- HELLFEST - (FRANCE, CLISSON) - 18-20 june 2010 (4-7-2010) - The MetalList Webzine - metal music zine

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HELLFEST - (FRANCE, CLISSON) - 18-20 june 2010 (4-7-2010)

The idea to visit HELLFEST appeared in the spring. Ultimately HELLFEST was scheduled as the end point of the fascinating tour. Paris, Versailles, Reims, Amiens, Orleans, chateaux of the Loire, Nantes, and finally Clisson. Clisson is a small town with a population not more than 6,000. The main attraction is the old castle. In contrast to the chateaux of the Loire, mostly elegant and graceful, this one reminds a powerful stronghold. Today the castle is partly in ruins. I can't fail to mention extraordinary cautious attitude to antiquity and architectural monuments in France. Restorers preserve this castle in the authentic state and don’t renovate the crashed walls. Since 2006 every summer the life of this small town has turned upside down for 3 crazy days. HELLFEST is the unique festival. It has only 5 years of history, but in 2010 during 3 days about 70,000 metalheads were visiting the area of the festival.

Some words about the organization of the concert area. There were two Main stages as usual for big festivals (thus bands perform one after another), RockHard tent and Terrorizer tent. It's difficult to describe these tents by genres' especiallities. Most hardcore bands performed their sets in Terrorizer tent. But also there were some extreme bands of another genres. Rockhard tent had more various program - a lot of black metal bands especially at first day. Also gothic legend FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM, experimental electronics set by ULVER, doom metal icons CANDLEMASS and MY DYING BRIDE during the second day. And death metal rampage at the last day. Sometimes amount of people there could be compared with the Main stages.

And some special words about the organization of the press area. It was really fantastic. The attitude to journalists was especially respective. Separate bar, television, chairs, everything for opportunity to feel maximum comfort and relax. Moreover possibility to use free internet in special bus. All days in eight rooms musicians gave interviews. So we want to say big thanks for this amazing organization.

Also good organization of fast food. A big assortment for almost every taste. The main disadvantage was the fact of long queues at the entrance especially at first day. But we have avoided these problems, press passes help us.

I guess during 5 years of HELLFEST in Clisson citizens of this small town grown accustomed to conquests of metalheads. Just imagine. Big supermarket in which about thousand people from festival. Sometimes this shop was plunged by the huge roar of this crowd. And I also didn't envy those people who worked in Clisson's McDonalds. At the same time they were ready to this trial too. I can't fail to note the general welcoming attitude in all areas of trade.


So in the early morning I and Max divide our forces with the aim to see the most number of the bands and then to write the combined review which you can see below.

THE FACELESS opened the day at the Terrorizer tent. High speed death metal with very good technique and interesting melodies. But anyway their studio activity is much more interesting, while live performance reminded the playing by machines. The next was deathcore band CARNIFEX. They and THE FACELESS are most often play together during their tours. MAGRUDERGRIND is a grindcore / powerviolence band. Obviously their performance finally woken up the audience at this tent.

At the same time French black metallers OTARGOS began their incantation at the RockHard tent. URGEHAL from Norway continue the program for this tent. Of course diversity has never been the distinctive feature of this band but their live performance was simultaneously boring and funny. Evil power was not felt, image and behavior of the band were rather comic.

The beginning of the day at the Mainstages was difficult to consider as succesfull. Swiss post-grunge band 69 CHAMBERS and French prod death metallers GOROD performed very weak programs. The situation improved with the set of young British thrash metal band EVILE. A lot of people sure that thrash metal is dead genre and only those bands who started their musical activity in 80-s can save some interest to thrash but such bands as EVILE can easily refute this point of view. Before EVILE there was set of SWALLOW THE SUN. SWALLOW THE SUN is a sad example when the band lost absolutely fantastic atmosphere on live performances. This Finnish band are one of the best doom metal creations of the last decade but when you see them alive (even in club) you can only listen to absolutely ordinary melodic death-doom. American sludge legend CROWBAR continue this crazy day. Something absolutely incredible occurred in the following 40 minutes. MASS HYSTERIA is a nu metal band from France. The support of the public was absolutely amazing.

