Bert’s Death / Grind Fest – The Fulford Arms, York, 26th June 2022

Posted: 29 June 2022 in Live
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Christopher Nosnibor

It may sound perverse, but I find metal gigs to be highly therapeutic. I suppose it’s the escapism – the release of fury from the stage working like some kind of Reiki, drawing the tension out and casting it into the air.

I didn’t really do much research beforehand – because sometimes, it’s nice just to rock up, see some bands, and drink some beer. Especially on a Sunday afternoon. It’s bloody boiling, which means I’m going to bee needing quite a bit of beer to keep hydrated, and I arrive just in time to get a pint in before the first act.

Grunk are pretty much classic grind, with two vocalists. They’re raw and ragged, with a lot of drum, but not a lot of guitar. They’ve plenty of grunt and humour, too. They’re not very good, but aren’t trying to be, quipping about the proper bands being on after, and they’re a fun opener, their set concluding with the rotund main shouter rolling around on the floor in front of the stage.

It wouldn’t be a proper dirty metal gig in / near Leeds without Steve Myles doing something, and here he’s Sulking, doing shouting instead of drumming for a change. Instrumentally, Sulk are another guitar and drum setup, but sound altogether more meaty, and consequently all the more grindy. Their tightly-structured songs pack all the heft, all the pace, and Myles pages the stage menacingly while delivering raw-throated rage. They’re absolutely brutal, and one of the best bands of the night.

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Sulk

It’s been a few years since I last caught Deathmace. They’re very much at the thrash end of the spectrum, with some frenzied guitar solos, and a sound filled out with a second guitar and bass, too. Too earnest to be truly menacing, the singer speaks normally between songs but growls the song titles when announcing them, and made me think of the recent movie, Metal Lords. They’re very obviously complete metal nerds (although the drummer is wearing a Yes T-shirt), singing about death, coffins, maggots and large fish, but can genuinely play, and being a local band with a strong following, go down a storm.

It’s truly oven-like in the venue by now, and everyone clears out to the beer garden, and consequently most of them miss the first half of Wolfbastard’s set, which is definitely their loss. The trio’s scratchy bass sound blends into the incendiary treble of the overloading guitar wall of noise. Bassist Si’s barking vocal contrasts with the guitarist Dez’s sandpapered screech, and it’s a stonking set off crusty black metal, which is exactly what I came for.

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Wolfbastard

Cryptic Shift are big hair and pointy guitars, and the first thought is ‘Megadeth’. It so happens that’s also my second thought, too. Granted, they’re a bit more death/black than that, but seem to take the remainder of their cues from Venom. They’re supremely technical and super-serious and megafast, but the bass sounds like arse and there’s so much endless harmonics and fretwanking it’s… well, of course it’s a matter of taste, but the singer plays every inch of the fretboard, and uses all 36 pedals, and it’s impressive and all, but it’s just not particularly fun. They drink a lot of water.

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Cryptic Shift

For Foetal Juice front man Dez, this is his second set of the night, and what a set it is. Foetal Juice are grind heavyweights in every way. Without the restriction of an instrument, Dez charges back and forth across the stage, fist pumping and finger pointed. There’s little commentary required: it’s death metal, played as it should be, and they sound exactly as the name suggests. They slam down the heavy noise relentlessly, and it’s a magnificently riffy, gnarly affair, and a mosh frenzy ensues. Fucking yes. This is what we came for.

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Foetal Juice

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