Grindcore heaven as Napalm Death show true grit on day one of Hammerfest II

Hammerfest 2010 review

published: Tue 23rd Mar 2010

around the festival sites

Thursday 11th to Saturday 13th March 2010
Pontins Holiday Camp in Prestatyn, North Wales, Wales MAP
from £95 per head, based on a group of seven people sharing
last updated: Thu 4th Feb 2010

Sun out? Beers out? Horns out? Drunken metalheads stumbling around a Pontin's by 12pm on a Friday... erm... out? It can only be Hammerfest (or Hard Rock Hell if this were December), and as eFestivals arrives on site in the late afternoon, Prestatyn is already facing an alcoholic meltdown as progressive groove metallers Xerath bring the pain to an impressive crowd on the second stage.

Epica
It's a fairly solid slot, but made easily forgettable thanks to the imminent arrival of London thrashers Savage Messiah, who do their reputation as one of the UK's brightest thrash prospects no damage with a storming set. Meanwhile, airy fairy symphonic mob Epica do their best to win over a predominantly indifferent main stage crowd, but despite the efforts of the undeniably talented Simone Simmonds, it's hard to argue against the fact that there are many bands who do this whole shtick much more convincingly.

Katatonia might be one of the least up tempo bands to play this entire weekend, but they also happen to be one of the best, and their understated performance reeks of the kind of sumptuous melancholy that haunts their impressive back catalogue. Promisingly, many highlights come from the doomy Swedes' latest opus 'Night Is The New Day', only confirming their position as one of metal's most continuously intriguing acts. DevilDriver, while also being on top of their game, are a whole different proposition, and crushing anthems such as 'Clouds Over California', 'Fate Stepped In' and the title track from last yearÂ’s excellent 'Pray For Villains' album provide the backbone for a generally decent set, even if one that is not quite as compelling as their London Garage show last October.

Tonight's headliners in Five Finger Death Punch raised more than a few eyebrows when they were announced, but they put in a decent enough slog, even if it pales in comparison to the all out onslaught of Napalm Death. Grindcore's favourite sons put in a show of such grit and effortless brutality that any thoughts of an early night seem to be chewed up and spat out by Barney Greenway. The Brummies provide one of the day's most impressive sets, and leave melodic doom metallers Swallow The Sun looking unusually lacklustre on the second stage soon after.

Five Finger Death Punch
review by: Merlin Alderslade

photos by: Daniel Gray

Thursday 11th to Saturday 13th March 2010
Pontins Holiday Camp in Prestatyn, North Wales, Wales MAP
from £95 per head, based on a group of seven people sharing
last updated: Thu 4th Feb 2010


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