What We Learned At Ghostfest 2014


This weekend the hardcore/metalcore weekender Ghostfest came kicking and screaming in Leeds University. We went along to check out the downtuned carnage.

Keep It In The Pit

Slam dancing has become commonplace at the hardest of hardcore gigs recently and at Ghostfest the pitters were out in force. Full of two-steppers and air grabbers, kudos have to be given to Leeds for not accidentally punching each other in the face… but then there are the crowdkillers. During a number of sets, the violence erupted into attacking crowd members who weren’t involved in the pit. Twatting unsuspecting people in the back of the head as hard as you can ain’t our bag.

Suicide Silenced The Critics

Since Eddie Hermida was announced as the new vocalist for Suicide Silence, fans across the globe have been busy smashing keyboards in with rage that the deathcore gang are continuing following the loss of Mitch Lucker. But at Ghostfest (and the day before) Suicide Silence put all concerns to bed with a barnstorming portrayal of brutality that had the crowd chanting “Eddie! Eddie!” after the second song. Just wait ‘til you hear the album…

Ghost Hard Or Go Home

Massive shout out to the Ghostfest partiers who drank themselves silly on Saturday. There were about 100 kids hanging outside the Ibis hotel in Leeds from 11pm til at least 5am still on the booze and buzzing after ten hours of heavy-as-hell beatdowns. Of course that meant the majority of the crowd on Sunday were like hungover zombies staggering between stages. Good effort making it then venue, though!

Inking Up The Place

Tattoos have become as synonymous with the hardcore scene as denim and leather have with heavy metal. It’s fair to say over 90% of the Leeds crowd were inked up with colourful artwork covering their arms, legs and necks. And we’re not talking crappy homemade jobs with a biro and a needle; a lot of time, money and effort has obviously gone into each piece. Props.

Fuck Boundaries

Despite the security team’s best efforts, fans were rushing the stage throughout the weekend. And a massive shout out goes to this dude during Suicide Silence who made it on stage… only to jump back off again into the crowd. Judging by this pic, the landing wasn’t that soft.

Astroids Going Higher

Astroid Boys aren’t necessarily a Hammer thing, but it’s worth pointing out just how well-received the hip-hop troupe Astroid Boys go down at what is a festival full of downtuned guitars and deathy breakdowns. Screw narrow-mindedness.

Barking Mad

One of the stand-out surprises of the weekend was Black Dogs. Their live shows come close to rivalling Trash Talk for intensity with the band thrashing about their beaten-up instruments in the middle of the room, while frontman Gollo paces along the balcony and screams in the faces of stunned onlookers. Ending with the slam dancers grabbing air around the band, it’s a whirlwind of fists and guitars that really should have had a bigger audience.

Step It Up

In what is almost a fairytale story, Lincoln’s Martyr Defiled have been a part of the Ghostfest bill for years and this year marks what might have been their crowning achievement. Having dropped one of the most exciting British deathcore albums earlier this year, the crowd and bands were on fire as the whole room was screaming along to 616 and Infidels.

Loud ≠ Good

We love everything turned up to 11 and Motorhead were definitely onto something with their everything louder mantra, but the second stage at Ghostfest was just a bit too much. We’ve been to louder gigs but the volume seriously compromised how much of the actual music you could hear. There was little to no bottom end and the vocals were often lost in the mix. Sure it’s still noise to throw yourself around to, but we want to hear all of it.

Surf’s Up

Who said crowdsurfing had to be done in the main section of the venue? During Desolated one guy managed to sail on the shoulders of the balcony viewers despite the risk of falling 15ft to the floor below – much to the delight of staff, we’re sure.

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.