Hammerfest IV was my first time at the Hammerfest Festivals so I was not sure what to expect when i arrived at the gates of Pontins in Prestatyn Wales for the Thursday Pre Party. As I got closer to the main reception there was a group of guys one of them dressed up as Thor on stilts with his mighty hammer swinging in the air greeting everyone that went past. As I walked into the Reception I was met by a wall of people queuing up to be checked in. The guy who checked me in was very pleasant he explained to everything that i needed to know then I signed my life away for the sake of metal and he gave me my keys to my chalet.
On my way round to my chalet I went passed the Queen Victoria Pub (e.g.: Stage 3) the first band of the weekend was playing. So I picked up pace so I could get into my chalet and put my stuff down so I could get out and doing some serious rocking. When I got to the chalet it was clean and tidy I was quite happy with what I got really as I was not going to spend much time in there only to sleep and have a shower. So then I put my stuff down and proceeded straight back out of the door to go to Stage 3.
When I got there the security guard asked to see my wristband and then he held the open the door so I could in. Once in and I was hit by a wall of sound which was music to my ears as this is what I have been waiting for since I booked up. I proceeded to the bar area and grab my first pint which went down rather well after a long journey and settled into the crowd to hear the band which was Firebrand Super Rock who is a female fronted band from Scotland.
They soon got my foot tapping and my head a rocking with their classic heavy metal sound and the thundering riffs and the singers top quality vocals if you have never seen these before you are in for a real treat. Near the end of the set the guitarist (Jamie Gilchrist) mentioned that it was the Singer (Laura Donnelly’s) birthday as soon as he had said that the crowd burst out with their rendition of Happy Birthday for which the singer was clearly very happy with. At the end of their set the crowd roared happily with what they had heard.
The next band on was A Thousand Enemies from the Midlands a unsigned band but with a big future in front of them they belted out great material like And Nothing Remains and ? with Bane’s instantly recognised voice and that with the great solo’s this band could go all the way. They are a band to watch out for in the coming years and yes they were the band of the day for me without a shadow of a doubt. Finally the band that closed Stage 3 was Flame Fracture a Melodic Death metal band from the south east with distinctive vocals and harmonised guitars. Their on stage persona was very energetic and kept the crowd entertained as they powered through their set.
Friday was the day I was looking forward to there were a few bands on that I have been told by people to check out. The first band was Arthemis from Italy a true heavy metal / thrash style with very impressive vocals and rip roaring guitar riffs made for a great start to proceedings. The next band was Sci Fi Mafia these guys really turned my head with their electronica / industrial sound and their on stage persona with fire eaters and sparks flying everywhere made for a eye catching performance.
The Headliners Anthrax never disappoints with their classic thrash sound playing favourites like Antisocial, Indians and Metal Thrashing Mad to name but a few. With a high energy performance also banter from Scott Ian made for a great Headline Act one that when they tour again you do not want to miss.
Saturday for me was all about a handful of bands Starting on Stage 2 with Chemicals of Democracy these guys from Arizona with their Metal / Hard Rock sound made a great opener for the day with there hard rocking guitar riffs and really great vocals. I would definitely see them again. Straight after them was Severenth from Chester a hard hitting metal band with powerful guitar riffs and vocals that switch between clean toned vocals to hard heart hitting screams these guys know how to put on a show they were intensity at its best.
Amon Amarth from Sweden was the band of the day for me personally with their powerful performance. Johan’s gruff vocals were just so intense the guitar riffs was an assault on your ears and the melodic harmonies were a joy to behold they really know how to grab the fans by the balls and get them rocking. The Headliners Skindred was as normal a high intensity show with a lot of crowd participation Benji as normal was running all over the stage like a mad man getting the crowd going playing tracks like the Doom riff and Wanted.
All in all Hammerfest is well worth the money if you like great music and a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
- Review by: David Pearce
- Photos by: David Pearce except those mentioned