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Live from the Hellfest: Saturday, June 19th

After-party in the VIP lounge:

3:00 am: Amaury, Seb, Loïc, and Spaceman left the premises a long ago, but Damien and Florien sacrifices themselves to go to the pre-party at the VIP lounge – out of conscientiousness, of course. Contrary to what the ladies who accompanied Tamtrum had announced, there will be no strip-tease. They didn’t even deign to show their pretty faces. The party remains excellent however: seeing all these drunk, fine people headbang on songs like the Macarena or Skateman World is simply fantastic. The level of awesomeness gets even higher when the lovely drunk ladies start getting all affectionate. This bode very well for the rest of the night, until security came and cut off the music at 3 am. For those lucky enough to have access to the backstage, the party will go on a little farther. For the others, the only alternative is the totally squalid Metal Corner. Too bad, the party had begun pretty well…

2:00 am: Non, Granny, don’t g… Oh, crap. Carcass cut off Granny’s head. Playing before a crowd exclusively made up of fans, Carcass perform a very nice show, most notably thanks to a far better sound than they enjoyed two years ago, an extremely gory staging and a pertinent interpretation.

1:56 am: The last artist to play under the Terrorizer Tent, Grandpa Biafra is getting wild! Obviously happy to be here and enjoying a very good sound, Jello Biafra does however break the rhythm of his show far too often with never-ending Noddy-ish Marxist speeches.

1:43 am: In the press/VIP lounge, an individual who obviously drank too much orange juice is walking around in his birthday suit. That’s the Hellfest for you.

1:12 am: In a new wave, Sisters Of Mercy-ish atmosphere, Fields Of The Nephilim deliver a luminous, captivating show. A good set, nothing to add.

0:50 pm: More than a huge show in the American style, it’s a fantastic play that unfolds on Mainstage 01, with Alice Cooper in the main part. The show itself runs as smoothly as possible, and nothing will go wrong. It all starts AND ends with a ringing sound and a falling white curtain that reveals the stage. A stage during which Alice dies four times, as he’d mentioned earlier in his press conference: first guillotined, then pierced by a needle, hanged and run through in a magician’s box. His daughter is here and plays different parts: nurse… Around him are musical war machines. Alice knows the right people to choose, and he doesn’t hesitate to push them in the spotlight several times. The bass player thus is the only vocalist on “I Love The Dead”, and the band plays several instrumental songs. The setlist is good and offers a myriad hits (‘I’m 18”…) as well as songs from the new album. Original aspect: the show starts AND concludes with “School’s Out”. A theatrical show that impressed everyone through its elegance and perfect performance.

0:00 am: Three years ago, Immortal’s set was magical. Maybe it was due to the weather, to the cold and pouring rain, which increased the black mass atmosphere. Anyway, by comparison, tonight’s performance seems tasteless. The usual tricks (explosion…) are still here, but the band have trouble renewing their staging.

11:20 pm: Despite the quality of their performance, My Dying Bride failed to convince the audience two years ago. Playing in broad daylight is not good for them. Therefore, we get under the tent, where the set has already begun, with some apprehension. But we’re seized very quickly by the captivating atmosphere. Special award to the vocalist, official Viggo Mortensen look-alike, very elegant in his look and body language, who lives his music like no one else does and almost ends up crying at times. The man gives the feeling that music is the only thing that keeps him from slashing his wrists. A band to be seen again at a more traditional venue.

11:00 pm: The VIP bar has never been that full before. Either Immortal are not as popular as we thought, or people have to settle for alcohol now that it’s dark and they can’t play petanque.

10:40 pm: Agnostic Front’s show is called off after 20 minutes: the band’s drummer had to be hospitalized today, and was replaced at a moment’s notice by his counterpart from Born From Pain. Therefore, the repertoire is limited to the songs Roy Moonon knows – which doesn’t keep the band from destroying everything on their wake. It’s the least they can do, really. From the first song on, the tent becomes a huge battlefield, and the mosh soon extends behind the sound engineer and… on stage. Sworn Enemy’s vocalist joins Roger Miret for “Gonna Go”, and their respective crews finally take over the stage for a giant mosh while the crowd chants the hymn at the top volume. The sound is spot on: powerful and incisive. The band will play two more songs before leaving the stage. Twenty impressive, completely insane minutes. We can only guess what a full hour would have been like…

Hellfest newsflash, 10:30 pm

The Tankard serial, the sequel

10:22 pm: Tankard’s singer is a comical sketch that would be worth a dedicated article. Drunker by the second, he makes one wall of his dressing room collapse. At least he doesn’t do things by halves and is in symbiosis with his lyrics. A cult moment.

