HELLFEST OPEN AIR 2017 PREVIEW: Altar, Temple and Warzone

Just like in previous years, Hellfest takes place in the picturesque surroundings of the village and vineyards of Clisson in France. Between 16th and 18th June the organisers of Hellfest have wowed us again by booking yet another fine selection of some of the most legendary bands across six stages.

The two main stages bring you the bigger names in the history of rock. For fans of punk and hardcore the Warzone Stage is the base camp. If you’re more into doom, sludge and stoner the Valley Stage will be your port of call. Everything black, death and corpsepaint will gather at the stages of the Altar and the Temple.

This year the line up is as irresistible as it used to be. One quick look is enough to tell you everything about how huge the event is, which can be categorized with other major European festivals such as Rock Am Ring, Rock Im Park or even Glastonbury. Hellfest is just less commercial. Annually more than 140 bands used to invade the site and give us remarkable performances on six different stages. Let’s see who will entertain us on the (arguably) most extreme stages such as Altar, Temple and Warzone.


Let’s start the overview with the Altar Stage which is meant to be the place for a predominantly death metal experience. During the whole weekend there will be three orderly headliners, the well known death metal grinders Autopsy from Oakland, the recently more and more progressive but less brutal Opeth and a technical trash metal project called Coroner from Zurich. All these bands’ mile long discographies and more than two decades under their belts promise a completely euphoric closing act on each day.

In addition to the headliners several bands from the realm of underground and / or mainstream will keep up the constant killer atmosphere. Some of the bands such as Krisiun from Brazil, Obituary from Florida and Decapitated from Poland make return appearances and yet again promise to deliver sets worth remembering. It’s worth to take a look at a few, not very familiar names as usual some of the less known bands are keeping the biggest surprise. From the French camp Putrid Offal’s insane death grind, Carcariass’ progressive death and Vortex End’s unexceptional fusion of black death will definitely keep some interesting moments for us. I’m sure some of these bands will definitely match with your musical taste.

There are lots of reasons why it will worth to visit the Temple Stage. First and foremost I would like to highlight a very special guest from Norway called Wardruna which formation will take us back into the ancient Scandinavian era. If you are the fan of Vikings series, their performance is a must to see as most of the soundtracks were composed by Wardruna. They will headline the Temple Stage on Saturday the 17th. Another mandatory gig will be Emperor who will perform their biggest and most majestic album ever written titled Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk in its entirety. They gave an amazing show three years ago when they performed the ’In The Nightside…’. In that year they deseved a place on the Main Stage but much to the chagrin of many, they were kept where they were.

Regular performers will return this year as well such as Marduk from Sweden and Belphegor from Austria. Both bands are eminent representatives of the most butal and precise black metal, and they are verging on the border of technical black metal as such. If I’m correct Alcest also played at Hellfest at least once since we have attended but after their latest masterpiece titled Kodama (Prophecy Productions 2016.) I think we will definitely be sure to check them out this time.

Other curiosities at the Temple from the States: Scour with non other than Mr Philip H Anselmo behind the mic. Actually I can’t wait to see him in the front position of a black-death band. Ghost Bath’s horroristic and terrifying visions transfered into music is definitely something that will haunting us for awhile after their show. Monarque from Quebec, Canada probably not known by many but their latest album titled Lys Noir is a guaranteed great show.

Usually Warzone is the place where you can mosh as much as you like from 10am till 2am. This year there are no restrictions in place during the whole weekend. Three veterans will be the highlights, namely Rancid who were one of the pioneers of the American punk rock scene from the early 90s. They influenced shit loads of other bands from the genre of punk, rock, hardcore and different fusions of these. Suicidal Tendencies have active since 1980 and ever since they released 13 full albums and raised up musicians such as Rob Trujillo (Metallica). Currently they have Dave Lombardo (Slayer) behind the drum kit. I am more than curious how will they sound and what set they will deliver with him on board.

This will be the last time to see The Dillinger Escape Plan playing at Hellfest as they announced their departure in a radio interview last year. TDEP well known as the pioneers of mathcore and their shows are always remarkable often with cover songs in their set. We can see other bands’ performances as well such as Booze & Glory (Oi, England), Insanity Alert (Thrash, Austria), Trapped Under Ice (Hardcore Punk, USA), No Turning Back (Hardcore, Netherlands) and the legendary The Damned (UK). These bands, veteran punk rockers and recently formed talents will keep up the good vibe and make sure none of us will regret to spend a bit of time at Warzone.

It’s impossible and completely unncessary to list and dissect all the bands that going to step on stage at Clisson’s Hellfest before their actual performances. This short teaser is only aimed to give a quick overlook what genres will be presented and what type of bands will perform during the weekend. The entire list is much longer and the scale is also more colorful.

For further information and for the complete performer list please head to the official sites of Hellfest. More to come after our annual weekend in hell.

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