With the latest additions to the bill this looks to be one of the strongest Hellfests to date, you’ve got more big names than you can shake a stick at, but as with many festivals the best fun is to be had away from the main stage.
First mention deserves to be the reformed original line up of Black Sabbath (headlining Main Stage 1 on the Sunday). Now it’s not been that long since these 4 old timers have shared a stage, but given all the frothing at the mouth going on, there must be many that missed the opportunity to see them last time round, and those that have seen them know all too well what to expect, which in this context that’s not a bad thing.
Sabbath aren’t the only classic act over the weekend, what with the Blue Oyster Cult, Lynard Skynard, Motley Crue, being joined by Girlschool, Exodus, Death Angel, King Diamond and Guns N’ Roses…or should that be the Axl Rose band…when he bothers to grace the crowd with his presence. It’s not all nostalgia, Machine Head, Lamb of God, Trivium, The Devil’s Blood, Megadeth and Biohazard all set to tread the boards in support of their latest albums. And all the punk and hardcore lovers, who should already be grinning like chimps at the prospect of spending a weekend of watching greats like Integrity, Phil Anselmo’s (Pantera & Down) and Mike Williams’ (Eyehategod) Arson Anthem, Discharge, Victims, Cancer Bats, The Bronx, Walls of Jericho and my all time favourite band, the denim demons themselves, Turbonegro (with new vocalist, the Duke of Nothing, Tony Sylvester in tow), they’ve now got this year’s must see live act, a reunited (yes another) The Refused. With no real information on where their plans lie any opportunity to catch them should be snatched, because you may not get another. I know I’d eat my own left hand if they put the band to rest again without me seeing them live and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
For the fans of the more heavier end of the spectrum there is, not surprisingly for a European festival, plenty to choose from…perhaps too much. With acts like the death metal greats Cannibal Corpse, Obituary and Behemoth, the death n roll of Entombed, the criminally under rated Darkest Hour, drone uber lords Sunn O))), and old timers Naplam Death (plus Lock Up the following day) scattered across the stages over the weekend it’s gonna be a quite a hard task deciding who to see, a problem made worse when Wino, brings not one band but two with Saint Vitus and The Obsessed adding to great list doom acts appearing this year (Yob, Pentagram to name 2 more).
All this and I haven’t even gotten to my favourite part, black metal, fans of which are being truly spoilt with quality bands, from homegrown artists like Anaal Nathrakh and Winterfylleth, Liturgy from Brooklyn, France’s Glorior Belli and Alcest to the Norwegian greats of Enslaved, Satyricon and Dimmu Borgir…..yes I know these 3 acts can’t really be classed as being black metal anymore, but come on, it’s Enslaved, Satyricon and Dimmu Borgir (who have recently been digging up their back catalogue quite a bit of late). If that fine reasoned argument isn’t enough for you, there’s always Taake, whose latest album, Noregs Vaapen, is high on my albums of 2011 lists (who doesn’t love a banjo solo?).
This year looks to be great and if there’s anyone who’s been thinking of trying a Euro festival for a little something different from what they’ve experienced in the UK then this is the year to get off the fence….oh, and they’ve still to announce a few more slots, so if you’ve any thoughts or rumours on who they might be or any wish lists then tell us on the Argon Events facebook page.