Earcache Records know how to attract customers

Newsflash with Jeff Waters (Annihilator)

9:52 pm: Discharge is a joyous melting-pot of influences that results in a furious and adroitly delivered punk/hardcore/rock’n’roll. This mix of styles makes the show accessible even to those put off by hardcore. A pleasant surprise.

9:45 pm: In the meantime, a handful of journalists attend a press conference held by Alice Cooper. A press conference that was close to never taking place, since Alice absolutely wanted the journalists to go and see his friends from Twisted Sister! Always the joker, the man comes into the room saying : “So many people! I feel like Madonna! ». Very quickly, he makes people’s mouths water by showing a collector article: a burned CD that contains the first three songs from the second Welcome To My Nightmare album – an album he describes as “more hardline and gory”. If the decision to make a sequel to this cult album released 30 years ago was made out of chance, Alice seems happy as can be with the new songs: “They sound like the songs from the old era did”. An era he misses most notably for the vinyl support, which used to give all its meaning to the word “album”. You’re free to accuse Alice Cooper of marketing designs with this sequel (although we’ve seen less risky attempts, given the flops the sequels to great albums have been), but the man did look like he was in seventh heaven. And as for us, we can’t wait to hear this.

Alice Cooper is about to strangle Spaceman

But that’s not all! When a journalist asks Alice if Slash is going to appear as a guest during his set, he answers no, ‘cause the guitarist had to leave early. Alice is the one who will appear as a guest tomorrow during Slash’s concert at the Bataclan: “Oooops, I shouldn’t have said that…”.

Hey, Dee Snider’s talking about me…

9:40 pm: Twisted Sister play before a multigenerational audience tonight. The musicians are sans make-up and sans their usual get-up. In no way does that dull this great moment of rock’n’roll (what a frontman Dee Snider is!), but it does hurt nostalgia. Some novices are left slightly disappointed that they couldn’t see the band’s legendary look.

9:17 pm: In the meantime, in the VIP camp site, Florian plays petanque with fellow journalists. Going to a festival to meet bands and see shows is so passé…

9:03 pm: Fox sees Tankard’s vocalist try to urinate against a bush, not far from the backstage. Proof that beer does provoke the same reflex in everybody.

Tankard’s vocalist tries to hit on a journalist. Don’t miss it!

“Gerre” has nice tastes, we’ll grant him that

Valérie tells her story to Metal’o Phil

Tankard’s vocalist swears he’s only been drinking water all day. We’ll let you judge:

“Gerre” on the phone with Metal’o Ph… Hips!

8:59 pm: Candlemass are getting ready to go on stage. When Spaceman asks vocalist Robert Lowe if he’s reader, the man raises his glass of alcohol and says: “As you can see, I’m getting ready!”. In the middle of the set, an extremely frustrated and reluctant reporter leaves the Rock Hard Tent to go to Alice Cooper’s press conference. ‘Cause like most of the audience, he was attending the show with goose bumps, his eyes closed and his nose in the hair – in short, in a trance.

8:37 pm: A group of girls tries to get into Slash’s dressing room. The security guy tries to stop them and tells them that they need to be part of a show to get in there. To which the young ladies reply: “No, we’re not meat!”. But before this proud feminist rejoinder, they did actually reflect and debate…

In the meantime, Pastors Of Muppets is setting the VIP lounge on fire! Sometime later, Seb meets a Belgian festivalgoer who’ll try to convince him, in a thick accent, that he saw Slash playing saxophone : “Yes, it was Slash indeed!”.

8:25 pm: As I Lay Dying are here to present their new baby, The Powerless Rise, released a month ago, and offer a big show with a setlist full of hits, each one more efficient than the last. All at once powerful and clean, the sound makes it possible to fully enjoy the alternation of big riffs and melodic choruses. A band to see again at a more traditional venue.

8:20 pm: Spaceman is talking to the very agreeable Myles Kennedy , vocalist for Slash and Alter Bridge, and can’t resist asking something that bothers him. Rumor has it that this tour with Slash’s solo band is nothing more than a disguised audition for Velvet Revolver, and that he’ll join the band soon. Myles answers: “I know these rumors exist, but no. It would be too difficult for me ‘cause Alter Bridge takes most of my time and we’re preparing a new album. We hope to release it by the end of the year.”

Myles Kennedy’s (Slash) post-show impressions

Jingle Robert Lowe (Candlemass)

7:48 pm: Dark Funeral come on stage before an audience already won over to their cause. Consequently, the show is lively and pleasing thank to the osmosis between the audience and the band. But from the outside, the set looks linear. As for the sound, it’s so dirty and violent that it’s impossible to judge the quality of the band’s performance or precision.

