Hafan y Mor Pwllheli North Wales.
Day 3 – 15th March 2014.
Starting on stage 2 today were a band I’ve known of, but never seen before, the punk duet from Brighton, OAF. The band is made up of a rather unusual looking pair, the drummer James being smartly dressed in a tweed suit and clean shaven and the bass player Dom, with his hipster beard, long ginger hair and scruffy appearance ,make for an unusual look with their music being equally as unusual as their appearance!
Maplerun, from Greece, were a real surprise this weekend. The first time I saw them, was when they supported American Head Charge, in Leicester, where I didn’t think much of them really, but after this performance, I stand corrected, again. Being at a much better venue, they really stood out as one of the great bands of the weekend, for me.
Breed 77 are clearly a band whose name is on everyones lips right now, especially after Paul announced he was taking a break from the band, last year. Since then Rui Lopez has done a great job filling in, but much to everyone’s surprise, Paul, the original lead singer is back and here to stay, apparently! However, I’m still to see all the original band in its entirety, as original bass player Stuart Cavilla is currently taking a leave of absence to pursue a new path in music and has been replaced by Ben Edis, from the Nottingham based band Spirytus. We’d like to wish Stuart all the best on his new path and would like to thank Ben for stepping in, so we can all continue to enjoy this great band. One question Ive always wanted to ask and got the opportunity to do so after their set, is why does Danny always wears his skeleton print fingerless gloves? The answer I got was that when Breed 77 had played their first show in Germany, it was so cold that Danny cut the tips off a pair of gloves, so he could still play the guitar but keep his hands warm and his signature look was born and has stuck ever since, so now we know!
Now then, not my usual cup of Earl Grey, but the band Gloryhammer really grabbed my attention this weekend. Falling under the Heroic Fantasy Power Metal genre, they take the audience on a quest into the land of the unknown, were they do battle with elf’s, goblins, dragons and such and boy, what a ride! With the crowd going nuts and wielding their foam swords at each other it was very entertaining and a lot of fun was had!
Rock riff lords Monster Truck, from Hamilton, Canada, of all places were a fantastic band who helped to keep the crowd in full flow. In my opinion, they should have played in Corrosion of Conformity’s time slot, but there we are. After Hammerfest, they have continued touring around the UK on Metal Hammers sponsored “Lords of Riffs Tour” along with Scorpion Child and Buffalo Summer, who are both great bands and would have been good to have played at this festival!
Stoner rock grooves courtesy of Druganaut over on stage 2 came up next, and a band that we fell in love with when they played Hard Rock Hell last November. Originally from Newcastle, these guys are receiving a massive amount of media attention at the moment and for very good reason as they f’in rock! Craig, the lead vocalist, practically stripped off to his underwear tonight, as if to lay everything he had on the line, so to speak and in doing so, he gave us a great view of all his tattoos, which are extensive and are all over his body which is clearly a temple. As for the music, other than Kyle’s slight guitar glitch, which soon got sorted, these guys gave another sterling performance that confirmed we weren’t wrong about them at HRH. We also got to interview the band and this can be found over on our You Tube page.
Kreator, who started life back in 1982 with vocalist & guitarist Mille Petrozza, were the one band everyone wanted to see this weekend and rightly so as they were a worthy headliner and closed the main stage at this years festival. Although, from where I was standing in the pit, I couldn’t see a thing as there was very little stage lighting present, the people I spoke too in the crowd said the light show was amazing from their perspective? Hailing from Germany, a country that’s produced many a thrash metal band over the years, Kreator are arguably the most influential and successful it’s ever produced in the whole of Europe! After signing to Nuclear Blast in 2010, they produced the album “Phantom Antichrist” which has been hailed their best album and has catapulted them back onto live stages since its release in 2012! All I can say is, WOW what a set!
My last paragraph has to be used up on the band Avatar, who were, by a long way, the best new find of the weekend – well for me anyway! By no means a new band, with their inception being way back in 2001, their current line up was confirmed in 2003, some 11 years ago. They are all still relatively young, so they must have been in nappies when they started, no disrespect. Since this gig, I’ve tried to discover as much as I can about the band and learned that they have released four albums in total, but its the last two albums, ‘Schlacht’ and ‘Black Waltz’ where they have really found their own little corner of originality within the metal genre. Ok, the clown facade is reminiscent of both Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson, but their sound is very much their own. Tonight’s set was extremely theatrical, with lead vocalist Johannes first coming on stage looking like Darth Vader, but ended up looking like a circus ring master and yielding his cane for effect. These guys have an extremely busy summer schedule ahead, playing some major European festivals including Download and Bloodstock in the UK, so make sure you check them out if you see their name on a festival you’re attending and definitely check out their new album “Black Waltz” honestly, I’ve had that album on repeat since I’ve discovered this band, brilliant!
So to close, this festival promised a lot and delivered another amazing year. Admittedly, I knew very few of the bands on this years bill, but that was part of the excitement as I knew I’d go away raving about a new band I’d discovered. Although an absolute bitch of a location to get too, once you’re there, its very hard not to enjoy yourself, so until next time, KEEP MOSHING!