Posts Tagged ‘Alestorm’


Hammerfest 2009

May 15, 2009

Arriving late at Hammerfest meant that a large amount of Friday was missed however HB managed to arrive in time to catch the superb Paradise Lost [8/10] who gave an amazing show, tight drumming, powerful bass and guitar and Nick’s voice was equally as powerful. This is another band that really booms right the way to your eardrums and leaves them raped, and keeping a melodic tone all the while. Headlining mainstage were the mighty Opeth [9/10] the warmth and heaviness of the music was astounding and the way their timing was pristine even through seriously the technical parts. They played from a well varied amount of albums, some newer songs, such as “Heir Apparent” and “The Lotus Eater” as well as classics such as “Ghost of Perdition” the only slight disappointment being that they didn’t play anything before “Still Life” but it was still a great set list. It was a massive pleasure to see them and anyone who hasn’t is missing out.

Annotations Of An Autospy [6/10] hit the main stage post-Opeth and as a result felt something of an anti-climax and a strong sense of ‘going through the motions’. Their death metal assault was intense but not engaging. Perhaps the best thing about Power Quest [8/10] is that no matter what mood you’re in their music remains utterly engaging and thoroughly enjoyable. With a vocalist who leaves many of his peers to shame and even a stage invasion from a member of a certain Scottish band only heightens the mood.

Saturday began with Attica Rage [8/10] who were a really good band, they know how to entertain and the music was nice and extreme. I think because they don’t have any strong gimmicks as such they leave the chugging riffs to speak for themselves, and it works well, just good ol’ fashioned heavy metal. Even managing to close with a cover of Motorhead classic “Overkill”. Sacred Mother Tongue [6/10]Played well, gave a good performance and had a laugh with the audience. However they lacked in energy somewhat seeming more interested in the alcohol and those who didn’t already know them were almost left out. Grand Magus [9/10] provided one HB writer with one of their favourite shows through the weekend, excellent, clear guitar work and all of the members played well together. They left the stage leaving us wanting more but you can’t have everything. Hexagram [8/10] were one of the big surprises of the festival, relatively unknown they played an hour of what is best described as a homage to American 90’s metal, drawing from the likes of Machine Head and Pantera. Frontman Aaron’s voice was on top form and the band were both brutal and highly enjoyable. TYR [8/10] played an awesome set; their lively, heavy folk sound set everyone in good spirits. Heri and the guys couldn’t be faulted, his voice was strong and the band were tighter than a nun’s… well you can fill in the gaps. Definitely worth checking out if you haven’t done so already. Whilst not to everyone’s taste (even the HB remain divided in opinion) Alestorm [8/10] were very energetic as they always are, they really did get the crowd going, and it was obvious the band were enjoying the show as much as the crowd. Each member’s blistering speed and co-ordination between them was also impressive. During “Wolves Of The Sea” an appearance from TYR lead man Heri joensen enhanced the set further. Thumbs up for the rum swilling, sheep loving Scots.

With a perfect set from Mencea [7/10] the technical death metal band from Athens, Greece. Definitely worth a listen and this team would love to see more of these guys, they could give most death metallers a lesson in fluid brutality. And although not many people saw them everyone there absolutely loved it

Band of the weekend award goes to the incredible Skindred [10/10] This is one of the highlights of the festival, a well played, powerful and varied set. Benji, as always really engaged the crowd with hilarious stories of racist Irishmen and telling us what live music means to them and us, saying that everyone downloads music nowadays and who cares. But no amount of free downloads can compare to a live show, and he wasn’t wrong. Despite having seen these guys a good few times, to me at least it was one of the best performances I’ve seen by them. Benji and Mikey played an acoustic set in the Jagermeister stage too, which apart from the guitar being very quiet (thanks sound guy), was also brilliant, everyone singing along like the drunken fools we were. Hopefully they’ll come back next year. Despite a somewhat mediocre album, along with constant rumours about a reunion of the ‘classic’ line-up Sepultura [8/10] can still be relied on for a fantastic show, relentlessly brutal music. They drew a massive crowd and had quite a long set. Despite a weaker opening as soon as the the classics are played, “Territory”, “Refuse/Resist”, or “Roots” the venue explodes into motion, everyone goes crazy. With giant frontman Derrick Green having the crowd eating out of his hand by the end. One hell of a show.

Closing official proceedings were Saxon [8/10] the band played their songs fantastically. Loud, heavy, and not a sloppy moment exactly what you’d expect from such legends of heavy metal. Some people however said they felt that Saxon did not make the crowd feel so involved, that they just played the songs, not much showmanship. For this writer the songs and the extreme energy the band put into playing is more than enough, and Biff’s talking kept the crowd involved. They played many classics, “Denim And Leather” and “Princess Of The Night” for example, and a few new songs from “Into The Labyrinth”. Overall it was a great show from these extremely skilled musicians. Despite being billed at 1 am on Sunday morning the crowds still showed out for Cathedral [8/10] It may have been because of our positioning right next to one of the speakers, but it was one of the loudest gigs RC has ever experienced, their booming riffs crushed the audience. Lee Dorrian is a very energetic front man, and the band were as good as perfect, keep it up guys.

The festival as a whole had great positive energy and all in sight were content with debaucherous nature of the event. A smaller event than download, and a much easier going atmosphere which was aided by the incredible weather. The accommodations helped, real beds giving all a better rest than camping at most festivals, fridges for all you could think to stock, and some cooking facilities also gave the whole time a very comfortable feeling. The stages were ample sized, the sound generally great each band through and enough space to cram everyone in when needed. There was a small outside Jagermeister stage well placed just outside and in-between the two main stages, occasionally they would pass a bottle of Jager around the crowd although this wouldn’t often get past the front couple of rows. Having real toilets (and clean ones at that!) was a novelty rarely seen in festivals and was a very welcome change. Other facilities were good, a café with respectable food, the arcade was great fun and thousands of different games to play, lots of merchandise stalls and even a corner shop stacked with alcohol and other essentials.

Paul Harris and Jordan Bale