Hellfest promised us “a new battleground” this year and by Satan did they deliver, in atmosphere, aesthetics and amazing bands on the bill. One of the great advantages of this year was the spread over six stages, each one genre specific, giving a wider range and an easier way to plan your weekend. Despite the artwork clad in soldiers and war memorabilia, the only battle of the weekend was against the bad weather and mud, which was certainly beaten by the punters and nowhere near as bad as Download the previous week.
The Temple tent, home to the black metal of the weekend look wonderfully grim with its inverted cross lighting, however the sound did nothing for Friday’s Taake set. The fans continued to enjoy the mixed set, while Hoest did his usual frontman duties with his usual aggression and energy, however you could see the band behind him severely struggling with technical problems and they definitely looked more grumpy than usual.
Later on in the night and the sound issue seems to have disappeared and even if it hadn’t, kings of the Norwegian scene Satyricon are sure to defeat it anyway. Their black’n’roll makes for a sing-along set without losing its dark bite and the tent is the most cramped it’s been all day, with festival-goers trying to avoid the swamps around the outside, whilst still getting a peek at Satyr’s new hairdo and an epic ‘Mother North’ towards the end of the set.
The death metal selection over on the Altar stage is very impressive and it would be rude not to include titans of the scene Cannibal Corpse into the mix. As expected, the latest album ‘Torture’ sounds great live, with Corpsegrinder doing his usual windmilling and the rest of the Corpse brutally shredding and despite having to fit a new songs in, they still manage to show off their lengthy discography, much to the fans’ delight.
Before King Diamond shows his painted face for the first time since his illness, Megadeth are here to finish up on the Main Stage One. The majority of thrash exhibited this weekend is on Saturday, but that doesn’t mean the thrash elite aren’t present for the legends, in fact quite the opposite as you get crushed to get a glimpse of Mustaine himself. With experience on their side the band play effortlessly tight whilst playing classics like ‘Hangar 18’ and ‘Peace Sells’ and closing with an encore or ‘Holy Wars’ and ‘Mechanix’.
The return of King Diamond is something that some people have travelled over the world to witness tonight and for them it was definitely worth it with his theatrical stage, dancers and ultimate owning of the set. The King is certainly sat back at his throne again. However its 2am now so we should probably go and wipe our corpse paint off ready for round two…