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Gig Review : Uprising, o2 Academy, Leicester”

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Review by Sheri Bicheno for MPM

You cannot deny that whenever the Uprising team have an announcement to make, no matter who you are, you’re in for a treat. 

This team are one of the UK’s most dedicated, hardworking and wonderful events going who wave the flag for underground artists to have the opportunity to share an event or stage with some legendary artists.

I was lucky enough to land press at last year’s event but on the last day I had a…mishap… that resulted in my sight going AWOL for a few months afterwards so my review couldn’t be finished.

To no fault of anyone. I am just one of those people that awkward things happen to. Constantly haha.

So when I was invited for Press this year, I was off the scale happy and excited to have an opportunity to be working alongside these wonderful people again.

This year, a range of astounding artists were announced and some newer bands that are recent semi finalists of Bloodstock’s Metal To The Masses were given a slot to be judged by Simon Hall (Bloodstock) to win their place for the New Blood Stage this August.

Again, another demonstration of how Uprising are doing a fantastic feat of ensuring that the music scene is united and working together.

This year we were treated to three stages at Uprising so without further dawdling…

Heading first to the Second Stage, the first bands ready to kick off the day were the M2TM finalists starting with Tech Death Leicester outfit Voidwalker.

I’ve heard of these guys around the underground scene since the release of their 2020 EP Democratic Fever Dream but never had a chance to see them until today.

I’d heard good things and BY THE GODS I wasn’t disappointed… queue an intro of electronica infused instrumental to hype up the first crowd gathering for Uprising and lights growing lighter from the dim of the stage.

Miguel De Almeida vocals are outstanding. He roars outwards from the stage and displays techniques incorporating melo-death and hardcore-esque pipes to deliver the mouth of Voidwalker clearly. His growls are powerful and gutturals face melting which work beautifully with the melodic tech vibes of the band.

History Repeats starts off as a slow and lulling harmony of strings that glide into a brutal blast beating of the kit wielded by Calum Burns. There are elements of the guitaring here that reminds me a little of My Sleeping Karma infused with Tech Death, which gives off a really ambient but brutal vibe. Stunning.

It should be noted that Lead Guitarist Robyn Foley has some intricate and intoxicating skills going on here. Robyn showcases some killer hybrid plucking techniques whilst the tech melodies are present in the songs of Voidwalker delivering diverse harmonies lacing through the tracks to tie everything together.

Tar Stained Lips is Voidwalkers most recently released track and see’s Uprising’s first Wall of Death – the bass work from Joseph Eden grinds and offers the chuggy fast paced backbone alongside Amaia Daglish’s exceptional brutal riffing. 

Certainly a band I am going to follow closer and was my favourite out of the four amazing bands to compete for the final M2tM in Leicester.

Next, Nottingham M2TM finalists Loatch were up.

I can easily see that these guys had a sea of followers turn up to support them. There were people arriving near the front adorning Loatch t shirts going absolutely crazy as soon as they took to the stage. 

A stunning drum solo introduced the band to the stage and a huge roar of approval rang through the second stage room of The Academy. Lead vocalist Logan Wheat cries out and then bursts his energy all across the stage, headbanging and thrashing himself around – enough to give Randy Blythe a run for his money.

Weight Of The World comes crashing right in, no messing about. The breakdowns throughout the set are tech infused and surround heavy as hell groove notes from Robin and Ewan’s guitaring.

Logan displays his vocals through blending in the realms of early style Lamb of God and Machine Head-esque nu metal… but with more extreme edges. 

New single Beautiful Nothing delivers Loatch in a chugging, heavy storm of riffs to start with that comes with layers of higher harmonies and Ryan’s skillful strikes of the kit. Here, Logan’s vocals have moments of taking on a cleaner, yet a still hammeringing heavy take to create a beautiful and darkened mood lacing through the upbeat of nu metal heaviness reverberating through the band.

DO NOT be fooled though. About halfway through the track, Zac’s encapsulating bass tone drops and we’re taken into a tornado of battering heaviness and Logan’s stronger wails holding the direction of the band’s energy throughout.

Immense.

