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Festival Report   

HELLFEST 2009: DAY 2



Festival : Hellfest 2009
Place : Clisson
Date : 20-06-2009 (Saturday)
Audience : 20 000 people


Offending

This morning there are very few people under the Rock Hard Tent to watch the winners of the Sin Session band contest. Well those who arn’t here will regret it ! The sound is excellent and the band’s death metal is effective. Their music alternates between epic melodic riffs followed by surges of double pedal/blast beats (it has to be mentioned that the drummer is very impressive) and some more hardcore riffs. The band’s performance is overall good and very dense. Jesus, the shaved head and bearded singer, is very good and his voice reminds us of Glen Benton’s (Deicide) only a little less bold. His communication with the crowd is also quite friendly. We only regret the fact that there were no guitar solos and that it might have been better to see them in a venue, or at least at night. Hopefully, Offending will release an album soon and we will be able to see them again closer to home ! Se – Se


Trepalium

Trepalium were lucky enough to open up the two main stages on this second day at Hellfest. Thirty minutes : this would have been the perfect amount of time for the combo to convince the Hellfest crowd of their talents. In fact, we’ve witnessed many lengthy performances by the band throughout their tour with Gojira, which seems to be the logical consequence of a set list that is just too long for a supporting act. Yet, despite the time restrictions which might have allowed for a better display of their music, once again Trepalium didn’t quite succeed. The problem is that the band from Charente’s musical compositions lack in scope. This is what makes their superfluous style stand out the most on stage. Despite the fact that the musicians are quite energetic, KK’s voice is extremely repetitive and lacks diversity. Their overall performance clearly suffered from this element as we witnessed a show that was too consistent. Besides from this, the musicians are progressing and their songs are sometimes quite daring, notably in the jazzy parts, which many other bands fail to achieve. This demonstrates that Trepalium are not afraid to take risks. Why not enrich KK’s voice a little? It’s a risk worth taking for the future. Do – Se


Gama Bomb

Ah! Good old 80’s speed thrash metal revival !!! What Gama Bomb share with Evile, Bonded By Blood and Municipal Waste is a world of ripped up jeans, gore films and pizza drenched in cheap beer. The Irish start their show with a song from the soundtrack of John Carpenter’s New York 1997. Followed by some vibrant and easy going thrash metal. « Zombie Blood Nightmare », « Hell Trucker », « Zombie Brew », the songs speak for themselves. The almost mocking granny type squeals would give Udo a panic attack. But who cares! Who needs suave or hoarse vocals when you’ve got such strong self confidence. The singer proves this by playing it up « Master of Puppets » stylee : he orders the crowd into a chant of « Oh yeah! ». Joey LaCaze watches the crowd of youths from the stage with a smile creeping up in the corner of his mouth in a skeptic tone (not quite the angry glare we were hoping for!). Yet the crowd are hooked, vox populi… and to be honest, how else can you feel when the band dedicate one of their songs to Jean-Claude Van Damme ? Fu -Se


Grand Magus

Mornings are never easy at festivals. The majority of festival goers are either still on the campsite or still passed out in their tents. However, on this Saturday morning, heavy sounds are raging far into the distance. It’s like an alarm for marines lost at sea ringing in the air. These noises come from the three vikings that form Grand Magnus who start their set with the great « Like The Oar Strikes The Water ». So everyone runs to the stage as though they were running to battle. Known by many as « the band with the singer from Spiritual Beggars », Grand Magnus are much more than that. Sailing on through the deep waters of stoner metal with some heavy and even doom metal influences, their music battleship is imposing and cannot be ignored. JB’s charismatic attitude with the crowd goes down like a cold pint on a hot summer’s day. The band are completely lacking in fair judgement as they bragg about canons balls and slaying women, children and old folk without a care in the world. The army captain is nevertheless there to encourage the troops with friendly words of support. Grand Magnus manage to battle their way through the only survivors with the steamroller of a song that is « Kingslayer » and other hymns. It is one in the afternoon and once our ears have stopped pounding, it’s time to grab some food. Time to claim out pittance. Sp – Se


