Beermageddon outdo themselves with the difficult second album

Beermageddon 2013 review

By Will Tudor | Published: Fri 30th Aug 2013

Beermageddon 2013 - Fallen Fate
Photo credit: Will Tudor

Beermageddon 2013

Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th August 2013
Stoke Prior Country club, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, B60 4AL, England MAP
£38 including camping - SOLD OUT
Daily capacity: 250

I was at the inaugural Beermageddon last year at the Black Horse in Derbyshire. I reviewed it. At the end of my review I noted that the festival would be back at a bigger location, with bigger bands and much much more. I wasn't disappointed... 

Located about 10 minutes from Junction 5 of the M5, this festival is easy to get to and simple in its execution. This is a festival for the fans, but about the bands. When we arrived we were greeted – or moreover we were made to get out of the car for hugs by the same big friendly teddy bear Chunk that greeted us last year. Apparently though, this is how Chunk greets everyone he knows or doesn't, it's just his manner, talk about feeling welcomed. The venue itself is moderate in size compared to those larger festivals, but still offers that friendly intimate feel it offered last year. You can still camp by your car (which is an amazing way to round out the festival season) and there's plenty of space. Maybe a little too much. If I'm to give my honest opinion, you could easily squeeze another 50-100 campers inside the site, but as I'm reliably informed, it's not about quantity but quality.

Beermageddon is the brainchild of Heavy Metal Radio DJ Jim Beerman, who despite his manic on-air persona has time for everyone. Jim wanders the campsite, stage area and bar and in between duties makes time for everyone in attendance. Something you don't see much of these days. The thing about this festival is it's open to and for everyone. There is no VIP camping, no segregated area for bands and press. You get to meet people, network, chat and most important of all, make friends who share a common interest. British Metal. 

As last year, the stage area is indoors and while this year's festival has an increased attendance from last year of 450, it's not overcrowded in the slightest. There's plenty of toilet facilities and the one thing had it rained I would have probably used more, HOT SHOWERS!!! 

When it comes to catering at Beermageddon, you've got options. You can bring a gas stove – the organisers have a little trust in their fellow camp mates to not set things on fire and throw canisters on those fires. You can bring your own barbecues or hexi-stoves. There's a pub within about 3 minutes of the site that serves hot food during normal meal times. There's the option for food at the bar which is slightly more specific, and there is a Burger van, which if I'm honest was awful. We take our own food generally, but from discussions with other campers I discovered they ran out of bacon 3 days in a row. They left the van unattended for about 30 minutes to get Napkins – which sucks when you really need a coffee. The food itself was not what you'd expect to pay “Festival Prices” for and to add insult to injury, the guy running it tried to short change me – which did not go down well. On the brighter side, having discussed this and listened to Jim take a lot of stick from fans over the van, it has been noted and will be passed on, hopefully never to return. But I digress, lets talk about some of the finest Heavy Metal this country can produce shall we? 

Haerken opened the stage as per last year and as per last year, were utterly brilliant. The Baron, The Bard, The Knight and the Scottish Warrior definitely know how to get a party going. With brutal riffs, melodic backing and lyrics revolving around British Myths & Legends Haerken are akin to their Scandinavian rivals with something a little bit more British. A history we all know about perhaps.

We had been promised a special guest this weekend. Last year we had a staggering performance from Burlesque beauty Kitty Liquor. Wonder what Jim's got in stall for us this year. Jaldaboath is what Jim has in stall for us this year. Right, what is a Jaldaboath? OK, well, once they have an actual band Jaldaboath perform and I quote: “the following styles exclusively ; Heraldic Templar Metal, Castle-dwelling Cacophonic Rock, Head-banging Horse-riding Metal, Jousting Jongleur Jazz, Teutonic Templar Thrash, Hammering Heraldic Metal, Renaissance Ragamuffin Rawk...” Yup. That's exactly what I got out of it too. Utterly ridiculous. Completely brilliant. Some people take themselves too seriously. Jaldaboath should perform for those people daily. Until they lighten up.

Up next Incassum, a Manchester female fronted quintet, and Friday night Beermageddon is fully under-way. Combining the brutal with the sublime is how they list themselves on their website and Incassum certainly bring that and more. Vocalist Sharleen Kennedy brings beautiful harmonies accentuated by epic screams, Incassum are akin to last years female fronted band Sanguine and go down just as well with the partying crowd. 