7:40 pm: What a terrible mess under the Terrorizer tent! During Unearth’s show, the space between the stage and the mixing console becomes a gigantic pit where moshpits and circle pits follow one another restlessly. Moshers must have had quite a good time. As for the sound and from a visual point of view, certain details make it impossible to really enjoy the music: the guitar are too far behind, the bass is roaring too much, the lightshow is not appropriate… As for the show itself, the band is in top form and communicates well with the audience.

Slash is getting on stage

7:21 pm: In backstage, Slash is the attraction of the day. For the audience, it’s one of the most eagerly expected shows of the day. But there’s still a pinch of apprehension regarding the quality of the guitarist’s playing (maybe that was the cause of the  »assault » he was the victim of last week, while botching a Guns song). But in the end, it’s a blast. Even if he lets a few wrong notes slip (most notables on the solo from Sweet Child O’ Mine), the man has an inimitable touch. He’s not the only one, however, and the musicians who accompany him are all excellent. Speaking of which, Myles Kennedy is one hell of a singer, and one hell of a frontman. The setlist is made up of songs from Slash’s solo album, as well as covers of Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver. The show ends in a blaze of glory, with a long solo on « Paradise City » that turns into crazy jamming.

7:20 pm: Foetus (Ultra Vomit) is on the premises as a spectator and tourist. He tells us, with his usual seriousness, about his disappointment with the French soccer team and about his musical projects. You can listen to the interview here:

Newsflash with Foetus (Ultra Vomit)

6:40 pm: Nevermore is in a most unrewarding position, between two rock’n’roll bands. It’s hard to play after Airbourne, who literally set the audience on fire, and before the eagerly expected Slash. Unwilling to lose their precious spots at the front of the pit, spectators won’t move towards Nevermore’s stage and remain stonily indifferent to an otherwise very good performance and an exceptionally charismatic Warrel Dane.

Hellfest newsflash, 6:30 pm

You’re getting down now, Joel!

5:55 pm: We meet Airbourne’s vocalist right before his set, hiding behind a container, all shy and sheepish, to do some warm-up singing exercises. This is in total contrast with the way he gets on stage and, more generally, with his usual behavior. The man comes charging down the stage like a fury and climbs on the scaffolding – an anecdote that echoes that of the Hellfest 2008, and that for which he was reprimanded a few days ago at the Download festival: the organization cut the power off and only agreed to let the band play again if he would get back on terra firma. Enough of that, Joel, you’re getting down now! But people here in Clisson are a little more permissive, and the man goes straight to the sky before climbing down in the photographers’ den to play the fool.

The man has been leaving a dream for three years, but he’s not resting on his laurels. His life has to be incredible. And just like before the show, when he looked almost frightened, he’s fighting every day against himself, against his fears and his shyness, so that each day can be memorable.

Jingle Airbourne

5:43 pm: Nevermore’s Warrel Dane finally manages to free himself from a long series of interviews. But what with the release of the band’s latest album, The Obsidian Conspiracy, and their return to France for the first time since 1997, it’s no wonder the Americans are so sought after! The man is phlegmatic by nature, and talking with him is quite unsettling: he makes you feel despised when he’s simply giving you synthetic answers. Most notably, we learn that Ben Robson, winner of the Metal Sucks concert, will sing with the band when they stop by Pittsburgh. Originally, the winner of the contest (which consisted in writing your own vocal lines for the instrumental song « The Obsidian Conspiracy ») was supposed to receive a sum of money to go to a Nevermore show and sing with them on stage. But Nevermore’s tour will stop by Ben’s hometown, and he decided to use this money to invite all his family. Now isn’t that cute?

5:50 pm: The show delivered by Italian band Sadist is good on all accounts, from musicality to communication with the audience. Trevor’s vocal performance is very impressive. A good show, if only for the originality of the songs, which adroitly mix death metal and jazz.

5:09 pm: It’s now Anvil’s turn, and the Canadians are visibly in top form! Even the singer, whose voice is obviously tired, performs a good set. The band ostensibly show their joy at being here. The only wrong thing is the overuse of drum breaks.

5:06 pm: Hardcore is a style with matchless energy. During Born From Pain’s set, we once again witness this incredible osmosis between the band and the audience – a trait that became the genre’s trademark. Said genre is also a world where you can find unique solidarity, as the vocalist’s speech to acknowledge his friends from the scene showed. Musically, however, the band falls prey to repetition.

