Category: International Festivals Reviews

HellFest 2016 Review – Clisson France

Every year in June Clisson becomes the destination for all metalheads around the globe, located in the Loire-Atlantique department in western France. Since its last year’s 10th anniversary celebration Hellfest started with a blast and all the credit goes to the incredible team behind the festival. the line-up of bands and the variety of the program was outstanding as always, over the three days over 150,000 fans gathered for Hellfest 2016.


The first day started with the Dutch female-fronted band Delain on the main stage, the charismatic Charlotte Wessels and Delain deliver a set of their best hits.

And over 6 stages, the usual 2 main stages joined by The Temple, Altar, Warzone and The Valley hosted a variety of bands such as MONOLORD, MOONREICH, AUDREY HORNE and NASHVILLE PUSSY which all delivered an awesome performance for the fans.

By midday the line-up started to heat up as HALESTORM stormed the main stage 1 with an intense show and next on the same stage ANTHRAX delivered a great show with so many classics that made the fans entertained all the way

On the other side of the festival fans enjoyed a great performances by VADER, OVERKILL, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, ABBATH and TESTAMENT

The main headliners on the two main stages were THE OFFSPRING who closed the night for the first day but the main highlight was RAMMSTEIN, thousands of people started to gather an hour before the show just to get a good view for probably one of the best shows on earth, as the show was about to start it was hardly to move between the crowds, RAMMSTEIN started with the song RAMM 4 and finished with a Depeche Mode cover of their classic Stripped just to return for an encore which consisted of their classics Sonne, Amerika and Engel.

The spectacle of the show was as usual, intense and full of heat, incredible design theme that wowed the fans through out the whole setlist.

Hellfest 2016


Day two of HELLFEST started as early as 10:30 AM, it was a hot day and the line-up was even hotter, the four side stages hosted shows for variety of genres including bands MOONSORROW, TERRORIZER, NAPALM DEATH, DARK FUNERAL, ENTOMBED A.D. and FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE

And on the main stages the heat started around lunchtime when GLENN HUGHES delivered an awesome show full of his incredible high-pitched screams, and right after on the same stage SIXX AM lead by NIKKI SIXX and DJ ASHBA delivered an incredible show promoting their new album Prayers for the damned and also playing classics such as Life Is Beautiful.

FOREIGNER was up next on the main stage 1 who also performed a setlist full of their classics over 40 years career, the band ended their show with a great gesture by their frontman Kelly Hansen who said: with all this hatred around the world today let us celebrate the music who brought us all together, I want each person to put his right hand on the shoulder of the person next to them. All the fans embraced and signed their heart out to classic ballad I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS.

As we were approaching the night JOE SATRIANI deliver a show from another planet, the fans were indeed surfing with an alien and on the main stage 2 DISTURBED performed a show that took the fans by surprise when the band performed Shout At The Devile, a MOTLEY CRUE cover joined by SIXX: AM on stage and right after they performed BABA O’RILEY by THE WHO also joined by another guest on stage, GLENN HUGHES

The highlight of the second night was of course TWISTED SISTER, it’s the band’s farewell show in France, no more TWISTED SISTER Which Dee Snider had a funny speech when he told the fans that’s it, 40 years and Fuck it, unlike Scorpions or Ozzy, that’s it for us, It’s the end of TWISTED SISTER, their show was entertaining and the fans shared the mic with Dee for classics such as (You Can’t Stop Rock n’Roll and We’re Not Gonna Take It, the show surprise was the tribute to LEMMY where Dee invited Phil Campbell on stage and performed MOTORHEAD’s Born To Raise Hell

Another highlight of the night was the night closure, HELLFEST had prepared a surprise end to the second night and we were al informed just shortly before it start’s through the HELLFEST mobile app, an incredible firework display in honor of the late LEMMY KILMISTER who passed earlier this year (RIP LEMMY) at the end the entire festival clapped and shouted for LEMMY.

Hellfest 2016


The third and last day of HELLFEST hosted a great list of bands on THE TEMPLE stage DEICIDE, ENSLAVED and TAKKE entertained the crowed while on the ALTAR Stage bands such as PARADISE LOST, KATATONIA and INSOMNIUM delivered a great performances and on the VALLEY AND WARZONE stages a different genres of bands such as PUCIFER, HEAVEN SHALL BURN, JANE’S ADDICTION and WALLS OF JERICHO burned their stages and gave the fans entertainment all day long

On the main stages it was busy the last day, very busy, I myself was running from stage one to stage two none stop just to catch what I can, there was really no time to breath, take break or go eat, the French band NIGHTMARE on the main stage 2 delivered a great performance with their new lead singer MAGALI LUYTEN.

