Hearts On Fire

After an earlier than expected alarm call, apparently there was an erroneous knock to the front door at 7:30am. Followed by a pathetic two hours sitting at the PC attempting to unsuccessfully purchase a trio of Metallica tickets, it’s time to prepare and head of to Pwllheli (or more precisely Chwilog) for Hammerfest. 

It’s a picturesque jaunt once we’ve left the English motorways, along the North Wales coast road and the winding road along the edge of the Snowdonia national park. When we’ve gone in the past and it’s been snowing there is an urge to jump out of the car and strike some black metal poses on the frozen tundra. 

Rather than shell out for the onsite caravan accommodation we decamp just down the road in Porthmadog. Not too far away and better amenities once we are outside. 

Today sees Skyclad, Napalm Death, Destruction and HammerFall gracing the stage within the caravan park’s ballroom. 

I’m not really a fan of the Gothenburg power metal band HammerFall, but in this house it’s was a bit of a standing joke regarding one of my wife’s work colleagues. 

I have a bit of a mental blank when it comes to names. Early on with her employers we were invited to a fancy dress company birthday party. As I couldn’t take in the names most people ever since have been referred to as Neo, Frankenstein and Marsellus. Hammerfall (the man) didn’t inspire a pseudonym at the time, until that one morning in casual dress Friday and there he was, resplendent in a HammerFall (the band) shirt. 

They’re a band I first saw in 2005 at the indoor version of Bloodstock for their second visit to the country, and twice since. They’re competent at what they do, but they just don’t seem to do anything for me and I get bored quickly. 

Hearts on Fire was released in 2002 on their Crimson Thunder album. 


We Will Rise

Melodic death metal band Arch Enemy are main support for Nightwish on Saturday evening.

They could be classed as a bit of a supergroup with all of the associated bands within their ranks. Arch Enemy formed in Halmstad, Sweden in 1996 when Michael Amott left Carcass, and for the first four years they had a male vocalist until German Angela Gossow joined in 2000. In 2014 Gossow stepped down as vocalist and hand picked Canadian Alissa White-Gluz as front woman.

For a band I’m not a huge fan of I’ve seen them a ridiculous amount of times, mainly due to multiple festival appearances and support slots with bands I do like. Last year alone I saw them three times as they supported Kreator throughout Europe.

My wife has actually seen the band, but I’m thinking that it is deleted from her memory palace, it was also the first time I saw the band. In February 2004 we ventured to Barcelona to catch Arch Enemy with support from Zyklon (featuring Samoth from Emperor but not to be confused with Zyklon-B who he was also a member of!) and Stampin’ Ground at Razzmatazz 2. I only went to see my friends in Stampin’ Ground and as my wife knew them it was a perfect decision to go to Catalunya – even if it was cold and wet.


I Will Be Heard

Yesterday morning Hatebreed were announced to appear on the Impericon Festival tour in May next year. Minutes later my ticket for Manchester was booked!!

I received a copy of the band’s EP Under The Knife from Grapes Of Wrath / Core Tex when I did a printed fanzine. When I heard Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire (released by Victory Records in 1997) Before Dishonour became my favourite track – and probably still is. I’m pretty sure that track was also on a compilation CD for a fanzine, but for the life of me I can’t think which one.

The first time I should have seen the band live was a few months before that album was released. August 1997 – I did the first few shows with Stampin’ Ground who were supporting Despair (fronted by Scott Vogel now of Terror) on their European tour. The last show I did was the Ultimate Hardcore Festival held at the Zaal Niewenborgh venue in Dilsen, Belgium. Morning Again, Congress, Culture, Kickback, Backfire!, about a dozen bands in all. For some reason Hatebreed didn’t play. This was well before iPhones and wifi, so to this day I still don’t know why they didn’t. I had the poster on my wall at home for years before we redecorated last year and never got around to rehanging it yet.

I finally got to see them in Sheffield alongside Biohazard, Agnostic Front, Stampin’ Ground and others two days after my birthday in 2002. In the 15 or so shows since Jamey Jasta has never disappointed. They’ve even played in Stoke twice.

To date my highlight seeing them live was their first appearance at Bloodstock 2012. More than anything it was good to see the band turn so many keyboard warriors and metal elitists into partial fans – at the very least. They were on fine form that Saturday afternoon. I’ve been to every edition of the festival – indoor and outdoor – and that slot is firmly in my top 10 sets over the years.

Roll on May 2016!