Temples Festival 2016: what’s good?
Temples Festival is quickly becoming one of the most exciting events of the year for fans of extreme, out-there music. This is particularly true for those who have been pining for a showcase with so many quirks and idiosyncrasies and especially relevant to those of us in the South-West who now have our own annual showcase of frightening, confrontational music.
Drifting away from the drone-heavy lineup of 2015, black metal is the order of the day this time around, with Mayhem performing the genre-defining De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas live as possibly the most exciting black metal event of the year.
Elsewhere there’s the now-established mix of Weird Shit, exciting up-comers and established legends.
Temples has long been a festival that celebrated and nurtured new talent as well as celebrating the still-relevant practitioners they inspired so many. Here are some of the best upstarts, stalwarts and veterans to immerse yourself in over the three days:
Playing: Sunday – Second Stage
As close as Temples gets to a house band, Sonance continue to hone their craft every year and their monolithic approach to post-metal is not only incredibly appropriate to the festival, but is especially evocative and forward-thinking in an environment which is all about innovation.
Bristol’s finest alternate between ghostly soundscapes and a mighty, relentless force. Newcomers to their live show will enjoy their approach to atmosphere and noise elements escalate until they coalesce, like a more immediate, visceral Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
With an ever-growing list of releases to their name – including this year – their continued Temples appearances show a band consistently on top of their game.
If any band sounds like Temples, it’s Sonance.
Playing: Sunday – Second Stage
Following an incredibly well-received appearance at Damnation Festival last year, Undersmile‘s appearance at festivals is guaranteed to turn heads.
One of the more idiosyncratic bands on an already eclectic selection, Undersmile bring an unusual variation to every lineup they grace, not to mention having released some seminal records in the last few years. If this is your first exposure, the recorded music translates very smoothly into live performances and bridges the gap between people who get bored of drone and people who like their doom to be a little more drawn-out, but they also appeal to anyone who likes their doom to sit firmly and very gleefully outside the box.
Look out for their plainsong approach to funeral doom/drone to add an extra sparkle to the Sunday lineup.
Playing: Friday – Main Stage
Poland has a unique knack for producing top-shelf black metal. Exercises in Futility made its way to a lot of 2015 top ten lists, and for good reason; in an age of Deafheavens and Myrkurs, stripped-down black metal can be just as brutally effective. That’s not to say they’re not bringing anything new to the table of course, but working within their existing genre framework is not as constricting as the current trend for black metal would have you believe. UK performances are fairly limited, which makes their appearance all the more exciting. A treat for traditionalists and connoisseurs alike; a band to watch, and an excellent addition to the festival.
Dragged Into Sunlight
Playing: Saturday – Second Stage
Dragged Into Sunlight fall into the Anaal Nathrakh philosophy that shit’s more terrifying when there are recognisable elements to shake things up. The band’s onslaught is peppered with satisfying, memorable passages in amongst the caustic deluge of crusty black metal.
In a live setting, shady figures bellow at you with their backs turned, bathed in morose candlelight. DiS scratch an itch like nothing else does; the execution is ambitious and risky but incredibly well-realised.
If you feel like you’re hardened against being moved by extreme music it can be a little difficult to take some stuff with the enthusiasm of first discovery, or tempting to stand at the back and give a dry, academic critique. This band reminds you what it feels like to be scared of music.
Playing: Saturday – Main Stage
The Melvins are the yardstick by which most Weird Shit at this festival is judged. The vast majority of the bands here can trace their influence through at least one of the elements of the Melvins: the frantic percussion; the confidence of their out-there tangents; their solid-gold bangers cunningly placed around extended drum solos. Without someone like this to pioneer and champion Weird Shit, the current crop of Weird Shit would be sorely lacking. As it is it’s never been healthier.
I saw the Melvins in 2011 having never heard any of their stuff before and it was fucking transcendental. Temperamental and mercurial, a live set by them is completely bizarre; a physical experience with an onstage energy like no other. Much of this is down to their incredible two-drummer lineup which gives them a raw power unmatched by most other live acts known to man.
If you have never heard the Melvins before, go and see the Melvins.
Temples Festival takes place Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th June 2016. Tickets are available via the Temples Festival website, and you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information as it’s available.
For the full lineup, see below: