28th September 2019
Review by Kira Levine
Photography by Dovaldė Gaidelionytė
Twelve bands graced the stage tonight at Camden’s Black Heart in London for the this year’s edition of Snuff Fest. This is what the almost ten-hour experience had to offer…
Deathgrinding trio Total Consumption, often styled “TxCx”, are up first. They are described as “Nutella nonsense” on an advertisement for the event, which raises a lot of questions. Lead vocalist Debs is dressed in white hooded overalls with the letters “XL” hilariously painted over his crotch, while guitarist Matteus wore a high visibility vest over his clothes.
For the second song, the front-man jumps off the stage, headbanging and moshing as he growls, remaining separate from his band-mates for several of the songs. “We’re all friends now!” he announces as he shakes the hands of those around him.
Their songs are short and fast-paced, with simple lyrics and odd titles like ‘Origami Zoo’.
“Please take some chocolatey goodness,” we are asked as a female audience member is passed a box of individually wrapped Nutella-branded treats, which she happily throws out to some onlookers as the band start their tenth song. This song is quite slow in comparison to their prior songs, picking up in tempo towards the end when drummer Shawn laid down some blast beats.
Debs gets several crowd members to take over the vocal duties momentarily for a few songs by holding the microphone in front of their mouths. Most scream, shriek, or shout, with a couple of shy individuals shaking their heads when the microphone had been pointed at them.
The three piece definitely don’t take themselves too seriously, which made for a fun start to the festival.
2pm saw the arrival of Anal Floss Is Boss, a one-man goregrind project from Cardiff, Wales. He walks onto the stage with his guitar, wearing shorts that read “CBT Cock & Bull Torture.”
“Who likes to watch porn? You like to watch porn,” he says while pointing at a random guy in the middle of the front row.
‘Reasons To Watch Porn’ was dedicated to everyone who likes to watch porn. It consisted of various sound bites of women talking about their sexual escapades, which he played his guitar over, mixed with his guttural squeals.
There were some very funny moments, including when the AFIB front man started gesturing and miming the female voice that was playing, while rubbing his nipple. One song featured a woman moaning and screaming in ecstasy, while the vocalist-guitarist played riffs. This gained a lot of laughs.
Skullfucked are fashioned as “fast and furious grind from Stevenage”. The bassist, guitarist and drummer share vocal duties.
By Skullfucked’s second song, the crowd are noticeably more lively, moshing and shoving each other.
The track “Fuck My Cunt” contrasts the guitar player’s much deeper than the drummer’s and bassist’s and their voices complemented each other especially well as this was played.
Next came Bludgeon, an English tech death metal band. Zach White is the vocalist, while Chris Mansfield and Tim Lee are guitarists (with Tim also taking on drum programming duties).
The vocals are drowned out by instruments a lot of the time, leaving Zach inaudible for some sections of certain songs. The music very often overpowers the vocalist, which is a shame because when you can hear him he sounds great and has a very strong voice.
Bludgeoned do not seem to have effectively sound-checked as much as the bands who preceded them because the vocals are simply too low in volume.
The audience are a tell-tale sign of this as they seem a little less enthusiastic about this band.
Defecal Of Gerbe are “party grind” from France (with Dave Chaigne on guitar, Mike Savage on bass, and R.V. on the drums). All three perform vocals.
A pig snout is the bassist’s nose but by the second song, due to his erratic behaviour, the pig snout has disappeared.
Mike motions for crowd to open up a circle pit by gesturing with his hands, and they happily comply.
Pig squeals and oinks are prominent, especially from the bassist, bringing a completely unique vibe to the triad’s performance.
Obsolete Incarnation – brutal tech death quintet from Germany – follow. Sven Blättermann is on vox, Kai Zentis and Jens Strack are the guitarists, Marius Baron plays the bass, and Nanuk Spitz drums. During the show, the bassist sports a Cannibal Corpse tee, while one of the guitarists dons a Dying Fetus shirt.
Both guitarists and the bassist jump off the stage and start a circle pit with the audience, still playing as they run amongst the audience.
The vocalist from Skullfucked could be seen stage diving and crowd surfing at various moments during this set.
Another brutal death metal outfit from Germany show up, in the form of Placenta Powerfist.
The band can be heard instructing the sound man on how to do the mix, before exploding into their relentlessly mind-shattering performance.
The audience is asked to “do the arm hammer”, which see tens of people chuck their arms down violently to the beat of their songs.
A shout-out is given to their friends and fellow Germans, Obsolete Incantation, who played just before them. Mid set, a circle explodes in front of the stage, the audience staying lively throughout.
