No Sleep Till Hellfest: The Final Night of The Heats

It was the final night of the initial stages and the air was hot with impending exhilaration. The night was filled with not only great live music but an overwhelming appreciation for the competition and the way it had brought like-minded musicians together, all supporting each other on the road to success. The winning band of the evening, Manic Aggression, went on to win the overall competition on the following night. They will be performing at Hellfest this year and are nothing short of ecstatic for the opportunity.

Be Nice – Regrets – Manic Aggression – Barriers – Dead Air

Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024

Words: Monty Sewell

Photography: Ryan Hildrew

Be Nice

Be Nice - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024
Be Nice – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

As the night’s first band set up their stage, one unexpected noticeable thing is the huge teddy bear placed proudly just off to the right. On the stuffed toy reads the words ‘Be Nice.’ As band banners go, it is, without a doubt, the most unique I have seen yet. But as Be Nice started their set, it was clear any cute and cuddly predetermined antics were far from the truth.

Be Nice - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024.
Be Nice – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

The band absolutely raged through their set with enough fire to burn through any notion that despite their name, Be Nice ain’t here to guide you calmly through your inhibitions. Statement in their words with a fight against the normative society, their music is enormously empowering and enticingly exciting.

Be Nice - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024.
Be Nice – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Their final song is a hard-knuckled breakdown of a track that voices the frustrations of having to go through a day’s job in the office day after day while scratching for full-time artistry. “The whole thing with that pump-up ending in the breakdown was something we all wrote together. We just thought, let’s make this something fucking great.” A teamwork creative process for Be Nice seems to be their refreshing way of working on their music.

Be Nice - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024.
Be Nice – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Shouting out to Big Fig Studio in Aylesbury, the band said, “We went into a professional studio for the first time and recorded three songs. The exclusive first drop will be on 17th April.” Before the release, they will be playing a few shows. The first is on the 12th of April at the Red Lion in Leytonstone.

Be Nice - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024.
Be Nice – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Regrets

When the word ‘hunger’ is stated to describe a band’s performance, none would come as close to describing the set three-piece Regrets played. Absolutely off-the-charts energy with an un-ending dedication to completely losing themselves in the music. In turn, their audience raged with them.

Regrets - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024.
Regrets – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Their lead guitarist and vocalist leaped from the stage into the crowd with the mic, then up onto the bar, then down again to race back to his podium. All while forging some hefty guitar licks and metal screams. Multitasking to the extreme while the rhythm section held down their end like titans of Heavy Metal, clamping down the crowd with obliterating force.

Regrets - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024.
Regrets – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

“Everything we do is totally unplanned,” Regrets said, “You just hit that first note, and the rest happens how it happens. This is actually our first gig with Paolo, our new drummer, and it was brilliant.” With a lucid chemistry between the three, it was great to hear this new lineup would be sticking to its guns and continuing to grow together. “We have a bunch of songs in the works that we will start working on now with our new drummer.

Regrets - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024.
Regrets – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

“Still the same Regrets energy but on a new vine. That kind of hardcore, explosive, relentless shit.” Regrets in a nutshell. I have no doubt we will see the guys hitting up the bigger touring circuits very soon. In the meantime, they have some headline shows coming up at the start of summer in London, Brighton, Oxford, and Birmingham. Keep a close eye on their socials for more information and tickets.

Manic Aggression

Manic Aggression - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024.
Manic Aggression – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

‘Crossover Thrash straight outta Sheffield’ band Manic Aggression stormed the Assembly in their crowning glory set. Time-signature mathematics mixed with their signature gust of uncompromising vivacity, the band is a force to be reckoned with. With a humbling, down-to-earth in-between song humor that brings their set to a new level of originality, the deserving winners were nothing short of brilliant.

Winners of No Sleep Till Hellfest 2024 Manic Aggression - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024.
Manic Aggression – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Their songs’ subtle ways to bring you down into a headbang sludge before knocking you into a full-on mosh are exhilarating. With one of the band members even dislocating their thumbs earlier in the week but still making it down to play, it gives you an idea of Manic Aggression’s non-stop mentality.

“The momentum and trajectory of the band at the moment is crazy. We put out an EP in December, and since then, it has been fucking wild, and we’re loving it. We’ve got enough, but we just need more. Always more. To keep riding the waves.”