Outlaw Order

Here is a conditional version of Eyehategod without Bower and essentially for speed freaks. Mike Williams is back and he’s playing it like a Brujeria marshland fisherman. We get flipped the bird and insulted… but that’s just Outlaw Order for you. These guys even openly take the piss out of the fact that we might not all speak english. Either way, despite the fact that Mike Williams explains to us that he went to sleep at 8 this morning and therefore feels that he shouldn’t be up yet, the little rebel’s voice sounds more wasted than the night before. Seems like his voice went from clear black metal screeches to a drunken night followed by bold hardcore yells with a hangover. The sound is sick and twisted and they inform us that it’s ironicaly called « Al-Quaida-core » (they never liked the term « sludge » that was invented to suit their style). After a set list filled with tracks from the first album, Dragging Down The Enforcer, these guys from Louisiana have once again convinced the crowd of the greatness of trashy Southern hardcore. Fu – Se


Dagoba

It’s 12.55 when Dagoba take the stage under brilliant sunshine. However, the sun rapidly dissappears making way for a new lunar landscape over Clisson… The sun is dead and dust has emerged. Dagoba are here and everything has changed ! The band from Marseilles did an excellent sho this saturday. In fact, we can state with full assurance that Dagoba were the best French act at Hellfest 2009. Way ahead of Gojira. Why? Crazy circle pits, brilliant precision from Franky the drummer, clear vocals from Shawter and a good amount of banter with the crowd; the band were restless… Anway, Dagoba’s performace was completely blown out of proportion and that’s precisely what we loved about it. The band literally had the whole of the Hellfest crowd at their feet thanks to the powerful and destructive nature of their songs. The sound was also pretty awesome, which brought masses more energy to the songs. « Back From Life », « The Man You’re Not » and « The Things Within » are songs that were made to be performed live. This is something that we were able to witness once again on Saturday. An amazing performace. Do – Se


Mad Sin

The music of the German band Mad Sin is a mixture of punk and rockabilly. As a result : all of the band members have the same haircut as Elvis Presley. This isn’t necessarily of excellent taste but it makes up for some of their charm ! Mad Sin are overall a big folk party, shown through their use of a double bass played by Valle. It’s been twenty years since Mad Sin have been making short songs mainly designed to dance to. It’s no surprise that each of their songs sound very similar. In fact, it seems obvious that these songs are meant to be performed during a 40 minute set, as this is largely enough time to grasp the band’s music. Unfortunately, this means that interest in them is limited. Despite this fact, Mad Sin have very good stage presence. The singer, Koefte deVille, is an imposing character who ensures that the show is entertaining by banging his head against the mic like a madman. Mad Sin are often fun, quite extravagant… and that’s about it. Do – Se


All Shall Perish

All Shall Perish are part of the American deathcore scene that has been emerging over the last few years. However, they remain quite distinctive for many reasons : they are technically flawless, their compositions sound good and the band members don’t look like chicks (make-up, hair sweeps and slim jeans). What are they like live? Although their sound is very typical of the style (death triggering drums, very dense guitar riffs) it’s very good. Only a few minutes into the set and I’m thinking « Man, these guys are animals, I am so glad a came here! », just as I receive a text from our friend Spaceman. Quote : « There are titties flying around at the Koritni gig ». My mind does a 360 turn and the « I’m so glad I came here » turns into « what a stupid goddamn gig, I’m surrounded by fat and smelly metallers here (which I must admit, I am also a part of!) ». Anyway, going back to the initial subject : overall a very good gig with good energy and technique, and definitely a band recommended for fans of clear extreme metal. Se – Se


Vader

Peter and his new henchmen arrive at 1.40 p.m. The friendly frontman succeeds in getting the crowd’s support from the start by slipping in a few French words : « Clisson! », « Français! », « Ca va? CA VA? » ! The new line up kicks ass. The guitarist on the left of the singer headbangs away as he tortures the life out of his Ran guitar and jokes around with Peter. Unfortunately, problems rapidly appear. During the solos, the sound of guitars disappears and only the drums can be heard from the speakers… This is notably a good time to pay attention to the fact that the new drummer deserves as much respect for his talents as any of the previous members to have been behind the Vader kit. Once the problem is solved, we get to hear Peter’s Slayeresque solos, only shorter and crazier than Kerry King’s ! Just before the end of the show, another few words in the language of Molière are perceived, « Merci bien ». A thundering « Black To The Blind », followed by the track « Epitaph » in the Rock Hard Tent. Songs are now pouring out as the set comes to an end. After having pleased the Clisson crowd that is predominantly French, despite the vast amount of foreigners, it’s time to say goodbye : « It’s been great to be here ». Finally. the band make their way off the stage after a final « Wings ». It was awesome ! Cl – Se


