact perfect bundle and we’re still only three bands into the first day. When the full force comes though, again with the oceanic analogy it utterly drowns you and thrashes you around. This is such physical sounding music, utterly alive with so much movement and dexterity. It is a totally overwhelming listen. So much passion and emotion emanate from the stage it’s hard not to tear up a bit, totally instrumental but saying way more for it. If you want evidence of the power of music to move, exhilarate and entirely confound you, look no further than Pijn and thank us later!

And so, it’s down to DVNE to see out night one. A slightly heavier proposition but with equal complexity and a lot for fans of Mastodon and their ilk with the added bonus of savvy keyboard playing and a style that owes much to classic rock and metal alongside post metal’s monolithic sweeping tonality and abstractions. The dual vocal attack delivers texturally and there’s often a nod to progressive rock in the mix. DVNE feels almost conventional on this bill but that says more about how many bases have been covered already today. So, with dizzying arpeggios and skittering drums in our ears we bid farewell to day one of this awesome festival. The crowd are ecstatic, one shouts, “You are Metal Gods!!” At DVNE as they launch into their psychedelic fuzzy parting blasts. Tonight, we all are!! Man!

Day Two Highlights

Battalions open day two with some of the best stoner grooves this side of Clutch. This is a band who likes a bit of a boogie with a side order of crushing riffage. It’s a great upbeat start to Saturday. Locking into furious double speed switch ups between hip locking beats, there’s a great sense of swing at play that really lifts early spirits and gets the heads banging. Vocally it’s a fry attack which keeps the music on the right side of brutal amongst all of the fuzzy warmth emanating from the speakers. Battalions are immense fun and just the tonic to get the party started with a dip in their hip and plenty of junk in the trunk!

Thick as molasses doomy filth courtesy of Goblin Smoker is up next, definitely for fans of Sleep, Electric Wizard and their ilk. You can feel the devil’s lettuce in the down tuned grind. Slow and low that’s how they do it. Whirling effects and gargled vocals sear the sludgy crawl. It’s all very primal and gratifyingly nasty. The band set the tone for day two which is definitely aside from the amazing Wallowing (who we sadly miss) is a day mostly devoted to doom metal variations.

Grave Lines full frontal sometimes Avant Garde take on the doom genre is an altogether more artful trip with synths and effects and Jake Harding’s mournful croon giving way to a passionate bark and back again. They are utterly ablaze today and in guitar god Oliver Hill they have a riff monolith in human form. The guy just bleeds this music, and the thunderous rhythm section simply eradicates Rebellion today! Grave Lines’ next album will absolutely raise them up several levels on this form. Remember where you read this!

Our coverage of CVLT Fest Resurrected ends with the incredible Sugar Horse. This band just blows minds every time we see them. These days they sound so utterly precise in their attack whether at full pelt or on the pulled back segments where it becomes apparent what an incredible singer Ash Tubb is these days! At times honestly, he sounded like he could front an eighties new romantic act (this is a really great thing and a compliment) his voice always tinged with minor key melancholy though and never far from a full-on rasping howl. As they plunder from their amazing ‘Truth Or Consequences’, New Mexico’ EP and fantastic string of singles it’s very apparent that this is a band expanding into the surroundings and taking the full ‘sonic spectrum with them. The baritone guitar and bass combo rattling the foundations of this building to its core. An inspired exploration of texture and sound that lifts Sugarhorse to legendary status to our ears.

As we sadly leave for other engagements we are safe in the knowledge that we have witnessed an incredible couple of days of music and atmosphere cementing the fact that the UK has so much to offer in terms of exciting boundary pushing heavy music.

Massive respect to all of the bands and to Mike Linehan for pushing the true sound of the underground!

Review & Photos By George Miller – https://linktr.ee/601music

Hundred Year Old Man





Goblin Smoker

Grave Lines

Sugar Horse