Live Review: Hammerfest V: In Fear Of The Dragon – 14th-16th March 2013 @ Hafan Y Môr Holiday Park

Pwllheli is a quiet place tucked away in the extreme rural area of North-West Wales. If you travel via Snowdon, you’re likely to cast your eye on small frozen waterfalls, big slate cliff-faces, fields of green and plenty of stone ruins.

However, from the 14th-17th of March, Penychain was invaded by a metal mass from all over the UK (and abroad) who were ready for beers and headbanging. Eyesore Merch was a part of it all and so here’s the rundown on the bands who stood up to the challenge of Hammerfest V and how they did.


The first slot for any festival is always going to be a hard one – the crowd will never reach its full potential as half of the occupants might not have even reached Penychain yet. However, undeterred, Goddamn Electric started the afternoon with their bluesy and slightly sleazy brand of Pantera-esque metal, vocalist Tommy seeming to mould both Phil Anselmo’s roars and M Shadow’s cleans. While the crowd was pretty thin, they managed to stir interest with offers of Jagermeister and throwing free albums from the stage. For an opener, they did good!

However, Dyscarnate were up next and within seconds of the trio kicking into their set a question screams to mind: Why in the hell are they playing a) Thursday, and b) so early? DyscarnateDyscarnate are a visceral machine that rips throats and chews on bones, and for a band like that to start when the crowd is so small is a real wonder. For those unfamiliar to them, just think of some of the most technical and brutal death metal, and then exaggerate it with scary pinpoint precision. The guys also had the loudest bass/drums sound – trying to breathe at the barrier was almost impossible, feeling like you were repeatedly punched in the throat. Safe to say, Dyscarnate killed it.

Savage Messiah step up next and throw out their thrash-tinged heavy metal, although never really bringing anything new or mindblowing to the table, but the crowd seemed to enjoy. Vicious Nature followed with their grandiose take on old-school heavy metal and the entertaining vocalist could probably give Bruce Dickinson a run for his money when it comes to energy – the combination just making it a fun set. Sacred Mother Tongue on the other hand feels incredibly lacklustre in comparison, and their fairly predictable metal didn’t really help grab much interest either.


Sansara are the first band to open the Jagermeister stage at Hammerfest and are cursed with a small crowd, who are either too hungover or just uninterested to really show any enthusiasm. While they pump out a slightly chirpier version of Alice In Chain’s style of hard rock, there’s nothing that really grabs your attention.

Deadman Sugar do slightly better, delivering heavy metal with a doomy Black Sabbath edge, and manage to attract a livelier crowd throughout their set, thanks to the cheery and entertaining vocalist who spurred the crowd a little. Fire In The Empire unfortunately didn’t take advantage of the effort and pretty much played a straightforward heavy metal with a flat delivery.

Heading over to the mainstage, named Dragon stage, The Idol Dead play their sleazy rock’n’roll with a slight punkish delivery – a definite for fans of Velvet Revolver. It becomes clear as they churn through song after song that the guys would have probably done a lot better with a larger crowd, the one at this stage actually falling shy of the Jagermeister stage’s numbers.

Talking of the Jagermeister stage, South Wales’s Triaxis take to the stage and is the first sign on the stage of a band that knows how to stir some interest. Frontwoman Krissie manages to engage with the crowd between songs and even gets some sympathy when she announces that she’s ill, which doesn’t really show that much during songs. Bassist Owen also jumps around the stage like a banshee unleashed, and so while musically the band are pretty straightforward heavy metal, Triaxis upped the performance level a bit.

Ancient Ascendant unleash their torturous sound next, mostly death/thrash metal with slight black metal influences (mainly on the vocals), they’re the first band to push beyond the classic hard rock/heavy metal sounds of prior bands, waking the crowd up. They simply put on a thunderous set.

Iron Knights
feel like a metal band that isn’t afraid to get a little battle metal with their sound, and frequently refer to the audience as ‘legions’ and set forth a kind of bravado throughout their set, making it entertaining at least. Back to the Dragon stage, Attica Rage blasts their old-school heavy metal with some fairly technical vibes, with a heavy dose of cheese on top. To add to the fun, the band had their own entertainers during parts of their show – at one point, two guys showering the sky with sparks with saws and metal rods, while during another song, a female fire-breather criss-crossed the stage. With plenty of silly riffs and charisma between songs, Attica Rage layed down a good fun show.