Koritni

The Australian band Koritni take the stage in front of an enthusiastic crowd. It has to be said that the ex- member of Green Dollar Colour’s band have made quite a name for themselves in France because of the many concerts they have put on. The combo’s music is effective, immediately understood and the band have good stage presence. Koritni are in fact lucky to pick up some of the remaining dregs from the previous Motley Crue show : a bra flies over the security barrier. Unexpected events such as this always add to the fun of a concert ! Unfortunately, the fun did not last very long. The lack of « hits » or catchy tunes from the band are the cause for this. The songs on Koritni’s set list were too ordinary and similar. This meant that the show seemed too long after a while. Overall a good performance despite the fact that the band’s set list shows the band’s musical limits. Sp – Se


skinless

Skinless are one of those death metal bands with a grind attitude : simple, direct and sarcastic. They start their show with « The Final Countdown » blaring away, a way for them to prove that, like Europe, they can also play Europe playbacks. To be honest, Skinless is full of samples : we get to hear the soundtrack from Predator, a bit from The Shining, and to finish their show, a bit of Bluegrass. Either way, it was one of the most rock’n’roll gigs at Hellfest : the hyperactive singer reminds us of Christopher from Inhumane. Our guy definitely gets the award for best stage dives : never before had we seen a vocalist land so neatly onto hands, fists and fingers (hum) in the crowd. Skinless allow themselves to teach a lesson to Papa Roach in terms of walls of death with Michael Jackson’s « Thriller » playing in the background. Finally, the New Yorkers invite members of the audience onto the stage eclipsing the joyous band members. Definitely rock’n’roll. Fu – Se


Terror

Ben Barbaud, the guy responsible for Hellfest, and the rest of the team want to put forward a maximum of grind bands. This is because Ben and Yoann come from this era of music. It could be said that this is logical since grind and metal are so similar, notably in the family orientated approach of the two styles. However, the term « family orientated » can’t really be used to coin Terror’s performance this Saturday 20th of June 2009…! The famous American band, whose music is clear cut and in your face, just did a gig in Paris with Hatebreed, Born From Pain and other masters of hardcore. As the singer, Scott Vogel, yells into the crowd « I don’t care whether you’ve got b*lls or a p*ssy : we’re all in the same family », it’s hard not to notice that the gig’s atmosphere doesn’t quite reflect such a statement ! Circle pits and mosh pits, members of the crowd crawling up the pillars holding up the roof over two metres high, through blinding (!) dust : this Terror concert was amazingly ferocious and good for letting off steam. Scott is clearly used to this atmosphere as he crosses the stage continuously in the same way that Mike Muir does next. We get the feeling that Terror’s songs were written to be performed live. The track « Never Alone » available on the band’s myspace justifies the need to headbang. Overall : just like metal, hardcore is just as amazingly great to see live. Terror and the crowd were amazing and it was all totally worth it. Must see them again. Do – Ol


Pain

Peter Tägtgren’s band start their set at 1.40 p.m. this same Saturday. For those who do not know Pain, they are a jumpy electronic metal band. They are pretty good musically and on stage aswell. Peter and his fellow henchmen are able to stay clean cut, and without over complication they manage to seduce the expert crowd with some easily recognizable melodies. The song « End Of The Line » is the best moment throughout the gig. At the start of the song, Peter and the other band members happily headband in unison creating a pretty cool effect. « Was that the only great moment?! » you might ask. Well, yes. To sum up, Pain on stage are like a fully programmed machine, who despite the powerfulness, have simple riffs as well as lot of samples in the background. This is in fact the problem with this band whose melodies are sometimes too simplistic… we get bored very fast. So after a 50 minute set, we didn’t really get much out of them and there were no surprises. The pseudo hit « Shut Your Mouth » was also there to please a conciliatory crowd… Do – Ol


