Damnation celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and Paul Castles will be there to cover it for Midlands Rocks. Our extreme metal correspondent sets the scene for this year’s festival at Leeds University.
There may well be a larger than usual contingent of Midlands metalheads making the journey north to Yorkshire for Damnation in a few weeks with both Anaal Nathrakh and Bolt Thrower among the headline acts.
The one-day festival at Leeds University chalks up its tenth anniversary on November 1 and as such is now firmly entrenched as one of the annual highlights of the domestic metal scene.
Set across four stages, most metal tastes are catered for at Damnation, although this festival has always prided itself on operating at the more extreme end of the genre.
This will be the first UK show in around two years for Coventry’s death metal heavy-hitters Bolt Thrower who headline the main Jagermeister Stage. This is a one-off performance and Damnation organisers have pulled off something of a coup to get them for what will be the band’s first ever UK festival appearance.
Bolt Thrower will be playing with their original vocalists, Karl Willetts stating: “We always knew if we were ever going to play a festival in the UK, it would be Damnation; as we’ve only heard good things about it from mates who’ve been, and other bands who’ve played it. “So we’re chuffed our only UK show of 2014 – and the foreseeable future – will be Damnation’s 10th Anniversary Bash… Grind on.”
Excitement levels will be pitched equally as high for Anaal Nathrakh, whose blinding stage shows are the stuff of legend. Expect to hear some new material from the soon to be released Desideratum.
Those Nathrakh fans heading up the M1 will also be among the first to see Cannibal Corpse perform material from their latest highly acclaimed release A Skeletal Domain (reviewed here). Fire up that chainsaw…
The New York gore greats will be performing on the Terrorizer Stage where the action will be kicked off early in the afternoon by West Country death metal demons Amputated.
Boston’s Revocation, whose new album Deathless has just been released, Aeon and Winterfylleth also perform on the Terrorizer Stage, the latter fresh from their dynamic display at Bloodstock and with a blistering new album just out, The Divination of Antiquity.
One of the big draws on the Jagermeister Stage are one of the grandees of doom, LA legends Saint Vitus who will be marking their 35th year by performing their seminal album Born Too Late in its entirety.
Raging Speedhorn will be playing live for the first time in around six years while October File will be looking to leave their indelible mark as successfully as they’ve already done this year at Bloodstock and Candlefest.
As for Stampin’ Ground, well festival organisers are either brave or foolhardy here as the last time the hardcore outfit played Damnation (2006) the Terrorizer Stage needed rebuilding by the time they had done and that’s no exaggeration.
The four stages at Damnation take on their own disparate shades and for some of the more aurally challenging sounds head to the Plastic Head Stage (PHD) for the likes of Teutonic doom titans Ahab, Black Moth (a hometown gig for the Leeds boys), H A R K, Atlantis and Corrupt Moral Altar.
Also performing on this platform will be Iceland’s Solstafir, whose superb album Otta is already being crowned album of the year by some critics, and the Gallic drone doom outfit Monarch who will be playing their only UK show of 2014.
A rare female-fronted act for Damnation, chanteuse Emilie Bresson paints some surreal soundscapes with her haunting voice. While not a conventional doom act, Monarch could be one of the highlights of the day with their deep depressive delivery.
Coruscating black metal will be the focus over on the Eyesore Merch Stage where you can worship at the cloven hoofed feet of such luminaries as Fen, Wodensthrone, A Forest of Stars, <code>, Falloch from Scotland, London trio Bast and Spain’s Obsidian Kingdom.
Festival Director Gavin McInally said: “This year’s line-up is fitting of a tenth anniversary party and with tickets on track to have 4,000 friends with us, it’s going to be a bash to remember.”