Earlier this year Brummie upstarts The Mighty Wraith had a magnificent idea, create one day festival in their own name and showcase some of the local talents the West Midlands has to offer. Thus WRAITH FEST was born. To be hosted at the magnificent Mama Roux's venue in Birmingham and with the band hand picking some very talented bands to fill the line up alongside themselves. A day of full on metal mayhem was on the cards and The Revival were looking forward to covering the event.
Mama Roux's is a unique, quirky venue on a back street in Birmingham. An unassuming unit housed in a railway arch from the outside, expands into a French street inside, with bars, cafe's and all the trimmings. An interesting setting to say the least, big enough to house some sizable bands so far, but still giving the
feel of an intimate setting.
Opening the days festivities are The Loved and Lost, who've been round the local scene for a few years now. Melodic heavy metal with vibrant singing voice of front woman Jordan Quinn. A solid musical foundation is delivered with the guitars reminding me a little of System of a Down, if a little lighter in style, on top of which Quinn delivers her showstopping vocals. An all round solid performance and great way to start the day.
Next up are Captain Horizon and I must admit these guys are new to me. A progressive alternative rock act, Steve Whittington has a singing tone which leads the band through their set. Their sound, driven by the guitars of Joshua Watson, explore paths many have never dared to tread making them sound somewhat unique, its certainly a new experience for me. Imagine Anathema, lighter in tone but no less intense, full of atmospheric licks and thought provoking lyrics. For forty five minutes the are taken on a journey of mesmeric tunes and stories far away from the depths of Digbeth in which we stand. Wonderful!
Following on and we are back on familiar ground for The Revival with Aramantus, another unique act on the scene who we've covered before. This groove laden progressive metal band are an inspiration with a line up of young yet immensely talented musicians. Front woman Nyah Ifill has a fantastic range, commands the stand and drives the whole bands performance. Bassist Cici stands out adding a large fusion of funk into the bands mix with her distinctive playing style. Highlight of the set is the number "Actor VII", bass driven with distinctive twist to the chorus demonstrating that this group of young musicians have the talent to go very far indeed.
And so to the band that have put this event together, The Mighty Wraith with their NWOBHM inspired tunes. Frontman Matt Gore another vocalist on show today with a mighty set of lungs, clad in his leather battle armour, close your eyes and you can almost hear Bruce Dickinson emanating through him. Iron Maiden like in sound the whole band oozes charisma and delivers on point heavy fucking metal. Disappointingly technical issues cut short the bands set mid flow, a shame as there is no doubt they were about to steal the show.
Sellsword from Yorkshire are hear to sing about swords, or so they tell us. I like the idea! The mic stand for front man Stuart Perry is a Scottish Claymore standing tall in a foundation of rock. They are another band that take more than a little inspiration from the greats in Iron Maiden, dueling guitars set merry pace as we are regaled with epic stories of battles, beheading's and blood thirty sword smiths. Its would be easy to drift off into the medieval world they paint were it not for being stood in a pit full of sweaty, writhing bodies. They certainly deliver a unique offering on the heavy metal landscape and I for one love it.
As the evening draws in the first of the former Bloodstock alumni take to the stage, Hertfordshires Countless Skies. They offer a no frills take on the melodic death metal scene, almost Scandanavian in feel, you can feel the influence from across the North Sea in their musical offerings. Dueling guitar harmonies meld well with Ross King's mix off death metal growls and more melodic powerful vocals. Verging on the progressive side of things at times, the band as a whole gel extremely well and offer a intriguing take on an often stale sub genre. They give us something different, something refreshing and something I want to hear a whole lot more of.
Tonight's headliners are the enigmatic Gehtika, the band with the insanely infectious gentlemanly façade, stage theatrics and face paint clad members. Except this is not that Gehtika, the gimmicks (if you want to call them that) are gone, facepaint, waistcoats and theatrics are no more and in their place the band debut their new look on life. The Gehtika we see for the first time today are here to give us a no frills example of
what blackened death metal should be. And for the next hour this is exactly what we get.
Mixing songs from their Great Reclamation EP, released earlier this year, with older tracks from previous releases, the Coventry outfit give us the most outstanding performance of the day, and that's quite an achievement considering the line up so far. Beneath the Catacombs is a balls to the wall, fast paced death metal onslaught of a number. Roaring guitars and Anthony Knights haunting vocals combine to punch you directly in the face!
A full set at this pace, ferocity and power shows just what Gehtika has to offer; the bleakness of their lyrical outlook combined with the sheer aggression in their musical offering delivers on point a perfect example of what to expect from them in the coming months. New Gehtika's direction is sure to drive the band further than they have been before and with performances like this who knows where they will end up next!