Simultaneously with MASS HYSTERIA progressive death monsters NECROPHAGIST performed at RockHard Tent. At Terrorizer Tent all the days the amount of the performed bands was much larger than at other ones. SIGH was a very strange black metal band from Japan. Then Romanians NEGURA BUNJET performed something absolutely incredible. Absolutely unpredictable atmospheric black metal music that created a unique charming ambiance. At the same time on the Mainstage 2 WALLS OF JERICHO began their set. By this time concert area was already filled. Most people moved here from camping zone. By the way we sure that some people were staying at the camping for all three days. Anyway Metal Festivals have a significant merit. Communicating with people and spending time in general are not less important than watching the bands.

KMFDM performance was damn cool. Even in clubs these fathers of industrial have a powerful energetic, but it couldn’t be compared with the festival appearance. It was strikingly. Another kind of energy could be felt at the RockHard Tent. KAMPFAR is one of the best Viking bands that creates an unique athmosphere of severity. After them there was a time for all EMPEROR’s fans because on the stage of RockHard Tent IHSAHN performed a very interesting program. It was almost brilliant but lost some parts of studio magnificence.

Melancholy plus brutality was the formula for Finns GHOST BRIGADE as well as strange mix of black and doom metal for Germans SECRETS OF THE MOON and progressive plus hardcore for BETWEEN BURIED AND ME from the USA. All these bands performed on the stage of the Terrorizer tent. Then there were a little-known progressive band MONKEY3 and SYBREED – wonderful Swiss groove band that had been gaining popularity.

DEFTONES on the Mainstage was absolutely redundant band. They were one of the main band of all three days but they absolutely did not fit. They performed after FINNTROLL and before HYPOCRISY. Both these bands are very predictable. Funny humpa metal and death metal from the main metal workaholic. Sometimes concerts of HYPOCRICY are boring but this one was a very high level.

INFECTIOUS GROOVES is a playful funk rock band led by Mike Muir (SUICIDAL TENDENCIES). What does it mean. Of cource it means not less than one hundred people on the stage who jump, show asses and so on. The next band has shown how to do positive music. SICK OF IT ALL demonstrated a brilliant hardcore at the highest level. And of course the huge circle pit supplemented this feast.

This time French death metallers LOUDBLAST and cult Swedish black metal band WATAIN presented their program at the RockHard Tent. The evening program at the Terrorizer Tent consists of THE YOUNG GODS, post-industrial Swiss band, GODFLESH with their unrepeatable mix of industrial, groove and post metal. The last band here was THE DEVIL'S BLOOD – very melodic psychedelic hard rock with blasphemous lyrics.

On the Mainstages SEPULTURA performed fantastic set. Especially good moment was their old school sound. ARCH ENEMY are always the same. But it’s not bad. Their performance are extremely energetic and the behavior of Angels Gossow is absolutely amazing. HELLFEST wasn’t an exception.

At 23.00 ULVER began their performance at Rock Hard tent, ULVER today is not a black metal band, absolutely indescribable ambient in almost complete darkness. Most people preferred ARCH ENEMY and FEAR FACTORY. During their presentation, there was one of the most amusing cases of the festival. In one of the breaks between songs, the band stepped aside and some guy went on the stage then called his girlfriend and propose marriage to her before thousands of spectators.

Two last bands of the day were MARDUK at RockHard Tent and BIOHAZARD on the main stage . Loyal fans of black metal and hardcore have fought hard to sleep. But BIOHAZARD were able to get public. They demonstrate themselves as the true professionals in hardcore.


Also as the day before first bands hadn’t left emotional memories. German Thrash/Death band DEW-SCENTED, dutch band DELAIN who has a good music but absolutely not appropriate for festival, Australian band ELECTRIC MARY, aggrotech french band TAMTRUM. Also TANKARD. First emotion was: “Where is Gerre? Who is this skinny singer and what is his name” We all remembered that Gerre weighed at least 150 kilogrammes and was a living example of the harm of excessive drinking beer. It was hard to believe that it was Gerre who lost maybe half his weight.

Then there was time of traditional hard’n’heavy bands. Just imagine one after another: Y&T, RAVEN, PRETTY MAIDS, ANVIL, AIRBOURNE. Y&Tpresented some a few good songs but for the band with 35-years history it was not more than satisfactory. RAVEN could be proud of their performance. It was one of the most boring in all three days. it was unexpectedly. The public reaction was dead. PRETTY MAIDS just saved the situation, performing remarkably powerful. Their melodic unusual heavy metal was absolutely another level despite the fact that Y&T and RAVEN are much more famous bands. After them ANVIL set was absolutely ordinary but it was quite good. An Australian hard rock band AIRBOURNE rapidly gaining popularity in Europe. A huge amount of people were in their T-shirts. But such bands as AIRBOURNE are really interesting only for their fans.

