2.15 AM: Announced as the headliners by the Deftones’ forfeit, Biohazard perform a very natural and convincing show as much with their music as with their stage antics. What is best remembered about the performance is the witty game of questions and answers between the two singers. This is the end of the first day.
Body Electric’s official stripper
Gentlemen, all genitals stand to attention now!
2.08 AM: As Asphodel (Pin Up Went Down) would say, Spaceman likes getting through Diet Coke. Therefore, after going through opposing states of mind by alternating the poetry of Ulver, the naked men and Oil Carter’s sludge, it seems normal that Spaceman should go to the VIP tent to check out the strippers, which he will later describe as “a bit chubby”. Clearly Spaceman is never happy…
2.03 AM: Since Devil’s Blood went over the time that was allocated to them, we manage to miss part of the Marduk set. The sound is only just right and the stage is void of any tricks. The lighting is too bright and detracts from the development of a sick atmosphere. As for the performance itself, it remains quite disappointing since the sound is dull, sketchy and noisy.
1.36 AM : Florian, as the end of the Devil’s Blood set: “Sometimes, there are no words to describe, only shivers, dizziness and a few tears.”
Oil Carter, Rock N Roll, Sludge and Buttocks
1.00 AM: Feeling bored from Fear Factory’s performance, Spaceman goes for a walk over to the Metal Corner. Just as he arrives he smells a strong stink of hay: this makes sense, since Oil Carter are setting the whole place alight! Not only do these guys’ rock/stoner music from Toulon have some ultra rock n’ roll riffs but they also have the stage presence of Metallica and create a real part atmosphere with their friendliness and Tof’s (guitar/vocals) humour. At the end of their set, some of their friends climb on stage with them and they all take their clothes. Completely normal behaviour!
12.52 AM: With some bands it seems that their main qualities from the studio recordings are exactly what constitutes their flaws on stage. Fear Factory are clean cut and precise in all of their albums. They manage to create an atmosphere that is almost dehumanising, as though it were cyborgs playing guitar and striking upon those drums. These cyborgs would also demonstrate more precision than humans, so by definition they would be lacking in emotion. According to this, it seems very difficult to transcribe this kind of atmosphere unto the stage with an equal sense of authenticity. The result consists of a performance that is not too bad but over prepared so not spontaneous enough and even lacking in energy! Even when one of the band members asked his girlfriend on stage to marry him it sounded fake. As for the set list, it mostly contains tracks from Obsolete and Demanufacture. On the other hand, Gene Hoglan remains true to himself and is perfect.
As for a little piece of information on the side, dear drummer friends, if you need any advice on your velocity, precision and double pedal, Gene is making an educational drumming DVD in which he reveals some of his secrets.
12.45 AM: The Norwegians from Ulver are on a roll. They haven’t played a single concert in 20 years and now they are playing gigs at summer festivals! The concert starts very, VERY calmly. In fact, the Rock Hard tent turns into a peace haven. On the backdrop, there are peaceful images of Africa (no, not the world cup footage…). Suddenly, Ulver break through this musical tranquillity as images of Hitler come on followed by the sound of a martial orchestra with trumpets and all. Then towards the middle of the set the band take us into an absurd David Lynch universe. At this time a spectator makes his way into the tent thinking that a black metal band is playing and stunned he says ”Wait, this is Ulver?”.
This concert, which doesn’t seem to have anything metal about it, finished the same way it started by calming the crowd with a very beautiful piano tune of only a few notes played repeatedly for 10 minutes with only a few discreet evolving moments. It’s all very gripping. It should be interesting to see them in a venue for a more complete immersion into the music: a tent doesn’t seem to protect as much from the outside world.
11.21 PM: Arch Enemy have a new singer! Born from a crossing between the old one and a poor stranger, here is Angela Pesch! Jokes aside, Angela’s voice has gotten better with time although she still struggles to really get us into the music. The Amott brother’s solos, famous for their feeling and melody, bring relief to the compositions and embellish the musical parts.
Overall the set is not bad… but it’s not wonderful either. It could be said that only the band’s popularity can explain why it is so high up in the line-up.
