Hard Rock Hell III - Prestatyn, Wales, 5th 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)

Waking up in a bed to a metal festival is not something you usually get to do on a regular basis. It would have however been more of an enjoyable experience without the hangover, induced by a late night of drinking with various band members in the very hospitable VIP bar the night before. Indeed, the festival knew how to look after us. It was now just up to us to have a good time.

The second stage had got underway and Girlschool took the stage after an enthusiastic and warm welcome from a guy on the stage. Girlschool have got around a lot recently with several festival appearances, and their recent tour here with Motörhead. This, however, was the best reception these girls got of the lot. Hard Rock Hell was certainly the place for this band, and the audience were quick to show their appreciation for perhaps the most important girl group in the history of rock.

Girlschool (more pictures in the gallery)

Next up on the third stage in the pub was perhaps a surreal experience or a dream come true for people who grew up in the country in the 90's. Kids TV presenter of many shows Neil Buchanan was to be found playing guitar in Marseille, who actually originally formed way back in the 70's. Neil was certainly as good, if not better with the guitar than a pen and paper or paintbrush and the band put on a great, honest, hard rocking set to an enthusiastic audience. Away from the identity of one of the guitar players, Marseille were very good, especially some of the more hard-hitting numbers that left the cramped pub wanting more. Over on the second stage, New Wave of British Heavy Metallers Angel Witch played to the largest second stage audience of the day thus far. The part that stood out most from this set was the drums, this drummer seems to constantly want to be doing something different to keep it interesting, which would be nice if the rest of the band wanted to do the same. The set only really came alive with the last song "Angel Witch" and the audience's participation. Good set, but nothing to write home about.

Marseille (more pictures in the gallery)

Angel Witch (more pictures in the gallery)

The largest audience of the festival all together fall for heavy metal giants W.A.S.P. on the main stage however. It was only during these moments with this band on stage that it felt Hard Rock Hell had really given us something spectacular. The festival was craving some metal like this, metal dripping with angst and emotion, and not in the emo way. No, W.A.S.P. decided to treat the audience to a set that included all of the best, and this was something truly special. Blackie owned the audience and played around pitching one side of the audience against the other in a shouting war, to which he came down very hard on the losing side. He was in his element, the idol, Blackie with his disciples below. This is probably the kind of thing he lives for now, and the audience loved it. "I Wanna Be Somebody", "Wild Child", "Chainsaw Charlie" and "The Idol", the new classic "Crazy" slipping in perfectly with these well known songs. Only the final sing-along of "Blind In Texas" caught the audience on a quiet patch, but other than this, W.A.S.P. were hands down the band of the festival.

W.A.S.P. (more pictures in the gallery)

So far this had primarily been a hard rock and heavy metal festival, as the name suggested. The second stage was soon going to change this before the end of the night. Norwegians Susperia were the first of the extreme assault, but unfortunately lacked audience and, well, anything very extreme. They had their moments where things picked up, and no one is denying the band seemed happy to be on the stage, but the mid-tempo and clean vocals seemed to dominate the set. The audience had grown a vast amount however for England's own Onslaught. Our very own thrashers have probably never received such a welcoming in a long time. People were seriously in the mood to thrash, and the band gladly provided the soundtrack to the chaos. Visiting tracks only from the first couple of albums and the latest, the band left with Cheshire cat smiles to what must have been on of the best Onslaught shows on British shores for a long time.

Susperia (more pictures in the gallery)

Onslaught (more pictures in the gallery)

Things were about to get a little more extreme however, with Goatwhore following up. As soon as the blastbeats and double bass drumming set in, it all seemed worth the wait. We had been starved of these things over the festival, and it felt good to hear some real extreme music for once. As good as the band sounded in these circumstances however, they did come across as more melodic and didn't has quite so much of an extreme metal kick than the extreme name might have lead to believe. The band put on a good, needed set, but at any other extreme metal event these guys could slip under the radar.

Goatwhore (more pictures in the gallery)

And so on to the last couple of bands of the festival. Skeletonwitch were the first of the dirty thrash metal duo, who took the stage to a decreasing audience at this late hour. Only the drunk or insane were left at this hour to headbang their way through this set of unoriginal extreme thrash metal. There was no variation in the music, but if one thing works, why try to fix it? These guys went down very well with the audience left. Even less stuck around for Toxic Holocaust at this silly, late time. Although a slightly different style of thrash to the previous band, Joel and chums had the same mentality of keeping things simple. One of the most enjoyable bands of the late night however, they did make a point of referring to us as the "hardcore". Sy from Onslaught also joined the band on stage for one completely unrehearsed song, which did go down well, and the drummer he has for the band is also quite a machine. The night was extremely late though, and it almost seemed a relief that the bands were over. It was most certainly time to find that bed again in the middle of the night.

Skeletonwitch (more pictures in the gallery)

Toxic Holocaust (more pictures in the gallery)

Hard Rock Hell proved to be an enjoyable experience with good organisation and a great venue. Everyone was looked after with food and drink available around each corner. Topped off with the accommodation on site, this really is a festival you can be comfortable at. There is no reason why you shouldn't be looking towards all the Hard Rock Hell and Hammerfest festivals and pondering the potential pleasure and comfort available all at the same place. Superb.

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

Thanks to Duff Battye for the accreditation, etc.
Written by Barry Anderson
Photos by Barry Anderson


Written on 15.12.2009 by Member of Staff since 2006.


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15.12.2009 - 19:24
Retired Staff
"Waking up in a bed to a metal festival"
That sounds like a dream come true
BAS - Beautifully Accented Sexiness

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