At the Jagermeister stage, RSJ are to come, but when the lights dim, instead of a roar of guitars and a “HELLO HAMMERFEST” we get some bubbly synthpop for a minute, until a sample of scientists talking about the Higgs Boson Particle rings out. The band walk onstage, soon jumping and riffing to the sample like rabid chimps. Vocalist Dan Cook looks ready to assault anyone at the front, while guitarists Guff Thomas and Dan Kentley slam their tools with no remorse. The sample stops and RSJ begins to plough through a pretty overwhelming set – imagine Converge, Will Haven and Shaped By Fate constantly cutting each other up: you get RSJ. Juxtaposing their intense music, songs are often broken up with humorous samples, Keisha’s Tik-Tok and Olivia Newton-John’s (Let’s Get) Physical being just some of the ones catching you by surprise. By the end of the set, one of the guitarists climbed over the barrier and proceeded to walk through the crowd with his guitar held above his head like a sacrifice. Needless to say, they put on a great show.

Iron Saviour filled the Dragon arena and basically delivered a ballad-heavy take on power metal which the audience seemed to enjoy – one tall fan in a white shirt working himself into such a frenzy that would exhaust any high-ranking athlete. Vocalist and guitarist Piet Sielck had a fair amount of cheery banter to keep the mood at a constant high too.

Chimp Spanner managed to gather a pretty big crowd back at the Jagermeister stage, mesmerising a good majority of it with incredibly atmospheric instrumental technical metal, or djent if you prefer. Although dealing without vocals is sometimes a barrier when it comes to a live setting, it didn’t seem to appear here, with a fair few people headbanging and fistpumping along. Next up is Bloodshot Dawn, who upped the ante with their technical death metal and actually manage to get a circle pit out of the crowd. Dyscarnate vocalist Tom Whitty joined the band for one song, helping Bloodshot Dawn to somehow further the brutality of their live set, and they absolutely nailed it.

Next up was one of the headliners, UK’s currently wave-making black metallers Winterfylleth, who came on to a roar of cheers – obviously a highly anticipated band for most people there. If you’ve never seen Winterfylleth before but heard their music, what Winterfyllethyou might expect visually is a lot different than what you get: no corpsepaint or inverted crosses but four regular guys in jeans and t-shirts. Without all the gimmicks, the band just rip through song after song with such a verocity that it feels like the skin on your neck is slowly being ripped away, and you could feel a small gust between the holes of the front barrier. While the band did experience some technical difficulties, vocalist and guitarist Christopher Naughton joked about ‘finally’ being able to play near a Papa John’s, which was met with laughter. They just put on amazing show that made the stage feel that bit bigger than it really was.

After that, Lifer came on to another lot of cheers and simply played an impressive set with their straight-up metal. The crowd seemed to love them and they no doubt made themselves a fair amount of new admirers that night.

Back at the Dragon stage, Germany’s thrash veterans Destruction are next, and you can feel the electricity of the crowd’s anticipation. Eventually the band walk onstage to excitable Destructioncrowd, but what you don’t expect is just THREE people – usually there is a second guitarist but Mike Sifringer is the only six-stringer onstage. All doubts were cast aside once they opened with Thrash ‘til Death, instantly injecting the crowd with adrenaline and sounding pretty perfect – gaining even more enthusiasm from the crowd when they played another fan favourite Nailed To The Cross. Destruction were just perfect and being short of one guitarist did nothing to hold them back, the aggression, the heaviness and the speed were all present and delivered without a hitch. If you love your thrash metal, and haven’t seen Destruction, then you’ve got something to add to your bucket list.