11.06 PM : Fox doesn’t seem to share Spaceman’s opinion on Godflesh : “Godflesh just demonstrated Murphy’s Law to us all live. After being late for fifteen minutes or so, probably as a result of the technical problems encountered by The Young Guns, the concert begins. Godflesh is industrial metal, a guitar, a bass and a rhythm box. It seems like very little and the stage looks empty. In order to fill this void, there is a video backdrop. This backdrop might also be there to fill the musical void… Even though the concert is straightforward and the musicians seem quite convinced, despite the fact that the Godflesh fans are present and patient as the technical problems are being solved, it remains sluggish and paste-board like. The performance is alright but we still feel deceived… Could this be because of the technical problems or because of the two musicians? It’s hard to tell.”
10.54 PM : Something is going on. From the Radio Metal studios in Lyon from the depths of rue Sébastien Gryphe, I sense the magic felt by my collegues in Clisson at this very moment. I feel that this 2010 edition of Hellfest will be magical and will stand out from the others thanks to its charm and its most purist line-up over all the other editions. There are less big names and more quality in the music. This edition of Hellfest will not be huge, instead it will be special and memorable. Am I not disappointed not to have gone? No, go figure…
10.53 PM : Apparently the team surrounding Kiss are already in the area. This team is made out of 115 people…
10.48 PM : On the Terrorizer Tent side, it seems that the concerts are running strong. It is in a shadow light atmosphere that the silhouettes of the members of Godflesh make their way onto the stage. A uniquely reforming concert that was memorable, hypnotic and heavy.
10.42 PM : The place is packed for Sepultura. The reason for this is simply that this concert is huge. Fairly quickly “Refuse/Resist” resonates through the crowd. This is followed by the furious “Troops of Doom” as well as a relevant Brazilian jam. The band’s latest album, which came out last year, lends itself well to live performances. It also must be mentioned that the drummer is very impressive and has nothing left to be desired from Igor. As for Green, he is a superb front man who is greatly communicative. This nice surprise ends with a good old “Roots” – obviously.
10.37 PM : Watain’s show is wonderfully dark. It is also musically magnificent, violent and moving. The sound is good but it is still too light outside for the whole atmosphere to be felt.
10.36 PM : Following the interruption of The Young Guns gig, people started talking about the cancelation of the following performances in the Terrorizer Tent such as The Devil’s Blood and Godflesh.
9.35 PM : Things are starting to roll on. When it comes to their turn The Young Guns succeed in giving an amazing show thanks to a very charismatic singer and a superb light show. We now understand why Burton C Bell (Fear Factory) told us that he absolutely wanted to stay to see these guys. And then as brutal as a cold shower: there’s a power cut and the concert ends. That’s just cruel.
9.30 PM : Sick Of It All are back at Hellfest after having been here for a first time in 2008. This time they will be playing tracks from the excellent Based On A True Story album which came out this year. The American band are lucky to be picking up such an excited crowd after the gob smacking performance given by Infectious Grooves. The crowd goes wild on the hardcore tracks as much as the punk ones. As for the pit ; it’s the real deal. There are huge circle pits, people are moshing and there’s a wall of death. But we can’t give Infectious Grooves the credit for everything, since the performance is really good and particularly the singer and guitarist who were incredibly charismatic.
9.16 PM : Although it has been twelve hours since Metal’o Phil has been waiting to take just a twenty second break, Spaceman calls him up and puts Peter Tagtgren (hypocrisy) on the phone. The man who is already used to the festival (Pain played there last year) claims that he hasn’t notice any great evolutions from the previous year which was already impeccably organised. He also takes the time to refute any claims that there was any friction between him and the other musicians from Pain during the Raismesfest. Finally, he promises us to give Spaceman a good beating when he has a moment. Thanks man, we owe you!
