Party. San Open Air 2013 Review

Despite clashing with Brutal Assault and Bloodstock, Party.San is far from lacking when it comes to a devastating line up and the German airfield is crammed with punters in agreement.

The likes of Bombs of Hades kick off the proceedings with their crusty death metal from Sweden to an acceptable sized crowd and whilst Farsot’s sound is less ferocious, their harrowing post-black metal fills the stage. As the evening continues, the sunset creates the perfect setting for some French aural beauty a-la Alcest.  Their live show is intimate and hypnotising and a far cry from what’s next.

The crowd is probably at its most eager now as black thrashers Destroyer 666 take to the stage. Thankfully the wind settles and every rapid riff can be heard from favourites like ‘Raped’ and the epic ‘I Am The War God’. A tribute to the late Jeff Hanneman is raised in the form of Slayer’s ‘Black Magic’ along with several horns. The definition of black metal is confirmed as the moon glows and Carpathian Forest explode into the limelight. For many, this is the headline set of the day and Nattefrost and co prove they would have deserved it.

Friday sees an earlier start and a grind coupling of Gutalax and Magrudergrind seems like an obvious alarm clock. Others have saved energy for an onslaught from Coffins and it’s a good job they did, as they’re absolutely crushing live, doing each of their albums considerable justice. Vocalist Ryo communicates with sheer brutal vocals and whiskey swigging that complement their doom-riddled death metal.

Here to dampen the mood in the best possible way is Shining. The Swedes lower the tone from the off with their DSBM proving an ultimate contrast from the energy of earlier. The music is faultless and at times you wish the insanity of Kvarfoth the clown will stop so that the sounds created can be truly embraced.

The second stage sees the tent rammed in anticipation for a German occult ritual from Alchemyst, who leak mystery and atmosphere from the start of the set. Their black/death metal is drenched in reverb and the smoke and red lighting creates an incredibly dark aura with several tracks from ‘Nekromanteion’.

Tonight’s headliners Hypocrisy need no introduction. The Swe-death legends’ recent ‘End Of Disclosure’ album was weak, a couple of tracks slot in at the start without losing any oomph and older, tracks such as ‘Left To Rot’ bring out a balance of brutality.

With the last night finishing with three huge bands we need, Hooded Menace to continue the doom death presence of the weekend, with a sound thick enough to sink into and experience a death as slow as their songs.

After 25 years on the scene, Teutonic tormentors Desaster proved they still had it on record with last year’s ‘The Art of Destruction’and fortunately, they’ve still got it live, with a blackened thrash onslaught as bestial as their predecessors would predict.

After an unexpected silence, it is finally announced that Impaled Nazarene have had some car problems and vocalist Slutti666 runs onto the stage, band in toe. Admittedly, the sound is a little off to start but considering the consequences it’s soon forgotten with an onslaught of blackened thrash.

We try to ignore the fact Korpiklaani are on later than thrash titans Destruction but it’s hard when you see what they can do live. With several years under their bullet belts and a discography longer than most of the crowd’s hair, the band create a sound hard to believe is from a trio.

Carcass take their time but when they arrive, its full steam ahead with favourites including ‘Corporal Jigsaw Quandary’, ‘Heartwork’ and ‘Genital Grinder’. We even get a showcase of what to expect from latest offering ‘Surgical Steel’, which slots in with ease and could’ve easily closed the festival.

Luckily for us it doesn’t end there and Party.San manages to find a band that could top the likes of Carcass – Venom. Frequently coined as the founders of this whole scene, the band take the label with pride and prove it with the majority of the set showcasing the ‘Welcome To Hell’ and ‘Black Metal’ albums. He may be half a century in age but Cronos is unstoppable, his shrill cries still as memorable as they were at the beginning and the band sums up perfectly what Party.San is all about.

Review by Lily Randall

published on soundshock.com

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Hellfest 2013

Review by Lily Randall and Siobhan Hogarty

Friday

For the last couple of years now, Hellfest has proven itself to be one of the best set ups you could find for a festival, with each of the six stages catering for every need. The weather was as indecisive as we were when our favourite bands clashed but the atmosphere was far from dampened as the array of rusty aesthetics around the arena glistened, rain or shine.

