Hammerfest 2009 - Prestatyn, Wales, 24th April 2009
|Written by:||Baz Anderson, Boltus|
Hammerfest 2009 - Prestatyn, Wales, 24th-25th April 2009 by Baz Anderson (149)
Hammerfest 2009 - Prestatyn, Wales, 24th-25th April 2009 by Boltus (57)
Hammerfest was the first of its kind, the creation of Metal Hammer and Hard Rock Hell, selling out around 4,000 tickets. Upon first arrival, Pontins didn't look much like a high quality attraction, but upon further investigation the two main stages inside the building appeared to be top class. Prestatyn is right next to the north coast of Wales, and so the sold out accommodation and venue were just a short walk away from the high tide. Inside Pontins was a large games arcade to entertain, and also mini supermarket and metal merchandise stalls to satisfy any urges to purchase CDs or clothes. Plenty of bars littered the venue to satisfy any alcoholic needs. The festival had a very warmly and comfortable feeling as metalheads wandered the holiday resort at leisurely pace without the need for tents or any weather worries.
The weekend started in the holiday resort's pub, which housed a stage itself. Five bands played on this stage before the real festivities began on the main stage. Each band was watched by a handful of people, and each band received a generous reception from the audience. Imicus were first be failed to fire things up. Thirteenth Sign were the best of the early bands blending Arch Enemy-like melodic death metal with "Painkiller"-like riffs. Firebrand Super Rock delivered a decent set of female-fronted rock that was although ok, nothing great. Tesseract sounded like a Killswitch Engage tribute band, and last band The Defiled also provided nothing of great interest. Still, the bands provided entertainment over a pint or three and helped warm a few people up for the main course.
Trigger The Bloodshed
Onto the main stage and it was time for these young rising death metallers to get the show rolling. These guys get better every time they play live. Ok they are still young and haven't released anything particularly defining, but these are talented guys and play their instruments well. Worth a headbang, but nothing revolutionary. These guys still need to find their own style and really go for it, their popularity so far shows great promise.
It was time to get hammered with Hammerfall at Hammerfest, as singer Joacim told us. Hammerfall in this country is quite a rare thing, and so it was with some pleasure to see the band live on this very island. Hammerfall aren't the fastest or most energetic power metal band at all, and so their set lacked a punch that would have been welcome. Still, songs from the new album sounded fantastic stomping through the sound system. "Last Man Standing" and also first song from the new album "Any Means Necessary" seemed real crowd pleasers. They put on a good show, but something was lacking.
Set-list (from the paper)
Punish & Enslave
Hallowed By My Name
Last Man Standing
Heeding The Call
Any Means Necsessary
Riders Of The Storm
Hearts On Fire
It is time to move on, Gorerotted is no more and so are the songs from those albums in the band's live set-list. The set was comprised entirely of songs from the first album under the Rotted name, and all sounded a little same-y. These guys are fantastic musicians and blistered through a set of fast-paced death metal with those slight punkish elements. The only problem with the set was the lack of diversity, the band are wanting to shed their Gorerotted skin, but until they provide a good enough set of new material, people are always going to want to hear some of that old brutal death magic.
Time for these old English gothic veterans to take the stage and spread their gloomy message. Already tired however, their music came at the wrong time and so as I am sure the band's fans had a great time, it was time to find something to wake me up.
Evile, better than Pro Plus. These guys are another young band and seem to get better and better every time. Ok, so these guys model themselves on Slayer a little too much, and every song they pulled off could fit in place of a new Slayer album, but who cares about originality when you are watching a band live. These guys kicked bottoms, and kicked them hard. Thrash metal delivered by Evile was a great wake-up call, much needed. The band has seriously grown a lot over the last couple of years.
A relaxed feeling spread as these insanely popular progressive metallers burrowed through their set. Opeth are a strange band, from the outside they appear to be a grossly overrated band that have the unique ability to comatose people via sound waves. However once you take the time to resist the urge to find something better and watch these guys play live, they do something quite interesting. The band have written incredibly intricate songs that verge on being rather jazzy at moments as they are so progressive with seemingly no limit. Vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt has a great range, and has one of the most unreal and best death metal growls in the metal world, and through his strange but sometimes irritating humour delivered a set of great progressive detail, but also huge intensity. Embarrasingly enough, actually a good set.
It was late, very late, and the bands still came on. Over on the second stage English power metallers Power Quest who have now been joined by Blind Guardian bassist Oliver Holzwarth took to the stage in front of a somewhat reduced number of people. The band seemed to enjoy being on the stage and over the last few years since supporting Helloween in the U.K. in 2006, the band have only risen higher and higher. The set was enjoyable, especially with the fan-favourite, fast-paced "Far Away" thrown in there. The band constantly tried to get the tired audience to participate, perhaps trying too much, but overall they gave a good set of well-needed power metal to bring some smiles to everyone watching.
It was now very late, very, very late. Intentions were to stay for a couple of songs and then take a well-deserved trip to dreamland. Things however didn't go according to plan as these Finnish guys took the stage. Turns out these guys have improved immensely over the past couple of years, or perhaps they just thrive more in the indoor environment, but whatever, Kiuas were phenomenal. These guys cross all kinds of metal from power metal and folk metal to slight thrash and even a hint of black and metalcore elements, but the final product was well worth sticking around for. Their singer Ilja Jalkanen oozed intensity and charisma, cross this with a fantastic singing voice and you have yourself the best kind of front-man a band could ever want as even outside of the songs he entertained us with his humour in between songs. Seriously, the biggest surprise of the festival and possibly the best set too. They left a lasting impression, indeed.
So it was very late as the bands finished for the first day. Numbers for Power Quest and Kiuas were not high, and definitely not what the band's deserved. This is an issue that definitely needs considering for future events. Still, people found their way to their comfy accommodation and braced themselves for the longer of the two days, the Saturday.
Friday, 24/04/09 / Saturday, 25/04/09
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