First Look: Dillinger And Coheed Caught Live At Hevy Fest

US bands hit right note in Kent

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Wonder of wonders, while grey clouds loom ominously overheard it’s not raining at Hevy Fest

Wonder of wonders, while grey clouds loom ominously overheard it’s not raining at Hevy Fest. In the penultimate slot of the opening Friday night, The Dillinger Escape Plan don’t play their music so much as hurl themselves bodily against it. Their frantic mathcore is not ideal festival material. The songs are dense, cluttered and rarely melodic, leaving the field before the main stage never more than two-thirds full and with numbers gradually dwindling as the set progresses. The onslaught of 43% Burnt earns the most enthusiastic reception, while throwing out a brief refrain of Cream’s Sunshine Of Your Love at the start of Sunshine The Werewolf shows that the band has a sense of humour alongside their hardcore fury. There are occasional lulls in the storm, when the music drops into the subdued moments of tracks like Farewell Mona Lisa, but the overall effect of almost non-stop brutality is rather wearying. Vocalist Greg Puciato bounds about the stage but the art of frontman banter seems in danger of extinction. Save for a brief thanks at the end, he never addresses the audience except through the medium of screaming. Use your words, young man.

In the headline slot, Coheed And Cambria’s Claudio Sanchez is equally sparing in chatter but there the similarities end. The field is full to the brim and stays that way as Coheed perform their album In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3 in full as part of their Neverender concert series in which they revisit their back catalogue. Dillinger might have the edge in terms of technically polished aggression, but Coheed have the songs and the hooks, as immediately becomes apparent with the crowd singing along to the album’s opening title track.

The band don’t pogo about like Dillinger’s jumping beans, but there’s no shortage of energy particularly from drummer Josh Eppard who wallops his kit like it spilled his pint and didn’t even apologise. Three Evils (Embodied In Love And Shadow) gets the crowd moving, while the ambitious twists and turns of The Crowing are greeted with loud applause. Blood Red Summer and A Favor House Atlantic both inspire voluble participation from the audience, the latter a clear highlight of the night.

The twin guitar lines of Sanchez and Travis Stever in 21:13 bring the main set to an impressive finish before the band encores with You Got Spirit, Kid, Ten Speed and Welcome Home in which Sanchez goes fhe full Hendrix, playing his guitar behind his head and then with his teeth. They may not do banter, but Coheed And Cambria came, saw and conquered Hevy Fest. And did it with a proper prog concept album to boot. Well played, sirs.

After starting his writing career covering the unforgiving world of MMA, David moved into music journalism at Rhythm magazine, interviewing legends of the drum kit including Ginger Baker and Neil Peart. A regular contributor to Prog, he’s written for Metal Hammer, The Blues, Country Music Magazine and more. The author of Chasing Dragons: An Introduction To The Martial Arts Film, David shares his thoughts on kung fu movies in essays and videos for 88 Films, Arrow Films, and Eureka Entertainment. He firmly believes Steely Dan’s Reelin’ In The Years is the tuniest tune ever tuned.