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FEATURES
  14th March 2010

HAMMERFEST II LIVE REVIEW
Steve Goldby

What a weekend! Hammerfest was an excellent experience with great bands, great people and a great time had by all.

It all started at 10.00am on Thursday morning at Bow Road tube station and six hours of Mark Taylor's extremely bad jokes, two missed turns on the M25 and a very lucky entry into Wales - we avoided the passport checks as we think they have Thursday's off - later, we were very much ready to rock.

Pontins at Prestatyn was the venue and this is where 'Holiday On The Buses' was filmed back in black and white days and the place has not changed one bit since. What is changing though is the face of Heavy Metal in the UK and it's most certainly fair to say that the UK festivals are now rivalling the European ones for quality and Hammerfest/Hard Rock Hell is leading the way of the indoor events.

The first stage was not open on Thursday night but Five Finger Death Punch had already arrived, despite their gig not being until the Friday night. A quick chat with the band's tour manager and we are convinced that we are in for a treat.

He was already organising the setting up of the stage and we bumped into him several times over the weekend. Or perhaps he had been cloned several times as he was always working, and I mean ALWAYS. When we got up in the (late) morning and looked out of the window, he was there - working. When we left the venue late at night, he was working. He was still working on the Saturday morning, long after the band had finished their set. What a warrior!

Devildriver were already on the camp as well, having flown in overnight from the States. They would fly back on Saturday morning, the night after they played. We met up with Dez in the Stage Two bar and despite having a slight cough which cleared up well in time for the performance, he was in great form and was suffering from no jet-lag whatsoever.

Apologies in advance to all the bands who don't get mentioned in this review. It's impossible to see every act on the bill on a multi-stage festival and hopefully you'll be mentioned a little further down the line as more Hammerfest reviews will be appearing on MetalTalk.net this week.

Sheffield based Crimes Of Passion were the second act of the festival on Stage Three after Fury Of Waters had opened. The original billing had to be shuffled as CoP got stuck in traffic but what a great start to the night it was. CoP's brand of melodic power metal really got the crowd going and they are surely deserving of a bigger stage. Hopefully they'll be on one next time round. Soaring guitar solos, strong songs and massive hooklines are the CoP trademarks and they are have a portfolio of killer songs. Catch them if you can.

Glass Artery hail from Hertfordshire and following Crimes Of Passion was no easy task but they pulled it off with ease. They are obviously highly talented and their trashy style of dual guitar riffage won over the now busy venue.

Special mention must go to guitarist Chris Tidey who looked like the archetypal six string hero and made very complex high speed hooks and passages look very simple. Remember the name. You'll be hearing more about him and Glass Artery.

Collapse are a London based thrash metal combo who were clearly very into what they were doing as they opened up the second stage. And two numbers in, so were the crowd. Collapse's music has a unique brutality and a toughness that could give David Haye a hard time over twelve rounds.

But then came the highlight of the whole night...

Beholder were a cover band playing pubs not so long ago until frontman Simon Hall decided his men had the talent to make it under their own steam. And the man mountain that is Mr Hall was proved absolutely right because they've burst, kicking and screaming, onto the big stage and are making a massive impression on all who are fortunate enough to see them and tonight was no exception.

Simon was Gary Dallaway's replacement in Handsome Beasts some years ago but Beholder is surely where he will make a huge name for himself as this band have the songs, the stagecraft, the presence and rapport with the audience to really go on and alter the face of UK Metal.

Arthemis are an excellent band hailing from Italy and under normal circumstances would have won over a fair few new fans but nobody could have followed Beholder tonight.

It is only to be hoped that Arthemis get another shot at this stage because they are a truly great power metal outfit with massive ability and unique talent and possibly the best in their field. They deserved a better slot.

Gentlemen's Pistols did however win over a fair few new fans as they pumped out some clever guitar grooves and some brilliantly original songs. The Pistols are from Leeds but their music reminds you more of Highway 66 than dark Satanic mills. Possibly the best thing to come out of Leeds since the M1.

Thursday night was brought to a close by Krusher's Metal Box and the former Noisy Mother's and Raw Power host had the dance floor full for the whole of his ninety minute set.

DJ's are often overlooked but it's a lot more than just flinging a disc on the turntable. It's a matter of blending the tracks and choosing the right song for the moment and well done to Hammerfest for hiring the best in the business.

