Now that Hellfest Open Air part one is done, It was time to take a small break, edit some photos and reflect on how it all went down.
Hellfest never really fails to surprise the fans, both intentionally and unintentionally and this edition was a true demonstration on how does it feel to be in Hell…
The festival opened its doors on Friday with a level of Heat Wave that is really rare in this part of the world. But this didn’t stop all the Hellbangers from having the time of their life.
Over two years without live music and being locked down in our rooms, a tiny heat wave won’t stop us from doing what we love the most, MUSIC.
Friday and Saturday felt like HELL… literally, the peak passed over 40° during both days and we all struggled, cause at the end, we all know that we would say: It was all worth it.
Fireworks were canceled in the first day, the organizers decided that because of the extreme heat and they feared for starting a fire, smart decision, this shows how much they value safety.
Here are some images taken by me, this is just a sneak peak, we will publish a full story after Part Two, where we will talk more about this historical edition and publish more photos to try and give you a small taste of Hellfest.
Next, are photos taken by Mayaz, great shots to have any idea what to expect in Hellfest and maybe, makes you go like, Fuck, I wanna be there too, next year.
A huge shoutout to everyone at Hellfest Headquarters, the management of this first edition was epic, safety was greatly prioritized and first aid teams were all over the site, a job well done on keeping everyone safe.
Keep an eye here and throughout our social accounts for Live Photos of Part Two.
I did not know Kimaera before hearing about their new album “Imperivm” and boy am I mad that I did not. I will give my tl;dr now and say this album is so freaking good, it made me raise my standards for other death metal albums. With the OCD personality I have, I had to dig up everything about the band and listen to everything they recorded, and this was such a fun ride, that ended in me finding out that the vocalist Jean Pierre Haddad had passed away in February of 2022 and I genuinely felt sad, because it reminded me of Chuck Schuldiner and how I was depressed for almost a year when he passed away (coincidentally, Chuck’s birthday is today or the day I’m writing this article.) Jean Pierre’s passing was a huge loss to the death metal scene locally and internationally as he was a pioneer in the Lebanese metal scene from early on (early 2000s) and this album and all the other things he recorded will keep his memory alive.
The album starts with De Amare Et Bellvm which is one of the best intros to a death metal album I have heard in a while, a perfect orchestral arrangement which is shattered by guitar chugs and double bass kicks, while keeping the choirs in the background giving a very dark ambiance to the song. JP’s vocals are one of the best guttural growls and shrieks in recent years. Midway through the song, the music is blessed with some lute (the Arabic Oud) riffs and some Arabic style vocalization which makes this song such an intense journey and, again, one of the best starts to an album.
The Die is Cast follows with a strong start of guitars alongside a sample of an impassioned speech that I unfortunately could not trace but it definitely fits the mood as this is a war song. The music and the lyrics flow perfectly together, and you can hear a lot of middle eastern influences in the music and the vocalization in the background, which is a signature Kimaera trope that will repeat in all the songs. Following is what I think is the highlight of the album, VVV, another warsong that makes you want to carry your pitchfork and just go out and protest something. This song has probably one of the best mixing and mastering of any death metal song I have heard in a long time. As a musician, this is one of the main things I listen for, and Kimaera have hit it out of the park. You have piano parts, orchestrals, strings, vocalization, blast beats, breakdowns, this song has everything and I just wish it was longer than 7 minutes.
Following the masterpiece that is VVV, is The Ides of March which was released as a lyric video and is my second favorite in the album, mainly because of the amazing intro and guitar riffs in the first half and the piano and guitar solos that are quiet yet fit perfectly with the tone of the song. The next couple of songs, are not really my favorites as they rehash some ideas and feel a bit repetitive, but should definitely not be discarded as great productions, Imperator has a wonderful creepy piano part followed by an epic guitar solo, Vi Divina continues the creepy vibes with a superb piano intro mixed in with blast snare beats leading to the main part of the song, and Capvt Mvndi (no idea how that is pronounced) is the perfect outro to the album with it’s folk-y intro into an orchestral grand opening and around the halfway mark it goes full middle east folk (I can imagine a belly dancer in a king’s guest room.) and then goes back to the metal mood with two harmonizing guitars, and finally an ending that feels like a proper end to an adventure that took a lot of energy off you and you can see the finish line.
The bonus track Ya Beirut, a cover of the Lebanese singer Majida El Roumi’s song, which for an Arabic metalhead is an amazing transformation of a pretty famous song into metal with amazing clean vocals of Cheryl Khayrallah and ends with the soul crushing growls of JP. But the original singer was not so happy with this and sued the band for using her copyright without permission and she called the song a disgrace and racist (huh?), but then again, death metal is not for everyone and there are still people in the Arab world that immediately link growl vocals to satanism (but this is a topic for another article.)