With bands starting at 10.30 in the morning, the heavy Thursday night feels like a silly idea but it isn’t long til Dr Living Dead! knocks the hangover out of you. The Swedish crossover is a perfect hair of the dog in music form, with ridiculous thrash worship fuelled with onstage energy. Tracks from their latest ‘Radioactive Intervention’ are packed with horror B movie themes and by the end of their snappy set, you’re back on the beer with a grin on your face. LR

When Sheffield’s second favourite sons of the weekend Black Spiders storm on to Mainstage 1 and the sun breaks through the clouds, the assembled mass don’t seem to have woken up yet.  They are soon banging their heads though, with new material like ‘Teenage Knife Gang’ and ‘Creatures’ being debuted.  The tracks have the perfect amount of grit and stomp, which is a pleasant addition to the Black Spiders arsenal, slotting in perfectly alongside ‘KISS Tried To Kill Me’ and ‘Stay Down’. Never has the Mainstage crowd chanted for ‘Balls!’ so early in the morning.  Beautiful sights for the first day of a festival. SH

Polish band Hate have been through a hell of a lot in the past year, so it’s an honour for them to step onto the Altar so last minute. Their blackened death may have been compared to Behemoth, but today’s presence certainly stands alone with every blastbeat sounding crisp and this year’s release ‘Solarflesh’ sounding particularly beefy. Although brutal, there is something somewhat beautiful about this afternoon’s set, as we see ex-bassist Mortifer (who passed away earlier this year) replaced by his own wife Varaska. Not only does she blend into the band with ease musically but also physically, as she takes on the stance and corpsepaint of her late husband.  LR

Over on the Temple tent, Hooded Menace are slowing down the tempo with crushing consequences. The Finnish four-piece may only have three full lengths under their belts but with several splits with doom death legends including Asphyx, the equally room-riddled band have picked up all the best habits. The stage is oozing with mystery as the band stay hooded in darkness and the guitars sound as terrifying as boys would hope for as the lyrics prove to be a horror fanboy’s idea of poetic perfection.  LR

Old school Gothenburg boys Hardcore Superstar roll on to Mainstage 1 with a bounce in their step.  They offer us thrash-tinged hard rock with a healthy amount of sleaze and they have the stage presence to boot after a fair few years in this game.  With ‘Last Call For Alcohol’ getting the crowd in fine voice, we see front man Jocke Berg pace the stage to get a bit more energy from them.  ‘Above The Law’ gives the band the reaction they have been craved and they give it back just as good, exuding power and energy.  A solid, successful effort from all involved. SH

Despite seeming slightly out of place on the doom central Valley stage, Black Breath still pull in quite a crowd and perhaps the impossibility of pigeon-holing this band is why they could not decide on a location. The band is as electrifying as they are on record, with last year’s ‘Sentenced to Life’ showcased heavily in all its glory. Their mix of thrash, death and hardcore causes for explosive scenes from the start with ’Feast Of The Damned’ chugging along in crusty style and although the music turns from breakdown to speedy riffage, the set is smooth with angst. LR

The aforementioned Asphyx rule the Temple proving exactly why doom and death may seem juxtaposed but work wonders when blended together into a bitter smoothie of sadism. The veterans are as pummelling when they tone it down as they are when the slightly quicker tracks kick in, with latest anthem ‘Deathhammer’ causing a serious frenzy. The Dutch destroyers manage to exhibit their rawness without being lost within the mix and in their own words; they certainly still kill “the brutal way”. LR

Terror on the new Warzone stage – last year we saw our hardcore bands slamming down in a tent but 2013 sees this baby go outdoors, with considerable effect.  Tracks such as ‘One With The Underdogs’ and ‘Keep Your Mouth Shut’ fire the crowd into one solid mass of flailing legs, arms & shirts as the pit rages.  The breakdowns reign supreme as Scott Vogel and his merry bunch of musicians dance and bounce their way around the stage.  Terror have slayed it with this high-energy anthem filled set.  Their energy is contagious, leaving a grin on each face in the crowd and that is how it should always be.  SH

It’s no surprise that Kreator go down a storm over on the second Mainstage. With an impeccable live record and three decades of experience in their favour, we expect nothing less than a pure thrash attack from the Teutonic titans. As expected Mille and co raise the ‘Flag of Hate’, blast through ‘Phantom Antichrist’ and ‘Hordes Of Chaos’ and other classics with a mental circle pit to accessorize with. Off all the thrash bands on today, these guys show them how it’s done. LR

Hazy tent filled with thick pungent smoke and a slow continuous head nod en masse?  Check.  That’ll be Sleep crushing The Valley stage then.  ‘Holy Mountain’ is a slice of thundering beauty, with ‘Dragonaut’ flowing through flawlessly in response.  Bongs are held aloft as those gathered lap up the bass driven spectacle.  Sleep put on an intense show and this was a very special experience indeed.  SH

Def Leppard are legends, plain & simple.  We see them onstage tonight, with Viv Campbell proudly standing amongst his band mates, sporting what he described as an “aerodynamic” hairstyle after his monumental news recently regarding his current battling with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  One thing tonight is evident for all to see, Def Leppard know how to put on an incredible rock show and they enjoy doing it.  Time has not altered Joe Elliott’s voice, belting it out in classic form with ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ and ‘Foolin’.  This scribe is dancing for the full Hysteria portion of the set, as the 1987 powerhouse of rock is alive and kicking in year of 2013.  Mainstage 1 has been hit by ‘Hysteria’, but the crowd just don’t seem to be all too interested, which is a shame.  A fantastic show as always, proving that the legends can still pull it off live.  SH

