Sonisphere 2011 - The Other Stages, Saturday - Knebworth

British proggers TesseracT provide relief from the torrential downpours now plaguing the festival in the Red Bull tent, at least for those actually let under the canvas. Bearing the albatross of being a Bright Young Thing in the current British metal scene, today’s half hour set will see them go a long way towards fulfilling that promise. The show is heavy and abrasive, yet wonderfully melodious as their collective technical prowess is shown off in abundance, but never to the detriment of the songs themselves – a very delicate balance precious few have managed to pull off.

It is rather an afternoon of djent as people immediately hotfoot it over to the Bohemia stage to catch Periphery. And they are well worth dodging the rain showers for as Misha Mansoor and friends dazzle in the summer gloom; this is all about sickening guitar work, and here and now it works majestically as the band are egged on to ever more outrageous sonic pyrotechnics by a throbbing mass of humanity crammed into the confines of the large tent.

They may be hidden away on the Bohemia stage whilst distinctly less metal acts clog up the top table, but France’s Gojira are by far the heaviest and downright best band of Sonisphere 2011. They put on a supreme display of the most brutal death metal, and the packed tent goes utterly bonkers as they mosh and headbang their way through the forty five minutes in a very vocal show of agreement and appreciation. The addition of a blow up whale launched during the track of the same name is a comical and ingenious concoction by a member of the crowd – the sort you only find at a festival – and was kindly signed by the band afterwards as just reward.

Paradise Lost are as gloomy as ever, and equally as good tonight. Nearly an hour of classic tracks, ranging from golden oldies like ‘Enchantment’ right through to recent colossi such as ‘I Remain’, has the Bohemia crowd in the palms of their hands, down even to a mass sing-along to the instrumental passages of the magnificent ‘The Enemy’ which brings their allotted time to a close. Here is a very simple and effective reminder that you bands don’t have to be ultra-fast or overly-flashy to create heavy music, just some bloody good songs played sublimely.

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