Devildriver

The Devildriver band members make their way to the stage during a symphonic intro and Dez Farara (ex-Coal Chamber) even has a bottle of red wine in his hand ! A way to show that he is a great enthusiast of jaja and ultimately giving a knowing wink to the French. « Clouds Over California » opens the hostilities. The band then follow on with their best tracks « Die (And Die Now) » and « Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost ». Consequently, the ground in front of the Mainstage 01 turns into a great big cloud of dust. As the band keep adding layers of greatness, it’s soon time for « Hold Back The Day!, followed by « These Fighting Words ». The Californians then continue with a song from their brand new album coming out under Roadrunner. But for the moment, Devildriver are currently looking to release a live album. In fact, the stage’s backdrop displays the design from the new release, the image of the black owl on a white background, whose legs form a cross. Dez continuously converses with the crowd, asking « who has even seen Devildriver before? ». Those who answer no then get Dez opening up his arms and yelling « welcome to the family! » How nice. Everyone is loving it. The band give an excellent performance and the crowd are eager to answer the frontman’s comments. On « End Of The Line », Devildriver order a giant circle pit that causes once again more dust. The band still keep it going and the bassist manages to spin his hair round and round throughout the whole set. The calm regains after the storm. The band leave the stage under a mass of cheers and clapping for an excellent 2009 concert. Cl – Se


Aura Noir

“The ugliest band in the world!” Here is finally some Evil metal, good old vicious black thrash metal. We’re ugly but we have awesome riffs. This may well be because Blasphemer (ex-Mayhem) is among us. The sound is dirty, the bass guitar is ever-present (Motohead stylee) and the singer reminds us of an angry Cronos. Aura Noir are so old school that their songs are a mixture of punk and the first wave of black metal. The screams are evil, with a thick voice that has great strength and sounds really grimy. Another good thing : we are surprised to notice that the drummer is Hellhammer. As evil like Sarcofago, as honest as Bathory and as crazy as Venom. Aura Noir play tracks from « Conqueror » to « Fighting For Hell », yet the set seems a tad monotonous. Here is finally a show that could scare the happiness straight out of any happy-clappy curly haired metaller. Fu – Se


Heaven Shall Burn

Not the first band to use this technique, Heaven Shall Burn come unto the stage with an intro playing in the background. We’ve seen it so many times over the past three days that it no longer comes as a surprise… The softeness of the piano music is soon replaced by raging guitars. Heaven Shall Burn’s deathcore erupts unto Hellfest. The least that we can say is that it’s all quite impressive. All five band members are dressed in red shirts and play their parts determinedly. Clearly a sign of German efficiency ! In fact, « macht kapput » meaning « break everything » is inscribed on the side of one of the guitarist’s guitar. However, it’s not all as great as we thought. HSB’s preformance is very good, but they lack originality. The bassist tries his best and the singer even orders the crowd into a circle pit, yet the show is just too similar to so many of the other bands… Cl – Ol


Cradle Of Filth

One out of two times reviews of Cradle Of Filth gigs are very critical… and negative. However, in the last few years, Dani and his fellow band mates are rumoured to have gotten better. To tell the truth, towards the end of this Saturday afternoon, the English band didn’t really manage to win anyone over… Dani’s death metal voice could be heard yet the second it slipped into high pitched black metal screeches, it all became a nightmare. The vocals were unbearable and ruined the whole of the show for those who are not fans of the band. One might add that seeing a black metal band on a huge stage, in brilliant sunshine is not ideal. The sound was very messy… On the other hand, the first rows seemed to be enjoying the heavy black symphonic metal whilst acting fully devoted to Dani and the rest of the band as usual. Any positive points? Yes, we noticed the presence of a pretty new female keyboard player (apparently her name is Ashley « Ellyllon » Jurgemeyer of Abigail Williams), appreaing like a combination of Simone Simons and a chick from Crucified Barbara, ultimately adding to the band’s aesthetic. The crowd also got to enjoy a successful « Gilded Cunt ». To fully appreciate the gig you really had to either be a fan or not take it too seriously… but for the rest of us, absolute torture ! Se – Se


