Hellfest 2015: Day Three

Hellfest comes to a close in mindpopping style

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The eternal sunshine, cheap booze and 16 hour days have wrecked our spotless minds, but it’s the last stretch and Tribulation [9] are playing the Temple. It’s annoyingly empty but the Swedes churn out their death metal/‘70s rock hybrid in victorious fashion, justifying the hype behind their latest opus, The Children Of The Night; titillatingly tight musicianship, spooky incense sticks and a rapturous reaction all assure us that Tribulation are indeed the dog’s bollocks.

Carach Angren’s [7] set is positively terrifying, with frontman Seregor pacing up and down as he whispers perverse poems over a blackened symphonic backdrop. A muddy sound leaves his diction muffled, but it’s still a treat to hear older works like The Carriage Wheel Murder sandwiched between This Is No Fairytale tunes.

Exodus’ [7] merciless thrashing is on the money but proves too much for lazy sunbathers at Main Stage 02, leaving us wishing they’d been stuck in a tent at night-time instead. Oh well. A Day To Remember [8], however, revel in the sunshine. Jeremy McKinnon manages to stay in time singing Sometimes You’re the Hammer, Sometimes You’re the Nail’s infectious chorus – unlike at Download, when it was wobblier than a piece of jelly with low self-esteem – and the combination of beach balls, poppy hardcore and band members who jump around like teenagers necking their inaugural WKD makes for an unexpected dose of fun. Even if the guy with the Darkthrone backpatch tells you otherwise.

The Temple is heaving an hour before Alestorm [6] even come on, the crowd splooging out of the stage’s canvas confines and onto the mottled grass. The Scottish pirates pull off a decent set; it’s not as tight or bombastic as usual, but the audience are going absolutely bananas. Punters crowdsurf from outside the tent, pits erupt before songs even start and the sing-along to new ditty _Walk The _Plank rivals even the likes of Keelhauled and Nancy The Tavern Wench.

While everyone dons red caps and pulls their socks up for Limp Bizkit, we catch Samael [9] play their genre-busting Ceremony Of Opposites in full. It’s a classic in its own right, but to see the black metal bellow of Black Trip and Mask Of The Red Death thrown into the 21st century and channelled through the band’s industrial, drum machine-driven guise is just fucking stupendous. We could watch Xytras flail around behind that keyboard all day.

Melodeath masters At The Gates [8] blast through chunks of At War With Reality and Slaughter Of The Soul the Altar stage, and a longer time slot affords them chance to bust out Terminal Spirit Disease. Which is appreciated. Their lighter countrymen In Flames [7] are giving Mainstage 02 a good kicking; Bullet Ride and Only For The Weak are the oldest tracks aired tonight, which is a shame, because Anders Fridén’s guttural roars and screams do these vintage tunes justice and also give the newer tracks a much-needed pair of bollocks. My Sweet Shadow still slays, mind you.

The idea of Korn performing their debut in full makes us weak at the knees, but we’re too busy smashing our skulls into the floor watching Superjoint Ritual [10] to care. Phil Anselmo’s on ravenous form; his screams are more venomous and bile-flecked than they’ve sounded in years, yet he’s also funnier than he’s been in a fucking age. When asking the crowd if they like Megadeth (for no reason in particular, may we add), he continues: “Good. Fuckin’ go home and listen to ‘em. They suck.” Stuff like Everyone Hates Everyone, Waiting For The Turning Point and the eponymous finale combines the rabid immediacy and rage of Pantera and The Illegals with the bluesy, stoner rock melodies of Down and Eyehategod courtesy of Jimmy Bower. It’s so good. It’s so fucking good. There’s nothing wrong with this performance. Nothing at all. The best possible way to end the best festival on the planet. See you next year, France.

Alec Chillingworth

Alec is a longtime contributor with first-class BA Honours in English with Creative Writing, and has worked for Metal Hammer since 2014. Over the years, he's written for Noisey, Stereoboard, uDiscoverMusic, and the good ship Hammer, interviewing major bands like Slipknot, Rammstein, and Tenacious D (plus some black metal bands your cool uncle might know). He's read Ulysses thrice, and it got worse each time.