Power of Metal.dk Live Review

Location: Val de Moine, Clisson, France
Date: 21st, 22nd, 23rd of June, 2013

  [Friday] Tır . Aura Noir . Europe . Testament . Primordial . Twisted Sister . Carpathian Forest . God Seed . [Saturday] Koldbrann . Coal Chamber . Kampfar . Down . Amorphis . Belphegor . My Dying Bride . Finntroll . Kiss . Immortal . [Sunday] Krisiun . Inquisition . My sleeping Karma . Le Bal des enragés . Ihsahn . Newsted . Voivod . Gojira . Dark Funeral . Moonspell . Lordi . Cradle Of Filth . Ghost

Dance with the dead in my dreams... VIP area

JB ready for three days of pure metal.

OK, I will first go through a couple of events... you be the judge.

After travelling 1500 km through four countries, how nice isn't it to hear that, sorry, you are not accredited as you thought? The Hellfest staff obviously hasn't checked who was a member of our regular crew and who wasn't, and the guest lists aren't up to date. So then, I spend my morning waiting, instead of reviewing new bands. The question of who's a real VIP and who isn't will be recurrent during the week-end, talking to some band mates who are sick and tired of having fans around at their bar where they are supposed to be able to rest unbothered by the same questions and photo session in fierce positions.

Also, some members of the security hungry for attention might have to watch their manners. Obviously one of them took me for an attractive fourteen year old fan trying to sneak in (I showed my pass to his colleague on my side of the queue and not to him personally), which results in a hyper-sensitive skin rash (from a technical pinching grip) that might cost him a bit if it doesn't relieve soon. Maybe that kind of things wouldn't happen if they didn't let in people who have no activity to do in the VIP area, and the security staff was more self-confident, open to metal and briefed more rationally?

For what I experience, security handling at Hellfest this year is deceiving.

The atmosphere, on another hand, is intact: friendly, festive and enthusiastic...as it is at metal gatherings generally.

Around the festival, seen through the eyes of a young metal fan

Last year, the festival review presented the festival from the reviewer's point of view.
We noticed how social Hellfest was compared to many other European festivals before. Therefore, the novelty this year is our on site interviews.
Emmanuel from Southern France, attending Hellfest for the first time this year, had the following to say: «As for me, Hellfest 2013 was a premiere, and I must say the festival has overwhelmed and enriched me considerably. First of all I got impressed by the number of participants [the festival has grown from the simple to the double in six years, red.] that seems to come from diverse musical horizons as well as cultural, coming from the whole world to attend the festival, given the notorious names on the bill, Def Leppard playing in France for the first time in 17 years, ZZ Top, Kiss, to name only a few. «

About the surroundings
«I was also particularly fond of the marvellous scenery on the festival site. [The presence of the famous «Hellfest» tree, notably, would be greatly missed on the festival area.].
There is a larger shopping area comprising merchandising, different festival effects [sunglasses, ponchos, boots, shirts, caps...], bars, eating spots from all over the world: Ethiopia, Jamaica, Spannish cuisine, American style food, as well as local specialties as pancakes, potatoes and the famous white wine muscadet.»
When it comes to facilities, neither Emmanuel nore I lived on the camp, and we didn't really pay it any long visit. As far as I remember, the shower queue last year was long and the cost for a cold shower rather overpriced. When it comes to toilets, I've seen much worse in terms of hygiene, which is often a matter of not having enough toilets. The situation at Hellfest is OK, but there could actually be more of them or more attendance, given the high visit rate especially on Saturday; this also goes for the VIP area.

One of the Hellfest bars  

The famous old dead tree

On the site you can find four tent stages: «The Temple» [black metal], «The Altar» [death metal], «The Valley» [prog], and «Warzone» [punk, new metal]. The two first ones lie in the same tent and play alternately. This way, you can stay on the same location if you have a specific music taste. Warzone lies a bit on the side and, which can have practical reasons. All in all, if you visit Hellfest, you'll probaly experience having to sacrifice some shows for the benefit of others.
Emmanuel says: «The very awaited Europe, Def Leppard, Kiss did great gigs. Personally, I particularly enjoyed Def Leppard's intro, a cover of The Who's «Won't get fooled» as well as Kiss's fireworks. ZZ Top, Papa Roach, Down also managed to engage their audience, gathering a larger and larger crowd along their show. 3 Door Down was one more band who was good entertainment, a calmer break in the day. I also discovered Krokus, Accept, Whitesnake, Tır. On the Warzone side [thank you, Emmanuel, for I wasn't there too much!], Justine and Bad Religion made themselves masters in term of punk rock... NOFX...will you please be there next year?»