Inflictions – these Metalcore vibe locals of Birmingham were not what I was expecting. Donning masks on stage with elements of nu metal amongst their Metalcore riffs and beats we were introduced to Inflictions with Sub Zero – which put me right in the mood for the havok of pits that followed the first few bars of riffs. This gave me proper Soulfly early vibes – Seek and Strike – that immersive energy and brutal vocals and riffs wash over the crowd and all hell breaks loose.

Suff3r opened with a stunning acoustic solo intro to set a melancholic mood and then Jean-Luc completely controls the emotion of the room with his stunning sung vocals that touch your hearts core.

Though this melts suddenly into a tech metal riffing storm by Luke and Zummeh.

This is my favourite track from Inflictions as it displays how these guys can create something that is delicate and beautiful into something brutal with killer tech breakdowns and destructive bass notes that coincide with speed bullet drumming.

Next on the Academy 2 Stage were M2TM finalists Running With Knives. 

Right off the bat, riff galore and ferocious energy kicked off from these guys. Vocalist Alex Briscoe displays some guttural vocals amongst some harmonious clean pipes that balances the delivery of moods out in the band. 

There are some stunning melodic touches in the senses of Running With Knives – Psychosphere comes with some fast paced hardcore-esque vocals from Alex and some brutal gunshot blasts of the kit from Scott Jordan however, in between the battering rams of extreme beats, the riffs are full of melody and dark melodies that glue the track together. 

Stay Afloat was my favourite song from this set. Here’s where some of my favourite elements are showcased with these guys – Monty provides the backbone to this track with his hard and stunning bassline that backs up some gorgeously heavy breakdowns between the heavy rainfall of riffs that Jack entwines with Ciaran.

The melodic, almost deathcore style of Running With Knives really comes out in Stay Afloat and shows the height of devastating energy that the band unleash to the crowd. 

After a little wait, the announcements were made! 

Congratulations to Voidwalker for landing the New Stage spot at Bloodstock this year. All four bands were fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed getting a glimpse into some of the younger bands that are up and coming to shape the coming years of the underground metal scene.

I’m heading over to the main stage to catch the opener of Uprising’s main stage, Leicester’s resident metal favourites Internal Conflict absolutely stormed the stage with first track Catharsis – a fury of gruelling riffs and explosive pedal work on the kit. 

Vocalist Adam Kyle yet again commands the stage and shreds apart the main room of The Academy with his stunning growling wails and metalcore infused voice to deliver emotion and aggression from a rippling atmosphere from the band to the crowd. 

Bleed The Sky is without a doubt one of my favourite tracks of Internal Conflict – opening with a stunning atmospheric guitar intro that thumps in with some overlaying riffs. This is where I think Sean and Matt work so well together.

The beautiful ambient tones overlaid with some stunning brutal riffs to create an atmospheric and pretty cosmic sense leaves you standing there basking in the scenery and moods that these guys craft in front of you. 

We’re left with Hollow Heart – a super tech infused track that gives more textures to Internal Conflict’s already crisp sound. The bass work from Dan shines in this track, having more tech elements on offer gives the grinding bassline room to speed in different directions to provide a back up to the stunning blast beats that come in blows from Chris. 

Next on the Academy 2 stage were Leicester favourites Blood Oath.

Now, Blood Oath released INFERNUM REX DIABOLUS in 2019, just before the Pandemic hit and was one of the albums that kept me as sane as possible through 2020.

Blackened Death Metal is very much one of my favourite genres and I find, gives so many textures in composition. Blood Oath are no exception. Every time I have seen them, they have blown up the stage with their theatrics and themes to give a visionary to the HUGE sound that dwells within.

First track was from back in 2017 – Fury and Fire which starts out as heartracing chug riffs building up to Thrax’s demonic growling that forges with the blast beating of the kit from Mike.

The monster riff that introduces us to Infernum Diabolos takes us forward into a slow but absolutely belting headbanger of a tune. Frazer’s riffs then speeds up, with twists and turns of changing pace, something I absolutely need in a good track I want to get heavy to and something the crowd of Uprising respond to with bodies flying absolutely everywhere.