Pontins Prestatyn partied until the sun came up and then went and did it all again on Friday and what an excellent bill we had lined up for that day.

Solstikk opened up the main stage but unfortunately the outstanding looks of vocalist Vykki Turner were not enough to avert major disaster. The band's bass player was held up in bad traffic on the M6 and didn't make the gig in time so the band took the very brave decision to take the stage minus the four stringer, a decision which proved to be the wrong one as they flopped miserably after completely failing to deliver.

But bigger bands have had bad, bad gigs before on their way up and we hope they recover quickly from this and come back stronger. And we have to say that they did sound good at soundcheck, so they can do it.

Another female fronted outfit, Dutch symphonic metallers Epica put things right with a spellbinding performance, the highlight being frontlady Simone Simons' performance.

Now here is a female singer who can command a large stage and keep the whole audience enthralled for a complete set. The songs are expertly crafted and the band, founded by guitarist and vocalist Mark Jansen when he left After Forever have a big, big future. But unfortunately no UK tour dates. Hopefully some will appear on their schedule soon.

A very short ten minute turnaround on the main stage was scheduled and next up was the mighty Devildriver and as expected, they delivered in a huge way with a set that resembled a breezeblock hitting a fifty ton truck.

It was hands in the air all the way to the back of the hall for Dez's set and this band is now a finely honed piece of fighting machinery that are right up there with the best of them and are set for even greater things over these coming months.

An unusually long (for Devildriver) intro tape gave way to California's finest firing on all cylinders and captivating an eager audience with a sound that didn't just blow away any cobwebs - it literally fried them alive. Long live Devildriver and bring on the new album, due out late this year.

Unfortunately, due to managerial duties, we only caught two imcomplete tracks of Conquest Of Steel but it was enough to make us want to go out and get their complete back catalogue. Here is a true Metal band of epic proportions, forged from the steel of Thor's mighty sword and flying on the wings of valkyries, destined only for Valhallah. But not before they have conquered Metaldom with their classy style of Manowar-esque songs. Hail Conquest Of Steel. The whole of Metal salutes you.

Abgott were definitely the most intense band of the weekend, despite suffering from sound problems that were not of their own making. Also, the much anticipated Five Finger Death Punch hit the main stage at the same time as Abgott and the crown opted for the American hot-shots en-masse.

But despite this, Abgott delivered their unique style of deathly Black Metal and if those who saw it were not affected at all, they must have been dead from the neck up. This is Nosferatu meets Slayer and this is a band who will be hard to ignore as they progress through the ranks. The mighty Krusher introduced the band and they never let up once, even though the guy on the sound desk clearly didn't get Black Metal at all.

Five Finger Death Punch didn't disappoint the legions who were there specifically for them and the circle pit that frontman Zoltan Bathory created was impressive, but not - as he stated - as big as Devildriver's.

It's plain to see why FFDP are so highly acclaimed and have received so many plaudits recently. They've got the songs and they've got the front to deliver them. I always maintain that bands should not attempt cover versions unless they can better the original and FFDP did that with 'Bad Company'. It's just a shame they clashed with Abgott, to the latter's detriment.

Krusher was dj'ing the main stage between bands tonight and the anticipation was building for the irrepressible Napalm Death who, as always, delivered a brutal set. It was a little disappointing to note the lack of tracks clocking in at less than one minute though and lack of tracks from the seminal debut album 'Scum'. But overall it was a satisying preformance from the band who spawned a whole genre.

Friday night's partying metamorphososed into a Saturday morning/early afternoon hangover that was expertly exorcised by the magnificent White Wizzard, a traditional style band steeped in the NWOBHM but hailing from California. A roaring trade was done in White Wizzard CD sales after the band's performance - which says everything really - and the band were being talked about long after the end of their set.

Attica Rage opened up the main stage and had a fair sized crowd eating out of their hands. Attica's music is purely riff driven and (almost) title track 'Attica Rising' was a perfect example of this. The Scottish rockers absolutely went down a storm and proved themselves to be the perfect opening act for the main stage.

Orange Goblin followed Attica and they came out spitting and screaming, manic frontman Ben Ward's men delivering a bruising set of the finest British stoner rock you could possibly find anywhere.

Iced Earth, making a rare visit to the UK, delivered an absolutely blinding set which was not spoiled by certain intricacies of Matt Barlow's voice being lost due him being too low in the mix. Packed full of classics delivered with a stunning intensity by a band firing on all cylinders, Iced Earth showed just why they have been at the very top of their profession for a long time now.

