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Ghost / A masterclass in anthemic and glamorous Heavy Metal at Hellfest

As the summer heatwave finally lets up and a chill wind starts blowing, it’s more than appropriate that the choral chants echo across the fields to herald the arrival of Saturday’s headline band, Ghost. Plus Airbourne and Steel Panther at Hellfest 2022.

Hellfest 2022 – Day Two – Saturday 18 June 2022

Words: Kahmel Farahani

Photography: Ya Cheng

Ghost erupt on stage to the guitars of Kasarion, and there is no let-up from there. Papa IV and his nameless ghouls are truly sensational tonight, playing everything from old-school tracks like Ritual to songs from their last album like the towering riff of Little Sunshine.

Ghost, Hellfest 2022
Ghost, Hellfest 2022. Photo: Ya Cheng

“How are you doing, Hellfest?” shouts a triumphant Papa IV. “Can you say ‘Oui’ for me! This song is one we’ve never played live before, and you’ll have to say ‘Oui!’

Ghost make the debut performance of the infectiously catchy Griftwood as an entire choir of gothic nuns join them on stage to sing along.

Ghost, Hellfest 2022.
Ghost, Hellfest 2022. Photo: Ya Cheng

From beginning to end, it’s a masterclass in anthemic and glamorous Metal, and it goes over a storm here in Hellfest.

Ghost, Hellfest 2022
Ghost, Hellfest 2022. Photo: Ya Cheng

As the rain begins to fall and temperatures keep dropping, it’s only appropriate that the last band on mainstage tonight came to bring their own Aussie brand of rock and roll fire.

Airborne explode onto stage with the energy of men possessed and proceed to headbang their way around the stage riffing all the while. Frontman Joel O Keef is so excited to be here he can’t contain himself, and by the third song, he is already on his roadie’s shoulders, being run up and down the front row while playing away.

Airbourne, Hellfest 2022
Airbourne, Hellfest 2022

It’s a stripped-back, bare-bones salute to the power of three chords and a ton of enthusiasm, and the crowd tonight loves them for it.

Steel Panther stride on stage with enough bravado to make any fan of ’80s glam metal smile. Now backed with their new bass player (Spider), the band rock through their uproarious anthems like Fuck Myself and Weenie Ride.

Steel Panther, Hellfest 2022
Steel Panther, Hellfest 2022

If there is a drawback to their set, it’s that the Panthers take far, far too long talking and congratulating each other than they do playing. Although their cover of Crazy Train is fairly on point, they still eat up almost half their set time chatting to each other or the crowd. Things pick up again when the band invite the girls of the front row for a stage invasion before 17 Girls and the sing-along finale, Community Property.

Steel Panther, Hellfest 2022
Steel Panther, Hellfest 2022

Hellfest 2022 will be held over two weekends in June, featuring 350 artists on six stages. For more information visit www.hellfest.fr/en/

You can read all the MetalTalk Hellfest coverage at metaltalk.net/tag/hellfest-2022

This year there is also a virtual edition, Hellfest From Home. For more details visit fromhome.hellfest.fr

Hellfest 2022 - Festival poster

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