5:01 pm: Florian has been shaken to hi score by Tamtrum’s set, to the point that he’s now having a little chit-chat with the band’s keyboardist: “Whether we play thirty minutes, one hour or more, we’ll give the same show. It’s the same rate for everybody, we give people Tamtrum until they’re sick of it”. We take our hats off to that, ‘cause few bands share this philosophy. Listen to the interview here:

Express interview with Tamtrum

4:15 pm: Danish band Pretty Maids learned just a few days before the festival that they were to join the fun, due to the cancellation of every French show Ratt were supposed to perform. The band is here to promote Pandemonium, a good heavy metal album with traces of FM rock. The band is in great form and delivers a show with a 80s feel, a little kitsch at time – but that’s good kitsch, the kind that makes you feel great and tap your feet and think: “That’s so kitsch, I love it!”.

4:00 pm: On stage, Sworn Enemy are a blast! Shoes are flying, circle pits are countless and slammers are spitting on people. Fear Factory should follow such an energetic example!

3:59 pm: On Mainstage 02, Raven enjoys a good sound in the absolute, but completely out of step with the bands playing on this stage. The brothers openly show their enthusiasm at being here. The audience doesn’t seem to adhere unconditionally to the band’s traditional heavy at first, but the good mood is so contagious that they end up totally won over.

3:53 pm: It’s a universal thing: whenever someone trips and falls, everybody laughs. Always. No wonder, then, that the Radio Metal staff, mainly made up of rednecks, laughed openly when of the stage technicians fell during Y&T’s set. Joking aside, Yesterday & Today’s show, just like this whole Saturday, attracts families. Grand-children are accompanied by their grand-parents, who are delighted to hear songs they listened to back in their youth. Yep, Hellfest is a family thing. An excellent classic rock show with bluesy scales. And let’s not forget to mention that the bassist is Steve Harris’ spitting image.

3:37 pm: The Asphyx guys know their job! Their Obituary-ish mid-tempo death metal is lively, but not transcendent, however.

3:30 pm: Spaceman puts us through to Christophe, Oil Carter’s vocalist/guitarist, who’s here for his first Hellfest. He talks about the future of the band, in other words, the imminent recording of the band’s first album:

Newsflash with Tof (Oil Carter)

3:18 pm: A man called Amaury Blanc a once said: “Ever since I created Radio Metal, I don’t even have the time to go to the toilet. Which is a problem.”. You have no idea how well I understand that today, Doc’…

2:49 pm: Fox tells us that Biohazard’s drummer is said to have hurt his hand today. On the weather front, we get showered now and then.

Flash Hellfest 14h30

2:35 pm: Somebody just got sick all over Lost. We obviously had to share this piece of information with you, dear reader.

2:34 pm: Under the Terrorizer Tent, Wisdom In Chains convinces neither our special correspondent, nor the audience, despite a polite round of applause at the end of the set. When it comes to hardcore, we’ve heard better: neither original nor efficient, and a vocalist who does move a lot, but who also moves alone and won’t succeed in making the crowd react.

2:10 pm: Spaceman walks by Jeff Loomis, Warrel Dane and the musicians from Nevermore. They obviously just arrived and are about to start a singing session. Airbourne’s is taking place right now, and the queue is impressive. Let’s note that the vocalist is no larger than a shrimp. When you see this scrawny little guy eat M&Ms teasingly, you really feel like you’re watching a kid.

2:08 pm: Count Raven’s performance is cancelled (for the same reasons as Skarhead’s?), to Spaceman’s great dismay. Contrary to the rest of the audience, the Man from Space doesn’t really enjoy the French punk band that replaces them.

2:07 pm: We just can’t see Tankard, the sole representatives of alcoholic thrash metal, play anywhere else than at a festival. The performance is straightforward (except for a singer who kind of overdoes it) and particularly lively. The linearity of the songs doesn’t prevent them from setting the audience on fire. Then again, who thought it would?

2:00 pm: Once again, Fox is doing fuck all for the metal scene and would rather complain on Facebook that he wants his mommy: “I wanna go home! I’m surrounded by 60,000 crazies!”. No comment.

1:32 pm: Discipline is a good rock surprise in the midst of all this metal. Tattoos, big muscles, lively, bouncy riffs… The audience is enthusiastic and seems to enjoy this slight stylistic deviation.

