Words: Dan Barnes

A month later than the end of April date of 2023, sees Uprising back at Leicester’s Academy with another belting bill.

Two nights at Damnation last November, including the headline slot at the Night of Salvation, and Katatonia make a speedy return to Albion’s shores for another bill-topping evening. Sweden’s maestros of the mournful have spent the winter months touring the US, Japan and Australia, honing the finer points of last year’s exceptional Sky Void of Stars album.

The Dead End Kings of Gothic Doom always infuse their shows with rapturous melancholy that cannot help but draw you into their world of bleakness and sorrow that is never without a glimmer of hope. The tenderness and beauty of Katatonia’s misery shouldn’t – on paper at least – make for a great rock show, but it always does; and Uprising will again be proof that there is joy in the sadness.

Photo Credit: Tim Finch Photography

Mexican bandit horde, Brujeria, play their first UK festival since Bloodstock 2017 with a new(ish) record to show. Esto Es Brujeria released last September and found the bandidos edging away from the pure grind of their early years without losing hold of the raw, visceral energy that makes them who they are.

What can one say about the Punk legends that is Discharge? Standing astride the genres of both Punk and Metal, the Stoke-on-Trent natives are welcomed with open arms by both communities for their sheer raw power. Metallica covered Free Speech for the Dumb, Anselmo wore a Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing shirt for Down’s Bloodstock headline show in 2014 and they’ve been name-dropped by everyone and their dog. It’s Discharge, they’ll be brilliant. It’s all we need to say.

Making a welcome return to the stage will be Borstal, the UK hardcore gang who put out the awesome At Her Majesty’s Pleasure EP back in 2021, then found their progress halted by drummer Nick Barker’s ill-health. Last year brought us the No Surrender / Dark Path 7” which, fingers-crossed, suggests the ship has been righted and work on the debut album can resume. It’s just good to know Nick will be in rude enough health to take to the stage again.

Photo Credit: Tim Finch Photography

Back in the mid-noughties, Gibraltar’s Breed 77 looked to be about to set the world ablaze with their combination of Nu and Alternative Metal and traditional Spanish influences. But, fate is a cruel mistress and even though they released half-a-dozen albums between the millennium and 2013, all went quiet on the B77 front. Uprising gives the band a change to rekindle fans’ passions for their unconventional approach to the genre.

Formed as a break away from Eluveitie, Switzerland’s progressive trio, Cellar Darling, formed in 2016 and, to date, have a couple of albums under their belts. Bringing the classical tones of Anna Murphy’s voice – as well as the hurdy-gurdy – and marrying them to lush and beautiful melodies, this three-piece might well be challenging Katatonia for the crown of Most-Morose.

My Favourite Nemesis will be jetting in from Sweden to bring their Lacuna Coil-vibes to Leicester and Lastelle‘s post hardcore emotional assault will demonstrate there is more than one way to evoke a reaction. Seething Akira showed Bloodstock’s main stage that they are a musical force to be reckoned with last year, as they merged the Nu and the electronic.

Photo Credit: Tim Finch Photography

No matter how much they noodle, Scotland’s Ramage Inc cannot mask the darkness at the heart of their progressive metal; having an album titled Humanity Has Failed is a bit of a giveaway too. If sludgy doom is your bag, then Uprising have you covered with both Barbarian Hermit and Mage, who’re sure to have your afternoon go off with a few mellow moments. Less mellow, but no less sludgy are Battalions, who’ll be adding a little bite to their doom.

Forlorn were excellent at last year’s RADAR Festival so their brand of Gothic Death is definitely one to catch. Tribe of Ghosts play post-metal with an industrial sheen, creating dystopic soundscapes; and Bloodyard will be bringing their old school Floridian death metal to the early afternoon, so make sure your dinner has settled before going into the pit.

Photo Credit: Tim Finch Photography

My pick for ‘band I’ve not seen and am most looking forward to’ goes to Sugar Horse, whose 2021 The Live Long After debut was pipped to second place in Hardbeat’s albums of that year list. Is it post metal? Is it post punk? Is it sludge? It’s all that and more and promises to be something not to be missed.

I think it’s fair to say Uprising 7 promises to be the best yet. The smaller bands have a pedigree and experience of playing bigger venues and the prospect of Discharge, Brujeria and Katatonia is nothing short of mouth-watering, and a cracking way to spend a bank holiday weekend.

See you all in Leicester.

Photo credits: Tim Finch Photography

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