“Thanks, we love you!” the vocalist says before they all leave the stage.
Snuff Fest’s third and final instalment of death metal from Germany comes in the form of Stillbirth. Half of the sextet played a set with one of the previous German bands – the vocalist (Lukas S. plays guitar for Placenta Powerfist), one of the guitarists (Jens also plays in Obsolete Incantation), and the bassist (Lukas K. plays bass for Placenta Powerfist as well).
A few songs in and the vocalist jumps off the stage because it is too small for him. He is one of the most animated front men of the evening. At one point, he used the mic wire as a noose around his neck as he screamed frantically.
Lukas S. gestures his hands for a pit to be opened up, which causes the crowd to part in the middle, the empty space transforming into yet another mosh pit.
Stillbirth definitely have a large sound to match their large band.
Following just ten minutes later are XavlegbmaofffassssitimiwoamndutroabcwapwaeiippohfffX, “Crazy Brutal Slam” from South Africa. Both Lukases and Martin from the previous band take the stage again as live members of Xavleg. Vocalist Duncan Bentley and guitarists Kris Xenopoulos and Lwandile Prusent are the South African permanent fixtures in this international six-piece.
The German vocalist insists that he listens to “real music too, not just noise” before the band play a gentle instrumental, which is a complete contrast to their hammering, relentless style. Which they soon return to.
Their last song, ‘Dicks Out For Harambe’, is dedicated to the late gorilla, who is described as “a late friend of theirs”. The audience seem most familiar with this song as they shout its lyrics louder than any of the others.
Xavleg were planning to play a couple more songs, but they ran out of time so their set was cut short. It does not seem that anyone would have noticed, as they were all having a great time slam-dancing to tunes about gore and weed.
UK snuff-grind band Basement Torture Killings sees a woman grace the stage for the first and single instance tonight at The Black Heart. Frontwoman Beryl wears a blood-splattered dress while stabbing her teddy bear to the tune of the classic 60s song ‘Happy Together’. She proceeds to throw the stuffing from her bear off stage for the band’s first two songs.
Faceless Killer, the drummer, wears a sack-like mask, while guitarist-vocalist Tarquin dons what appears to be a stocking over his face, bassist Dr. Krause opting for a surgical mask. They were all smeared in “blood” and look pretty gruesome on stage which complimented their gruelling sound.
The body of the teddy gets thrown around the crowd, with one attendee windmilling it above his head during one song performance.
What looked like bright red intestines were tossed around, with one piece being caught on the overhead lighting cables, hanging there gruesomely for the rest of BTK’s performance. Another landed on an unsuspecting member of the audience, causing him to cringe and shrug it off, before yelling: “WTF is that?!”
Fleshless, old school death metal from Czech Republic followed. They are comprised of Vladmir (vocalist), Luděk (guitarist), Michal (bassist) and Vitys (drummer).
The audience went really crazy for these four, with lots of stage diving and crowd surfing happening as they played. Many people were getting so carried away that they would lose their balance, with fellow attendees swiftly helping them up off the floor.
It has to be said at this point, they could definitely be described as having one of the strongest vocals so far. Combined with their heavy, chugging instruments, they definitely left a lasting impression.
The time had come for legendary goregrinders Spasm (also from Czechia) to take the stage. The most striking sight is vocalist Radim’s outfit. He wears a fluorescent green mankini (Borat, anyone?) and a plague doctor mask… but in place of the beak is a penis.
The group do not have a guitarist (bassist Sam and drummer Rudy complete the band), instead opting to use distorted bass.
Their ending song contains lyrics such as “Masturbation, no pain, no gain” and has the majority of The Black Heart screaming along to it, which was hysterical. Radim and co. were surely enjoying themselves as much as their fans were.
Spasm closed the one-day festival on a really high note, with their brand of “drum ‘n’ bass gigolo goregrind” that had virtually everyone moshing and headbanging along. Worth every bump and bruise!
Total Consumption: 13.15 – 13.40
Anal Floss Is Boss: – 14.00 – 14.25
Skullfucked: 14.45 – 15.15
Bludgeon: 15.35 –16.05
Defecal of Gerbe: 16.25 – 16.55
Obsolete Incantation: 17.20 – 17.50
Placenta Powerfist: 18.00 – 18.30
Stillbirth: 18.40 – 19.20
XavlegbmaofffassssitimiwoamndutroabcwapwaeiippohfffX: 19.30 – 20.10
Basement Torture Killings: 20:35 – 21.05
Fleshless: 21.25 – 22.00
Spasm: 22.20 – 23.00