Listen up people, it’s that time of year again: Damnation Festival is gearing up to give the walls of Leeds University Student Union a good thumping, and the entire campus is going to be swarming with long-haired people in black clothing. Well, more so than usual anyway. As befits tradition, MetalRecusants are here to give you the lowdown of what to expect at this establishment, where £34 can net you 27 bands. Yes, you read that correctly. This time there’s a new doom-focused stage that’s been added, showcasing the finest that Britain and Ireland have to offer, while the other stages return with their own particular bents. These four articles are to give you all a little taster as to what each stage will offer. This time, the Jägermeister main stage.
One cannot speak of death metal and grindcore, two major components of extreme metal, without Carcass coming up in conversation. Having been absent from the studio for 17 long years, it is with a sigh of relief that we can claim their reunion album Surgical Steel is a top contender for 2013, and their live show at Brutal Assault felt just like they had never left. Packed with sarcastic Northern humor and top-notch guitar work, with classics from “Corporal Jigsore Quandary” to “Heartwork”, death metal fans will be mad not to seize the chance to see these legends for the first time in a very long time.
Ladies and gents, the fine Swedes in Katatonia have quite the treat lined up for you. It turns out that Damnation lands on the 10-year anniversary of their album Viva Emptiness, which created such classics as “Ghost Of The Sun” and “Burn The Remembrance”. The depressive rock/metallers have already enticed MetalRecusants last year when they played with Alcest, introducing a couple of these songs to us in the setlist. When considering the touching ballad “Omerta” and crushing instrumental closer “Inside The City Of Glass”, the audience are in for quite the emotional ride.
After the acrimonious split away from Gorgoroth, it was inevitable that new music from King ov Hell was going to surface. What nobody seemed prepared for, however, was just how damn good God Seed‘s début I Begin was going to be: hypnotic and progressive black metal drenched in keyboards, with a captivating vocal display from Gaahl. With such a pedigree, God Seed’s live show is certainly going to be one of the highlights for black metallers watching. And who knows, maybe a couple of songs from Gorgoroth will creep in…
I think very few people missed Shining‘s big splash when the noisy Blackjazz was released three years ago. The avant-garde-jazz-cum-industrial-metal band fronted by saxophonist/guitarist Jørgen Munkeby had been patiently waiting for their spotlight moment. They’ve certainly got it now, with some incredible material on their new album and a reputation for off-the-wall live shows, as can be seen on their Live Blackjazz DVD. Considering Damnation’s penchant for the more eclectic artists in metal and related, Shining should slot in perfectly.
There had to be a thrash band hidden somewhere among the black, death and post-metal bands; last year it was Gama Bomb, this year it’s SSS (or Short Sharp Shock) from Liverpool. Throw in a bit of the ‘Waste, bit of D.R.I. and a whole lot of electrical energy, and you’ll get a faceful of crossover-thrash as nature intended it. Vocalist Foxy’s dry sense of humor and fierce vocals complete the energetic foursome for what promises to be a fun moshpit sensation.
If I were to tell you that a supergroup had been formed including members of Primordial, Thyrfing, Aura Noir and Einherjer, what kind of genre would come to mind? What, then, if I were to tell you their début would turn out to be one of the best oldschool heavy metal releases of 2013? That is precisely what Twilight Of The Gods have managed, a Bathory-tribute-turned-original-band who blend, in the words of vocalist Alan Averill in our recent interview, “Heaven And Hell-era Black Sabbath, Dio, Accept, older Solitude Aeternus and Grand Magus” to create the recently-released Fire On The Mountain. Full of stomping riffs, historical reference and impressive high-pitched notes, tracks like “Preacher Man” and the title track are sure to go down a storm. And maybe we’ll be treated to some old Bathory songs too…