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Thursday, 22 March 2012

Live & Dangerous: Hammerfest Day 2

Hammerfest Day 2 (Pontins Holiday Park, Prestatyn Sands, North Wales)

After a night of drinking we reconvened and made our way to the fun house one more time.

Oaf (Queen Vic Stage)

Consisting of Metal Hammer writer Dom Lawson on Bass and Shouting and his mate James on the drums Oaf are the very meaning of DIY. With just the two of them they play proto-punk with achingly funny (but mainly indecipherable) lyrics. Lawson is a good frontman who uses his miserable and self-depreciating disposition to win the crowd over. Any band that can play songs called Tiny When Erect and O Yes Sir I Can Tina Turner are alright in my book and if there was any justice in the world Fuck Off Seagull would be a number one. 8/10

Collapse (Queen Vic Stage)

Staying on the third stage I saw Collapse who impressed me when they supported Devil Driver at the end of last year. They did so again with their brand of LOG style groove metal filled with crushing breakdowns and some killer solos. The vocals were also great and guttural and the band as a whole were really professional in their delivery. Catch them if you can. 7/10

Bit of a break in the proceedings for me as it was the Six Nations final and not much was happening so filled up on beer and rugby and proceed back once we had won.

Hell (Main stage)

After releasing one of my favourite albums of last year I REALLY wanted to see Hell live as I had heard they were awesome, however I did not anticipate how good they could be. The playing from Andy Sneap and Kev Bower was flawless with the rhythm in perfect sync. They merge NWOBHM with proto thrash and speed metal of King Diamond as well as adding keys and effects courtesy of Kev Bower. The complex song writing and all out metal assault is bolstered by the superb performance of frontman Dave Bower who is the obvious focal point, his numerous costume changes, vocal range and his passionate and theatrical delivery, means that the band are fantastically entertaining (if Lloyd Webber ever wants to make Antichrist Superstar then I nominate him as the lead) They managed to play almost their whole debut showing off how good it is in live setting. With another album under their belts Hell could (and should) be become everyone's new favourite band. 9/10

Wizard (Main stage)

Wizard are a German Power metal band and as so are trying to sound like Helloween and Manowar with lyrics about Odin etc. however they failed to make an impression on me. Lacklustre middle-of-the-road metal added to by the pauses because of the guitarist’s broken instrument (Not a euphemism). 4/10

Dream Evil (Main stage)

Having been around for years Power metal veterans Dream Evil brought their brand of OTT metal to Hammerfest and rocked it hard. Unlike Wizard they don't take themselves seriously with frontman Niklas Isfeldt admitting that his lyrics are clichéd before announcing the next song was Fire! Battle! In Metal! They played a tight fun set filled with PM anthems before ending with their signature tune The Book of Heavy Metal which got the crowd chanting along. 7/10

I skipped Amon Amarth because I saw them the day after in Cardiff

Skindred (Main stage)

With the Wales win earlier the masters of live performance were going to be bolstered to an even higher level and boy were they. Coming on to the Imperial March from Star Wars they burst immediately into Ratrace with the band playing with great precision but a looseness that indicated they were having a blast. Frontman Benji Webbe is a master of his craft, having the audience eating out of his hand by the end of the first song, his vocals are excellent and he has quite a range but it's his between song banter that makes people love him, he is a cheeky South Wales take on a 'Rude Boi' with great humour. A partial Sad But True riff gave way to Trouble and Cause A Riot before the band enlivened the crowd further with the sing-a-long Doom Riff. A brief pause for Benji to work his magic and introduce the DJ that started Tinie Temper's Pass Out which was mashed-up (if that's the correct term) with Selector and it worked excellently before merging seamlessly into Rude Boy For Life. After some more banter and a Heavy metal robot the set ended with the steam rolling quadrilogy of Pressure, Cut Dem (their tribute to Newport obviously), Destroy The Dancefloor and the explosive Nobody. Then came a rest but only until the encore which saw a Benji costume change, the 'Newport Helicopter', the entire crowd leapfrogging and Stand For Something followed by Warning which ended the set. Truly Skindred are one of the best live bands around they combine musicality with extreme level of enjoyment rarely seen (anyone who can get metal heads actually dancing is doing something right) they really are near flawless. As their outro by Carly Simon says "Nobody Does It Better" and on this evidence it's hard to argue. 10/10

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