«At last, the festival's annexes as the resting spots, the charging stands for electronics [sorely needed for the omnipresent smartphones...] were smart tricks.
Hellfest 2013 also gives place to a walking dressing up army led by Hello Kitty, an armed banana, Spiderman and Mario Bros himself. [something tells me I won't recognise Emmanuel next year...]
The atmosphere around the festival even is incredible, engaging a large number of partners, sponsors, derived products (festival merchandising).
See you next year!»

Thanks to Emmanuel, vedette of the year, for his thoughts.

Don't hesitate to drop me a mail about your own, that I can bring over to the Hellfest crew.

Gig reviews


Concert of the day: GOD SEED

TİR [Temple 14:20-15:00]
My acquaintance of Tır through several years of listening and reviewing, and their convincing performance at GMM (Graspop) 2011 made them the candidates of choice for my first Hellfest show. From the first chords of the intro, goose flesh is on. Tır does a great show, with efficient team work, address to the audience in form of speeches and smiles from ear to ear, and also their notable choiring. The voice starts timid but is soon fixed from the sound board. The guitars are unfortunately a bit low from where I'm standing. I miss «Sinklars Visa» in the set, but still, still, a well appealing show for the ones attending.
LyM's review: Reviews, July 2012 - The Lay of Thrym

AURA NOIR [Temple 16:00-16:40]
are never a miss live. Their last record, Out to die, was much appreciated at powerofmetal.dk too. The metallic black thrash heats up the Temple at this early hour. The band plays bombastic, clear, sharp-bladed. I'd almost say there is no other good way of appreciating this band than rocking wild with sunglasses on. The band shows endurance as they sustain the atmosphere until the end, through great stage presence and concern to deliver the goods.
Aura Noir is one of the bands that explains my standing in the pit and not on the side of the stage with the music business.
LyM's review: Reviews, July 2012 - Out to die

EUROPE [Main stage 1 16:45-17:35]
From a beyond pit distance and on the screens, I can see that Europe are using means to entertain the audience; still it is easily forgotten that a concert is going on. Anyway you can hear a couple of hits, «Rock the Night» and «The final Countdown» in the background soundtrack playing on this «beautiful day» (Joey Tempest smiling from ear to ear). Most entertaining of all: Tempest's flying hair and low hinges. Least: Tempest's hip hop (??!) sounds under «The final Countdown».

The rocking foot during Europe  

An army of sweet angels watching Europe

TESTAMENT [Main stage 2 17:40-18:30]
Luckily for the Hellfest's neighbours, and sadly for the band, the wind is changing when Testament come forth, which means that unless you're a die hard fan «into the pit», you won't get much of what's happening. For my part, I meet Manu, whose hobby is beer making, so we have a great chat between the gusts of wind. Pals tell me, not surprisingly, that they are delighted by Testament's dedication today.

PRIMORDIAL [Temple 19:40-20:40]
Things don't always happen as planned. This, Primordial, will have to endure today. Delayed by traffic issues, the band got on stage when they would already have played half their set. Without debating the reason, the consequence is the band having to sacrifice their show. Still the crowded crowd gathering forces in the Temple is granted Primordial's usual live engagement. I experience the band as a bit tuned down, which would be no wonder after not getting to play as long as planned. Nemtheanga's presence still drags the audience at once, along the whole show, using the connections in the songs to capture their attention. Great communication! The band will concentrate on newer material and two «hits», «The Coffin Ships» and «Empire falls». Count us in next time again!
LyM's review: Reviews, September 2009 - Journey's End

CARPATHIAN FOREST [Temple 21:50-22:50]
The one hour long show displays Carpathian Forest in all its roughness through a set that covers the band's carrier since 1990. Easy riffs that indulge to servitude, not as much necro as greasy, trashy, with great drive all the way. The band that has officially stopped touring regularly displays great live energy tonight.

GOD SEED [Temple 00:00-01:00]
God Seed hasn't been performing officially as a band for that long, but the band was grounded by key members of the Norwegian black metal scene. Their conviction for the genre is obviously intact after many years of existence. No big efforts are necessary to hypnotize the audience, all lies within the music. Live riot!


Concert of the day: KOLDBRANN

[Temple 12:50-13:30] Sustain
Today's first stop will also be the winner, along with Kampfar.
Koldbrann sustains the audience's interest from the first chord to the last hail. The atmosphere is intense, the band dedicated, the compos strong, the playing style bombastic, Koldbrann's penetrating midtempo black metal, clear and tight.
LyM's review: Reviews, June 2013 - Vertigo

Koldbrann is an atomic bomb

COAL CHAMBER [Main Stage 2 14:20-15:10] Timeless
Observing the large fan core present, it is obvious that 90's metal representatives Coal Chamber have survived the test of time. Another proof that their music did stick out of the bunch of end of century metal bands is that, after 15 years of attending their show, I still remember their anthems for us from the X-generation.