The third day of Hammerfest V was a breaking point for a lot of people with hangovers, finally feeling it catch up with them, yet OAF was the ideal remedy to the problem. A two-man band and offered the most bizarre set of the weekend. On drums and backing vocalsOAF is James Rayment, dressed like a 50’s dad in a woolly sweater, tie, trousers and smart shoes with his hair slicked back; while on bass and lead vocals Dom Lawson, who looks like Corpsegrinder’s friendlier brother. This odd mix caught a lot of people’s attention, and so did their comedic take on punk meets prog, with song titles like Wanking With A Fistful Of Shit and Fuck Off Seagull (which featured guest vocals from Evil Scarecrow’s Dr. Hell), and a lot of dry commentary inbetween, often with the crowd. The whole crowd was in stitches and OAF were just the perfect start to the day.

Next up was a more serious matter, this time Flayed Disciple, who churn out a gruelling version of technical death metal that never lets you settle comfortably – a groove might last seven seconds before they spiral into another extreme direction. Vocalist Tim Whyte looks like a madman with his poses and facial expression, which sort of adds to the insanity of their music – especially during The Westboro Massacre. It’s pretty unfathomable to think of any complaints with a band that played as they did and it’s probably safe to say they won some new fans in the crowd.

Driven took to the stage next and for the most part sort of flopped in comparison to the two previous bands; which probably wasn’t helped by their easy-listening rock’n’roll style. Despite this, they eventually won the crowd over and loosened them up, even getting a big number of the audience to partake in a huge conga circle, which eventually morphed into a circle pit – which was pretty astonishing to see happen so early in the day, and so you couldn’t help but respect the band for their efforts and determination.

Monument followed with a sort of mix of power and old-school metal (just think Judas Priest and Iron Maiden), and while the vocalist, Peter Ellis, had a lot of flair in his performance and crowd interaction, the crowd stayed at a timid mood throughout – but did fill out a lot more by the end of the set. They also cranked out a pretty great cover of Deep Purple’s Black Night. Bull Riff Stampede came on next and gifted the audience with a nice mix of thrash and death metal, which got them a decent turnout.

Then Making Monsters arrived and it seemed that if there had been a bigger audience, the band would have had a much warmer reception than they got, ultimately left with a tough crowd. Providing metalcore with more interesting twists, the band clearly tried their best to get a reaction which never really came, despite vocalist Emma’s pretty intense activity onstage and impressive mix of cleans, screams and growls, and the performance of the band was flawless. It really seemed like a case of the wrong time with the crowd.

Oxford’s Undersmile soon began setting up, and during this time you see that Hel Sterne and Taz Corona-Brown are both dressed in pretty red dresses, and being new to the band (as probably a fair number of the audience was too), expectancies were a bit all over the place. BUT… as soon as the band kicked in, it became obvious that Undersmile were simply practicing champions of doom/drone metal – just think of the sludgy moments of Jucifer, lather it with more reverb and a suicidal feel with monotone chants. HEAVY. The atmosphere throughout was nothing short of intense and compelling; which wasn’t interrupted by chatter from the band at all, something that would have surely ruined the sensibility of it all. Undersmile simply slayed, leaving the crowd literally screaming for more. Just go see them if you get the chance!

Serpent Venom followed with their own doomy goodness, this time of the sludge variety, Serpent Venomand delivered a pretty straightforward performance, although bassist Nick Davies nips in some friendly banter with the crowd; a few of which are clearly good friends of his. Just imagine all the classic doom bands morphed into one Eyehategod style delivery, and that’s Serpent Venom. Just a great, solid performance!

H A R K from Swansea came on next and downright blew the crowd away. Vocalist and guitarist Jimbob Isaac, formerly of the great Taint, just shredded, pounded and yelled sludgy goodness, with a progressive touch. At one point, he announces how happy he is to be playing there and points to a member of the audience with a Welsh rugby shirt, and dedicates a song to him – which was enthusiastically met with chants of “Wey-ales! Wey-ales!”. For those who knew Taint, it felt like an immense sense of return to form for Jimbob, who was sorely missed in the South Wales metal/rock scene when the band called it quits. H A R K made a triumphant stand and just conquered the audience.

Heading over to the Dragon stage, Candlemass are soon to hit the stage and the anxiety is almost torture, especially when they run a little late. Yet as soon as the band strides Candlemassonstage, joyful cheers are screamed towards them. Even though the majority of its members are old enough to be grandfathers now, Candlemass are rocking just as hard as much as the younger bands and vocalist Mats Levén proves himself more than worthy of standing in the frontman spotlight. Although their set is short, they manage to squeeze in many of the fan favourites like Solitude, Black As Time and At The Gallows End. Just a brilliant set by the doom legends.

