Category: International Festivals Reviews

Hellfest 2017 Review | Europe’s Biggest Rock And Metal Festival

Another Hellfest and another unforgettable experience! It’s interesting how the moment you leave Hellfest on Sunday night, you start thinking about what to expect next year. Read below my Hellfest 2017 Review!

Hellfest became like the cliffhangers of our favorite TV shows such as Game Of Thrones and The Walking Dead, which leave us on the edge of our seats for a whole year, and it isn’t just the line-up. Because after many years of the festival, it is evident that each year, Hellfest will be packed with many great headliners and a line-up that is jaw-dropping.

It is also the many changes that happen on the ground of the festival, the activities, the decorations, the merchandise and the meet and greet sessions, the press area, which is the best press area among thousands of festivals around the globe.

As I entered the festival, the press area was transformed drastically comparing to last year; the area became a piece of Art, a luxury Heavy Metal lounge if I may describe it.

The weather was incredible and people were swimming in the small pool located in the press area.

The two main stages were mighty as always, gigantic screens to ensure over 100,000 meatlheads enjoy the whole experience even if they were far from the stages.

With 6 stages hosting 170 bands from all kinds of Metal, Hellfest is the leading Rock and Metal festival in the world.
The great team behind Hellfest has done a magnificent work in just few years to turn the festival to the top of the mountain.

What makes this festival special is that despite the grand success, festival founder Ben Barbaud’s ambition doesn’t stop there; the unholy land keeps expanding and developing in a way that every time we go, it feels like the first time.

DAY 1

The first day was packed with high profile bands such as Evergrey, Queensryche, Devin Townsend, Powerwolf, Obituary, Sabaton, Rob Zombie, and the list goes on.

Queensryche delivered a great show as usual and Todd La Torre continues to win the hearts of Queensryche fans and Heavy Metal fans in general. Fans headbanged to many classics including Operation: Mindcrime, Queen of the Reich, Empire, and Eyes Of a Stranger.

Devin Townsend’s performance was insane. He promised the fans a weird Canadian Progressive music and he delivered. His setlist included songs from his various projects with tracks such as Supercrush, Failure, March of the Boozers, and Higher.

This year, Hellfest bids farewell to some legends. First day headliners Deep Purple are touring for the final time and it was indeed great to witness such a moment at Hellfest. Band members delivered a classic performance with some tunes we all grew up listening to. But an honest word to say is that the band looked tired. I’ve seen Deep Purple many times but this one was different. It felt like goodbye and this is actually not a negative thing. Deep Purple gave us many years of incredible music and calling it a day on such a high level is wise.

After Deep purple, the two main stages got really busy, Sabaton, Rob Zombie, and In Flames played in a row while The Temple, Altar Warzone, and The Valley stages were busy with bands such as Alestorm, Marduk, Obituary, Autopsy, Rancid, The Damned, and Monster Magnet.

DAY 2

The second day had 52 bands over the 6 stages. On The Temple stage, I got the chance to see Igorrr for the first time. A French band that consists of a Dj, a Drummer, a Death Metal vocalist, and a symphonic female vocalist. The band mixes electronic music with death metal and symphonic metal. They’re unique and very loud, they deliver a heavy show with a twist. It was satisfying.

The second night witnessed another farewell, Aerosmith. The band decided to hang up their boots and graced the world with a gigantic tour which is still running till December this year. The band played an hour an a half with many classics such as Janie’s Got a Gun, Living on the Edge, Crying, Dude (Looks Like a Lady), before they come back to their encore: Dream On, Mother Popcorn, and Walk This Way.

The other stages had Opeth, Apocalyptica, Pain Of Salvation, and Suicidal Tendencies. And finally the night was concluded with a powerful, fast, and heavy show by Thrash Metal gods Kreator. An absolutely stunning performance that was worth headbanging until after 2:00 in the morning.

Another highlight of the day was Steel Panther playing Main Stage 1. These guys are on another level, a group that got really popular from one single track (Death To All But Metal). They have a pure love for heavy metal but also for boobs and vaginas. During the show, the band’s front-man Michael Starr invited over 30 topless females from the crowd who joined him on stage doing all kinds of performances. It was indeed a show to remember.

 

DAY 3

53 bands entertained us on the last day. The two main stages had great names such as Alter Bridge, Of Mice And Men, Prophets Of Rage, Five Finger Death Punch, Linkin Park, and Slayer, while the rest of the stages were busy with various genres.

Temple stage started as early as 11:00 AM with French black metal band Deluge. Later on, Ghost Bath, Equilibrium, Scour, and Emperor made sure the Temple was always full of worshipers.

Sanctuary played on Altar stage. The American Heavy Metal group delivered a classic heavy show, and later on the same stage, Metal Church was mighty. The old school heavy metal band had played some of their best tunes, their setlist included songs: Fake Healer, Start The Fire, Badlands, and The Human Factor.

Warzone and The Valley stages closed the night with Every Time I Die, Clutch, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Hawk Wind.

Just like every year when the festival closes its doors, the party moves to the camping site until sunrise.

Now the Hellfest team goes on a well-deserved vacation and we are all looking forward to September to hear next year’s edition news.

This year, Hellfest took a different approach when announcing the line-up and tickets sales.

Hellfest dates were announced and tickets went on sale without one single band being revealed, it was a bold move that showed how much confidence Ben and his team have.

The festival was actually sold out, not even one single group was announced and tickets were gone, long gone.

This is another proof why Hellfest is now the leading, the first in line and the festival that everyone is following as an example.

The festival reached a point where fans became really loyal, they are willing to plan one year ahead and spend their money without even knowing who is going to play. Hellfest is all that matters.

See you at Hellfest 2018.

Hellfest 2017 Review & Gallery

Check out the full Gallery >HERE<

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. Continue reading

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

WATCH THE AFTERMOVIE BELOW

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. Continue reading

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