Hellfest Open Air 2008 - Clisson, France, 21th June 2008
|Event:||Hellfest Summer Open Air 2008|
|Written by:||Jeff, Baz Anderson, Lucas, FreakyMarge, Darkside Momo, Ivor, Deadsoulman, ylside|
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: After the first excellent day, we were all already back in the morning to see the second day of the event and do a lot of interviews for Metal Storm. The Saturday was probably the most eclectic day with bands like Ministry for their farewell or Sodom and Gamma Ray but also UFOs like Anathema or Porcupine Tree. To close the day, the re-unification of the Cavalera brothers and Iced Earth with Mat Barlow was really expected by the metalheads. Sun, good music, good friends and great meetings, this Saturday was another perfect day.
Momo: Saturday was the hottest day, with the sun shining mercilessly on the festival grounds. However, no one complained, especially not all of us who were there last year. But it was so hot that the fire brigade came twice (during Sodom, then during Iced Earth) with their big water-tank truck to water the crowd.
The Old Dead Tree
Legion Of The Damned
Today Is The Day
The Old Dead Tree
Marge: Second opening act on the main stage for this French band of "gothic metal", and second very good welcome at noon. The Old Dead Tree is known for its particular sound, and the emotion they put in their music, even in the violent parts. The show was pretty intense and simple at the same time, alternating dark and melancholic atmospheres with more violent and brutal ones. The band doesn't need to use some special effect like stage suits or to put on an act: they are honest and passionate, and managed to convince successfully the public that was here to dive with them into their deep world. Woh,nice.
Marge: The Old Dead Tree gallery
Legion Of The Damned
Barry: You don't really get much of a better wake-up than Legion Of The Damned live. Thundering double bass in a death metal/thrash metal sort of combination with werewolf-like frontman spitting the lyrics at us does the job better than most other things. For a band on so early there were a lot of enthusiastic people down there for the Legion, and a lot shouting the lyrics when ordered as well. A fine reception for a band that is only growing in popularity since changing their name.
Barry: Legion Of The Damned gallery
Marge: I have to say that I hadn't listened to this band before the fest. I only knew that they were hugely inspired by AC/DC and that they were quite crazy on stage. Well, let clarify that: it's true!
They delivered a pure real rock'n roll show, full of energy, good mood and dynamited testosterone. The music isn't the most original ever but whatever, they played straight to the point, and I think they put their heart in it. And their taste of risk. Yeah, Joel O'Keeffe, without any hesitation, jumped out of stage in the photograph pit, and then climbed as high as he could on the speaker tower to play his solo from above, in front of an overjoyed audience. Did he find this energy in the Jack Daniel's he drank a few minutes before? Well, I think I need a drink.
Marge: Airbourne gallery
Jupitreas: I have seen Sodom 4 times before Hellfest and so powerful was their performance every single one of those times that it was an easy choice between seeing them and Benighted. I wasn't disappointed. Further explanation is not really needed - those who love Sodom's simple (but not simplistic) approach to aggressive thrash metal can only be satisfied with the band's live rendition of this sound, since it only becomes faster, harsher and louder. This was certainly not the best show of the festival but Sodom fans got exactly what they wanted.
Momo: A thrash show is definitively a simple pleasure. Just shout, headbang, mosh and have fun under the sun ! And Sodom could well have been one of the archetypes of this ; even if they made a few mistakes, like fumbling the beginning of a song, this was a really good gig. The setlist, with anthems like Sodomy and Lust, Agent Orange, M16 or Remember The Fallen (dedicated to the actual U.S. president) was like a short best-of.
And, of course, some fans brought in an inflatable doll, which finished the show flying over the crowd and the many crowdsurfing people. Add to this the pleasure of cool water raining down on us (courtesy of the fire brigade), and this was for me one of best moments of the fest.
It's important to note that it was their first show in France for 19 years (!), and so the public was completely nuts, shouting the band's name between every song, and of course Tom Angelripper & co were happy of this. Let's hope now that we won't have to wait another nineteen years to see them back in France.
