For a while there it looked like we were going to get rain, but he sun eventually broke through on the third day as well, the final of the Hellfest triptych.
In order to get a firsthand look at some class vintage acts like Year of the Goat and Blues Pills we had to drag our asses out early in the morning. Especially the Janis Joplin tinged croonings of Blues Pills were well worth the effort and could rely on a lot of response from the early birds that had flocked to the main stage.
Fully warmed up now, we were ready to take on another onslaught of brutal death metal with the new hopes for Norwegian death metal Obliteration and the biting complexity of Ulcerate.
The Temple housed the blackened funeral doom from the Ruins of Beverast. While it may not have induced so much headbanging it was an all the more intense set of brooding darkness.
Back at the main stage Crowbar were wreaking havoc with a whole different kind of sludgy heaviness after a couple more retro rock bands like the less than impressive In Solitude and Scorpion Child.
On the quieter plains of the Valley Wino and co made another return to Hellfest with Spirit Caravan. Luckily he’s got plenty more bands to choose from for next year’s edition.
Special mention should also go out the delightfully dressed up VIP lounge, which was again beautifully adorned and an oasis of rest for your exhilarated, yet exhausted reporters to chill out for a moment amidst car wrecks and crashed helicopters. Although the rest bit should be taken with a pinch of salt as there was always something going on like a bizarre hybrid of a Mexican wrestling match and a pop quiz. No further comments. Extra thanks to the lovely girls of Jägermeister who did not neglect to boost our spirits with some divine nectar.
Fully reinvigorated we headed to the main stage again. It’s not very obvious for an extreme black or death metal band to play in broad daylight in open air, but that is precisely what Behemoth did. Even without the comforting veil of darkness that an indoor set provides, Nergal and his diabolical cohorts ruled the grounds. With an imposing décor, truly impressive costumes and an almost regal stage presence even the burning rays of the sun could not prevent darkness descending upon Clisson at that moment. When the hooded front man shouted ‘Christians to the Lions’, you could count yourself lucky no animals were allowed on site.
Seattle’s own Soundgarden brought us back to the grungy days of nineties nostalgia for some less evil sounding tunes. That was only calm before the storm though as the mighty Emperor took the stage. Specifically reformed to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their classic debut, they played ‘In the Nightside Eclipse’ from front to end. A unique event that brought the majesty of that epic milestone in black metal to life in a grandiose way. Perhaps it sheer greatness got lost on those who were just waiting for Ozzy to walk in on the neighboring stage, but for us this was clearly and undeniably the absolute highlight of the festival, the kind of concert you will still remember years from now.
Many feared it might never come to pass again, but tonight once more Ozzy reunited with the rest of Black Sabbath for a celebration of the origins of our beloved genre. Ozzy’s shortcomings have been all too well documented, but never the less he commanded the stage in his own unique style. The entire grounds were packed to the brim with an audience that sang along to many a classic, right from the very opener “War Pigs”.
Paradise Lost and 1349 in the mean while gave their best on the other side of the festival. Especially Holmes and co were on fire with a good helping of old favourites.
In case you still had any energy left after these 3 days you could relish I the proggy excesses of Opeth or the cheeky Village People punk of Turbonegro.
That rounded off the 2014 edition of Hellfest.
See you all there again next year, Hellbangers!