Hellfest Open Air 2008 - Clisson, France, 20th June 2008

Event: Hellfest Summer Open Air 2008
Written by: Jeff, Baz Anderson, Lucas, FreakyMarge, Darkside Momo, Ivor, Deadsoulman, ylside
Published: 28.07.2008


Hellfest Summer Open Air 2008 - Clisson, France, 20-22.06.2008 by Ivor (171)
Hellfest Open Air - Clisson, France, 20th-22nd June 2008 by Baz Anderson (195)
Hellfest Open Air - Clisson, France, 20th-22nd June 2008 by FreakyMarge (179)
Hellfest Open Air - Clisson, France, 20th-22nd June 2008 by Darkside Momo (157)
Hellfest Open Air - Clisson, France, 20th-22nd June 2008 by Jeff (233)
Hellfest Summer Open Air Festival, Clisson, France, 20/21/22 June 2008

Jeff: As you probably know Metal Storm was once again one of the partners of Hellfest (and you can be sure that we're not near of the end of this collaboration). In addition to the numerous interviews and pictures that you'll be able to see on our 'zine, we hope that this report will be for some of you, a good souvenir and for some others a good way to understand that you don't have the right to miss the event next year except if you want to be a "Metal has been" ... Enjoy this report, enjoy Hellfest 2008!

Table of Contents


Friday 20th
Venom, In Flames, Dimmu Borgir, Sick Of It All, Paradise Lost, Danko Jones, Eluveitie, Ultra Vomit, Carcass, Testament, Katatonia, Mayhem, Madball, Death Angel, Born From Pain, Bleeding Through, Throwdown, Marduk, Krisiun, Baroness, Kruger, Rotting Christ, Job For A Cowboy, Septic Flesh, Alchemist, Ava Inferi, Raintime, Red Mourning

Saturday 21th
Cavalera Conspiracy, Helloween, Apocalyptica, Porcupine Tree, Iced Earth, Sonata Arctica, Airbourne, The Old Dead Tree, Ministry, Gamma Ray, Candlemass, Anathema, Satyricon, Sodom, Legion Of The Damned, Belphegor, Impaled Nazarene, Punish Yourself, Watain, Shining, Anaal Nathrakh, Treponem Pal, Haemorrhage, Today Is The Day, Nightmare, Disfear, Benighted, Black Tide, Blazing War Machine

Sunday 22th
Slayer, Motörhead, NOFX, Opeth, Meshuggah, Rose Tattoo, ETHS, Misanthrope, Morbid Angel, My Dying Bride, At The Gates, Obituary, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Forbidden, Municipal Waste, Envy, Cult Of Luna, Comback Kid, Shai Hulud, Dying Fetus, Rotten Sound, The Ocean, Primordial, Origin, Ghost Brigade, Year Of No Light, Your Demise, Between The Buried And Me




Jeff: The Hellfest festival is the only big Metal open air festival in France. Sure the country has some other good events but they're not as important and this is the Fury Fest (now Hellfest) which has created a real opportunity for the metal fans of the country to be proud to be French metalheads. The organisers don't want to do something gigantic and not as friendly in the end. With more or less 15,000 people each days, the festival is not so big but the line-up every year is really impressive with a lot of great bands. Not monsters like Kiss or Iron Maiden but with original and talented combos. With some other festivals you're able to see two great headliners by day and a lot of other average bands, at Hellfest you only have quality and that's perfect. For three years now, the festival is located in Clisson, a little medieval town near Nantes. The two previous events were a bit chaotic (the first in term of money, the second in term of organisation) but the team composed of passionate guys all have great faith in Metal and this year, they have fixed all their past mistakes to finally create a real Metal event in France.

Momo and Otto: It's good to return on the landscape of the festival and see that the comments on the organisation of the previous year have been heard and great efforts done for a better reception of the people. Camping closer to the stages, distribution of the pass from Thursday on, before entering the place, more closets, more entrances, … The festival went well too, and no delay disturbed the shows.
Curiously, the bad weather and organisation of the previous Hellfest obliged people to be more into it if they didn't want to lose their week-end; finally the vintage 2008 was more enjoyable but less intense than the 2007 - that's just my feeling.

Food & Drink
Jeff: Even though we were in France, the food and drink were not the best... The beer was not so tasty (yes we were not in Belgium...) and the food was a bit expensive without being wonderful. Though this year it was possible to find good food stands (with more variety, including the famous "Tartiflette" ) and the great Muscadet wine stand was once again really attractive. All in all without being perfect it was still better than last year and promising for the next years if the festival still continues to grow up.