Momo: Sodom gallery
Barry: Well, what can I say, Benighted were one of my main reasons to go to this wonderful festival, the west of France is an awful long way from the East midlands of England you see but Benighted put on probably the craziest set I have ever seen any band put on. The last three albums have all been unadulterated brutal death metal, and it was these three albums the entire set was made up from - all the best songs as if a fan has selected which songs they would perform. The worlds smallest drum kit provided one of the most extreme battery performances of the festival, and the rest of the band didn't exactly slack off either. The band prefer to be close to their audience as we found out when they came down into the photo pit in front of the barrier to get a little closer to the action. It was a security guy's nightmare where towards the end of the set vocalist Julien leaped into the audience with his microphone, crowdsurfing and still doing the vocals for the music. At the end of the set most of the rest of the band bounded into the audience as well to be carried away to who-knows-where. I have never seen anything so insane standing before a stage before. At the end the band members came down to the front again to shake the hands of the people and show their gratitude. Brutal death metal will never be the same again!
Collin: After Benighted made me live my craziest concert experience ever in October 2007, I wanted to know how they'd fare in a festival environment. Well, apart from the impossibility for the audience to get onstage with the band (singer Julien complained about that), it was more of the same. In other words, a brilliant, brutal, insane show. Benighted are the only band that would almost make me, an active non-mosher, go crashing into my fellow metalheads just for fun. Mostly based on their last two releases (with a couple of songs from ICP), their set was an invitation to fun and headbanging at neck-breaking speed. They are better in a club environment, but they were still one of the best of the festival for all the people who saw their performance.
Barry: Benighted gallery
Barry: Quite a change from Benighted, but I thought I may as well check Sonata Arctica out, as I have never seen them before. I was not so much a fan of the band, but a casual onlooker watching the set. They sounded good, but when I want to see a power metal band, I want to hear double bass drums and wailing vocals, Sonata Arctica had no conviction about them which made the set all rather meaningless. Still, again, a hugely popular band and the audience at the front looked to be having a great great time.
Barry: Sonata Arctica gallery
Lucas: Up next it was Satyricon's turn to entertain the masses in the sun's blazing heat. And with the catchy songs of their latest album "Now, Diabolical", that wasn't a hard task. Opening up with "The Pentagram Burns" they showed that they didn't care at all for the shit they had received after their latest album, and that it is actually a great song.
The crowd seemed to agree, judging from the loud and energetic response.
Satyr interacted well with the crowd, though at times he went a little over the top with his posing. But then again, some people really like that. Other songs they played were of course "Fuel For Hatred", "Mother North", "K.I.N.G." and "Now, Diabolical". They also played the song from their new ep "My Skin Is Cold", which is a good song, but didn't display their full potential in my opinion. One thing that I would like to point out is that the aforemented K.I.N.G. and Now, Diabolical blew Fuel For Hatred and Mother North out of the water, which are their supposedly "anthems". I think these great Black 'n Rollers get themselves a new anthem…
Barry: Satyr has been pictured so many times recently without the corpsepaint, so it was a bit of a surprise when he came on with his band Satyricon not just with corpsepaint, but sporting a fashionable head of short hair. From a black metal band you might expect some form of mystery or wonder from the frontman such as Attila the day before, but Satyr just looked and acted like a normal guy, spoke like a normal guy and didn't act so pretentious as other black metal frontmen can. Quite refreshing that was, and the set was a nice one too. Never seeing the band before made this an enjoyable experience for me hearing songs like "Fuel For Hatred" live. Indeed the new songs did seem to go down very well, but none as well as "Mother North" to finish the set.
Marge: Satyricon gallery
Barry: Satyricon gallery
Ylside: A shorthaired Matt Barlow is back… and with him an excellent Hellfest show! It is still quite amazing to get him back with Iced Earth before this summer, as obviously he suits and covers the largest part of the Iced Earth catalogue. Most of the band's classics were played, Dark Saga, Burning Times, Melancholy, Vengeance is Mine, My Own Savior, Pure Evil and for those who thought no Glorious Burden tracks would be played, Declaration Day and Ten Thousand Strong were intensely performed by Mr Barlow. An excellent show under a very hot sun which is probably my favourite performance along with Obituary from the Hellfest line-up.
Barry: I don't know whose stupid idea it was for Iced Earth to wear a uniform of blue denim, but anyway. This was the return of Matt Barlow to the joy of many many people. Having enjoyed Iced Earth live before with Tim Owens, and liking the albums with him I found myself interested to see just how Matt would fit back in. Indeed, not even being a huge fan myself, it just sounded right to have Matt back in there, as if he was the missing piece of the puzzle. The set was very Matt oriented as you would expect, with old classics such as the fantastic "Violate" and "Iced Earth" but the set did also contain "Ten Thousand Strong" and another Tim song in the set which proved to be an interesting listen. Quite surprisingly, Matt can sing very high notes also, although not to the standard Tim can, nevertheless the songs came off very well indeed. Many people seemed overjoyed by the set and I can't blame them. Iced Earth had the power, the confidence and the enthusiasm on stage they did not have with Tim, and in some ways stole the day so far.
Momo: Awaited by many fans, due to the return of Matthew Barlow on vocals, Iced Earth delivered a good show. Mostly playing classic songs, like Iced Earth, Burning Times or Melancholy (Holy Martyr), they only did two songs from Ripper's era: Declaration Day and Ten Thousand Strong.
And no doubt about it, Matt is a great singer, and his version of Ten Thousand Strong was impressive. He's also charismatic, even if some might regret his long hair (which certainly added a nice visual effect back then).
Barry: Iced Earth gallery
Ivor: Iced Earth gallery
Jeff: Iced Earth gallery
Momo: Iced Earth gallery
Today Is The Day
Jupitreas: Along with Mayhem, to me this was the most extreme and insane show of the festival and for this reason, a definite second highlight. Today Is The Day live is a quite different beast than on studio albums. The band's records have a sharp, harsh Albini-esque sound which is obviously quite extreme and powerful in its own right; however, when the music is heard at very high volume at a venue, it becomes a complete juggernaut of energy and devastation. The insane, grindcore parts of the Today Is The Day experience easily matched the brutality of those of Krisiun; however, Steve Austin and his trio offered a far more varied form of music, torturing us with pained melodies and convoluted broken rhythms as well. Today Is The Day is easily the most fearsome band I have seen live up to this point, and this is actually saying a lot due to my previous concert-going experience.
Momo & Otto: Anathema climbed on stage a bit drunk, as always. And as always too, it was an energic show, Empty being much more agressive than the album version, for example.
But if the first part of the show was quite classical (see setlist), the first surprise was the appearance of Lee Douglas, the beautiful voice on A Natural Disaster. And while I dislike this song, it was a rare pleasure. And next, they finished their set with two unexpected oldies : Sleepless first, and then A Dying Wish ! All in all, clearly a good show ! Furthermore, having seen them only with Porcupine Tree before, I can fully appreciate their show here. Actually the rock and metal audiences manifest their satisfaction in much different ways, and to shout, sing and headbang with a whole bunch of fans is much more enjoyable than to do it like ten pilgrims lost in a polite and quiet crowd.
A Natural Disaster
A Dying Wish
Marge: Anathema gallery
Ivor: Anathema gallery
Jeff: Anathema gallery
Momo: Anathema gallery
Marge: One of the only progressive rock/metal band of the fest, one of the bands that I really didn't want to miss. I've already seen them live in November with Anathema in Toulouse, and it was just perfect. This time, I found the show a little cold and impersonal, despite a perfect control of their instruments and work. I think it was mostly due to the fact that they played during the day, without their usual big screen showing videos and their huge light show. Plus, John Wesley was missing. Nonetheless, I enjoyed their performance, not because of a great communication between the band and its public, but thanks to the unique identity and atmosphere that Steven Wilson and his friends can bring on stage. Great musicians and compositions, amazing skills…I guess it can be enough sometimes.
Marge: Porcupine Tree gallery
Ivor: Porcupine Tree gallery
Lucas: Then it was time for the Swedish pillars of Doom to take the stage. This was their first time in France in seventeen years, so they said, and it was obvious why. With almost every band on the two big stages drawing a huge crowd, the crowd that Candlemass drew was pretty close - to the point of being an insult.
Leif Edling and co didn't seem to care that much though, as apparently Candlemass has never been big in France, and still slayed. Of course no band has a setlist like they have, with tracks like "Dark Are The Veils Of Death", "At The Gallows End", "Samarithan", "Emperor Of The Void", "Devils Seed" (in no particular order) and the closer "Solitude". Robert Lowe is of course an amazing vocalist and though he is less theatrical than his predecessor Messiah Marcolin, he delivered the songs with power and grandeur. Especially the repetive "Ashes To Ashes, Doom To Dust" sung by him and the crowd in the blazing heat with water from the watercannons hosing down was a special moment.
