Live Review: HRH Metal IV – Day One


Live Review: HRH Metal IV - Day One - O2 Academy, Birmingham
15th February 2020
Review and photos by Tim Finch

“Let’s play a song about killing your prostitute wife”

What a way to kick off a festival, and that’s exactly what Lullaby for a Unicorn did. We’re at the fourth instalment of HRH Metal in Birmingham, this year entitled “Metal Meltdown”. The boys clad in Unicorn onesies, well their bassist is anyway, take the the third stage to start the festivities. It’s a great way to start the day.

An hour later the main stage is opened up buy melo-death-doom outfit Nailed To Obscurity. Having risen to prominence with a stunning set at Bloodstock a few years prior, anticipation was high, despite the early hour of their performance. An atmospheric forty five minutes ensued, thunderous drum lines, mods lighting and haunting vocals set the tone of the day to come.

Live Review: HRH Metal IV – Day One

As the day progresses the second stage opens up. Helgrind get this stage off to a roaring start, the London thrashers display more than a light dusting of Kreator's influence on them as their aggressive riffs cut through the atmosphere like a hot knife through butter. Later on Kyrbgrinder stand out on the same stage the trio, also from London, dabble in progressive metal with a whole bucket load of enthusiasm. Drummer Johanne James doubles up as main vocalist and it’s a magical show to watch, certainly the most energetic of the day!

Back Down on stage three, Telford’s own noise mongers Recall The Remains tear the festival apart. Raucous riffs, combines with the harsh, abrasive vocals of Jacob and the contrasting melodic vocals of Jordan. The band breathe life into the arena and the fans lap it up, watch out for this group; with a Metal 2 The Masses competition just around the corner for them, could they make Bloodstock this year? They stand a good chance!

Live Review: HRH Metal IV – Day One

Blitzkrieg on the main stage are a strange one. As the band assembles, their collective age seems to be around 25, I start to wonder is it really the same Blitzkrieg famed in NWOBHM circles? But when vocalist Brian Ross appears my queries are laid to rest, this is them. It’s an underwhelming display of NWOBHM, do they band still hold relevance today? Their self titled song ‘Blitzkrieg’, made famous by Metallica, closes off the set and it is the stand out of an otherwise "meh" performance.

Back down to stage 3 and Valafar have the fans chanting “Yorkshire, Yorkshire” in unison. We may not be in the north, but the north has certainly come to us! Their brand of doom laden heavy metal was just the ticket to close off the music in this room. Loud, proud and aggressively joyous, the world needs more Valafar in its life.

The highlight of the day on stage two is without doubt Raised By Owls, who are set to open Bloodstock this year too! They are a comedy/party metal beat combo and they certainly are the life and soul of this event. They kick things off with songs ‘Ross Kemp on Gang Bangs’ and ‘Netflix and Kill’. If you didn’t know where this set was going then you do now! By the end of the night there was a crowd surfing Mr Blobbly with a giant doubled ended dildo… that escalated quickly!

We’re back down to the main stage to close off day one of the event. First Evil Scarecrow, these days when you see them on a festival line up you start to think… “Evil Scarecrow… again?” but when it comes down to it, they are a fantastic live band. It doesn’t take long for the 1000 strong audience to be dancing along to Robototron and scurrying left and right to Crabulon, and new party favourite Hurricanado is now a solid staple of the set. Despite initial reservations of Evil Scarecrow fatigue… I don’t think the condition really exists. I challenge you to watch this band and not have fun!

Live Review: HRH Metal IV – Day One

Equilibrium are the penultimate band of the day, their brand of folk infused black metal a bit of a change from Evil Scarecrow before them. Running 20 minutes over their allotted time by the end they really make the most of the show and none of the fans are complaining about the extra Equilibrium they are getting. To close off day one Rhapsody of Fire take to the stage fashionably late, following a 20 minute overrun beforehand, they appear a graceful 40 minutes after their scheduled start, this doesn’t dampen the fan appetite for the show, despite the hour nearing midnight.

It’s been a great start to the weekend of heavy metal, but with more to come on Sunday we are a mere half way through our festivities.

Live Review: HRH Metal IV – Day One
Live Review: HRH Metal IV – Day One
Live Review: HRH Metal IV – Day One

Photo credits: Tim Finch Photography

For all the latest news, reviews, interviews across the heavy metal spectrum follow THE RAZORS'S EDGE on facebook, twitter and instagram.