Immolation

Immolation are famous for being excellent live. Ross Dolan, the bassist / singer, yelled the band’s convictions through the hatred of the lyrics. The guitarist, Robert Vigna, raised his guitar in the air vertically to emphasise his impressive playing. The riffs are being played at an incredible speed, and without a doubt, these four players each excell at this. The tempo hardly ever slows down apart from during some of the heavier parts. The band are in excellent shape which might indicate that this is only their second gig this year. Immolation had a lot of energy as they played the tracks « Den of Thieves » from the latest EP and some of the classics such as « I Feel Nothing » and « Father You Are Not A Father ». An amazing brutal death experience ! Cl – Se


Moonsorrow

Moonsorrow are an unusual band. Having evolved through the year, it was difficult to guess what their metal was going to sound like live. The first albums were full of shorter and happier songs, whilst the two latest seemed more progressive, complex and longer. It would have been impossible for the band to play only one of their popular songs, however, some fans would have appreciated more tracks from the later albums… The band decided to play the more obvious, shorter and harder songs from the first albums (kind of like Finntroll). The sound was balanced and clear, except for the keyboard which seemed a little too dominant. What we noticed the most was the fact that the musicians looked so calm and yet they had fake blood spattered all over their faces and were playing bestial music. The band were happy to be there and talked to the crowd; they even complained that the sound was not loud enough (comment worthy of Manowar, whom they dedicated a song to) and then they announced « You’re wonderful!!! ». The concert was filled with songs that you could easily pick up and sing along to. Overall, it was a good show, despite the fact that we would have liked to hear some of their later tracks… Se – Se


Soulfly

Only a few seconds after making it onto the stage, Max yells « Blood, Fire, War, Hate » repeatedly and throws the crowd straight into the core of the first song on their latest album Conquer. As usual, Marc Rizzo is bouncing around and playing extremely well. Marc provides the extra energy which Max lacks. In fact, our favourite grizzly seems a little tired and his voice sound a bit worn down too. The band then play « Sanctuary », at which point we rejoice at the thought that they will play some Cavalera Conspiracy. False alarm, it’s only a medley with the song « Prophecy ». We might aswell have dreamt that Joe Duplantier from Gojira might appear, bass in hand, at this point since the band were waiting backstage to start their own set after Soulfly… Shame. What would Soulfly be without the tribal and family orientated theme? Richie, Max’s son, arrives on stage to perform a new song from the album Conquer. Cavalera father and son give it their all on this track. But we don’t really care that much about the whole tribal thing… The crowd want to hear some of the heavy stuff and Richie’s voice lacks in strength and maturity. Luckily, the Sepultura tracks soon start pouring in ! « Troops of Doom » and « Refuse/Resist » are played at an incredible speed, disabling any breaks in the moshpit. A fan is even invited on stage to help bang on the drums. They only give him one stick and the poor guy looks terribly confused… The rest wasn’t quite as fun, « Roots Bloody Roots » was seriously lacking energy. Not quite the same effect as Sepultura’s 96/97 Roots Tour. Yet we are in Clisson and Soulfly have more to say than that. Luckily, « Jump The Fuck Up » makes it all better. As well as « Eye For An Eye » and a borrowed « Creeping Death » from Metallica ended the gig on a positive note. Cl – Ol


Clutch

Clutch get to the stage under the baking hot afternoon sunshine and a mountain of lingering dust. These elements couldn’t have set the scene in a better way for the desert rock quartet from Germantown. Their music is immediately appreciated through quite a varied set. In fact, Clutch’s influences are not only stoner metal but also quite a bit of soul music, which makes the band stand out from the rest in the same category. Each track hits the bull’s eye and the crowd are loving Jean-Paul Gaster’s dancing rythmes. Through an impressive sense of groove and feeling, the man is almost in trance behind his drum kit. Combined with his band mate Dan Maines on bass guitar, they manage to deliver a soulful and almost funky sound that could turn any Napalm Death fan into Travolta. On the other hand, despite all of the positive aspects, it’s a shame that the band are so static on stage. Despite this tiny flaw, Clutch gave the festival goers an awesome time. Sp – Ol


