6   +   7   =  

Hellfest
Clisson, France
Part #4

The final day of Hellfest started with us burning under the hot sun. We’re talking about some crazy weather! Who would have guessed that after two days of rain the sun would be blazing? So, we put on sunscreen, our hats and we were off. This Sunday included some very grand names; Black Label Society, Hatebreed, Dimmu Borgir, Lamb Of God, and of course Double O, the Madman, the Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy. And we were in for a treat, since Ozzy would appear on stage accompanied by all the great musicians that were by his side during his solo carrier. I guess this balanced nicely the fact that Black Sabbath had been cancelled. But we should better take things from the start.

– Giorgos Zabogiannis:

The day that we would see Lamb of God  finally came! We headed to the altar stage to see Hour Of Penance. I’ve been waiting to see them because they are a band I really admire and never seen before. It was around 11 a.m and most of the people were sleeping or eating breakfast so attendance weren’t that good but I didn’t really care! I just wanted to see Hour of Penance. Their sound wasn’t the best around. They played for about 40 minutes with some of their new songs like “Enlightened Submission”, “Decimate the Ancestry of the Only God” and older ones like “Paradogma” and “Absence of Truth”. Overall it was a good performance and it was nice that I’ve seen them for first time.

– Stella Papaspyropoulou:

Sunday morning and under the blazing sun performed Black Label Society. Zakk Wylde, crazy as ever, chose to put some Indian feathers on his head for the opening “Crazy Horse”. In the first minutes, there seemed to be a problem with the microphone, as we couldn’t hear Zakk clearly, but it got fixed quickly. The setlist was satisfying; “Overlord”, “Godspeed Hellbound”, “Concrete Jungle”, “Stillborn”, were all in, but there were too many long solos that stole precious time from other songs and seemed to tire the fans.

– Giorgos Zabogiannis:

I was hanging around till I went to the second Mainstage to see Walls of Jericho. Tbe stage was full of people wanted to see WOJ and they came up with good sound playing songs from their entire discography including “All Hail The Dead”, “American Dream”, and “A Little Piece of Me”. WOJ had the biggest cirle pit of the festival (so far) and I had a good time being a part of it!

I moved to the first Main Stage right away because it was time for Hatebreed! I held a good spot near the stage, they came up and all I was able to hear was yelling and screaming from the people around me. What a bloody performance! Jasta is a master on stage and the band knows how to wake people up!  They played many songs from their first till their latest album including some rare live tracks like “Proven”. They played also “As Diehard As They Came”, “Perseverance”, “Last Breath”, “Never Let It Die” and much more. I was jumping for the whole damn set list and that actually killed my legs but I didn’t mind at all! It was all for Hatebreed! That was a great time for me there!

– Manos Spanos:

Blue Oyster Cult was a very good choice for people who wanted something relaxing. The intro track was from the American series “Game of Thrones” which was an interesting choice. The sound was very good and the setlist was really great, even if I was expecting to play also “astronomy”. The audience was small but that didn’t have any effect to the band which had a very good performance and a good quality sound.

– Stella Papaspyropoulou:

At last, it was time for Pentagram! I was very anxious and excited to see them live, and so were the many fans, who had literally flooded the Valley. By the time I arrived there, I couldn’t even try to move forward and actually see the band. All that was justifiable. Pentagram were unbelievable, with great sound and great songs. Bobby Liebling’s voice was simply amazing. The band gave the fans everything they wanted and the fans responded with lots of craziness. Easily one of the best shows of Hellfest!

Another trip to “The Temple”, to see Ihsahn this time. The once voice of Emperor entertained us with songs from his solo albums. I have to admit that I secretly hoped for an Emperor song, but no luck. Ihsahn’s performance, nevertheless, was incredible, both musically and vocally. The diversity of the setlist in melodies and speed made sure that no one would get bored.

