Hammerfest X – Day Two

Hammerfest X
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.

01 Footprints In The Custardhttps://www.facebook.com/Footprintsinthecustard/

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.

02 Fallen Arisehttps://www.facebook.com/fallenarise/

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!!

03 Blood Red Thronehttps://www.facebook.com/BloodRedThroneOfficial/

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)!

04 Gloryhammerhttps://www.facebook.com/gloryhammer/

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!

05 Warpathhttps://www.facebook.com/warpathire/

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.

06 Skindredhttps://www.facebook.com/skindredofficial/

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

Hammerfest X – Day One

Hammerfest X
Hafan y Moor Holiday Park,
Pwllheli, North Wales
Friday 16th March DAY ONE
Review by Rick Tilley & Beth Jones

 

As we have never done press for any HRH events before, we were very excited and honoured to be asked to cover this year’s Hammerfest, especially as it was the 10th Anniversary. Due to work commitments and children, we didn’t get there until the Friday morning and, once we arrived, it was straight to ‘work’!

The first band of the day was Callus, an up and coming three-piece from the North of England. Fast, fuzzy and doomy with great riffs, they reminded me in places of Candlemass at their heaviest, with harsh vocals. As the set progressed however, they got faster, went through a Metallica phase and ended up with the speed and precision of Megadeth. They gave an incredibly tight performance and their drummer, Ryan Ormerod, was amazing. It was a great sound, heavy but melodic at the same time and they had bags of stage presence considering there were only three of them. These guys are absolutely a name to be looking out for. Apparently, there was a big run on their EP/Merch after they played so I’m not the only one who thought they were damn fine!

01 Callushttps://www.facebook.com/Callus.band/

Next up on Stage 2 were Sergeant Thunderhoof. A Psychedelic Stoner/Doom Metal outfit from Bath who gave us a set which was a lot more melancholy, slower and angsty, but still heavy! They are a new name to me and whilst they are great musicians it felt a bit flat after seeing Callus, who were a very hard act to follow. That’s not a criticism of the band, more the fact that it takes a while for me to appreciate some Stoner bands. The lead singer has a great voice though and they were very catchy when they got going. I fully intend to familiarize myself with their material though as they have much potential!

02 Sergeant Thunderhoofhttps://www.facebook.com/sergeantthunderhoof/

After taking in Sergeant Thunderhoof and having a brief wander round the Merch Market in the second stage hall, we moved over to the main arena for a blast of ‘HEAVY’ metal in the shape of BallsDeep! They were their usual manic selves and were packing out the room with their loyal following. They gave us some seriously heavy grooves and an energy packed show, their own tagline of ‘Aggressive Not Progressive’ sums them up perfectly. These guys are always worth watching and the new screens/lights (new to me anyway) at the back of the stage that were being used for all the main stage bands really added to the effect.

03 BallsDeephttps://www.facebook.com/ballsdeepmetal/

Needing a drink and a nice sit down after the head wobbling from BallsDeep, we nipped back over to second stage to catch local band Redwood Avenue. These guys were another new name to me. They offered a more modern metal mixture of harsh verses and sung choruses… it’s quite a Djenty, math metal style feel. They were good, but for me the music needs more of a hook; it felt a little disjointed in places but the guys are only young so this will hopefully come with time, and they pulled in a good crowd to watch them which is always a good sign!

04 Redwood Avenuehttps://www.facebook.com/redwoodavenue2014/

One of the ‘definite, must see’ bands we had earmarked to watch were up next on the Main Stage – Triaxis – and what an absolute pleasure it was to witness their fantastic performance at what was sadly their last ever gig. I first saw them over 5 years ago with a very different line-up but it didn’t feel wrong watching them today. Becky Baldwin is a beast on the Bass, Angel Wolf-Black has a stunning voice and Dakesis guitarist, Matt Jones, who had taken over guitar duties for this gig, was utterly blistering. Triaxis might be no more but they certainly went out with a bang and leave many great memories!

05 Triaxishttps://www.facebook.com/Triaxis/

After a little break, next up for us was the brilliantly mental Acid Reign. As you would expect, they were absolutely awesome, utterly hilarious…and very very silly. A stage manager’s worst nightmare, it’s like the last 30 odd years hadn’t happened! They may be older and greyer but the energy levels are incredible, with vocalist Howard charging round the stage like ‘Roadrunner’, practicing his free running skills on the monitors and speaker cabs! Loads of younger bands could learn a thing or two from these guys. With energy coming out of every orifice they provided us with non-stop jokes and laughs, but were still musically perfect. This is a band on top of their game. By the end Howard was “totally fucked”- his words. To be honest, we were just watching them! A great set from a formidable band.