As a final verdict and to summarize the above, I’d say this album/band is a must listen for any death metal fan, while not pure death metal (I’d say it walks between folk, orchestral, gothic and melodic sub genres of death.) It still has a lot of themes that will please any metal fan. One of the highlights of this album is the superior quality of the production which some death metal bands don’t pay a lot of attention to. I’d give this album a 9/10 and I recommend it for anybody.
As you know, this year, Hellfest extends over 2 weekends of festivities with a break from Monday 21 to Wednesday 23 June.
For the marathon runners who are going to chain the two editions (or those who want to extend / start the festivities), Le Vignoble de Nantes has prepared a tailor-made and special “Hell’Tour” guide for you (which has nothing to envy to the famous ” Guide du Routard”) to help you discover our magnificent vineyards and the Nantes region between the two weekends with various activities:
📸 – Visits: Château de Clisson, Domaine de la Garenne Lemot, guided tour of Clisson special Hellfest…
🍷 – Gastronomy: Hellfest Wine Tour, Antipasti Tasting, Trip to the Vineyard…
🥾 – Sport: Hiking in the vineyard, Canoe-Kayak on the Sèvre…
🚌 – Discovery Days with transport to Nantes, on the Atlantic Coast, to Bluebeard’s castle in Tiffauge…
The guide can be found here ➡️ https://bit.ly/36zCshg
Other activities and events are being programmed and will be added as they go on the Office’s website: https://www.levignobledenantes-tourisme.com/…/hellfest/
In the title of this article, we are simply stating that Hellfest is finally happening again after two years being left-out without our precious HELL. Two years without Hellfest, no thanks to you Covid and all your ugly relatives.
In four months we’ll be back in our favorite spot in the world, Hellfest Open Air.
We have so much to look forward to, two years is way too long and since Hellfest started in 2006, it has been a nonstop roller coster and getting bigger each year. If there’s anything we’ve learned over the years, it’s that this amazing festival is not going anywhere no matter the circumstances.
Ben and his team never fail to impress their loyal fans, and I say loyal fans because they never fail when the festival needs them, they kept their tickets for two years without asking for a refund and the moment has come to enjoy this ride one more time.
Fans held onto their tickets like they were lottery tickets, that’s how important they are to each of us
This only demonstrates the love and support the heavy-metal community and fans of Hellfest have for this haven
Not only is this anniversary special because it’s happening again, but:
It’s a return after two years, which is why I titled it “it is happening again” Two years seems so very long, and also, it’s a nice reference. Let us know if you catch it.
It is going to be massive, like real massive not just like every other year because usually Hellfest is expanding year after another, but this year it’s gonna be a double bill, Hellfest is set to return and run throughout two consecutive weekends , a complete 7 days of HELL with over 350 bans, isn’t that beyond amazing?
For Ben and his team to pull-off such an organization after two years of no income, no government support, and being turned down by their insurer, is just beyond incredible. It’ll be a 15th anniversary edition to go down in history and we are fortunate to be a part of Hellfest. It sounds crazy when we say 15th anniversary. In truth, it should have been the 17th, but time surely stood still for us.
Here are the complete line-up wit the official running order:
Here we go, it’s that time of the year where all Metal enthusiasts from France and all over the world gathers in the beautiful Clisson, to visit their own version of Disney Land for a full weekend, HELLFEST.
The special bonus this year was a fourth day, the weekend kicked of on Thursday this year with Knotfest embracing the French meal world.
I personally stopped talking about how big Hellfest is each year, Ben and his team got enough creativity to surprise us each year.
Come Hellfest 2020, I can only guarantee you, it’ll be your best Metal experience.
The lineup this year was massive, maybe too massive.
This edition of Hellfest was probably the 1969 Woodstock of our time.
It had everything, legends bidding farewell to their fans, old school rock stars, new emerging bands, Tool after 13 years away from their fans.
So many highlights that would go down in the history,
Only this year there were stories to tell, on a positive notes and a negative one.
The opening day of Hellfest was busy, really busy, Hellfest dedicated a main stage just for French bands which was really awesome.
Imagine, in one day, you have the chance to see, Gojira, King Diamond, Mass Hysteria, Dagoba, SUM41, Godsmack, Demons & Wizards, and Dream Theater… etc.
And finally, to close out the day, the almighty Manowar was set to headline.
Remember our story from last year? Where after the last band on the third day, Hellfest came up with a huge surprise, Lights were out for few minutes, then Joey from MANOWAR was live on stage to announce the return of MANOWAR to Hellfest after 10 years, their last performance was back in 2009. I was there.