Thrax’s vocals here are low and growling, a pure demonic crazy train, but again very clear and well cut.
Rounding off their killer performance, paving the way to the stunning Monuments to Our Ruin blasted through the stage and offering an anthemic beast of a track.

We’re taken through a set of powerful and dangerously unhinged riffs and killer basslines from Billy. 

Always a stunning watch.

As I’d heard some hype around Derby Grunge trio Muddibrooke, I headed over to catch some of their set in the newly set up Green Room Stage. 

The stage was small but was definitely placed in a good area – what seemed like a hallway or common room that had a makeshift stage created for it. 

The sound was great and provided good acoustics for this makeshift stage. 

We started with intro song Liverpool Guy and as i’d never heard Muddobrooke before, I was surprised that we were greeted with such beautiful and calming contrast to the last few bands.

Brooke’ / Harriet offers her voice in gentle tones and full of stunning harmonies that talk to us of a guy from Liverpool with a crow tattoo that the narrative meets. The track gets heavier slightly with the commanding thumping of Morgan’s immersive drums and binds a mood that harbours some beautiful dark moments.

Straight Jacket showcases another side to Muddibrooke that is darker and a bit more sinister. Anna’s bass is chuggy and full of attitude that compliments the alt 90’s riffs of Brooke and has an air of anger to the lyrics.

Heading back to the Second Stage (Academy 2) to catch some of Lowen’s second half of their set, The Fortress of Blood was in full swing and this atmospheric, cosmic track was STUNNING. 

Blending doomy riffs with heavy sludgy drumming but absolutely beautiful melodic vocals from Nina was a sight to behold.

Ooooh the chills were very real. Eerie and mysterious vocals created another level of texture to this performance instead of the whole vibe being purely doom metal.

The combination of Tahrir style vocals to bring a Middle Eastern influence into Metal stands out so much in this set. Nina has a voice that holds a note for a unbelievable amount of time and delivers it with beauty, longing and emotion fuelled effects.

In Perpetual Bloom gives off a very chilling beginning with echoes of long past memories of oppression and fighting life’s challenges.

Here, amongst Nina’s haunting lyrical concepts, Shem displays winding and beautiful guitaring that incorporates a cosmic doom vibe with mysterious winding solos to melt in with the beat of the time bomb drumming.

Stunning.

Over the years I have watched Damim grow and continue to flourish. They were at last years Uprising and everytime I see them, I always spot something different. New techniques, new textures, more cut shape sounds and where predominantly, blackened death is their forte, they twist in elements of thrash to create something that is pretty immersive and melancholy BUT brutal as brutal does.

Frontman Nathanael Underwood delivers his vocals with precision and sheer calibre. He vents in black metal pipes and they go from devastating wails that shake you to your core, to growls that are a thing plucked from nightmares.

His guitar skills match the energy he emits, with opener Eyeballing resurfacing that displays speed riffing that pulls your limbs in different directions – are we thrashing? Are we pummeling black metal? Lawdy knows…just go along with the ride.


Made of Beasts comes in like a battering ram, a huge destructive riff entwines with evil rhythms and the pace is commanded by the annihilating blast beating from Flow Toulman – this track is certainly an example of the skills that he possesses. Jaw dropping double pedals that hit the kit and see the pace of the track open up a mosh pit in the middle of the room.

With the addition of Nik Sampson on guitars, the overlay of riffs and harmonies during In a Language They Understand provides a double helping of brutal groove notes entwining with the blackened elements of Damim and deliver full pelt with Fuast Perez on the chugging and speed bullet pace basswork. Fantastic blackened death metal. 


PLUS… Nathanael has been occasionally prone to feeding people KitKats and delivering Red Dwarf themed humour upon oneself… don’t be fooled… the Netherworlds dark residents also have a witty and humorous side.

Onto the main stage! 

Palm Reader oversaw a packed out main room waiting for their entrance. A low bassy synth smoked out from the stage and a heartskipping blastbeating of the drum pedals rang out, building up to a drop right into intro track Hold/Release.


Vocalist Josh Mckeown displays his vocal range in this track from high brutal screams to beautiful melodic clean singing in this track which flows with the sheer velocity of Palm Reader’s live setting. Their sound is HUGE.

The brutal notes come in next track in the set Stay Down. Right off the bat, Josh Mckeown spins out some face melting screams and we can hear the killer low bassline from Josh Redrup take spotlight of this track. His style is very tech infused progressive here and captivates one of the heaviest offerings that Palm Reader have tonight.

This track is a fantastic example of getting to see how Josh’s bass works with Dan Old’s exceptional footwork on the kit, working to deliver the high and low paces of this track so that the technical layers of riffing work their magic in between.

Fantastic metalcore example if anyone was looking for one.

We’re thrown right into a bit of nostalgic Palm Reader with 2018’s Swarm which gives takes stunning melodic side of these guys and entwines it with metalcore roughness. Guitarists Andy Gillan and Sam Rondeau-Smith really shine here.

One lays down the melodic shimmers of this track that create a stunning and immersive mood whilst the tech groove laden riffs work by blending brutal with beautiful textures, delivering an ambient and high impact feed to the audience. A theme that is often seen throughout this set.

All is quiet except for a low and eerie synth note that sweeps across the stage. Josh Mckeown stands solemnly amongst blue hues of the stage and expresses a low tone:

“With our hands weaved together,

We’ll stand in tangled medicine forever.”

A Bird and It’s Feathers – a stunning last track to finish on. The eerie tone melts into some beautiful riffing melodies and grinding bass tones. Josh emits a different vocal range here – cleaner but extremely melodic amongst some hypnotic melodies and bass notes that weave in and out of each other.

Stunning!

Heading to the Academy 2 again, I stopped for a few moments to catch the killer Pretty Addicted in the Green Room Stage. 

I am always blown away by these guys. Vocalist Vicious Bardon is an entity unto herself. She drives the energy of the band with her movements across the stage and unique vocal range.

She has ways of combining brutal high vocals with fun and energetic vibes to relaying stories of a journey within mental health and macabre elements that translate in a strong metal electronica rave style that is refreshingly different and caters to different audiences.

Drummer Christobel Coello is full of punk infused blasting and energy, he provides the backbone to the electronica beats that rage through the set.

As the tracks blend in with eachother, I am very much reminded of being at a Prodigy show. The vibe is fun, interactive and gets the crowd moving.

Child of the Devil flows from the stage and vibes to dark and catchy, here is where there is a full range example of Vicious’ vocal skills with intense screams blending with some beautiful ambient singing. It’s a unique take on industrial metal by far that today’s acts offer and develops space for everyone to get involved. Those who love metal to those who love electronica and more upbeat vibes.

I am pleased Pretty Addicted got the opportunity to play Uprising. The work and passion that goes into producing Pretty Addicted is astonishing and none just as passionate about their music as the lovely Vish.

Heading over to the Academy 2 stage, I caught some of Wigan’s reputable Boss Keloid set.

Long have these guys waved the flag for British Stoner/Sludge Metal. Alex Hurst’s vocals come in with a rhythmic singsong edge with a plethora of huge rhythm strings beneath them. The riffs are huge and the way they are crafted through the set is something to behold.

Paul Swarbrick flourishes heavy layers of guitar with thick chords beneath the power riffs of Smiling Thrush which delivers the melodies to the thundering bass of Liam Pendlebury-Green to create an absolute storm of a sound to blow the roof off of the O2 Academy.

The production in the live setting of Boss Keloid is full hilt and entirely flawless. The instrumental side of them is immersive and gives different layers of effects and moods that doom laden riffs and Ste’s drums deliver lacing through uplifting and power fuelled moments.

Sticking around on the main stage for Atmospheric Black Metal from Scotland Saor, I’d seen these guys doing a tonne on social media but this is my first time watching them play.

They came out in the stages blue hues and smoky effects to a beautiful instrumental intro that blended into an absorbing beginning of winding cosmic melodies that started off first track Origins combining searing guitars and punishing blast beating drums that conjure a limitless experience through the crowd. 

Next track Bròn introduces majestic harmonies that keep true to some melodic Gaelic folk influences within the realms of their black metal signatures introducing tin whistles and flutes to heighten the Scottish folk influence.