Jeff: This year the camping area was divided in three camps (plus a VIP camp) and the great part of this edition was that the camping was really near the festival (no more than five minutes walk was needed to go to the gates of the festival from the gates of the camping ground). One more time the ambiance there was really friendly without any problems, except maybe the noise (some people will probably remember the campers who were shouting "apero apero (aperitif time!)" when some others were responding with a lot of fun "respectez ceux qui dorment (respect the ones who're sleeping!)"). Despite all those positive points, the water was not free (5€ for the whole week end which can be ok... when you have showers... One more time the showers were missing and it was the biggest complaint of the festival. But this problem should be fixed next year I'm told.

Jeff: Last year it was hell, this year it was paradise. Except for five minutes of brief drizzle during Cavalera Conspiracy, the weather was really good for this edition. Maybe it was a bit too hot sometimes in the afternoon but it was really enjoyable especially if you were there last year. Hellfest 2008 was lucky because with such good weather it was perfect to party and listen to good music. After all I think that everybody from the organisers to the audience have deserved it after the 2007 chaos...

Momo & Otto
The weather was with us, for the rain spared the place, except some drops during Cavalera Conspiracy. On the other hand, the sun harshly hit those who weren't prepared, and the first-aid workers were busy with insolations. This gave the festival a sweet holiday feeling which changed with the previous year.

Hellfest Last Year / Hellfest This Year
Jeff: I cannot close this introduction without doing a little comparison between the 2007 and 2008 editions. Sure, last year the weather was just terrible and the festival was chaotic but we've always said at Metal Storm that it is the rain which has killed the festival and not the organisation which was just a bit "young" and maybe a bit disorganised at times. The proof to confirm this statement is that this year the festival was perfectly organised and all the promises that we had before Hellfest 2008 were respected. Hellfest can be compared now to the best Metal festivals around the world.

The main difference this year came from the organisation of the area of the festival. The main gates of the festival were a lot bigger and were situated on the parking near of the entrance of the 2007 camping. That way it was quite impossible to wait to enter in the festival and when you were in the camping, you were already in the festival area (which was closed by some gates during the night). The main stage and the second stage were, like at Wacken, near each other. It was maybe a bit weird but really good in the end without any real sound problems between the stages. Plus it was really easy to move from one concert to one other. The Discover Stage was still at the same location but the tent was bigger and the lights and sound (even if it suffered one or two major problems) was a lot better. Some real toilets (finally) were situated in the field where the second stage was placed last year and this big area was decorated by some magnificent towers (they actually were tickets, banks and bars), designed by "Monic La Mouch", with flames and fabulous lights during the night. The Metal Market was not in the gymnasium this year (this area was exclusively reserved to the bands and press) but under a tent near the Beer Garden and it was in the end really accessible and useful. The Skate Park was inside a drakar, it was really beautiful and obviously the organisation has created one of the most beautiful festivals around Europe (big stuff like Graspop or Wacken are just sad and monotonous in comparison).

With great organisation, with a great and beautiful area, with great Metal bands, and great metalheads, Hellfest 2008 was perfect. Let's see now what happened day by day at this festival.

Friday 20th
Ultra Vomit
Death Angel
Danko Jones
Parasise Lost
Rotting Christ
Dimmu Borgir
In Flames
Friday conclusion

Ultra Vomit
Marge: What a perfect way to open the Hellfest laughing, headbanging, and singing loud with these guys, who are becoming a true phenomenon here in France. The fans were present and ready to have a real good time and I think everyone did. Everyone? Well maybe not the non-French speaking people, but even if you don't get all the stupid puns, you can always enjoy the divine presence of Lemmy or let's say it, the pretty good playing (and acting!) skills of those real musicians. You had here a nice patchwork of grind, black, hard-rock, death or pop, with a big amount of humor and second degree on the top. Perfect match to me!

Momo and Otto: This french band of funny metal were the opening band of the festival, playing on the mainstage at 12. I suppose the humor was mostly lost on non-french speaking people, but it was really cool for us froggies (all french understanding people are froggies)… They arrived on stage, stating 'we are Motörhead and we play rock'n roll', and they played a song from their last album, Quand J'étais Petit, which sounds uncannily like, well, Motörhead of course. And while the lyrics of their songs are completely nuts, either speaking about collecting ducks (alive), school problems, or ripping off stuff like childhood rimes or bad dance music, musically they sure know how to play (for example, they adapted the 'Gremlins' movie theme in melodeath). They even had a guest singer on the last song - the one about collecting ducks (alive), who appeared in a stupid mask and armed with a plastic gun, asking the band to play his favourite song, or else he would 'kill them, and all the audience, starting by himself'

