Hellfest (France) 2016 Review – Day 3 of 3

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Already the last day at Hellfest, whereas we feel that the festival has just begun… Today again, we’re going to see the very best of the rock/metal scene, and what a lineup ! Black Sabbath, Refused, Megadeth, Slayer, Gojira, Katatonia… The sun is still present, so there’s no time to lose, let’s dive in this hell on earththat the Hellfest Crew have been struggling to create during this last decade.

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First band that we’re watching today is Fallujah, and what’s a better breakfast than half an hour of this technical, atmospheric kind of death metal ? The band, playing in front of a relatively small audience, delivers a solid show and never disappoints, as their fanbase seems to be enjoying this short concert from one of the most promising bands of its generation. The band loves to play in front of their French fans, and the love seems to be mutual. Let’s hope that their next tour doesn’t skip our country !

Next, on our beloved Warzone, is playing the young-yet-old-school Baltimore crew, Turnstile. We expected a lot from this show, and we can say that our expectations were perfectly matched ! Their groovy and energetic hardcore is the perfect way to begin a day, and to wake a crowd up ! Thanks to the new Warzone, a larger amount of people can enjoy those shows, and it’s safe to say that this is the the best improvement that this year’s edition has seen ! Turnstile has seen their fame rising in the last years, and when you watch their shows, you easily understand why, as they clearly add something new and fresh to a scene that can tend to being a bit repetitive and saturated.

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And now, let’s see Japanese sensation Dragonforce. The band has seen their reputation growing from their appearance in Guitar Hero 3, and even though they want to be seen as something else than “the band that was on Guitar Hero”, most people are going to their show in order to see if their skills are that good, and the technical aspect might take priority over the musical aspect. But still, Herman Li and his bandmates aren’t here to pretend, and it’s a real power metal concert that we are seeing on the Main Stage 2. Sure, the show is a bit cliché, but isn’t thh reason why people like the band ? The 40 minutes allocated to the band are going quickly, and despite some technical issues, the band managed to give us a good moment, without being too serious about themselves, which is a good thing. We hope that the festival doesn’t wait another 7 years before scheduling Dragonforce again !

We watch the first couple of songs from the French rock band No One Is Innocent, and we notice that the band, despite their quite long career, still has the energy and the songwriting skills in order to play in such a big festival ! But maybe next time they would belong more in a lineup such as the Warzone’s one.

Let’s move on to this stage to see Power Trip, a young thrash metal / crossover band, in the vein of many other bands that we were able to see here this weekend. There’s no denying that the band has a great ability to deliver efficient songs, and the audience that had gathered on this sunday afternoon is captivated by the show. The communication between the band and the crowd, or the onstage presence of the band members could be increased, but the band has nothing to prove, and they clearly sound as good as their influences, who have played on both Main Stages this weekend ! Plus, the sound is really clear, which is a great point for this kind of concert. This is one of the most interesting points of this festival, because with more than 160 bands playing each year, the Hellfest crew can afford to schedule this kind of bands, that you may not see in other festivals, whereas they clearly deserve their place !

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Next show is Tarja, on Main Stage 2, and to say that the former Nightwish singer’s show at Hellfest was anticipated is an euphemism, as you can see that a large crowd has gathered in front of the stage, but unfortunately, the concert wasn’t as good as expected by the audience, generally described as limp and nowhere as good as the singer’s shows with Nightwish. The vocal lines often seemout of place with the music, which is a shame when you know Tarja‘s vocal abilities… Maybe the next album will be better, and let’s hope that she will come back to us, in a better shape !

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Now it’s time to see one of the weekend’s most anticipated shows : Gojira. French death metal titans are back with their new record, Magma, another critically acclaimed album, and the band is a Hellfest fan-favorite, so it’s nothing to say that there was a lot of people waiting for those 50 minutes of technical metal. The crowd has gathered massively around the Main Stage 1, and from the beginning of the concert, you understand why : the band decided to put all their efforts in order to deliver a hell of a show, and to show that they deserve to be playing just before such legend as Slayer and Megadeth today. Their sound is as massive as it could be, and the singer interacts a lot with the audience, maybe a little too much, as some of the transitions between songs could have been skipped. But a Gojira concert is always a show not to miss, and with this perfect blending of old and newer songs, the set never disappoints, and the band has clearly explained how they became one of the most exciting bands in the younger metal scene.

