Gill: Hammerfest Friday Report
The writing of this report is like a cross between The Hangover and that scene in Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas where Johnny Depp as Hunter S Thompson wakes up with a tape recorder strapped to him and a giant tail attached to his rear – wondering what the fuck happened.
We arrived in Prestatyn at 11am and it seemed appropriate to ‘get on it’ as the vernacular has it. We sat outside the Queen Victoria pub venue here at Pontins where Hammerfest 3 was already a night into its three. Guardians Of Andromeda were the first band of the day, and despite hangovers from many of the VIP revellers who enjoyed a Thursday night of beer and metal, the place is packed inside and out. Guardians Of Andromeda bring pacey Euro-inspired trad metal, their bald frontman throwing the claw and horns – getting the midday metalheads’ heads nodding.
We’ve already lowered the tone as far as ‘centaur porn’ when The Mercy House hit the stage with their grunge-infused modern alt rock.
Inside on stage two Idiom are playing to a slowly filling room. The band’s sound might be best described as post-metalcore nu-metal: approaching a decade old style with the young and hindsight of what came after. The result is a bouncy and heavy display of riffs, De La Rocha-style verses and clean choruses almost reminiscent of early Placebo. The Exeter band clearly have a unique vision and continue to craft and hone their distinctive sound – that and an ever-gripping live show will surely see them gathering fans and momentum over the year. In the same vein as Idiom are Nottingham’s Spirytus who channel the best elements of nu-metal (the bounce the popping bass) but turn up the crush to brutal levels to awesome effect.
The Treatment may look like Camden indie posers but they bring some hard rocking swagger to the Hammerfest stage and a touch of musical class to proceedings. The record is good, but the live show is the nuts.
Next up a band who half an hour before their epic performance were worried their hardcore edge wouldn’t endear them to a crowd wearing black/death metal shirts. They needn’t have worried, as Feed The Rhino are easily the day’s highlight. People who turn off when they hear the word ‘hardcore’ should think again as FTR have more in common with Motorhead than Converge.
Now from here it gets a bit blurry. We remember seeing the queue for the Turisas signing and people in red and black face-paint shouting ‘battle metal, battle metal’. We remember high fiving armies of pod-clahns and discussing how pretending to be a truck-driver is an underused honeytrap. The only vivid memory following these events is Turbowolf who just get better and better. Four years ago the band were a kookie electronic-tinged circus-punk novelty (thought still awesome), but they have since become a more straight-up, heavier and riff-led outfit. The eccentricity is still in evidence, but as opposed to it distracting from the music, it’s tightly and deftly woven into the fabric of each three minute belter making.
Now things really get really confused. Feed The Rhino, Sylosis and Idiom hit the bar. Accept are on stage tearing it up. We eat some chips. A girl falls out of her basque. Someone demands Jager… suddenly everything is black.