It is a tough act to follow a polished and pristine set like that of Def Leppard, but Tobias Sammet has all of the swagger and charm necessary to do just that.  Avantasia are the last band of the day to grace Mainstage 2, in their expectedly unique fashion.  Tobias commands the stage, with a plethora of musicians guesting to entice the crowd as epics such as ‘Twisted Mind’ and ‘The Seven Angels’ captivate.  Who doesn’t love a slab of over the top falsetto filled operatic metal?  Exactly, pretty perfect choice to close Mainstage on the first night.  If only ‘Chalice Of Agony’ had made an appearance, which would have truly made their set first class.  SH

 

 

Saturday

With vocal chords strained and heads pounding its off the the stereotypical breakfast bar for a chocolate crossaint and strong black coffee. There’s nu-metal nostalgia aplenty today, scattered in amongst extremities of all forms. With Immortal and KISS clashing tonight, black and white face paint clutters the campsite as you distinguish your sloppy Genes to the scruffy Abbaths. As Sleep proved last night, there isn’t much going on regarding weed restrictions, so we predict another foggy day over in the Valley. Round two, ding ding!

Dead Congregation have created quite a name for themselves when it comes to live rituals and the Greeks confirm why over on the Temple tent this afternoon. The Incantation-loving death metallers have a gritty approach that finds them attracting fans more likely to be found at the Altar line up, due to a slight inkling of black metal tendencies. The tent is small enough to keep DC’s underground stance, yet their music is bellowing enough to seep out of the openings, terrifying many who pass their set en route for a burger. LR

P.O.D start our nu-metal antics for the day over on Mainstage 2 as Sonny Sandoval bounces along with ‘Set It Off’ and ‘Youth Of The Nation’.  Whilst their set is energetic & entertaining enough for the duration, the song that most of the crowd are undoubtedly here to hear finally slams down, in the shape of ‘Alive’.  The audience instantly springs to life and finds a second wind, with the sing along soaring for all to hear.  Everyone loves a bit of the old school moshing; this set has just proved it. SH

Coal Chamber bring the ‘Big Truck’ to Mainstage 2 and park it firmly to continue the nu-metal moshing anthems.  They flash their attitude from the moment they walk on, with drumsticks, microphone stands and bottles of water being fired around the stage at band members and crew.  A nostalgia trip full of classics like ‘Loco’ fire the crowd up nicely and the band receive a warmer welcome than expected, is there a promising future for Coal Chamber action afterall? SH

The Dutch have never had any particular legacy regarding death metal but if they did it would be Sinister who take the crown. Since the late eighties, the band has spewed out album after album of simple yet effective DM so it was only a matter of time until the band released a compilation. Their set is evidence as to why it was named ‘Years of Massacre’, with every song sounding as pounding and raw as the next, without the drums flooding the sound. From start to finish the crowd are headbanging furiously and it’s hard not to join in. LR

Kata ton Daimona Eaytoy’ could be one of the most hypnotic albums released this year and it would appear many are keen to hear it over on the Altar. Rotting Christ’s mystical, blackened metal loses none of its atmosphere live with every harrowing chant and haunting guitar creating an epic haze of smoke. The Tolis brothers and their live additions may not move around the stage much but then again neither do you, as you’re whisked up in every sing-along chant despite not actually knowing any Greek. LR

They’ve got ‘Legs’ and they are not afraid to use them.  ZZ Top may be older than most of the bands here but they still put on a hell of a show, including breaking out some groovy dance steps.  They treat all of us gathered at Mainstage 1 to an extensive catalogue of songs old, new and not even their own.  Classics like ‘LA Grange’, ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ & ‘Tush’ weld perfectly with newer material, such as the very suitable ‘Chartreuse’.  To make the occasion even more special than usual, we see the suave Texans storm through a slinky cover of Hendrix’s ‘Foxy Lady’.  This set is just laden with style and swagger, whilst the trio look completely at ease and loving every moment of this show.  SH

Unlike last year, the Warzone stage isn’t covered and is tucked away within the woody area of the arena. If you’re lucky, you witness NOFX playing to a rammed area, with people peering through wire fencing just to catch a glimpse. As expected, the band is desperate to hold onto the youthful looks to accompany their youthful anthems of silliness (and some political seriousness) which sound as great as they always have done at festivals. The punk angst is still there and there is something joyful about seeing some forty odd guys with blue hair moaning such immature lyrics. Who likes growing up anyway? LR

