Despite two hard days of partying the wasted souls came out to play early today and made it for the first band on the Stoner stage. At every festival you can usually find a new band that really chimes with you and for me this was the band, In The Hills although relatively new they have played Bloodstock after gaining a place through M2TM.
Their music is a deep and a full on sludge fest and, as they say, fuelled by weed and cider, kicking out a short but heavy set that includes ‘Season Of The Witch’ and ‘The Crawling Man’ from their EP.
OAF, on the Hammerfest stage, are billed this year as ‘OAF and Friends’ but as guitarist and shouter Dom Lawson states “We don’t have any friends”. OAF are serious musicians who choose not to be and play high speed punk rock songs about bugger all, they surprisingly have a huge following and never fail to pull a great crowd.
Skin beater James Rayment sits behind his kit suited and booted as they batter through tracks Disgusted By Your Genitalia and The Terrors and finally invite their ‘Friend’ Matt Burton, Dr Hell from Evil Scarecrow onstage for the last song ‘F… Off Seagul’. As mad as a box of frogs but a great set.
One of the bands I was looking forward to – Devilment – are fronted by Dani Filth since 2012 and they have their debut album ‘The Great And Secret Show’ out and their whole set came from it.
They have certainly received mixed views on the album and there were mixed comments round the crowd but those who liked it had a great time and those that didn’t had another beer. For me it was great to see Dani performing but I much prefer him with Cradle of Filth.
As much as Devilment failed to hit the spot for me Raging Speedhorn certainly did, Hardcore Metal, brutal vocal delivery from John Loughlin and Frank Regan, and backed by the body modifying grunt of thick bass, thunderous drum beats and ripping guitars. For the first time this weekend we get a proper pit going and crowd surfers are literally throwing themselves over the barrier.
Warming us up with ‘Knives and Face’s before going full on into ‘Dungeon Whippet’ the pace is ferocious and the constant prowling of the vocalist whips the crowd into a frenzy where only the hardened mosher dare to enter. The set includes the new single ‘Halfway to Hell’, their first single ‘Thumper’ and also the awesome ‘Hate Song’. Not for the faint hearted but amazingly powerful and brutal.
How do you top that? Well they certainly don’t get much bigger that Orange Goblin – now touring the release of their eighth studio album Back From The Abyss. I last saw them some 10 plus years ago and was levelled by their amazing stoner/doom metal style and tonight is no different as they power into two new songs ‘Sabbath Hex’ and ‘Ubermensch’ which draw on their influences from the 70′s rock but adds their own edge. I’m sure Lemmy would be proud of writing the fast and furious ‘The Devil’s Whip’. Their sound has evolved over the years and their earlier more psychedelic space rock influences can be heard in the epic ‘Quincy The Pigboy’.
Candlemass give the crowd a chance to let their collective necks recover as they laden on swathes of Swedish melodic doom metal. Messrs Edling and Björkman are the only two original members of this latest lineup and are joined by new vocalist Mats Levén. An epic set that went down well with the crowd but unfortunately not with me, a bit too melodic and not enough raw power. I was in the minority with this, as speaking to others they really enjoyed the set.
Final band on the Hammerfest bill was the mighty Hell and now the deficiencies of the stage came to light, it was way too small so we didn’t get the full on stage show that we had the previous time they were here (in Prestatyn) and whilst this didn’t affect the sound it did impair the visuals that they are known for.
Originally formed back in 1982 this latest reincarnation of the band has been around since 2008 and David Bower took over the vocals in 2010 and since releasing an album of reworked tracks in 2011 they have received rave reviews for their music and stage shows, not that we will see too much of that tonight.
The occult metal theme runs through their music and stage set and David comes onstage with a crown of thorns and bloodied hands. With the set split between their two albums they kick off with ‘Gehennae Incendiis’ and ‘The Age of Nefarious’. A brilliant set musically and what theatrics and set were there were awesome to see.
Whilst the Hammerfest stage is now over for the weekend it’s time head over for the end of festival party on stage 2 where we have three bands to finish us off, The Hectic Order, the mighty Evil Scarecrow and to end proceedings SSS.
The spirit of Hammerfest is in the fans and the artists and between them made for an excellent weekend with great crowd participation and band performances.
I feel that the layout of the event was definitely not the best and the separation of the stages didn’t work at all. The technical difficulties of the sound in Bonga Wonga and the almost lack of stage lighting at times suggests that there is a lot of work to be done before next year’s event. It’s a shame that the Hammerfest hairies were compromised this year by those AOR mullets!
Review and photos by Simon Dunkerley
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In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.
Featured Albums w/c 6 January (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 JESSE DAMON Damon’s Rage (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 STORMFORCE Age Of Fear (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 GARY FLETCHER Rivers Keep Flowing (indie)
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