Jeff: Candlemass gallery
Collin: That was a show not to be missed, if only because of the scarcity of the band's live appearances in France. Also, it was not to be missed due to the quality of this concert. Anaal Nathrakh onstage is just like Anaal Nathrakh in studio actually. They manage to recreate the atmosphere of insanity, mental torture and aggression that you find on album to the perfection, mainly because all the vocals, clean and screams, are totally demented. The mystical interventions of singer Dave Hunt (a very charismatic figure this guy) added a lot to the eerie atmosphere of the show, although after such explanations as "There are 4 metamorphoses of the soul" all you wanted to say was "just publish the lyrics, no one knows what the fuck you're talking about". Altogether, one of my favourite shows of the week end, even if the band was denied one last song because they were running a bit late.
Barry: The pretty-boys of Apocalyptica took the main stage next and did their thing the only way they can. Having seen the band the week before the initial impressive impressions you get from seeing the band for the first time were slightly diminished, although the set was still enjoyable even for someone as unfamiliar with their music as myself. It is only when you get so close to the band you can see exactly how fast they are moving their fingers and arms to play these instruments, and believe me, it is fast! Impressive musicianship and a highly original set make for quite an enjoyable one.
Barry: Apocalyptica gallery
Momo: Apocalyptica gallery
Lucas: Shining was... Shining. Kvarforth came on stage with his arms wrapped in bandages, that slowly got bloodier, until he revealed the cuts in his arms and continued cutting them. And of course he cursed the crowd and expressed disgust towards us by throwing a burning cigarette and a bottle into the audience. He also tried to choke one of the female photographers that was there.
Besides the "normal" small riots that Kvarforth caused, the show itself was a little disappointing. Eventhough I really wanted to see them live, I have never seen them as a liveband and their performance strengthened me in this belief. Though their musical skill is undeniable, they never managed to sound as perfectly balanced as they do on their studio-albums. The drums were too loud and sometimes the singing was too soft to be heard. However, in the darkness and with a discography as amazing as theirs they were still very entertaining. They ended their set with "Submit To Self-Destruction" and Kvarforth hailed Watain (the next band) as the only Black Metal band on the bill that wasn't "a fucking joke".
Barry: The way Gamma Ray and Helloween were advertised as having a "special show" made it sound like they would do something really big, but sorry to spoil the surprise, the special part was just when Gamma Ray plays the last two songs of the Helloween set with them, not saying that isn't special, but most of us saw that on the tour already. Gamma Ray's set was much the same as the tour, and so no surprises were present, but it was nice to see the band I loved live so much the first time again. The different ending to "Somewhere Out In Space" and finishing with the wonderful "Send Me A Sign" might have just won a few people over, who knows. The intensity of the band's show in an inside venue was not transmitted to the open air festival however, but there was more of a sing-along theme - just a shame the voices of the audience did not seem overly loud. Still, a great show and it is always nice to catch these gods of power metal live.
Barry: Gamma Ray gallery
Jeff: Gamma Ray gallery
Barry: As with Gamma Ray, the Helloween set was, bar two songs being absent, exactly the same as on tour, same medley, same elongated introduction of band members, and same encore with Gamma Ray. On the tour however I preferred the Gamma Ray set, this night I preferred Helloween. They had the top spot of the second day and so had the longest set. Most of the favourites from the "Keeper..." albums including "March Of Time" which hasn't seen the light of day before this tour in a long time, and of course "Eagle Fly Free" always sounds as amazing as it did the first time you saw it live. Two huge inflatable pumpkins either side of the drum kit and an encore with Gamma Ray made this set one of the most enjoyable of the entire festival. Helloween always deliver a live show with smiles wide on their faces and this always transmits over the to audience.
Momo & Otto: I missed their show, sitting on the ground and waiting for Cavalera Conspiracy, but there is something that must be said. Indeed, Helloween earned the special running gag award of the fest. Why ? Well, they played the same simple riff for about ten minutes (and I'm not joking) while Andi Deris took all this time to introduce the musicians to the audience. Ten minutes!
And so this little riff was the little thingy we were humming all Sunday, and then laughing aloud at the stupidity of it all.
Barry: Helloween gallery
Jeff: Helloween gallery
Jupitreas:This one is a tough one to review. On the one hand, this is the last time most people at the festival get to see Ministry and clearly, many people were happy; however, on the other hand - this was not the band's best performance and the choice of songs to play was definitely not suitable for a farewell tour. Of the classics, we only got to hear Just 1 Fix, Thieves and N.W.O. The remainder of the show was dominated by songs from the last 3 studio albums and this is extremely disappointing for a long-time fan. Compared to the last time I saw the band, the band was also not as tight and the performance was not as powerful. With all this said, Al Jourgensen and the people he chooses to have in his band are always known as a completely devastating concert experience. Due to this, the Ministry show was still a good and enjoyable one, albeit with the issues I outlined above.