Saint Vitus were next to be unleashed on the Hammerfest crowd next with their more stoner/heavy metal style of doom, which was just as warmly welcome too. Wino had the Saint Vitusthousand mile stare and looked like he could rip heads off at any moment, while guitarist Dave Chandler seemed like the most friendly dude going. The band seemed to be experiencing sound problems too, but they continued blasting out a set of favourites with I Bleed Black, Let Them Fall, Dying Inside and The Bleeding Ground. And when it comes to soloing and pulling off guitar stunts, Dave seems too bring everything to the table; at moments biting the strings, sliding the guitar with his bracelet and an array of others. There was also a point where security began grabbing people near the front due to smoking, which angered the band into telling the security to leave them be – which seemed to work from a distance. Saint Vitus was everything you’d expect them to be and more, truly stunning.

Last up was the infamous (and rightly so) Napalm Death, the Birmingham grinders brought the the day to brutal end, leaving barely any room between songs for you to breathe (apart from two or three gaps where Barney explained viewpoints and song meanings). The crowd simply lost it throughout too with a sea of swinging heads, flying fists and a myriad of crowdsurfers; which seemed to be cultivated in Barney’s unpredictable and chaotic domination of the stage. The only unfortunate thing was that because of a recurring lateness of bands coming on, the set was fairly short, but not without playing the greats like Scum, Suffer The Children, Silence Is Deafening and the legendary You Suffer. Once they finished, walking offstage and the lights came back on, all you could see was sweaty but grinning faces, bringing Hammerfest V to a great end.

Review by RichReviewz

NEWS: Palms Announce Release Date For Debut

Calling all Deftones and Isis fans: Palms, made up by Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and ex-Isis members Jeff Caxide, Aaron Harris and Bryant Clifford Meyer, have finally announced a release date for their debut album!

The album is set to be unleashed on the world on 25th June, 2013. And if that’s not enough, the debut will be released via Mike Patton’s own Ipecac Recordings, which can only mean good things.

Aaron Harris explains the formation of the band:

“Clifford, Jeff and I started Palms a little over a year ago out of a desire to continue making music together after Isis ended. Chino joined shortly after and our sound took shape from there. We’ve worked really hard on this first release and are excited for people to hear it. It’s nice to be back behind the drum kit, and with this lineup.”

While a lot of us Deftones fans are still yearning for new Team Sleep material, or maybe a full-length Crosses album, this seems to be Moreno’s current focus. This time, if judging by the undeniably large Isis influence that will entail from this line-up, we may well hear Moreno experiment with the post-metal/sludge genres, which will be interesting to say the least. Or, the guys may well just catch us all by surprise by creating something completely unexpected.

Are you excited for this release? What are your predictions for the outcome of this meeting of minds? Let us know!

NEWS: Nine Inch Nails Return!

You read it right! Trent Reznor announced yesterday that his legendary industrial-rock brainchild Nine Inch Nails would be reforming to tour again, starting this summer.

Trent Reznor decided to give the band a break in 2009 and proceeded through the following years by concentrating on How To Destroy Angels (with his wife Mariqueen Maandig) and producing award-winning soundtracks with Atticus Ross for The Social Network and the US/UK version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattooas well as announcing a collaboration with Dr. Dre’s company Beats to work on a new music-streaming platform.

However, it’s 2013 and Nine Inch Nails are BACK. To confirm this, Reznor has even announced who will be within the band’s ranks:

“The band is reinventing itself from scratch and will be comprised of Eric Avery, Adrian Belew, Alessandro Cortini, Josh Eustis, Ilan Rubin, and me. The first shows will begin this summer, followed by a full-on arena tour of the US this fall, and lots of other dates worldwide to follow through 2014.”

Unfortunately, while it seems that guitarist Robin Finck, a favourite among many fans, won’t be appearing on this stretch of NIN’s history, it’s good to see that keybaordist Alessandro Cortini and drummer Ilan Rubin are returning to the fold again.