KISS are now on the road to becoming a festival staple, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love every minute spent watching them.  With new additions to their flamboyant stage show (platforms which elevate Thayer & Simmons out above the crowd, no less!), KISS show why they are rock legends.  Sadly, it seems to fall a bit flat on a large portion of the crowd who seemingly don’t want to party.  Hearing a classic tune like ‘Love Gun’ get little to no crowd response is fairly heart-breaking, but perhaps their own volume is not enough to elevate fans.  KISS soldier on unaffected by the lack of crowd participation, laying down hits like ‘War Machine’ and ‘Lick It Up’, alongside ‘Hell Or Hellelujah’ from their newest record ‘Monster’.  Mainstage 1 has been rocked and left dazed, covered in glitter confetti and making quite the spectacle.  SH

The Valley tent is absolutely rammed as Cult of Luna immerse themselves in bright lights and fog, ready to mesmerise. The sound is so intense it’s a surprise the tent stays erect, as atmospheric sludge and post-hardcore swirls and plunges into the depths of everyone’s minds. This year’s ‘Vertikal’ is exhibited quite prominently as the early hours of the morning creep in and normally this would be a disappointment but the new material sounds a tenfold more crushing than on record. The Swedes mysterious presence is all that’s required as the music doing the business and it’s likely that after classics such as ‘Owlwood’, most won’t have eardrums left to see the final acts of the night. LR

More nu-metal classics are being blasted this weekend with Korn closing Mainstage 2 in the wee hours of the morning.  The crowd absolutely explode as the band fire straight into ‘Blind’, bodies slam around and arms fly high in the air.  Newer tracks like ‘Narcissistic Cannibal’ fit well with their slick lighting set up, mixing perfectly into a set littered with hits such as ‘Did My Time’ & ‘Here To Stay’.  Something seems different about Korn live and not necessarily in a bad way as Head is back stomping with the troops.  Their set is polished and tight, almost too tight, as if it is missing some of the raw emotion of the tours gone by.  It’s an enjoyable set to bounce around to all the same.  SH

Its 1am and many of us are struggling to stay upright. Despite the travesty that was ‘Illud Divinum Insanus’ it would appear many try to remain upbeat about the chance to see death metal legends Morbid Angel live, as the Temple swells. Thankfully the band opens with legendary ‘Immortal Rites’ and the set continues to please with ‘Rapture’, ‘Maze of Torment’ and other nineties’ favourites. Ideally, David Vincent and co are used to a larger setting and although seeing bands of this status playing a tent should be life changing, it seems Morbid Angel struggle to create an intimate setting. Just as you think you’ve been spared, the infamous ‘Existo Vulgoré kicks in and a unanimous roll of the eyes is felt in the air. Luckily, the un-deathly torture of this and ‘Nevermore’ is short lived and everyone sticks around for the obvious encore of ‘Chapel of Ghouls’, bringing the second night to a brilliant, yet shattering conclusion. LR

Sunday

Irritatingly enough, Hellfest  decided to put Europe on the Friday, ruining any chances of ‘Final Countdown’ puns. The end however is indeed nigh and suddenly everyone goes into panic mode over returning to reality tomorrow. Due to some line-up changes and set moves the evening turns into quite a magical spectacle, as we soon find out whilst rushing around to gorge on as much musical mayhem as possible.

When Nachtmystium pulled out from playing the Altar, many were saddened but it opened up a slot for French underdogs Svart Crown to show their worth. Their blackened death live onslaught has clearly improved since their last appearance in 2011, as the tent is far fuller despite another early start for the boys. Not only that but this year’s record ‘Profane’ shows a progression of brutality and unlike many bands the several layers of monstrous sound are complimented by a live show. The band windmill in unison with grins on their faces throughout and despite saying it two years ago, we hope the band finally get the recognition they deserve this year. LR

Danko Jones enjoy a bit of action and they want everyone gathered at Mainstage 1 to know that.  They bound through an energetic, face-paced set as ‘Had Enough’ starts the proceedings off in style.  Their sound is slick, with just a touch of beautifully raw vocals as front man Danko Jones shows his skill in fine form.  ‘First Date’ is an absolutely storming tune, dripping with sleaze, leaving the crowd screaming for more.  As ‘Just A Beautiful Day’ roars out, with the sun scorching, everyone has fallen in love with the Canadian rock ‘n’ roll trio.  SH

Ihsahn makes a very welcome return to The Temple stage.  There is a buzz in the air as ‘On The Shores’ absolutely soars; the crowd are feeding off the energy inside the tent.  The beautiful experimental cacophony we have grown accustomed to during Ihsahn set’s falls upon us once again with ‘The Paranoid’, a frantic whirlwind of sound.  Each track sounds mammoth, filling every inch of the tent perfectly as the bass lines rattle your very bones.  Reaching back through his catalogue of epics, Ihsahn flattens all with the crushing ‘Frozen Lakes On Mars’, that signature guitar tone rings through the air with precision.  The soaring chorus’ of the collective body of work sends shivers down the spine, as it does every time this scribe is lucky enough to see these musicians at work.  It all gets a little gloomier as ‘The Grave’ opens & we delve into the murky riff laden territory.  The only improvement that could be suggested would be a live saxophonist, to really expand the overall effect of this unique sound.  As the last few calls ring out, it has been another astonishing set… like we expect any less.  SH

