PREVIEW: Hammerfest IX

As we head into March the warm festival fields of summer seem like a lifetime away, but don’t worry because there’s something better, something much better! Hot water, comfy beds, Papa Johns, and plenty of quality Heavy Metal as well. It’s like other festivals but here you can watch four episodes of Come Dine With Me before Grand Magus in the afternoon. We’ve been coming to Hammerfest for many years now and it’s always one of the highlights on the calendar. The bookers at HRH surprise us every year with the bands that they manage to convince to come to Wales, and this time around is no exception. We’ve put together a list of just a few of the bands not to missed over the course of the weekend. See you there!

Power Quest
Last year we spoke to Steve Williams about the exciting return of Power Quest, and discussed how disappointed we were that we weren’t going to be able to make it to London for the return show. Meanwhile there has been a distinct lack of Power Metal at Hammerfest the last couple of years, something which had previously been a staple part of the eclectic lineup. This year though they have turned back the clocks as they host not one but two Power Metal returns, starting with Power Quest themselves. After they tore the roof off Bloodstock during their farewell show years ago, it seems only fitting that they will be returning in the same manner. Head to the stage at to catch this one. -Nick

The second of the two big Power Metal returns comes in the form of Friday night headliner, the mighty Hammerfall! After signing with Napalm Records last year for the release of Built to Last and their announcement for Hammerfest, spirits have never been higher amongst the loyal Power Metal crowd. With a hefty headlining slot on the main stage we can expect to hear a host of classics alongside bits from the last two albums, and this will be the first time we’ve seen their latest lineup together also. Hammerfall never disappoint in the live arena so make sure you get there early enough to avoid watching from the back.-Nick

If you are in the mood for some straight up, no nonsense Folk Metal then look no further than one of the undisputed pioneers of the genre itself - Newcastle's very own Skyclad. Born from the mind of Sabbat's Martin Walkyier in 1990, Skyclad bring a unique blend of Thrash and traditional Folk with a subject matter ranging from Celtic mysticism to English folk tales and social political issues. The band have had a strong and illustrious career despite many line up changes and even Walkyier's departure in 2000. We had the opportunity to see them at Hellfest a few years ago and the band didn't miss a trick and were a joy to watch so make sure you are nicely inebriated as they whip through the classics from ‘Spinning Jenny’ to ‘Cardboard City’.-Sig

Grand Magus
In all of the years that we’ve been coming to Hammerfest there have been more memorable performances than we care to remember. Right up at the top of those is undoubtedly when Grand Magus shook the house in 2014 fresh off the release of their now classic album Triumph and Power. Magus’ brand of True Heavy Metal has cemented them as one of the modern greats, and with each album comes a future classic. Most recently was last year’s Sword Songs, which you can expect to hear a healthy dose of hopefully alongside some spatterings from their illustrious fifteen year career. Head to the main stage on Friday to catch them.-Nick

If you like your Folk Metal with more of a blackened tinge then the woad painted warriors from the Pagan vastlands of Armagh should satisfy your battle lust. Waylander effortlessly mix elements of traditional Irish folk and extreme metal to a backdrop of Celtic folklore, mythology and anti-Christian sentiments into good old fashioned battle hymns. If all of this piques your interest then I highly recommend you head down and check Waylander out and don't forget to toast the old ways, praise the Horned God and prepare to enter Morrigan's Domain. -Sig

Old Corpse Road
Old Corpse Road are the workhorse of this little Islands Black Metal scene. While not reaching the same critical acclaim as some of their peers they have certainly forged quite the cult following here in this green and pleasant land, and rightly so . Through hard work and dedication to their craft Old Corpse Road have earned a strong reputation amongst the UK Black Metal scene. With well written and researched songs stemming from an unparalleled knowledge of British history and folklore, they create a compelling atmosphere and give a unique take on Black Metal through a very British lens. So prepare to take a walk down the old corpse road and immerse yourself in the serpentine darkness of the Albion of eld. -Sig

Let the black wings of Ravens cover the skies and sound the horns of war as Norwegian Pagan Black Metal horde Kampfar descend upon Hammerfest. By far the biggest draw for me this weekend, Kampfar were instrumental in moulding my taste in Black Metal when I first started walking the dark path and have been somewhat of an elusive beast over the years, rarely touring up until recently. Now though it seems that the band have fully emerged from the shadows and are appearing live regularly so it really is a treat that they have been booked for this show. We were lucky enough to see them at Hellfest back in 2013 and I have been itching to see them live again, I can guarantee you they will be one of the best bands you will see all weekend. Hail the old gods. Hail Kampfar. -Sig

Venom Inc.
Its Mantas and Abaddon playing classic Venom songs. No introduction is needed, just don’t miss it! -Drew

The Butcher Strikes back as Destruction return to Hammerfest after a memorable performance at Hammerfest V. The teutonic horde serve up some of the fatherlands finest thrash with absolutely no prisoners taken with a back catalogue stretching back to 1984 and usually going that far back in their set list choices They’re really not to be missed! Expect headbanging, crowd surfing, big mosh pits and no remorse. Hold your beer tight. Thrash till Death!! -Drew

Ereb Altor
“Conan! What is best in life?..” ”Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.” Whilst I agree with Conan, not many things are better than Viking era Bathory and Ereb Altor certainly agree, channelling the spirit of the Old Gods they take up where Quorthon left off with a blend of Doom and Black Metal that certainly leans towards the triumphant with choral vocals mixed with the right amount of gloom. Ereb Altor create a great atmosphere when playing live and were one of the surprises of the weekend for myself at last year's Ragnard Rock Fest so we’re super excited to see them on home soil. Praise The Old Gods! -Drew



Artist - Jesters of Destiny
Title - The Sorrows That Refuse to Drown
Label - Ektro

Thirty years after Jesters of Destiny arrived, dropped Fun at the Funeral and disappeared back into the night, they’re finally back with a second full length release courtesy of Ektro Records, and whilst it could never live up to first album, the eccentricity of the band shines through once more and it’s a crazy ride from start to finish. Pick it up on April 4th!



Artist - Hammerfest IX
Date - 23rd- 26th March
Venue - Pwllheli, Wales  

One of our main highlights of the year, this month we’re off to Wales for Hammerfest, HRH’s Heavy Metal flagship. With the return of two Power Metal titans alongside a host of others, this year looks to be one of their best ever. We’ll be covering the whole festival and conducting interviews as well so lookout for the cameras!