Preview of Damnation Festival, up t’north.


Paul Castles casts his eye over this year’s Damnation Festival line-up which promises to be another momentous metal occasion for everyone heading north.

Damnation Festival Line Up – 2013

Living in the Midlands we can perhaps be forgiven for taking for granted the wealth of gigs we have on our doorstep – not to mention our very own festivals such as Download and Bloodstock.

And that’s before we even throw in such treasures as Fearfest and Beermageddon!

Just occasionally though we need to start up our engines and venture further afield.

That will be the case on Saturday, November 2 when all roads – or at least the ones that matter – will lead to Yorkshire, or to be more precise Leeds.

Damnation is an extraordinary one-day metal jamboree, kindly hosted by Leeds Uni.

For less than you’d pay for a match ticket at most Premier League football grounds you can see a wealth of extreme musical metal talent unleashed throughout the day and evening across four separate stages within the uni complex.

The line-up this year is immense so exactly who have we got to look forward to?

It’s only fair to start with the heavy-hitting headliners Carcass whose eagerly awaited album return Surgical Steel I reviewed recently.


One of the all-time greats of UK underground extreme metal, anyone missing out on this momentous occasion should pull out all the stops to catch them supporting Amon Amarth in Birmingham 10 days’ later.

Moving in a different musical direction, there’s a sombre Swedish double-header to enjoy in the murky shape of Katatonia and the Eyesore Merch stage headliners Cult of Luna.

Katatonia have a pre-Damnation warm-up in the Midlands when performing with Lacuna Coil and Paradise Lost in Wolverhampton.

In Leeds they will be marking the 10th anniversary of their Viva Emptiness album, Anders Nystrom, adding: “We couldn’t be more psyched to celebrate our ‘Viva Emptiness’ anniversary at a festival we never got to play before. So Leeds, join us and be damned!”

Damnation has a reputation for giving a platform to some pretty brutal acts and they’ve certainly struck gold this year with Greek gods Rotting Christ who headline the Terrorizer stage following on from the likes of Vallenfyre (featuring of members of Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride) and powerhouses Dyscarnate.

Rotting Christ last played Damnation in 2009, singer Sakis Tolis promising: “Our damned souls could not find a better and suitable shelter than Damnation Festival. Let’s make the hell metal brothers and sisters.”



Damnation is the sole UK date this year for the so-called supergroup Twilight of the Gods whose singer Alan Averill was here 12 months ago with Primordial.

“I had a great show at Damnation with Primordial last year, and this year Twilight of the Gods arrives to bring Leeds some true epic heavy metal. Our album is just out so it’s perfect timing for our first set of original songs in the UK. We promise you blood and heavy metal thunder.”

Maintaining the biblical theme for a moment or two, God Seed are another headline act that needs filing under the ‘don’t miss’ category. Featuring one of black metal’s iconic founding fathers in Gaahl, who will forever be associated with the Norwegian greats Gorgoroth, this uncompromising figure makes a rare return to the UK at Leeds.


Also from Norway, but definitely bringing a different set of ingredients to the feast, are the unorthodox but compelling sax-tastic Shining.

Although not a straightforward metal band in their early days they have gradually evolved into a mighty beast whose roar is likely to be as wild as any heard on the day.

The Electric Amphetamine stage is being given over to doom and will host the likes of Mourning Beloveth from Ireland, the rarely seen mammoths Moss and Merseyside crushers Conan who gave an incendiary display when headlining the closing night of Fearfest at the Birmingham Asylum recently.

Although there are four stages only two will be in use at any given time and so while some clashes may leave punters tossing a coin, the Damnation team have just about done everything they can to please all festival goers.

For further info on bands, tickets and travel visit