– Manos Spanos:

The technical death metallers Suffocation had a large audience and in any move of Frank Mullen the crowd was going mad. The sound was good enough and that helped the band to give an excellent performance. In tracks like “Pierced from Within” and “Abomination Reborn” headbanging didn’t stop.

Next was Arcturus: one of the bands that I’m crazy about and my emotions in any live performance of this band cannot be transferred easily. After a small videoclip the band came out. They started with “Evacuation Code Deciphered” which is one of my favorite songs in the latest album “Sideshow Symphonies”. The band seemed nearly affected by the crowd which wasn’t active at all. The psychedelic emotions and the mystical kind of music and lyrics were lost by the unattractive audience. The band tried so hard to motivate the crowd, without any effect. Even in tracks like “Alone”, “Chaos Path” or “Master of Disguise” which are some of the best known the crowd didn’t seem to be familiar with.
On the other side, Vortex’s vocals were in a good shape and as a whole the group was very good. Finally, the band left with a small greeting and that was a small evidence that they didn’t feel ok, even if they played well.

– Giorgos Zabogiannis:

Madball was the next band that I watched and I really had a great time there. I saw people having a good time and I heared many madball songs like “Get out”, “For My Enemies” and they closed their set with “Heavenhell”.

– Stella Papaspyropoulou:

It was time for some melodic death metal from Children Of Bodom. During the past five years, Children Of Bodom have gained many devoted fans, so it was no surprise to see the Altar overflowing. The band was in a great mood, driving the fans crazy. The crowd was on full mode headbanging and crowd-surfing. The only problem was the keyboard that was completely lost behind all the other instruments.

For the last show of Hellfest, I was in a dilemma. I really wanted to see both Lamb Of God and Dimmu Borgir and the decision was tough. But since there are slim chances to see Dimmu Borgir in Greece, I chose them. During their set there were definitely ups and downs. Silenoz ad problems with his guitar, and Shagrath had to change his mic. Also Shagrath was a disappointment in Vortex’s lines. But when I heard “MourningPalace”, “Gateways”, “The Serpentine Offering” and “Progenies Of A Great Apocalypse”, I couldn’t find myself to care about these things. Despite all the problems Dimmu managed to have all headbanging like crazy to their music.

– Panagiotis Karagiannidis:

It’s been my first opportunity to see Mr Madman live and that would be a unique experience itself but it wasn’t just that! This time, it’s not just Ozzy and his band…it’s Ozzy & His Friends! That means that Geezer Butler, Zakk Wylde and Slash would hit the stage to jam classic Sabbath and Ozzy songs along with double “O” himself! Hell Yeah! It’s been 23:10 when the most legendary rockstar of all time hit the stage asking Hellfest’s crowd to go crazy! I’ve been amazed just by hearing his voice and seeing his figure out on stage before even the show starts but… what the fuck? Almost nobody goes crazy! The crowd looks so apathetic to me and now I can understand the fact that every band that’s coming to Greece praises the Greek audience. Anyway, I left this bad moment behind and I focused on the show. Blasko, Gus G. and Tommy Clufetos hit the stage and first song is “Bark At The Moon”! A dream has just been started to fulfill.

Ozzy is walking across the stage up and down and it’s obvious that his heart still rocks! Next is “Suicide Solution” and it has just been started to rain, the sound is not that good and all the above in combination with the mediocre audience makes me feel a little bit upset since I can’t live the moment as I expected before the show. However, a few minutes later, Blasko leaves and Slash with Geezer hit the stage and…it’s “Iron Man”! It’s still raining but who gives a fuck!  I couldn’t believe in my eyes seeing in a row Ozzy, Geezer, Slash and Gus G. ! Next song is “War Pigs” and then “N.I.B” came to destroy everything! A bunch of metal heroes jamming my favorite Sabbath song in front of my eyes! It’s a Sabbath night! After that, Slash and Geezer leaves the stage and Blasko returns having Zakk Wylde alongside to go back to Ozzy’s solo career with “Crazy Train”. Right after the end of “Crazy Train”, Geezer, Slash and Zakk hit the stage and this time all together played “Paranoid”! This is definitely a special experience that will never be forgotten!  However, by the end of the song Ozzy and his friends said goodnight to the audience and left the stage around 23:20. According to the schedule we had, the show should end at 23:55 and that was an unexpected bad end. In conclusion, to be honest, a lot of external situations (nothing has to do with the presence of the band) that I mentioned before didn’t let me enjoy the show as I expected. However, thank God for moments such as “N.I.B”, “Paranoid”, “War Pigs” and the unique experience of seeing Slash, Gus and Zakk next to Ozzy and Geezer!

It’s time for the most awaited (for me) and last band of the festival: Lamb Of God! Being consistent on time, they hit the stage at 1:00 with “Desolation” coming from their latest release “Resolution”. It’s still raining as hell but who gives a fuck! The sound is perfect and the band is in a magnificent shape proving who thrash the most in 2012! Next song is “Ghost Walking” from the new album as well and right after it’s “Walk With Me In Hell”, the opener song from “Sacrament” which started the first mosh pit! Randy Blythe plows the stage up and down, Mark Morton and Willie Adler should be the best guitar-duo nowadays while Chris Adler and John Campbell keep the tempo. The audience is definitely the craziest of entire Hellfest and couldn’t be different with that performance and set-list of Lamb Of God.

Next songs have been a punch in the face with the band going to the older stuff playing in a row “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For”, “Ruin”, “Hourglass”, “The Undertow”, “Contractor” and “Laid To Rest”. Holy fuck! It’s definitely the best performance of the festival! Randy asks by the audience to prepare for the biggest mosh-pit of the festival reminding that the show is broadcasting live on internet and everybody should see that. A big circle created in just a few seconds and….it’s “Redneck”: yeah….this is a mother-fucking invitation! I got into the mosh-pit within a few seconds and believe me, you can’t even imagine the power and the feelings of these moments if you haven’t been there! Last song has been “Black Label” and LOG left the stage having destroyed everything before! What a show!

That was it. The last act of Hellfest had been performed. We would soon head out and everything that we’ve lived for three days would be a memory. Slowly, the thought that tomorrow we would be leaving dawned on us and the downpour that happened during Lamb Of God depicted later on our feelings. By this time tomorrow the Hellfest grounds would be empty of metalheads.

The fourth day in Clisson found everybody packing their things and forming long lines at the shuttle station. It was time for us to do the same as well. But, even though Hellfest had ended, nobody seemed to have lost their good mood. Groups of people laughing, shouting, singing and drinking was all that you could see. And really, how could you lose your spirits after a festival like that! The line-up was one of the best this year, covering all musical tastes; from hard rock lovers to death and black metal listeners. The organization, on the other hand, was very well taken care of. All the bands came out on time, without a single minute’s delay, and you could find anything you wanted when it comes to food, drinks and merchandise. It’s needless to talk about the stands of first aid and lost and found, but there even was a stand for the recharge of cell-phones and cameras, but the lines there were too long. Another important thing is that even though there were six stages, the sound didn’t mix, and in the case of the Mainstages 1 and 2, and Altar and Temple, that were next to each other, the sound-check didn’t bother. But in an event like that, it’s impossible not to have a few downs too. As far as the sound is concerned, the Mainstages should be better. In the end all the small stages had better sound than the two big ones. There should be more water points and showers too, for the quicker service of the people. And of course the location of the Press Area was completely wrong. As it was right next to Mainstage 2, it was very difficult to do a nice interview.

In the end, though, what counts is the feelings you’re left with after a festival like that. All of the above can change to the better or worse. But in the case of Hellfest 2012, we are left with a memory of three crazy days full of metal.

Reports by: Stella Papaspyropoulou, Manos Spanos, Panagiotis Karagiannidis, Giorgos Zabogiannis

Photos by: Panagiotis Karagiannidis

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