There were band of the Mainstages. Now some words about Tents. At the Rockhard Tent French and German progressive death metal bands KALISIA and OBSCURA began program for this day and COUNT RAVEN continue it. This band reunited in 2003 but new album was released only 1 year ago, this was the first CD of this Swedish traditional doom band since 1996. The old school death metal band ASPHYX and amazing Italian progressive death monsters SADIST. Even when you see SADIST not for the first time it is still difficult to understand how Tommy manages to play simultaneously extremely complicated guitar and keyboards parts.

Terrorizer Tent has mostly hardcore program. KNUCKLEDUST, WISDOM IN CHAINS were opening bands. Then progressive metalcore group ARCHITECTS. And punk/hardcore from Holland DISCIPLINE. Members of the band are serious fans of PSV Eindhoven. And their music is strongly imbued with the spirit of football. It was funny when the singer said that after 15 minutes football translation would begin, so they need to hurry. One more hardcore band SKARHEAD and then SWORN ENEMY whose sound had became closed to thrash metal. Hardcore day was continued by BORN FROM PAIN. Of the next 3 metalcore bands 36 CRAZYFITS is in general mediocre but UNEARTH and especially AS I LAY DYING – one of the best in their style and they proved it.

The very interesting alternation could be noticed before the mainstages. More extreme ways were on the right and more traditional were on the left. So NEVERMORE presented a fantastic program and while SLASH performed on the Mainstage 1 and played some own songs and some GUNS’N’ROSES hits like “Paradise City” or “Sweet Child Of Mine” on the Mainstage2 technicians prepared it for ANNIHILATOR. What a fantastic performance, absolutely incredible. ANNIHILATOR performed new songs as well as thrash hits and it was unforgettable.

TWISTED SISTER. Surely Dee Snider left the interview area maybe an hour before the beginning of TWISTED SISTER show. Befor this gave interviews with enthusiasm for several hours, showed great friendliness and sociability. And then he showed what is it Rock’n’Roll. No doubt - of all hard’n’heavy performances in those three days this one was the best. After TWISTED SISTER smoke on the Mainstage2 heralded the start of IMMORTAL show. IMMORTAL shows are always too technical and absolutely immaculate but also they are often completely soulless and mechanical.

Some words about the Tents. Hardcore day was finished by British and NY legends DISCHARGE and AGNOSIC FRONT. Also In the middle of the night Jello Biafra came on stage.

RockHard Tent had big surprises. After DARK FUNERAL two doom metal legends performed their shows. CANDLEMASS with Robert Lowe hadn’t lost their unique atmosphere. They are still traditional doom metal band number one. Their grim solemnity fascinated and compelled to shudder at the same time. And, of course, the next band was MY DYING BRIDE. Everyone who has seen this band alive can understand why is so pointless to comment their live performances. Of course you can try blame Aaron Stainthorpe for the mummery but this way you only demonstrate misunderstanding of MY DYING BRIDE music. only one disadvantage - last years they have been playing mostly especially extreme songs, lyrical songs suchs as "For You" for example are absent in their setlists. But anyway first sounds of "A Cry Of Mankind" are always majestic.

At the end of the day ALICE COOPER began his way to guillotine (It was strange but “Poison” was the first song of the setlist, usually Cooper play it during Encores). Oh, no! Not guillotine, last years Mr.Cooper are executed on gallows. At the same time the greatest gothic rock legends FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM with their totally incredible set were finishing the day for Rockhard Tent.

01.00 A.M. It was already Day 3. So only one band is the list for Day 2 and thousand spectators before the Mainstage 2. CARCASS. Stunning, clear sound, tight and powerful sounding and a very high level of playing music. Maybe someone disliked it but it was extremely difficult to swear such performance.


The maximum amount of people. Every second person was in T-shirt with logo of SLAYER. Also a lot of KISS merchandise. So VULCAIN and BLASPHEME – French heavy bands. Then Swedish band FREAK KITCHEN and SABATON – also from Sweden. Sabaton are strongly gaining in popularity now and surely soon they will be not less famous than HAMMERFALL. Epic songs, hoarse vocal, not typical for power metal, absence of positive or funny atmosphere – is the unexpected formula of SABATON. Then folk metallers ELUVEITIE and another power metal band - High-pitched falsetto of Ralf Shippers from PRIMAL FEAR continued the program of Mainstages. After that – ENSIFERUM and U.D.O. It was very funny to see U.D.O. and not to listen “Trainride to Russia” because since 2004 U.D.O. always have been singing it during all Russian concerts (they visit Russia almost every year) and this song is the one of the main associations with this band. The most successful Polish death metal band BEHEMOTH performed their program. Fantastic strength, impenetrable wall of sound but still atmosphere in clubs during their concerts are much more powerful.

