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HAMMERFEST III, Prestatyn, North Wales
17-19 March 2011
Taylor of the Twentieth British Legion Valium Victrix followed the Roman Road to his first major festival of the year,
but did his liver survive?
Our livers are fresh, our voices are strong and we are ready
to let battle commence.
Thursday 17 March (pre-show)
season again. For most metallers, the pilgrimage to the Hammerfest
in Sunny Prestatyn is the first major festival of the year. Our livers are
fresh, our voices are strong and we ready to let battle commence.
decibels are turned up to Magnus Maximus for the gladiators
of metal. Rome wasn't built in a day, but it was destroyed
over a weekend.
for the opening night of the Hammerfest is Roma Victa and many are
dressed in toga and tunics ready for a weekend of Roman metallurgy
inside a Colosseum of Rock.
not a weekend to be getting the wrong end of the stick as the decibels
are turned up to Magnus Maximus for the gladiators of metal. Rome wasn't
built in a day, but it was destroyed over a weekend.
who has the slightest bit of common sense attending the Hammerfest,
makes sure they are well prepared for three days of racket metal and
equally brutal drinking.
help that this writer attended a Saint Jude gig at the Borderline the
night before ending with a session in the Crowbar which resulted in
myself taking four hours to get home as I continually fell asleep on the
N207 bus three times as I drunkenally attempted to get myself home.
home at five in the morning before this festival left me feeling that
I've been hit over the head with a bronze sword.
Fortunately I took the decision to let the train take the strain this
year which allowed me time to recuperate, arriving in North Wales just
two and a half hours after I had left Londinium.
types were all sharing chalets, and the GRTR! team were thrusted upon
those nice bunch from Metalheadz. I was here on my own for the first
night and was staying sober for the evening, little did the Metalheadz
crew knew what lay ahead of them when in just over 24 hours time they
would be confronted by a couple of out of control hairy rock animals.
mucker I bumped into was Krusher who was here to spin the decks.
Whilst nipping into the restaurant to line up my stomach it was a joy to
meet Rodney Matthews, the artist who painted the iconic fantasy
album covers for bands such as Diamond Head, Nazareth, Magnum, Tygers Of
Pan Tang as well as many others. Matthews had a stall here selling his
works and is alive and well and still working hard. A likeable chap.*
taste of live metal came in the Queen Vic pub from the female fronted
Triaxis who delivered a good symphonic dose of destruction with
their Megadeth hooks and tracks from their debut 'Key To The Kingdom'.
Singer Krissie is a warm motherly figure who sings her metal heart out.
A fresh impressive set which got the heads banging an an early time.
Mordecai had the job of opening Stage 2. Fronted by a Robb Flynn
lookalike, the band grinded out some Black Sabbath/BLS riffs with the
commerciality of Nickleback. There is a few bands of this ilk out there
but for me Mordecai are the most impressive.
rest of the evening we were travelling back in a time machine, firstly
with three bands that were around at the time of the explosion of the
NWOBHM scene but never really got the right breaks to get their name in
the big lights.
crazy were Jaguar who released the classic 'Power Games' back in
'83. Today the band looked like a bunch of roadies. Singer Jamie Manton
looked like the kind of guy who would try to sell you dodgy tablets at a
rave, but I soon warmed to him with his clowning antics and must be the
only singer who has a pogo stick for a microphone stand. Some of the
music was incredible like the timeless and masterful 'Master Game' which
featured riffs aplenty from Gary Peppard.
the town were Battleaxe who were on the cusp of the big time back
in the early eighties. Singer Dave King has clearly enjoyed eating the
pies over the years but his band kicked a killer punch. Tracks from the
forthcoming 'The Legions Unite' will in fact reunite the legions of
metal fans old and new.
Photo: L & R Publications
sounded like they haven't listened to anything else over the last twenty
five years because tracks from the new opus 'All Hallows Eve' sounded
just as spellbounding as anything form the classic debut 'The Sons Of
like 'Pagan Queen' were just as riveting as anything that Saxon can
conjure up these days. I was wearing my old patched denim jacket
with pride tonight.
Attica Rage went undercover for the opening night with a small
set of heavy classics which kept the drinkers happy, followed by a set
from Metalica UK who are a tribute band who play Metallica songs in
tribute to Metallica...er can't think of anything else to say about
tribute bands, but once again it kept the party hoards happy into the
went off to seek solace back in the chalet to purge my body ready for
the real action on Day 2.
(except where stated)
* Mark's interview
with Rodney Matthews will be available shortly as a
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