Gojira

Gojira deliver track after track in the exact same order as when we saw them on tour earlier this year. Although they had to take some unecessary parts out to fit the time limit… What unecessary parts? They already removed all of the songs from The Link, were they also going to ignore Terra Icognita? Surprisingly, this is exactly what they did. Hellfest are quite helpful however, placing cameras all around the stage to ensure a good view, notably of Mario’s drumming. This helps explain why they refer to him as the sporty one in the band. The speed and strength of his playing causes so much sweat to gather on his face that he has to finish the set with his eyes closed. His playing is instinctive and robot-like, with a calm face and statuesque concentration. It’s always nice to see how easily Joe communicates with crowds. He informs us that they have just returned from a tour in the US and that the crowds there were way better than us. Consequently, the European crowd stay still in shock and outrage. In face, Joe even confirms this again. Ultimately, this technique proves to be a successful way of getting the crowd going and this was definitely proven on « Flying Whales ». There is a short interlude which includes a drum solo. Finally, they play « The Way Of All Flesh », without the cartoons this time, and the neck busting « Oroburus ». Even if Gojira are more successful at creating a dream-like atmosphere in closed venues, the emotional aspects of the Bayonnais’ music is still felt. The poignant chorus in « The Art Of Dying » is evidence of this. Fu – Ol


Amebix

Once known as « the band with no name », Amebix’s carreer lasted from 1978 until 1987, before the band split to then reform twenty years later in 2008 with Roy Mayorga (Stone Sout) on drums. Amebix’s music is like an acidic version of Orgasmtron. We call it the Crust. A primitive geological symphony, If tectonic plates were a film, then the trio’s music would be the soundtrack. Every hit of the drums could provoke an earthquake. Every plucked bass guitar string could create a rift in the earth. Their music is like an avalanche of rocks falling from a cliff. In front of such forces of nature, the crowd seem petrified. Are they skeptical or hypnotised? It’s difficult for everyone to agree since their music is so original. A performance worthy of the greatness of the stone age. Sp – Ol


Kickback

Kickback or « negative hardcore »… « Hey there bitches » and « we’re gonna fuck you up again » (refering to their 2007 Hellfest show that was quite eventful to say the least) are the introductions for tonight. Very classy. Very subtle. Apparently there’s nothing more to say other than « that’s Kickback for you » according to the hardcore fans around me. However, it seems that for your average concert goer, Kickback’s attitude on stage is as subtle as an evil true black metal band from MJC (youth club). Are we meant to take it lightly? Their music alternates between classic HCNY moments and some Cult of Luna and Envy type atmospheric bits. It’s difficult to understand how this band have gained so much popularity despite the clear evidence of amazing energy on stage. Crowd spit anyone? These boys are real classy I tell ya! the singer even teases the audience by asking « you ok? » and « don’t be too hard on yourself in the pit, you might get hurt ». Naturally followed by a few « faggot » insults from the bassist. At the end, the band dedicate their last songs to family members or strangers in the crowd which the singer randomly points at. It’s pretty tough trying to review a gig like this. The music wasn’t bad, but would they really be as famous without their popular stage antics ? Se – Se


Enslaved

Enslaved’s music comes in the shape of a journey. To enjoy the trip you have to get past the first few listens of their albums and accept sometimes groovy or intense tracks. Their music is aggressive, profound and tinted with preogressive riffs. Their musical approach comes from the same training ground as Tool. They arn’t for everyone yet they are completely bewildering once you’ve gotten into it… Therefore, the crowd are discovering Enslaved live as you might discover an album you are hearing for the first time. The music starts off slow and the crowd seem to find it hard to follow and get into but this gets much better with time. Grutle Kjellsn’s voice can range from black metal screams to much clearer tones. The band are able to adapt different vocal melodies to the songs because Grutle, Ice Dale (guitarist) and Herbrand (keyboard player) all sing on the tracks, allowing for a more powerful sound. This combination adds to Enslaved’s unique character. Through blue and purple lighting, the light engineers were able to capture the essense of the Norwegian band’s set list. Through violet lighting, their performance put forward many tracks from Vertebrae, the lastest album, as well as a few harder songs for the early fans. Do – Ol