The Temple has taken quite the battering this weekend with stellar death metal and grind and it doesn’t end now, as Krisiun take to the stage to continue the attack. Throughout the set there are the expected blistering blastbeats and horrible growls but there is nothing particularly special about their performance. ‘Blood of Lions’ and ‘Vicious Wrath’ slaughter with ease but compared to some of the surprises that have appeared in the last three days, it’s nothing memorable.  LR

The Main Stage 2 is absolutely rammed before the band comes on to the stage but the backdrop explains the hype in big letters: GOJIRA. Back on home turf, the international favourites come out to a proud roar before rupturing into ‘Explosia’ and as always the French four piece swirl and chug their way through the blistering heat. Although the playing is flawless, with the likes of ‘Flying Whales’ ‘Backbone’ and ‘Remembrance’ glistening in groove, the breeze seems to take away from the usual monolithic sound usually experienced and Joe Duplantier’s snarls are slightly lost by the time it reaches the crowd. ‘Where Dragons Dwell’ concludes the set and although some favourite trackes are removed, there’s no denying how powerful Gojira are as a live entity. LR

Very sadly, Clutch had to pull out of Hellfest for personal reasons.  But never fear, because Down are still here! The Valley is hit by a superset to baffle and amaze those lucky to grab a spot.  The great man himself Phil Anselmo begins the set by saying ‘It may be a one time, it may be an only time, but it is a unique time’ and that it definitely is.  A fully loaded bong is smoked onstage before they launch into ‘Rehab’ & ‘Swan Song’, which absolutely slay.  We are then treated to a series of Eyehategod, Crowbar & Corrosion of Conformity covers.  We see Phil on guitar and Jason Newstead popping onstage to play ‘Clean My Wounds’.  It’s like the coolest jamming session ever witnessed and those there are fully aware of how lucky they are.

When the beautiful Danish men in Volbeat arrive, they are ready to destroy with their personal blend of metal and rockabilly with rock ‘n’ roll.  It kicks off with a bang as they slam straight into ‘Hallelujah Goat’, sounding absolutely flawless.  Poulson and co are on top form, a precision gelled through their extensive schedule no doubt.  Hellfest are treated to a range of tracks old and new, before Barney from Napalm Death makes a very welcome appearance to rock the shit out of ‘Evelyn’.  This wonder is followed by a medley of ‘Breaking The Law’ & ‘Raining Blood’, which is just glorious.  It feels like the party could continue when Volbeat finish up their magnificent set with ‘Pool Of Booze, Booza, Booza’. Sadly, all good things must come to an end.  A more than worthy headliner, let’s do this again soon Volbeat. SH

Ghost have been moved to Mainstage 2, to face their congregation in the dark of the night, after Danzig moved to fill their tent slot earlier in the evening.  It was a magnificent decision, as we see Ghost make their triumphant return to Hellfest in a manner only they can.  Grandeur and grace is on constant display from Papa Emeritus II, as he floats across the stage carrying out his musical service.  The beautiful harmony-filled ‘Stand By Him’ flows perfectly through the night air, as Papa’s voice simply rattles to the bone.  After a strange double desk failure & a resulting power cut on stage, the crowd are conducted through the remaining hymns by the slightest movement of the leather-clad hands of that enigmatic front man.  As the haunting refrain of the beautiful ‘Monstrance Clock’ rings out & the cloaked figures exit, there is a buzz in the air, as we are left questioning why Ghost weren’t on the Mainstage in the first place after that outstanding set. SH

 

Review by Lily Randall and Siobhan Hogarty

Published on soundshock.com

Damnation Festival review

Despite their British brothers only just finishing over on the Eyesore stage and the layout of the Union being such a maze, the room is already buzzing by the time Winterfylleth take to the stage. With this year’s release ‘The Threnody of Triumph’ reaching the top of many metal fans’ charts, the band has plenty of positive energy to unleash in such a negative manner. Their black metal continues to flourish with atmosphere and guitar layers epic enough to become an ethereal alternative to the national anthem. LR

Extreme Noise Terror are next on the Terrorizer stage and despite sharing Winterfylleth’s nationality, this is all the bands share when it comes to sound. The crust titans showcase their earlier punk style along with their more modern grindcore twist and despite the loss of late frontman Phil Vane, the band do him proud, as Dean Jones fills his shoes and stomps them all over the stage, inducing the first major pit and crowdsurfing session of the day. LR