The combination of harsh and clean vocals keeps the song enticing the textures of the genres, but hypnotic melodies are the shining star here, keeping the atmospheric moods emotional.

We’re taken back to some older Saor with 2016’s Tears Of a Nation which speaks to us of old Roman days of Scotland and the warfare surrounding those times. Here, Andy Marshall’s  vocals narrate power and evoke a variety of emotions that support the aura of the instrumentals. His gutturals are soul shattering yet leave the crowd wanting a non stop rendition of Scotland’s sombre history more and more.

I headed back into the Green Room to catch midlands growing leviathans Recall The Remains.

I’ve been a follower of Recall The Remains for several years now with running and going to some shows with them on the line up and I cannot stress enough of utterly amazing it is to see the growth of these guys over the years. They were always killer frm the beginning and it’s always one of the best things to see how a band continues to grow and develop over the years.

Their sound is flawless. Every time. I have NEVER seen a bad show from these guys and today was no exception.

One of their brand new tracks Fairfield came as an intro – a dark and deep growing instrumental to build up to a colossal change up in tech infused riffs to balance out a melodic background of melodies. Here, we’re treated to a duo whammy of both deepest darkest growls from frontman Jacob Collins and clean and beautiful melodic singing from bassist/vocalist Jordan Barnes.

These two work beautifully together, ranging a balance of face melting and dark and beautiful elements to deliver the lyrics of Recall The Remains.

The Night Will Bleed see’s devouring bass tones from Jordan and sonic upheaval from drummer Anthony Morris. These two align to command the pace of this track and create full chaos delivered to the crowd in front of them. This stage was pretty full given it was a fraction of the size of the other two – which, is a credit to the quality in which these guys deliver their shows.

By the time Voices arrived through the set, the maelstrom of emotion built from the band was well and truly in place. A constant spinning wheel of sonic intensity and submerging riffs from Elliot Rowe saw to that with seeming ease. His riffs are groove and metalcore laden with elements of tech death that seem to unravel all in one and back up the astonishing delivery of energy that these Recall The Remains each have in their unique ways.

I had to tear myself away from the lads for the latter part of their set to go and check out the commotion in the Academy 2 stage.

By the Gods, the whole place was jumping to the rafters. Electronica legends Combichrist had the room in the palm of their hands.

Feed Your Anger was in full destruction mode and saw frontman Andy LaPlegua prowling the stage like a hungry animal, provoking the crowd into a frenzy.

The did not disappoint. Glowsticks, rave attire, bodies jumping, whirling and swaying to the fast and ferocious upbeats of this set responded to his demands and created a party vibe that went right through to the outdoor smoking area of the Academy. Intense!

Then with no warning, we were thrust into a suspension of synths and dramatic visionary on stage for the intro of Fuck That Shit – an anthemic and relentless track that tore the crowd up and reignited a new energy before the finale of the night…

So now the Academy main stage was brimful. I got a spot a few rows from the front of the stage and felt that familiar excitedness.

Anyone who knows me, knows the height of regard I hold Paradise Lost in.

I wont go into how much they mean to me – if you know, then you know.

The opening track The Enemy starts with the familiar low winding riff wielded by Greg Mackintosh and haunting intro vocals on track. This is a catchy start to the set with sombre fuelled notes and melodic guitar figures.

Nick Holmes warmly greets Uprising and politely requests that the stage lights are dimmed.

“Please can we have the stage lights down a little. My eyes are sensitive… I’m like a new born baby rabbit.”

And then we’re catapulted into Draconian Times featured Hallowed Land – this combines the gothic metal elements of the band and brand new drummer Guido Montanarini’s intricate wielding of the drumkit, which showcases a light onto what he brings to Paradise Lost.

He has a clear cut and crisp skill, not overshadowing previous drummer Waltteri, but more continuing the calibre in quality that has always been held and is able to demonstrate this in his own blackened and melodic style. As he’s the drummer for Greg’s other band Strigoi , it’s interesting to see the differences that he portrays between the two.

The stage dims and a beautiful melodic harmony floats across the crowd. It’s unmistakeable. Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us was the title single of 2009 of the same named album.

