Ghostfest has ripped through Bristol and Leeds for ten years now, and with that, news coming out of the festival camp is that this is in fact the final event. The signs dotted around the Bristol site this year read “Moshing Is At Your Own Risk”, and with the calibre of bands across all three stages it was fair to see why. We were lucky to catch strong sets throughout the festival, ruined only by the karate warriors flailing around like a bunch of morons all day. Written with support from Nick Spooner

First up for us were rising Hardcore unit Malevolence (8/13). As soon as you walked past the long queue and in to the doors at Bristol this year there were a vast amount of people donning Malevolence shirts again confirming how much of an impression they’re making in the scene at the moment. With that said, it was probably the weakest performance all day. Most of this was actually down to the fact that being on so early in the day they were hampered by sound that hadn’t exactly hit the sweet spot yet. Considering the sound was so awful, it was still pretty good to see such a large crowd so pumped up for the show. They served to be a great warm up for the rest of the day and not much else.

Moving over to the second stage we next caught the absurdly named Make Them Suffer (9/13). Unlike Malevolence before them, Make Them Suffer actually lucked out with the fact that the sound on the second stage was far superior. The Australian Deathcore unit delivered a brutally heavy set, with the added keyboards and softer vocals from Louisa Burton which just added a greater dynamic to the set. Following on from them were the energetic and savage Turnstile (10/13). The Baltimore based Hardcore Punk band sounded like a young Madball or Agnostic Front, and certainly possessed all of the fire. Performance of the day almost certainly has to go to their bassist Franz Lyons as well - the energy and fire he alone possessed was infectious to watch, proper showman.

Going back in to the Second Stage came one of the revelations of the day. Oathbreaker (12/13) were actually quite a bit different to the rest of the bands on the line up. Their slower, sleazier, riffs chugged away with heaviness so much more menacing than their Hardcore counterparts on the day delivering a set which genuinely gripped your attention by the throat and just didn’t let up at all for thirty minutes. We cannot recommend checking out this band highly enough.

On the same stage came Nuclear Blast’s Rise Of The Northstar (11/13) whose set was so heavy at points dust descended from the ceiling. With the added risk of feeling like the place was going to cave in, Rise Of The Northstar slammed through a Hardcore Punk Show which attracted huge numbers. Coming out on a crutch, the front man was still able to implement a level of morose power as he scanned across the crowd with spiteful venom If you were to get a band like Madball to check this show out there is no doubting that they’d be beyond proud of seeing the offspring of their influence. An awesome show from a band who will no doubt continue to progress in the scene in the coming years. Desolated (10/13) followed this with a set which relied far more on ridiculously heavy beat down riffs. Bad sound robbed them of a better score, but the guys from Malevolence coming on to create Malevolated for the final track was good fun and whipped the crowd in to a frenzy.

Playing to a bizarrely thin crowd, back on to the Main Stage Heart Of A Coward (12/13) smashed through one of the sets of the day. The band are on the brink of releasing their new album Deliverance and exude this level of passion which clearly accentuates the fact that these guys are on an absolute mission at the moment. With the fact a new album is on the way, the set was of course filled with newer tracks, all of which actually sounded better than some of the older crowd favourites. Hollow in particular garnered an absolutely massive reaction. Heart Of A Coward are beginning to enter a whole new level and we are very excited to see where it leads.

Moving across the small site to the third stage, Martyr Defiled (10/13) put on a phenomenal effort considering their crowd was so small. The front man Matthew Jones just wouldn’t let anyone feel at ease for a moment, launching himself into the barrier and beyond throughout the set, adding a genuine sense of danger to the whole set. Second time we’ve caught this band at a festival this year and the second time we’ve been hugely impressed. Top band.

Next up were Despised Icon (12/13) who in their set blitzed through track after track with such brilliant precision and power it truly was a statement to most other bands in the Deathcore scene at the moment - this is how it’s done. The dual vocalists work brilliantly in tandem live, and with the rest of the band stomping around as well the overall performance was so good it became difficult at times to know where to look. Absolutely crushing show amplifying the fact that this is a band who haven’t lost a shred of their chaos.

On to the weekends headliners, and if this is to be the final Ghostfest ever, they are the perfect group to close it all. Hatebreed (12/13) stormed on the stage to another oddly thinned out crowd to deliver a set which celebrated their 20 Year history. Treating us to tracks spanning their whole discography, Jamey Jasta and co. pummelled their way through a show which confirmed exactly why they’re considered one of the absolute kings of the Hardcore scene. Luckily for many, the huge pit took a more traditional form throughout the set, leaving all those looking to impersonate Mac from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia when he tries to do karate sulking at the edge of the pit because there was no space for them to piss around. Overall then, it probably doesn’t come at any surprise at all but the absolute masters at making your neck ache for days came and they conquered.