Damnation Festival 2013 - Leeds, England, 2nd November 2013
|Event:||Damnation Festival 2013|
|Written by:||Baz Anderson|
Damnation Festival 2013 by Talie Eigeland (47)
As the days get shorter and the air gets colder, this can only mean Damnation Festival is approaching once more. This year saw the ninth edition of the festival, and the biggest to date with Carcass leading the typically diverse line-up. Damnation Festival weekend is marked in everyone's calendar because of its tradition of bringing together the most eclectic collection of extreme bands and creating some great memories. As November rolls over again, it was time for people from across the country to make the journey to Leeds once more.
The university student union building is familiar to regular Damnation festival-goers, but as the first bands of the day kicked off the festival, it soon became apparent a new hall hosted the Terrorizer stage, with probably the best room in the building seeing littler use.
After discovering the new room, Diamanthian had the honour of kicking off the proceedings. These guys have been around a few years now and gave a great showing for British death metal. The curtains of this new room closed, drink in hand and death metal blasting away the cobwebs; what a great feeling.
Sticking on the same stage, Leeds-based grindcore outfit Afternoon Gentlemen showed some impressive gall with their chaotic music, blastbeats aplenty and heads nodding all around. A great, extreme start to the day!
The first journey to the main hall was for Twlilight Of The Gods, the band formed origianlly as tribute to Bathory. Alan Averill and company have since written an original and epic heavy metal album and performed songs from this. Alan is one of the best frontmen around and will enthuse any audience; this Twilight Of The Gods performance blew away expectations and absolutely brought the room to life.
Since the unfortunate split of one of Britain's flagship extreme metal bands, Voices carries the torch passed down from Akercocke. Back on the second stage, the unmistakable sound of David Gray's blastbeats are shaking the floor of a much busier room. Voices are stylistically similar to Akercocke, but perhaps a little more one-directional. Frontman with a bizarre black mask and little interaction, but certainly an enjoyable set and always a treat to hear some of the best blastbeats in the game.
Shining have been here at Damnation Festival before, but this time on the main stage the band got to shine even brighter. Norway's Shining are one of the most original acts out there in heavy music, and it's always amusing to see the faces of both confusion and enjoyment when these guys play. With a new album since the last time they played, these guys blew their performance from a few years ago out of the water. Such avant-garde, out of the box music is typical of the festival and these guys didn't disappoint putting on one of the most thrilling sets of the day.
Heading towards the middle of the day, the Dyscarnate guys had pulled a good crowd on the second stage and delivered an enjoyable set of death metal with a generous helping of modern influence. Over on the main stage, SSS hit the middle of the day lull with their middling crossover thrash. Not the most stimulating band of the day with the quality of the other bands on the line-up, so it was time to recuperate for the upcoming sets.
Negură Bunget have been at Damnation's old sister festival before, and the memories of that majestic show in 2010 still remained as the band got their various instruments together and took the stage in Leeds once more. With a completely different band line-up to the previous show, it is hard to see where Negură Bunget have been moving forward as a band. Of course those hymns from the Om album sounded great as ever, but the band unfortunately haven't made any steps forward since the last time they were here.
Gaahl and King are back with God Seed, and perhaps a new freshness after the hiatus. Only Gaahl with corpsepaint on stage, this seemed like such a more honest show than any of theirs previously. There was more interaction with the audience, although still mostly all non-verbal, and the black metal on point. The whole Gorgoroth fiasco might be over now, but it is extremely clear which side came off the best. Blasting out their hellish noise, the band covered the best from their debut and the Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam album to leave us having heard one of the best sets of the day.
The Damnation festivals are always run very well, but every now and then a decision like the location of the second stage this year makes you scratch your head. Vallenfyre on next and Rotting Christ following filled the room, with security required on the door to count people in an out. This meant queues in the lobby to even enter the room, while the much more suitable room used in previous years would have been more than capable. A shame for anyone really wanting to see either band.
The doomy tones of Katatonia brought the tempo down on the main stage; the calm before the storm. Carcass were the biggest draw for Damnation Festival and soon even the main hall was extremely busy for these pioneers' return to Leeds after playing at this festival in 2008. Along with two new members to the band, we soon had blastoff visiting all the best songs from the old albums. Sounding as good as ever, and the audience as active as they had been all day, these Northerners came and delivered the set of the festival. Surgical Steel saw its release this year; the first new Carcass album in so many years, perhaps the first Carcass album to be released in the lifetime of some down at the front. The visits to this album ran seamlessly alongside the old ones, an outsider would never have known there were two decades between some of these songs. Humorous as always, and a short appearance from Ken Owen again too - Carcass might have been away for many years, but they are certainly back in the game and as legitimate as ever.
Next year will see Damnation Festival's tenth edition, an impressive run for such an event that sees no signs of slowing down. The UK metal audience needs Damnation Festival, and it's great to see so many people make the journey to Leeds every year. There's nowhere else in the country that brings together such a range of artists and does it so successfully. We'll see you next year for the tenth anniversary!
||Written on 16.11.2013 by Member of Staff since 2006.|
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