Next up, we have Donna Dale, a pole dancer. Not in your seedy strip club manner, but in the professional manner, Donna is expert in her execution. I like Pole-dancers, I like Pole-dancers a lot. I think every man in the room likes Pole-dancers. Most of the women too. Do we need to go on? Good. 

Now, I'd be remissed if I didn't mention how family friendly this festival is. There's lots of kids welcomed in this arena, as this is a festival about the future of British music, especially the heavy heavy heavy kind. What's nice about this is all of the kids had ear defenders... Which is appropriate and necessary, because that's what's on next. Flayed Disciple. I took my time trying to explain this band and came up with the following: Holy Shit. If Kerry King & Glen Benton decided to have a baby through the miracle of modern bio-technology and genetic engineering; when it opened its mouth, its cries would sound like this band. Flayed Disciple deserve to be one of the top Death Metal up and comers in Europe. If you like your metal hard & fast, this band needs to be in your collection. 

Now, when Fallen Fate took to the stage last year on the Sunday at Beermageddon I was tired. I was, more accurately, hanging out of my own arse. So this year I was really looking forward to properly enjoying their set. And a Friday Night Headline set it is too...

Friday nights at a festival that starts on a Friday can be tricky. If not everyone's arrived yet, you can be left a bit flat. Regardless, Friday nights are when everyone's got that party spirit and Fallen Fate jumped on that mood like a Gun-nut at a Badger Cull. Ripping through their début album “The Virus Has Spread” in its entirety Lee, Piers, John & Hodge ran rampant over the Beermageddon stage. The Virus certainly has spread. The Thrash Virus. We all caught it, and we're all gonna pay for this one tomorrow. But for now, we mosh in hell. For this is Beermageddon!!! 

Saturday morning arrives and my brain hurts... After an epic run of bands, beer, and other intoxicants, I feel like I've got a rather large and angry wasp inside my temple. It's all good, I got bacon – those poor sods at the Burger van don't, but there's a shop about 15 minutes away, so the fans either go to the pub or the shop. Job done. Sobriety reaches me and I go for a wander around the site, catch up with old friends, and make new ones. See, this segregation thing you get elsewhere, you don't really get to do this. 

"If you want Merch, it's inside the hall" I hear from somewhere across the field. That'd be Simon Hall from Beholder yelling out to a fan. "Can't do that at Download" Beerman remarks. How right he is. I always feel sorry for bands at big festivals. They never really get a chance to mingle and/or watch those bands that could and should be our future. Beermageddon is relaxed. It's an end of the festival season party. Who wants to be uptight and serious at a party?

Now there's a couple of bands I was looking forward to seeing on this day. I had no idea it was going to go this way. Kremated kicked things off. "Thrash Ain't Dead!" yells Pete Dee. How right he is. Off the back of what can only be described as the biggest crowd in the New Blood Stage at this years Bloodstock, Kremated seamlessly blend Old School Thrash with British Punk. Something I haven't seen done well in 20 years or so.

Momentum is a very important factor in a festival. It's also very important if you're in a band. Being in the right place at the right time can have a massive impact on a bands direction and focus. A band that is on a roll right now is Bull Riff Stampede. Perfectly timed after Kremated, Bull Riff take the stage and the crowd by the scruff of the neck and repeatedly kick them in the ass until everyone is awake. They didn't leave much for Gravil in the way of crowd, but I'm going to give you some advice if you're going to see these three bands in quick succession in future. Bring industrial strength Super Glue, you will need it to reattach your face. Speed, Brutality, Thrash Thrash Thrash. This isn't Heavy Metal, this is a dream. This is hard. I say again THIS IS HARD!!! 

Beermageddon has well and truly established by mid Saturday afternoon that this ain't your mommas kind of Heavy Metal. This is newer, faster, heavier, more exciting and the vibe around the site matches that of the stage. 

Old Corpse Road and Sacrilegious Throne are up next mixing some of the most epic styles of metal I've seen in years. OCR regale us with tales of Goblins and Trolls as three different vocal styles blend epic storytelling and Death Metal mercilessly. While Sacrilegious Throne blend Black Metal, Thrash and Death Metal into one tidy yet neat little package. Skreamer on the other hand... Well if Bull Riff are on a roll, Skreamer are on a tear. I've seen lots of bands in my life. I even remarked to Beerman during Bull Riff that “this is the future”. Check that Jim, These are the future. Now if I'm honest, when Skreamer took the stage, I thought to myself 'yeah good – well put together band, very professional, but how are you gonna stand out?'. Well, I'll tell you how. Beerman knows his metal. Beerman requested Skreamer perform 'Opiate' live. So they bring on a female guest singer. I think “oh boy – ballad/duet type thing – here we go again...” WRONG!!! What happened on that stage was a performance. A show. If live music is where the future of this industry lies, then you MUST put on a show. Skreamer put on a show. They entertain. They kick fuckin' ass. 