So does this mean a possible new album in the near future? Will it be another “Ghosts I-IV” project, or a more rock-orientated” The Slip”? Who knows, but this return to touring alone raises our spirits!

Live Review: Damnation Festival – 3rd November 2012 @ Leeds University, UK

So in 2012, Damnation reached its 7th year of providing Leeds and its visitors a strong dose of extreme metal and underground rock music, and what a line-up to celebrate it with!

Sporting headliners consisting of Electric Wizard, Pig Destroyer and Amenra; while joined by the likes of My Dying Bride, Extreme Noise Terror, Belphegor, Primordial, Winterfylleth and more – possibly the bargain of the year considering that a single ticket only cost around £32.

The day started with The Atrocity Exhibit, who warmed up the Terrorizer stage with their filthy grind, armed with head-banging grooves and ferocious vocals. Despite the band being pretty fun (the bassist constantly flickering his tongue like a rabid man couldn’t help lighten the mood), the crowd remained still for the most part; perhaps still suffering from hangovers or early hours of travelling. Otherwise The Atrocity Exhibit seemed just right to open the stage.

Thirty minutes later, Hang The Bastard walk on to plenty of cheers, soon rolling into their sludgey hardcore as vocalist Michael Carver jumps around the stage, winding himself into the crazed man that appears during songs, at times staring into the crowd as if everyone had just offended him for the last time. Meanwhile, inbetween songs and during a moment of technical difficulties, Carver is more polite, thanking the crowd for watching or apologising for the wait while one of the guitars is dealt with – providing a humorous mix of dual personalities. That said, the band were tight and managed to stir a moshpit with little effort.

Devil Sold His Soul began playing at the Jagermeister Stage shortly after and provided a great setlist as well as a hypnotic performance as they mixed their soft-loud dynamics and syncopated riffs, playing a range of tracks from each of their albums, the most striking moments during The Starting and Sirens Chant from their debut “A Fragile Hope”. The band were incredibly on point, proving that they had more than earned their right to play the main stage.

Next up were noise-pushers Blacklisters on the Eyesore Merch Stage. Playing to their home city, the band did Leeds justice and they undoubtedly made it one of most talked about sets of the day. If you’ve listened to their debut album “BLKLSTRS”, you might be prepared for what could happen, but even then band managed to throw wilder and messier versions of their already chaotic music at first time viewers of the band – myself included – they took many people by surprise. While guitarist Dan Beesley looks like he’s trying to break his instrument in half, vocalist Billy Mason-Wood shakes and spasms like a man possessed, pouring cans of lager down his throat between songs, even making his way through the crowd during Ok47. They played a few new songs too; as well as announcing a new album in the works. A ridiculously fun band to witness live.

Darting towards the Terrorizer stage, I managed to catch the majority of Extreme Noise Terror‘s crust-ridden set from the safety of the balconies, witnessing the most energetic crowd yet – a moshpit taking up the centre of the crowd below and frequent crowdsurfers, some grabbed from the front barrier while others fell back into the crowd. The band themselves were a constant flurry, rocking back and forth or storming around the stage while managing to maintain a clear sound, inciting the audience to give it their all. The coarse Dean Jones gave his opinions on religion, wishing he had more beer and dedicating one song to the late Phil Vane (RIP); but looked like he was having a great time throughout.

Unfortunately, I left ENT a bit later than expected to see sludgey post-rock titans Bossk back at the Eyesore stage, who had already managed to fill the whole room and so it was a difficult job to wade through the crowd in order to get a decent view. Although hearing the likes of Truth and Define in person was a chilling experience, it felt slightly underwhelming with them being on a small stage, and seemed they would be more suitable for a larger stage with a bigger light show to accompany their heavy atmosphere. After Bossk, I spent an hour to replenish and headed to the Terrorizer stage to catch Aura Noir; who were nothing short of entertaining. Even though the band plays heavily thrash-influenced black metal with a serious demeanour, the slightly cheesy style and the seriousness itself couldn’t stop me from smiling or chuckling – not in a negative light, just that it was… well… unexpectedly fun.

