With a mixture of thrash, metal, hardcore and punk rock, the fourth year of Hevy Fest pulls in all those elements and puts in them in one eccentric place for three days of head-banging, circle pits and the occasional spinning kicks. Heavy by name, heavy by nature. Bring it on!

So, on our way to watch the first band of the weekend, Gnarwolves, we walk through the campsite as people are singing along as they set up camp. Already a positive reaction, however, we arrive at the gate to find security not letting anyone through. After opening the gate ourselves, Gnarwolves two songs in having exclaimed “this is the biggest show we’ve played to the smallest amount of people”, and a few quick glances between ourselves, it is an unspoken decision made to rush the security, which myself and about 60-70 kids do. Running in to the tent, fists in the air, screaming along to every word. This is the exact way you want your festival experience to begin and I know that Gnarwolves felt exactly the same.

Having only released ‘CRU’ three weeks ago the response has been phenomenal. So to see a full crowd of kids today singing along to every word with the enthusiasm of it being their favourite band is incredible. Gnarwolves play exactly as you’d expect, fast, fun, and with energy. They’re a band that have set out to have a good time and that shows musically and in their live performance. Playing the whole of ‘CRU’ and some tracks from their previous record, the set seems short but we’re not left disappointed. I couldn’t think of a more perfect band, and anecdote, to begin the Hevy weekend. (RK)

Photos by Sarah Louise Bennett.

Up next are Our Time Down Here with their fresh and bright-eyed pop-punk sound. Charismatic and posturing front man Will Gould bounds around the stage with limitless energy whilst delivering tracks coming mainly from the band’s recent release, ‘Midnight Mass.’ There is a youthful exuberance to the band’s pop-punk that is refreshing this early in the day and something clicks into place with this performance that suggests that there is a lot more in store for this band. (TW)

Over on the Punktastic stage, Leeds’ Blacklisters are scrappy, aggressive, sharp and with Billy Mason-Wood’s seemingly alcohol-fuelled inbetween song talking, entertaining. With tracks like ‘Clubfoot By Kasabian,’ the quartet leave a strong impression on the decent-sized crowd. (SR)

Photos by Sarah Louise Bennett.

This is the first time Mixtapes have toured in this country however a decent sized crowd is here to welcome them today. Playing a set littered with tracks from their new album, ‘Even On The Worst Nights,’ there seems to be no nerves about playing in a new country for the first time. If there’s one criticism to be made of their performance it is that they do seem out of place on such a large stage. Their low-fi pop-punk doesn’t fill the massive tent and it can lead to some of the songs falling a little flat. Overall however, it is great to see Mixtapes finally make it over here and their set is short, sweet and very enjoyable. (TW)

Photos by Sarah Louise Bennett.

With anticipation welcoming them, Last Witness unleash their crushing metalcore sound on to the smiling faces of the crowd. A combination of guttery vocals and punishing riffs enable the London hardcore crew to draw a chaotic frenzy onto the festival floor that signifies the start of what is to come for the rest of the weekend. (AL)

Progressive post hardcore mob Marmozets are definitely the most unusual band to grace this afternoon. Spiralling experimental melodies merge with harsh noises provide a set that is met with both curiosity and interest. Although there is room for improvement in regards to the delivery of their songs, the band have an admirable energy which will probably make a few heads turn and identify them as a target for future listening indulgement. (AL)

Photos by Sarah Louise Bennett.

Eclectically entertaining are two words that come to mind during the course of The James Cleaver Quintet’s wonderful performance. Having the crowd hook, line and sinker only drives the band further to provide the best entertainment amidst the gloriously sunny afternoon. This static charged post hardcore troupe are definitely ones to keep an eye out for as the potential of them playing bigger shows is within reach of their grin-seeking missile. (AL)

Photos by Sarah Louise Bennett.

For the mighty Sharks, they are now more accustomed to playing bigger shows. They burst out today suave, cool and collected and mesmerise the crowd with their indie-punk melodies. Clean, crisp, with a refined mellowness that hasn’t been seen on stage today, they are a force to be reckoned with and a breath of fresh air. Playing hits mostly drawn from their debut full length, ‘No Gods,’ the band are looking more exciting live now than they ever have done. (TW)

Photos by Sarah Louise Bennett.

The signal of a thumbs up from JCQ frontman Jacky Udon gives the all clear for Reign Supreme to come out of the mist and annihilate a hole in the crowd with a deafening blow. Whilst their brand of metallic charged hardcore isn’t the most original sound, it has enough power to drive all present into the palm of the band’s hand. Playing a mix of old and upcoming material plus a harsh rendition of ‘Nervous Breakdown’ by Black Flag, the band definitely leaves their mark in the cement with ease. (AL)

Orchestrating a flailing of limbs and sweat soaked piling bodies, Trapped Under Ice arrive with their brand of street inspired hardcore with great effect. Songs such as ‘Reality Unfolds’ and ‘Pleased to Meet You’ pour fires of rage into the speakers which envelop the entire area into a molten covered reckoning that satisfies the anxious tongues of the crowd. To all those concerned in this montage have witnessed the peak of the Friday night firestorm which will sure leave a bruise drenched hangover in the following morning. (AL)

Photos by Sarah Louise Bennett.

Lower Than Atlantis stick out a little like a sore thumb on this festival lineup of hardcore and punk legends. A band with a mainly teen following playing a festival mainly frequented by hardcore and metal fans could have gone horribly, horribly wrong. Granted the tent isn’t as full as it has been over the weekend, but Lower Than Atlantis tonight prove some doubters wrong with a storming and brave set. Opening with the massive ‘Motor(Way) Of Life,’ the band never look back. A thrilling and energetic live prospect, they have the balls to take on a Foo Fighters medley half way through their set. Anyone who knows the mighty live reputation of ‘Everlong’ would think Lower Than Atlantis foolhardy for trying to cover it, however they take it very much in their stride. Closer ‘Deadliest Catch’ is a perfect set-finisher, a massive sing along and proof that you can’t judge a book by its’ cover. 

View more of Already Heard’s coverage of Hevy Festival 2012 here.

Words by Sean Reid (SR), Aaron Lohan (AL), Tom White (TW) and Rosie Kerr (RK).

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