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Great Escape Festival's first ever showcase for Metal + extreme rock.
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Savage Messiah @ AIM Presents... The Hardrock & Metal Coalition event @ The Great Escape 2015.

2015 saw The Great Escape Festival celebrate it's tenth birthday and Rock in most of it's many forms has been well represented over the years especially within the Alternative Escape programme. There have been sponsored stages by Rock Sound Magazine featuring bands such as Don Broco, Marmozets, Sonic Boom Six, The Blackout, and more besides but there has never been a specific event for bands of a seriously heavy nature. There has always been a distinct lack of Metal and the Great Escape has never been seen as a festival for the more extreme and heavier guitar bands. That was to change this year though with the addition of the festival’s first ever showcase of its kind... the “AIM Presents… Hardrock and Metal Coalition” event at Volks venue on the seafront, and I was lucky enough to be invited along to take some photos. If you didn't go along here's a taste of what you missed out on...


The first band on were Elegies, a twin vocal six piece melodic hardcore band. With music made in equal parts crushing and atmospheric, discordant melodies swapping with heavyweight riffs, the vocal tag team of Tom Hoyland and Sam Gibson prowled the floorspace like caged lions, roaring in the faces of the ring of people trapping them in front of the stage. Songs like the impressive “Throne” proved they have an ear for a memorable chorus hookline too. I photographed them before the show also, for a portrait which will be added to these pages very soon...

The Colour Line

The Colour Line continued the show from where Elegies left off but refused to be contained to just the stage area. The only band member who did remain on stage was drummer James Coggin, the others introduced the band’s Mathcore style to every corner of the venue in person. Guitarist Usama Rafique even played a song standing on the bar countertop. It was an insane show, and if you had not heard the band before you will certainly remember the experience. If you are still grieving over the day The Chariot split up The Colour Line may well make you feel a whole lot better. I have a set of photos to upload which I'll be doing in the not too distant future. Keep an eye out for those.

Press To MECO

Celebrating their earlier signing on the beach to Best Before Records, Press To MECO took to the stage looking understandably pleased for themselves. The band’s punkier edge and more traditional songwriting approach was in contrast with the evening’s previous bands but no less hard hitting. Particularly impressive were the vocal harmonies which sounded spot on throughout. I saw the band again at Camden Rocks a couple of weeks later and they sounded great then too. More pics from both these gigs will be uploaded soon with a link added here.

Also on the Best Before label was the next band to take to the stage, ACODA, with a return to a slighter harder sound, the vocal melodies giving way to occasional screamed parts. They sounded tight even though bass player Stephen Crook spent much time throwing himself around, climbing the PA stack at one point and doing handstands and caterpillar break-dance moves at the end of the set! Songs from the new album Truthseeker sounded just as good in the live setting. Hopefully they’ll be the ones that enable ACODA to grow to bigger stages.

Savage Messiah

The headliners for the evening were Savage Messiah, adding their old school thrash metal sound to the mix of tonight’s variety of styles. It’s a genre that can be quite unforgiving where only the tightest bands can really impress. Savage Messiah are one of the tightest on the scene, thanks to Andrea Gorio’s outstanding double bass drum footwork. This gig was no exception as guitars and drums locked together to stunning effect. Dave Silver’s voice was in top form too hitting the high notes with ease. It all made for a perfect way to bring the evening to a close.

I really hope this event will be back again. It's important for these more extreme music genres to be properly represented at such an auspicious music industry showcasing event as the Great Escape. Bands like these, who put on enthralling live shows as standard, keep the live circuit buzzing and continue to push the boundaries when recording new music. More power to them I say!

Find out more about Great Escape Festival and all the latest event info at

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