DRAGONFORCE had a bad day and specially their new singer, a lot of problems and pauses during the show.

GOJIRA on the main stage 1 were on fire as usual, a great performance which was followed on the main stage two by BLIND GUARDIAN who delivered as usual one of the best power metal shows anyone can see, a lot of classic song such as THE BARD’S SONG where the entire crowd were singing along to it.

Up next was SLAYER on the main stage 1, the band looked a great shape with their new guitar player GARY HOLT and played a great set included South Of Heaven, Angel Of Death, Raining Blood and Mandatory Suicide.

On the main stage 2 Viking metal band AMON AMARTH delivered a fantastic and energetic show full of smoke, fire and dragons and as well as the biggest mosh pits anyone can think of.

Hellfest 2016

Thrash metal giants MEGADETH deliver an incredible performance with the new line-up and promoting the new album DYSTOPIA and also playing classics hits such as HOLY WARS, HANGER 18 and Dave Mustaine dedicated TRUST to his former band mate drummer NICK MENZA who passed earlier this year.

Swedish heavy metal band GHOST were up next just before the fans witness another emotional moment where it was time for BLACK SABBATH to hit the stage, another legends, the father’s of heavy metal are bidding farewell with their THE END tour is the last thing we will ever see from BLACK SABBATH, the band was in great shape, OZZY, IOMMI and BUTLER were on fire, delivered a performance that the fans will always remember.

The closure of the third night and HELLFEST was lead by the almighty KING DIAMOND, what a show! The stage was incredibly decorated and with an unbelievable performance by KING DIAMOND as he was in a great shape and he sounded better than ever, I was entertained from the first minutes till the last with classics such as ABIGAIL, Sleepless Nights, Halloween, A Mansion In Darkness and The Possession, it was a great choice to conclude the festival.

As the lights were going down slowly people started marching to the camp sight where the party there will continue until morning, this is a HELLFEST tradition.

–  Sharbel Kanoun

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70000 Tons Of Metal 2016 – REVIEWED

The 6th edition of “70000 Tons” cruise (Royal Caribbean – Independence of the Seas) and our 3rd year in a row cover of the sea festival! This year, the ship sailed with around 3000 metal heads from 72 countries and 60 international bands on February 4th from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale – Florida to Falmouth, Jamaica  and returned on February 8th.

The ship is so big that it definitely still carries the well-deserved title: “World’s Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise”.  (Scroll Down For Photo Gallery)

Continue reading

%100 Metal Fest HEADBANGERS’ WEEKEND Reviewed

After being frozen in time and space for an hour and a half between clouds of Earth’s humanized land, I have finally arrived late at midnight to ATATURK airport and took the HAVAS shuttle to TAKSIM square, where by then I was so tired and totally drowsy. I could not help but notice that most of the buildings there were wrapped with huge despotic Turkish flags that reflectedan immense patriotic society; also TAKSIM is filled with shops, pubs, and myriad restaurants. Well, of course, I headed straight to a metal shop and bought few T-shirts that I could not find back in my home town. After that, I headed to the hostel and thought I would sleep as soon as I see a fluffy tempting pillow, but that did not actually happen, even though I was dead tired, I could not resist the roars of a beating metal heart, so I spent the rest of my night in an awesome metal pub called DOROCK. And speaking of metal pubs, well they do have quite a lot! The pub was amazingly huddled with steel-hearted people proving loud and proud that the Turkish metal scene is damn alive and ceaseless.DOROCK opens its doors from 10:00am till 5:00 am everyday. It includes amazing talented bands performing live everything from DIO to RAMMSTEIN…, while others playing originals in Turkish. Among the local bands I saw were SST and RAZOR.


I noticed that the younger metalheads there are not as welcoming and kind as the older generation. But despite the minimal hospitality,I really fell in love with that place, and so I spent my nights there daily after the festival used to end. It was much like “Living after midnight rocking to the dawn…”, plus I met metal heads from different countries (Jordan, Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Syria) that crossed miles for the Headbangers’ Weekend… which I salute all \m/