The shimmering melodies carry a sorrow and darkened fuelled mood through the song and we see the burst of energy at the chorus that mirrors a cry out for one last hope. I adore the guitaring from Greg and Aaron Aedy in this track. This is where a lot of that emotion is absorbed and hits you to submerge you deeper into Nick’s sombre vocals.

“Is everybody drinking…..?” Nick addresses the crowd. “Lots of water I hope.” 

And then pauses. 

“It’s the parental advice coming out of me.”

One track that threw me sideways was the very rarely played True Belief – this is one of the more nostalgic of Paradise Lost and truly this was a treat.

One of my favourite tracks, hearing this in a live setting was so moving. The combining of melodic yet more Gothic Rock infused styles of guitaring to introduce True Belief was mesmerising, with that 90’s edge and somehow… it still feels fresh and like PL have made these older tracks into something still new.

Nick’s vocals bark through singing in the bridges and paint a rough sound until we ease into the chorus and that gorgeously melodic streak of Paradise Lost sets in with the guitar and Nick reverts to clean, beautiful, melodic vocals to shine a light on the stunning song writing that reveals melancholic brilliance and emotion rattling moments.

So for the first time ever in all the years I’ve been reviewing shows, it was brought to my attention that in the crowd near me somewhere was a very distinct aroma of what can only be described as Eucalyptus.

Olbus Oil perhaps, it was less of a medical smell, more fresher… for whatever reason, definitely something with Eucalyptus.

And do you know… this is going to sound strange as f**k… but that only heightened the sensory effect that came from watching these guys on stage.

There are smells that dance with your senses to bring elements of pleasure of course but the beautiful blue and green lighting shining the silhouettes of the band playing their deep melodic and atmospheric tones mixing with the emotions of dark vibes and with the fresh and sharp but woodland smell made the experience all the more intoxicating.

And amongst that, came the distinct melodic infused riffs of Gothic. Which, follows more into the Goth / Doom realms of Paradise Lost heralded by a catchy lead melody melting into synths that reflect a stunning winding mood to the audience. Greg’s wailing guitar entwines the rhythm section awaking a nocturnal atmosphere through the whole duration of the track, holding the song writing into place.

Just Say Words is another iconic track of PL and flirts with the cleaner, more upbeat side of the band, a different type of darkness to what we’re accustomed. Though, one of the most fun tracks of the set, I was not ready for what came afterwards…

The Devil Embraced is one of my most favourite tracks of newest album Obsidian. Actually, through the catalogue for these guys.

There are many reasons for this, mostly on a personal level.

The aura coming from the stage throughout this track was speech defying. This is a track where Nick’s guttural growls are more present and though this is the case, one of the reasons he is one of my favourite vocalists is because he has the ability to use that and still encapsulate the most fragile of emotions… pain, grief, unforgiving sadness.

This, supported by the stunning melodic riffs and glides of both Greg and Aaron forces you to dissolve into the moment that’s crafted before you… so I did. I cried quite a bit.

And I have no shame in admitting that.

Some tracks just hit you hard where it’s meant and there is no escaping it, the reasons why and the safety in knowledge that you are not alone in the emotions that you’re facing.

All that came to a gentle halt before another of my favourites rang through the air.

The opening riff is unmistakable. Nick’s growling vocals are again, a complete representation of hopelessness and I find that in a live setting, No Hope In Sight is very much a focus on the skills of bassist Stephen Edmondson.

His crushing basswork for this track provides the underlying backbone to the direction of heaviness that displays depth and ambience whilst the beautiful riffs work with Nick’s ranging growls and the death metal side of Paradise Lost drums from Guido.

This was something to behold, but not the last before we were left with the last track to end an upbeat and firey run with Ghosts.

I will not be forgetting this experience for as long as I live.

One of the best events that I’ve been to in a long time.

Huge thank you to Simon, his team and Dan Carter and Chelle for inviting me to Uprising and for putting on one of the best events of 2023.

Watch UPRISING TV interview with Paradise Lost here:
https://youtu.be/1AnuNJ_0cnQ

Photography by Manny Manson for MPM

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