Manic Aggression - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024.
Manic Aggression – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Their onstage punch is matched by their offstage work ethic, with long hours never taking the edge off the excitement they have to pour into their creative work. “We are one of those bands where we’re all super dedicated. We will just keep going and going.

“Even with some of us waking up in a sleeping bag in the studio then just getting right back on it.” No pain, no gain is clearly working for the band in their favour as they pull out a phenomenal show that has the entire venue right in the pit.

Manic Aggression - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024.
Manic Aggression – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Manic Aggression will be back in London on the 23rd May for a gig at Blondie’s before playing Brighton and Sheffield. And, of course, for those lucky enough to be heading to Hellfest this year, my advice to go and catch these guys play could not be said with more seriousness.

Barriers

Barriers - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024.
Barriers – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

“It’s the only way we can play. 200 BPM or above is the only speed we can play at.” Barriers band name could not be more engagingly juxtaposing, as their set shows them as a no-hold-barred kind of band with nothing impossible and every surprise around the corner.

Barriers - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024.
Barriers – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

With a brand new lineup and bounds of new music waiting in the wings before release, Barriers raised the hardcore bar high on an evening that left their audiences gunning for more.

“We are fast and aggressive, but we kind of lean into that 90s skate punk thing. That sense of humor, a sense of fun edge. Too many bands just wear black t-shirts, cross their arms, and scowl.” They certainly did bring a lighter feel to the classic Hardcore outfit.

Barriers - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024.
Barriers – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Despite their intensely grand heavy riffs, double kick drum, and achingly good vocal cries, Barrier’s lyrical themes covered French Bulldogs and beyond. It is what makes them stand out and create an entirely fresh live show ambiance from the usual metal circuit.

“Our mentality is just to go for it, and that energy becomes infectious for our audiences. Whether it is a small show or something on a larger scale, let’s keep the party going.”

Barriers - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024.
Barriers – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

With their brightly coloured t-shirts and invigorating musical content, it came as no surprise to hear some of their inspirations. “We saw a band a while back that was a hardcore band, but they were essentially playing a ska show. It was so refreshing to go in there with no expectations and hear that beautiful Metal Head, headbanging juice pouring out through a different style.”

It certainly is a pay-off, coming out as true future metal pioneers in their own right. Their next single will be out 18th April.

Dead Air

Dead Air - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024
Dead Air – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Since 2021, Dead Air has been fiercely carving their way up through the heavy-rocking metal tiers of the industry. Emerging as one of the most vibrantly intoxicating acts of the scene, the band tied up the third night of the competition with a thump. The powerhouse trio played an infectiously good set with songs taken from their two previously released EP’s and upcoming four-track EP.

Dead Air - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024
Dead Air – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

Vocalist and bassist Reuben Moonasar steals the helm of this riff-crazed ship, wilding across the stage and drawing the crowd in to join the band as they lift the Assembly to new heights of headbanging acclaim. Speaking about their ferocious live show, the band feels a lot of their energy comes from gigging during the pandemic when all gigs were seated, and movement from their audience was restricted.

Dead Air - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024
Dead Air – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

“Our first gigs were during Covid, so no one could move or do what we can onstage now. So after that, we just give everything and more because we can. I think this freedom has also given our songs a massive step-up.” It is clear Dead Air seriously enjoys what they do and with such professional dexterity, too. Slamming into the audience mid-set is no small feat, but the band has huge things on the horizon. Teasing us with only a few details, Dead Air shared some of what will come.

Dead Air - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024
Dead Air – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

“We are playing at the Freak Valley festival, which is pretty cool as we are sharing a stage with Amyl and the Sniffers. They have come up and kind of taken the world by the balls, so it is pretty sick. It is a 6000-person venue, so that will be nuts.”

Dead Air - Camden Assembly, London - 27 March 2024
Dead Air – Camden Assembly, London – 27 March 2024. Photo: Ryan Hildrew/MetalTalk

With the upcoming EP in the final pre-release stage, the guys have one other surprise announcement to make, which will involve a run of dates supporting a big-name band. After giving so much to us on the stage, it was a slight curveball for them to hold back. But honestly, it only made me want to know that much more. We will be keeping a close eye on Dead Air and await that announcement.

Sleeve Notes

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