The great band on the left Mainstage was SAXON. It was funny to remember RAVEN and ANVIL performances. SAXON is one of the most brilliant heavy metal bands and their concerts give you a lot of energy. Despite the age Biff's vocal was incredible and his "Motorcycle man" reached speed of sound

Some words about the Terrorizer tent where was the reign of sludge and stoner rock. The first was Sludge instrumental band from Germany OMEGA MASSIF, but of course mostly there were bands from the USA: stoner group SOLACE and sludgers 16. Then... heavy metal, really heavy band called SAVIOURS, BLACK COBRA - again sludge and WEEDEATER (stoner/sludge), RWAKE. All those bands are famous in a fairly narrow circles of stoner/sludge fans. Also there were some experimental bands like YAWNING MAN. The evening was dedicated to KYUSS – BRANT BJORK AND THE BROS, MONDO GENERATOR and of course John Garcia. It was really fantastic event - during the final set Nick Oliveri and Brant Bjork joined John Garcia onstage to perform "Green Machine" and "Gardenia"

Goregrind band GENERAL SURGERY was the first on the stage of RockHard Tent. The next were EX DEO. It’s side projects of all KATAKLYSM members. Songs on Ancient Rome history, more melodic and athmospere, very interesting idea. After them - DECAPITATED who were reformed last year. The performance of DYING FETUS was cancelled. KATATONIA - emotional, melancholic performance. Soft enough sound and even some specific atmosphere.

Then absolutely crazy and the most strange performance of genius whose name is Devin Townsend. DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT - an incredible fusion of progressive, industrial and something else. Formally “Devin Townsend” and “Devin Townsend Project” are the different projects. Two last albums he released as “Devin Townsend Project” but during his performance Devin played songs from the other albums.

STONESOUR was on the Mainstage1 but there was more interesting situation. SUFFOCATION, EXODUS, NILE and SLAYER – one after another!!! Moreover MOTORHEAD at the same time with NILE. If you have seen SUFFOCATION you will be always trying to see them again. Fantastic technique, crushing brutality, enormous speed, absolutely mad energy! Frank Mullen is one of the best death metal frontmen. EXODUS Is the speed and pressure. Vocalist with enough brutal appearance constantly yelled “Circle pit” and struck up the crowd. MOTORHEAD on the main stage and NILE in RockHard tent. Live perfomances of MOTORHEAD are always on the very high level, at the same time Lemmy and his bandmates are one of the most predictable musicians. So they played rock'n'roll as they are doing it for more than 30 years. RockHard tent was changed by some mystic force from the Valley of the kings in Egypt. The name of this powerful force was NILE. One of the most technique bands among all death metal collectives, NILE is the grand mix of very complicated riffs and solos, two vocals - high growl and the second that couldn't be describe by words, it something like the dead egyptian kings came from their tombs and remind us about theirselves. Incredible and majestic. The last band here was BLOODBATH but most people prefered KISS presentation

SLAYER!!! The level was simply extraordinary. A terrific professionalism of musicians. Also a great mood and superior sound, elegant pure trash sound of the band. But there was something else - other than music, something more catchy than a set of notes. This was a special - even not atmosphere but ambiance of SLAYER. In contrast it was too funny to see constantly smiling Tom Araya.

KISS has the program for more than two hours. When they only started their set, everybody could realized the reason for the lack of backs on the Mainstage 1. Behind the curtains – of course, Gene, Paul and Tommy appeared on a lifter above the Eric’s drum kit. First song and Paul Stanley sang: “Allons enfants de la Patrie, Le jour de gloire est arrivé! Contre nous...” and the most part of public continued to sing "La Marseillaise". 20 songs – 20 hits, spectacular show, pyrotechnics – fantastic completion of the festival. Bravo!


As a conclusion there is no doubt that the festival will continue to develop. Already today we can say that the small town of Clisson has became one of the centers of metal life in Europe.

We would like to express a deep gratitude to the organizers of the festival and personally Roger Wessier for granted accreditations and wonderful attitude to the press.

Alan Akhmetov
Maxim Ponomarchuk

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