Obviously 10.30 AM is a a very odd time for a black metal concert, but not for Hellfest. With the sunrise just up the horizon, the gates of hell are opened for the second (and most important) day of the fallen souls. Passing by official shirts stands (and no, Hellfest festival is not only where you may buy shirts and sweatshirts, but also hats, scarves, sunglasses, belts, backpacks, mugs, badges, lighters and ... comforters with the festival logo), you can notice half of the merchandise is already sold. And queues never ends ... but never...
I said black metal. 10.30 sharp, fourth stage, Nefarium. Without emotions, thousands of spectators are already in front of the stage. Necro evil black metal for strong hearts, with all the arsenal included: skulls, chains, horns, pentagrams, inverted crosses, makeup. Contrary to expectations they do not insist on the last albumn, "Ad Discipulum", but Italians still hve a show as it should be.
Mercyless is an old Alsacian thrash metal band, but without having the early years shine. They also ignored the latest creation, "Unholy Black Splendor", old guard French metal hitting with spectacular "Without Christ" and "Burned at the Stake".
Temple of Baal is an obscure black metal band. Direct musical message, but not very complicated in visual form, they transmit their Parisian mood in the simplest way: "We are slaves to the beast and to the Satan". A black metal quite linear, animated only in the end with "Hate Is My Name" and "Walls of Fire".
Benighted is one of the greatest bands of French label Season of Mist. With seven consecutive albums and more than 15 years on stage, French death-grindcore band had a fantastic welcome. The band constantly emanates fresh air and self-control, being much admired and releasing lot of energy on stage. An excellent interaction with the audience, a well done gig.
Satanic death metal machine Incantation is already for ten years under contract with French label Listenable Records, so its presence at Hellfest with the new album "Dirges of Elysium" was absolutely natural. "Carrion Prophecy", "Impending Diabolical Conquest" and "Horns of Eradication" were the delight of those who have bear the heat of that June afternoon.
It was nice to see Schirenc plays Pungent Stench... a project launched last year by Don Cochino, former guitarist of the band Pungent Stench. Due to a dispute with the Rector Stench (drums), Pungent Stench could not been reformed, the only form in which Martin Schirenc (Don Cochino) was permited to put some pieces together being this new project.
What is Schirenc plays Pungent Stench? Strictly songs from first years of band's activity, the 1988-1995: "Extreme deformity", "Happy Re-birthday", "Blood, Pus and Gastric Juice" and definetelly "Viva la Muerte" and "For God Your Soul ... For Me Your Flesh". However, no matter how strange it was to see this new formula, they had a lot of passion, nostalgia and... enough crowdsurfing.
Another French band top (on the main stage, this time) was Dagoba. A groove metal rollers - deathcore with heavy feedback. Not much to say, Dagoba has clearly a faithful audience, the two walls of death required by the public voice were not hardly expected.
A return for two hours at the 3rd and 4th stages where we enjoy two bands who have never played in Romania. Gorguts is undoubtedly the most technical death metal band in the whole festival. Heavy metal anantgarde teachers of Canada have won audience by a show to the subject, without useless bollox. From the playlist: "Orphans of Sickness", "Nostalgia", "Inverted". Tsjuder was but the cream on the cake, on the Temple stage, where on Saturday the apocalyptic extreme metal bands presented their show. Norwegian Legion escalate black metal. Extreme intensity and totally anti-Christian show. End with "Malignant Coronation" and "Demonic Supremacy" (song presented for the first time live).
For Brutal Truth Hellfest was a special moment. Official, US grinders shall cease playing at the end of the year, the performance in Clisson being one of the last stage appearances in Europe. It was also a reminder when Kevin Sharp mentioned they celebrate 24 years from their first tour, done with... Pungent Stench. A devastating performance, a delight of violent music hysteria with "Fuck Cancer" and "Evolution Through Revolution".
3 hours comeback to the main stage where we have the two major acts of the evening. To listen Deep Purple after Brutal Truth and Tsjuder's not easy to digest, but the Englishmen are veterans of the scene and deserves tens of thousands of viewers in front of the stage, predictably with purple decor, simple but suggestive. "Strange Kind of Woman", "Smoke on the Water", "Hush", "Black Night" - simple and effective for a perfect concert.
Aerosmith had the most generous and largest stage area. Special for Steven Tyler and his glam rock band, the stage was almost double. Aerosmith is Aerosmith, but it was not easy to know that on the other scenes at the same time, you could see Nile, Gorgoroth or Phil Anselmo & The Illegals. Broken hearts again... but the choice worthed 100%.
"Welcome to the music from another dimmension" is the start signal and Tyler appears on stage in a huge silver cloak. The show is executed in classic style, performance did not differing very much from what was seen in Bucharest a few years ago. "Love in an Elevator", "Cryin'", "Livin' on the Edge", "Freedom Fighter" (new song with Joe Perry on vocals!), "I Do not Want to Miss a Thing", "Dude (Looks Like a Lady)"," Walk This Way", plus two encores, "Dream on" (with a superb solo piano) and "Sweet Emotion"... probably the only band from Hellfest who were allowed two encores in a continuous spread of confetti.
For the complete variety, Carcass was the ideal choice for a last band of the evening. "Le Carcass" had a fantastic audience. With a third stage packed with spectators, Liverpool bastards offered what we all expected: an energetic show, fresh, leaded with great patience by Jeff Walker in the best shape. Absolutely natural, they played most of the "Surgical Steel" songs, but pleased us with morbid death tunes "Exhume to consume", "Reek of putrefaction" and, inevitably, "Heartwork".
Text: Titus Constantinescu
Photos: Liviu Zaharescu