Right, can we get one thing clear straight from the off… Achren do not wear masks, they don’t engage in singalongs, they don’t cover the Thundercats theme, or get the audience doing a wardance…
Nope…. none of those things….
What Achren do is deliver weapons grade, brutal, crushing heavy metal. It’s a ferocious noise powered by raw, uncompromising riffs, steamhammer pounding drums and guttural growls originating somewhere in the parts of Hell that even Satan steers well clear of.
They call it “Blood Metal”, but on the basis of tonight’s performance they could just as easily call it “Smash-your-face-in-with-a-sledgehammer Metal”.
I’d been wanting to catch these guys live ever since I first heard their “The Forgotten King” album. It’s one of those releases that, no matter how good you think it sounds, always gives the impression that live the tracks will be at a whole other level and this was a band at the very top of my “don’t care who else is on, going to be there” list….
As it turned out, the gods of scheduling had been unkind to Achren in pitting them against Anthrax’s headline performance on the main stage, but as I took my leave of the rest of the CackBlabbath crew and headed through to the second stage it was immediately clear that I wasn’t the only one foregoing saccharine American Thrash for deep fried in batter Scottish brutality. Even the band seemed surprised by the large crowd gathered to experience what they had to offer.
Well, and there was this one guy in an Anthrax shirt who looked too pissed to realise that he was in the wrong room 🙂
But if he woke up the next morning regretting seeing Achren over Anthrax then he would have been the only one in the crowd who did. As I kind of suspected, as good as “The Forgotten King” is on record, live Achren are simply awesome. They are as “metal” as a metal band can get, the stage presence, the Black Metal meets Death Metal meets Proper Fucking Heavy Metal noise blasting from the stacks, it’s a mix that resulted in more than one VERY sore neck the next morning.
Festivals are all about experiencing new bands and taking away memories that will last you a lifetime. This year at Hammerfest those memories included the sight of a nutter throwing himself off the roof of the chalet block onto some mattresses and Firebrand Super Rock playing a guerrilla gig on top of their transit, but there was no doubting the funniest thing I heard all weekend though. One feature of Hammerfest is the guys on stilts dressed as Devils wandering around, and they’re pretty mobile but I’ve never seen them move as quickly as they did when frontman Scott Anderson said, to a room full of pissed up metalheads….
“Those guys are cool…….”
“Apparently you get free beer if you knock them over”…