The band paid homage to the many eras of their careers with a 'Best Of' package that left the masses enthralled. The highlights are too many to mention but standouts included 'Burning Times', 'Watching Over Me', 'Dracula', 'Melancholy', 'Ten Thousand Strong' and the spellbinding 'The Coming Curse'. Who could possibly follow that..?

Sabaton.

Taking to the stage at 1.00am and with just a one hour set, they took over Hammerfest and delivered the most amazing performances that this site has seen for a long, long time. The band blazed through their sixty minutes and played the very best tracks from their back catalogue, drawing on 'Ghost Division' '40:1' and 'Cliffs Of Gallipoli' from last album 'The Art Of War', interspersed with 'Nuclear Attack, 'Attero Dominatus', 'Back In Control', 'Panzer Battalion' and the magnificent 'Primo Victoria'.

Every song was completely captivating and frontman Joakim Broden was genuinely appreciative of the exceptionally warm reception the band received from the crowd. They deserved it for this show as it was a performance that will stay in the memory for a long time to come.

Saturday night's partying was restrained as it would soon be time to hit the road but sleep was disturbed by the madman that is Ben Ward shouting 'IRON MAIDEN - IRON MAIDEN - IRON MAIDEN' at the top of his extremely powerful voice at long after 4.00am. Far more entertaining than 'Holiday On The Buses' though...

More reviews and photos appearing on this site throughout the week...


Click here for the Hammerfest II Gallery

CLICK HERE FOR THE OFFICIAL KRUSHER SITE...


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"We finally get the chance to tour in support of our last album 'Skull'...we plan on playing that album in full at shows next year as we're really proud of what we put together..."

the temperance movement THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT 2 DISC DELUXE EDITION OUT NOW WITH BONUS LIVE TRACKS
Catch five stunning tracks recorded on the recent European tour. Fans who have already purchased the album can get these for free...

wildfire WILDFIRE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCE SEVEN NEW BANDS
Seven more red hot bands join headliners Tygers Of Pan Tang in what promises to be a scorching festival...

rival sons RIVAL SONS CONFIRMED FOR LATER WITH JOOLS HOLLAND
The band will preview their next single 'Good Things'. A further UK tour is planned for December this year...

ac/dc AC/DC REVEAL FIRST TRACK, ARTWORK AND TRACKLISTING FOR NEW ALBUM 'ROCK OR BUST'
'Rock Or Bust' is AC/DC's first studio album for six years and their first ever not to feature their founding rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young

manowar MANOWAR GIVE STUDENT MUSICIANS FROM ESSEN, GERMANY A NEW STAGE
Manowar will perform with the Bredeneyer Schulorchester. "We have offered them the opportunity to reach an audience that we know understands the tremendous power of music, and that they have more in common with than they may imagine..."

steel panther STEEL PANTHER UNLEASH VIDEO FOR 'PUSSYWHIPPED'
Biggest ever UK tour kicks off in March 2015, including a night at Wembley Arena...

texas flood THE TEXAS FLOOD SIGN LONG TERM DEAL WITH OFF YER ROCKA RECORDINGS
The powerhouse trio are ready to showcase their own brand of vintage rock to the world...

pythia PYTHIA ANNOUNCE RELEASE DATE, ARTWORK AND TRACKLISTING FOR NEW ALBUM 'SHADOWS OF A BROKEN PAST'
The band have also released the first song, 'The Key', which you can hear as part of the promo video here...

acdc AC/DC SHOOT NEW PROMO VIDEOS IN LONDON
Once inside Brian Johnson explained that Malcolm Young gave his blessing for the band to continue without him...

sanctuary SANCTUARY RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'FROZEN'
Seattle Thrash luminaries Sanctuary return with a new album and video, their first for twenty five years...

guns n roses GUNS N' ROSES TO RELEASE 3D CONCERT 'APPETITE FOR DEMOCRACY 3D: LIVE AT THE HARD ROCK CASINO - LAS VEGAS' INTERNATIONALLY
This is the first official Guns N' Roses live concert film since 1992's 'Use Your Illusion' concert video and features brand new live performances of classic GN'R tracks...

blues pills BLUES PILLS KICK OFF THEIR HEADLINING EUROPEAN TOUR
The three month tour takes in seven UK dates, including an upgraded venue in Manchester...