While this festival is about the cream of the future of British Heavy Metal, Swedish metallers Eternal Fear make their way on the stage to keep the momentum going. After Skreamers high velocity set, Eternal Fear bring a different quality of thrash to the stage. Something very European. Shredding, Thrashing, Piercing Vocals, Eternal Fear work in every sense. Perfectly matched to set up this day of celebration and Metal. 

I've intentionally overlooked this as I want to address it on it's own. Today marked the anniversary of the death of Sophie Lancaster. Skreamer brought it up during their set. Beholder would base their set pretty much around this. While this weekend is a wind-down, a party, a celebration it also requires a moment of reflection & introspection. As I said, this is also a family festival. There are kids here. Kids who, like I did when I was young, like their Heavy Metal. I remember what it was like when I was younger. I listened to different music than most others, therefore I was different. This made me a target. I got bigger. It stopped. I got over it. I moved on. Some people never get that chance. What happened with Sophie Lancaster was appalling and an outrage. Her mother Sylvia has worked tirelessly to effect some kind of change and I thank and support her for what she does. We are all unique, but we should all be as one. In this community we stand together as one. But it needs to be more widespread. I reckon that at least one of those kids in attendance has been on the receiving end of some bullying because of his taste in music. To them I say the following: You will be OK. Don't let them bring you down. We are all in this together and together we are strong. You are the future of not only music, but of our Country. Be proud of what you like, be proud of who you are. Just because you don't fit in one aspect, doesn't mean it will be like that your whole life. 

Now Beholder are one of the finest British acts I've seen in recent years. There's a reason for this. They each have a passion for music that you tend to not see in the corporate music world. Self managed, self promoting, utterly outgoing Beholder could quite possibly be the model for how bands of the future should be. This set, on this stage, was, and is a message. No more. No more bullying, no more greed, no more corruption, no more bullshit. Beholder have been labelled “too old school metal”. That's because that's what they do. They've been labelled “Too controversial” seriously? Really? Come on... Controversy is what Rock & Roll, Heavy Metal, Punk, Thrash, Rap and even Classical music have been based around since the dawn of their respective inceptions. I'm going to try and side-step a rant and stick to the performance, but for this industry to say that about one of the up and coming bands is... Well, it's no surprise Beholder don't like you either. And they let it all out on the Beermageddon Stage. This is personal to them. It's personal to the crowd. When frontman Simon Hall gets off the stage to talk to the crowd of kids at the front and is talking about bullying and being yourself, Simon has obviously touched a nerve and he is upset. Not at the fact he brought it up, but you can tell he's directly addressing a victim. This will not stand he tells the crowd. This is emotion. This is dedication. This is the headlining set that most festivals miss out on, because the fans & the bands simply cannot connect. This is British Heavy Metal at it's best. Ripping through their 2013 “The Order of Chaos” album and beyond Beholder are the Saturday headliner you expect and more. Utterly mesmerising, utterly intense, completely Thrash. 

It's Sunday morning and has anyone seen my head?

Late one last night. Metal Karaoke at the bar. People inventing cocktails out of liquors they've brought themselves. Beer. Beer. Beer. I think the clue is in the name of this festival.

You know what, I've not seen one single Security guard around this campsite all weekend. I've not heard of one single bit of bother either. Hang on a minute, this is relaxed. Isn't this how festivals were supposed to be? Holy shit, someone's actually got it right...

Day 3 and yet again, the van is out of breakfast stuff. Good job I brought my own or I'd be pretty pissed off right about now... The Beermageddon natives are getting restless.

Before I go into Sunday's lineup last year Beermageddon started around 2pm. This year. Same as the last. Good call. Bands get about 45 minutes each, except headliners. Good Call. This is what we like to call fair and balanced. All one stage (remember those days?) and everyone is pretty much equal. If you're in a band, this is the place to be... 

Divine Chaos kicked my ass. I'm not gonna lie. I have a hangover and these boys let me know just exactly how much of a hangover I have. They're also really really good at curing hangovers, which is precisely what I need right now. Yay! Divine Chaos, you are my heroes today. OK, so maybe it wasn't cured. Back to tent for a little nap I think. Yup, just what was needed, but still Divine Chaos were fucking awesome. 