KAMPFAR [Temple 16:10-17:00] Masters of mise en scene
Much has happened for Kampfar as a live band since the first time I saw them in Norway (Kristiansand, 2005), where they were playing at a deserted club, Markens (?) for a lousy audience. "Southern Norway, nevermore!" was the verdict after this show. As far as I know, they haven't done any new attempt there since then. On the other hand, the band has toured Europe and played Wacken... Here in France, Kampfar is much appreciated, which the band knows how to thank for through an amazing show. The performance is more heartfelt than in their earlier days, if still a bit too cold and little integrated, a bit shy perhaps; here they contrast with Koldbrann from this morning. Sometimes there is a lack of dynamics. Still Kampfar proves to be a perfectionistic band, but maybe they could breathe a bit more. The band's biggest strength this afternoon is their sense for timing and scenery. All of Kampfar's members are displaying great efforts to spellbind the audience and don't they manage to lavish France's welcoming hands with pure Kampfar black metal!


Dolk and his fan #1 at the meet and greet / signing stand.

DOWN [Main Stage 1 17:05-17:55] Only the best is good enough
...or you may have to quarrel with Phil Anselmo. Down's stoner metal is a bit stoning. Seriously I've seen at least slightly more engaging from these guys. The guitarists, especially Kirk Windstein, are giving the audience great smiles, but unfortunately that's not what we are here for. Phil's mood is not exactly saving the show, almost overriding the music. Strange to end up saying so, but there's not much happening on the Main Stage 1 at this hour...

AMORPHIS [Altar 18:55-19:45]
Easy peasy
When you go to a show to see a band you're a fan of, your piece of mind will always tend to be overly positive. At this hour especially, my ears are well warmed-up and ready for Amorphis. All in all, the band does a good set indeed. I'm not sure about the clean, almost record like sound, which means that the performance is holding a current standard, no more no less. The place of choice for this show is, I believe, as near the band as possible. There one would feel the heat of the riffs and feel directly addressed.

BELPHEGOR [Temple 19:50-20:40]
What happens if you fuck for hours and nothing is happening? You end up getting litterally irritated, don't you? No matter how I had looked forward to attending the show, expectations will die quickly to never get fullfilled thoughout the set. Robots playing are just not that interesting.

MY DYING BRIDE [Temple 20:45-21:45]
You know what? By the third song, Andrew, the one guitarist, had moved two inches! Thank you Olivier for your precision, it made me think that unlike during the show over, My Dying Bride does not have to do so much to compel and make you lose the feeling of time. My Dying Bride's compositions have a richness of its own. Today's dark manifesto consists of few but very long songs led by the calmness in the dark voice, a link between the introvert music and the audience in awe.

FINNTROLL [Temple 21:50-22:50]
The show takes a little time to liven up. Once the hits come at the middle, it's done and Finntroll's crazy stage presence conquers the fans. An epic show.

KISS [Main Stage 1 23:10-00:40]
are the reason this Saturday is sold out. Give the affluent audience, no doubt about it. The question is: did they get what they had come for? I miss some hits from the setlist...

IMMORTAL [Temple 00:00-01:00]
Of the several Immortal shows I've seen, this one was by far the best one I've seen. One recurrent problem has been related to the sound, and the band's experienced many of them in their carrier, or so it seems from my personal statistical point of view. Tonight's last show at the Temple stage bears nothing of the likes. The band can unfold through a magnificent set for a raging audience.


Concerts of the day: MOONSPELL, MARDUK

That morning the festival area is quite roomy. It is still early and the festival life takes its toll. Could it be because the ones that are still going strong are attending KRISIUN? I get a glimpse of the band's performance at the Altar (12:15-12:45), whose response from the pit is rather dynamic.

INQUISITION [Temple 12:50-13:30]
The standard black metal is rather rebarbative after a while. Still, given the fact that the band consists of only two members, even live, one has to agree that they are filling their stage quite well.

MY SLEEPING KARMA [Valley 12:50-13:30]
Progressive metal requires time to warm up before you can appreciate the music. The band delivers an instrumental towards the end of the set, a long, repetitive, taking you on a comforting journey. The band has a chemistry that spreads to the audience, thus waking interest.

LE BAL DES ENRAGÉS[Warzone 13:35-14:15]
This French collective gathered forces with different artists to deliver a couple of French punk hits, along with their version of some more broadly known ones. For once, Hellfest's guests of different preferences are gathered around the same cause that led them to being where they are now.