Vreid bring back the darkness to the Terrorizer stage with their melody tinged black metal and fly the flag for Norway in style. Despite three band members being previously associated with Windir, Vried have a much grittier attack, which is displayed even more so live with tracks like ‘Raped By Light’ and ‘Pitch Black’ getting heads banging. Their slightly more black’n’roll approach makes for a catchy set and we’re sure many new fans have been created tonight. LR

Norway continues dominate the Tez stage as Aura Noir unleash the black thrash attack we were expecting. 2012’s ‘Out To Die’ sounds as killer as it did when the album was launched and accompanied with a show a few months back in London and the leather clad lads cause the largest pit of the day. Classics like ‘Hades Rise’ receive a respectable shout-a-long as the speedy riffs tire us out further. LR

Belphegor bring their usual sadomasochistic themes to a frosty Leeds with a raw performance. Speeding through the likes of ‘Necrodaemon Terrorsathan’ and ‘Bondage Goat Zombie’ the blackened death metallers stripped down set seems to go down like a lead balloon for many punters with a lack of participation from the crowd. Then again, they have probably been drinking for hours. LR

Despite sharing a set time with the might Electric Wizard, the Terrorizer stage is still heaving as Pig Destroyer set out to have a sonic battle with the doom legends. This year’s instalment from the grind titans has been highly received and seems to have created quite a stir. Luckily, the recent video for ‘The Diplomat’ has not been an influence on any of the performance, but that is mainly down to the fact the music is already aggressive enough and gore aplenty. Admittedly the sound isn’t great, as the guitars get lost in the mix and overall the volume isn’t loud enough to melt faces like the record achieves. After a few technical errors, the band are back on track but there is still a little bit of regret after hearing about what went on upstairs with the ‘Wizard. LR

 

In the Spotlight with Dripback…and producer Russ Russell

Last year saw hardcore Londoners Dripback scramble into the limelight after an impressive set at BOA and to prove they’re still worthy, they’ve returned to an even bigger crowd. In one of the most drunken chats of the festival, Lily Randall spoke to drummer Hellhog and guitarist Gino4, who were hanging with their producer Russ Russell (Napalm Death, Dimmu Borgir and Evile).

You guys played earlier and are one of the rarities where BOA allowed you to play the year before as well. How did this year compare?

Hellhog: It was a bit busier in the tent this year and a lot louder. I think Russ turned it up to eleven this year.

Russ: The crowd was amazing. Right to the back everyone was fist pumping

Hellhog: We played some new stuff that we’ve been working on for the new album. Literally, we’ve taken a break from it to play the shows and Russ has pushed it out of us.

How’s it been working with Russ?

Hellhog: He’s so harsh!

Russ: It’s gone really well because they don’t know what they’re doing and I don’t know what I’m doing either! So somewhere in the middle it all works out.

Hellhog: Nah, it’s been great, it’s always an honour to work with Russ and it’s been a fucking pleasure as well. He knows how to get the best out of us and he’s dragged it out of us kicking and screaming.

Gino4: And he makes the killer hot sauce, which I’m sure every band he’s worked with has raved about. We did a bottle and a half in a week. It’s so strong it will make you impotent.

So what you played of the new tracks earlier sounded awesome. How does the new stuff differ to your last record?

Hellhog: The thing with the new record is that literally, there are so many new things going on.

Russ: It’s going to surprise everybody!

Hellhog: There’s a taste of ‘Inhaling the Ashes’ in there but we’ve evolved and there’s hardcore, there’s death metal, there’s all kinds of tastiness in there and it’s taken on a whole new flavour.

Russ: There’s a lot of bullshit and a lot of haters on the Internet talking absolute fucking bollocks and when they hear this album, they have just got to shut the fuck up because it negates everything they said.

Hellhog: Last year was busy but this year it was rammed. I was astounded, honoured and humbled by the crowd that turned up today.

When you were writing this album were you ever thinking of it as a “Fuck you” to the haters?

Hellhog: No not really. We just do our thing, we play what we play

Gino4: If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.

Russ: If you don’t like it, go and sharpen your swords!

So apart from playing, what else do you love about Bloodstock?

Gino4: Standing around in shorts and a vest, drinking, smoking weed, doing lines of whatever the fuck’s going about and having a laugh.

Russ: And getting to talk to lovely ladies.

Cheeky!

Interview by Lily Randall. Published on Soundshock.com

Sepultura feature @ BOA 2012

For nearly three decades, Sepultura has been a key name in the metalsphere and today they continue to prove their worth as they step onto the main stage of Bloodstock Festival. The band’s history has been looked upon as a metal equivalent to a major celebrity couple break up, yet the band still continue to create extreme music regardless of the press and last year’s stormer ‘Kairos’ was proof of that. Lily Randall talks to frontman Derrick Green about the future of Sepultura.

