How to pass perfectionism? This year´s edition was perfect. It´s a festival for all generations to enjoy the best line-up in the midth of the best decoration and accomodation and the best infrastructure. A festival doesn´t get better in dust clouds or mud, a festival gets better with the resonance between the organisation and the spectators. In my opinion, there were 5-10000 people too much on the festival ground so you had to que up for quite a long time for a lot of things. I know worser places to wait.
Malemort opened our festival with a warehouse full of Metal sung in French. We appreciated the Thrash Metal tunes and the better way for them is to get a clear musical direction.
Drakwald is the french answer to Eluveitie. More Death Metal and less Folk, but close to perfection.
Bunkum instead of Mos Generator at the Mainstage was a good choice for us. They really cleaned off the Warzone with classic and old school Hardcore performed as a strong unit on stage.
After seeing them four times it was a bigger pleasure to talk, drink and pose with the Mos Generator.
Bukowski / Mainstage 1
The French Bukowski offered a surprisingly good concert and an interesting style mix between Rock and grooving Hardcore with a strong performance on stage.
Spermbirds / Warzone
Ze Germans and ze former GI Lee Hollis were and still are an unbeatable live band, no matter if the play in front of 50 or 5000 spectators. And if you manage to move 5000 Frenchies early in the day, it was a remarkable concert. For the first time since 1987 I realised the class of their songs with this incredible good sound on the Warzone. Songs like “Nothing is easy” or “Nothing to prove” just blew me away.
Celeste / Valley
Holy shit! These Frenchies skipped from Doom to Sludge to Stoner to Hardcore to Screamo in just one song with an incredible loud and clear sound early supported by a permanent stroboscope at machine gun speed in the morning. It was good but only 20 minutes to stand it.
Rose Tattoo / Mainstage 1
In 1981 this band created my credo for my entire life with “Rock´n Roll Outlaw” and this song still lingers on in my mind. I honour this band - and Motörhead - for being authentic and real and being the first with the cult of tattoos in a time when tattoos were the symbols for being arrested in a jail. Musically it was a boring concert – a Rose Tattoo concert without “The Butcher and Fast Eddie” or “Remedy” isn´t in fact a good concert- , emotionally one of the best of this entire festival.
Crowbar / Valley
Crowbar seems to me the same as Rose Tattoo and Motörhead. It is a reliable and permanent institution of heavy music in the world. Needless to say the audience went nuts during their 4thappearance at the Hellfest. Great concert and I had to say it personally to Kirk Windstein in the VIP-Area.!!
Church of Misery / Valley
For me, this band functions only on stage. It´s their aura and their passion to play this kind of music. Although doom is a more static kind of music, Church of Misery manages to create a vibe and a groove and also a fear through their music. I cannot listen on CD but for the third time I was completely blown away from their appearance and their aura on stage.
Solstafir / Altar
Four years ago we passed this group within five minutes to join another concert. Wrong decision, because you need time for a Solstafir concert. It needs time for their creation of their atmospheric land- and soundscapes. Anyway, the Hellfest sound is far better than their CD-sound and songs like “Fijara” sounded like they have to sound: bombastic, epic and atmospheric.
Bad Religion / Warzone
To see my brothers in mind – professor, polyactivitists and punkrockers – seemed a trip through times and ages. Same as their setlist with a huge range of their musical career I could enjoy their sing-alongs with a small tear in my eye and a head full of memories ranging from 1989 until now. Emotionally and personally one of the best concerts.
Judas Priest / Mainstage 1
Another piece of the Metal Museum performing at the Hellfest and the band doesn´t realise to leave the scenery of Heavy Metal. Rob Halford´s voice still reigns but his body falls apart. Sad but true and to refresh the Priest turns the band into their own coverband.
Corrosion of Conformity / Valley
Big balls, big sound, big poses; COC did what they can the best: to blow an audience into dust, no matter with which song. Ah, especially with one song: “Clean my wounds”. A really well-greased riff-machine and a band tight as fuck!!
A Perfect Circle / Mainstage 1
A Perfect Circle created a perfect concert, so perfect in all categories like sound, lights, tightness, that this concert turns sterile as an operation room. This concert scared me and disgusted me with its depersonalisation of the musicans.