People were looking forward to this, but don’t get too attached, this story does not have a happy ending.
In the afternoon of Friday, around 80,000 people were notified that MANOWAR wouldn’t be playing tonight anymore, no further explanations.
Few hours later, the story started to go out, MANOWAR were on site the night before, as per Hellfest, they just decided to leave the site and not to play the show.
Then an official statement from MANOWAR blaming Hellfest for this cancelation, I mean it’s MANOWAR, of course they’re gonna blame Hellfest.
The fans were really disappointed and furious, a band like MANOWAR should care and respect their fans.
No matter the reason that led to an argument between the band and the organizer, your MANOWAR, you were on site and ready to play, you deliver to your fans, the show must go on, you perform, then you go to solve your issues with the promoter.
Let’s not give MANOWAR too much attention here, they let down their fans, Hellfest were proactive and on the spot, replaced them by Sabaton.
Long story short, it was a dramatic day, but nobody cared, Hellfest ruled and people had a blast.
Day tow was no less, it was the day where you go on a trip back in time, the real legends of rock and metal ruled, not MANOWAR!
The biggest act that everyone was waiting for was KISS, another legends bidding farewell to the world.
We also had, Whitesnake, Def Leppard, ZZ Top, Within Temptation and many others.
But for me, the highlight of this year was without a doubt KISS.
These guys, after all this years, they put on a show that bands in there twenties wouldn’t have the stamina to do.
They gave it all, a rock show on the highest level, they had raisers on the stage for each musician, at some point, Paul surfed over the crowd with a zip-line and plaid two songs in the middle of the ground, not to mention the flames, the smoke, the explosions and finally the fireworks.
KISS presents the real meaning of the term ROCK STARS.
Days three is usually sad, because you come to realize that it is almost the end for this year, but was way more emotional as SLAYER were also bidding farewell to the world, Tom said few touching words at the end and had tears in his eyes.
On the bill were also, Lamb Of God, Slash, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Anthrax, Trivium, Testament, Death Angel and Philip Anselmo who plaid so many Pantera hits and many other bands.
I will leave with our photo gallery so you can live or re-live some of the best moments of Hellfest 14
Keep an eye on our page and also Hellfest pages, as tickets will go out on sale very soon.
Next year Hellfest celebrates 15 years of greatness, be ready to get blasted as I guess something really extraordinary is in the works…
Freedom Fighters and heroes of arts and culture decided to come together and fight oppression, tyranny and dictatorship. With no labels and in total spontaneity, a group of individuals gathered themselves under one banner after the freedom of expression and art has been violated in Lebanon.
You’ve heard the news; after a 2 week-long media circus, Mashrou’ Leila, the Lebanese indie rock, had their act cancelled from the Byblos International Festival schedule on August 9th, by the festival committee for safety concerns of the staff, bands and attendees. ICYMI, read the full story >here<.
Music Is Louder (صوت الموسيقة أعلى) is the name of the event that will be held and will feature a weird, yet great combination of artists. The line up is versatile and features poets, actors, comedians, musicians, bands and more. The spontaneous talent collective will be protesting the terrorizing acts that led Mashrou’ Leila to cancel their show out of FEAR. In addition, with a scary domino effect, Dutch Metal band Within Temptation felt unsafe to come and cancelled their show, and voiced their support to Mashrou’ Leila. (Read about it >here<)
When we asked the organizers about how the initiative came to be, they replied: “The organizers are individuals that decided to come together and fight oppression. This fight for freedom of speech has been going on for years, but this is the first time it gets this much attention since Mashrou’ Leila is a big name in Lebanon. We got together and decided that it’s time to take a stand and came up with the idea of an alternative concert that is free of hate-speech, censorship, and homophobia.”
The line up is a work of art in it self, it is too interesting to miss, and “consists of artists, singers, bands, stand-up comedians, dancers, and more.” (check full line up >here<). And as the event will mostly involve live music, it naturally came into question whether Mashou’ Leila will make an appearance. But, “unfortunately, most band members are not in Lebanon and will not be able to physically be there with us.”
As Metal Bell and many of us Metalheads have been victims of such oppression, most recently with the ban of Sepultura, we are hoping that such movements would become regular and let our voices be heard. The organizers clarified that “The aim is to fight censorship and hate speech and promote freedom of speech. This idea was put together very fast due to the time frame. We would very much like to continue with this activity later, but are still unsure how.”
We hope to see you all on August 9th at the Palace to protest against violence and against oppression of any kind. Read all the event details >here<
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