Mike Muir from very close-up
8.56 PM : Spaceman had tears in his eyes. According to him, Infectious Grooves ”smashed the hell out of this Hellfest” even though this was the first festival they have ever played. They had been warned away from playing at Hellfest because it is a purely metal event but they thought ”fuck it, we want to go!”. It seems automatic to say that Infectious Grooves’ rhythmic sections are “amazing” and that they are like “nothing ever seen before”: ”they do whatever they like with the tracks, the revisit them completely, they are jamming all over the place and basically we could write a live report for each of their tracks!”. The crowd’s response is immediate and unanimous even though Infectious Grooves are more funk than metal. The singer Mike Muir travels the whole of the stage, foward, backwards and all around. He gets a fan called Clement to come on stage in order to explain what the term “monster” means before moving on to play “Monster Skank”. A third guitarist appears on stage for the cover track “Immigrant Song” originally by Led Zeppelin. The guitarist is none other than Mike Clark from Suicidal Tendencies who set the place on fire during Hellfest 2009.
“Alright, now I can die”
The concert ends in the exact same way that the Suicidal Tendencies one did last year. In fact, Infectious Grooves cover their song “Pledge Your Allegiance” as the band and the crowd chant “ST! ST! ST!” and they get the fans on stage. Any fan of either of these two bands much have experienced this at least once in their life. Even Spaceman managed to shuffle his way to the front and unto the stage. Mike even offered him to play some guitar but luckily for everyone present, he didn’t. Here after in a short interview with Mike Clark as he left the stage in a completely euphoric state for obvious reasons:
8.21 PM : We had the right to expect more from Sybreed. Evidently, the set was efficient and Benjamin did a good job with the sung vocals as well as screamed ones… Basically, there was quite enough to convince anyone who was just discovering the band. On the other hand, the whole thing was slightly lacking in humanity and warmth. The flaws in the performance were not much unlike those at the start of the In Flames concert.
8.45 PM : Ishahn is very charismatic. After having been right at the top of the festival line-up in 2007 with Emperor, this time around his solo come-back has been a lot more discrete. His music is as magical on his albums as during his live performances and perhaps even a bit more. The progressive dimension that comes across in his albums disappears here to leave room for more energy. The atmosphere voluptuously vacillates between anger and calm. He doesn’t play any Emperor tracks but that is not what this show is about. During the track “Unhealer”, it happens to be the keyboard player and guitarist who sing the vocals which are normally sung by Mikeal Akerfeldt. Since Bloodbath are playing on Sunday, we might have expected a featuring between the two. The fact that they didn’t use a vocal track in the background gives them all the more credit. This makes the track sound different; not necessarily better but different as Nicolas Chapel would have said.
7.58 PM : Tomorrow there will be a round table on the festival site with a priest, a sociologist, a musician, some Catholic and Secular associations, all of these under the guardianship of “Radio fidelité” who organised the talk. Obviously, the festival organisers will also be there and Radio Metal will try to be there too. Stay tuned!
7.32 PM : What the hell was in that Swedish tobacco? It seems that Seb is starting to suffer the unnatural side effects from lack of sleep. Usually, the Radio Metal crew are untiring, hence the rumours about us being “sex fiends”. None the less, our bearded lady made sure that his five working brain cells were fully functioning for the powerful Loudblast show (from who we are still awaiting an email interview sent a year ago). The Swedish tobacco didn’t seem to help the Seasons In The Abyss host’s text messaging skills either which went along the lines off: ”show confirmed their position as French vererans. Gr8 state, teknikal trak, big support, lots of ppl, fuck im tired n i wanted 2 see other bnand”. Yes, this is also what we provide at Radio Metal.
7.27 PM : Seriously, we do not piss around with you guys because we even go to see Hypocrisy shows for you! If that isn’t a sacrifice then we don’t know what is… The concert took place in the exact way we had expected: songs were well played, the musicians were not very outgoing but did a good job and the music just “steam rolled” out… Overall, even though there was nothing original about the set – although this might not have been the point – the show was very professional.
6.55 PM : Then there was the calm before the storm as Fox watched the Monkey 3 set from the progressive metal band crossed between Pink Floyd, Dream Theater and Incubus. For this reason the set is of course very clear cut, soothing and has beautiful lighting effects.
Infectious Grooves and Dino Cazares (Fear Factory)
6.30 PM : Spaceman bumps into Mike Muir (Suicidal Tendencies) as he is on his way to the toilet. We just felt that this was a crucial piece of information that needed to be shared.