IHSAHN [Temple 15:55-16:40]
Ihsahn's raging technical metal performance is most welcome at the Temple. Crazy synth solos, bombastic drive and connections through the numbers conquer a deafened audience. The set is much pleasing, Ihsahn have renewed it in their second chapter at Hellfest. Last year's was longer and amazing but today's is showing the band's allround skills and energy at least as well, though demonstration of their knowledge of Norwegian ancestral folk singing mixed with the basics of metal. A dizzying show.
LyM's reviews: Live - 
Hellfest 2012- Reviews, January 2010 - After

[Main Stage 1 16:45-17:35]
The day before, some guys from Newsted, including Jason himself had joined Down; their technical performance got me curious about the band. Newsted's good old heavy thrash from the 90's occupies a certain amount of fans, from Metallica time and new ones. Jason is overwhelmed by this. The show starts with some lack of bass problems, which is soon fixed, leaving the quatuor free to concentrate on the fans. Jason's found his place as a frontman, it is the music that lacks a bit of personality... for the time being.

VOIVOD [Main Stage 2 17:40-18:30]
Beyond their casual demeanor, Voivod are revealed as a band giving much of themselves. The music has always been something unique. In this set, Voivod serves the audience a blend of new material and old songs. The thing with Voivod is that they are not exposed in the 2013 world to gather new crowds around them. Judging the attendance, they probably have more fans of old than new ones. It strikes me that they must have been quite ahead of their time. The sound is highly personal, the band shows sincerity and passion for what they do. Too casual performance, but the ones interested will have recognised themselves.

GOJIRA [Main Stage 1 18:35-19:25]
is one of the few French bands that have understood how to do it like the rest of the world. The music is sometimes autistically technical, still it works. It may be easier today, as the band is at home, speaking French, able to throw jokes in their mother language and so on. Messhuggah meets Slayer meets Pantera '90-94 and Fear Factory, the latter ones regarding the sound. The pit is totally packed and Gojira's intricate mathematical communication gains the audience.

DARK FUNERAL [Temple 19:35-20:35]
hold the head above the deep waters of my critic. Their entertaining worth is high, the team solid. The show's a bit long...not in itself, but there's not much dynamics in the band's performance. Once they've tread in their make up and costume, they enter a role without nuances. Quite a shame for such an experienced band to be. The tightness of the playing reinforces my impression of a robotic performance. Massive blocks come one after the other, again and again and again, even the «Secrets of the black Heart» almost comes unnoticed. Cyborg Dark Funeral are unfortunately a disappointment today.

MOONSPELL [Altar 20:40-21:40]
The plan to check out Moonspell AND Danzig obviously changed given the fact that I started with Moonspell. This is by far the absolutely best show of Moonspell I've witnessed. The band starts having a large fan core, most of them present at Hellfest on this very hour. A band that deserves the result I mean they have achieved after 18 years of existence.

MARDUK [Temple 21:45-22:45]
One obviously has choices to do at Hellfest. Not sure I'm doing the right one, staying for Marduk, another Swedish massive block of lead. Well, there is no disappointment to be felt here at any moment. From the middle/rear of the Temple the sound is as massively clear as massive, lifting Marduk's blasting set. The band does a highly mastered performance, with no frills, by just being themselves. A band that deserves a new listen and attendance next time too.
LyM's review: Reviews, July 2012 - The Serpent Sermon

CRADLE OF FILTH [Temple 23:55-00:55]
As an old fan of the pompous English texts and sounds of Cradle Of Filth, the band fell off their pedestal last time I saw them at GMM 2011. Tonight's show is varied and exciting, the energy in the band, especially Dani's that was tuned down last time, is reborn.

GHOST [Main Stage 2 00:45-02:00]
Diverse changes of plans during the day allowed Ghost to be the last ones to play outside on this last evening of festival.The band's music suited a cosy end of three days of wild festival life. The rocking riffs of Ghost gather a large crowd though it is easy to make one's way though to the front. Mystical atmosphere to some point, there always seems to be a certain dose of irony in the band's performance. The jokes coming from the masked team don't talk against this impression. Letting Ghost play on the main stage also shows they are up and rising!

The marvel merch post 

Art in the night, VIP area

Verdict 2013:
5 ..... reviews for Main Stage 1
4 ..... reviews for Main Stage 2
4 ..... reviews for Altar
15 ... reviews for Temple
1 ..... review for Warzone
1 ..... review for Valley

Setlists can be found on:
with keywords: «name of band» + «hellfest 2013»

Partying with a sore back proved to work. It was so bad standing there that even watered beer helped.
After Hellfest 2013, I travel back texting many new friends and acquaintances made on the festival. The past three days will again make it hard to come back to reality.

Dear readers: your comments and suggestions for reviews are more than welcome, just drop me a mail!


Attending: Laurence, with the help of Isabelle.