It’s the first day of Bloodstock and from the word go the line-up is beaming like the weather upon it. Before the darkness tonight from Behemoth and Watain, thrash legends Sepultura are here to soak up the summer atmosphere and later on today they prove themselves as powerful as ever, with a set list to die for and a beastly presence. Before the set, Derrick Green is calm backstage and despite his terrifying physique, his mannerisms confirm him as a big softie.

Stepping in as the frontman after the Cavalera dramas of Sepultura was always bound to be a hard task, however the Ohio born vocalist has proved himself when it comes to writing brutal new songs, as well as embracing the classics live. With such a large discography varying in styles, one would think the task of choosing a 45 minute set list would be excruciating but it sounds pretty straightforward according to Derrick. “I think we go through the reaction of people at the very beginning of the tour, when we’re trying out things so we can pick and choose, which is really nice when you have a huge catalogue. Certain songs sit very well live and you wanna keep the energy level very high and now at the end of the cycle we really know what’s working.

The change in members also saw a turn in sound for the Brazilians as their old school thrash was evolved into a more nu-metal groove. 2011’s ‘Kairos’ may have been a concept album but it doesn’t mean that the old fans have been completely lost. Derrick feels that the newer songs have fallen in a lot easier than a lot of songs from the past. “We can go back to back with these songs and people really know them, we can see them singing it and getting energetic just from announcing the songs”, he explains. “There are a lot of younger fans coming to the shows and they don’t really know about the very early days of Sepultura.”

The atmosphere is buzzing in the VIP area as Derrick explains his favourite thing about festivals is catching up with old friends and checking out some new bands live. Unfortunately, the band is back on the road today with some shows in Ireland to slaughter, however Green is hoping to check out the comeback of the mighty Behemoth. “I’ve heard of Behemoth, I’ve seen their scary videos and I wanna see if they’re that scary live”, he jokes. We try and find out about the tour bus antics but Derrick laughs off any amusing tales, “Haha, woo! That’s what the readers want to hear but nah we’re actually pretty boring now.”

The band will continue to tour with Germany’s Summer Breeze festival, followed by some dates in their home country and the rest of South America, and then on to Indonesia and Asia. “We’re saving the best one til last though, we’re on the Barge to Hell and I can’t wait to be on that cruise!” Derrick beams after confirming a new Sepultura record will be in the mix and writing will start in the new year.

With the craziness of the Olympics finally coming to a close in Great Britain, it seemed only fair we talked sport to the next hosts of the Games. It’s well known that Sepultura are big football fans so with both the Olympics and the World Cup joining them in Brazil in the coming years, is there any chance of some thrash in the opening ceremony?

“I would love that!” Derrick confirms, “It would be totally awesome but I don’t think it’s possible. Maybe not the opening ceremony but sometime during the event, then we have to have a position there without a doubt!” “We’re already working on it. I’m already a chairman of a non-violence organization that’s been connected with football and I really wanna do something with it when the World Cup comes and everything. We have a lot of possibilities and we’re talking to a lot of people to do something very original and different.”

And with that, we’ll leave you with the vision of ‘Roots Bloody Roots’ being played, surrounded by acrobats and fireworks, as the athletes do their laps.

By Lily Randall

Bloodstock Interviews : Moonsorrow

Many debates on the Bloodstock forum were over the lack of folk metal bands on the bill this weekend but with Moonsorrow truly waking up the main stage earlier in the day, it’s fair to say good things come in small packages. This is the first time the band have been on our isles in four years, so we thought we’d better grab them before they disappeared again.

This is your first Bloodstock, but it’s not your first UK festival is it?
It went too fast! I didn’t even realise we were already at the end when we were playing the last song. It was really good though.

Surely it’s still worth it though even if it is only a short set?
Of course it’s still worth it! We haven’t been here for four years so we definitely were looking forward to being here. We last played Bloodstock in 2008 and it’s great to be back, especially with non-typical English weather.

Was there any particular reason as to why you’ve not been back to the UK for a while?
Not really, I mean perhaps there have been a lack of good offers but that’s not on the band’s part at all. We’d love to come back to the UK right after playing Bloodstock. We’ve been doing other tours but for some reason or another, the UK has not been involved.

So, can we expect a UK tour anytime soon?
I would really like to do that, I can’t tell anything right now, as we don’t actually have any plans because we have an American tour coming and then we will probably start thinking about the next album. When the next album is out we will of course want to go on an extensive tour all over the place, however we haven’t started the album yet.

You may not have actually started the album but do you have any ideas in the mix?
No one knows yet.

Have you got to check any of the bands out today?
We just got to see Sepultura, that was really good, especially their new drummer.

When you’re out on tour, do you keep up with the other beer-obsessed folk metal bands?
I would say that we do still. I wouldn’t say we were less subtle though, even if we do not sing about it!

Interview by Lily Randall.

Some Bloodstock reviews

Here are some of my reviews from Bloodstock, which will be slotted in with a full feature for Soundshock.com.