Burton C. Bell (Fear Factory) looking great!
6.15 PM : Fear Factory’s leader, Burton C. Bell, has just woken up. Incredible as it seems that he sleeps in longer than Metal’o Phil! The reason for this is that the band were in the United States the previous day so he is suffering from serious jetlag. Despite this fact, Burton still agrees to chat with us.
Deftones as they leave the stage
6.07 PM : As the first official top line-up, despite the fact that they had to play earlier in order to attend a German festival 1000 km away, Deftones have finally returned to promote their excellent new album Diamond Eyes. Sadly, Deftones have always been renowned for giving quite pathetic shows because of alcoholism issues which for obvious reasons damages their live performances. We stand reassured that this time this is not the case since Chino is seen wearing a pinky purple shirt and jumping around all over the place instead of passing out drunk every 2 minutes. However, the show is literally spoiled by horrific sound and most prominently for the bass guitar. See above for a picture of the American’s exit.
6.03 PM : They were at the very bottom of the line-up two years ago and this year they have climbed up a few hours. This ascension can always be quite difficult for progressive bands. This is the case for Between The Buried And Me, whose albums despite being musically inventive and intellectual, need to be digested with a few aspirin. The American’s show seems to be divided between some failed hardcore parts and some successful progressive parts. The saturated sound is saturated at the same time that the clear sound is perfect. In fact, during the clearer parts, the music really takes hold. We might have also appreciated a bit more communication from the band who hid at the back of the stage.
5.01 PM : A short break for our favourite bearded lady as he gets chatted up by some Swedish Nationalists who make him chew some apparently disgusting Swedish tobacco.
At the very same time in the VIP tent, we bump into the happy little KMFDM family: Sascha Konietzko and Lucia Cifarelli, who have been married since 2005 and their daughter.
4.56 PM : Ah… Secrets Of The Moon. This is one of the albums that incompetent Spaceman and Metalo forgot to put in their top 40 albums of 2009. The performance is intense but the lack of vocals is artistically interesting yet it makes the tracks harder to distinguish from each other. There are some extremely good parts nonetheless and a great light show.
4.46 PM : They missed their plane and we feared the worst, but Walls Of Jericho came, conquered and left. Although the band haven’t performed for 7 months, we become victims to their detonation of energy as they have gone wild. As a result, there are some monstrous circle pits and the sound’s perfection also makes us realise that the singer’s voice is much better live than in studio recordings.
People and lots more people. We warned you!
4.20 PM : After the extraordinary album Isolation Songs, we were highly anticipating seeing Ghost Brigade. In fact the crowd’s friendly reception also vouches for the fact that we would have liked to see the Finns higher on the line-up. Despite the fact that the sound is a bit rough, their musical interpretation is quite beautiful. It doesn’t even matter that not much is going on on the stage since the songs are a success and the crowd have fully taken to the whole thing.
4.10 PM : For Kampfar, the sound is very loud but quite well equalised. Musically, the band make some very interesting compositions and are able to develop a frosty atmosphere. Overall, it was a very good show.
4.00 PM : In order to fit in with the rest of the bands in the line-up, KMFDM have made sure to put on a very metal set. Such as: “Hau Ruck”, “Tohuvabohu”, “A Drug Against War”, “Saft Und Kraft” and even “WW3”. The musicians play well with the exception of the vocals that aren’t outstanding and the stage presence is also good. As for the sound, it remains quite muddled.
3.35 PM : In his traditional ill-mannered way, Spaceman goes off to disturb the frontman of the band Sigh who politely accepts to go air on Radio Metal without causing a fuss. Perhaps this is due to his excitement about playing in France for the first time. He offers us a short interview in which we find out a bit more about the Japaneses’ future plans.
3.33 PM : Since Walls of Jericho are arriving late they are replaced by Finntroll for a regrettably disappointing show. The keyboards are inaudible up until the encores and the musicians were not always on the ball or enthusiastic. However, the crowd are responding well to the more festive tracks.
3.25 PM : Mass Hysteria is the first band to literally set fire to the place, although without any great surprises during the performance. The gap between the rapping and the metal riffs still remains a little difficult to apprehend however. Either way, the crowd are enjoying is very much (notably during the track “Une Somme de Details”). In fact the singer even dedicates the concert to a certain Christine B., as well as chanting in unison “De Villiers! Enculé!” (two French politicians who were against Hellfest ). He then advises the French football team to parade around the Champs Elysées so that people can throw cream pies at them.
3.18 PM : After The Faceless it is up to Necrophagist to defend the values of Technical Death Metal. Musically, they are very good and it comes as no surprise that Necrophagist is the main reference of the genre. Despite one of their songs’ ending with a cover from a classical music theme, the set becomes a bit tedious towards the end. In both of their albums, the tracks are all very similar and lack the melodic lines that form Obscura and The Faceless allowing a breather. Unfortunately, we lose interest after half an hour.
3.12 PM : In the Terrorizer Tent, Seb has fallen under the spell of Negura Bunget’s Black Folk Metal. In fact he is so infactuated that his strange texting language comes out again as he describes the concert as “incomparabl ass kick” with some interesting instrumental interludes. The crowd is captivated by the band as they observe the performance calmly and respectfully. This is a very magical moment for our two lovers. Go on give us a kiss then beardy.
3.05 PM : The combination of a large Mexican sandwich and a Crowbar gig is bound to make your belly feel a bit sick. Their concert is even muddier than Hellfest in 2007. Behind his crushing riffs, Kirk Windstein, who is wearing a Type O Negative t-shirt, gives off a great deal of undeniable sympathy. He also takes advantage of the concert to pay homage to recently deceased Peter Steele.
2.42 PM : The podcast of the second Hellfest Flash with Lost is available. This is where we find out that Mass Hysteria’s famous surprise is actually that Nico, the singer of The Arrs, will be on stage with them. Being such a great reporter, Lost also take the time to tell us about Hellfest’s white wine and 6,66 degree beer!
1.41 PM : There’s something ceremonial in the air, but definitely not in the Terrorizer Tent! In fact, Sigh’s symphonic black metal is far from lacking in the theatrical department. The performance is good and the two singers have good stage presence, however it’s a shame this isn’t the case with the very sexy Dr. Mikannibal (vocals, alto and saxophone) – Yeah alright Fox, we get it, you dig Asian girls! – and even the other members of the band. Another deceiving point lies with the guitar solos that are all very mediocre.
1.38 PM : We are also pleasantly surprised by thrashers from Evile, who are another band to attract a large crowd. We mainly notice the English singer’s voice is very similar to Matt Heafy (Trivium), all of their riffs are very catchy, the guitar solos are good and the performance is very energetic throughout.
Kirk Windstein and Kirk Windstein 20 years ago. So basically Seb with some guys around him.
1.34 PM : The first part of the Urgehal set is incredibly boring because of a load of technical problems and over enthused blast beats. Luckily, the Norwegians get better during the second half with their rock n’ roll based tracks. Overall, the show is quite slow and the band will never really live up to their sinister expectations.
1.30 PM : We are now watching a 15 minutes show by grind metallers from Washington, Magrudergrind. The trio have been going for 15 years already and deliver some classic Napalm Death style grind despite npot having a bassist (this might bring a bit more warmth to their music, making it ultimately pointless!). A lot of things seem to be going on on stage and in the audience too, making the whole experience perfect for any grind fans.
1.18 PM : Doc’ was so impressed by Swallow The Sun that he took matters into his own hands to go congratulate singer Mikko Kotamäki himself. Mikko talked to us about what is going on with the band (apparently the Finnish are planning on writing some more tracks for the end of this year) and the fact that he believes his music can be best interpreted when listened to in the dark. Click here to hear the interview again:
Nina, obviously really pleased to be speaking to Metal’o Phil
12.57 PM : We just hung up the phone from speaking with Spaceman who put us through to the Vetterli family, being Tommy and his wife Nina, singer/guitarist from the 69 Chambers. This was a perfect opportunity for us to find out a bit more about Coroner getting back together. We find out that there will not be another studio album from them and that Tommy thinks that their biggest issue will be to learn all of the songs again! Either way, Nina also assured us that she would be present next year to see how her husband will be doing from a very critical point of view! Click here to listen again to the interview:
Dagoba and our bearded lady
12.54 PM : It’s lunchtime and Seb, who has just bumped into the members of Dagoba, is discussing the release of their new album Poseidon on the 30th of August with them. Not so far away from them are also the members of Mass Hysteria and the musicians from Otargos who are still in full make-up.
