Live Review: Rabidfest 2021 Day #2 (Sunday)!

After the resounding success of day #1 of Rabidfest at The Bullingdon in Oxford who are are raising money for the Mental Health charity Restore, we’re back for day #2, which the organisers have put together a heavier and equally varied line up for. Thankfully the pools of blood, sweat and tears from last night have been cleaned up from the floor in front of the stage so they can be replenished once more…

It’s been a big year in the life of Odysseus [8/10] who have played the New Blood stage at Bloodstock as well as sharing a stage with Old Wharf, Bleed Again and Blind Summit in the last few months, so while they may be opening the event this evening, they draw a decent crowd for their Technical Deathcore offering. The Northwest quintet wear their influences in Bury Your Dead and Thy Art Is Murder quite literally on their sleeves and in so doing give Vexed a run for their money. The weight of the second guitar makes all the difference and beefs up the quintets sound though brutal cuts like “The Gathering” and “Wretched“. They’ve been recording an EP that drives down the dark path with topics of abuse, manipulation, greed and drug abuse and on this performance, it’s going to be the anvil heavy.

It’s the debut live show for Shoot To Kill [7/10] and the Metallic Hardcore quintet are like the energiser bunny on crack on stage, leaping around, throwing shapes and not only head banging but body banging to a brutal onslaught of thunderous drums and slab after concrete slab of riffs. They suffer from the vocals being too low in the mix at points and getting drowned out by the heavy bass sound but we get enough of the vicious bark to know what time it is and in “Plague” they have a brick wall solid single.

During the change over before Tyrants [8/10] set we get an eccletic mix of TV theme music over the PA but the Downtempo Deathcore brutes are up for inciting violence in the pit from the very start of their time on the Devolution stage. They provide wave after wave of stuccato riffage, pound drums and rumbling bass in their incendiary set of which their latest offering “Wretch” is a highlight and the quartet are the push that makes you move with their punishing two step able blend. By the end of their 25 minutes they not only win over the crowd but get them to split for a circle pit. Midway through the final cut there is no surprise when their vocalist jumps the barrier and joins the crowd on the floor for a scream off. They’re just straight up evil good fun.

Bloodshot [9/10] entertain with covers riffs including “Bulls On Parade” by Rage Against The Machine as they tune up and sound check before the Oxford residents pile into a blistering set of Death Metal in its purest form. As with a lot of the bands they’ve been unable to play a show in two years and are letting of steam with fretboard smoking riffs at breakneck speed while including new song “God Eater“, which is an absolute monster. A packed audience obey commands to bang heads and raise horns and the light show makes it one of the best all round sets of the festival and we haven’t even mentioned the colossus that is “Split“.

Birmingham Old School Death Metallers Memoriam [8/10] have a couple of technical issues during the first couple of songs of their set but rather than stop they soldier on without guitars for a few minutes and then without bass, just loving being on the stage and in front of a packed audience. They’re a no frills, raw and at times gloriously monolithic older band and they go down a storm tonight with a crowd who have a lot of love for them from “Undefeated” to “Reduced To Zero” it’s a ferocious pummelling from a band who have former members of Bolt Thrower, Cerebral Fix and Benediction.

Exist Immortal [7/10] have stepped in to fill the void left after Northern Deathcore brutes Osiah dropped off the bill but sadly after the 2021 festival merch was printed and today’s line of heavier bands was clearly created for the heavier headliner. That being said, the Seek & Strike signings have been rattling off a series of EPs of late and are still a popular choice despite being a Progressive Metal outfit at the end of a day of Deathcore and Death Metal. The polar opposite of Memorium, they bring the full light show and play very tightly to a backing track that adds swaiths of synths to underpin the guitar work. Their newer material is heavier than the older stuff and they introduce on of their techs to add some vicious unclean vocal parts as they blaze through the likes of “Water” and “Gold” with frontman Meyrick de la Fuentes’s soaring cleans ringing out. Its bright and imaginative, we just wish the lights were less bright…

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