tesseract TESSERACT SIGN TO KSCOPE
The band have a new creative energy after reuniting with singer Dan Tompkins and have already written half of their third album, the follow up to 'Altered State', slated for a 2015 release...

primordial PRIMORDIAL TO RELEASE NEW FULL-LENGTH THIS NOVEMBER VIA METAL BLADE RECORDS
"We feel revitalized, the hunger never left and we are ready for another chapter to be written in our history..."

ill nino ILL NIÑO PREMIERE NEW MUSIC VIDEO FOR 'I'M NOT THE ENEMY'
The video tells a bold story of youthful injustice, overcoming social stereotypes and the dreams of constructing a better life...

devin townsend DEVIN TOWNSEND LAUNCHES ZTV AND NEW ZILTOID SITE
"I'm really excited to present to you the new Ziltoid website, and the first of three ZTV episodes leading up to the album release..."

judas priest JUDAS PRIEST OPEN US TOUR WITH NEW SONGS AND CLASSICS: SPOILER ALERT - FULL SETLIST HERE
The legendary British Metallers are touring in support of of their new 'Redeemer Of Souls' album...

tony wright TONY WRIGHT RELEASES FIRST SOLO ALBUM 'THOUGHTS 'N' ALL' ON 17TH NOVEMBER
The Terrorvision frontman has made a personal, heartfelt and passionate reflection of his journey...

off PUNK/HARDCORE LUMINARIES OFF! RETURN TO THE ROAD
There will be six UK dates before the band head off to mainland Europe...

queensryche BREAKING NEWS: QUEENSRYCHE ANNOUNCED AS HARD ROCK HELL VIII HEADLINERS
Following the official cancellation of W.A.S.P., Hard Rock Hell are pleased to announce that Queensryche will be stepping up to the top slot...

motorhead LEMMY TALKS TO FULL METAL JACKIE ABOUT HIS HEALTH, THE NEXT ALBUM AND THE MOTORBOAT CRUISE
Lemmy Kilmister was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show this weekend...

hellion HELLION ANNOUNCE NEW 'KARMA'S A BITCH' MINI ALBUM & SINGLE
Hellion's strongest line-up to date unleash first new material in over a decade...

blaze bayley BLAZE BAYLEY RELEASES 'SOUNDTRACKS OF MY LIFE' DVD
Blaze and backing band Absolva are captured in a performance celebrating 30 years in the business for Blaze...

black sabbath BREAKING NEWS: BLACK SABBATH TO RECORD NEW ALBUM AND DO ONE FINAL TOUR
Just as we told you back in May, Black Sabbath's Hyde Park performance on 4th July was not the last ever Sabbath gig...

def leppard DEF LEPPARD ROCK THE NFL AT WEMBLEY
A stage was set up on the pitch with the band performing in front of beautiful cheerleaders...

slipknot SLIPKNOT RELEASE 'THE DEVIL IN I' OFFICIAL VIDEO
Find out more about the new masks as the build up to the release of '.5:The Gray Chapter' continues...

sy keeler ONSLAUGHT'S SY KEELER TO SIT OUT FORTHCOMING US/CANADA/SOUTH AMERICA TOUR
Ex Anthrax legend Neil Turbin steps into the breach as the health issues of Sy Keeler's son mean he is needed at home...

vivian cambell VIV CAMPBELL TO UNDERGO STEM CELL TREATMENT
Trixter guitarist Steve Brown will fill in for Def Leppard's autumn dates...

haken HAKEN LAUNCH 'DARKEST LIGHT' VIDEO
"We've managed to chop the old song in half, cut away all the excess fat and produce a 6 minute rowdy riff roller-coaster that will surely find a home in the heavier side of our live show..."

the dead daisies THE DEAD DAISIES RELEASE 'THE FACE I LOVE' VIDEO
Get a look at the title track of the new EP here. A new album will follow in 2015...

primordial PRIMORDIAL ANNOUNCE UK DATES IN FEBRUARY 2015
There will also be an album launch in Dublin in November for 'Where Greater Men Have Fallen'...

protokult SING ALONG TO 'GET ME A BEER!' LYRIC VIDEO BY PROG FOLK METALLERS PROTOKUL
"For those of you who can't understand what the hell Martin is spewing, now is your chance to sing along! Get yourself a cold one and enjoy!"...