06 Acid Reignhttps://www.facebook.com/acid.reign.thrash/

We stayed in the main arena for the next act on our wish list – Blaze Bayley. This was the first time I’ve seen Blaze with the guys from Absolva backing him and bloody hell it’s good! Blaze still has a great set of pipes and is an imposing presence onstage, Chris Appleton (who pulls some awesome Cheshire Cat grins when he’s playing) is a really underrated guitarist both in this band and Absolva, as are Karl and Martin. These guys just do not stop working and are in the midst of another leg of a massive world tour which doesn’t seem to have stopped for 18 months. The amount of gigs played has turned these four into a metal machine so tight it’s like spandex!

07 Blaze Bayleyhttps://www.facebook.com/officialblazebayley/

After the last couple of classic acts on the main stage, we decided it was time to thrash it up again and headed over to Stage 2 for Critical Solution, who are a pretty good Thrash band from Norway! They look like fairly young guys and probably need slightly catchier tunes to take it to the next level, however, they played very well live. They have been around for a while but they are a new name to me and I will be checking out their studio output considering how much I love thrash.

08 Critical Solutionhttps://www.facebook.com/CriticalSolution/

Wanting to cover as much as possible, we left Critical Solution a little early, and nipped back across to the main stage to catch some of German band Obscura. We were met by a barrage of seven string guitars, a six string bass, polyrhythmic time signatures, very harsh vocals and schizophrenic songs. It was pretty much impossible to see the band through the incredible amount of dry ice that filled the whole stage area and that made it difficult to really connect with them. Technically, they were outstanding, but musically they left me feeling a bit cold. However they had pulled in a good crowd and were giving a great performance, if you like that sort of thing …and there are plenty that do!

09 Obscurahttps://www.facebook.com/RealmOfObscura/

Heading back to the second stage again, next up were UK Thrashers Mörti Viventi. Having loved the album “The Day The Dead Returned…”, which Dawn reviewed last year (READ IT HERE https://ever-metal.com/2016/05/19/morti-viventi-the-day-the-dead-returned/), when MV was just a one man band, I was really looking forward to seeing Mörti Viventi as a full live band, especially as I had missed them at Uprising last year due to my interview schedule, and they didn’t disappoint. They gave us great solid Thrash, in the vein of Testament, with catchy chunky riffs, super solos and tunes that overall packed a good punch. I’d really love to see them play a full, headline set somewhere but it’s great to see them get some recognition!

10 Morti Viventihttps://www.facebook.com/mortiviventiuk/

So to the headliners on the Main stage…Sepultura! We don’t really need to say much about them. They are always outstanding and have been for so long. Vocalist Derrick Green has now been with the band for TWENTY years (where has the time gone?) and prowled the stage like a demon, whilst Andreas Kisser leaves you completely floored with his guitar work. We would have loved to have watched more of the show but, as a disabled person and with a girlfriend who is only 5ft and is the one trying to get some photos, due to the sheer number of people in the main arena, it was incredibly difficult to find anywhere to stand comfortably. Recently it has seemed overcrowded in the main arena for headline bands. It was the same for Saxon two years ago at Hard Rock Hell and it takes away some of the enjoyment. We both ended up getting too claustrophobic to even hear the music anymore and that was a shame.

11 Sepulturahttps://www.facebook.com/sepultura/

After suffering as long as we both could in the main arena we went back to Stage 2 to watch Southend On Sea Metalheads Forged In Black, another great band who Ever Metal reviewed recently (Check out Tsarina’s thoughts on their most recent EP “Sinner Sanctorum” HERE https://ever-metal.com/2018/01/15/forged-in-black-sinner-sanctorum-ep/). When we walked into the second stage arena, we were met with an almost completely empty room. Okay, most people wanted to see Sepultura, but I think something has to be done with the scheduling. I know it’s very difficult at a Festival and you are never going to be able to see everyone you want but when a band is going onstage at 11pm to literally nobody at one of the ‘big events’ of the year then something needs to change. However Forged In Black were absolutely superb and gave us an extremely tight display of great, hard hitting, old school metal, laced with lovely guitar work, excellent vocals and fabulous stage presence. I felt a bit sorry for them but, nonetheless, they played their proverbial arses off and the crowd did start to fill out a little as the set went on. If you missed them then you missed a treat!!

12 Forged In Blackhttps://www.facebook.com/forgedinblacks/

Other than the feeling of overcrowding in the main arena and the ‘undercrowding’ of the other near the end, the first day at Hammerfest X was an absolute blinder. Loads of great bands proving that the quality from the bottom of the bill to the top is incredible, loads of friendly faces, many people in fancy dress putting a smile on your face and the usual array of stalls managing to make you part with your hard earned cash! For us the bands of the day were Triaxis, Acid Reign, Blaze Bayley, Forged In Black and especially Callus, who impressed us massively, in fact we spent most of the day saying “yeah they were good, but not as good as Callus!” We went to bed very tired but very happy, looking forward with excitement to the next day – a day filled not only with great bands, but also a packed interview schedule!

 

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 – www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages