One of the most intense underground music festivals in the UK is making a return to Tyneside next month.

The second annual Great Northern Amplifier Worship (GNAW) festival, taking place on December 15, will bring together acts from the noise, drone, stoner metal and doom scenes in a unique independent venue –  Newcastle’s Star And Shadow Cinema.

Co-headlining the event are popular North East stoner metal troupe Druganaut, who are currently working on their debut album, and Edinburgh doom crew Jackal-Headed Guard Of The Dead (pictured), who promise to produce “a glimpse into a hideous sonic dimension” with their performance. 

Also appearing are Tyneside noise rock trio Tide Of Iron, who have supported the likes of Napalm Death and Unsane, fellow North Easterners Waheela, whose improvised, primal assault has made them a must-see live act, and masked electronic noise experimentalists Transylvanian Sex Pest. DJ Callan will be manning the decks before, between and after the bands.

Commenting on the event, organiser and Waheela vocalist Adam Potts said: “GNAW showcases some of the most intense and interesting acts in the North East area, as well as a guest band from out of town. And like last year, it’s taking place in The Star And Shadow, a perfect place to share and experience live music  – whatever the style.

“This year’s festival is more experimental and extreme than 2011’s event, with an exciting, varied bill. We never select line-ups based on celebrity or popularity, rather on what suits the event, providing a nice narrative for the audience.”

Druganaut, who have played alongside such doom/stoner luminaries as Bong, Orange Goblin and Karma To Burn this year, are making a return to GNAW after appearing at the inaugural event. Vocalist Craig Relf said: “We had a great time last year and it’s an honour to be asked to come back as one of the headliners, and it’s a pleasure to be sharing the stage with our friends in the north, Jackal-Headed Guard Of The Dead.

“We pride ourselves on our live performances so if you haven’t seen us before, expect a bone shaking, high-octane rollercoaster ride!”

Transylvanian Sex Pest claim their set will deliver “harsh noises, throbbing drones, cracked samples, abused instruments, misused power tools, masked theatrics, oppressive volume, sonic rapacity and random acts of aural violence” and are delighted to be appearing at GNAW.

Transylvanian Sex Pest’s  Ben Mcvinnie revealed: “I attended last year’s GNAW and can say two things: one, that it was the best gig I saw all year; and two, that it got me excited about Newcastle’s music scene again.”

Adam Potts concluded: “The response from 2011’s festival was amazing and everyone who came to GNAW last year knows what it’s about: no bullshit, no pretence, just  good people creating and listening to incredibly intense, visceral music.”

GNAW takes place on Saturday, December 15 at The Star And Shadow Cinema, Stepney Bank, Newcastle upon Tyne. Doors open at 7pm and admission is £5. For more information, search for GNAW FEST 2012 on Facebook.

Richard Holmes