Setlist :
Quand J'étais Petit
Darry Cowl Chamber
Les Bonnes Manières
Mechanical Chiwawa
Gremlins At The Gates
Je Ne T'est Jamait Autans Aimer
Mountains Of Maths
Welcome To The Jingle
Je Possède Un Cousin
Boulangerie Patisserie
I Like To Vomit
Je Collectionne Des Canards (vivants)

Band Galleries:
Barry: Ultra Vomit gallery
Ivor: Ultra Vomit gallery
Jeff: Ultra Vomit gallery
Momo: Ultra Vomit gallery

Barry: These Swiss folk metallers Eluveitie were the first widely recognised band at the festival and so pulled in the biggest audience the festival had seen thus far. Six band members makes for a busy stage, which also makes for an entertaining show. Eluveitie may be a folk metal band, but they lean more towards the melodic death metal, Gothenburg sound, and this comes across much more on the live stage than it does on CD. The audience reacted well to the band and thus energised the band that much more, they have a way to go if they want to reach the heights of the best bands of the genre however. Entertaining but ultimately rather bland and forgettable.

Band Galleries:
Barry: Eluveitie gallery
Jeff: Eluveitie gallery

Death Angel
Barry: Taking advantage of the festival's new set-up, only a quick shuffle to the right to the stage next door and these veteran thrashers Death Angel were about to make a welcome return to a (mainly) French audience. Death Angel have never been one of the front-runners of the thrash metal world, but on stage they can give any thrash band a run for their money. Headbanging is the name of the game, and these Americans know how to provide the goods to do so. An energising set and highly enjoyable, but the festival was only just beginning.

Band Galleries:
Barry: Death Angel gallery
Jeff: Death Angel gallery

Jupitreas: I liked this show in spite of it being obvious that the band was having problems both with their performance and with technical issues. It is clear to me that this was not the best show Alchemist ever played. Something was off - the band didn't seem appropriately at ease and there was an aura of under-achievement emanating from their sound. This is a shame since I think most people who attended this show would agree that they perceived a sensation that something was missing, a realization that implies that it is usually there. It was a great band playing on their bad day. Thus, I hope that those amongst the Hellfest audience who share this impression with me will be motivated to see the band again when they are in better form. I enjoyed the show since I took a leap of faith and imagined what it would be like if the problems plaguing the performance were not present. This might not be the most objective way of looking at a show but under the circumstances, it seems fitting to me.

Momo: One of the bands I wouldn't miss this year… To see them coming in Europe is rare enough! Their show was very good, the sound was good, even if it wasn't perfect. The audience didn't react very much at first - after all, they are sadly almost unknown in France - but a few fans were there anyway. They started with Wrapped in a Guilt, and then Chinese Whispers. They also played Austral Spectrum (out of Organasm) and other songs from Tripsis. Adam abandonned his guitar a few times to play keyboard, on Chinese Whispers for example. By the way, I discovered this song at that time, and I understand why it is a fan's favourite - this is simply a masterpiece.
Sadly, before the end of the show, Adam Agius' amp broke out, and so the set was shortened. An awful ending, which has upset them to no end, and the few fans as well. Now, we just have to hope that they'll be able to come again soon in Europe.

Band Gallery:
Momo: Alchemist gallery

Danko Jones
Marge: Hot weather, good atmosphere, Danko Jones on stage, delivering their good happy pop hard rock to us: a catchy and motivating show, for all the people who came here to have fun and fully enjoy the band, who don't play often in Europe. With their charismatic leader and the obvious good rapports between the musicians, they did an excellent performance, full of energy and without being unnecessarily theatrical. They did it straight, and they did well!

Band Galleries:
Marge: Danko Jones gallery
Ivor: Danko Jones gallery

Barry: Septic Flesh (or for some reason, now "Septicflesh") were already boogying on the smallest stage of the festival when I found myself there after Death Angel. This was the Discover stage and, like last year, trying to fit so many people into one tent is never a good idea, especially how everyone congregates around the edges to the tent, where you are supposed to be able to enter. Still, moaning aside, Septicflesh made it worth my while standing in a dark, sweaty tent surrounded by foreigners as their atmospheric death metal blew the audience away. The sound of "Communion" echoing around the tent as it blasted out still sticks with me now in a truly haunting way. A good set, an interesting set, lets hope to hear more from these Greeks.

Momo: Another great show on the discovery stage this Friday, the return of the greek veterans of Septicflesh was awesome. The set mostly featured songs from their last album Communion, of which five were played (I don't remember the order, though) : Anubis, Communion, We The Gods, Lovecraft's Death and Persepolis.
The discovery stage was packed with a reactive audience, screaming when Seth Siro Anton (bass/vocals) asked for it ; he sure is a really charismatic and expressive frontman. The only 'problem' was that Sothiris, the guitarist who also does clean vocals on the album, wasn't there, and the band had to rely on samples (as with the orchestral parts anyway). So the set was more death than symphonic, and that was cool.

