Aaaah the Hellfest… This gigantic field just 30km away from our home, that turns into one of the biggest Metalheads City in Europe for 3 days. Full of awesome bands, an extraordinary friendly atmosphere, and I didn’t mention the decoration that is so beautiful you’re in awe in every corner of the festival !
So yeah, it’s with a great pleasure to be part of it this year again ! Even if we missed the last year, we were there in 2014 and 2013, and we were really excited to see the new improvements they did to the festival since 2014. And Oh Boy we weren’t disappointed… Read on below the report of the first day, as you’ll see we’re mainly covering the stage that interests us the most : The Valley, basically the perfect stage for the fuzzers we are
Landing in Hell...
This year I was accompanied by my good friend Mr. Stone, and also 2 of his mates who were shooting photos for a French Metal magazine called MetalObs. We left early from Nantes to be able to see the very first band playing at Hellfest, and here already comes the hard choice of choosing which band you’re going to see, and which one you’re going to miss. We decided to start with the high-energy Rock’n’Roll of LA-based The Shrine who were playing on the main stage. Monolord was playing under The Valley, but we felt we wanted to appreciate the front row of the main stage while the major part of the metalheads were still sleeping in the camping…
Mr Stone : It was a tough choice, right at the beginning of the festival, but since we saw both bands three weeks earlier at the Freak Valley Festival, we wanted to see The Shrine on one of the biggest stage we’ve ever seen, not to mention that we’d rather get a nice kick in the ass to start the fest on the right tracks, instead of being doomed beneath the ground by Monolord’s crushing riffs
But before that, we had to get our press passes. Yep we were lucky enough to be among the “VIPs” of the Festival mouhahaha Well at least that’s what we thought in the beginning… Because yeah, we did get our press passes, but I (Mr. Fuzz) didn’t get a photo pass, even if I asked for it. Argh. Hopefully, it got sorted very quickly, and I got my photo pass. So big thanks to Roger for his kindness & professionalism, we can now fully enjoy our trip in Hell !
If you’re a frequent reader of More Fuzz, you may know I freakin’ love those guys, if not, now you know it.
Even if I think those dudes plays a nasty rock’n’roll that is better suited for a nasty club, they did a good show on the huge main stage of the Hellfest. It was the perfect concert to start this weekend, as these guys deliver so much energy they transfer it to their audience ! They even played the last song of their set with a French punk guy from the 80’s named Beb, shirtless and moving everywhere on stage while singing, « The French Iggy Pop » said Josh from The Shrine
Mr Stone : I’m really into The Shrine too, part of it because of Mr Fuzz, but not only, they have a punkish attitude that speaks to my younger self, add to it the laidback Californian spirit and the fuzz we all love, and you got that detonating cocktail that makes me jump and shout like crazy at an hour I usually need 3 coffees to keep my eyes open. The cover from Soggy with the singer of that oldschool “hard-wave punk” French band, Beb, half naked with hair crazier than King Buzzo’s, shaking, dancing, jumping all around that big stage, singing along with Josh really put a special feeling to that first gig of the week-end !
« Dusteeeeed and Busteeeeed » we were ready for next gig under The Valley, the Ukrainian boys of Stoned Jesus.
I like these guys even if I don’t understand why they got so popular among the stonerheads. Maybe it’s because they released their famous album « Seven Thunders Roar » in 2012, when the Stoner Rock scene began to regain some popularity. I mean they do have some great songs, like the mastodon « I’m The Mountain », which is always a hit when played live, and that was the case at Hellfest. But yeah, to me something is missing, so I enjoyed their gig, but not much more to say.
Mr Stone : I’m one of the stonerheads that switch to batshit crazy mode when Stoned Jesus come on stage, sure, “I’m the mountain” is one reason for it, but not only. I think it’s also because these guys never stand still in their music, listen to their three releases, you can find similarities, but they’re taking a new angle on the music every time they lock themselves to record some new stuff. You can witness it even more on stage, I think their setlist is perfect, even for just half an hour like this day, one song can be really doomy, pounding your guts into the ground, and the next you’ll be jumping your fist in the air, yelling “HERE COMES THE ROBOTS”, that’s what I love about them, you’ll never know if the next song is gonna left you breathless or eyes closed, traveling across the galaxy (“Stormy Monday” anyone ?).
Aaaaaaah Wo Fat. Have in mind I’m not at all being objective when talking about these Texans because they’re really one of my favorite bands. And even if I saw them as the closing gig at the Desertfest London a few months ago, it’s always with a lot of excitement I’m waiting to see them again.
