Black Spiders are ball-burstingly brilliant on first night at Hard Rock Hell

Hard Rock Hell The Vikings Ball review

published: Tue 8th Dec 2009

Black Spiders

Friday 4th to Saturday 5th December 2009
Pontins Holiday Village, Prestatyn Sands, North Wales, LL19 7LA, Wales MAP
from £110 for weekend tickets based on five people sharing.
last updated: Wed 16th Sep 2009

Let's be serious here; if you're any kind of self-respecting metal fan, there's only one place you're going to be during the first weekend of December each year. Hard Rock Hell is fast becoming as central an institution to the British rock community as Knebworth, Donington and the like, and as eFests arrives in Friday's mid-afternoon sunshine, it isn't much of a surprise to find that there's already more drunken debauchery spread over Prestatyn's Pontins resort than New Years Eve at the Playboy mansion. Although the ratio of attractive young women to beardy blokes is probably a bit less generous...

Delain
Glaswegian rockers Logan open up the main stage to a great response from the already suspiciously merry crowd. They're hardly the most dynamic bunch to ever grace a music festival, but with a hatful of decent tunes they seem to get by anyway. Symphonic Gothy troupe, Delain are certainly a more aesthetically attractive prospect over on the second stage – not least thanks to the charming stage presence of lead singer Charlotte Wessels. Unfortunately, the band itself still remains little more than a poor man's Within Temptation, which is hardly surprising given that they were formed by said Dutch group's ex-keyboardist.

Hysterica
Still, Delain are fucking seminal compared to all-girl classic metallers , Hysterica. The bastard lovechild of a third-rate Girlschool and Spinal Tap, it's difficult to know if the Swedish five-piece are supposed to be taken seriously at all, but with recycled riffs and clichés aplenty being bandied around like racist jokes at a BNP conference, it's hopefully unlikely. Equally cheesy but somewhat more respectable, San Diego legends RATT do their best to stake their claim as the golden oldies of the weekend. They're not a complete write-off, but when lead singer and founding father Stephen Pearcy is able to make Vince Neil look good, it's always going to be a struggle.

Black Spiders
Black Spiders on the other hand, are ball-burstingly brilliant. Like a heinously dirty threesome featuring Black Sabbath, Guns 'N Roses and Queens Of The Stone Age, the UK favourites will surely be main stage fodder before the end of 2010? Monster Magnet already occupy such a position as the evening's headline act, and they easily fulfil said obligation with a solid set of spaced-out stoner goodies, even if, as one audible punter delicately puts it, "it looks like Dave Wyndorf has eaten Dave Wyndorf." How rude. Sonata Arctica might lack the same weight in terms of calories, but their tried and tested power metal heroics still go down a storm and bring the night's entertainment to a decidedly gung ho ending.

review by: Merlin Alderslade

photos by: Chris Perowne

Friday 4th to Saturday 5th December 2009
Pontins Holiday Village, Prestatyn Sands, North Wales, LL19 7LA, Wales MAP
from £110 for weekend tickets based on five people sharing.
last updated: Wed 16th Sep 2009


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