I then left the Terrorizer early again to head over to the Eyesore stage to witness and enthralling set by Maybeshewill. No words could justify just how intense they were; especially during fan favourite Not For The Want Of Trying, the sample of Network (1976) inspiring a few shout-alongs before the band burst into human-shaped balls of energy, yet never missing a note. Maybeshewill proved that having a vocalist isn’t necessary to keep your audience engaged in a live setting and were simply brilliant. Thirty minutes later, Amenra took to the same stage, swamping the audience in their progressive doom/sludge, with help from a projector displaying grim images on the band themselves. Although hardly injecting a whole lot of energy into the audience, the set was mesmerising and crushing, making me feel guilty when leaving early in order to catch one of the headliners…

Speaking of which, at the Terrorizer stage, the audience is noticeably fidgety and impatiently hungry – men and women are staring as the band casually go through soundcheck on stage, and this is what strikes you: Pig Destroyer look like average guys, humble in every sense, seeming like friendly regulars at your local pub or local labourers that you recognise. As the lights dull down and a monologue from Tropic Of Cancer (1970) plays, the anxiety of what these guys will be like kicks in. Just a few moments ago, vocalist J.R. Hayes looked like a friendly woodcutter smiling at the crowd while noise/sampler Blake Harrison looked like someone who had accidentally wondered on with a beer in hand; but when the sample ends and Adam Jarvis blasts into Rotten Yellow and the band start swaying, jumping and looking downright scary, especially Hayes.

The setlist covered a fair range of their material too: Piss Angel, StarbellyThumbsucker, The BugDeathtripper, Alexandria and Pretty In Casts were all played as well as a handful of others. Unfortunately, a portion of the band’s set was taken up by trying to fix a problem with Hull’s guitar, resulting in three false starts, breaking the onslaught so far and killing the mood slightly. The band also finished the set a few minutes early, which was a bit of a disappointment considering the time lost with the guitar issue, but otherwise it was a mighty set, leaving a lot of battered people wandering slightly concussed afterwards, unable to comprehend what they’d just been through during the past 55-minutes. Even though the band admitted themselves that they’re plagued with the bad luck of technical difficulties live, which became reality on the night, they’re definitely worth seeing if the chance arises. Unmissable.

Electric Wizard:

Some highlights from an hour long video found on Youtube:

Written by Rich Reviewz

Album Review: Gojira ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’

Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
Released June 26th 2012
Label: Roadrunner Records

Finally, the wait is over! French metal titans Gojira have returned after a 4-year wait with their massively anticipated fifth studio album ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’. Released on Roadrunner Records the album is Gojira’s major label debut, so expectations were running high. They do not disappoint!

Recorded in Long Island City, NY with Josh Wilbur who is known for his work with Lamb Of God, this is a record of immense power and serious attitude while all the time exhibiting the trademark groove and catchiness of the previous 4 albums all bound by the haunting atmospherics and magnificent grace and finesse that Gojira have become so well known for.

Opener ‘Explosia’ dives straight into classic Gojira territory, opening with a massive rolling pick slide / harmonic style riff backed by thunderous rolling double kick drums that give you little option but to bang your head half-way-off a mere 30 seconds into proceedings. Title track ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’ is up next and really gives us all a very clear picture as to why Gojira have become one of the most exciting and inventive extreme metal bands on the planet. From open to close L’Enfant Sauvage delivers extremity and elegance in equal measures bound by the complex polyrhythmic drumming of Mario Duplantier, catchy groove laden guitar riffs and the very distinct vocal style of Joe Duplantier. Everything is just so cohesive and natural. There is no filler, no unnecessary interludes and no distracting electronic samples or extra post-production meddling.

The most noticeable thing about this new album is its running time. On previous releases, the band had a tendency to over extend the content but ‘L’Enfant Sauvage’ is a noticeable 10 minutes or so shorter than the usual outing which makes for a much more compact and captivating experience which simply begs to be replayed every time the album reaches the final distorted feedback of The Fall.

Other stand out tracks on the album include ‘The Axe’, ‘Planned Obsolescence’ and ‘The Gift Of Guilt’ but to be honest there isn’t a weak moment during the entire 52 minutes. It’s the album that we all hoped Gojira would deliver and it’s the album that has now 100% cemented Gojia’s place as one of the most exciting and forward thinking metal bands of our time.

out of 5 Eyeballs.