In it’s makeshift home of Presthaven Sands in Prestatyn, North Wales, Hammerfest has excelled yet again in delivering another stomper of a three day festival. The line-up alone was one of the tastiest I’ve seen. Having the likes of Overkill, Flotsam & Jetsam, and Paradise Lost performing on a caravan park on the North Wales coast borders incomprehension. But that’s exactly what it was.
I noticed that a lot of caravan owners had decided to ‘cash in’ and rent their vans out for the weekend, and who can blame them, the place is huge. I’d planned my interviews and ‘Bands I want to watch’ list with precision, but this was thrown totally out of the water on my arrival as I found out the interview room was a twenty minute walk from both stages. Luckily I had given myself some break time within my interview schedule but unfortunately it meant having to miss certain bands that I wanted to see, which also meant missed photo opportunities.
One band I didn’t (and wouldn’t) miss was King Creature. Having only been confirmed on the bill two days prior, these guys drove all the way from Cornwall, played their slot, and drove all the way back again. They also found time for an interview with myself. They played an absolute blinder as they hit with songs from their debut album ‘Volume One’.
Bearing in mind how many bands were playing over this three day event, my interview schedule played havoc with the amount of bands I could actually watch. But on the Friday I managed to catch Overkill, Flotsam & Jetsam, Ten Ton Slug and Master Charger, as well as King Creature which I’ve already mentioned.
King Creature came, saw, kicked ass and left. They played the bulk of the set from their cracking ‘Volume 1’ debut album. They were on quite early in the day and I can only assume that this was due to the distance they had to travel to get home. These guys are tight when it comes to playing live. Dave Kellaway fast becoming an iconic front man.
Master Charger are right up my street. Their Black Sabbath style ‘lazy’ metal ticks all the right boxes for me. Their set was dark, doomy, but so enjoyable. Definitely one to watch out for.
Ten Ton Slug were just stunning. The Irish thrashers are described as ‘Sludge’, whatever that means, but I would label them more towards the thrash side of things. They remind me of Raging Speedhorn in so many ways. The stage lighting was mainly green and dark, and this maintained that doomy feel throughout their set. They received a gret reception from the crowd. A job well done.
Flotsam & Jetsam were immediate support to Overkill. A massive band from the 80’s & 90’s. They aren’t really my cup of tea to be honest and most of what they played I hadn’t heard before. But the crowd were right behind the band and seemed to enjoy what they heard.
Overkill again are another huge band from the 80’s and 90’s. It was a privilege to be literally inches from them whilst I snapped away with the camera. The crowd were very loud for these guys. A very professionally tight set, such is their history and experience.
The Injester were playing their first ever gig. The band’s true identities are covered by masks and costumes. A ‘Clown Horde’, if you will, but it works. They played some great metal tracks and showed no signs of nerves and were very well received. Watch out for these guys.
I’m very familiar with I Saw The World Burn and I knew exactly what was coming from these guys. On stage surprisingly early in the day, but that didn’t matter. Katie Cairns again delivering a power packed punching vocal performance which is backed by technical and pungent thrash at it’s very best. these guys always deliver a show and the intensity of their music ensured that they were very well received by the packed auditorium.
Bloodyard were a band that my ears pricked up to whilst having a quiet 10 minutes at the bar. These guys are proper old school thrash with female singer Donna Hurd stealing the show with her superb growling vocal range. These are a great band and I will be going to catch these again for sure.
Sworn Amongst were simply stunning. The band’s power, determination and zest for success is plain to see in their performance. Powerful, great crowd participation throughout this thrash / groove metal set. Their was never a minute to settle down or to catch your breathe. This was full on. Brilliant.
Bands of the weekend?? For me they were King Creature, I Saw The World Burn and Sworn Amongst. But every band at this Festival played their part in making this event one to remember. I salute you all.
Next year Hammerfest moves to it’s new home in Great Yarmouth which, for the likes of myself who lives in North Wales, is a logistical nightmare. To experience Hammerfest on my doorstep has been an absolute honour. My photos and interviews can be accessed below.