And as expected, Wo Fat were plain & simple : FAAAAAATTTTT !
Pounding riffs, smokey fuzzy solos, the guys were in a great shape, and if I’m not mistaken the crowd was too 🙂 Special mention to Ryan Lee (from Crypt Trip, btw reviewed by Mr. Sputnick here) who has been filling in on bass for Wo Fat’s European shows, and he did a very good job to blast those greasy bass lines we love so much.
So even after all this fatness we took in the face, we got really hungry and rushed to the catering spot of the VIP area to get even more fat in our stomach 😉
Live Video shot during the concert :
Fully loaded, it’s time to hit The Valley again for an old Doom band recently reformed : Ramesses. Featuring the ex-Electric Wizard, ex-With The Dead drummer, Mark Greening.
To be completely honest I don’t remember much of this concert, maybe because Doom is not my favorite genre (or was it the joint we had before…? ) Anyway here is what I remember : It was fucking heavy, and, Mark’s drum set was HUGE, I mean every part of his set was HUUUUGE, particularly those cymbals, I’ve never seen cymbals so large. So yeah that’s it, hope to catch them another time though !
Mr Stone : I haven’t lots of memories of this gig either, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing, I remember it to be a really good crushing doom concert, and when I hear good ol’ crushing doom, I close my eyes, and let myself be torn apart by the sound, so I guess that’s what happened. Oh and yeah, these drums man, these drums !
Complete discovery for the More Fuzz team here, and we were quite happy with we what heard & saw. Jambinai are coming from South Korea to play an original kind of post-metal/noise rock, with traditional instruments from Asia, good atmosphere and I was pleasantly surprised by their show.
Mr Stone : What amazed me the most in that gig was the energy the girls on the traditional instruments had, one moment they were seated and kinda cliché of Asian movies with traditional music, the next they were moving like demented while still playing. And the sound was a bit confusing, but really well put together, even with that mix of old and modern instruments, I mean, especially with that mix !
Mr Stone : right after Jambinai, under the tent just next to the Valley, Kampfar was on, since a friend of mine advised it to me, we went to check it out, and I must say that even it took me one or two songs to get in that old school black metal sound, that was great and we stayed for most of the show (until our thirst was too strong to be ignored 😉 ). If you’re tolerant to blasting riffs or shrieking vocals or want to discover black metal, I think that could be a good start, because when you’ve let yourself go with that rhythm, it’s pretty immersive.
Another great discovery on the main stage this time : The Norwegian Turbonegro. I never took the time to listen to those guys, even if I know they’re pretty big. It’s funny because I always see a group of people with a Turbonegro backpatch in every festival I go, it seems like a there is a cult worshipping the “Death Punk” of these dudes !
And now that I got the chance to see one of their gig, I understand why there are so many fans : they simply kick some serious asses ! Damn, these guys have a huge rock’n’roll groove ! I particularly enjoyed the style of the guitarist, playing nice bluesy licks.
Mr Stone : I didn’t knew very much Turbonegro either, except that I needed to catch them live some day, and since we missed them closing the fest on the Warzone two years ago by lack of energy (and Opeth playing under the Altar at the same time), I felt this was the year.
Even if we wanted to watch only half the show and then switch to Earth under the Valley, we stayed for almost all the gig, without any regrets, I mean, once you get your ass shaking on that energizing punkish rock’n’roll that seems like the perfect soundtrack for crazy party, you don’t want to stop, ever !
So, as much as I love the slow and pachydermic riffs Earth can deliver, that wasn’t the sound I needed at this time (around 6 PM) “Wasted, AGAIN !”.
Live Video shot during the concert :
We already saw these giants at The Levitation Festival in Angers, France last year, but we’re very tired while they were playing, and thus did not fully enjoy the show… So this time at Hellfest we’re ready to better experience one of their gig.
Though I should mention I’m not the biggest fan of The Melvins, not that I don’t like what they do, it’s more like I never took the time to dive into their huge discography. So even if I read some other blogs that the setlist they chose for that night was a bit confusing, I can’t argue on that point. So yeah, I enjoyed a lot this gig, seeing the legend King Buzzo in the photo pit, moving with his unusual haircut and blasting some damn good riffs was enough for me to headbang between the moments I tried to capture the best shots I could
PS : Special mention for the T-Shirts of Dale Crover and the bassist, simple but effective !
We already saw this old French band in Nantes, and I remember their show was like no other. Well of course they haven’t changed since that time, and the weirdness of their songs (for a fuzzer like me) was still here.
