Hellfest 2012 - Introduction + Friday 15/06

Event: Hellfest Open Air 2012
Written by: Darkside Momo, Promonex, wrathchild
Published: 04.08.2012


Hellfest 2012 - Day 3: Sunday by Promonex (81)
Hellfest 2012 - Day 2: Saturday by Promonex (74)
Hellfest 2012 - People & Places by Promonex (34)
Hellfest 2012 - Day 1: Friday by Promonex (78)
Hellfest 2012 by Natalia_Die_Hexe (99)
Hellfest Summer Open Air Festival, Clisson, France, 15/16/17 June 2012

Part 1: Introduction & Friday

Table Of Contents


A New Battlefield

And then, Friday's featured bands:

Amon Amarth
Black Bomb A
Dropkick Murphys
King Diamond
Lizzy Borden
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Molly Hatchet

If you're used to Metalstorm's Hellfest reports, you'll find this brand-new 2012 one to be slightly different than usual. You see, most of us at MS headquarters had one or more good IRL reasons not to go there, so the team was really small compared to some previous years… As a result almost all the writing will be done by myself (Darkside Momo, that is), with here and there comments by Promonex and wrathchild; so don't be surprised by the more pronounced 'personal blog' tone this report will show . Sure, the bands we covered reflected mostly my tastes - the writer's privilege, if you will - but thankfully that's not all we have to say about this 2012 edition! And yes, we had a blast as you'll see, and we managed to bring back some great pics and memories we're going to share with you now…

Sorry for the delay, by the way… Real life threw our publication planning by the window, as the photographer (yeah, Promonex) landed a new time-consuming job almost just after Hellfest! Anyway, here is the report now, so… Enjoy!

Once again, some people take care about their clothing…

A New Battlefield?

Yes, this was Hellfest's slogan this year, and it was appropriate, as the festival moved from its original site to another place… none other than the previous campsite (plan. For example, the VIP area was situated were the Metal Corner once stood. I must say that the layout was pretty good, with a large central space providing easy access to all areas, from the stages to the food stalls, to the bars to the little wood… Wood, what? Yeah, a nice idea : keeping a small area planted with trees, to provide shelter from the sun, and a different atmosphere - and providing access to the wine bar, the oysters booth and the rotisserie.
The campsite, too, was reorganized. Fact is, it was organized this time, with 'color camps' (White, Red, Green and Yellow), to help people find their tent - or toilets spots (one for each camp, far better than the previous years' only emplacement). Also were added breakfast sites where, in the morning, coffee and croissants were sold. All in all, it was far better than anything previously done. The only real problem concerning the camping was the increasing rumors of people 'visiting' tents to steal valuables. With more people came more robbers, I guess…

The different stages

So Hellfest grew from four to six stages, right? Two of them were the usual Mainstage 01 and Mainstage 02, who were ideally situated at the end of the festival grounds, in a slight depression, which made it pretty easy for a lot of people in the back to see what was happening onstage (contrary to the previous years, where Mainstage 1 was a bit uphill). Next, the biggest tent sheltered the twin Altar and Temple stages, mostly for death and black, respectively. This twin tent was a good idea, as extreme metal fans just had to turn their heads to check the next band playing. That said, the sound on both stages varied from really good to really bad (most of Friday) - and the soundchecks while another band was playing could be pretty bothersome. Two other tents graced Hellfest. The Warzone, next to the little wood, was the Mecca for hardcore and punk fans (see mud below too), and the Valley, just next to the entrance, was the same tent that sheltered the Terrorizer stage in previous years; in here were mostly stoner/doom shows.
I already mentioned the sound problems under Altar and Temple, which were probably the worst of the fest. Both mainstages had a great sound, as long as you were in front of them - something all open-air festival-goers have experienced by now. The only other problem was that you could hear the Mainstage band while under the Warzone; sure, when a band was playing it wasn't the case, but in-between song it could become boring (see Refused on Saturday for an anecdote about that).

Food and drinks

Food booths were of varied quality, and quite expensive as always. My usual tartiflette sellers was replaced by another booth that wasn't open often, and the few times it was, it seems the potatoes were only half-cooked. Chinese food (Cantonese rice with meat) was good, really good, quite expensive too (8€) but for this price your plate was full, so much it could even become difficult to eat everything . And then, next to the wine bar, one could find a rotisserie (with a really useless pay system featuring specific tokens), and an oyster booth. Yep, it's one of the pretty bizarre things we French people eat, it's even considered a delicacy here!
The wine bar already existed the previous years, true. But with the new battlefield came a new setting. Not unlike your average bar in a countryside village (with the usual drunkards), its main feature was its back wall. Fact is, said wall was a huge glass panel, letting all see the wineyard just behind (incidentally, this was the only space on the fest grounds were you could see the outside world; so quiet it was surreal). The wine was once again served in small, free glasses, and unlike last year the print doesn't wear off!
But… The biggest improvement this year was, if you ask me, the two coffee stalls on the fest ground itself! The much-needed caffeine was available at last! Now that was awesome.

Toilets, water

As mentioned, in the campsite proper it was OK, even if there were no more showers than the previous year (strange, considering the audience's increase). On the festival itself, however… Dirty hell once again! The toilets were scarce, almost always dirty, and leaking. Without doubts the biggest problem of this 2012 version.


You could somehow say it was a lighter version of 2007 - or a worse 2011. There was quite a lot of rain at times (like sometimes duing Friday or Saturday morning), but apart of the violent downpour of Sunday evening which shortened Ozzy's show, it was not that terrible. It was sufficient for mud to rear its ugly head… but not enough to transform the site into the mudpool we had in 2007. Actually, the worst of it was to be experienced in front of the Altar (death) and Warzone (hardcore) scenes. Yes, those two were under tents, so I guess the mud came from before they raised said tents. Some straw or gravel would have been welcome, so we waited, and waited, but nothing came. Quite a disappointment if you ask me.

other notes

Hardcore fans were really happy this year, my campside neighbours insisted on it, because at least Hellfest had a real, worthwhile, hardcore programmation - the whole Warzone tent - and thus was finally (in their eyes) the worthy descendant of the Fury Fest.
Also, the running order could have been much more messy. Whatever the time of the day, only three bands out of the six stages played at the same time (think about it - it was often the case already in previous Hellfests); that was dilemma enough already.
The atmosphere was Hellfest as usual - that is, light-hearted and festive - but maybe a bit less than before… With bigger names came a wider (and tamer) audience, I guess…

This year was no exception: strippers were in da place!

As usual, Hellfest started with French bands playing - not counting Betraying The Martyrs of course - and kicking off the first day of the fest at the ungodly hour of 10:30…

Trepalium 10:30/11:00, Altar

wrathchild: I had to check Trepalium first, because : #1 their loud and complex music is outstanding, and #2 their loud and complex music was perfect to judge the sound under the twin tents. Unfortunately I caught only the last songs but I got what I came for: a blast! I have to add a little "note to self" here: check their new album! As for the sound, I did find it very good although it seems it wasn't the case for every band that played on this stage.

Benighted 11:40/12:10, Altar

First band of the fest for me as Trepalium were too early for my poor old and tired self, Benighted had the Altar tent fully packed for their set; as they tour often in France, proving time and again they're awesome live, it's not a real surprise. They kicked off with "Slut" and "Let The Blood Spill Between My Broken Teeth", and then the show was in full swing. As already mentioned, the mud in front of the stage did prevent most of the moshing that should have otherwise happened. Good show, but too short and too early.

Band Gallery by Promonex

Black Bomb A 12:50/13:30, Main Stage 2

Black Bomb A are a hardcore / metalcore band, with some peculiar vocals and Hervé Coquerel of Loudblast fame behind the drumkit. I missed the first half of their show, but I decided to check the other half anyway. That was a good idea! Their set was quite energetic, with the two vocalists answering each other; of course, the audience responded in kind and moshed, forming the first 'wall of death' of the fest on "Police Stopped Da Way". Good times!

Lizzy Borden 13:35/14:15, Mainstage 01

wrathchild: For their first time ever in France, I can't say this lesser Alice Cooper impressed me but there were a few fans really interested and who probably queued at the signing booth afterwards.

Band Gallery by Natalia_Die_Hexe

Solstafir 13:35/14:15, Temple

Yep, the cowboys from Iceland were here at Hellfest, dusty jackets and hats included. We were treated with a 40 minutes, four songs performance, that ended on the high note that is "Goddess Of The Ages". This was something eerie, trippy, and highly atmospheric, but as such the mood took some time to settle in - partly thanks to the sound, too thin at first. Needless to say, the guys aren't running everywhere on stage, but they didn't stood still anyway. Nonetheless, the best for this kind of show is just to close eyes and drift with the music… All in all this was a nice set, but still a bit underwhelming (maybe because of the setlist, too focused on the quite forgetableSvartir Sandar?)…

Unexpect 14:20/15:00, Altar

It all first started with a terrible sound, transforming "Orange Vigilantes" in an undecipherable cacophony. Thankfully it got better (but still not great) pretty quickly, sparing us a catastrophe. See, Unexpect's music is so complex and all-over-the-place that a good sound is really mandatory to enjoy it properly.
Anyway, the band members were happy to be there, all quite active but leaving the front to Leilindel; apart of her fantastic vocal performance, I must say she's as charming as she is a good dancer, and she dances very well indeed! Icing on the visual cake, Chaoth's nine-strings bass does have an impact. It's huge! The setlist was mostly centered around their latest, self-released, output Fables From The Sleepless Empire ("Orange Vigilantes", "When The Joyful Dead Are Dancing", "Unfed Pendulum", "The Quantum Symphony"), but there were of course songs out of In A Flesh Aquarium, like "Chromatic Chimera" or "Desert Urbania", and "Noväe" from the We, Invaders EP.
No surprise as I'm a fan, but I enjoyed this immensely!

Band Gallery by Promonex

Molly Hatchet 15:05/15:45, Mainstage 01

Promonex: This day must have been paradise for any fan of Southern rock. Two of the genre's greatest legends graced the Mainstage 01 today, so it was no surprise that a whole lot of Confederate flags were waved through the heavy air of Clisson. Part 1 was delivered by Molly Hatchet who broke into the scene some 35 years ago, went platinum with their self-titled debut, triple-platinum with their second album and got themselves another platinum disc for decorating their rehearsal room with their third album Beatin' the Odds, way before most of us, me included, were even born. It was a pleasant surprise to see that the space in front of the stage was pretty packed nonetheless, much to the delight of guitarist Bobby Ingram and vocalist Phil McCormack who delivered a very enthusiastic and entertaining show. Bassist Tim Lindsey, drummer Scott Craig (of Blackfoot fame) and the only remaining (well, re-entered) founding member Dave Hlubek however didn't emanate as much fun, but this didn't stop the crowd from enjoying this show anyway, which was aptly crowned by the title track of their most successful album, "Flirtin' with Disaster".

Band Gallery by Promonex

Endstille 15:05/15:45, Temple

Two photos of a set that seemed to please a lot of BM fans…

Band Gallery by Natalia_Die_Hexe

Gorod 15:50/16:30, Altar

Once again the Altar sound was both too loud and far from great, at least at the beginning... And the band, you ask? Great as usual, of course! No real surprise for someone used to see then, maybe even a bit underwhelming compared to what they can deliver in a small venue… But it was still good, I must say. The setlist was mostly centered on their last two albums, plus one song out of Leading Vision (unless I'm mistaken, it was "Here Die Your Gods"). Strangely enough, they ended their set earlier, with Darkspace then starting earlier too…

Band Gallery by Promonex

Darkspace 16:35/17:25, Temple

Once again, a bad sound was the law under the double tent - this time it was too much reverb'. Yep, I do know that Darkspace have a lot of that in their sound, but it was a bit too much to really appreciate the music. That said, I think their haunting but trippy spacey black metal goes quite well live - except that it was still full daylight just outside. Onstage the lights were mostly cold blues and violets, with the guys (and gal) clad in electrogoth-looking attire - something really fitting, I must say.
But, the not-great-at-all sound (and a starting headache) forced me to leave before the end…

Band Gallery by Promonex

Meanwhile, Unisonic - yeah, that new band with Mickael Kiske and Kai Hansen -
offered us a window to their glorious past with "March Of Time".
This specific moment was a real treat for power metal fans, the rest was unimpressive at best.

Gotthard 18:20/19:20, Mainstage 01

wrathchild: Nic Maeder does a great job but, as a whole, the show was somewhat less catchy than it used to be with the late Steve Lee, to whom the band logically dedicated a ballad.

Band Gallery by Natalia_Die_Hexe

Moonsorrow 20:30/21:20, Temple

As always, they're not running everywhere onstage. As always, the epic, beautiful, heroic, yet sad, atmosphere they create gripped the Temple stage by the throat. What else to say? Good, but still a bit underwhelming compared to their 2009 performance.

Lynyrd Skynyrd 20:30/22:00, Mainstage 01

Promonex: And here was the second serving for the Southern rock fans. And for everybody who didn't feel attracted by Moonsorrow nor Integrity. As with Molly Hatchet the crowd was surprisingly well mixed, consisting of old-timers who've been around during the Skynyrd's heyday as well as young'uns who only know "Sweet Home Alabama" from the radio [Momo: or "Freebird" thanks to Guitar Hero]. But of course the Southerners had a lot more to offer, starting with the band's enthusiasm and a great setlist right through to the attractive backing vocalists and some strippers dancing on top of a bar opposite of the stage. And when it indeed was time for "Sweet Home Alabama", it was a great experience to witness all generations chiming in with the band, before everybody rocked along to the epic "Free Bird".

Band Gallery by Natalia_Die_Hexe and Promonex

Dropkick Murphys 22:05/23:05, Mainstage 02

Promonex: "Let's go, Murphys!!", the crowd chanted for a seemingly endless time, just to be fobbed off with a long-winded intro. Truth be told, this was the only part of the Murphys' gig that was remotely tedious, because once the music from the tape was over, the band entered, lost no more time and started into "The State of Massachusetts" with double speed. Assisted by the Parkington Sisters on violin and backing vox, the Irish Americans ran through a set full of highlights, including a male/female duet during "The Dirty Glass", the singalong hit "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya", a new song from their upcoming album called "Rose Tattoo" and, while we are speaking of Australian hard rock bands, a cover of AC/DC's "TNT", before the entire crowd was "Shipping Up to Boston".

Momo: I discovered this band Tuesday before Hellfest with their latest album Going Out In Style, and I must say I really enjoyed this hardcore punk mixed with celtic folk music… So, of course, I had to catch them onstage. And that was a good move! Their energy and catchy songs are really infectious live, as a result many people were cheering, singing and dancing all along. The band members spared no effort to entertain us, pacing on stage and being really active - and playing fantastic tunes, plus an explosive version of AC/DC's "TNT".
A fucking good time indeed, even if I was told that their performance at Fury Fest 2005 (Hellfest's previous incarnation) was far better…

Band Gallery by Promonex

Satyricon 22:30/23:30, Temple

By all accounts, Satyricon didn't disappoint, as they delivered one hell of a show!

Megadeth 23:10/00:40, Mainstage 01

Boring for some, very good for others - but excellent for none - Megadeth's set did divide. The night was clear and cold, the sound was good as long as you stood in front of the stage (OMG this bass!), and the band seemed quite in good shape. The setlist was the same as this one as far as I remember… And so you can guess the problem. Yeah, that's it, the new stuff sucks. Only with the third song ("Hangar 18", yep) did the band and the audience really seem to wake up! And yes these classics were bloody damn good - even if I remember a mistake in the opening guitar line of the aforementioned "Hangar 18".
All in all, I'm sure most of the audience (me included) would have enjoyed much more a 'classics-only' setlist. You know, hailing back to that time when they wrote really good songs…

Band Gallery by Promonex

King Diamond 00:45/02:00, Mainstage 02

Whatever might be his role in metal history (huge, that is), King Diamond's vocals are really an acquired taste (just like oysters, if you will). Let's say I'm not a fan at all of his falsetto, but I certainly wanted to see the legend live - something quite rare these days. And well, whether you like him or not, you had to admit the King was bloody damn good and impressive, his presence unquestionable and his voice crisp and commanding (and the guy's 56!). Even the show, full of theatrics, was great, with that grand-guignol / horror feel and this Castlevania setting onstage. Yes, I did write Castlevania. This thought occurred to me say, thirty seconds after first laying eyes on the stage, and it didn't leave. It has it all: mist, coffins, cemetery gates, and of course an evil mastermind!
Pun aside, that was impressive and great. But I still couldn't stand His vocals for long, so I left to see a bit of Amon Amarth before sleeping.

Band Gallery by Natalia_Die_Hexe

Amon Amarth 00:45/02:00, Temple

While King Diamond impressed (or irritated) with his vocals out on the Mainstage, under the Temple tent many were packed to see the world's most famous Vikings: Amon Amarth. And well, what to say? It was heavy and catchy, as usual; the sound wasn't great and too loud, as usual for this Friday.
Maybe it was because I was tired, but I felt they were a bit on an 'automatic mode', and I enjoyed their show less than their previous performance in Hellfest, back in 2009… So I left after the classic, catchy "Pursuit Of Vikings".

Band Gallery by Promonex

Tragedy 01:00/02:00, Warzone

Promonex: My path went exactly the opposite way. Feeling bored of Amon Amarth, I decided to check out King Diamond. And once I heard his falsetto screams, I turned around and decided to visit the hardcore stage The Warzone instead, where a rather short-haired audience got their heads screwed off by Tragedy. The band, that arose from the ashes of the seminal crust punk band His Hero Is Gone, definitely delivered the most violent music you could hear on the festival grounds at this time. But after getting my ear-drums pummelled for half an hour, I also decided to call it a day and followed Momo to the campground.

Band Gallery by Promonex

Next on Metal Storm…

Saturday 16th / Sunday 17th
The featured bands are : Abysse, Alcest, Amenra, Anaal Nathrakh, Arcturus, Behemoth, Blue Oyster Cult, Cancer Bats, Children Of Bodom, Death Angel, Dimmu Borgir, Dying Fetus, Edguy, Enslaved, Exodus, Forgotten Tomb, Ihsahn, In Extremo, Kobra And The Lotus, Machine Head, Necrophagia, Oranssi Pazuzu, Refused, Sacred Reich, Steel Panther, Suffocation, Sunn O))), Trivium, Unsane, The Devil's Blood, Uriah Heep, Vulture Industries, Walls Of Jericho, Within Temptation, Year Of No Light, Yob.

Photos by Natalia_Die_Hexe and Promonex. All rights reserved, do not use without permission.

The little wood at night


Written on 04.08.2012 by
Darkside Momo
Once your regular Hellfest reporter, now retired. I (strangely enough) listen to a lot of metal. And enjoy good beers, comics, novels and role-playing games.
More articles by Darkside Momo ››


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Comments: 13  
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Valentin B - 05.08.2012 at 14:16  
Great report guys! though I miss the big coverage that was in the previous years and I was interested about Ozzy but then again it probably wasn't different from last year's fest.
Darkside Momo - 05.08.2012 at 15:13  
Written by Valentin B on 05.08.2012 at 14:16

Great report guys! though I miss the big coverage that was in the previous years

Thanks! But yeah, I miss it too... (hey, come next year if you can manage it )
Written by Valentin B on 05.08.2012 at 14:16

I was interested about Ozzy but then again it probably wasn't different from last year's fest.

Seems it wasn't, but with more guests and a Black Sab' only repertoire...

EDIT: saw the setlist, first part of his set was his solo repertoire (Bark at the moon etc)
BitterCOld - 05.08.2012 at 17:29  
Glad to see the Murphys were well received and enjoyed. i imagine hte larger venue meant no zerging the stage for "Skinhead on the MBTA", though.
Darkside Momo - 05.08.2012 at 17:42  
Written by BitterCOld on 05.08.2012 at 17:29

Glad to see the Murphys were well received and enjoyed. i imagine hte larger venue meant no zerging the stage for "Skinhead on the MBTA", though.

by "zerging the stage" I guess you mean "everyone in the audience climb up on stage and sing with us?" Well no they didn't, Suicidal Tendencies and Infestious Grooves however did two years ago; according to rumours they're now definitely banned from HF for doing that (security reasons, you know...)

BTW, a video link to the full performance
BitterCOld - 05.08.2012 at 21:08  
Thanks, momo. wll check the video later.

and yeah, zerging the stage was pretty much that. they end shows in clubs with "Skinhead on the MBTA", and dozens of the audience join them on stage. Ken Casey (bass/co-vocals) was trying to play while the crowd was hoisting him around. good times.
Valentin B - 06.08.2012 at 17:41  
I am actually surprised you enjoyed Skynyrd. For me they were a huge letdown at SRF because of the sore lack of energy during the show. The guitar performance was great though.

@Bitter I'm surprised you even know that word, starcraft FTW

btw that is a GREAT picture of King.
Darkside Momo - 06.08.2012 at 19:02  
Written by Valentin B on 06.08.2012 at 17:41

I am actually surprised you enjoyed Skynyrd. For me they were a huge letdown at SRF because of the sore lack of energy during the show. The guitar performance was great though.

Can't speak for Promo, put the part I saw (the very end: "Freebird" solos) impressed me thanks both to the technical performance (of course), but also the soul they put into playing...
Marcel Hubregtse - 07.08.2012 at 17:38  
Concerning Unexpect. It seems you're one of the few that enjoyed it. Read quite a few reviews of their Hellfest gig and most said that the band pwas really bad, even fans of their music thought so.
D.T. Metal - 07.08.2012 at 18:57  
Molly Hatchet and Skynyrd among Satyricon and Amon Amarth .... why on earth can't we get stuff like that over here
Darkside Momo - 07.08.2012 at 19:47  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 07.08.2012 at 17:38

Concerning Unexpect. It seems you're one of the few that enjoyed it. Read quite a few reviews of their Hellfest gig and most said that the band pwas really bad, even fans of their music thought so.

OH well, most of the people I saw just after the show thought it was good... But like me they were right in front of the stage. I guess that had quite an influence, particularly soundwise.
Promonex - 08.08.2012 at 02:18  
I'm one of those who failed to enjoy Unexpect. Mostly because I just couldn't "get" their music. But yeah, the sound might have had quite a huge influence.

Skynyrd I enjoyed quite a bit and I certainly couldn't complain about a lack of power. And yeah, especially "Free Bird" made for a great overall impression.
Boxcar Willy - 08.08.2012 at 04:44  
Why must I live in Canada?


Bad English - 09.08.2012 at 02:02  
To many tents and bands I look at times and its nbot possinle combine main stage 1 , + BM acts and doom tent , so IMO bad idea so many and good main stage 1 and sometimes 2 bands palarere whit some BM and DOOM bands ..... its not possible enjoy all since to many good bands in same time

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