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Hard Rock Hell III - Prestatyn, Wales, 4th December 2009

Event: Hard Rock Hell Festival III
Written by: Baz Anderson
Published: 15.12.2009


Hard Rock Hell III - Prestatyn, Wales, 4th-5th December 2009 by Baz Anderson (172)

Hard Rock Hell is one of the only festivals in the world that defies logic and puts on a metal festival as the winter approaches. Fortunately the festival is always an indoor affair, and as Hammerfest earlier in the year, this edition of Hard Rock Hell took place in the north Wales Pontins resort in Prestatyn. Instead of camping, plenty of the resort's accommodation was available to allow for a much more comfortable night. Just a minute walk away from the stages, and with plenty of things to see around the venue, this could have been dubbed Hard Rock Heaven.

The day kicked off with some unknown bands on the third stage in a seriously cramped pub, which left the only source of alcohol an undesirable one to frequent. Thankfully, the second stage eventually opened, and along with it, some highly entertaining shows. Northern Irish Celts Waylander kicked off the first set of the second stage if grand fashion. Complete with the full line-up this time the band stormed through an epic folk metal set of varying musical instruments to a growing audience. First band on is always an unfortunate slot, and of course this didn't lead the band to the appreciation they deserve, but at least the ones there had a good time.

Waylander (more pictures in the gallery)

Second up from this great opening trio of bands were the crazy Germans of Die Apokalyptischen Reiter who seem to be making huge steps over here in the UK. Although the band's name may reduce some people to referring to them as "the German band", these guys as always seem to be universally loved by any audience they play in front of. Unfortunately no "Seeman" may have upset a few fans, but such is the way with reduced festival set times. Korpiklaani are however by no means an unknown band over on British shores. These guys usually either put on a fantastic or a lacklustre show depending on your current mood. The audience were certainly in the mood this afternoon though, and the drinks were certainly flowing at the relatively early hour. The set included all the usuals and didn't knock anyone out of their shoes, but were enjoyable nonetheless.

Die Apokalyptischen Reiter (more pictures in the gallery)

Korpiklaani (more pictures in the gallery)

Over on the main stage now, old timers Ratt took the stage in front of a relatively static audience of a much more modest age. These Americans have been around a while, but never quite made a serious mark on the UK, and the audience although appreciative, were not totally enthralled. Next up, Terrorvision probably pulled the biggest audience the festival saw on the first day. These reunited Yorkshiremen were clearly not everyone's cup of tea, although pulling such a large audience left some bemused by the lack of good music. Apparent first day headliners Monster Magnet were soon to follow to a lessened audience and to a lessened reaction. These so-called stoner metallers sounded the heaviest band of the day, but clearly did not click with the audience. A dreary set that had some falling asleep.

Ratt (more pictures in the gallery)

Terrorvision (more pictures in the gallery)

Monster Magnet (more pictures in the gallery)

Over on the second stage was current Sonata Arctica tour support act Winterborn, who genuinely did seem to want to connect with the audience, and seemed enthusiastic to be on a British festival stage. Although not the greatest power metal on earth, these guys provided a great breath of fresh air from the main stage and brought a smile back to the audience's face. Straight after, the main event on the main stage was about to unfold however. Sonata Arctica were on late and by this time a number of people had retreated back to their beds. Sonata Arctica will always pull an audience however, and the number that was left wasn't exactly small. The band however insisted on absolutely dominating their setlist with songs from the new album. This wouldn't be a problem if the band's back catalogue wasn't riddled with classics just waiting to have their moment once more, but unfortunately for the fans it is. The only real high point of the set was the insanely catchy "Fullmoon", although "Don't Say A Word" made an appearance also. Songs such as "Juliet" of the new album are not to be sniffed at however, the main sense of disappointment came only from the thoughts of what could have been. The band did put on a good show, but left the audience wondering what could have been if the band were allowed more time.

Winterborn (more pictures in the gallery)

Sonata Arctica (more pictures in the gallery)

And so alas. The day was long and the heads were heavy. Band members and Hard Rock visiters alike wandered the venue in search for various things, but there was only way this long day was going to end. In bed. One of the royalties this festival can boast over any outdoor event.

Friday, 04/12/09 / Saturday, 05/12/09


Written on 15.12.2009 by Member of Staff since 2006.

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