DAY ONE Aug-29-2015

And so the day that I had been anxious for began early, three hours before the festival’s actual time, because I had no idea how to reach the park, so I asked for directions and used Google map that showed none of the shortcuts that I discovered later, but only one of the longest paths.Therefore, I had to walk 40mins to KUCUKCIFTLIK PARK under a blistering sun that took half of my energy by the time I reached the aforesaid park. And as I was getting closer and closer, I could hear the sounds of the drums pounding loud and guitars screaming high that turned out to be a simple sound check for making sure everything is ready. I got so excited and could not wait for the day to kick in at 1:00 PM.Finally, I reached the park with a sighting of two extravagant Porsche cars on the sides of the gates and a couple of Turkish metalheads patiently waiting under the sun’s blazing cloak. I had to collect my ticket and pass after waiting for an hour because the verbal communication was not so easy; people there barely speak or understand English. Meanwhile, it was almost 12:30 pm and I could see an endless array of people eagerly waiting to set foot inside this renowned park.
1:15 pm, got my wrist bands and The HORDES OF CHOAS marched beyond the gates that were separating all of us from the real deal. Suddenly, I saw an amazing huge stage and the control tower facing it, as well as the countless yellow bars distributed all over the park, food stands, fun activities space, an interesting mirror booth for taking pictures, a Metal Hammer stand selling merchandise, a shack for beverages, recharging cellular phones and a cigarette stand, yet the best thing was a green space filled with comfortable seats and umbrellas to chill under.

The park exhibited varying attendance (some bought a one-day concert ticket) throughout the festival’s time, increasing gradually with the rise of the full moon and the ascendant heavy dark night. After watching a couple of cool local Turkish bands performing, I was so excited about SEPTICFLESH that did not fail to deliver an incredible symphonic atmosphere from songs likeWar in Heaven, Communion, The Vampire from Nazareth, and Anubis for 60mins, and I could not forget SETH and his invigorating words:“Are you ready my friends?…let’s DESTROY” with a serious smile on his face!

It was 6:35 pm when ENSIFERUM struck the mighty hammer on stage with a set list filled with folk-like music, though I am not a fan, but they were cool. I saw few people dancing as well.

MOONSPELL were entertaining either with music that was enshrined in darkness from songs like Full Moon Madness and Medusalem,etc., or the beautifully talented Turkish belly dancer that moved every single muscle in her bodyincredibly on guitar solos!

AT THE GATES played songs from their album AT WAR WITH REALITY and a bunch of old ones from SLAUGHTER OF THE SOUL.

KATATONIA were cool,I’m not a fan though, but I gave them a listen.


DAY TWO   Aug-30-2015

The day started again with Turkish local bands till 15:00,but I only liked one of them called PITCH BLACK PROCESS. By that time, I was preserving energy for the next couple of hours away from the scorching sun.

AT 15:40, ROTTING CHRIST were up and performed greatly! CARC-ASS as it was displayed on stage, the band tried to add a funny sense of humor also through Jeff’s Turkish words.1985 was the intro and took us back in time with their epic show, I really was exulted watching them live! THERION were much into opera that I didn’t enjoy and felt the stage was overly packed with members (3 vocalists, guitars,bass, and drums).

22:16 was time for the great thrash titans KREATOR to tear up the stage with Violent Revolution, Flag of Hate, Phantom Antichrist, United In Hate, Black Sunrise and Phobia…, that had a CO2 cloud rising high into the sky every time Mille shouts the aforesaid word, not to forget the wicked mosh pit, wall of death, and circle pit vigorously demanded by Mille. The crowd went insane. I could not help the tears of joy during the best 100mins ever!


DAY THREE   Aug-31-2105

The last day was a bit disappointing. First, it was Monday, an official work day,and the attendance in the early beginning was considered low.Second,there was a bit of technical difficulties (delays) during most of the shows. Third,the Turkish bands sounded messy and some used their own amplifiers on stage and I couldn’t hear anything more than the drummer. Therefore, I didn’t waste much of my energy,so I just sat down and patiently waited for SVENGALI, the Dubai-based band that brought their best and deserved every single applause back then.

20:15, ARCH ENEMY ignited the whole stage with blazing brutal fire (yes there was fire at the end) as they played 16 epic tracks with breathtaking solos especially from Michael Amott, and Alissa was a beauty and literally a beast that exhibited robust highly energetic performance, hence the whole crowd was singing along, head banging, and jumping through choruses such as of No Gods, No Masters, etc. HELLOWEEN were the final act in the lineup opening with Walls of Jericho, Eagle Fly Free,etc.… and closing with I Want Out and A Tale That Wasn’t Right which is one of my favorites at 23:45 instead of 23:55 because there was a few minutes delay at the start of the show.

All in all, the %100 Metal Fest was a great weekend for us Headbangers, and I cannot wait to get back there again. Cheers \m/

All Photos by: Lilas Mayassi

-Lilas Mayassi

Read More by: Lilas Mayassi

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M’era Luna – Hildesheim, Germany 2015|Review

M’era Luna is considered to be one of the biggest Goth festivals in the world. It’s held annually by mid of August every year, in Hildesheim, Germany.MERA_LUNA_2015_011

The location has a historical value since it was a British Airbase. It is always great to transform war-related monuments into musical gathering points, maybe as a message to all that we can live in peace and fraternity.