The Misfits

The Misfits : another iconic band to be playing at Hellfest tonight. Even if the band hardly ever come to Europe, the crowd is still jam packed. It’s been years since the band played in France and they’ve clearly gotten much older since. Behind the the drum kit we can see a small shirtless bald guy wearing shorts. Not quite the same old horror punk image ! However, Robo, is as energetic as ever as he concentrates on his instrument. On bass guitar it is not Glenn Danzig but Jerry Only, with his skull designed bass. On guitar, it’s The Incredible Hulk… oh actually no… it’s just Dez Cadena painted as a green Grim Reaper. So that’s the horror side of things. The rest is all pretty much punk based rock’n’roll. The tracks are short and straightfoward. As a result, the set list is no doubt longer than any of the other bands playing a 50 minute set at the festival today. They play « Halloween », « Green Hell », « Teenagers From Mars » and « Attitude », a track that Guns & Roses covered on their album The Spaghetti Incident, with Duff on vocals. They also play « Astro Zombies », « Skulls », « 20 Eyes » and « Six Pack » with a member from Black Flag joining them onstage. In the crowd there were a few famous faces, we saw Flockos from Ultra Vomit and Gorgor from Phazm. But more importantly, the music was continuous. « London Dongeon », « Dig Up Her Bones » and the awesome « Last Caress » and « Die Die Die My Darling » were highlighted at the end. Tracks made famous by Metallica’s cover EP Garage Days. After a simple « goodbye » the band leave the stage. The Misfits came, the Misfits vanquished. Cl – Se


Machine Head

The Machine Head gig had the whole of the Radio Metal team completely divided in opinion. To be honest, the majority of the staff were totally enthralled by the American band’s performance. I, myself, your dearest servant, does not share this opinion because although Rob Flynn has great energy and a brilliant break everything attitude, the rest of the musicians were a bit sullen. Notably Adam Duce, the bassist, who was expressionless. Perhaps there were a few personal issues between him and Mr Flynn? The contrast between the two was clear from the start and the combo were acting very different to their gig here in 2007. Rob Flynn is nevertheless an amazing frontman, able to captivate an audience throughout a whole set with his charisma. From the first track « Emperium » the pit went nuts and the circle pits were let loose (always) without any say from Machine Head. Wow ! The atmosphere in the pit was undoutedly the best in the Hellfest 2009 edition, thanks to our friends from Oakland. However, the choice of songs played was not as great. There weren’t enough tracks from The Blackening, despite the fact that the album was more of a focus two years ago. « Old » and « Davidian » still had a strong impact yet Machine Head’s pauses between songs were too long. When time is limited, isn’t it best to save time? Besides from these small negative details, the band and the audience gave a brilliant show, and ultimately, we could feel Rob Flynn’s eyes upon us sincerely thinking « this is awesome ». Amazing. Do – Se


Vision Of Disorder

Vision of Disorder are another iconic hardcore reference from the New York scene. The atmosphere is furious and the security guards are struggling to catch the crowd surfers. The Americans start their set with immense power and the singer is buzzing with energy. The two guitartists perform track after track creating a steam roller type effect on the crowd. It’s a shame that there isn’t much light, although it seems that hardcore bands don’t really need much. The lights are discret, however, what’s somewhat lacking is more crowd enthusiasm and circle pits. In fact, the singer keeps having to lunge from the stage to share his mic with the crowd on almost every chorus. Great atmosphere and absolutely brutal energy, as always for hardcore. Ol – Ol


Cro-Mags

Cro-Mags, iconic band formed in 1981 by Harley Flanagan arrive at Hellfest on Saturday at eleven in the morning. Their fans are there. Cro-Mags are founders of the hardcore genre with their album « The Age Of Quarrel » released in 1986. They are also very influenced by Bioharzard, Vision of Disorder and many others. The band have suffered many line-up changes through the years which caused them to miss out on a lot of live performance opportunities where they could have promoted their music further. Cro-Mags are now back in 2009 with some very motived band members : two ex-Cro-Mags, Craig Setari, the bassist of Sick Of It All and the guitarist of Leeway. The set list was essentially filled with old classics which the fans were no doubt expecting. The band also did two covers of Bad Brains, another masterful band. The sound was good and he atmosphere was excellent so such an amazing American hardcore reunion. Ol – Ol


