Hammerfest 2019

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Hammerfest XI 21-24 March 2019

Hammerfest Diary, By Ru Wilson

Hammerfest is over for another year and what an event it was! Having heard some minor grumblings about the site from a prior event so was braced for any inconvenience this temporary site in Preshaven sands beach resort had to throw at us as punters. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how smoothly things seemed to go. I think Hammerfest is usually a fairly even split between the rooms anyway perhaps minimising some of the potential chaos that could have ensued if everyone was crammed into one room. Feel free to correct me if I am mistaken though as I obviously can’t be everywhere at the same time.

Pic Courtesy of Steve Badger Lamb

Anyway Thursday night I was lucky enough to see a special Absolva performance in stage two, giving it full beans to a pretty small crowd. They treated us to their full fat show and were loud aggressive and as heavy as I’d ever seen them. Then after a beer or three I went to see The Heretic Order bringing their glorious theatrical evil that still got me dancing like a maniac. Always a winner! I was at the bar during Kill II This (Forgive me!) but my ears still enjoyed them immensely. I did watch Paradise Lost but luckily I had seen them many times before and my memory is hazy. On reviewing my notes I made on my phone it said “Paradise Lst r aewdomrhh” That’s drunk Ru speak for awesome of course!

So Friday then: Shaking the hango off with a bit of rum made it out to watch Desert Storm who were great, blistering vocals and got me moving (No small feat if you’d seen me the night before!) And the good times continued with Ten Ton Slug who are both doomy and groovy and I loved them. Still hanging around like a bad smell (Seriously did I tell you I was dancing!) Next I watched Master Charger who I always love, not least because they produce women’s fit tee shirts and they gave me one of theirs years ago which I still wear frequently.
I digress, they are a tight stoner style 3 piece who just nail every show perfectly. I proceeded to watch Reign of Fury who are every bit as good as they’ve ever been. A perfect thrash sound for the room and very well received as ever. I stuck around for Shrapnel who were also a brilliant blend of slick thrash. I don’t think I’d seen them before and was pleasantly surprised. I’ll definitely watch them again! (I’m listening to their album as I type this) Now I’m pretty sure i made it to stage one at some point during the proceedings! (In fact I’ve seen a photograph so I know it’s true!) and I really hope I saw Overkill who are one of my favourites, if I did I’m pretty sure I had a great time. I know definitely I went back to watch Ward XVI (There is a very poor photo on my phone) They always bring awesome theatrics and a good sense of fun as well as tight as fuck musicianship! I couldn’t ask for more!

Saturday double hango day! It was sunny and everyone was outside having beers and good times! I had to be lively to see I Saw the World Burn! What a great way to blow off the cobwebs. Blistering heavy high energy set and was just what my hangover needed!

Picture Courtesy of Steve Sty Jones and Planetmosh

Always leave me smiling and wanting more. I stuck around to watch Ashen Crown and Divine Chaos, seriously one after the other, I felt so proud of UK metal at that point. Three amazing bands in a row. The bookers really knew what they were doing this year. Barely had time for my five drinks at the bar! I watched most of Bloodyard who as ever were stupidly heavy and dark but I had to run off to stage 1 because Wolf!
I love Wolf. They’re heavy and traditional and a teeny bit cheesey which is why I love them. If they were around 30 years ago they’d have made it onto a Metal Killers Cassette. They never fail to get the audience singing and dancing and for me, most importantly smiling. Metal doesn’t always have to be moody! Talking of which, I nipped back to stage 2 to see Old Corpse Road who are pretty moody but in the best theatrical, black, folky atmospheric way, which was a treat and they went down a storm as ever. Now I am pretty sure I did see the stage 1 closing show of Kamelot. I think I enjoyed them enormously looking at my visa spends from Saturday night (Damn you contactless!) and provided clearly excellent drinking tunes! My phone notes at this point made not one iota of sense but I will say that the feedback the next morning was excellent and I didn’t meet any disappointed people.

As you can clearly tell, I had an absolute belter this year. Sorry for the lack of headline reviews (I’m sure the bands’ll be heartbroken!) but I’m only human, honest! As ever spending time with friends, having a small shandy and general carousing and dubious behaviour also makes this festival a staple in so many metalhead’s calendars, including mine. It’s moving to Great Yarmouth next year which is more convenient for some and less for others. The line-up already looks amazing. Can I go back now please?

if you see a video of someone doing the metal macarena very badly it
DEFINITELY isn’t me!