12.14 PM : The first great surprise of the day comes with Swallow The Sun who managed to take on from the masters of their style, My Dying Bride, failed to deliver during Hellfest 2008. They are able to bring life to their doom death metal despite the daylight around rather than the dark atmosphere needed. This concert stands out thanks to its musicians who, similarly to David Vincent (Morbid Angel), look at the audience straight in the eyes.
11.59 AM : Festival goers wake up early! As the show by Californian band Carnifex is taking place and Otargos at the same time, there seems to be quite a few people already in the Terrorizer Tent. Despite the fact that the riffs are good, albeit caricatural, they get the crowd moving; however the musicians are not exactly precise. Festival rules mean that you have to make sacrifices and we chose to go see Otargos!
11.39 AM : The guys from Otargos are not very lucky really because black metal at 11 in the morning, right after breakfast of (German nutella…), it doesn’t quite work out. To make matters worse, the French band’s style is honestly ridiculous and their sound was messy. On the other hand, they had an intelligently organised setlist with a lot of diversity and a chatty guitarist who knows how to please the audience.
69 Chambers : Nina gives away albums to the audience
11.38 AM : 69 Chambers’ sombre and alternative rock is a bit like Alice In Chains because of its grunge influences. This might comfort those who didn’t go to Sonisphere Festival. The Swiss band’s set starts with a few technical difficulties and the stage props start to fall apart too! At least this meant that the rest of the concert could only get better from there on. The concert is quite pleasant overall – to our ears (the riffs are really good) AND also pleasant to watch – Nina and Maddy, the singer/guitarist and bassist are dressed in short skirts with very sexy black boots. Nina even throws a few albums into the crowd. The drummer was also quite interesting to watch, as well as the presence of Tommy Vetterli from Coroner as a guest on stage. Perhaps later he could tell us a bit about Coroner getting back together…
11.14 AM : During this time, Florian is watching the Gorod performance (Crusty is going to be jealous about this…). He describes the set as “great to wake up to”! Although the sound is good, this does not apply to the vocals. The stage performance is still good though despite the fact that they have chosen to be technical rather than energetic.
Backstage at Hellfest
11.03 AM : Spaceman has already started working as he bumps into an old friend: Kirk Windstein (Crowbar, Down). Last time we interviewed him , the bearded guitarist was clearly exhausted as he yawned every two minutes. However, this time Kirk appears to be in great shape and very enthusiastic; in fact he even told us about a planned European tour with his other band Kingdom of Sorrow with Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed). Click hear to listen again to the interview:
10.52 AM : Fans of Necrophagist, Cynic or Black Dahlia Murder will love The Faceless. The kind looking Americans, whose successful second album Planetary Duality came out last year, are doing great despite the fact that the large crowd have only just risen from their tents! It could also be noted that the sound quality in the Terrorizer Tent is very good. The Faceless manage to capture an organic version of their album which perhaps could be described as a little cold in comparison thanks to its production.
10.45 AM : Finally a Friday without Doc’s god awful blog! Isn’t that just awesome?
The first festival goers are here
10.30 AM : Let’s go! After spending a night with Spaceman, which Doc prefered not to recount, the Radio Metal team are on festival location. There seems to be a large queue already and we are reminded that the festival was Sold Out despite the very impressive Sonisphere edition in Switzerland[/urlb]. Other information so far is that Tamtrum have moved their show over to tomorrow. The live reports from the first shows (Gorod, The Faceless, Otargos…) will be arriving soon. In the meantime, here is the podcast of the first Hellfest flash at 10.30 AM:
Ok, you’re sure right? No regrets later, right?
This post is also available in: French