M’era Luna has two stages, a camping area, Gothic fashion shows, walking acts, and a big market for shops where the most talented artists sell their goth art and handmade stuff, and too many other activities.

Around 25,000 people attend the festival every year. Tickets were sold out for the last few years. Some people plan yearly trips from their countries to the festival! I’ve even heard about a group called “Goths on a Bus”. What they do is that they offer to people a journey from London to M’era Luna on a bus. Definitely all on board will be wearing awesome Gothic outfits and playing great music all the way.

The lineup included so many bands I haven’t seen before like “Saltatio Mortis”, “Spielbann”, “Unzucht”, “Merciful Nuns”, etc., which is always a good opportunity to discover new bands with new music. Another great thing about the festival is that you can enjoy a perfect view of the stage from all angles, and it’s also surrounded by a seated area.


The headliners were Rob Zombie and Nightwish. What’s better than that?

The Finnish Symphonic Metal band “Nightwish” delivered an awesome show. At first, I stood in the front lines, then I went to the back to enjoy a full view. They delivered a great show! They played some new material, as well as some great old songs like I Want My Tears Back, She Is My Sin, Last Ride of the Day, etc.

Rob Zombie‘s performance was nothing less than awesome, kicking off his show with his usual scary metal riffs. The master of Horror Metal performed a wide range of songs including Superbeast and Living Dead Girl. He also performed songs from the White Zombie era like More Human Than Human and Super-Charger Heaven. His show also included covers of The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop”, Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out”, and James Brown’s “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine”. The stage scene was a collection of photos of classical horror movies.

Saltatio Mortis is a very energetic band on stage. It was the first time I get introduced to them and I really liked them. Their set was short and their spot in the festival wasn’t the best, but still, they managed to give an incredible show. Saltatio Mortis is a Medieval Metal band and their name means Dance Of Death. The band started in the year 2000 and has 10 albums. Their latest album “Zirkus Zeitgeist” was released on August 14th, 2015, of which they performed a few songs.

Spielbann is a Gothic Rock/Metal band with electronic/industrial influences. The show was great; it encountered some sound difficulties, but I was able to enjoy every bit of it and was glad for this discovery. The band managed to gather quite an impressive crowd.

Unzucht is a Dark Rock band from Germany. The band apparently has a lot of followers and fans. Everyone was singing along and clapping except for me! But I was really amused by their show; another great band to add to my playlist. The crowd was very responsive as the vocalist did a great interaction with the fans. Some crowd surfing also happened during the show, which was cool. I highly recommend you guys check them out.

Merciful Nuns started their show with a countdown screen with “WARNING” written on it, before proceeding with their single “Speed Of Light”. The band put up a steady and firm show. The guitarist and bassist were walking around the stage, while the vocalist was pretty much immobile, which gave me the feeling that I am watching a band in a small pub. Nonetheless, the music was very appealing and the ambiance was great. The vocalist’s ability to sing clean and growl in a very strange way fascinated me.

The whole atmosphere of the festival is so unique and enjoyable. Some areas were decorated in a steampunk style. The markets were designed in a traditional medieval way. And at every corner, you’ll find a group of people doing their own dance.

Even though the music does not meet everyone’s taste, the dark atmosphere of the festival and the awesome outfits make it very special.


HELLFEST Open Air 2015 Rocked And Rolled

The 3-day festival has marked over the years its position as one of the biggest and most anticipated festivals in the world of Rock and Metal. Clisson was attended by 50,000 fans to watch more than 150 bands. This year was yet another dream fest for all music lovers who attended.

HellFest_2015_0050Even though the organizers did their best to pay justice to their attendees by not having 2 big bands play at the same time, I didn’t have the time to watch all bands I wanted to watch, so I will just limit my review to mostly bands that are unexpected to be reviewed with some bands that really left me in awe.
On a side note: This was my first trip to Hellfest, and now I know why they call it that, because it was hot as hell.

ONSLAUGHT: They were really good. I enjoyed their show and energy on the Altar stage. The sad part was that only 250-300 people were watching them. But they were an amazing crowd that responded to the great show put up by ONSLAUGHT and did several moshpits during the performance.

DESULTORY: They came up next on the same stage. Around half the people stayed to watch them, but that’s a shame because they were incredible and people should have watched them. They did a great crashing show.