Band Galleries:
Barry: Septicflesh gallery
Momo: Septicflesh gallery

Paradise Lost
Jupitreas: I don't really have a lot to say about this band's show except that it was not nearly as god-awful as so many people would have you believe. Paradise Lost seems to be notorious for giving extremely lacklustre and tepid performances and while their set at Hellfest was definitely not one of the festival's highlights, it was far from being an embarrassment or waste of time. Nick Holmes might not be willing to bellow and holler like his younger self; however, his stage presence was very pleasant and his singing was adequate. Greg Mackintosh, who happened to have his birthday that day, was definitely the band's most impressive member, proving to us all his pedigree as an excellent guitar player. I haven't seen the whole show but what I did see was satisfactory.

Momo & Otto:: A good show, as the usual PL nowadays. Nick Holmes was really talkative, even saying that it was Greg Mackintosh's birthday (and then playing No Celebration). Of course, later, the crowd sang a big 'Happy Birthday' anyway.
The set was varied and enjoyable, but I had a strange feeling though, it just seemed like their music doesn't work that well on festivals (at least for me).
That's interesting how the same band can seem different on classic shows and on festival. Seeing them for the fourth time (but first in festival), I was really surprised by Nick's volubility, which give the band a weird and funny impression of licentiousness.

Setlist :
The Enemy
Ash & Debris
No Celebration
As I Die
Pity The Sadness
The Enemy
One Second
Say Just Words

Band Galleries:
Marge: Paradise Lost gallery
Ivor: Paradise Lost gallery

Lucas: A few hours after my first real interview ever, with the visionary vocalist Attila Cshihar, it was time for the same Attila and Mayhem to assault our sanity with their schizophrenic terror. Playing songs from throughout all their career, Attila impressed me with being able to not only deliver awesome vocals for the songs on his studio albums with Mayhem, but also being able to adapt his voice to the unique styles of his (in)famous predecessors. My respect for this mans in-cre-di-ble throat has no end.

Besides a great throat, he is also blessed with a very charismatic stage performance. Even though it they played in broad daylight, they had a very dark mood going on. With an intense look into the depths of life and a powerful "thumbs down" gesture he got the entire crowd going mad. Their sound was droning and noisy and just plain ugly - as ugly as we want our Black Metal. It is an unforgivable sin to let Mayhem play in daylight, but they made the best out of it and did a great job.

Jupitreas: The infamous Mayhem offered what is most likely to be remembered as the most polarising show of the entire festival. There is no chance of being indifferent to this kind of performance - you either loved it or hated it. Instead of trying to be entertaining or crowd pleasing, the sole purpose of the Mayhem boys seemed to be to terrorise and hurt the audience by dissonant waves of extreme noise and a healthy dose of weirdness. The performance was sloppy and prone to small mistakes; however, somehow due to the pure extremity of the expression offered by the band, this seemed very appropriate. Atilla easily stole the show with his otherworldly appearance and hand gestures that are bound to become the stuff of legends. The band also tried to play a song from every one of their albums, which is an interesting approach in itself. Seeing Atilla rip his vocal chords in one of his 30 second screams over the band mutilating a song that nobody remembers proved to be a cathartic experience to those willing to accept Mayhem's unorthodox approach to a rock show. As someone belonging to this group, I can say with all sincerity that this was one of the ultimate highlights of the festival for me. I loved it and I want to see the band many more times.

Barry: Now, you never really know what you will get with the infamous Mayhem, pigs heads, Hitler as a singer, whatever else they have done in the past, it made four ordinarily-dressed men on a stage quite an amusing let-down. Enough of the aesthetics though, Mayhem will have played better sets in their past but as first time seeing the band, I was blown away by their extremity. Playing during the day probably didn't add to the atmosphere, but allowed us all to witness the enigma that is Attila doing all kinds of funky gestures with his arms, turning his arms into machine guns along with the blistering speed of the bass drums, and his good old thumbs down signature move. Funnies aside, Mayhem don't do things by halves. Attila really screams his lungs out on stage, shaking as he exhales as much air as his body will allow, and finally hearing the mighty Hellhammer live with his insane bass drum speed was also a pleasure. Mayhem are puzzling to some, but the ones that do enjoy this somewhat obscure music were treated by Mayhem to some of the finest, original black metal.

Momo: For fans it seems that the show was good. As for the others, like me, it sounded like a jumble of noises, screams, without head or tail (I suppose they played Freezing Moon but I barely recognized it), and not a bit impressive. I probably expected something special, they are legends after all, but in the end it sounded a bit as a bad joke.

Band Galleries:
Marge: Mayhem gallery
Barry: Mayhem gallery

Collin: That was the outstanding performance of the day! I think I can safely say Evile blew everyone away with a groundbreaking new approach to a thrash metal show, in that they just didn't play. Apparently they had to cancel at the last minute, but nobody told us, so we spent one hour in front of the Discover stage trying to figure out why the guys of Rotting Christ were plugging their instruments instead of the UK-based thrashers. My only organisational complaint of the year.

Rotting Christ
Barry: It seemed appropriate to wander over to the Discover tent to check out Rotting Christ, I mean their name sounds like they will provide some crushing death metal of some kind, does it not? Out of curiosity I watched the set and found it to be a little less death metal than expecting. Frontman "Necromayhem" as apparently he is called looked constantly rather confused, but aside from this as the lack of death metal, Rotting Christ put on an ok show, nothing memorable however, there to pass the time.

Collin: Having not really enjoyed "Theogonia", I went to see Rotting Christ more for the hell of it than anything else. They put on a nice show, not of the "blow your socks off" memorable type, but decent enough. As Barry said, Sakis looked like he didn't really know what the hell he was doing here, but he still assured a good set (of melodic black metal, I don't know why some people wanted to see DM in a Rotting Christ show ;-)). I was particularly pleased with them playing "King Of A Stellar War", my favourite song of theirs.

Band Gallery:
Barry: Rotting Christ gallery

Collin: One of the bands I really wanted to see after their last minute cancellation at Metalliance Fest 2006 in France. Unfortunately there's not much to say about their performance. A boring, yawn-inducing set clearly lacking any kind of soul or power. On top of that, Jonas Renkse was almost out of tune for most of the show. I hope I could catch them again in a more intimate setting, because I don't think a day-time appearance at a big festival agrees with them.

Band Galleries:
Ivor: Katatonia gallery
Jeff: Katatonia gallery

Dimmu Borgir
Barry: Black metal pop stars Dimmu Borgir took the main stage as did their thing. This band will always have masses of followers wherever they go, all buying merchandise with the Dimmu Borgir name on it. On the last day of the festival there were some framed pictures of them on stage from this set for sale, and all I could think was "I have better pictures than that on my camera right now..." still, people will buy these things. Anyway, nothing on the set was a surprise, if you have seen Dimmu Borgir once, you have seen them as many times as you need to. Galder seemingly never stops pulling faces and generally looking like a goon, an amusing goon that is. Just thought I would throw that in there. But seriously, Dimmu Borgir got one of the better receptions I have seen them receive from times in the past and they will have entertained a large chunk of the audience, who I am sure would tell you to go and see them live. Just for Galder's face.

Band Galleries:
Marge: Dimmu Borgir gallery
Barry: Dimmu Borgir gallery
Jeff: Dimmu Borgir gallery

Barry: Another shuffle over to the stage next door and thrash icons Testament were about to kick off their set. Testament are always a powerful force on stage and this was no exception, the crushing live sound is no match for your free-will as you just cannot resist headbanging to their unrelenting thrash onslaught. Both new and old songs sound just as great, however having seen the band do the exact same set the previous week I felt it was time to take my leave for the Gibson stage.

Collin: THE best show of the festival for me! It was my first time seeing them, and I was expecting severe disappointment as most comments I had heard about their live appearances were either or very negative. But this show... Wow! The sound was just as powerful as needed to blow your brains off, the musicians were absolutely amazing and Chuck Billy, beside apparently really enjoying just being there, showed how great a frontman he is. His vocals were amazing, the setlist was mindblowing, the urge to headbang was stronger than anything else. I lack superlatives. Everything sounded quite tepid after them.

Momo: Just one word : GREAT! It was probably the best show this Friday. A lot of energy (even if they don't move that much on stage now), and it was plain for all to see they were happy to play and be there. Of course, the audience responded in kind ! Chuck Billy is really charismatic, and while he wasn't singing, he smiled all along and played air guitar with his micro stand. Alex Skolnick delivered top-notch solos (of course), while the others blasted our ears off with delight.

Setlist :
Over The Wall
Into The Pit
Apocalyptic City
The New Order
More Than Meets The Eye
3 Days In Darkness
Alone In The Dark
Disciples Of The Watch

Band Galleries:
Barry: Testament gallery
Jeff: Testament gallery
Momo: Testament gallery

Jupitreas: Great performance, stupid banter. This is the way to sum up this show. In fact, Krisiun totally obliterated all other straight-forwardly brutal bands of the festival and it seemed like it wasn't even all that much effort for them to pull off this feat. Completely crushing, dynamic and with a crystal clear sound, the trio played with the kind of finesse that can only be described as inhuman. I'm sure I was not the only one to be completely blown away by the total armageddon coming from the speakers, and total destruction was prevented only by the amusingly silly comments made by the band's vocalist in between songs. "We're Krisiun, we play brooooootal death metal! Buy our albums! Yeah!" If the band would shut up and let their music do the talking, I think people would be leaving the Discover Tent on emergency cots and stretchers...

Barry: And I am glad I did manage to tear myself away from Testament, as the Brazillian brothers of Krisiun were conjuring the apocalypse itself in the tent with their ultra brutal death metal. I have never heard so brutal live before, this was insane. Drums rampaging at blistering speeds as they sprinted through their set, a song from the new album, "Combustion Inferno" was also played to an enthusiastic audience who had been made to feel like the true underground as the masses watched Testament. Apart from saying a few silly things on stage, Krisiun blew us all away and made me so so glad to have gone and seen them.

Band Gallery:
Barry: Krisiun gallery

In Flames
Barry: As I rejoined the masses, In Flames were doing their usual thing on the main stage. Having main slot of the first day they had a whopping hour and a quarter (normally the best bands get forty minutes or an hour at Hellfest), which let them explore a few more songs. Just like Testament I had seen the same set the previous week, although this set included many many more pyrotechnics. The set focused mainly on newer albums but once again had the pleasant surprise of "Transparent" and "Graveland". Once again however, if you have seen In Flames once, that is all you really need. Good set but nothing special unless you are a devoted fan.

Momo & Otto:: Now that was disappointing, especially after Testament. The band seemed a bit drunk and uninspired (I would say unconcerned, except Björn Gelotte - Anders Friden forgot a whole verse on The Quiet Place), and the crowd wasn't responding really well either. However they put on quite a show on pyrotechnics, even ending their set with fireworks ; on this point only were they the best of the festival.
But the fact that they weren't 'into it' was worsened by a little something called setlist.

Yes, there's some good stuff, whether oldies but goodies (Graveland) or catchy hits (Cloud Connected). But there are 6 songs off the controversial A Sense Of Purpose, and that hurts. Why? Because they sound uninspired on the album, but it's not that bad (barely). In a live setting, just before or after a really good song, their lameness appears in full light. Even worse, when compared to Only For The Weak, which is the less violent song on the Clayman album, they all sounded tame and quiet! And, second problem, they are sprinkled all over the set, which just can't gain momentum because, each time the public warms up with a good hymn (say, for example, Colony), next you take a cold shower with a somewhat insipid song.
This may seem harsh, but I was disappointed.

Setlist :
Cloud Connected
The Mirror's Truth
Delight And Angers
Only for The Weak
I'm The Highway
Come Clarity
The Quiet Place
Move Through Me

Band Galleries:
Jeff: In Flames gallery
Momo: In Flames gallery

Jupitreas: The reunited Carcass was clearly a major draw for audiences at Hellfest this year since quite a few people I talked to were there primarily for this band and the amount of people waiting for the band to finally emerge was noticeably large. I'll admit that Carcass was also one of the bands that I was looking forward to the most on this day. Now then, their show wasn't bad (although marred by some technical difficulties) but I think most people would agree that it didn't live up to the hype. That the reunion was over-hyped is a different matter; the fact remains nevertheless that I was left wanting more. The band started with songs from their last few albums, favouring groove over speed and aggression - an approach that was a welcome but abused element of their set, since after 40 minutes of mid-tempo material, boredom was definitely beginning to rear its ugly head. Towards the end of their set, Jeff Walker and co. finally began throwing rawer slabs of meat at the audience with older and faster material; however, it was too little, too late. Since their performance and sound was actually quite satisfying, I believe what Carcass needed was simply a more balanced set. Alas, this was not given to us and my memories of the Carcass show are therefore somewhat ambiguous.

Barry: A few years ago you would never expect to be seeing Carcass live, just like Emperor last year however, this reunion is not a permanent one. Now, I have always been a Carcass critic protesting how overrated they are but this live performance has somewhat changed my mind. These fellow Brits put on a really great show of entertaining death metal and as Jeff Walker made an amusing point of saying during songs, it does make a nice change from all the stuff around nowadays as Carcass don't use any breakdowns. A surprisingly good, entertaining show, and so I would tell anyone even if they has turned their nose up at the band before, go see them if you can on this last tour, it will be worth it, it is your last chance. And for Red Dwarf fans, no, Jeff and Bill did not perform the "Om" Song. Unfortunately.

Momo: Another show that wasn't to be missed, because the reunion lasts only for this summer. And certainly everyone expected an agressive show from this icons of death and grind. Well, agressive it was, impressively so, but there was maybe a bit of a standoffish attitude that just made their show great, but not awesomely so (in comparison with At The Gates or Morbid Angel, for example).
The setlist was centered on Heartwork (Heartwork, Buried Dreams, No Love Lost…) and Necroticism (Corporal Jigsore Quandary, Incarnated Solvent Abuse…) but, as promised, they played songs from all of their albums, including Swansong (with Keep On Rotting In The Free World).
Also, Jeff Walker said before the tour that Ken Owens, Carcass' drummer, wouldn't play with them because of serious medical problems. However, he added that he would find a way for Ken to make an appearance during the set. Well, he held up to his promise : Ken came to speak a bit during the show, explaining simply that he was the original drummer. The crowd didn't react much, but that's probably because french people are not a fluent english speaking people…

Band Gallery:
Barry: Carcass gallery

Barry: The double English end to the first day of the Hellfest would come from the band this festival was seemingly made for; Venom. As Tom of Sodom said to me the next day, it was like stepping in a time machine seeing these guys do this live. Playing "Black Metal" and "Welcome To Hell" so early in the set however left us no other real classics to look forward to during the set, which consisted mainly of new material. The band sounded good on stage, the sound was very full but for some reason seemingly had the biggest flop of the festival as during the set more and more people left to rest their weary heads abandoning the band. By the end the audience was the small size of the first band of the day, and you can imagine the small noise that was made to the disgruntlement of Cronos. The new songs were not bad, the set was not a bad one, but there was nothing there to catch the audience and suck us in. The style of the new songs sounded more speed metal than anything else, plenty of galloping double bass drumming, and still plenty of evil vocals. I felt bad for the band as they must have been relieved to leave the stage at the end. Still, what an experience, seeing Venom live, who would have thought it.

Momo: Venom… One of the instigators of black metal, they're also known for not being the best players in the world. But, what the hell, it's the attitude that's important.
And well, I suppose the band thinks they are still in the 80'. They act like it anyway. And what was terrible to behold back then now is, well, a bit stale. Sure, it could work, Black Metal as an opener wasn't bad, but the new song that followed was just boring. No energy, no interest.
So many people left the festival grounds, thinking that Venom was disappointing. So did I.

Band Gallery:
Barry: Venom gallery

Friday conclusion
Jeff: Personally, except for a few bands I wasn't able to see a lot of live performances. The thing is that I was trying to manage the interview team and the contacts with the labels and bands. Even if it was amazing and fun to do that, I was just really busy and didn't see the concerts but the first day was a great day and with the expection of Venom which was the only mistake in the line-up in my opinion, it was a great first day with really memorable shows.

Saturday 21th
Cavalera Conspiracy, Helloween, Apocalyptica, Porcupine Tree, Iced Earth, Sonata Arctica, Airbourne, The Old Dead Tree, Ministry, Gamma Ray, Candlemass, Anathema, Satyricon, Sodom, Legion Of The Damned, Belphegor, Impaled Nazarene, Punish Yourself, Watain, Shining, Anaal Nathrakh, Treponem Pal, Haemorrhage, Today Is The Day, Nightmare, Disfear, Benighted, Black Tide, Blazing War Machine
Sunday 22th
Slayer, Motörhead, NOFX, Opeth, Meshuggah, Rose Tattoo, ETHS, Misanthrope, Morbid Angel, My Dying Bride, At The Gates, Obituary, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Forbidden, Municipal Waste, Envy, Cult Of Luna, Comback Kid, Shai Hulud, Dying Fetus, Rotten Sound, The Ocean, Primordial, Origin, Ghost Brigade, Year Of No Light, Your Demise, Between The Buried And Me

Photos by Marge, Barry, DarksideMomo, Ivor and Jeff. All right reserved, do not use without permission.



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Marcel Hubregtse - 28.07.2008 at 22:35  
A damn shame I had to miss all this... nice review btw.

But Barry... Death Angel have never been one of the front-runners of the thrash metal world... DA might not have been part of the first wave of thrash but were sure as hell frontrunners of the second wave and way more influential and revered than Testament at the time. It was only because of a tour bus accident that nearly killed drummer Andy Galleon that they never broke it big. DA were supposed to be on the Clash Of The Titans tour but due to the aforementioned bus accident weren't on it.
Ilham - 29.07.2008 at 01:05  
It's really nice to read all this. Brings back some very good memories .
But I still feel bad for missing the first half of the Krisiun set, which was in my opinion, the best of the whole day.
Jason W. - 29.07.2008 at 02:35  
Thanks for the flashbacks! I can remember so much of the festival, but reading about it band by band helps to refresh my thoughts very well I personally enjoyed the Septic Flesh show the most, and even though I am not a huge Mayhem fan, it was a great performance. The "thumbs down" gesture is something that will appear in my jokes even with my friends here in the US!