whitesnake WHITESNAKE ANNOUNCE NEW LIVE DVD/CD WITH CLASSIC AND RARE PERFORMANCES
"It's still hard for me to find the words when remembering that half the incredible band who originally recorded the 'Slide It In' album with me have passed away," says Coverdale...

metal church VOCALIST RONNY MUNROE QUITS METAL CHURCH
The band posted a statement on their official Facebook page assuring fans that the band is alive and well and that "big announcements" are expected soon...

bloodbath BLOODBATH STREAM FIRST NEW TRACK FEATURING NICK HOLMES AND REVEAL ALBUM TRACKLISTING
Sweden's masters of horror Bloodbath are set to release their fourth album of supreme death Metal, 'Grand Morbid Funeral', on 17th November 2014...

ac/dc AC/DC ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM, 'ROCK OR BUST', AND CONFIRM DEPARTURE OF MALCOLM YOUNG
AC/DC have announced details of their 17th studio album, their first for six years and their first ever not to feature Malcolm...

lordi LORDI RELEASE FIRST SINGLE FROM NEW ALBUM 'SCARE FORCE ONE'
Tour dates to follow for the Finnish sensations. "The overall sound of the band is more modern this time, and we've tried out some new tricks here and there..."

bloodstock CANNIBAL CORPSE WILL PLAY AN EXCLUSIVE UK SHOW AT BLOODSTOCK 2015
Cannibal Corpse, Sepultura and Ihsahn join the line-up that also includes Within Temptation and Opeth...

helix HELIX ANNOUNCE TOUR OF EUROPE
This will be the first Euro tour for Helix since heading out with Kiss and Ian Gillan in the 1980s...

threshold THRESHOLD DISCUSS HOW THEY FOUND THE NEW ALBUM ARTWORK ON THE INTERNET
Damian Wilson and Richard West discuss Threshold's new album 'For The Journey', out today...

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS RELEASE 'THIS IS ROCK N ROLL II' IN ADVANCE OF NOVEMBER TOUR
Re-packaged, re-styled and with 4 bonus tracks, the rare 2001 classic from The Quireboys will be available on 23rd October...

gwar GWAR REVEAL TWO NEW MEMBERS - BLÓTHAR AND VULVATRON
Meet the latest warriors to don the latex and styrofoam and join the intergalactic crew for Gwar's "Eternal" tour...

fear factory FEAR FACTORY SIGN TO NUCLEAR BLAST ENTERTAINMENT
The journey continues for one of the groundbreaking Metal bands of our time, with new material to be released in 2015...

tank TANK BEGIN WORK ON NEW ALBUM; BAND CONFIRMED FOR BANG YOUR HEAD
The band are scheduled to enter the studio in November with a release planned for early February...

blitzallica DIAMOND HEAD TO HEADLINE COUNTY DURHAM'S BLITZALLICA IN OCTOBER
Plus legendary Metal party band Dumpy's Rusty Nuts and old favorites Holosade who are reforming especially for this headbanging estravaganza...

saille SAILLE COMMENT ON FORTHCOMING THIRD ALBUM
"'Eldritch' differs quite a bit from our two previous albums," keyboardist Dries Gaerdelen says...

winger WINGER RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'BETTER DAYS COMIN'
Winger have released a new music video - the title track from their Billboard chart breaking album...

voodoo six VOODOO SIX ANNOUNCE SIX HEADLINE SHOWS IN EUROPE
This Autumn, Voodoo Six will play six headline shows in Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands...

michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER ANNOUNCES DECEMBER UK TOUR
Schenker will perform songs from the new album, which features the new single, 'Lord Of The Lost And Lonely' plus all the classics...

johnny thunders LOOKING FOR JOHNNY: THE LEGEND OF JOHNNY THUNDERS MOVIE TO BE RELEASED NEXT MONTH
When Johnny Thunders died in New Orleans on April 23rd 1991, he left behind a mystery...

metallica METALLICA TO RELEASE 27 LIVE ALBUMS BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR AND APPEAR IN THE GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS
To commemorate the anniversary of the LiveMetallica.com site, the band are offering CDs and LPs of every gig they played in 2014...

kobra and the lotus KOBRA AND THE LOTUS AND THE TREATMENT ANNOUNCE UK TOURS
Kobra And The Lotus will be kicking off their Headline Tour on 24th September in support of their latest record 'High Priestess'...

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