Black Bomb A / Mainstage 1
Early in the morning, we weren´t able to appreciate the class of this concert, because we saw Black Bomb A so many times on different stages around France, Germany and Switzerland. This half an hour blast was such a big surprise in stage acting, tightness, fun and interaction. Their mix of Hardcore, Rap, Metal, Thrash Metal and Death Metal is worth to spread worldwide.
1000Mods / Valley
Another surprise. Just to put a powerful voice, mighty guitars, classic rock together and call it stoner and let the crowd do some circle pits in the Valley and you get a celebration of the riff, the sound and the power of this small Greek Band. Amazing!!
Heilung / Altar
This was not a concert, it was a celebration or a ritual of Nordic pagan people. Actually this band needs a calmer background than a festival with two or three parallel concerts which create a buzzing and disturbing background.
This band is a constant dwell of power and Motörhead feeling; third time at the Hellfest and never delivered a bad concert.
The Texas Chainsaw Dust Lovers – why do French bands always have such strange names? – opened this day with a superb performance and a blend of QOTSA, 60´s Rock´n Roll and Garage Rock. Good to hear for 20 minutes and than going for Malkavian in the neighbourhood.
The locals from Malkavian managed to move with their Power Thrash/Death Metal from the Metalcorner stage to the Altar. This is a logic development regarding their technical skills and stage acting and the cheerful audience´s reaction.
Pogo Car Crash Control
These French youngsters with an average age of 15 years have choose again a strange name for a strange mix of styles. French New Wave like Indochine or Les Rita Mitsouku mixed with Metal Guitars, Hardcore drums, rap and screams. This band really whopped Warzone´s asses. The first surprisingly good and new music.
Crisix were definetly the better choice than the new Swedish super-group Lucifer. I don´t know why all this countless Swedish retro-shit gets this massive hype although there´s no musical evolution in what they are playing. Just names like Nikke Anderson on drums or Martin Nordin (Dead Lord) on guitar should attract the public. Ah, and a talentless blondie on vocals. Same as Coven.
Grave Pleasures were next and they managed to perform as a new band and not as the rest from Beastmilk as they did three years ago. Now Grave Pleasures is a far more harmonic and organic group with this fantastic Frontman Mat McNerny. The band reminds me on T.S.O.L. during their Joe Wood period, my prefered period of T.S.O.L.
The Bronx performed a true and basic rock/hardcore mix at the Warzone, good to relax and not to get annoyed during lunchtime. After that we joined the masses at the Valley to see Nebula, one of the pioneers in Stoner, Psyche and so on. Nebula released 7 different albums with 5 different styles so this could be one of the reasons that the band took the wrong decisions for a better setlist.
The next hype took place at the Valley as the Swiss Avantgarde Metal Band Zeal & Ardor hit the stage. We appreciated three songs and after these three songs, their structure were clear; gospel with clear vocals, black metal inferno, guitar shredding, screaming, gospel, black metal inferno, screaming, gospel. The next songs were getting predictable with randomising the parts although the audience appreciated this kind of music.
Bathushka from Russia were more decorative in their Russian monks dresses than innovative with their old fashioned black metal sung in Russian.
After the completely fucked up sound-check on their acoustic guitars you would never expected such an intense concert, because the audience motivated Gina, John and Nick to surf on this fantastic audience and Hellfest aura to create an unforgettable concert.
“I got a war” should have been the perfect opener for the comeback of one of my favourite bands. I mean, this band vanished 12 years ago with a truck full of killer songs and start a comeback show to fill the middle of the set with filler songs and a more than static stage acting and a visible lack of physical fitness? What a disappointing performance.
The rest of the night:
Just remember the song “Iron Maiden”: “Iron Maiden´s gonna getchu no mader hau far”. And so it is. And maybe ze Germans of Kadaver will ask the Hellfest soundman to produce their next record, because the band sounds better at the Valley than on their records. The Hellacopters tried to tied up on their legendary performances 20 years ago and failed due their lack of physical fitness. And so we left the ground with a bit of disappointment and the hope for a more innovative line-up.