Words by James Weaver, Jack Fermor-Worrell, Katie Needham and Sam Dignon. Photos by Fran Dignon.
After a successful first year, Impericon Festival returned to Manchester for another round. With a line up guaranteed to get people moshing, several members of Rock Sins converged on Manchester Academy to see what the festival was all about.
Kicking things off at this years Impericon Festival, Adept (4) suffered from a rather early stage time of 1:30 meaning the room was a little sparsely populated by the time they arrived on stage. Still they came on stage full of energy looking to start the festival with a bang. Whilst they were initially impressive it didn’t take long for Adept’s set to start dragging, as the band fired out a stream of identical metalcore songs. None of it was particularly band but the songs just showed a lack of creativity. The bands stage presence showed the same lack of imagination with all its synchronised headbanging and guitar swings. This was capped off by an attempt at a crouch down and jump up moment in which a large portion of the crowd refused to take part in, leading to rather awkward end to their set. SD
Fortunately things picked up with Desolated (8) who provided a set that was far too violent for 2:30 on a Monday afternoon. Judging by the amount of Desolated t-shirts in the crowd it was clear a lot of people were excited for this and the band did not disappoint. Kicking off with Death By My Side the pit was immediately in full swing and things rarely stopped for the rest of their set. For band usually found destroying tiny venues, Desolated seemed immediately at home on a stage this size. Vocalist Paul Williams rarely gave the crowd a break and he constantly called for more from them. End Of The Line wrapped things up with one more round of early afternoon violence and with today being bassist Dan Ford’s final show with the band he certainly got a fine send off. SD
For Ingested (9) Impericon very much served as a home coming show for the five piece slam band. From the offset the band brought devastation to the Manchester masses from start to finish, with every note and every snarl performed to pin-point accuracy. With a sound that replicated the band’s studio sound every musical aspect of Ingested’s performance was an absolute pleasure to witness. Lyn Jeffs’ consistent double bass drumming set the pace at breakneck speed, slams from Sean Hynes and Sam Yates were absolutely crushing and Brad Fuller set the bass tone at an all time low. However the real star of the show was frontman Jay Evans, with every guttural growl and snarl resembling the hordes of hell, it was absolutely brutal and incredible to witness. Ingested have built up a solid reputation in the death metal circuit and after their performance at Impericon, this reputation will only continue to grow at a rapid rate. JW
Following on from the incredibly heavy Ingested, Being As An Ocean (9) made a remarkable impression. Bringing an edge to the days line-up, Being As An Ocean bring a mix of spoken word and harsh vocals, combined with beautiful riffs and melodies to draw the crowd in. The upbeat yet enticing ‘Nothing, Save The Power They’re Given’ begins playing as a sea of waving arms suddenly start fill the room from front to back. Smashing their way through their set, Frontman Joel Quartuccio throws a challenge at the crowd, “The person who can surf over this barrier the most – keep your hands in the air – you’ll be getting free merch!”. With a slight grin on his face, he beckons for the crowd to come forward as the intro to ‘This Loneliness Won’t Be the Death of Me’ gets louder. Within no time at all, legs are in the air and the security are in for a hard time – an intense way to round off their set and get the room excited for the rest of the day. KN
Following the melodic Being As An Ocean, Carnifex (7) were set to re-ignite the fury that the crowd at experienced earlier in the day through the likes of Ingested, Desolated and so forth. Opener Slit Wrist Saviour set the tone for the entirety of Carnifex’s performance; a crushing performance jam-packed full of breakdowns and low guttural vocals. Scott Lewis commanded total obedience from the crowd with the mosh pit growing in circumference as the band marched through a solid set comprised of material across the band’s ten year career. Hell Chose Me was incredibly satisfying with the closing breakdown bearing host to legions of fans whilst title track off the band’s latest record, Die Without Hope, showcased the band’s more technical approach to deathcore with sweeping solos by Jordan Lockrey were performed to excellent quality. Whilst Carnifex lacked the final punch in comparison to say Ingested for example, their performance still oozed quality that is absolutely required in the modern deathcore scene. JW
