Live Review: Offalfest – Manchester

Live Review: Offalfest - Rebellion, Manchester
25th March 2023

Words & Photos: Patrick O'Reilly

Arriving at the Rebellion club Manchester for Offal Fest 2023 at 11 am I thought it would be fairly quiet, with the first band due on stage at 11.20 I wrongly assumed that there would be a few people milling about as this was my experience of festivals usually. Walking into the venue though was a shock as it was already filling up nicely, an air of excitement and expectation permeating the building.

After a quick meet up with promoter and festival organiser Sam Mansfield it was time to view the first band! NECROTOXIC AMALGAMATION had the honour of opening up, consisting of one guy with a spikey guitar and lots of deep guttural vocals they set the tone for the day and got heads banging and a few people moving.

Next up was a very interesting band MAGGOT EROTICA. Playing their first show outside of their usual university setting these guys were a bit of an oddity! Opening with a nice Michael Jackson ‘Thriller’ intro they played a weird blend of Slam, Death, Doom and even hints of black metal!! The highlight of their set was a weird waltz along to The Hearse Song a morbid ditty about rotting bodies popular in the Crimean and World Wars!!

Following this was Southern Slammers EMBOLECTOMY who dropped some brutal, grinding slams which the crowd really appreciated. Some really heavy riffs combined with groove and technical ability made for a really enthralling performance, although geographically far from the northern slam scene musically these guys are part of the family.

Photo Credit: Patrick O'Reilly

Speaking of the northern slam scene next up were 357. HOMICIDE whose 2 piece drums and guitar combo carried on the slam assault with a punishing attack on the senses. I was particularly impressed with the guitarists strange raspy growls which were unusual and added another dimension to their sound, also impressive was the mass singalong as members of other bands and the crowd joined them on stage at the end.

Sam Mansfield was back again this time with band COPROCEPHALIC MUTATION. His downtuned guitar and the other band members combined for some seriously heavy slams and some vicious fast sections and by the stage the crowd were really getting into it with a sizeable mosh pit, circle pits and walls of death forming throughout the set!

Time for something a bit different as SPAWNED FROM HATE took the stage. These guys were really brutal but differently to the majority of other bands on the bill were very fast and very technical. Really good well written songs with hints of modern and old masters such as Suffocation and Morbid Angel were a real pleasure to listen to and vocalist the Razor’s Edge’s very own Dan Phipps was a blur of energy and intensity on stage. The only down side to their performance was that the crowd weren’t into them as much as some of the other bands, due to the speed and technicality they had to wait for slower, slammier spells in the songs to really let loose.

Another Mancunian Slam band followed, VISIONS OF DISFIGUREMENT who provided a really youthful energy and got some of the biggest pit reactions of the whole night. Bouncy and heavy they were very good and the crowd loved them.

SEPTIC CONGESTION from Denmark took the stage and brought a much darker vibe to their slams. They were intense and atmospheric and had a genuine quality of riffing and song writing which I really enjoyed.

Photo Credit: Patrick O'Reilly

Adding legendary Kastrated and Crepitation vocalist Chris Butterworth to their ranks has been a real coup for GOREINHALED who added a real touch of finesse to the festival. Combining brutal death metal and slam they wowed the crowd with a really solid display. Drummer Mauro proving to be an absolute star as he inhumanly blasted his way through this set and was to feature later for another band.

Scotland’s very own INIQUITOUS SAVAGERY came next with vocalist Hamish cutting an imposing and impressive figure!! Featuring Chris from Party Cannon on bass these guys showed why Scotland is a real hotbed of slam action and blasted their way through a really heavy set. Some great guitar work topped off what was one of the performances of the day.

A priest, a butcher and a pig walk into a bar, no not a joke but the arrival of VxPxOxAxAxWxAxMxC, time for some Goregrind and the Austrian dukes of derangement did not disappoint with what was probably my favourite set of the night. Weird techno intros and even the Wurzel’s combine harvester song segued into mad goregrind with ridiculously fast guitars and bass and superb guttural pitch shifted snorts and squeals. A really fun band that had everybody smiling and dancing, a brilliant highlight of the festival.

More crazy shenanigans with CREPITATION the masters of meme slam who kept the smiles on the faces as they launched into old classics like Equine Phallic Impalement crossing over with new songs from the much anticipated upcoming new album. Twin vocal attacks of high and low growls, squeals and goodness knows what other noises are one of the things that separate this band from some others, and this combined with high quality drums, bass and guitars make The Crep one of the premier bands in the slam scene.

Photo Credit: Patrick O'Reilly

A total change in tone now as Southern Nihilistic death metal legends TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE take the penultimate slot on the bill. Wow! These guys were an absolute blast of intensity, darkness and brutality. Like an English version of Immolation the three piece blew people away with technical death metal on another level. They have got to be one of the jewel’s in English Death Metal’s crown and only seem to get better for me. Check these guys out as soon as you get a chance, you will not regret it.

Finally it was down to Slam legends GUTTURAL SLUG to finish the night. The set that stunned people when it was announced was every bit as good as people were dreaming it would be and then some!! Anybody who was there realises how lucky they are to have been able to witness this set, with the Megalodon album being played in full. It was loud, it was brutal and it was heavy and the slams were off the scale and it was AMAZING!! A truly memorable experience.

Thanks to Sam for putting on such an amazing day. It was brilliant, with everything going smoothly, organising 14 bands in one day is no mean feat but the offal fest team pulled it off with ease. The festival had a great atmosphere and vibe too and was a perfect showcase for the slam scene. It was a pleasure to attend and now I can’t wait for next year’s Offal Fest!

Photo Credit: Patrick O'Reilly

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