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Thursday 4 July 2019

A View From The Back Of The Room: Glasnost At The Moon Cardiff

Glastnost Final Day Presented By Zed's Ded Promotions, The Moon, Cardiff

Cardiff was buzzing due to the by all accounts scorching set from The Killers at Cardiff Castle the previous evening (their warm up for Glastonbury) and Welsh legends The Manic Street Preachers playing the castle on the same night. However in the shadow of the castle I hunkered up to Womanby Street for the final day of The Moon's Glastnost three day festival and naturally it was the heaviest of the bunch curated but Zeds Ded Promotions, it was barrell full of heavy from the beginning and all for the handsome price of £0.00.

First on the bill were the outcasts on a day that favoured the stoner/doom/sludge/psych sound. It was Swansea's answer to Slayer, M2TM 2019 finalists Sepulchre (8) who kicked things off with thrash/death metal mayhem playing the fastest (and some would say most accessible) music of the day much of the set was drawn from their latest album with Jolly Jane the highlight though personally I do still love Betrayed By God. Having personally admitted their inability to tell time their set was a little sporadic but once again Darren handled himself as the consummate frontman asking for pole dancing on the Moon's poles. Fast furious and over in a flash (just how they like it) the Swansea thrashers blitzed the room (and drummer Aimee would later do the same to Jack & Cokes) winning over some of the more inebriated folks who were waiting for The Manics.

With Sepulchre setting the tone next it was the band that (in)famously gave me tinnitus Tides Of Sulfur (8) their wall of noise drowned out any of their guitarists work colleagues heckling as Anthony, Tom and Chris tried to level The Moon as quickly as possible taking from their riot inducing new album and their previous releases (the still impactful Trenchfoot is a an absolute beast) to try and deafen asany punters as possible. Anthony gets his head down and riffs, while also death grunting as Chris screams, contorting his face like rubber and links in with Tom for an abrasive rhythm section that will leave your ears ringing. Still loud as hell, even borderline painful, TOS get better with each viewing animated and heavy as all fuck they need to be seen live.

A bit of nostalgia (?) came next as Akb'al (8) returned from the mystical ether with their psychedelic heavy still as vital as ever. The Cardiff band haven't tread the boards of a venue in a while (since Jan) as they are putting together a new album and they've yet to lose a step despite bassist Michael plying his trade in Lacertilia and drummer Mic battering the drums in Desecration. It's the now triple guitar sound brings an extra dimension as Thoby's droning vocals are a focal point as is his ambient guitar sound that merges with Rob Miles and their now third guitarist adding the riffs. Mic's fluid drumming and Michael's technical lead bass style drawing you in to the groovy, progressive head trip that I loved when I originally followed this band. Seeing them on stage again was a joy, especially with some new songs. Together they are still as tight as ever though the lack of tablas and bowl was a little disappointing, though I guess time constraints prevented it. Welcome back Akb'al you have been missed!

Returning things to a riff-centric point of view were West Country progressive sludge band Sail (8) who replaced Made Of Teeth and managed to knock it out of the park with their unassuming demeanor, triple vocal approach and riffs for days that brought to mind Mastodon when they were still loud and shouty or early Baroness. Rattling off tracks from their debut album Slumbersong they had some very jovial between song banter matched by some colossal grooves. Having never seen Sail before (I seem to miss them every time they play) this was a heck of a first showing stepping in almost last minute is always difficult but Sail played it like they owned it lovers of big riffs and slightly psych tendencies will love them.

A break to get some air and see some friends came next, but it didn't last long as with my ears still ringing it was time for Hull bludgeonings Battalions (9) to obliterate what was left of the evening with an impressive album released earlier this year (on APF records, who boasted a number of acts on this bill) the band from the place "known to some as the worst place to live in the UK" are the epitome of what we call HEFT. Louder than a jet plane sized jackhammer and with vocalist who has clearly borrowed his voice from Satan himself they and the biggest crowd of the day with everyone banging their heads in such a way that it would cause a concussion. Volatile, harsh but with more bottom end than a Kardashian, Battalions were the surprise of the evening for me, a perfect balance of thick, tasty grooves and visceral aggression they stole the show with just sheer brilliance.

This was going to be a hard task for headliners as it was very much a case of follow that mutha...this however is Pist (9) a drinking, fighting, swearing, filthy heavy metal machine who dove into their set without a soundcheck ready to crack some skulls. A four piece that owe as much to Down as they do to Motörhead. They are a tightly wound riff machine who drag you into their set kicking and screaming with barks, a groove thicker than a school day custard and the dirtiest guitar sound of the day. There is no messing around just metal music in its rawest form ready to bite off your nose if you get too close. Exile had venom to it featuring a Sabbath riff before evolving into blastbeats it was only the second song and already Pist were punishing. The right amount of snarling punk fury and doom-laden heft Pist were worthy headliners of this bargain night of music. Seeing all this for free was almost criminal, luckily many beers were consumed and merch was purchased to spread the gospel of groove. More of this sort of thing!

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