Monsters of Rot... Monsters of fucking Rot, lads! This niche, community-based festival was home to many a freak, many a reject but most importantly many a memory for many a person. D’ya like cans? Come along! Offensive humour n’ shameless profanity? Mhmm yes there’ll be plenty of that. How about shit weather and a field full of ankle breaking holes? Aye sure fuck it, you’re more than welcome. Bring yer wellies and yer bucky and most importantly an open mind for there’ll be no shite from anyone in the heart of quite nearly nowhere.
It’s 2015, the band I was in at the time pull up on the long sand seemingly endless main road outside of the venue, The Halfway Inn; Northern Ireland, Co. Fermanagh. Free entry cause we’re the opening act, proper Rock N’ Roll woopa yes don’t mind if we do. With my guitar in one hand and probably my first ever full crate of Carlsberg to myself in the other, we hobbled our fresh young faces into the festival grounds, located in rural N.I, of which had the luxurious amenities of a corner shop, a housing estate, and a big fuck off field with a sign on the gate to let the later obliterated attendees know where their tent might be. The stage that was made up of a ‘Monsters of Rot’ banner and ply flooring was, quite honestly, fucking intimidating, something about it tied knots in my stomach. Mind you, though, it was a great stage nonetheless. For such a D.I.Y setup, it was one of the best I’d ever seen for sure! This didn’t help the nerves though, especially when you’re part of the youngest band there and definitely not what you’d call a metal head, for there were plenty of them, and punks, and some bikers – not a single Blink 182 T-Shirt to be seen in the place.
Despite it being very early in the afternoon, the place reeked of beer, and we hadn’t even been in the actual pub yet, but the gazebo was comforting enough. The crowd was already decent, and I heard there was a bus load or two yet to come. Among the hustle we were informed we were late and it was time to set up, bringing our lack of gear into the pub and trying to carefully set it in some corner of the room amongst many other guitar cases, cymbal bags and rucksacks. Quick soundcheck, play the set ‘include the heaviest songs we have and throw in some Sabbath’ was the plan, and so we did exactly that. It was fun, we were received pretty well despite half of the crowd were wearing t-shirts with unreadable band names and were watching a cover of Sum 41’s Fatlip unfold. Fucking hell. Haha!
And so, with the set out of the way, it was time to mingle as best we could, watch some bands and get on that crate of Carlsberg I proudly held by my side, which was bought for me by my older brother. There were many a familiar face in the crowd from the local music scene, plenty of laughter and conversation. I can't imagine what passers - by must've thought, haha! All black clothing and stomper boots, faces full of metal and hair proudly swinging way past the collar on all the boys and girls. What a sight to yer average farmer cruising past after a week of hard work, "jaysis" they must've thought "here there are again a see". Yes Mr Farmer, here there are again indeed, c'mere d'ye like a bit of hard rock music?
I fondly remember our singer Dáithí squatting in one of the cubicles with a face like a wasp after he'd underestimated the power of some awfully hot chilli's that were being passed around to whoever felt like it. I remember it vividly as there is footage on Youtube, which you can find right here - this video will give you a slight idea of what it’s like to attend an MoR gig; sorry Dáithí...
Before we could sing hallelujah, we were confronted with the stomp worthy riffs and throat squelching vocals of hardcore, punk, and black metal. With the exception of a nice timid n' twinkly proggy(ish) band that kinda sounded like Red Hot Chilli Peppers; I gazed awkwardly at the guitarist’s sports shades and wondered, how could he so gracefully hang those things on his face when there’s not a spot of blue in the sky; but here, it was warm enough like. At this point, there were many a mosher anticipating one of the acts of the evening, an Austrian three piece (drummer not included) which grabbed the attention of everyone there with the sheer sight of their name; ehh em, VxPxOxAxAxWxAxMxC. Just to make that clear, ehhemmm, Vaginal Penetration Of An Amelus With A Musty Carrot; say it loud kids, loud and proud on the playground.
Being a young'un with absolutely no knowledge of the vast scale of the metal scene whatsoever, seeing these guys do their thing on stage was a special sight to behold; I wish I could it all put into better words. What I did find out however, is their genre is dubbed something like ‘Goregrind’, which is hilariously accurate to what they sound, and look like.
The set kicked off with some classic Euro dance music, hopping and jogging around the stage while their butcher outfits gracefully caught the air around them, besides the singer, his of course was tightly fitted and buttoned up, defining his opera singer belly. Behind the band there was a large screen, silently projecting some of the most gruesome and vile footage from slasher movies of the past; hands being degloved, faces being peeled, decapitations etc, etc... all of the lovely things you can imagine. And then came the count in from the non-existant drummer, clanging it’s way through the PA system - PANG! PANG! PANGPANGPANGPANG – then the riffs man, the fucking riffs! Mainly gripping on the first five frets, in a lower than low tuning – accompanied by the ‘vocals’ which, the only way to put it, were quite literally pig noises going snortsnortsnort!! from the singers face, his cupped hands around the mic was clearly a comfortable pose, despite the speed of the music, they happily jigged in time with each other, this was just another day at the office for the butcher boys – and the sex doll they brought with them, which didn’t last very long after all the dry humping. The mosh pits. Did. Not. Stop. The dancing. Did. Not. Stop. The sheer sludge pouring from the amps and the PA was absolutely fucking ruthless, there was no telling these guys how to do their thing, they had it all worked out and were having a ball doing it. I stood silently beside one of my lucky friends, who had the pleasure of being in company with a dumbfounded, slightly terrified yet utterly transfixed boy who didn't really know where he was or what he was seeing, or hearing, before him. It was great. Honestly.
I spoke to the organiser of the festival, Aidy (@voyd_naught), he had nothing but great words to say about “Carrot” as he has dubbed them for handiness sake. Despite their somewhat intimidating image and burley enthusiasm, he says "they take the piss and they take it big!", regardless of their reputation within the underground scene there's absolutely no ego. They're always sticking around to watch the other bands, chat to the crowd, have a drink and all that. I got chatting to the scary singer towards the end of said night too, I literally told him how terrifyingly great the experience was, his words were something like “don’t be scared, it’s fun for everyone!”. I can also say he was just lovely! In short, everyone who gets to experience the shit storm that is Carrot has a fucking blast.
Unfortunately, Monsters of Rot had its last incarnation in 2016, I'm not fully up to scratch as of why, but it really was a pleasure to be able to attend the last two. I definitely encourage you to check out this video, it may be slightly unrelatable, maybe you’re not into the music, or, you’re just a bit of a weird one. Enjoy nonetheless. I’ve also made this playlist, haha, haha.... Check it out, man – bop your head and have some fun with the nearest roadkill you can scrape from the floor.
Check out Donavan's playlist for this article here. Thanks for reading and as always, Enjoy The Noise.