After a one-year break, Takedown 2012 kicked off with relentless force. With four stages of music across campus and a bigger and better line up than 2010, this year’s festival was set to be impressive. In the dark recesses of The Cube, the Guitar Central Stage hosted the heaviest and most exciting lineup of the festival.
Desolated made an early start, ploughing straight into slow and brutal breakdowns. Taking elements of sludge and fusing them with hardcore, they were definitely one of the heavier acts of the day. However, they did little to impress; their raw and raspy vocals seemed amateurish, while many of their songs seemed to be lacking in punch despite their heavy image. My criticism was not supported by many within the crowd though, as a collection of pits broke out by the barrier with many taking any opportunity given by the frontman to scream into the mic, which set a great atmosphere for the start of the festival.
As the evening began to approach, the much awaited Feed the Rhino stormed the stage with unrelenting hardcore force, and the crowd reacted in the only way they knew possible by hurling themselves full force at the stage. Much of this was restrained by the somewhat over-protective security, yet Feed the Rhino’s set was no less impressive with pits frequently breaking out across the room. With songs such as ‘Mr. Red Eye’ and ‘Knives’ delivering choppy riffs and brutal beatdowns, this Kent-based band was one of the highlights of the festival. Heights took a far less violent approach than many of their predecessors although they were no less brutal. Elements of post-metal and post-hardcore made this a performance worth watching. An impressive use of lights and a more melodic sound, broken up by the harsh vocals created an intense atmosphere. Although some songs seemed to blend into others, the crowd was no less appreciative with pits frequently breaking out to Heights’ melodically bleak style. This was a complex and most impressive set
Next up were Bleed From Within, an unrelenting deathcore powerhouse, delivering violent riffs and breakdowns that couldn’t help but make the crowd move with a vocal style reminiscent of The Black Dahlia Murder’s, Trevor Strnad. Although unable to reach many of the high screams that he can, the frontman still delivered impressive lows, attracting a large crowd. Their performance was particularly refined and punctuated by frequent blast beats and melodic guitar lines which exceeded my own expectations, making this one of the best bands of the day and a personal favourite. If you’re a fan of As Blood Runs Black, The Black Dahlia Murder or Trigger the Bloodshed, Bleed From Within are sure to impress.
Originating from Southampton, Bury Tomorrow were destined to deliver an amazing show, and they didn’t fall short on this promise. A sizeable crowd gathered to watch, despite many watching Skindred and Kids Can’t Fly and the stage was the busiest it had been all day. Frontman Daniel Winter Bates, mockingly shouted ‘who here is watching Skindred?’ the crowd screaming back in delight as Bury Tomorrow threw themselves straight into their fairly recent release ‘Lionheart’. They followed with ‘Anything with Teeth’, ‘An Honourable Reign’ and a fairly lack lustre ‘You and I’. Yet Bury Tomorrow ticked all the right metalcore boxes, getting the crowd to pull off a somewhat clichéd ‘crouch and jump’ routine which is reminiscent of an early Slipknot.
With an exuberant and lively performance from Daniel Winter Bates, who frequently hurled himself across the stage, spent much of his time leaning into the crowd, or looking down from the top of a stack of amps. ‘Royal Blood’ went off without a hitch as pit after pit formed and gradually took up more and more of the front stage. By the end of ‘Casting Shapes’ the entire front section of the audience was alive with movement. Bury Tomorrow provided a mix of clean and harsh vocals which did not fail to deliver, although Jason Cameron’s performance was much more reserved. With the main focus being on Davyd and Daniel, the dynamics of the performance were slightly detracted, but there was no lack of energy and Jason’s live performance is arguably his best yet. Ending with ‘Confessions’ and ‘These Woods Aren’t Safe For Us’ provided more than an adequate farewell for the band.
Bury Tomorrow’s solid performance signalled the end of another brutally epic Takedown, and with a bigger and better line-up promised in 2013, this festival is set to be a yearly highlight although 2012 is going to be a hard year to beat!