To quote a Suicidal Tendencies track 'Fell Like Sh*t ... Deja Vu' was
exactly how I was feeling on the Saturday morning after the night
before. A full monty breakfast was needed and there was no time to
relax as the action was starting early on this, the last day of the
Over at the Queen Vic was a fine selection of bands who were all worthy of
a place on much bigger stages. The day before Beligerence
were handing out flyers for their gig which said ''Come and blow the
hangovers away'', and that's exactly what they did with some fine sludgy
heavy Sabbathy riffs.
Isolysis from Reading were treading the boards with some fine
thrash with a modern sound (Surely a start of NWOBT... New Wave Of
The more I see of The More I See the more I like them. Former
Prodigy guitarist Gizz Butt is happy to blend in with his band mates who
put on a great thrashy show.
Godsized are a band with some big riffs and booming vocals.
This is how Black Stone Cherry would sound if only they got some
Jagermeister down there Southern necks.
Whilst all this was going on I was pogoing between here and Stage Two to
catch a couple of songs from bands that were performing in the adjacent
venue. Rise To Remain were some angry young men with some
great melodic licks. Singer Austin Dickinson has some big
footsteps to follow, but will soon be wearing the same sized boots as
Bringing some old style metal into the new age were Fury UK who
have improved immensely since I last saw them getting some great
Things weren't so bright for The Shining who looked a little dull
Waving their magic were White Wizzard, a band i was really forward
to seeing this weekend. Any band that wants to recreate the glory
days of the NWOBHM always gets a big thumbs up from me.
Going 'Over The Top' from the off the band soon found their vinyl groove.
Although I didn't hear any immediate classics just yet, but a new song
'Goddess Marches On' was very Maiden-esque in epic proportions, and a
surprise cover of Clovenhoof's 'Gates Of Gehenna' scored extra points
The main stage opened up with Attica Rage, who I think must have
moved into Prestatyn as they seem to be on every bill here, but no one
is complaining with their heads down no nonsense metal. A surprise
cover of Maiden's 'Fear Of The Dark' kept the metal faithful happy.
Although on a hiatus from the studio, that doesn't mean that you can keep
Orange Goblin away from the stage. No one can deny the delights
of a larger than life Ben Ward when he is up there in lights.
On home soil were Skindred. It's been many years since I last
saw frontman Benji Webbe doing his thing with Dub War, but he and his
band put in one of the most entertaining performances of all weekend.
The only band to get the crowd to - dare I say it? - DANCE. ''How much fun
are you missing?'' asks Benji to those at the back in the cheap seats.
Skindred are the most perfect headliners for the forthcoming HRH
Roadtrip gig later this year in Ibiza.
Iced Earth have been going for some twenty years now and have a big
catalogue of tracks behind them. Guitarist Jon Schaffer steers this ship
and it's a welcome return for singer Matt Barlow whose screams were
sometimes low in the mix.
Still not quite premiership material but 'Pure Evil' was exactly what it
said on the tin and 'Dracula' is a great heavy power ballad. The
metal legions were happy enough.
Over at Stage Two Dark Funeral were showing the pretenders how it's
done with some text book black metal.
Suicidal Tendencies from Vienna Beach kept the crowd surfers happy.
Mike Muir still has his trade mark bandana just aboving his eyes acting
like a man have his age.
The paranoaic 'War Inside My Head' was sublime. People forget how
influential Suicidal were in the rap funk metal scene and often
overlooked as just a thrash band. Wearing long shorts long before
Anthrax got their Bermuda's out.
At the end of the set with cries of 'ST-ST-ST'' Mike Muir invited the
institutionalized ones to join him on stage. If security thought
they had a hard time the day before with 5FDP, they certainly wasn't
prepared for this as about 75 fans got up on stage and jammed .You
couldn't bring them down. A glorious sight.
Leaving the place like a battlefield could only be the perfect setting for
Sabaton, who at One in the morning had the duty of honour of
closing this event. The Swedish rockers are still relatively
unknown in this country but it's amazing how many classic tracks this
band already have under their bulletbelts. 'Cliffs Of Gallipoli',
'40:1', 'Attero Dominato' gave us a great sing along history lesson in
stories of war.
Through the gates of hell as they made their way to heaven Sabaton took no
prisoners and everyone saluted the high command. Best band of the
weekend ending the Hammerfest on a high.
The Hammerfest II was a great success providing great value for the chance
of seeing so many bands in such a small proximity. Long may it
continue. See ya at Hard Rock Hell, boozers...