Damnation Festival 2012
- Leeds (GB), Leeds University Union bldg -
Band list (A to Z): Electric Wizard, Hawk Eyes, My Dying Bride, Primordial, Ravens Creed, The Atrocity Exhibit, Vreid, Winterfylleth, Wodensthrone
Damnation Festival 2012 was uncomfortable, overcrowded and there were technical difficulties cropping up all over the place. However, was that all worth it to see some fantastic bands at their finest? Oh, definitely.
Ravens Creed (13:30 - 14:00)
This London band was the first to play at the entire festival. Their music was far from anything special, yet the sheer force and presence of the band made them incredibly enjoyable to watch. The crowd was mild and small, but Ravens Creed still gave it their all. Their pure, in-your-face death metal cut through the entire (extremely undersized) room, and if anything, they were at least a nice way to start a day that only got better and better.
The Atrocity Exhibit (14:00 - 14:30)
Up next were this death and grind band from Northampton. They absolutely destroyed the Terrorizer stage, although some of the audience members could be seen creeping away. The sound was not fantastic, admittedly, but the band were not too bad on stage. They were friendly enough and quite lively, and they performed a decent selection of songs from their relatively short career.
Hawk Eyes (14:45 - 15:15)
These local boys from Leeds were the first band on the Jägermeister (main) stage, and they were noticeably out of place at the festival. They were a typical rock band with occasional progressive influences at a festival full of extreme metal bands. They were absolutely amazing regardless, and they seemed to attract a bit of a crowd as their amazing performance went on. Hawk Eyes' performance was top-notch, and they are definitely a band to keep your eyes on.
Wodensthrone (15:30 - 16:00)
It was then back to the tiny Eyesore stage for this brilliant little British number. Their breed of almost ambient, nature- and heathenism-inspired black metal was truly a pleasure to the ears. They had a modest performance, and there were even a couple of rude audience members, but apart from that, the band were far more than good and they genuinely deserved a bigger stage.
Winterfylleth (16:00 - 16:30)
This band seems to be increasingly popular, and rightly so. Their performance at Damnation Festival proved exactly why this band has a growing fan base: they are lovely musicians with a mind-blowing arsenal of talent; their music is so connected to the history of the country around them; they know how to interact with people in the audience and also when to carry on playing their music. To date, their music has only improved, and this show was superb, which is putting it lightly.
Vreid (18:05 - 18:45)
A little while later, it was the Norwegian black metallers' turn. It is safe to say that they absolutely blew the audience away. Looking around, it is usually a given that there will be that one bored-looking audience member with a slightly underwhelmed look on their face; that never happened with Vreid. Despite the mediocre acoustics of the venue, the sound was absolutely brilliant, and the band really did play their best. They played an old Windir song, The Spiritlord, with the brother of Valfar (R.I.P.) and even an ex-Vreid member joined them on-stage for Pitch Black, so the show went beyond just musical excellency and became slightly emotional at times. On the whole, Vreid's performance played with perfection and was truly an unmissable sight.
Primordial (18:50 - 19:30)
It was time to run to catch the Irish legends. Their exciting set began with No Grave Deep Enough, the first track from Redemption At The Puritan's Hand. The audience went crazy immediately, and A.A. Nemtheanga's vocals echoed throughout the entire hall. Next, they played As Rome Burns with inhuman fury and vigor. Their next generous offering to the audience-gods was Bloodied Yet Unbowed, another near-faultless song. The Coffin Ships sailed into Leeds, bringing with them the gut-wrenching backdrop of that song; by this point, absolutely everything about Primordial on stage had been breathtaking. Their final song - and undoubtedly their best - was Empire Falls, which they played beyond perfection, which really sums up how the band played for most of the lamentable 40 minutes that they had on stage.
My Dying Bride (20:00 - 21:00)
The sullen Northerners were second to last on the main stage. They opened with Kneel Till Doomsday, followed by Like Gods Of The Sun, and the atmosphere was as melancholy as any doom metal show. To Remain Tombless was somewhat average, though My Body, A Funeral, complimented by Shaun Macgowan's stunning violin playing, was indeed a sight to behold. She Is The Dark and The Poorest Waltz were the next couple of songs, ruined by yet more technical difficulties in the form of some unwanted guitar distortion. It was by The Cry Of Mankind that things were (maybe) fixed - or at least improved - and when they finally strummed The Dreadful Hours, it still sounded fabulous despite the problems. Only a band with My Dying Bride's quality can make their music listenable in spite of technical difficulties.
Electric Wizard (21:30 - 23:00)
The festival headliners were impeccable. The stage show was fabulously psychedelic. Their opening song was none other than the mighty Supercoven, delivered perfectly. Next was Witchcult Today, played with their usual laid-back style. The Nightchild was the following song, with a nonchalant feel. Dopethrone - a tidy little number from the new millennium - went above and beyond expectations. One of their latest songs, Legalise Drugs And Murder, was a pleasant surprise. Following that was a perfect rendition of Black Mass, which even the security guards, who seemed doomed to be forever miserable, seemed to perk up a bit for. Return Trip saw the band briefly diminish in quality, but this was indeed brief. By Satanic Rites Of Drugula, things were all right again. It felt like The Chosen Few was going to be the end of it, but - unfortunately for those poor security guards - Electric Wizard had one last song up its sleeve. The band closed with Funeralopolis, which was spectacular. There were countless technical difficulties throughout - Jus Oborn's guitar strings even snapped at one point - but with regards to the music and show itself, they were superb.