A welcome return for me to Wakefield for the annual Bad Ass Bash saw all the bands booked by event organiser Martin Short playing for free with the proceeds once again going to Ian’s Chain and chART charities. Seventeen bands for only £14.50 was a sure fire bargain with proceedings kicking off strongly with Kingston Upon Hull based Dividium. Set opener ‘Eternity’ hit hard with early Deftones like downtuned angst. Their six song set flew by with highlights being the fast footed drumming from James Coggin that drove ‘The Chaos Engine’ along like a heavier Hundred Reasons and final song ‘It’s All Gone 19’ saw lead vocalist rip with an unhinged delivery as the song swung along like At The Drive In.
Falkirk based punk rockers ’13’ made a second visit following a rip roaring set last year and they did so yet again lead by the animated stage presence of lead vocalist/guitarist Dolly. Backed up by Crag on bass guitar and Tam on drums they thrashed out a lively set of catchy punk rock. This was not watered punk that you would see at Download but a full on raging performance with the lyrics delivering a message. The clarion call of “We are 13 and we play punk rock n roll” preceded ‘We Will Overcome’ , a short, sharp shock to the senses of bass driven prime Oi. There was no let up as they thrashed out nine songs in their alloted half an hour as the vitriolic vocals of second number ‘Misspent Life’ were backed by Siouxsie And The Banshees like time changes. ‘Tattered Sleeve’ was speedy snare driven and the ante was upped by the angry jams of ‘Trampled Flag’ but my highlight was the race to the finish line bluster of set closer ‘We Are 13’.
East Anglia based Kaine travelled over four hours to entertain us and they certainly did. Since I last saw them they have gone back to a twin guitar line up and added Stephen Ellis, a new bass player who has improved their sound immensely, point proven by the throat grabbing set opener ‘Heaven’s Abandonment’. The deceivingly quiet intro to ‘Afterlife’ developed into a full on metal juggernaut as my set highlight ‘Fall Of Jericho’ crushed with the bombast of vintage Accept. The riffing was nothing short of epic! ‘The Mind Is Willing’ was a headbangers dream that had more time changes than a Guns And Roses stage itinerary with dreamy Opeth like passages midway. A prog like intro to set closer ‘Voice In Hell’ morphed into a lengthy intense metal jam.
Birmingham based power metallers Dakesis raised the bar with four stunning tracks from their latest album The New Dawn, the title track of which began their set. The commanding stage presence and powerful voice from Gemma Lawler bellows out over breathtakingly heavy symphonic metal from the band as guitarist Matt Jones gives one of many displays of fretboard wizardry. ‘Destined For The Flame’ is dominated by the drum assault from Adam Harris over speed metal rhythms and a face melting guitar solo. ‘The Great Insurrection’ can only be described as a rock opera cranked up to the max but the best was yet to come as the fourteen minute ‘By The Fading Light (parts I & II)’ ebbed and flowed around the room with Matt and bassist Amie Chatterley locking into some astounding jams.
It was now time for Manchester based Babylon Fire to try and move the Earth off its axis and they certainly did with an over the top five song set, three of which were brand new tunes. Imposing frontman Dan Buxton lead the battle charge as they literally sent a shock wave from the stage with opener and first new song ‘Raven Cursed’ with the guitars of Rishi Mehta and Will Reece doubling as weapons of mass destruction. ‘Freight Train’ was aptly titled as a churning wall of riffs flew by and second new song ‘Devil’s Night’ was a clubbing assault to the senses with some neat bursts of twin lead guitar work midway. Last new song ‘Coup De Grace’ kept the intensity levels raised as they closed with ‘Clarion Call’, the heaviest song here with drummer Mark Cooper testing the limits of his kit as he battered it into submission.
Friday’s headliners Fury had the dubious task of following five strong sets but the Worcester based quintet rose to the challenge and delivered their six song set with aplomb. Opener ‘Lost In Space’ was furious, no holds barred thrash that was topped off by finger blistering lead guitar from Jake Beesley. ‘Star Trippin’ was a touch more melodic with frontman Julian Jenkins delivering a soaring lead vocal and meaty powerchords backed by a strong backbone from drummer Alasdair Davis. The Megadeth like crunch of ‘When The Hammer Falls’ got heads nodding and ‘Dragon’s Song’ was like a souped up ‘Children Of The Grave’. ‘Drunken Sailor’ was an hilarious crowd pleaser as they came back for a well deserved encore of the Anti Nowhere League’s ‘So What’ which got the three members of 13 pogoing on the floor.