Ahhh.. Saturday morning in sunny Wales… Wait, something is not quite right. We are at Hafan Y mor, Pwllheli? It’s never sunny there, is it ??
Well for 2017 someone had brought the good weather, and it was, as they say, el-sorchio outside.
Team CB got up and organised for a stroll along the beach along with a load of other black clad denizens wondering what the big, hot thing in the sky was. Saturday was a day with some obvious highlights, but there were also a load of new, exciting bands to catch and, as we know, the band of the day usually ends up to be a wildcard.
Up to the stage we trot, skipping merrily as we go (well not all of us, boring). This sun thing has a lot to answer for. Metal fans are known to be sad, angry, depressed and antisocial. This lot here for Hammerfest are all smiling, having fun and hanging out around the outdoor bar which is all set to do a roaring trade.
Things kick off on the second stage which was conveniently located next to Starbucks. as it’s be rude not to things kick off with a caffeine fix. The staff there had even dug out their most metalest background music.. Queen, Bon Jovi, Guns’n’Roses etc.
The honour of opening the last day of HRH United III falls to Torous who give their all to the few punters who have bothered / managed to turn up. The joys of an early slot on the last day of a festival eh?
After Tourous had finished a miracle occurred, the place filled up a lot. Now usually at this point in the day people are only just resurfacing from their sleeping chambers. But for some strange reason, this place is getting busy.
Oh, that’ll be because The Bastard Sons are on and, well, they fucking nailed it. They looked the part, sounded amazing and got the place bouncing like almost no one else in there all weekend..
The riffs just kept on coming, and we loved ’em. “Were going to have to race through them because I talk so much shit”. we’re told.
Band of the weekend? Certainly are so far. We loved Release The Hounds which, apparently, “went to number one on the iTunes metal chart”. That means the big time clearly “We’re pop stars now. We’re the Justin Bieber of mediocre metal”.
Frontman JJ looked happier than a pig in shit! The whole band for that matter looked like they were on top of the world. JJ was a photographer’s dream, playing up to the camera and posing like a wee posey thing.
After The Bastard Sons, it was time for the main stage to get going with Collibus breaking us in gently to the day’s proceedings. A prog-metal band with a fair few festival apperances under their belt, Gemma and the gang get a decent crowd and throughout the set there was a steady trickle of folk coming in to check them out.
We stayed put fin the main arena (not just because we had seats, honest) as it was time for a band we’ve had an eye on since they owned the New Blood stage at Bloodstock. Self proclaimed “starving musicians” Fury gave the kiss of life to the Hammerfest crowd who are always suckers for some proper Heavy Metal. Now we are talking. There must be bus loads of people being brought in. This place appears to get busy with the click of your fingers.
Worcester’s second most famous export made the step up to the big stage with ease, doing their bit for their hometown with a lengthy imploration to the crowd to try Worcester sauce which, as I recall, tastes like it was squeezed out of a cat.
We’ll have the riffs, you can keep the sauce 😉
Powerquest have split opinion with fans, and indeed within TeamCB. They almost didn’t make it to Hammerfest with 2 members walking out a few days before the gig. Luckily the replacements drafted in at short notice did a great job and the show went on.
Powerquest are from the “serious” end of the Power Metal spectrum, proving that it doesn’t always have to be fun, tanks, pirates and werewolves.
Although not to everyone’s, it was a break from all the Darkness that was about to be unleashed across on the second stage.
We braved the evil looking swans hiding behind the hedge and waiting to pounce devour passing innocents to head down to the on-site restaurant for a spot of lunch next. While HRH are doing their thing there are also holidaymakers and caravan owners on site and what they make of the sudden black-clad influx we have no idea. One “late middle aged” dog walker asked which bands were playing that she might know… I don’t think she’s familiar with Hectate Enthroned and god knows what she’d have made of Sodomised Cadaver !!
After a well earned lunch we headed back up for an eagerly anticipated date with Dutch Black Metallers Cirith Gorgor who brought the darkness they are so well known for.
Distant, dissonate, passionate and almost impenetrable Cirith Gorgor were little short of majestic. Wrapped in their own world of dark intensity that swept over the crowd. It’s not often you feel slightly uneasy pointing a camera at a frontman, but there was something about the towering corpse-painted figure that meant you really didn’t want to get too close, and certainly didn’t want to piss him off !!
Brilliant, some of us loved ’em.
We caught a little bit of Beyond The Black over on the main stage but couldn’t hang about as another of our must see bands were next up on the second stage. Our Nikki isn’t a huge Black Metal fan but the promise of Pizza lured her back into the second stage gloom.
More about the pizza later…
Kampfar have been around for a while now, and they are masters of the extreme metal craft. It’s taken them 20 years to make it to a family holiday park in North Wales though, I bet that’s been a dream of theirs since they started.
Hey guys, never mind Wacken or Hellfest.. one day we could play Pwllheli.
Kampfar did not disappoint and although they couldn’t top the intensity of Cirith Gorgor they certainly got at least as big a response from the assembled Hard Rock Hellions.
Having all the Black metal bands on one after the other did mean that for the non-hardcore fans of the genre it all got a bit much, but it was almost time for a complete change of scene over on the main stage..
And now for something completely different… it’s only Evil Scarecrow.
I have never seen so many people flood this place. Even HRH head honchos Fleur and Johnni were there to see these guys. And they did not disappoint. We’ve seen them play shit holes, we’ve had them headline our own Twittrfest and we’ve seen them own Bloodstock. The venue had been pretty busy at times over the weekend but had never felt rammed.. that changed with the place packed to capacity as we robot-danced, scuttled and shouted ourselves hoarse.
Snippets of Bill Murray’s “scrooged” speech played out on the PA and then it turned to chaos, in a way only people that have seen Evil Scarecrow will understand. Monty Blitzfist headed out onto the crowd, literally, standing on the shoulders of drunk metalheads, beating his drum. For Hammerfest, this was the only place to be. It’s party central. Chocka-block, no room to move!
Til next time guys \m/
How the fuck do you top that? Well you bring on Alestorm of course. Pirate metal anyone? Inflatables galore, Pirates everywhere. Evil Scarecrow had kind of broken us so we enjoyed Alestorm from a safe distance as the lunacy continued.
Pirates Vs Scarecrows.. who won ?
Well Keelhaul me and pickle me in rum if it wasn’t the Scarecrow who nicked it.
We did nip out for a quick visit to stage 2, where Hecate Enthroned were playing to a rather shell-shocked looking crowd. Noises that were coming from this place sound like Reagan from the exorcist. Some sort of demonic possession is well underway. They look menacing, they sound mental but it all works.
I am no expert, and out my comfort zone but I can definitely see the appeal with them. And their fans, who you wouldn’t imagine were really the Power Metal types, were enthralled.
As we pondered on the bands that we have seen and the inevitable “band of the weekend” conversation ensued we all agreed The Bastard Sons knocked the ball outta the park. I just didn’t expect them to blow me away as much as they did. Even though Venom Inc, Cirith Gorgor, Skyclad, Destruction and Evil Scarecrow put on awesome performances, it was the Justin Beiber of mediocre metal that won us over.
Oh, and if you find yourself in Pwllheli, make sure and try the brisket and bacon pizza with coca-cola sauce. It will change your life!!!