Live Review: Coalville Metal Invasion 2022 - Victoria Bikers Pub, Coalvlle
8th - 9th July 2022
Words & Photos: Paul Hutchings
Promoted by Unearthed Music, this two day mini festival held in the Biker Pub in Coalville proved to be a roaring success. The weekend was blessed by fantastic weather, some fantastic bands and a team that could rival Bloodstock for organisation and timing. Friendly, hospitable, and overall unbelievable value for money. This was the UK metal scene at its best, and with 27 bands playing for a weekend ticket of £15, just phenomenal.
Friday kicked off with ten bands playing over the course of the evening. No clashes were guaranteed as the event switched between the indoor and outdoor stage every 35 minutes. Early evening beers obtained, Buried By My Heartache started the proceedings with a strong opening set full of energy and passion. The thrashy style of Manchester’s Viral Strain soon saw the temperature rise indoors, the three-piece grabbing early attention with some chunky tunes. Worship the Sacrifice brought one of the heaviest sets of the weekend with half an hour of their crushingly heavy schizophrenic death metal. For a band formed under a year ago, this was powerful stuff.
Back inside the temperature was increasing and the hardcore roars of Dead Mob accelerated the heat even further. Full of bruising groove and harsh vocals, the Birmingham five-piece took no prisoners in a ferocious set. The outdoor stage was becoming the more attractive location as the evening finally began to cool and a decent crowd was drawn to Forever in the Making who’s punky metalcore was somewhat of a contrast to some of the heavier music on offer. Fresh from their Techfest UK slot the weekend before, Forever in the Making took the bull by the horns from the start. Vulgore are now five-year seasoned veterans, and the 2018 Stoke Metal to the Masses winners brought their experience with a punishing indoor set.
Penultimate band on the outdoor stage was Enquire Within, who were one of the more well-known bands on the first day. The Southeast London outfit have earned their stripes with a series of gigs including a couple of strong performances at Hammerfest in Birmingham. Their blend of melodic riffs and thrashing goodness went down very well with the audience, and they were one of the bands of the first day. With the temperature inside now edging from toasty to downright moist, it was the power metal shenanigans of Stafford’s Warlock A.D. to bring some costumed tomfoolery to the proceedings and whilst the band suffered for their art, the assembled crowd had some real fun with some tasty dancing and jigging. All good fun and a perfect contrast. This just left veteran thrashers Helgrind to bring their quality to close off the day in style which they did with ease. Having re-released their Insurrection album last year, the London outfit have moved up a level and have been gigging with some energy. Drawing mainly from previous albums, the band lashed through their 30-minute set at ferocious pace, concluding with a fiery ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ to bring day one to a triumphant end on the outside stage. The sharp suited Luna Kiss had other ideas and extended the evening for another half an hour on the inside stage - how they managed in those suits I have no idea but kudos all round for their music and effort to conclude a fine first day.
Nursing the mother of all hangovers it was back to the Vic for Day two and another onslaught of heavy music.
Arriving in time to catch the devilishly good hard rock from Scottish outfit Medusa Touch, the only wish was that we’d got there a bit earlier as what we heard was good to the ears. With a late call, Sabbath worshiping Doomsday Sun stepped up to the plate and delivered a riff heavy set that did nothing to calm the raging headache but did leave enough punters shaking their heads. Mexican Painkiller’s combination of Motörhead, punk and Sepultura worked well, the band coping admirably with a loss of power in the middle of their set. Inside the heat was building again meaning it had to be good to resist the lure of the shaded beer tables. Evisarize brought their advertised ‘fast & nasty’ form of music to the indoor stage, encouraging those brave enough to headbang faster.
One of the band’s very much anticipated was London M2TM winners Imperium. This band has been on the radar of thrash fans for some time now, and with their new EP due to drop in around a month this was a moment of some anticipation. Imperium demonstrated exactly why they have stormed to the New Blood Stage with an assured, confident, and polished set which saw one of the biggest crowds of the weekend. With Ben Porter unable to restrain ripping his shirt off and diving in the mosh pit, this was a mere appetiser to their set at BOA on the Saturday and confirmed why they are probably on most thrash fans list of must sees at the festival. Apologies to Spectral Darkwave and King Abyss whose sets I missed, due to a quick excursion for food. Back in time for the next set which was another stellar thrashing from London’s Thrasherwolf. Fresh from a support slot to US crossover beasts Enforced, Thrasherwolf picked up the gauntlet thrown down by Imperium and slapped them back across the face with a feisty performance which included some old favourites from their debut album We Are Revolution as well as a new track ‘Fragility of Mortality’. Anyone who was in any doubt that thrash is alive and well in the UK will hopefully have been reassured by the end of a blistering half hour.
As if the carnage outside hadn’t been enough, the final part of the Trifekta touring party Hellfekted took to the stage with the unenviable task of following two very impressive sets. Handling a slight technical problem with ease, Liam Stubbs and band decided that the best form of defence is attack with a punishing 30 minutes of their blackened thrash. The sweat poured, the heads banged, and the bodies smashed into each other in the pit. It was utter chaos, and utterly superb. They may not be as refined as Imperium or as straight up as Thrasherwolf but Hellfekted bring something a little extra to the party every time. Sampling a bit of the instrumental progressiveness of Lost in Lavender Town, who I’d last seen on the New Blood Stage in 2019, provided some calming respite from the chaos on the outdoor stage. LILT showed their class with an assured set.
Beyond Your Design revved up the evening with their brand of melodic death metal to a healthy crowd before those brave enough to suffer the heat indoors were rewarded with a blistering 40 minutes from those blackened thrashing goat worshippers from Derby, Devastator. Those who are in the know have already added ‘Worship the Goat’ to their favourites, and live, the quartet are just as explosive as they are on record. Fiery, demonic, and dripping in face paints, Devastator turned in one of the best sets of the week with a no-holds barred aural assault. Following that was no easy feat, but Reaper proved their class with an assured and quality set that showed why the band are so highly rated. This led to the final as All Consumed snarled, threatened and intimidated with their highly aggressive death metal which has all the subtlety of a kick to the head. A fine way to end a weekend of outstanding live entertainment, and the only question on most people’s minds was whether we can do it all again next year.