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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A View From The Back Of The Room: Save Fuel Rock Club Festival

Save Fuel Rock Club Festival, Fuel Rock Club, Cardiff

On the back of the march to save Womanby Street last weekend, this weekend saw Cardiff's 'only' rock club put on a one day festival to raise funds to soundproof the venue further, as it has been the subject of a noise complaint. With a true mix of bands playing the festival it shaped up to be a good day/night alas I only managed to attend in the latter part of the day due personal constraints but I swept into the venue (in my own unmistakable style) ready for the last few bands of the day. The first thing that struck me was how few people were inside the performance area, considering this was day to save the venue as a there didn't seem to be many people actually watching the bands, most preferring to stay in the outer bar area and play dreadful pop-punk on the jukebox.

Thankfully I managed to catch up with Brett and we paid our money to the cause, bought a beer and piled in for our first band. That band was Cranial Separation (7) formed by Ray Packer the former frontman of Sodomized Cadavar Cranial Separation don't do anything vastly different than SC with a set based around grinding death metal led by furious blast beats, intelligible lyrics and strong groove's between the explosive fury. The death/grind genre is very much of it's type and you get what you get, perfectly adequate way of opening the day for us with 30 minutes of extreme noise. Kudos to Packer for talking the way he sings, to bassist Chris Machin for his excellent shirt and for drummer Sam Heffernan who played in two bands on the bill, neither of which were slow and melodic.

Next up were a band I was all too familiar with having seen them open for Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, Blackwood based heavy rock band Revival (8) continue to amaze with their sheer maturity and performance despite all of the members being 17-18. Thick juicy riffs are the order of the day with this band who owe a debt to both Sabbath and Pantera due to their fat grooves, Season Of The Wizard kicked the set off strongly and got heads banging. They debuted a new song called Captain's Quarters which was of the high quality I'd expect from this band, brimming with passion and fire vocalist Finley and bassist Alex throw themselves around leaving Luke to stoically riff with ease as Dafydd batters the drum kit. Tracks such as Danger have a melodic edge but Insanity cranked up the speed with thrashy breakdowns. The set finished with a near as dammit cover of RATM's Bullet In The Head and the youngsters won over more new fans.

Keeping the pace going next was a band that are no strangers to Fuel, Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters (8) are regulars to the club, Beth even taking a minute during their set to explain how important the club was to her when she moved here and found like minded folks. Since then of course the band have formed and gone from strength to strength having recently released their debut full length the band have carved their own path of ballsy hard rock with touches of Halestorm and KISS, Blade especially was decked out in a KISS shirt and played a Paul Stanley custom guitar. The influence of the band extends to the music too with chunky rock riffs, a voice full of attitude and flirty filthy songs about rock n roll itself. This band have really dialled themselves up since I first saw them, their debut full length has kitted them out with a number of sing along numbers and their rigorous touring schedule has moulded them into a slick hard rocking machine. The only comment I would make is that the sound was a little bass heavy meaning the guitars were a little drowned out.

As the day progressed more of the 'go to' Fuel bands played sets, with the hard rock of BBATBD setting the tone and building a fun atmosphere, darkness descended upon Fuel for South Wales blackest band. Named after the Celtic goddess of chaos and carnage Agrona (9) took to the stage replete with corpse paint, blastbeats, leather armour and more smoke than you can handle. I've always found po faced back metal a little hilarious and Agrona do nothing to change this but they do play incredibly well and have vocals from hell's undercarriage. Formed by vocalist S "Taranis" Morgan and bassist T "Kreulon" Hill the band are an immense sight to behold live, five large armour clad dude playing blackened metal that touches on death and thrash, the rest of the band is made up of S "Ankou" Heffernan (him again) on drums with the shredding courtesy of  A "Aeron" Hunter (rhythm guitar) and P "Phoenix" Griffiths (lead guitar).

With strobes galore throughout, a cursed baptism and even some bloodspitting the band have honed an effective live show that is aided immensely by some of the most violent metal Fuel has seen. They rightfully pulled the biggest crowd I'd seen all day. Agrona were here as they support the club and those in it but also because they were one of the bands playing  when the club got the noise complaint that led to this festival. Although personally if you live above a venue and complain about the noise you're a cunt. (Apologies to any sensitive types). As their set of ear-splitting aggression continued they added a female banshee Nadala for one song which gave a new dynamic to their already dual vocal-led assault, with the paint running due to the heat, the riffs were relentless levelling the venue throughout the set. They wrapped up and the room was a hot an sweaty mess from the windmilling and pitting that was happening down the front, I felt sorry for any band that had to follow that (Everyday Heroes) as it was a feat of pure metal power. Agrona were my last band of the day as I had an early start the following day but what and ending. Could I understand a word? Nope Did it matter? Nope. Were Agrona excellent? Well Hail Satan to that!

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