1:20 pm: Ben Barbaud, the organizer of Hellfest, grants us a few minutes despite an obviously very tight schedule. He tells us that the cancellations of three shows that were supposed to take place under the Terrorizer Tent are due to by a strike that caused many flights to be considerably delayed. You can listen to the interview here:

Newsflash with Ben Barbaud, Hellfest organizer

1:12 pm: Metal’o Phil is back from his lunch break.

1:08 pm: Metal’o Phil leaves for lunch break.

1:04 pm: On Mainstage 1, the audience is on the brink of boredom during the early stages of Delain’s show, but the Dutch band manage to overcome this threat and the mayonnaise begins to thicken. The last time we saw her, Charlotte was sick and still managed to perform her vocal parts perfectly. That should give you an idea of what she’s capable of when she’s in top form, like today: the lady reaches even higher notes than on the song’s studio versions. The key moment of the show: the already classic and extremely bouncy « The Gathering ».

No problem, really!

12:45 pm: Obscura’s set is much more pleasing than the one they gave as Cannibal Corpse’s opening act a few months ago. The sound is much better, and the band seems more at ease because of the larger stage. One regret, though: the absence of bass player Jeroen Paul Thesseling, who also plays with Pestilence. His replacement is much less jazzy, less metal and less audible. Therefore, no fretless parts. After the set, he confesses to barely having the time to rehearse the song: “I was deeply concentrated. I wasn’t at ease, I couldn’t really enjoy the show.”

Obscura displays the sense of melody that Necrophagist didn’t yesterday. The band manages to keep the audience spellbound, which is not an easy task in technical death metal. The crescendo finale sends shivers down everybody’s spine.

12:30 pm: Lost informs us that Architect and Skarhed’s shows under the Terrorizer Tent have been cancelled.

12:22 pm: Florian meets Pneumatis in town. The man affirms he found Patrick Roy’s position regarding the Hellfest vs. religion debate very accurate.

12:20 pm: Obviously, some people had been expecting a Knuckledust show for a long time. When the English band comes on stage, we witness a true liberation: audience in hysterics, circle pits, bravehearts… The set is efficient and we’ll remember the vocalist’s nonchalance, which gives him a unique style.


12:15 pm: You’ll never stop hearing of this Tamtrum show. The orgy was such that Florian felt forced to talk about it on air while Fox, instead of fighting for the metal scene, warned Crusty via Facebook that he’d just missed something memorable.

Seriously, Tamtrum!

Playing before a metal audience was a challenge for an EBM band, and a lot of people didn’t quite know what they were doing here, but in the end, the show was so impressive that most of them were convinced. Seeing Vikings dressed in kilts dancing on techno music was pretty funny. The band is made for the stage and the set really is impressive. The speeches between songs are as cult and the body language as obscene as ever, and a few lady friends of the band’s, wearing torn stockings, join them on stage to act as fire-eaters and strippers. A wonderful moment of decadence. Listen to the detailed report here:

Newsflash: Tamtrum live report

12:04 pm: Electric Mary electrifies the Hellfest with a straightforward, good-humored show, in a Jimmy Hendrix-like, old school hard blues from the 70s. It’s good to go back to the roots from time to time.

11:45 am: The wait was incredibly long before Kalisia finally released they ambitious concept album Cybion (2009). The prog audience was eagerly waiting for it, just like they were eagerly waiting for this first show in 14 years. When the band gets on stage, the audience is already won over. The event is unique and even technical problems (the vocalist does his mix himself while playing guitar…) won’t be able to tarnish it. Florian talks for a few minutes with Brett, the band’s leader, who notably mentions the difficulties he had on stage. Will we have to wait 12 more years before a new album is released? To find out, click here:

Express interview with Brett (Kalisia)

The press coach. Desperately under-equipped in swimming-pools and escort girls

11:05 am: It’s raining softly on the festival grounds.

11:00 am: Setting the audience on fire at 10:30 am is not such an impossible task! Dew Scented’s charismatic vocalist is pleasantly surprised by the crowd (which is already impressive by the middle of the set) and the audience’s energy at such an hour – we even witness recurrent circle pits! The first show of the way enjoys a good sound. Quite a way to wake up!

Newsflash, 10:30 am: complete review of the first festival day

From Tuesday, June 17th to Monday, June 21st, Radio Metal will dedicate the air – and the website’s main page – to the Hellfest Open Air currently taking place in Clisson. Newsflashes, exclusive content, guiding thread on the site and goodies – follow the Hellfest on Radio Metal! And don’t forget that the complete live report for the three days will be online a few days only after the end of the festival.It’s already the second day of the largest metal festival in France. With Alice Cooper, Carcass, Fields Of Nephilim and Jello Biafra as the main acts today, we shouldn’t get to bored!

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