Next are playing Caliban on the Warzone. The German metalcore band released Gravity this year, a modern, polished record, inspired by the younger bands from the scene, which implies a lot of breakdowns and mosh parts, the perfect recipe for this kind of show, the best way to let off steam by the end of the weekend ! The amount of circle pits and walls of death during this concert is quite impressive, such as the energy deployed by the band. Singer Andreas Dörner seems to be pleased to see such a good reaction from the crowd, and he will incitate the audience to go wild throughout the show, and even tell off some guy from the security crew who apparently had some violent reaction to the people in the crowd. The show goes on, the band focuses mainly on their last album, which is apparently already very well known by the fans – who are very numerous today – and you can tell by the band’s reaction that the Hellfest public is a good one !

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It is with a big smile that we are leaving -for the last time this summer- the Warzone, to see Katatonia, the Swedish metal band, at the Altar. The band is playing in front of img_8211a large audience of fans today, as you can hear a big round of applause each time Jonas Renkse announces a song. The band is distinguishable from the rest of the bands that have played on this stage today by their classy, atmospheric kind of metal – almost rock sometimes – which acts like a breath of fresh air during this weekend ! The sound is very good, which is a good point when you know Katatonia‘s style, and the crowd seems to appreciate a lot this set, composed from a lot of songs from their new record The Fall Of Hearts, which sound incredibly good live ! The band’s musicianship is really good, and Renkse’s singing is really good ! Honestly, this sounds more like a rock show than a metal one, but good music is what we’re here for, and good music is what we are getting, so there’s no complaining to have about this show !

The hour-long show is coming to an end, and we’re hoping that the band comes back soon to France, as this was clearly too short for us !

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One of the last shows that we’ve seen this weekend is the end of Megadeth‘s set, and the band seemed to have convinced the audience, as they came to represent their latest album to date, Dystopia, which was quite well received among the fact, a notable fact for such an old band ! The crowd standing in front of the Main Stage 1 is huge, and it is a great pleasure to hear those big anthems once again at the Hellfest, the festival that saw its fame rising incredibly over this last decade.

But now it’s time to watch one of the best moments of this weekend : Ghost‘s concert. Saying that this concert was anticipated is much of an understatement, as the band were assumed as headliners for the audience, and with the night falling down on Clisson, we can see a really large crowd gathering in front of the Main Stage 2, for what’s meant to be a special show, elaborated for the Hellfest only. Let’s set it straight : the show was damn good ! The sound was perfectly on point, Papa Emeritus and his Nameless Ghouls know how to set up a hell of a show, and even though their music is way less extreme than what we use to hear here, the atmosphere that the band created made from this concert a moment that everyone will remember, and a show that’s often quoted by the attendants as the best of the weekend. For those who don’t know the band, their blending of an old shool rock sound with a bit of a more violent side, associated with an anti-religious imagery works perfectly, and the numerous fans of the band had a good time tonight !

From a group of nuns giving away whiskey to the audience to a choir of young boys and girls from Clisson singing about feminine orgasms, the whole rock’n roll spirit was living in the Val De Moine in Clisson on this Sunday evening.

Of course, the music isn’t forgotten, as the band sounds bigger than ever, and the band’s members presence is impressive ! There’s no doubt about the fact that Ghost are set to become one of the biggest names in the rock scene in the next decades, and it’s well deserved.

Finally, the Hellfest crew managed to offer to their loyal fans the last French Black Sabbath show ever. Ozzy and his bandmates are playing for one hour and a half, and thereby are giving to the French audience the last chance to see the creators of the musical genre that we’ve all been celebrating all weekend long. The band played at Hellfest two years ago, and quite disappointed their fans, moreover because of the vocal performance from Ozzy Ozbourne, but this time mistakes won’t be made again, and the band is in a way better shape than last time. The band that created this genre are ending this weekend, and leave us with stars in our eyes, rock’n roll in our ears, and this pure feeling that rock’n roll will never die !

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Once again, this weekend was unlike any other weekend, and we know that the Hellfest crew are working very hard to offer us the best experience that is possible next year !