Hellfest has been synonymous to grandeur. Every year, it grows beyond any limitation in terms of identity, area and attendance. It’s insane to realize just about how many people in today’s day and age, that still feel connected to this type of music. Even though this year held the most uncompromising and promising lineups from these last 3 or 4 years, there’s just so much more happening in the perimeter other than the concerts. Obviously, one always attends because of the huge and underrated names the organization brings but truth is, the experience fluctuates beyond the stages, along with the bars, the restaurants, the markets, the various stores and even the fucking Hell City square. It welcomes one with so many bright colors and history that it states and feels like the entire team feels music just like you do. Dedication like this one, is more than deserving of our respect and that’s why this year, the even stood unmissable! The weekend has just begun and after arrival, all energy must be focused upon withstanding the longest of line for both festival and camping tickets. Sleep your away and be prepared to wake up early in the following day. The smell of the dry and warm grass around the camping is one of the reasons why coming back should have an obvious answer.
Ambience and Arena - Part 1
Ambience and Arena - Part 2
We had big plans for the first day. Admittedly, the neighboring rivalries between two of our favorite stages on the bill, Valley and Temple, is one that can illustrate just how strong the underground is still going. Starting off with french cathartic sludge, Fange at the Valley stage, we saw lots potential in form of extreme, untamed and punishing energy from the five piece. Striding elements of hardcore with noise and swedish undertones, it’s a blessing to embrace the beginning of it all with these guys. Another example of Valley’s french assault was the presence of Lyon outfit Celeste. It’s important to hydrate whenever possible in order to really appreciate the shows. This collective has an eye for enormous riff projections and heavy hitting drum snares, that simulate a demolition of sorts, composed mostly of emotional atmosphere and disruptive soundscapes. Simple but memorable. The sun is still up and we’re beginning to feel it’s wrath. Missing Converge’s set at Main Stage 2 was unthinkable by now, but the sunburns were just around the corner following the 40 minute mathcore assault in the blazing heat. On the bright side (no pun intended), the Boston-based four-piece played all the crowd favorites from You Fail Me, Jane Doe, Axe To Fall and All We Love We Leave Behind.
Converge, Bongzilla, Celeste and Schammasch
Rose Tattoo, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Meshuggah and Steven Wilson
The icelandic phenome Solstafir must be the band that best captures the symbiosis between the delicacy of simplicity and the heaviness of emotion. With this, it’s easy to see why so many people filled the Temple stage just in time for the first half of their performance. Immersive and heartfelt applauses bathe the soundscape between songs. That’s just how strong this four-piece is. Truly idolized. Their talent reaches a power of portraying breathtaking landscapes through their music, mesmerizing every single listener as if a portal showcased he beautiful icelandic landscapes to the Clisson crowd. One can only leave with a heart overwhelmed by it all.
When the entire festival area is bathed in beautiful sunset colours, torches are ignited and we get to see one of the most astonishing scenes while watching Eyehategod. Flaming towers illuminating the sky with bright blazes of heat composes of a great and appropriate way to welcome Mike Williams on stage along with the rest of the Eyehategod crew. What pursued right after was pure, raw fucking intensity. Easily one of the weekend’s highlights, underlining visceral and plain disgusting sludge. No bullshit. Just comes to show that you don’t need to have fireworks of fancy stage props to deliver a fucking proper show.Welcome back Mike!! The end was near so we proposed a celebration of a successful first day of Hellfest upon the company of norwegian black’n’roll overlords at the Temple stage, none other than Satyricon. Unsurprisingly intense and fun. The band’s straight forward song structures and pretty stripped-down sound leaves anyone in absolute berserk mode. Compelled by the dried and punchy guitar riffs as well as the constant double bass just makes everything sound catchy and epic. The whole crowd entranced to band’s energy while singing anthems like “Black Crow On The Tombstone”, “K.I.N.G.” and “Diabolical, Now”. Hail!!
Solstafir and Eyehategod
Even though we didn’t mention it by now, the Warzone had one of the best weekend lineups of all the secondary stages. It would be unjust not to praise the decision of sorting out punk, hardcore and hard rock between the three days. On the first day, “traditional” punk reigned the prison perimeter, and to give hail to the beginning of a blissful weekend like this one, Rise Against proved to be the ideal soundtrack to end an incredible first day of Hellfest. Energetic, intense and always emotive, this is a band that uses the years of experience to maintain a high level of showmanship and delivery. Their deliverance to the crowd shined bright through their best hits and fan favorites in the setlist, but feeling the heat of towering flames surrounding the festival lights and the awesome Warzone stage, as well as the impressively energetic 2am crowd, proved that the bigger parties always happen in the smaller spaces.
Rise Against, Judas Priest and Bad Religion
Even though the bigger stages didn’t radiate as much energy as we wished to, there was still so much to see on the alternative billboards. Some of those we mentioned stand as the highlights of the day but truth is that everyone can create their own single and unique Hellfest experience. It has just begun, and you can’t control it!!
Advance to Day 2 ->