Hafan y Moor Holiday Park,
Pwllheli, North Wales
Saturday 17th March DAY TWO
Review by Rick Tilley & Beth Jones
…CONTINUATION OF OUR EXPLOITS AT HAMMERFEST X
After a surprisingly good night’s sleep in our comfy little apartment, we were up bright and early to get ready for day two. It was going to be a bit of a backwards and forwards day with interviews and trying to catch as many bands as possible. Luckily, we didn’t have too much planned for first thing, and although we missed Vice because we were interviewing, we were able to get to Stage 2 to catch the second of the day’s scheduled entertainment, in the shape of Footprints In The Custard.
Now, you know what sort of a show it is going to be when the hall starts to fill with grown men in Lycra, tutus and onesies, brandishing inflatable penises and already happy after a liquid breakfast! If you had been expecting serious and smouldering, then this definitely wasn’t going to be your bag, however it was very much ours. What a way to start our day! The Custard boys of Manchester, got the whole place jumping instantly with there catchy and hilariously funny tunes, and even the most stoical members of the audience couldn’t help but raise a smile! Wooing us with classic tales, the boys took us through, amongst others, their great cooking tragedy, ‘Gayle Platter’, and the use of magic to conquer evil, ‘Merlin in Berlin’. Then they got a bit more naked and it all got a bit silly! Thank god Ross had a strategically placed guitar – the rear view of his pink mankini was disturbing enough for a Saturday lunchtime!!! Finishing their brilliant set with a deathcore version of, ‘It’s Raining Men’, Footprints left the entire place bouncing and smiling, and fully prepared to kick the balls out of the rest of the day! For me they were one of the highlights of the weekend.
After a swift beer (trust me we needed it after that!), it was time for a band who we would be interviewing later, Fallen Arise. Made up of members from Greece, Italy and the UK, they were the polar opposite of Footprints and a nice way to return to reality! I love a bit of Symphonic metal, and musically they were all superb. Their female vocalist, Fiona Creaby, has a beautiful classical tone, and their songs are dramatic and smouldering! For me the one thing that was lacking was a ‘stage presence’ – a togetherness the likes of which we had seen from other bands this weekend. Maybe this was part of their mystery and fitting with their genre. We did hit on a possible reason for this in our interview with them later in the day – the constraints of living all around Europe and not rehearsing in the same room being a big issue. This did however make it clear how skilled they all are as individual musicians, and it is always good to see real talent.
We had wanted to catch a bit of Codex Alimentarius, however it was interview time again, and back to back ones at that, so we only managed one song, then had to take a break from live music for a while to head back over to the media area!
We headed back to the stages in time to catch Norwegian Death Metallers, Blood Red Throne, on Stage 2. We hadn’t seen these guys before, so we were intrigued to see what they had up their sleeves! Whilst I’m not a huge fan of this brand of metal, technically again they were all incredible. I just can’t get on with this style of vocal. That said, they did have very catchy riffs and I was banging my head in a reserved kind of fashion!! If you like Cannibal Corpse and you haven’t heard these guys before – where have you been??!! Check them out now because they will be right up your street!!
Our first trip over to the Main Arena that day was next, to see epic Symphonic Power Metal wizards, GloryHammer (the brainchild of Alestorm vocalist, Christopher Bowes who takes on a new guise as Keyboard player here). They should really be called ‘Disney Lord Of The Rings In Space – The Rock Opera’ but I suppose GloryHammer is more catchy, so I will go with it! These guys have a perfect balance of crazy, tongue in cheek, humorous extravagance and undeniable musical talent and we bloody loved it! Their songs tell an epic story of fantasy, and that, combined with the brilliant musicianship and stage presence of the whole band, fronted by the extraordinary vocal of Thomas Winkler, make theirs a show that ticks all our ‘I like this’ boxes and then adds a few more to the bottom of the list! I definitely recommend anyone who needs to feel invigorated listen to this band – there electric energy is contagious. Wanting to cram as much in as possible and with time running out, we left GloryHammer a little early to head back over to the second stage (much to my distain – although I have to remember that we were there to work and not just to enjoy ourselves)!
Next on Stage 2 were another Death Metal band from Ireland – Warpath. One word – Brutal!! Wholly moly!!! I am guessing this is what Blood Red Throne would sound like if you put them on fast forward! They were harsh, ridiculously fast, growly and angry…very very angry!!!! They totally live up to there name. Again, not my cup of tea really, but they had a packed out hall of followers who were loving it, and it was easy to see that they are real crowd pleasers if that is what you like. For me, they are a bit like your aunty who talks too much – it is great to see them for a bit, but after a while you need to take a break to let your ears breath!
Our final band of the evening (mainly because we are old and can’t take the pace any more) were event headliners, Skindred. For me (Beth), after living in the dark ages, in a metal sense, for quite a number of years, it is very rare that I can actually say I have seen a band before, however I am pleased to announce that this is the third time I have seen Skindred!! I have always been a fan since they popped onto the scene in the late nineties (before I went dark) and was really looking forward to seeing them again and they didn’t disappoint. Ahead of the release of their forthcoming album, ‘Big Tings’, the Reggae Metal masters from Newport delighted the packed main hall with their unique blend of musical styles and had the whole place rocking and bouncing from start to finish. It is always a pleasure to watch them perform and they finished off the day, and the weekend perfectly.
And with that we were done. Absolutely bloody knackered, but full of joy and admiration for the range of styles, and strength of talent that had been provided to us over the weekend, even though we still didn’t get to see other bands that were on our wish list and we can only apologise to them for that! Hammerfest is now an institution and the organisers sure put together a fantastic weekend to celebrate its Tenth Anniversary. As the snow started to fall (because that is the way we do weather here in Wales – hardcore) we took to our beds again, smiling that happy / melancholy smile that you will only know if you have been to a festival. Full of great memories of the weekend but tinged with the knowledge that it was all over….for another few months anyway. Bring on Hard Rock Hell!!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley, Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
All photographs are the property of Beth Jones and PhotograBee – http://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages