Hellfest Summer Open Air 2010 - Part 4: Sunday
Hellfest Summer Open Air Festival, Clisson, France, 18/19/20 June 2010
Previously on Metalstorm…
Table Of Contents
The featured bands are:
Devin Townsend Project
Brant Bjork And The Bros
The Dillinger Escape Plan
Garcia Plays Kyuss
and then there's also :
Sunday… Already the last day, with "the hottest band in the world". Will they be like with last year's headliners (Manowar), nothing more than over inflated egos, or are they actually as good as their live reputation says?
In the meanwhile, the music fan has a lot to check: plenty of stoner bands, Exodus and other pretty brutal bands, and the rare Devin Townsend, among many others…
Marcel: Final day of a long and gruelling weekend would see me in the Terrorizer tent for most of the day to witness a mini version of the infamous Roadburn festival. Sludge, post metal, stoner would be the main ingredient of my day. Plus bands I have only heard of but never heard. So, all in all, a day for taking chances.
Blasphème 10:30/11:00, Mainstage 2
wrathchild: Blasphème is a French heavy metal band that was active in the early 80s, then broke up only to reunite 20 years after. In fact they are even about to release a new album this year! That being said, they remain pretty unknown to metalheads under 30 or 40 and opening the festival early on Sunday meant a rather small audience. Nevertheless it wasn't a bad one, and they gave the band some cheerful applauses, thankful for this metal tinted with NWOBHM tones.
Band Gallery by Moocher, Promonex
Omega Massif 10:30/11:00, Terrorizer Tent
Marcel: What better way to start off this year's Father's Day with breakfast consisting of coffee, croissants and half a baguette with cheese and ham on a sunny terrace in Clisson and following that up with some nice glacial massive sludge post-metal by German doomsters Omega Massif? Nothing, exactly, beats this for a Sunday morning.
OM would be one of the three bands I know, more or less, I would be seeing in the Terrorizer tent today.
Close your eyes and visions of glaciers moving slowly down mountain ranges come to mind. It was loud, it was eroding, it was mesmerizing. The heaviest start of one of the festival days this year for me. OM came, saw and conquered and set the tone for what was to follow in the Terrorizer tent.
Momo: Starting the last day of a festival with such a massive slab of music might not be the best idea, but it wasn't a problem for me. Their instrumental post-metal might not be the most original around (still better than Pelican), yes. On the other hand, it was telluric enough. Just headbang in rhythm, and enjoy being crushed by a (small) mountain.
Collin: Sludgy post-metal isn't nearly as relaxed as bluesy hard rock to start a day, but it's goddamn efficient! Omega Massif served us an epic slab of instrumental manliness with just enough dreaminess and eerie build-ups to hypnotize the sleepy listener. Just before crushing his/her skull with a massive riff from outer space, of course. Sounds neat? It was.
Band Gallery by Promonex
Vulcain 11:05/11:35, Mainstage 1
Collin: I've never liked all that French heavy metal wave from the 80's, and this Vulcain show is definitely not going to change my mind. This is the same deal it has been for the past three decades: second-rate heavy metal, outdated songs and vocals, cliché music against which Sabaton would pass as brilliantly original. I respect their position as pioneers in France for that kind of music and the fact that they obviously gave their best during this show but I really can't get into their music. Apparently I am the only one, given the warm welcome (for such an early slot) the band received from the crowd.
Marcel: Unlike Frenchman/Froggie Collin I have always been a fan of the French Heavy Metal wave of the Eighties. Bands such as H-Bomb, Blasphème, Sortilège, Satan Jokers, Attentat Rock, Warning, Trust, Shakin' Street, etc. still spin their rounds on my record player frequently. Vulcain were considered the French answer to Motörhead back in the day and today they proved why. Old school metal with loads of Motörhead overtones which was received well by the mainly French crowd. I actually wonder how many non-French, or even French, people present had actually heard of Vulcain before today.
What today's set did prove was why almost none of those French bands of the Eighties made it outside of France (except marginally in the underground) at the time. Way too unoriginal, but competent playing though. But why settle for a second rate Motörhead when you can listen to the original?
Although I know this all sounds very negative I did enjoy myself immensely during their set, but mainly for nostalgic reasons.
wrathchild: After Blaspheme came Vulcain, the French Motörhead as some call them. Sadly I don't like the original Motörhead and even though the French veterans sounded a lot more enjoyable to me I don't really know what to say, except that apparently they didn't play "La Digue Du Cul" (a famous French bawdy song) but the crowd did during the final good bye.
Band Gallery by Moocher
General Surgery 11:05/11:35, Rock Hard Tent
Baz Anderson: Swedes General Surgery kicked off what looked to be a mighty day with their blood-soaked grindcore on the third stage. You don't get alarm clocks much better than this as the band ripped through their set of fast-paced songs making sure everyone was fully awake before venturing forth.
Band Gallery by Baz Anderson
Solace 11:20/11:50, Terrorizer Tent
Collin: I almost stepped out of the Terrorizer tent thinking that this wasn't the stoner band I wanted to see. For some reason, the song they were playing when I arrived kind of sounded like hardcore punk, which was totally unexpected. The rest of the set was proper stoner metal though, so maybe I was high on tartiflette (or croissants, given the time of day). Anyway, this was a really cool show, all laid back and evoking endless kilometres of dusty desert tracks. The vocals tasted of beer and bourbon or whatever it is they drink in New Jersey. A proper stoner show, I'm telling you. Not the best stoner show of the day (that would be Brant Bjork) but a cool way to spend 30 minutes.
Sabaton 11:40/12:10, Mainstage 2
Baz Anderson: It became quite obvious we were in France, and not England by the audience Sabaton got. Back in England the audience would have been three times as big and significantly louder. Sabaton are still conquering new territories it would seem with France, who seemed appreciative if not a little hesitant. The band's relatively stale new album didn't put as much of a dampener on the set as you might have expected, as the band with huge smiles as always tore through their almost Eurovision-style, keyboard-friendly power metal in such a great manner as always. A good set from a good band as always.
wrathchild: Overexcited bands a la Dragonforce aren't my thing, even though I also dislike static musicians. The problem is the music, and although I watched a few songs from their show, I can't remember a single note. Though I liked when the singer (some kind of talentless Freddy Mercury in armor) ironised about how gay they were, at least they're not taking this too seriously.
Marcel: Okay, I am not a fan of European flower metal, and that is actually an understatement. So, I will probably be accused of having been biased when watching Sabaton. But let me remind you I also hate female fronted symphonic metal, and especially Delain, but that Delain did surprise me positively a day earlier.
On the way to Hellfest, Lucas and I (and 90% of the people on the bus) had already been tormented by Sabaton on the stereo of the bus.
Since it was such horrendous torment I decided to give them a fair chance in a live environment. Hell, I should have trusted my gut instinct. Sabaton live are even worse than on album. They stand for everything that is wrong with European power metal. Pop melodies which are dominated by cheesy keyboards and try to come across as metal due to some beefed up guitar work and the band members trying to look metal. Totally slick music targeted at gaining mainstream success. A marketing trick pur sang who only got their success due to the band being shoved down the metallers' throats by, first, Black Lodge Records and now Nuclear Blast. Thank God most of the French audience didn't fall for it. At the start of the gig the crowd was okayish in size, though still not what the band would have expected, seen how they are hyped everywhere on the net. But at the end of the set the crowd number had dwindled to about 50% of its original size.
All me preconceptions about Sabaton were proved right and even strengthened. For a so-called metal band they were the poppiest of the weekend, even being more pop than Delain.
Band Gallery by Baz Anderson, Ivor, Moocher.
Freak Kitchen 12:15/12:55, Mainstage 1
Momo: A nice live band, and I was happy to see them again... But the three of them seemed a bit lost on this big stage. This thankfully didn't prevent them to be crazy (nearly) as usual. And of course Mattias 'IA' Eklundh still played with the crowd, whether by trying to 'teach' us some stuff about complicated time changes in songs, or speaking of terrorists: he said that "if I was a terrorist, my name would be 'Tournez à Gauche'. It does sound evil, right?" He also explaned that this famous 'Tournez à Gauche' means 'turn left' in English...
Collin: Craziness... Last time I saw Freak Kitchen was in 2005, and they were totally nuts back then. Their last album being a bit more "serious" than their old stuff, I was curious to know if that would have an effect on their live performance. Well, no. They are about as crazy as five years ago. The music itself, while excellent, catchy, and full of groove and sing along moments, is only a small part of the package. Freak Kitchen must be seen primarily for Mattias Eklundh's ramblings and constant offtopicness. This guy is the metal equivalent of a hilarious stand-up comedian that goes crazy about weird time signatures, French GPS voices and other improbable stuff as if it were the most normal thing in the world. If you want to have a good laugh and forget about your issues while listening to great music, Freak Kitchen is definitely your cow.
Band Gallery by Ivor, Moocher
Eluveitie 13:00/13:40, Mainstage 2
Band Gallery by Ivor, Moocher
Saviours 13:00/13:30, Terrorizer Tent
Marcel: The first band of the day I only very vaguely knew beforehand, mainly due to their 2009 release Accelerated Living which I had listened to a couple of times back when it was released.
Saviours blew me away, though, with their mix of classic heavy metal, thrash, and sludge. Extremely loud (first time during the festival that I put earplugs in) and full sound where one could clearly hear all the instruments and vocals. Every song chockfull of solos and hooks and memorable riffs, all executed to perfection and full of energy. The thirty minutes they got allotted turned out to be way too short. Certainly the crowd wanted more at the end. And I think the band did as well.
Primal Fear 13:45/14:25, Mainstage 1
wrathchild: Not much power metal at this Hellfest 2010 edition, so Primal Fear was a must-see show for fans of the genre. A wise choice since this band blends prefectly with the heavy/hard rock context of the mainstages that day. It had been a long time since I saw them live and although they did everything right, I felt it was lacking something. Perhaps it has to do with the new guitarists that are slightly less charismatic as were Naumann and Leibing? Anyway, always a pleasure to see Ralf Scheepers scream like (hardly) no other on songs in the vein of "Chainbreaker"!
Baz Anderson: Primal Fear surpassed expectations with a great set of their heavy power metal that made them so popular in the first place. Tracks like "Nuclear Fire" set the place ablaze, but also "Riding The Eagle" provided a surprisingly fantastic moment. The set was not without its low points however, namely "Killbound", but there are no grounds on which to complain of a Primal Fear set as long as you have heard "Chainbreaker". The band have changed somewhat over the last years, but given the chance to stand and watch them live, you should always take it.
Band Gallery by Baz Anderson, Moocher
Black Cobra 13:50/14:30, Terrorizer Tent
Marcel: Only a guitar and drumkit. Where had I seen this before? Oh yeah when Sardonis played at Dutch Doom Days. And the exact same thing happened with Black Cobra as with Sardonis about half a year ago. Although the music was fun and decent the live set got boring pretty damn quick. Nothing much happening at all to keep me interested visually and also musically. This sort of sludge which even though it rocks and swings like an udder works best on album. There the thin sound can be veiled by layering. Live it is just a bare to the bones experience. Totally minimalistic and although not working out live it is still refreshing to see such an act at a festival.
Collin: How can they make so much noise with only a guitar and a small drumkit? That will forever be a mystery to me. Sadly, all that noise-making couldn't hide the fact that this was not as great a show as expected. I had heard many raving first hand comments about how Black Cobra were a stunning act and played memorable live shows, even to people who don't enjoy extreme music of that kind. But this time they more or less failed to establish a flow, so it was an okay experience but not a tremendous one.
Ensiferum 14:30/15:10, Mainstage 2
Baz Anderson: Not particularly a band that ever seemed to work particularly well in the festival environment, Ensiferum were actually a great surprise. We got a few new tracks, including the great "Stone Cold Metal" to raise the spirits even higher. The band do however seem to be moving further and further away from the band's first two albums as time goes on, but as long as they can keep on giving performances like this, that doesn't appear to be such a big issue.
Band Gallery by Baz Anderson, Ivor, Moocher
Weedeater 14:50/15:30, Terrorizer Tent
Marcel: Damn, how close can a drumkit be up front of the stage without falling into the photopit? Well, this close apparently. Totally up at the edge of the stage. With a name such as Weedeater one knows what to expect… total and utter stoner. But a band I had only heard of before this weekend. But since stoner is great I was keen to check them out. And I did not regret a second of it. Vocalist/bassplayer Dave "Dixie" Collins came across as a total utterly deranged psychopath, rolling with his eyes. A person one would run away from when confronted by him in the streets. He was in a world of his own during the duration of the set, grabbing at the cymbals every chance he got and his leering into the crowd strengthened the impression of a deranged redneck. Of course a three man band does not exist solely of the vocalist/bassplayer. All three members played as tightly together as could be expected and going all the way up to 10 with Dave "Dixie" Collins going on to 11.
Weedeater, a very nice surprise.
Band Gallery by Ivor
U.D.O. 15:15/16:00, Mainstage 1
Band Gallery by Moocher
Dying Fetus 15:15/16:00, Rock Hard Tent
No pictures, no report… And no show, as the band was forced to cancel at the last minute. Thankfully they were the last band of the fest to do so!
Rwake 16:00/16:40, Terrorizer Tent
Collin: Sludge is usually one of the best music genres to set a spectacular atmosphere that grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go until you're smurf-blue with asphyxiation. Clearly, that was not the case with Rwake. Unfortunately may I say. The few things I've heard from their studio works led me to think they would play a much stronger set than this. Unfortunately, it was sloppy and messy (maybe the experimental side of their music doesn't come across too well in concert) and boredom slowly crept in and forced me to retreat to a place where my ears wouldn't be subject to involuntary aggression.
Behemoth 16:05/16:55, Mainstage 2
Baz Anderson: Another band that don't particularly seem to be much of a festival band. Especially on one of the main outdoor stages. This time however, the preconceptions were right and Behemoth really didn't manage to convey anything like they can do normally outside here. They might be one of the most popular death metal bands around at the moment, but the daylight and whole festival spirit didn't do Behemoth any justice at all.
Momo: Maybe it's because I didn't try to get 'in' the show, but the songs I saw left me unimpressed. Don't misunderstand me, the sound was great, the songs flawlessly played, the crowd was nuts... Just that it didn't move me at all. I've been surprised before by bands I don't really like, but not this time. A bit soulless, maybe? Anyway, I went to the merch booth to fetch something for my cousin. That something finally turned out to be a Behemoth hoodie!! Gotta love the irony, I guess...
Band Gallery by Baz Anderson, Moocher
Saxon 17:00/17:50, Mainstage 1
Collin: If anything, this year's Hellfest taught us all an important lesson: old people rock. Case in point: Saxon. While not as impressive as Y&T, Grandpa Biff and his lads shot a concentrated dose of kick-ass heavy metal to show the young ones how it's done. This was your typical Saxon show with the usual highlights ("Wheels Of Steel", "Denim And Leather" etc.). A thoroughly enjoyable set and a much needed breath of old school music.
Baz Anderson: It was maybe a little strange that Saxon weren't higher up on the bill, but anyhow, the band got on and did the job in hand. The band's shortened set length allowed them to have almost an entire set of their greatest hits, with a couple of new ones thrown in there. Perhaps a little under appreciated by the French audience, Biff and the gang put on an enjoyable set, but was however overshadowed by quite a few other bands in terms of how memorable it was.
Band Gallery by Baz Anderson, Moocher
Katatonia 17:00/17:50, Rock Hard Tent
Momo: Depressive masters of bleak music, Katatonia played under the Rock Hard Tent this day... A way better choice for them compared to the mainstage under the sun, like in 2008. Because, just like Candlemass and My Dying Bride, their intimate and introspective music just doesn't fit under the sun and the open sky.
While I can't compare their show to their previous performance in Hellfest, I thoroughly enjoyed this show. Subtle, even delicate, this was an introspective performance, just like anyone could expect. And even if Jonas Renkse does look a bit like Cousin Itt of the Addams Family, shyly hiding behind his long hair, his voice is still exceptional.
Band Gallery by Ivor
Devin Townsend Project 17:55/18:45, Mainstage 2
Baz Anderson: Devin's first show in Europe since his return to music here at Hellfest. Who knew what to expect from such a diverse individual with a back catalogue of all kinds of stuff to pick from. Devin himself was ever the comedian and could have undoubtedly put on an entertaining set as a stand-up act. The multi-facial-expressioned man chose quite a diverse set, but seemed to edge a little towards the calmer side of his solo music. "Kingdom" was a highlight, and the few from Ziltoid of course went down extremely well. There is a lot of interest in this man at the moment as he sets his task of cracking Europe.
Wrathchild: Devin Townsend is a genius, or so I was told, but never actually checked. Unfortunately, I did found that the first 2 songs were among the worst I had listened to since the beginning of the festival. Uninspired, unsurprising, what else can I say? I left during the third song and perhaps I should have stayed since my comrades all seem to think it was one of the best shows of this 2010 edition, and they told me every song was different, etc. To me it will stay as the biggest disappointment of Hellfest 2010 (not even his funny face saved the day).
Momo: Everyone's favorite mad genius was here at Hellfest, and this sure was a great moment, exceptional for several reasons.
First, seeing Devin live is rare enough. Next, he was FUN. Apart of all the funny and weird faces he made, he started his show asking the audience to hug each other, or else he wouldn't play. And when we finally did it, he concluded saying that "this is metal!" Sure it is!
And third, his singing is absolutely perfect. Remember his vocals on the albums? Well, live, they're exactly the same. Hell, he even sang Anneke's parts on "Supercrush!"!
I could sure complain about the setlist, which included songs from most of his solo career (Addicted, Ziltoid, Infinity...), but not the songs I would have wished for... Sigh.
In short, awesome, rare, grand.
Collin: "France, we absolutely worship you. My penis is engorged with blood for your fertile rectums". Way to set the tone of a concert, buddy. Devin Townsend clearly has issues, and not just about the mechanics of procreation. But beyond that, he is also an amazing frontman and possibly the best singer present at Hellfest this year. His range is simply unbelievable, as shown on the songs from Addicted during which he handled Anneke's lines. He also knows how to play with the audience, talking nonsense (crazy Canadians' masturbation habits is a subject I've always held dear), having everyone hug their neighbour or making crazy alien faces. The music? While the setlist could have been better, the execution was flawless, the sound was crisp, clear and powerful and the songs were clearly chosen in order for the set to be festive and fun. And this voice... Oh, this voice... A crushing success.
Setlist: Addicted!, Supercrush!, Kingdom, Truth, Om, Deadhead, ZTO, By Your Command
Band Gallery by Baz Anderson, Ivor, Moocher, Promonex
Mondo Generator 18:20/19:00, Terrorizer Tent
Marcel: Mondo Generator probably is known best to most people as the band of Nick Oliveri (previously of Kyuss and Queens Of The Stone Age, amongst others). Somehow I have also missed this band. So, now was a chance to make up for it. And I didn't regret a second of it. I expected total and utter stoner due to the mainman's past but got a mix of punk, rock, sludge and stoner instead. Not that I mind, no, not at all. This stuff truly slayed live. The band went all out as did the crowd, going totally bananas. When I though I had seen it all crowd-wise, the crowd even stepped it up a notch when Mondo Generator played the Kyuss cover "Green Machine". Total madness and mayhem ensued. This is how rock, metal, whatever you wanna call it, should be live. Extreme madness from both the band and crowd. Rocking like mad, edgy, and dare I say it? Dangerous, in so far as music can be dangerous.
I dread the day I pick up an album by Mondo Generator. I am almost sure it will be a letdown compared to this gig.
Stone Sour 18:50/19:50, Mainstage 1
Promonex: Known as the second band of Slipknot's Corey Taylor I am sure that many people hold certain prejudices towards Stone Sour. I was one of them. And boy, was I surprised! Okay, the f-bombs were a bit too many, which turned out unintentionally funny at times ("It's great to have you all fucking with us!"), but their mixture of hard rock and alternative metal proved to be surprisingly pleasant. The lack of breakdowns and the overall return to classic songwriting schemes made their hard rock attractive to older metalheads while the youngsters were bound to enjoy the modern edge of Stone Sour's music. Definitely a treat for all generations.
Band Gallery by Moocher, Promonex
Suffocation 18:50/19:50, Rock Hard Tent
Momo: This band, live, is a pure blast, so I made a point to see them again. And once again their awesome brutal, technical death metal proved its awesomeness in a live setting. Pure primal energy.
And once again Frank Mullen was at the center of the storm, acting, grimacing, and just overdoing - for fun - all this death metal stuff, like when announcing "Entrails Of You"...
Baz Anderson: Brutal death pioneers Suffocation had massed a loyal and sizable audience for their slot. We all know that the band have changed over the years, and this was heavily reflected in the band's set. It was still extremely obvious that the "Effigy Of The Forgotten" was still the most popular though, especially with the utterly brutal "Infecting The Crypts" thrown in there. Perhaps not the best death metal set of the festival, but they were indeed still very entertaining.
Band Gallery by Baz Anderson
Brant Bjork And The Bros 19:30/20:15, Terrorizer Tent
Collin: It took one song. One song to really get the concert going, and then it was wild. Ok, as wild as a stoner concert can be. You see what I mean. That first song scared me a bit because it was really average, but after that it was as hot, dry and high as a stoner concert is supposed to be. Brant Bjork's own psychedelic take on the whole stoner movement was mesmerizing to say the least, and it took Exodus playing the whole Bonded By Blood album to get me out of there. If Brant Bjork comes near your place, you'd be a fool to miss it.
Marcel: Had we just witnessed Kyuss Blues For The Red Sun's bass player's current band now it was time for the drummer of that classic Kyuss album to show what he's got solo. Instead of drumming he now handles the vocal and guitar duties.
Over the years Brant Bjork has already gathered quite some name for himself: first opening for all sorts of bands on tours, and the last couple of years frequently headlining himself. With the thought in the back of my head that I had missed a truly blistering gig by BB at last April's Roadburn I made sure I wouldn't miss him this time around. It even made me miss Suffocation and most of Exodus.
In hindsight I am very glad I decided to attend all of BB's set. Brant Bjork is truly a stage presence who, besides being able to let the audience eat out of hands, also possesses a great voice and is a more than decent guitar player. Brant Bjork's brand of stoner is rife with loads of truly rocking moments. Where Mondo Generator was more punkish stoner, Brant Bjork And The Bros was more rockish stoner. From the first to the last tones the music sucked me in totally making me nod my head and sway to the grooves and rhythms. But my state was more than once disturbed by people who, like at the Candlemass set a day earlier, don't understand that this is not music to crowdsurf and pit to.
All in all a great set which was slightly spoiled by a lot of moronic people attending.
Band Gallery by Ivor, Promonex
Exodus 19:55/20:45, Mainstage 2
Baz Anderson: This set was simple. The entire Bonded By Blood album finished off with "The Toxic Waltz" at the end. As you can imagine there were therefore no surprises in the setlist as soon as people twigged, but this album played in full did please a lot of people. Call me cynical, but the band themselves seemed to have the appearance of a 'doing a job' mentality. If huge mosh pits and whatever are your thing though, this would have been your thing as Rob commanded the audience to tear themselves apart to the sound of some of these thrash classics.
Momo: It's sunday evening, and everyone starts feeling the tiredness really hard, right? Well, not the thrashers, not now, as legendary Exodus are coming onstage. Even moreso, they're going to play Bonded By Blood in full!
Exodus shows often have the reputation to be violent. And well, it was, with a huge mosh-pit, separating into a wall of death, and then mutating into a circle-pit whose size easily rivalled the one which happened during Machine Head last year! And Rob Dukes always cheered the crowd, pushing everyone to their limits. He's really a great thrash frontman, angry and aggressive just as the style warrants. As Gary Holt recently said in an interview, "he is the frontman Exodus needed".
Good Friendly Violent Fun, indeed!
Collin: We waited until Sunday evening to get the most violent concert of the fest. The concept of Exodus playing the whole Bonded By Blood album apparently drove the crowd crazy and we probably saw the biggest moshpits and circle pits of the year during this set, even though those for Walls Of Jericho and Sick Of It All were also big. But Exodus's were humongous. That might be thanks to Rob Dukes' pressure and constant rants. Despite being quite a one-dimensional singer, Dukes is a very competent and energetic frontman who clearly knows what he's doing and how to keep the crowd pumped up. The music... That was Bonded By Blood played tight and with a brutal modern sound, what do you expect? Of course it was awesome! Somehow, this was what I had always imagined an Exodus show to be: total chaos.
Band Gallery by Baz Anderson, Moocher
Doom 20:45/21:30, Terrorizer Tent
Lucas: Despite the many great bands visiting Hellfest I managed to catch full sets of only a few. One of the bands I was determined to catch a full set of, was Doom. The legendary British Crust Punkers, supported by none other than Lady Gaga, were nothing less than a thunderstorm. Surprisingly, they played for most likely the smallest audience during any Hellfest '10 gig, but they still gave everything they had. In their short set they played about a gazillion songs, none of which I knew, but every song was as heavy, chaotic and insane as the next. The crowd enjoyed itself too, judging by the insane moshpit and crowdsurfing that was going on. (And, in an empty part of the tent, the three insanely drunk dudes that were running around in circles in the nothingness, constantly bumping into each other, imitating airplanes, losing their glasses and tackling themselves.) Doom enjoyed themselves too, although I bet they hated their timeslot (shared with Motörhead), judging by the singers quote: "Thank you for not seeing Motörhead. That's where we'd be!"
Motörhead 20:50/21:50, Mainstage 1
Collin: See Motörhead 100 times, you'll get the same result 100 times. You'll never be flabbergasted nor disappointed. You'll get Motörhead, as cool as on album, nothing more, nothing less. This was the case again, just like it had been in 2008. Motörhead is loud and obnoxious and it's always nice to see such a legendary band onstage, but it doesn't take Paul the Octopus to know what the show's going to be like. Still, the likes of "Iron Fist", "Overkill" and of course "Ace Of Spades" got the crowd on fire. Fun and rock'n'roll, that's all we ask from Mötorhead.
Band Gallery by Ivor, Moocher
Nile 20:50/21:50, Rock Hard Tent
Baz Anderson: In some respects, Nile are quite simply the best death metal band on this planet. That is their accomplished technical skills and accuracy with some faster than fast material. The question therefore is if the band can replicate their performances live. In short the answer is yes, but it comes at a cost. Yes the band can melt your face off with their magnificent, fast and unrelenting death metal. The drawback is that the band can't seem to do a full set of it, and we therefore end up with some of these long-winded, slow songs in between presumably giving poor George a break. Nile can destroy any opposition, but down to an endurance contest with longer sets, others would be better all-round.
Band Gallery by Baz Anderson
Slayer 21:55/22:55, Mainstage 2
Marcel: Everything about this band live has been said over the years.
Although Slayer played tight and had a great sound it was a huge disappointment. Araya's voice has gone downhill immensely over the last couple of years. He tries to compensate that by letting the crowd shout most of the lyrics. The band just goes through the motions and never seemed to enjoy themselves. But as if that wasn't frustrating enough… not a single song off Show No Mercy and Hell Awaits was played. But even when they played a classic such as "Chemical Warfare" it was done in a totally uninspired way. One of the very worst concerts I have seen by Slayer. Totally opposite of their Hellfest 2007 set where they totally slayed and bulldozered everyone into submission.
Momo: To sum it up, it's the third time I see Slayer in Hellfest, and the third time I'm not blown away. No, Slayer are not a bad live band, just average. They just let the music's impact to its job, let the crowd go nuts on the classics ("Dead Skin Mask", "Angel Of Death", "South Of Heaven", "Raining Blood", "Chemical Warfare"...), but that's about it. Tom Araya definitely has problems with his vocals, and so he let the audience (reactive, for sure) sing most of the choruses. Around him, Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman played. Just played, especially the latter who seemed quite uninterested; it seems that Dave Lombardo was the only one to really enjoy himself.
And no, no one, not even Slayer, can do a 'meh' show just after Exodus's explosive one.
Band Gallery by Moocher
The Dillinger Escape Plan 22:00/22:55, Terrorizer Tent
Promonex: The DEP were all over the place. Like, literally. Running and jumping all over the stage, accidently kicking a box from the stage which nearly hit a security guard, climbing onto the speaker towers and falling down from them, climbing along the girders above the stage, jumping into the crowd just like that, just the usual stuff The Dillinger Escape Plan do at all their shows. And while they were acting like a bunch of ADHS kids on speed the veterans of what nowadays is considered mathcore subjected the audience to a noise fest par excellence. Surprisingly The DEP also managed to blend an awful lot of groove and atmosphere into this acoustic chaos which left you stunned and mesmerized. Truly an impressive performance, even without their crazy antics.
Band Gallery by Promonex
Finally the end of the festival was looming on the horizon, with THE main act of this edition, Kiss. But there were also Bloodbath and Garcia Plays Kyuss. Come to think of it, we could make a little comparison with movies. Either you went to see the Hollywood blockbuster, or the horror movie, or the 'independent' film. What would have been your choice? Here were ours...
Kiss 23:00/01:00, Mainstage 1
Momo: Before going to see some of the best zombies around, I had time to check the first part of Kiss' show. Which was of course full of pyrotechnics and other showy stuff, like the moving platform when the band first appeared on stage. Sure, it's visually stunning.
And the music? Well, it's Kiss, if you like it you'll be happy I guess, if not…
But the weirdest thing for me was the feeling I had. See, I felt like I was back in the 80s', the only difference being that I was able to watch it in HD. Strange. Or not, when you think about it. After all, Kiss didn't evolve since that time.
To conclude, I saw as much of them as I saw of Alice Cooper yesterday, and this time I wasn't impressed.
Baz Anderson: "You wanted the best, you got the best. The hottest band in the world; Kiss." It is true that this Kiss audience was the biggest Hellfest had ever seen, and with good reason too. The stage had been set up for the usual Kiss antics, and seeing as the band hadn't visited France for decades, there were many Kiss virgins present. This set was different however to the 'Alive' sets the band had been performing the last years, the band now have their new album to push at people, and push they did with almost an advert for it after every song. This was far from a "greatest hits" set like the Alive 35 tour provided, and gave us a few of the more unknown and a handful of songs from the new album. Song selection-wise then, disappointing. But that's only music; the heart of a Kiss show is the show itself. The pyrotechnics, the blood, the flying guitarists, the floating drum kit. We had all of that, and it would have been another absolutely breathtaking set if it hadn't all been seen before. Well ok, the stage production isn't so original any more, but surely the audience were singing along to every lyric, right? This audience were perhaps the most embarrassing Kiss have had to deal with. It seemed that no one would sing along, probably didn't know the words or even care. A shame really. A Kiss show can be so much more magnificent and electric than this one, but failures on both sides made this set a little disappointing.
Band Gallery by Ivor, Moocher
Bloodbath 23:30/00:30, Rock Hard Tent
Momo: Yeah, zombies, cannibals, puking due to bad kebab, and other deathly stuff. Sure Bloodbath are not the most original band around, as they define themselves as a tribute band, but it's definitely a high quality one.
And this fifth Bloodbath show ever was as expected: a good punch in the face, with these catchy, infectious melodic lines and aggressive riffs. The crowd, while dead tired, reacted very well and moshed quite a lot.
And of course, with Mikael Akerfeldt on stage, we were sure to have more of his peculiar humor. For example, he introduced "Breeding Death" saying that 'before recording this song, I puked. Not because it was death metal, but because of a bad kebab'. And so on
All in all, a perfect way to end Hellfest 2010, tired or not!
Collin: Here's an idea: what if these guys just stopped their constant touring with their main bands and put up a proper tour with Bloodbath instead? This was only their fifth show ever, which means that chances to see them again at some point in the future are very thin. That simple fact pisses me off quite a bit. You see, as a festival closer, Bloodbath was way more efficient than Kiss, who played on the main stage at the same time. While Kiss was being all plastic and directed (don't misunderstand me, huge shows are fun too and I'm happy I saw the beginning and the end of Kiss), Bloodbath's set looked like a jam in a garage with a couple of friends and a keg of beer. Unfortunately the sound could have that of a garage band too, but that little flaw was overshadowed by the quality of Bloodbath's dirty, greasy, oldschool death metal. The band picked songs from every album and EP, thus making this a kind of "a history of Bloodbath" experience, and the crowd responded really well despite the late hour and the exhaustion. The obvious enthusiasm of the band and the usual charisma and deadpan humour of Mikael Akerfeldt (about Nightmares Made Flesh: 'I wasn't on this album. It is rather decent nonetheless') also contributed to the general intimate atmosphere of this show. More importantly, it was a real slap in the face. So now, please, I'd love to see this band again. And not in 10 years, ok?
Setlist: Ways to the Grave, Soul Evisceration, Process of Disillumination, Iesous, Breeding Death, Mouth Of Empty Praise, Mass Strangulation, Cancer of the Soul, Mock the Cross, Like Fire, Blood Vortex, Outnumbering the Day, Hades Rising, Eaten
Band Gallery by Promonex
Garcia Plays Kyuss 23:30/00:30, Terrorizer Tent
Marcel: After the first 30 minutes of Kiss, of which about 15 consisted of music and the rest of stupid banter and stuff off I was to what I thought could turn out into a historical gig. "Maybe, just maybe, if we are very lucky we will get to see Nick Oliveri and Brant Bjork join Garcia on stage. They are here after all, and Brant Bjork has joined Garcia on stage in May already", I kept murmuring to myself. Well, did they join? Read on…
I first saw Garcia Plays Kyuss in April at Roadburn where they came across as an upgraded karaoke band. Musically and vocally perfect but devoid of any feeling and chemistry. But that was their first gig together and now we're a couple of months and gigs further down the road. First thing that showed was that the band had grown and operated more loosely.
Both band and crowd were totally into it. Especially Garcia, who must have gone through at least five microphone stands. Putting his full weight on them, and he has gained quite a bit of weight over the years, the mic stands folded like paper. But this didn't deter him of tearing the Terrorizer tent apart. First highlight of the set came when a couple of songs into the set Nick Olivieri replaced Jacques de Haard (Agua De Annique, ex-Celestial Season) on bass to play along to, I think it was, "Thumb", but I could be totally off here. This first highlight already brought the house down but was nothing compared to when even further on in the set Nick was brought back once more, but this time along with Brant Bjork, who replaced Rob Snijders (Agua De Annique, ex-Kong) for blistering versions of "Gardenia" and "Green Machine". Who would have thought to be able to see three quarters of the Blues For The Red Sun line-up perform together again some time? Not me for sure. And I am sure not anyone present. The renditions of "Gardenia" and "Green Machine" were the true highlights of the festival for me song-wise.
Check out some vids uploaded by fans:
Due to the brilliant reception Garcia Plays Kyuss got the band played 80 minutes instead of the allotted 60. And when they came back for an encore after their 80 minutes the organization decided to unfortunately pull the plug on the band, much to the chagrin of everyone present. Come on, let a band that deserved the entire appraisal they got that night play one or two encores to shows their appreciation. What's two songs extra when the band already played 80 minutes?
Afraid that those peole in the Terrorizer tent would miss the last couple of extremely bad renditions of Kiss classics?
Ah well, Garcia Plays Kyuss was the highlight of the weekend for me personally together with Y&T.
Still with my head in the clouds because of having seen such historical gig due to "Gardenia" and "Green Machine" renditions, off to my tent I walked humming bits of "100 Degrees", "El Rodeo", "Freedom Run", "Green Machine" and the like.
wrathchild: Clearly, Hellfest 2010 was the best edition of the four I attended, not because of any particular band but rather because of the intelligent running order that made it hard to find a moment with nothing of interest to watch. All the improvements made on the festival and the camping grounds were appreciated, plus the weather was good so really, there's nothing to complain about. The most important fact in my opinion is that the Hellfest team is now ready to welcome bands with big stage set-ups such as Alice Cooper and Kiss. Sure, these two tend to be more like a show you have to watch and where the music is optional, but well, there's like a hundred bands there for the music I love!
Marcel: Three days of Hellfest once again proved that this is still by far the best, non-specialized, metal festival in Europe. This year's line-up was by far the best Hellfest ever had since there was something for everyone.
Once again the organization has learned from the previous edition, thus boding well for next. Of course everything still wasn't perfect, unfortunately.
The smaller problems for me being:
Glasses weren't rinsed every time one bought a drink.
There was only one bar (opposite the mainstages) where you could get normal festival beer and soft drinks. Please serve both at all bars, and have bars located nearer to the Terrorizer and Rock Hard Tents as well.
But the biggest problem actually was:
That both the Saturday and Sunday were way too crowded for the size of the festival area. I know a festival wants to grow. But that isn't possible at the current location. Really, 20,000 people is the maximum crowd size this terrain can hold, and not a soul more.
Except for those three points everything went smoothly. And the line-up sure as Hell made up for it.
It should be clear to everyone how dear I hold Hellfest since it is THE ONLY multiple day open air festival I attend. I am even willing to overcome my aversion to camping for Hellfest.
And finally another Hellfest has come and gone.
Now we have one year (well, a bit less) to wait to attend Hellfest 2011, with already Coroner confirmed to be playing there for their reunion show!
Once again, thanks to the Hellfest Team, for the huge work they put into this really successful fifth edition!
Also, thanks a lot to our very own Jeff and to Roger Wessier!
Thanks and cheers to the Metalstormers who were there with us, and to all the people that we met during the weekend.
See you next year!
Everything written by Baz Anderson, Collin, Darkside Momo, Marcel Hubregtse, Promonex and wrathchild.
With some bonus parts written by Lucas and Otto.
All pictures by Baz Anderson, Darkside Momo, Ivor, Moocher and Promonex.
Edited by Darkside Momo (great additional proofreading by Promonex).
Photos by Baz Anderson, Darkside Momo, Ivor, Moocher and Promonex. All right reserved, do not use without permission.
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