Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Hammerfest III - 17/18/19 Mar 2011 (Prestatyn, Wales)

The third edition of Hammerfest took place last weekend and of course we had to attend to check it out! So we got off at Prestatyn’s rail station on Thursday afternoon with all the necessary resources to go through the festival. Of course whenever you think you have it all it generally means that you don’t even have half of what you need! Anyhow, after checking in our “chalet” and made out selves comfortable we went down to the first gigs of the fest with some nice cover bands warming up everybody for the rest of the festival. The Metalica UK set was particularly good and there was a striking resemblance between the lead singer and James Hetfield but apart from that nothing very exciting to note! Of course just like any metal fest there were some heavy drinking sessions going on and they definitely helped on not remembering why your whole body is bruised the next morning.

An amazing clear blue sky and a hot sun were reigning over Prestatyn and the drunken metal heads on the grass were bigger in numbers than all of the trees of the area combined. First band we saw on Friday was Holy Grail on the first stage. The band gave out an interesting but somehow very repetitive set. The crowd was probably still hangovered from the previous night and was not very excited so Holy Grail kind of left a question mark on what they really are able to do. Up next were Breed 77 on the second stage and these guys really gave it all this time. Despite the small drums malfunctions at the beginning of the set the band really came out with a very aggressive and energetic set. The ambience was really amazing and the Zombie cover was, as usual, well acclaimed by the public. Bad thing was that at the same time that Breed 77 was performing on the second stage, Sylosis was performing on the first stage and we only managed to catch the last two songs of their set which were up to the level you would have expected. However I still believe that Sylosis really needs a frontman to become a great band and to grow even more(more info on that here). Back to the first stage to meet an angry mob of red and black painted people waiting to see Turisas after a long period of inactivity! Turisas were very good and the first stage was packed with people and I was very surprised by the number of persons that came to the fest just for Turisas. Gig-wise we pretty much got the whole package from Turisas with Rasputin, always being fun to jump around to, and the crowd chanting battle metal throughout the whole set. We also got a few new tracks from the new album that came out last month and we just can’t wait to see on how this is going to turn out for Turisas. And then on the first stage we had the classic 80s legend that Accept are. Accept really created a very nice atmosphere for everyone who was there. Not as many people as for Turisas but generally a good attendance from the Hammerfest crowd. All the classic songs were present with Balls to the Wall being, as expected, the biggest hit of the night! Generally I really enjoyed Accwpt who did a great performance. And to finish off the day what better that a little bit of Latino metal with Ill Nino! The guys really brought out everything they had and really reached every expectation I had. Liar was massive and the guys really insisted on thanking everybody who helped them do what they love for the last 13 years. And after a few hits to the bar and a brief listening of Blitzkrieg it was time for collapsing into bed again only to wake up for one more day of heavy metal! 

Saturday started very late for us and we only got to the stage at 7pm just in time to see Grand Magus. The guys were good but were lacking some energy and they seemed to be struggling with the crowd. Despite the fact that I’ve heard from some guys that they thought they were really good I generally wasn’t impressed. And then Entombed were on and this guys killed it. Last time I saw them was at Koko(London) with Amon Amarth a couple of years ago and back then they really impressed me. This time wasn’t any different. These guys are great and they should get more recognition for what they do! A great set that prepared the atmosphere perfectly for Satyricon who were up next. And Satyricon attracted a large audience once again. The performance was very good and King was really well executed and well acclaimed. It seemed that every single person who had a bit of knowledge of the Satyricon sound enjoyed it and I know we certainly did. And then came on Sabaton. Personally I believe that they gave the best performance of the festival. The first time I saw Sabaton was during the Graspop Metal Meeting a few years ago and at the time I really didn’t know who they were but they managed to impress me. This time, after seeing them three times, they still managed to impress me. So first of all they came on with a different line-up since Daniel Mullback(Drums) and Rikard Sundén(Guitar) were absent. Rikard was replaced by Dragonforce’s bass player Frédéric Leclercq and Daniel by a young boy who’s name I can’t remember (I blame the beers and Jagermeister for that.) Sabaton really delivered an amazing show and I believe that everyone in there was satisfied by the performance not only on the heavy side but also on the comical side. A nice sing along on YMCA was initiated by Joakim Broden(Vocals) for reasons that I will not look into, especially when he manages to rip his pants, expossing his underwear, on the song after that! And finally to conclude the festival and an amazing weekend we had the all mighty Huddersfield thrashers Evile! Evile were the perfect band to end the festival. The pit was insane and Matt and Ol Drake(Guitar) really seemed to have a hell lot of fun. Thrasher and Infected Nations became anthems for pit mayhem and a few head bumps later it was all over.

Hammerfest III is over! In general, the festival was great. Very good organisation and very good venue. The line up was very very good and combined with a great weather, nice people and a hell lot of alcohol you get a great festival. The staff over there was very friendly, despite some old lady trying to be a security guard, who wouldn’t give me a plastic cup for some reason I still don’t understand, and the facilities were in perfect working order and well situated. Hammerfest IV: we are counting the days!

Hammerfest III: 19/20
Holy Grail: 15/20
Breed 77: 18/20
Sylosis: 17/20
Turisas: 19/20
Accept: 20/20
Ill Nino: 17/20
Blitzkrieg: 13/20
Grand Magus: 14/20
Entombed: 18/20
Satyricon: 18/20
Sabaton: 20/20
Evile: 19/20

Posted by Nick

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