Hammerfest II - Prestatyn, Wales, 13th March 2010
|Written by:||Baz Anderson|
Hammerfest II - Prestatyn, Wales, 12th-13th March 2010 by Baz Anderson (144)
The weather on second day had turned cold and dark, fortunately for the residents of Hammerfest II the festival is held indoors. Perfect example of one of the format's advantages over the summer open air style.
By the afternoon things were already in full swing. On the second stage, Americans White Wizzard brought their version of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal worshipping metal to the stage in front of a nicely sized audience. The crowd weren't on a cheer-a-minute schedule the band probably expected them to be, but they were warmly welcomed and appreciated as their metal was, although nothing particularly special, of a good quality.
White Wizzard - More pictures in the gallery.
Orange Goblin on the main stage provided some great stoner-ish, doom metal that is not depressive in any way. These guys went down extremely well with the audience, and for good reason - this was heavy as hell heavy metal with a good amount of grit. These are quite well-known over here, and a good part of the audience knew the lyrics, especially to material from their 2000 album. Closing the set with the great "Scorpionica" left everyone with a good impression of a set well-done.
Orange Goblin - More pictures in the gallery.
Next on the main stage, Skindred seemingly pulled the biggest audience of the whole festival. They're a Welsh band, and one of the most interesting you could imagine to hear. They are a reggae-influenced nu metal band, which sounds weird, but worked extremely well. The control the dreadlocked frontman over the audience was impressive, and it was during this Skindred set where the festival felt most like a great big party. Bouncy music, catchy songs, and a lot of interaction with the audience - this was something quite special, and highly entertaining. It is easy to turn your nose up at nu metal these days, but Skindred just showed that there is always something waiting to surprise you around the corner.
Skindred - More pictures in the gallery.
Iced Earth also pulled a large audience, but compared to the last band felt rather stiff. Nevertheless these icons of American heavy metal delivered a tight and impressive salvo of riffs and drumming to the enjoyment of the large audience. It was clear that the British fans had been waiting for this moment since the band were last in the country in 2008, and so songs like the super-fast and hard "Violate" went down to great applause, as did the slower songs, such as "Melancholy (Holy Martyr)" and "Watching Over Me". Two Ripper-era songs were played, to which Matt clearly blasted through with his equally capable high-pitched squeals. The band had printed special shirts with the day's date on it, so was clearly an important day for band and fans alike. A great set from a great band.
Iced Earth - More pictures in the gallery.
On the other stage, Akercocke were putting on their Satanic set of extreme metal. There is no other band out there that can put on such a set of sophisticated, blackened death metal. In the live environment this band comes alive, especially as they bring older songs to life such as "A Skin For Dancing In". The drumming is always the thing the listen out for with Akercocke live, it is just immense the amount of blastbeats this guy can put out in a song. This time closing with the title track of the latest album, the set unfortunately came to an end way too soon. Akercocke are simply one of the best of British around today.
Akercocke - More pictures in the gallery.
From sophisticated Satanism to comic-book Satanism. Dark Funeral were up next and took the stage as corpses. The band's frontman didn't make any attempts to act all grim and serious, which is a good thing considering it was hard not to see the band as a group of slightly podgy middle-aged men with paint on their faces. Still, the band are known for their extremely fast black metal, and they delivered just that. The band put on an extremely enjoyable set of black metal to a moderately sized audience and a handful of fanatic fans. The set did start to become a little same-y towards the end, but not through the wonderfully impressive efforts from the drummer. An enjoyable set from a band who are still going strong when others in the genre may not be doing so well.
Dark Funeral - More pictures in the gallery.
Last on the main stage was Sabaton. These guys are massive in the UK, seriously, highly popular. Even at this late hour the main arena was heavily populated and every single person seemed to participate in some way for these cheesy Swedish men. Keyboard-heavy, catchy and up-tempo, Sabaton are a fantastic band to bring a smile to your face. The audience reacted brilliantly and the band acknowledged this and were genuinely blown back by the response. The band always have great fun on stage and bring their music with great enthusiasm, especially when over here in Britain. Along with Skindred, this was the most energetic set from both band and audience, which is amazing considering the late time. One of the best sets of the festival.
Sabaton - More pictures in the gallery.
Last band of the whole festival, Vreid were on the second stage and were playing to only a handful of people. Sabaton were still on the main stage for the first twenty minutes of the Vreid set, so after the main stage closed, the room gained a few more inhabitants for the black metal set to close the festival. Vreid of course born from the ashes of Windir, provide their own version of black metal which is quite different to anything else. This is black metal with some attitude and cool bass lines, it seemed a shame that so little people were here to watch this great band, especially with the great highlight of "I Krig", but at the same time this was a brilliant experience for those present - as if getting a private performance from the Norwegians. "Pitch Black" closed the set and the festival in a great way.
Once again Hammerfest was a really enjoyable experience. A weekend full of metal and comfort. A top quality festival that should now be on the mind's of anyone capable of getting to north Wales for this great venue. The only problems, although improved slightly from the year before, were that during the day there is not much to do band-wise, and that the bands last at night, Vreid here in particular, don't get much of an audience. Pushing the whole festival order earlier back by an hour or so can't be that hard, there is no need for the bands to finish at such early hours in the morning. Other than this, Hammerfest II was a fantastic success with great organisation, great security, great stages, great bands, etc. - the list goes on. Look out for Hammerfest III next year!
Friday, 12/03/10 / Saturday, 13/03/10
Thanks to Duff and Jon for the accreditation, etc.
Written by Barry Anderson
Photos by Barry Anderson
||Written on 17.03.2010 by Member of Staff since 2006.|
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