Monday, June 18, 2012

live-report : my HELLFEST 2012

Most are cool, but lots of mixed feelings after this new edition of the World's biggest Festival of extreme musics, which for the negative ones I could sum-up in just a few words : TOO MUCH of everything !!!
Too much crowd, too much noise : the site was bigger but there wasn't enough space between each tents which means you never had quieter moments between two bands; after a Doom or Stoner gig, it's hard to stand a constant harsh background noise of a Black Metal band playing too near and if that wasn't black then it was brutal DM or Grind... Too many waiting also, which was not the case previous years, 2 or sometimes 3 hours of waiting between bands you really want to see, that's too much when repeated several times in the week-end .
 Ok,  it can be cool to see unknown bands or old ones but on that point the problem is that this year the old dinosaurs proposed were not as interesting as usual : for example MOLLY HATCHET (photo below), URIAH HEEP were to my opinion just cool to see for a few songs, ok the technic is still here but it's too wheezy physically to create something that can wake up the audience in the beginning or middle of the afternoon... 

 I just really enjoyed LYNYRD SKYNYRD that were consistently more sharpened and ended with both anthemic songs that everyone was waiting for... I regret not to have seen BÖC but was too fucking tired in fact yesterday and left the site by the end of the afternoon; YES I know I'm an ageing fucker and missed PENTAGRAM and THE OBSESSED.... it was hard to take the decision though but I had seen all those bands before and needed to stop this edition a few hours before planed; another thing is that after 3 days, maybe for the 1st time in such circumstances, I really missed my wife and kids too.
Of course, it would not be decent at all to complain, considering the luck to have this happening each year just about 2 hours from where I live but that doesn't prevent to feel a bit blasé, even if it's mostly tiredness that prevails today.
 In order to host 40 000/45000 metallers, the site has been enlarged and is now too big and makes you walking a lot more; the organization did a lot of nice efforts for evrybody's cumfort and more than 150 bands is absolutely exceptionnal in the principle, especially for the youngers, but beware of a prematured indigestion !!! this can be more debatable for old metallers who have yet seen a great part of the bands in their earlier days and/or in more appropriated conditions...
This said, I have of course enjoyed more than a fair amount of bands with :

ORANGE GOBLIN : an oustanding energic set of Metallic STONER and what a hell of a frontman !

NECROS CHRISTOS : on the Temple stage, this scene dedicated to the blackest sounds was pretty much fitting for those German mortified souls and their awesome mix of hauting Death/Doom was pure excellence, the vocal performance was perfect again, can't even say that Roadburn was better as being the first time I saw them ! 

THE DEVIL'S BLOOD : first thing that comes in my mind is the very impressive musicianship; like the 1st time I saw them, it's about an hour of guitars climax, extremely rich of twirling melodies, almost reducing each vocal apparition as a simple accompaniement but still brillantly valued as some kind of enchanting incantations.

 SAINT VITUS : great set, including 3 songs from the new album... I was surprised to hear 'I bleed black" so quickly in the set (2nd song) but everyone was in good form and - save a few doubtful improvisations of Dave Chandler-, the performance  was topless.

ACID KING : even if maybe not in at her best (last song was surprisingly messed-up in the soloing) Lorrie's is one of the rare woman whose voice suffers from no difference on stage and shit I think I could see her dozen times and would be always impressed by such a little build playing so crushing stuff !

THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX : I just have one album but should quickly give more attention to this fuzzy trio... They have completely returned the audience with their powerful and fuzzy Heavy Rock, proving once again that a POWER TRIO can be often devastating !!! 

 HANK 3 : what a nice moment during this Friday's evening with this memorable show of  a bit more than 2 hours... First  45 minutes were composed of his predilection style :  Country n' roll. Honestly I don't know anything concrete about this style but in this ambiance with prefectly well-adapted lights, it's like I felt transposed in "Deadwoods", almost hearing Al Swearengen insulting with passion and affection at next door !!!  and fuck that was something pretty unique :) Then during about 20 minutes the guys turned progressively into something more thick with skillfully infused Metal, Psychedelic and Stoner touches... then during the last 45 minutes Hank played alone with another drummer, a lot more hammering in his style than the first one believe me ! and a completely different set began... something TOTALLY crushing, a mix of Sludge/ Industrial/Metal, harsher and harsher, to end in a hardly standable maelstrom, CRAZY !!! I even left a few seconds or minutes before the end (at least I think... after 2 hours and a few minutes of uninterrupted set, more than 30 songs), that was so NOISY !

THOU : it was a bit hard to start the fest with them, early in the afternoon those yelled vocals were a bit difficult to get into, but I would be curious to see them in more enclosed conditions.

UFOMAMMUT : I'm not an unconditionnal fan of the italian Sludge/Stoner band but their gig was agreaable, catchier and more accessible than 3 years ago.

 ENSLAVED : too bad I was really too far the stage to take pics but the half of the set that I've seen was excellent, they're still pretty wild on stage and terribly epic... I've heard great Doomy riffs from in their newer songs and think their new album deserve a quick purchase.

 YOB : 3rd time I saw them in less than one year but still a special moment, even I've been bit disappointed by Mike's setlist and I think the context was too big for him and the band to feel and share the usual communion...

 I saw other bands during one, two or three songs, a part of them were cool  like ENTOMBED, DISCHARGE, ANAAL NATRAKH, COLOUR HAZE (I think this was a mistake to place them just a few hours after Atomic Bitchwax), NASUM...

Looking back at this, I think this was again a rather complete edition, it's just that I'm getting older and certainly a bit blasé (sorry if that hurts !); I think next year(s) I won't do the 3 days anymore, just one or two days if a few bands I never saw before will be coming or friends will be playing (hum, got a few cool infos for next year !). Of course it's hardly comparable but for my little fucking body I feel if there's just one to save : Roadburn is THE essential festival that is not to be missed each year, then it's now time to try discover smaller festivals like Muskelrock or Heavy Days in Doom Town... gonna think about that seriously !!!

1 comment:

  1. Merci pour le report, Stef. Visiblement une édition du Hellfest qui ne t'as pas 100 % convaincue. Attention, rappelle-toi le diction de Ted Nugent : "If it's too loud, you're too old !" (remarque, si c'est vrai, ça doit faire un paquet d'années que je suis vieux, maintenant... : )