Hammerfest II - Prestatyn, Wales, 12th March 2010
|Written by:||Baz Anderson|
Hammerfest II - Prestatyn, Wales, 12th-13th March 2010 by Baz Anderson (144)
A month earlier than the previous year, Hammerfest II was upon us. Thousands of metalheads from across the UK travelled to this quiet, north Wales town for a weekend of chaos. The festival once again took place at the Pontins holiday camp, which obviously had to provoke at least one "hi-de-hi" remark, this time from Barney Greenway. Everyone had their own room to sleep in over the night, which makes these festivals at Pontins one of the most comfortable you'll go to. The venue itself has three stages of use, two in the main building and one in the Queen Victoria pub just outside. The two indoor halls both have plenty of seating, and there are plenty of bars and a food kiosk on site. An arcade is also a nice distraction for those hours when nothing is on.
Solsikk were the first band on the main stage, although they got off to a false start and also played through the whole set without a bass player. The band didn't provide anything memorable, and those who did sit through the set probably only did for one reason.
Epica up next, and these Dutch guys and girl gave the first set of great quality metal of the festival. The band visited the new album a few times, but the set wasn't dominated by new material. The hard-hitting "Martyr Of The Free Word" was the highlight of the set, which seemed to pass by in no time at all. Although these were the first great band of the festival, it is surprising they didn't leave such a lasting impression.
Epica - More pictures in the gallery.
Next on, Katatonia made it their mission to send the Hammerfest II audience into an early slumber. The band brought their broody, dark and probably deep form of metal to Wales and played in front of a static audience. No doubt they pleased their fans, but others stood in bemusement.
Katatonia - More pictures in the gallery.
Devildriver were back in the UK, their second home. Dez and company were the first band to own the stage and control the audience as if they were home. The group brought their extreme metal to the enjoyment of the audience, who once again as always with Devildriver, made the biggest "circle pit" the room could manage during one song. These guys are great on stage and delivered one of the most enjoyable sets of the day to an appreciative audience. Wherever Devildriver visit in the UK, there is never a static audience, the fans always respond well. The band visited all their albums a fair amount of times, and gave the fans what they came for.
Devildriver - More pictures in the gallery.
Over on the second stage, Abgott were waving the flag for British black metal, of which there is not a lot. The corpsepainted chaps seemed to get everything right apart from the consistency aspect. Abgott certainly had their moments, but the band had an hour to fill and they struggled to fill it with consistent good quality black metal. The most nagging thing about the set was the slight lack of real blastbeats, we had a few, and lots of double bass to carry the band along, but lots of blastbeats would have made the set a whole lot more enjoyable. The band show promise, but they still need time to perfect their art.
Abgott - More pictures in the gallery.
Warpath have been awarded with countless accolades for their album, and are still relatively unknown as one of the best thrash bands in the country. After this performance it is clear why their album has been so decorated, these guys really did put on one of the best thrash shows you'd expect from a UK band. The drummer, who has apparently been accused of being a drum machine, did indeed play at an enjoyably fast tempo, and even gave a little drum solo. Again, Warpath also struggled top fill an hour, but this time the problem was down to lack of material. The band apparently got an audience member on stage to do vocals for a cover of Testament's "Into The Pit" to close.
Warpath - More pictures in the gallery.
Hands down, Napalm Death put on the best set of the day. Indoors Napalm Death sound so much more intense then any outdoor show. Lots of new and old material made its appearances with Barney's down-to-earth speeches in between songs to get the audience pumped up and ready for the next. There was a lot of movement in the audience, and not because there's some American on stage constantly screaming for some "action", but because the people wanted to really enjoy this extreme racket called music. You either love Napalm Death or you don't, but the people here really appreciated this grindcore madness. In terms of a Napalm Death set, there were no surprises or anything particularly different, but what this band do is always satisfy your need for pure chaos.
Napalm Death - More pictures in the gallery.
Last band of the day, on the second stage were Swallow The Sun. These guys also brought their depressive, gloomy music to Hammerfest - but luckily for the audience it was already late and most would have been thinking about going to bed, and so Swallow The Sun provided the perfect soundtrack to prepare for bed to. The singer also had a few "look at me, I'm depressed" stances, which were almost laughable. Still, the band have a huge following these days, and surely will have pleased their fans able to stay awake.
Swallow The Sun - More pictures in the gallery.
Friday, 12/03/10 / Saturday, 13/03/10
||Written on 17.03.2010 by Member of Staff since 2006.|
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