For those who don’t know them, the mastermind of the band is the drummer, Christian Vander. And besides being an amazing drummer, he’s the one who created his own entire language, the “Kobaïan”, for the lyrics of his band ! How cool is that ?
The main particularity with Magma is they have 3 vocalists, one guy, Hervé Aknin, and 2 women, Stella Vander and Isabelle Feuillebois, who sing in that weird language and often respond to each other following notes from a music scale, resulting in a very interesting melody.
Mr Stone : Not even was this a good Magma gig (comparing to the one we saw in Nantes) but was really surprised me was the heavy side of the sound, I mean, last time I remembered something that could be kind of a mix between Primus and Pink Floyd, but this time, I really felt it to be heavier. And I guess the audience too, because I expected the crowd to be calmer on this show than others (It’s not really metal, you know), but the atmosphere was quite hot under the tent, I don’t know if it was the public or the quality of the show the band delivered, probably both, but I’ll remember it as an awesome Magma gig !
In the end, their music put us into another planet, the Magma planet, and everyone under the Valley enjoyed the trip to their fantastic world. But not time to rest here, we had to go to see the main act of today, a completely different atmosphere, way hotter I should say : Rammstein !
Live Video shot during the concert :
I was so happy to see Rammstein again, these guys were my one and only favorite metal band when I was in high school. These germans were the very first who made me fall in love with Heavy music. I mean I know each of their song by heart, and the lyrics of their songs are maybe the only German words I know haha J
Though we didn’t stay very long because we also wanted to see Sunn O)) play under the Valley. But just seeing 3 or so songs was already so cool. They started with a sort-of-medley where Till lyrics where in fact only composed of their song titles, making us remember how Rammstein has made so many killer tunes…
Mr Stone : And the fire showw dude! The first song started with a nice firework, at some point, Till put on an explosive belt, and after that, on “Feuer, Frei!” he and the two guitar players had flame throwers on their heads, activating them by blowing in them, all of it really crafting an appropriate atmosphere for the industrial metal of the germans, I guess there was even more after that, but as Mr Fuzz said, we wanted to see Sunn O))).
Last gig of this first day in Hell, and god it was mindblowing ! I’d even say it was earth-shattering !
Usually drone stuff is not my cup of tea, and I never carefully listened to Sunn O)) despite being THE band that created the genre. But duuuuude, it was so fucking louuuuud (Sunn amplifier all the way), so fucking slooooowww, sooooo mesmerizing ! Those black priest really put a spell on us, we’re all in a trance-state, almost as if we’re their own slaves from now on, and they could do whatever they wanted from us… (By the way, what I just said reminds me a very cool book I read a while ago called “Stoner Road” by the French author Julien Heylbroeck, too bad it’s not translated in English, but basically the story is a guy who has lost his girlfriend just after she saw a gig of a mystery band playing only during generators parties in California… Then you’ll need to read the book and learn French to know the rest of the story haha).
So the sound was indeed massive, but the atmosphere on stage was also unique. And as an image says a thousand words, just look at those pictures above to have an idea of the gloomy mass we all experienced…
Too bad we left the gig just when Attila Csihar, the singer, wore a special costume making him look like the Statue of Liberty covered with mirrors. Apparently lots of laser beams went onto him and reverberated everywhere in The Valley, well we didn’t see that 😀
Mr Stone : OMG, I’ve never felt so much vibrations, it was the first time I paid more attention to the way the bass sounds went through all parts of my body than to what was going on on stage, probably because we couldn’t see much with all that smoke, and also because they weren’t not playing much notes, when they were playing at all.
It was quite an experience, more than a concert, and I’d do it again anytime, longer, I hope, to really let myself go deep into that overwhelming trance-like state, and observe what’s happening, in my mind and body both.
Live Video shot during the concert :
Kvelertak / Beer / The Offspring
Mr Stone : It was almost shocking to get out of the Valley while Sunn O))) was still on, we took it slow to decompress, kinda like a diver, but I wanted to check Kvelertak, so we dragged ourselves to the Warzone for a beer but after one or two songs, we didn’t felt the sound and went to the VIP area to find my friends and come back home.
But we were intercepted while walking at a distance from the Main Stage where The Offspring were closing for the day, and “Pretty Fly For A White Guy” was on, I don’t think anyone who heard it in its youth could resist this song, so we stayed and danced a bit, then it was “Kids aren’t alright” and closing on “Self Esteem”, I guess all their set must have felt like a best of the 90s punk rock songs we all listened to in high school, but that’s okay, ‘cause that’s why they were here I guess 😉