Damnation Festival is certainly becoming an annual highlight in the 'Metal Calendar'. With numerous bands both established and up and coming descending on Leeds University Campus for a day of brutal, melodic, folk, and whatever other genre of metal you can come up with over three stages crammed into one day.
The much anticipated set by Decapitated will sadly not happen as they cancelled due to their plane crash landing earlier that week, thankfully no one was hurt (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cb9vcpbSX0k&feature=relmfu) however the show must go on.
My first band of the day Cerebral Bore, over on the Terrorizer stage add the aggression and urgency early on in the day forcing me to retreat for refreshments. Next on my metal marathon was the Norwegian jazz fusion, metal combo Shining. Certainly an acquired taste they made a lot of noise and brought some saxophone intensity into their chaotic set. Xerath pummeled their way through their half hour set and were on criminally early, still a sizeable crowd had gathered for their Meshuggah style metal. Dragged Into Sunlight should have been dragged outside and slapped for their ten minute plus intro. Then they decided that playing the whole set with their backs to the crowd was a statement…it sure was guys a statement to reassess if I can be arsed watching you!
Those mad Finns Turisas brought the face paint and sword count up, over on the main stage. Playing to a packed hall the red faced Finns delivered all that was expected in their own unique way. Doom on the other hand slaughtered the Terrorizor stage with a strong powerful set that left me exhausted. Evile have come on leaps and bounds this last few years and new album Five Serpents Teeth is testament to that. Their thrash metal assault soon gets the pits churning and bodies flying at the stage. 'Hail Caesar' and new one 'Cult' sound tight and polished and establish Evile as a band with a long future ahead of them.
Grand Magus on the other hand are one of my all time favorite bands and prove why here on the main stage. For just three guys there's a lot of power and noise and soon we're pumping our fists to the 'Hammer Of The North' and rowing 'Like The Oars Strike The Waves'. JB's vocals are spot on throughout, with 'Iron Will' still pumping through my veins I make my way to the bar.
I've never got what Godflesh are about, and tonight is no exception. Having seen them previously at Hellfest I just don't find their brand of industrial metal attractive. To say they are re-united is a joke as there's only two of them so it's not a massive logistical problem as long as one of them remembers to bring the laptop the show will go on! Many love them and for that I have to admit they do what they do well. Ulver are just weird…the section of the set I caught left me with the feeling I should have smoked something first, still, a good turn out until Devin Townsend takes over on the main stage.
Devin Townsend has certainly worked his balls off and no one can deny he deserves all the accolades bestowed upon him. 'By Your Command' sees Ziltoid hand puppets raised high by the crowd and soon Devin is in his element stalking the stage in his well worn grey suit. The funky 'Bad Devil' rocks like a mother fucker and 'Deep Space' sees Devin entering an almost David Gilmour moment with some sublime guitar. Coming back for an encore with Vampira sends the masses hurling their bodies all replicating Devins crazy dancing and bringing this year to its successful end. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fp3JX8ZWQw&feature=related
Damnation festival in Leeds has once again brought together class, top shelf metal to the masses at a ridiculously affordable price. Events like this are organized by lovers and fans of the music and we should support it before we lose it, on this year's evidence it'll be with us a long time yet.
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