When Watain enter the stage in broad daylight, Erik is defiant the Swedes will “bring the sun down” and with an aptly timed set and an utterly grim show, he sticks to his word. As expected, black metal’s latest kings bring an array of arsenal to the stage whilst they blaze through a classic set; tunes such as ‘Waters of Ain’ and ‘Reaping Death’ sounding particularly grim to summon the night sky. Despite previous black metal acts having difficulty with the main stage sound, Watain create a flawless darkness (pun intended) and the front row is covered in blood like they hoped for. LR

The pyrotechnics continue to conquer the main stage with Behemoth finally returning to their throne after having to pull out back in 2010. The band look as thrilled as one would imagine and Nergal looks stronger than ever, as he thunders through the hammering riffs of tracks like ‘Slaves Shall Serve’ and ‘Demigod’. The rest of the Poles make the stage look small in comparison, with each blastbeat being fuelled with precision and aggression. When the vocalist roars “It’s great to be alive” everyone can officially say they were a part of something historic here tonight and the worthy headliners are most definitely back where they belong. LR

Being the first band on the main stage is always going to be a tough feat but imagine the challenge with the addition of a frontman on crutches. Benediction manage to crush any doubts of being up to said challenge by whipping up a circle pit as soon as they begin. Despite the early morning hangovers the crowd are strong and lively and its apparent Dave Hunt, who is on crutches with a leg injury, is overwhelmed by such a response. The Brummie veterans only have a short set but manage to tire us out with a varied collection of thrash/death belters, many spanning back as far as classic album ‘Transcend the Rubicon’ and with Dave’s added humour (mostly at himself), everyone is pumped up for the day ahead. LR

The opening bands have managed to kick everyone out of their slumber and now the crowd are ready to neck the whiskey back with some seriously Southern grooves. With a discography as long as some of their riffs, Crowbar are going to be able to play this set with their eyes shut and thus the sludge oozes tightly. Each breakdown is received with a serious banging of heads including last year’s beast ‘Sever The Wicked Hand’ however movement over on the stage is severely lacking. LR

The denims and drunkards suddenly appear from their boozy pits for a more energetic pit as Chuck Billy and his legendary lot grace the stage with huge grins on their faces. Testament are one of the main thrash acts of the weekend and with that in mind, it doesn’t take long for the chaos to commence. The band certainly haven’t lost their touch with the recently released ‘Dark Roots Of The Earth’ already being sung back to them and slotting with ease into the standard setlist, however its blatant many are waiting for ‘Into The Pit’ to erupt. Chuck Billy shows true frontmanship as he stomps around the stage air guitaring to every shred on his mike stand and as soon as the show comes to a close, the thrashers are keen for their return to our shores in November. LR

With Deicide pulling out, Evile are pushed up from the Sophie stage to a decent afternoon slot on the RJD stage, however the pressure certainly doesn’t get to them, especially seeing as this is their fourth Bloodstock. Once the thrash ensues, the crowd is bulging with madness and bodies flailing and one can imagine the festival organisers breathing a sigh of relief as the Sophie stage avoids total devastation. For many the Northerner’s latest instalment, ‘Five Serpents’ Teeth’ was mediocre, however it translates to the live atmosphere with ease and ballad ‘In Memoriam’ opens  when the skies do, causing everyone to feel like they’re a part of an insanely emotional music video. LR

Its always great when you see that a New Blood band of previous years has evolved and returned on the Sophie stage. Flayed Disciple won their regional heats back in 2010 and this year their debut ‘Deathhammer’ was released, proving their worth with death/thrash fury. This afternoon sees the country boys continue to prove themselves live with an energetic set and some of the audience already knowing the latest songs. This sound is dodgy at points but once you find a top spot in the tent, the head banging is subconscious as the grooves take over.

For many death metal fans at the festival, the news of Deicide dropping out was disappointing, albeit predictable, however Sunday’s afternoon is still full of brutality from US titans Nile. It would appear they have beckoned down the Egyptian rain god as the skies begin to open, however this doesn’t dampen any spirits as they showcase new riffing rituals from their latest. As is slightly the case on open stages such as Bloodstock, the dangerously deep Karl Sanders’ vocals are slightly muffled, however his shredding is far from ignored with ‘Lashed to the Slave Stick’ sounding as terrifying as ever. LR

It’s time for Dave Hunt to hobble into the spotlight for the second time this weekend, however this time he’s leaving the thrash from some truly grim blackened grind, if you wish to label as band such as Anaal Nathrakh. The tent is rammed and despite a slightly sloppy start, the necro-butchers of metal have got everyone into a frenzy with their grinding speed and shrill evil. With a preview off the new album being sneaked as well, the fans who have come over to the Sophie Lancaster tent have no regret missing Dimmu Borgir and with the addition of Dave trying to start a fight with a pit member its fair to say this band will continue serving the British scene proud. LR