WORDS AND IMAGES JAMES WOOLLEN
I had the pleasure of photographing and reviewing Doomlines, Sheffield’s premier one day festival for fans of super heavy/alternative metal.
This was my fourth Doomlines, and this year’s riff-laden show did not fail to deliver an almost apocalyptic assault on my senses.
The organisers of the event are Holy Spider Promotions, which was founded by Joe Allen (Kurokuma) and Craig Paul (Gozer). Doomlines started in 2015 as a heavy alternative to the Tramlines festival in Sheffield, and it has taken place at a different venue each year. It continues to grow in scope with each iteration.
The event this year was attended by over three hundred heavy music fans of all different ages and dress styles – there were metal heads, alternative/goth-style punks and hardcore fans all having a nice beer and enjoying the friendly atmosphere across two different rooms.
Room two showcased the best of local South Yorkshire talent along with Volcanova, a stoner rock band from Iceland. Here’s the full list of bands from this second stage:
Thank, Longheads, Atvm, Ba’al, Volcanova (Iceland), Chapel Floods, Bodach and Le Menhir.
I felt the stand-out performances came from Volcanova and Chapel Floods.
The main stage, like room two, was a great collection of various metal styles:
Catafalque, Lowen, Crepitation, The Infernal Sea, Bismarck (Norway), Slabdragger, Heriot and Slift (France).
My favourite bands on the main stage were Lowen, a great band that fuse Persian music with heavy guitar riffs and drums, fronted by Nina Saeidi, a lady with a wonderful singing voice. And then The Infernal Sea – dressed as demons in black gowns and surrounded by green lights and smoke, they reminded me a bit of Entombed from Sweden. The vocalist took me back to my youth and memories of early Kreator releases like Extreme Aggression. All of the above-named bands went down great with the masses.
The Fire Note best describes Slift’s music:
“A mesmerizing journey of acid krautrock, grinding garage, cosmic jazz, new age prog, and modern psych that are all fused together with enough heavy guitar”
From Toulouse, the band members are brothers Jean (guitar, vocals, synthesizers) and Rémi Fossat (bass), and their high school friend, Canek Flores (drums). They formed in 2016 and have released multiple LPs, EPs and live sessions.
Slift played a mesmerising set that had the crowd captivated for around seventy minutes. Their music was loud and the fans relished every minute. There were spaced-out faces, people dancing and heads nodding along to the crescendo that the band managed to create. It resonated up and down like waves on the sea – powerful and, at times, moving.
Slift played tracks from their 2020 release, Ummon, including the title track, a riff-powered giant of tune with Jean Fosset delivering some powerful grooves and first-rate guitar solos. The song went down a storm.
The band finished their show with what is destined to become a cult classic: ‘Lions, Tigers and Bears’. A monster of a song lasting thirteen minutes, it showcases the band’s collective musical genius. Moments of intensity and calmness along with heavy psych sounds wind up and down, with synth giving the music a nice space age feel, reminiscent of the psych bands of the late 1960s and 1970s. This track just keeps on building and building to the point where your head might be in danger of sonic overload. It mesmerised the crowd, myself included.
Slift are one of the few bands I have seen that maintain a consistent wall of sound, musical creativity and decorum. They interact well with the crowd, and if you like your music heavy and loud, get out there and support them!
I’d like to congratulate all the bands involved at Doomlines this year at Corporation. They put on a great show – the best one yet in my opinion. We all look forward to Doomlines 2024.
My life is a soundtrack, i track my life through music, photography is my passion, my escape, my expression. Without both i have pieces missing, thankfully i’m blessed and get to combine both.
Born in Manchester, lived in Australia for 22 years where i was heavily involved in the Australian Music Industry, firstly in bands (Singer) and then managing bands (all original), I moved back to the UK, Wales specifically 10 years ago and married my childhood sweetheart and life is good.