Other highlights were Death Angel and the fans' energy at the Carcass set was memorable. I do agree about some of the letdowns too: Venom was forgettable, and Kataonia sounded way out of tune at first, though I did enjoy the last few songs a lot.
Bararey - 29.07.2008 at 05:39  
Excellent review, and lol @ the Evile description

With them missing the fest, did the bands on the discovery stage get their sets to be extended?
Deadsoulman - 29.07.2008 at 12:14  
Written by Bararey on 29.07.2008 at 05:39

Excellent review, and lol @ the Evile description

With them missing the fest, did the bands on the discovery stage get their sets to be extended?

Nope, there's just been a one hour empty slot, during which we (Barry, Momo, White Winter Sun, Wrathchild and I) just sat there waiting for Evile.
White Winter Sun - 29.07.2008 at 12:18  
Yes, we waited during the Evile show outside. But we heard Mayhem's set during this wait
Then, after this wait, when the music began, in the entrance under the tent it was Rotting Christ guys who were playing on their planned time slot.
Deadsoulman - 29.07.2008 at 12:21  
My highlights of the first day:
Septic Flesh, Testament, Carcass (more for the general happiness to be seeing them than for the actual quality of the show, which was not as great as i hoped)
Jeff - 29.07.2008 at 13:42  
My higlights of the day: Ultra Vomit, Death Angel, Danko Jones, TESTAMENT (for me, THE band of the festival).

An btw, this is the list of the interviews that we've done this day (if all is ok, you'll be able to watch them on MS soon).

Danko Jones, Ultra Vomit, Mayhem, Kruger, Alchemist
Hamird - 29.07.2008 at 14:01  
Oh. Mayhem interview sounds interesting... Are these interviews on Metalstorm available for download?
Jeff - 29.07.2008 at 14:04  
No I don't think that it will be possible to download them. It will only be streaming.
Deadsoulman - 29.07.2008 at 14:10  
Written by Jeff on 29.07.2008 at 13:42

TESTAMENT (for me, THE band of the festival).

Good to see I'm not the only one who thinks that That concert was one of the most massive slaps in the face I've ever had.
Jeff - 29.07.2008 at 14:26  
Written by Deadsoulman on 29.07.2008 at 14:10

Written by Jeff on 29.07.2008 at 13:42

TESTAMENT (for me, THE band of the festival).

Good to see I'm not the only one who thinks that That concert was one of the most massive slaps in the face I've ever had.

With At The Gates (and it was the same @ Graspop, without concidering Kiss and Maiden performances who were headliners blablabla etc) they were the best imo. But some other bands were really good too!
Darkside Momo - 29.07.2008 at 14:32  
Written by Jeff on 29.07.2008 at 14:26

Written by Deadsoulman on 29.07.2008 at 14:10

Written by Jeff on 29.07.2008 at 13:42

TESTAMENT (for me, THE band of the festival).

Good to see I'm not the only one who thinks that That concert was one of the most massive slaps in the face I've ever had.

With At The Gates (and it was the same @ Graspop, without concidering Kiss and Maiden performances who were headliners blablabla etc) they were the best imo. But some other bands were really good too!

Well, Testament were really great, At The Gates too... but My Dying bride also, in a different way, so I won't say there was one absolutely better than the others !

Highlights for me : Alchemist, Septicflesh, Testament. I missed quite a few shows this due to headaches (I went back to my tent to sleep during Katatonia and Dimmu Borgir)
White Winter Sun - 30.07.2008 at 14:07  
My Friday highlights:

Septic Flesh, Testament and an entertaining moment during Eluveitie's show.
About Carcass, I was a little bit disappointed, I was expecting something better, but it was a great moment to see them on stage.
Dangerboner - 02.08.2008 at 06:43  
That sucks about Katatonia. I saw them in a small ass venue with only about 250 people and they blew me away.

And yeah, Krisiun rules live. I saw them in 05 or 06 and they blew away Morbid Angel and Behemoth. Thankfully they didn't say one word then.
Bad English - 03.08.2008 at 00:50  
1: I saw wineyards after loock pics, hehe so it was taken specely for me?

2. Food - hehe who cares about beer, enjoy wine, cognac and that arn what was name(ask Jeff he knows) , also weather was sunny, so no need for 1 litre of pure Cognac anyway

3. Weather - Rain shood be ban, hehe this was real side of french summer

4: Bands what I wanna see was DB, Venom, Eluvitie, Death Angel, Carcass, Testament and Mayhem

5: Death Angel - ''Ultra-Violance'' ''Les Briages Noire

6:Septicflesh no album cover remaind me a rabit

7: Rotting Christ - Oriantel Kotes 21

8:Katatonia - and people ask em why I dont like this band anymore, read Collin rewiew

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