Mammothfest is a new one on me – spotted a flyer at a gig a few weeks back, I suppose I don’t pay enough attention as they seem to have been around a while! Indeed, they won a couple of awards on the back of last year’s event so are obviously doing something right. They’ve taken a two-stage set-up at the Arch in Brighton and have a full range of day and stage split tickets, plus ‘VIP’ options that let you stay a bit later and see another band or two. Now I have my own grumps about VIP tickets, but on the other hand you’ll get to see Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters which can never be a bad thing.
The days are streamed (sort of) by genre, which I suppose makes picking a day easier, but maybe sacrifices that interest of cross-contamination and exposure to new sounds that can be what makes a festival for me. Anyway, if you know what you like it’s a smart move, and the other policy has been to keep things heavy. There looks to be very little that will even tilt towards psych/stoner territory, except notably VODUN, on the Sunday.
And it’s Sunday that is the draw for me, cutting between UK doom-and-associated-slowness like Haast’s Eagled and Wren, and a selection of local acts up the metal/punkier end of things. As the day goes on we’ll get some international tech and djent, topped by second-stage headliners CORE OF iO. The headline run of bands on the main stage, meanwhile, brings long-serving post-ish Telepathy, Patrick Walker and band playing some 40 Watt Sun, off-kilter OHHMS, and if you weren’t already off-balance, the aforementioned VODUN. I caught them at the Trinity in Bristol a while back and dug deep into their garage/psych/metal sound, raging melodies and boggled minds galore. And then, AMENRA. I will hold hands up to being only moderately inspired by some of their recorded material, but having seen them a couple of times on Roadburn stages I would rate them in the top league of that bleak and heavy dirge.
Working backwards, Saturday is the day for the direct, no-messing metalheads. Death, thrash and associated extremity is the order here. With bands running in synch most of the day you’ll have choices to make, but for me the day all leads up to Dragged Into Sunlight – vicious bastards that they are, since catching them at Temples many moons ago I’ve jumped on any chance to see them spew forth genre-irrelevant ferocity. Thinking of Temples, I suppose the Mammothfest format is not a million years away from where Mr Mace started with that ill-starred festival; although the vibe and aesthetic seems quite different, what we have is a similar commitment to the heavy, with some flashes of experimentalism. Saturday has its other big names of course, No Raza over from Colombia and Fleshgod Apocalypse rounding out the night for those without VIP tickets.
Friday is a contained ‘after work’ bill of black, black, black metal and nothing else. Not my scene, but for those that do it looks like a good’un, with a corpse-painting stall on offer should you need some help getting yourself in the spirit. Seems also like a good spread within BM too, from trad Nordic sounds like Tsjuder to the grandiose Ethereal, and of course, Rotting Christ.
All-in-all this looks like some hard-working promoters have put together a big event that is sustaining itself, putting up a stage for lots of jobbing UK bands, and pulling in an honourable selection of big, extreme international players. Get yourself down to Brighton town on the weekend of 6–8 October, have stroll on the seafront, eat some cockles, and get Mammothed! Tickets, info, and all that goodness here: https://mammothfest.uk