Barry: An ominous metal barrier had been put up in front of the stage and a big screen at the back of the stage for industrial legends Ministry. The bass was extremely high but with this kind of music it accentuated the power. No chit-chat between songs, Al got straight down to the songs hardly saying anything at all in-between. The screen at the back presumable said what his message was. Now the whole anti-Bush thing is grating a little now, but material from the last three Ministry albums sounded fantastic, probably nothing as poignant as "Just One Fix" however, which sounded as fresh as it must have done those sixteen years ago. First time seeing Ministry and as this is their farewell tour, unfortunately the last, but what a bang to go out on. One of the most interesting, and most impressive sets of the whole festival.
Momo: The last tour of industrial metal pioneer Ministry was certainly an event not to be missed. And it certainly kept its promises, it was an ultraviolent, unstoppable war machine ! And hypnotic, too… And the sound was just very, very, loud, as appropriate. Lights were mostly cold blue and green, and railings in front of the stage just finished to add the oppresive, almost penitenciary and dictatorial mood needed.
First starting with I'm Not Gay (a Revolting Cocks song) blasted out of the speakers, the band then played songs mostly from their last two albums, with videos showing war in Iraq, G.W. Bush… It is sure Al Jourgensen and co. wanted to emphatize the political side of their music. Only at the end did they play a few classics, namely N.W.O., Just One Fix and Thieves.
During the whole show the audience was completely crazy, shouting, and whatnot. The pit itself was a huge press, it was really difficult to breathe or move (so much that a few people in front of asked the security guys to help them out). All in all, maybe the most violent show of the week-end.
Barry: Ministry gallery
Ivor: Ministry gallery
Jeff: Ministry gallery
Collin: Oh, the bitter disappointment. The few courageous souls who decided not to watch Ministry gathered in the mostly empty Discover stage tent to be nuclear-metalled. It all started very well, with the band being very aggressive onstage and a setlist mainly focused on the last three albums. Mika Luttinen was the angry epileptic midget I imagined, it was constant aggression up there... but after 25 minutes (!) the band announced the last song, and then left. 25 minutes... out of a planned slot of 55. Now, if that's not a complete lack of respect for the audience, I don't know what it is. Ok, 25 minutes is still 10-12 IN songs, but anyway. That kind of attitude sucks. At least we could see most of Ministry's show.
Barry: Max Cavalera is hailed as some kind of god figure among many metallers. His latest export Cavalera Conspiracy is the spirit of Sepultura back together again though, with brother Igor back at the drums in the same band as Max. Heavy and powerful, and exactly the same as the set I saw the previous week. It started raining hard after the first three or four songs, and the haunting memories of last year's Hellfest flashed before my eyes and instinctively ran to the VIP bar to shelter and wait for the rain to subside while still listening to the Cavalera brothers. The main body of the set consisted of old Sepultura songs to the joy of the audience, but it all had to finish with "Roots Bloody Roots" with a slightly different, more interesting ending tacked on the end. A crushing set but the novelty of the brothers back together again soon wears off leaving you with yet another Max Cavalera export. Still, disciples of the guy loved the set and would do time and time again.
Momo: Ah, the Cavalera brothers re-united. One would expect from them a groovy and powerful set, with both their new songs and Sepultura covers (yes, covers, even if they wrote them they're not Sepultura…).
That's exactly what we got !!! And they even played a Nailbomb song (I don't remember which one though). And, of course, with France boasting a huge old-Sepultura following, this show was maybe the one that prompted the most joyful and powerful response from the audience of all Hellfest shows this year. Especially, of course, when they started playing Sepultura classics (the first one was Territory).
Put simply, a great moment, marred only by the rain that started at that time.
Marge: Cavalera Conspiracy gallery
Jeff: The second day was all but a disappointment. Except maybe with Helloween (we've already seen a lot better in their past) the shows were all great and it was cool really, to see one more time the Cavalera brothers playing together. For sure the Hellfest team wasn't wrong to add such varied bands to the Saturday line up because it was a real metal party and real communion between all the metal genres. After two perfect days, it was impossible this year to have something wrong at Hellfest...
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
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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