CARACH ANGREN: I was tending to check out bands I never watched before. Carach Angren was on that list. It was the first time I watch them and they blew my mind. The 3-piece Horror Black Metal band from the Netherlands was beyond my expectations, even though they didn’t have a bass player and the band was limited to the vocalist/guitarist, the pianist, the drummer, and a guest guitarist. But they have put a show that makes you live the story they are telling in their lyrics. Their style kind of reminded me of early Dimmu Borgir’s style.


SKINLESS: No comment! It was the best performance for me in Hellfest! The band got reformed in 2013 after breaking up in 2011 and released their first album in decades 2 weeks before the festival. It was unbelievable; they took the Altar stage to a different dimension of moshing and headbanging… So groovy and old school death metal shit! The band’s performance was fused with the energy from the crowd. The venue was packed and Sherwood Webber did literally roll on the stage from his excitement of the crowd reaction. Skinless performed a very satisfying play list that covered all their albums including Only the Ruthless Remain.

OBITUARY: They were the headliners of the Altar stage, and I guess they should have gotten a spot on the main stage because the fans barely fitted the small crowd area. Not less than Skinless, Obituary always puts a show that fans will cherish for the rest of their lives and tell stories about it to their little grandkids. Moshpiting, crowd surfing, headbanging, and singing along… the show was eccentric. They also performed from their old and new material giving a performance that satisfied all their fans.

SLASH: They did a great chill-out show comparing to the bands I’ve been watching; it was awesome to see rock legends still get full arenas with people singing along. What I liked the most about them was that they are really down to earth and have a great crowd/band communication; they make you feel like they are playing at your backyard. Amazing vocals by Myles Kennedy; I never thought he could pull off all those high notes live, but he definitely did.

NE OBLIVISCARIS: I wasn’t impressed by the music; maybe they are not my style, and I don’t want to give a bad judgment. They have a good stage presence and energy, but I couldn’t watch more than 15 minutes, then I left. They did have a big crowd though.


EXODUS: The 36-year-old Thrash gods got a full crowd in front of the Main stage. The crowd went crazy moshing, and the band doesn’t need too much to talk about, they were as expected: godly.

CAVALERA CONSPIRACY: I enjoyed every second of the show! A lot of moshing and several walls of death happened there. They also performed songs from the Cavalera’s Sepultura era, and the fans were jumping with Max and singing along with him. Everyone was enjoying. But as usual, Max’s voice wasn’t at its best and I have witnessed this in many shows.

CANNIBAL CORPSE: They started just five minutes after CC, not on the main stage, but on the Altar stage again; that’s where I improved my running skills! The place was over packed; another band that could use a bigger crowd area. The moshpit was non-stop, the show was legendary, but the sound was bad; I had to get to the back to be able to know which song they are playing.

KHOLD: The Norwegian Black Metal band played the Temple stage. They were good, a little bit above average, but they didn’t gather many fans. They did a good show, but I wasn’t impressed by the music.


Overall pros and cons:

Pros: The festival was a great event that every Rock and Metal head should experience:

  • The help center was great. I faced some health issues and they really took care of me, and didn’t leave me alone until I felt better. Everything was well organized and they make you feel safe and not worried about attending the festival.
  • Prices were cool, not too expensive as I expected, except for the water. So if you get thirsty a lot? I suggest you drink a beer instead; you will save up some Euros for merchandise.
  • The bathrooms are ok, but the best trick to not wait in line is to take your bath at night and not in the morning.
  • There are many shops that are located at the center which are pretty much accessible; you can find all the shirts you wish for from extreme metal to rock, as well as CDs, vinyl discs, some Gothic stuff, and other gadgets. There is also a cool Viking place where you can buy drinking horns, Celtic belts, and stuff like that.
  • A lot of other entertaining places like “Metal Corner”, “Hellcity Square”, “The Kingdom of Muscadet”, “Metal Market”.


  • The camping place was a bit far from the stages, which makes it a bit difficult for attendees who want to take a small rest to do so, as it will be time-consuming.
  • Toilets were few, only 6 which are almost always packed with long lines of people.
  • Concerning the food, you can buy it with cash, but for alcohol, you can’t, you have to go to a “Cashless” stand to buy the card to be able to buy booze. The problem is not with the card, but with the few places to fill it out. You have to wait in a long line to get your turn to be able to buy booze. Those places should be doubled in the next Hellfest.

I definitely enjoyed Hellfest and I am definitely going next year.

Check out in the gallery below a collection of the photos that our reporter Nahla Sindbad took from the festival to get a closer look of what will miss if you didn’t go next year to hellFest 2016.

Photos by: Nahla Sindbad.

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