With Vindicator, and Kemakil ripping through there sets, I rapidly find myself running out of metaphors and quotes for exactly how damned good these bands are. By this point in the afternoon, the fog is slowly clearing and Wretched Soul take the stage. Returning from last year, through the mist and haze of time, it all starts coming back to me; this band was really good last year. FML, they've gotten better. I'm really in danger of enjoying myself way too much and we've still got three more bands to go... Pace yourself...

Remember what I was saying yesterday about momentum. This weekend started out strong and each band has delivered. I honestly cannot stress enough how each of the bands should be so very very proud of themselves and the organisers should be proud of what they accomplished here.

Shrapnel; (noun) a hollow projectile containing bullets or the like and a bursting charge, designed to explode before reaching the target, and to set free a shower of missiles. Also a word that is quite familiar to me, as I once had a bit removed from my leg. That hurt. Shrapnel however is quite possibly the most accurately named band on the bill. I'm not saying they are hollow. Far from it. This is a band filled with substance. But oh my life how they cause collateral damage. My head, neck and shoulders may never recover, and they take their toll on the crowd, who, and I have no idea how, are still giving it hell-for-leather in the pit. Where do they get their energy from? Ah, yes! Beer!!! 

Now Virus are a band that have been long established in the British Thrash/Punk community formed from the remnants of Criminal Damage. If I'm honest, they slipped under my radar back then. I was more into the bands they were supporting than them themselves. A shame really, because I really wished I'd known more. Now fronted by Coke Finlay, Virus still bring that quintessential 80's British Thrash sound along with the most epic of cover versions in the history of ever. The Proclaimers 500 miles (as performed by DJ Beerman & Virus) at 2013 Beermageddon will be among the greatest of festival memories I will leave with this weekend. 

Which leads me finally into Anihilated who, by Sunday night have the great honour of closing what could possibly be one of the greatest festival experiences of my life. They did not disappoint. Anihilated “does what it says on the tin” and obliterated any remnants of energy left. They gave all, the beer sodden 'geddoners gave every last drop back. This was, is and always will be a weekend to remember and Annihilated were quite possibly the most superb finale. This weekend was pretty Thrash-heavy, which is fortunate for me, as that's what I like. But even if you don't, there's absolutely no denying how good this band is. I've actually run out of ways to describe how good they are. For a change. Words fail me. Just simply this – WOW. 

So, another year over? Nope, not yet. There's one more little treat in store... Onslaught are releasing a new album very very soon. All of the 'geddoners that wanted to stick around – got to hear it first right there, right then. Holy shit. I feel like this is a festival all about me now. DJ Beerman – you spoil us. 

From a weekend of exclusives and amazing performances, proud metal heads, great friends and a simply amazing environment, Beermageddon promised last year to be bigger & better. They have simply outdone themselves. Jim Beerman has promised that this festival will not lose it's feel, or it's purpose. There is no corporate corruption here. There is no marketing here. This is a festival about the music, for music's sake. Admittedly this isn't probably for everyone. This is hard, fast, brutal British Metal. If that's not your thing, stay home, or go to Reading or go to Leeds. However, if like me, you like Grass-roots hard and heavy metal, supporting the underground scene, meeting great people, making fantastic friends and being a part of the future of the best of British Metal then come to Beermaggedon 2014. But do it quickly, there may not be tickets available in a week or two.

Thank you Beermageddon. There is absolutely no way possible I will not be there in 2014, unless I get hit by a bus on the way! 

Winners: Jim Beerman, The Fans & Every single band that played.

Losers: The Burger Van – absolutely has to go.

Biggest Surprise: The number of kids this year – who all seemed to enjoy themselves.

Highlight: Making the best friends you could wish for at a festival & not one ounce of trouble.

Special Mention: To the RACPA ladies & Sir Winston. Thank you for what you do, you will always be supported by the true Rock/Metal community, no matter what.

review by: Will Tudor

photos by: Will Tudor

Latest Updates

Beermageddon 2024
festival details
last updated: Thu 11th Apr 2024
Beermageddon 2019
festival details
last updated: Thu 22nd Jul 2021
Beermageddon 2019
line-ups & rumours
last updated: Thu 22nd Jul 2021
festival home page
last updated: Fri 12th Apr 2019
Beermageddon 2018
festival details
last updated: Wed 22nd Aug 2018