Following on from Carnifex, Deez Nuts (7) brought us firmly back into hardcore territory. Their brand of party loving hardcore might not be particularly clever but that doesn’t stop this crowd from throwing all kinds of shapes in the pit. The band use today as a chance to air plenty of new material from their latest album Word Is Bond, with the likes of What’s Up and Face This On My Own getting particularly good reactions. Still it’s the older material that gets the best reaction, especially a cool mash up of Like There’s No Tomorrow and I Hustle Everyday. Vocalist JJ Peters struts around the stage full of confidence the entire set while Matt Rogers and Sean Kennedy on guitar and base. They deliver everything you could want from a hardcore set but unfortunately there are were few moments where the energy just dipped too much. Still Band Of Brothers closed things in style with the biggest sing along of the day so far. SD
Taking to the stage for the final Impericon date, Stick To Your Guns (10) wasted no time in getting the entire room moving. Kicking their set off with ‘Nobody’, frontman Jesse Barnett’s vocals could barely be heard over the crowd’s intense singing. The floor literally shaking from the movement created, the band clearly impressed with the impression they’ve made, ‘What Choice Did You Give Us?’ ends as Jesse begins a speech. Opening up about the way in which he thinks the world is messed up, a huge round of applause is given in agreement – “We support our fans, no matter what you’re going through, you’re not alone”. The heart wrenching ‘Amber’ and ‘Such Pain’ follow to keep emotions and excitement running high throughout the room. ‘Against Them All’ rounded off their set absolutely wonderfully – with an incredible atmosphere and the whole crowd singing in unison, the room felt like one big family and it was clear that they’d made a lasting impression on everyone. Stick To Your Guns once again taking to Impericon Fest with an absolutely flawless and incredibly emotional performance. KN
Often described as one of the pioneers of the deathcore movement, Whitechapel (9) have experimented more with their sound in recent years with latest record, Our Endless War, hosting djent tones and more technicality. Yet despite this, the entirety of Whitechapel’s set flowed incredibly well with a combination of tracks from the band’s latest record and older material from The Somatic Defilement. Opener The Saw Is The Law sent the packed Manchester Academy into a frenzy, the breakdowns in This Is Exile were absolutely crushing and the differentiating vocal highs and lows in Possession perfectly replicated the band’s studio sound. With a tight live sound, Whitechapel were utterly dominant in their performance at Impericon yet the truly mesmering aspect of their performance was frontman Phil Bozeman. Phil’s vocals and stage presence was incredibly impressive with his vocal performance hitting the highest quality of musical professionalism, all whilst commanding the crowd with every command. It proved testament to the fact that Whitechapel are still one of the strongest acts in the deathcore scene today. JW
As the sun begins to fade over Manchester, The Ghost Inside (7) take to the Impericon stage. Armed with an array of crushingly punchy metalcore anthems, including the aptly-named ‘Out of Control’, the quartet are clearly out for blood from the start. Luckily for them, the crowd lap it up, jumping in unison to every riff and chanting the band’s name at every given opportunity. The band’s powerful mix of brutality and melody is impressively tight, their buzzsaw guitar tones blending perfectly with Jonathan Vigil’s voice. Where they lose some people however, is in their stage production. Timing the venue strobe lighting to the relentless blastbeats of Andrew Tkaczyk is headache-inducing if nothing else, and sadly ruins some of the band’s impact for a portion of the crowd. As their set ends with a small army of crowdsurfers crashing over the barrier to signature track ‘Engine 45’, it’s obvious that The Ghost Inside are a band loved by many people in the room, and one who will have picked up a great many more after their performance. Whilst far from their best, certainly a strong showing from one of LA’s brightest. JFW
Closing out the day are California deathcore titans Suicide Silence (10). For a band that came so close to breaking up forever just a few years ago, Mark Heylmun and co. are nothing short of remarkable tonight. In frontman Eddie Hermida, the band have a perfect figurehead – both charismatic and talented, he both perfectly replicates the shrieks of predecessor Mitch Lucker and growls like a man possessed. Drawing from their entire career, Suicide Silence are clearly the perfect band to headline this kind of event, the pure venom of tracks like ‘F**k Everything’ and ‘Cease To Exist’ providing the perfect release to those watching. Putting a slight dampener on things are the venue’s security, who ban the band from creating a wall of death. Completely unfazed, Hermida calls for a ‘crawl of death’, which naturally falls apart after a few seconds as the fans decide to do what they love instead. Things only get more hectic as Whitechapel’s Phil Bozeman reappears to guest on ‘Unanswered’, causing a surge from the crowd as they lose their collective minds. Finishing with the now-obligatory battlecry of ‘You Only Live Once’, Suicide Silence bring to an end a day which many will remember for a long time. A perfect performance from one of deathcore’s greatest bands. JFW
Please check out and enjoy our exclusive photo gallery from the 2015 Impericon Festival courtesy of our photographer Fran Dignon below!