Sacred Reich

As Rob Flynn pointed out, many of his friends were playing here today. No doubt Sacred Reich are part of them. In fact, Dave McClain was their drummer before joining Machine Head. the impressive Phil Rind also mentions the « awesome » bands that have played here today. Enough camaradery : let’s talk about the music. What more could we ask for than some good old family thrash metal? What about some thrash metal denim patched jacket enthusiasts, who spent all day and night drinking litres of beer? Not really. For those whose sense are still heightened, the singer/bassist still has a great voice. The band members may have been at it for over twenty years, their performing abilities are still remarkable. The band deliver an amazing cover of Black Sabbath’s « War Pigs », despite the fact that their musical genes are closer to old school thrash metal like Slayer etc. In fact, the song « Death Squad » reminds us a bit of « Chemical Warfare ». Overall, a good old thrashing time. Cl – Ol


Killing Joke

Here at Radio Metal we like bands who arn’t afraid to take risks. By perfoming only tracks from their first albums during a one hour set, Killing Joke were taking a cleverly calculated risk. From one point of view, after a thirty year career and still the same original line-up, performing « Requiem », « Wardance », « Love Like Blood » and « Eighties » seems understandable. Especially in front of a Hellfest crowd that is increasingly English each year. The crowd, mainly consisting of forty something year olds, seem satisfied of the set list. This does mean that all of their tracks from the last fifteen years has been disgarded. « Pandemonium » played last, is the only exception. Killing Joke made a clear choice and we need to respect that. According to all of the smiles visible in the crowd it seems that this was not such a bad idea after all. The popular hits are effective and sometimes the calmer atmosphere feels like a breath of fresh air at this three day metal festival. Jaz Coleman is as expressive as ever and even sings along with Youth on a few songs. George and Paul Ferguson remain slightly detached, but we don’t mind ! Some people might interpret Killing Joke’s melodies as old fashioned, yet this would be evidence that the gig was not understood and that the band are not appreciated for what they are. Overall : a very good show that could not possibly have pleased every audience member because of all that has been evoked above. Do – Se


Marilyn Manson

Back in the day, we used to go see the Reverend as ceremoniously as if we were going to mass. We would indulge in the God Of Fuck’s ways as though we were cleansing ourselves. More recently, we’ve stopped going to see Manson : instead we’ve been dragged straight into Mr Warner’s psychotherapy. According to this, Manson has become the modern Elephant Man. « Monstre in fronte, Monstre in animo » : a man who is aware of his flaws and weaknesses but chooses to flaunt them in front of the world in the most triumphant and pathetic way possible, rather than disguise them amongst the living. Then come the idiotic journalists who are always taunting, wanting more than the next rather than thinking for themselves. « There’s no way I’m doing the Manson report » they claim in the VIP area. It’s obviously easier to review the playing of an Ibanez than to think for yourself. Like the Napoleon of his own little world, Manson starts the show wearing a three cornered hat. He made us wait, he made us boo, but now he’s here. First disappointment : Twiggy is not here. Manson strolls around his grotesque and clownish quartet. Ginger Fish is the only remaining original band member. Nevertheless, Manson is in good shape and his vocals are good (although a bit overshadowing). The Antichrist Superstar purifies all traces of his ex-wife Dita Von Teese by not playing any tracks from The Golden Age Of Grotesque or the Heart Shaped Glasses era. The crowd are still able to shout « Hail! » during « Disposible Teens » and « Love Song ». We are also played the iconic « Irresponsible Hate Anthem » and « Sweet Dreams ». Between each track are played samples from the old albums such as « Fuck Frankie ». The best parts were not « The Beautiful People » or the « Rock’n’Roll Nigger » cover song (I wonder who he was referring to… who do you think?). It was « Great Big White World » which Manson sung in a large empty aquarium box. Alone in his tank, trapped like Houdini, Manson manages to yell « I’m not attached to your world ». The tragedy of his own life; having become a rockstar in a world that he hates. Fu – Se


Live reports: Doc’, Spaceman, Seb, Fucktoy, Claude and Olivier

Pictures: Seb and Olivier

The author of the live report can be identified by the first two letters of his/her name or screen-name. Same goes for the photographer.

Translation: Saff, Izzy and Sandrine



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