Let’s go back 11 years ago. Its 2005, you’re at the very first Bloodstock Open Air festival when someone (I can only assume it was a younger Gavin McInally) hands you a flyer to add to the stack you’ve been receiving throughout the weekend. Although this flyer was for an event taking place at Jillys Rockworld, Manchester and sported names such as Raging Speedhorn, Entombed and Gorerotted just to name a few. Looking at the colorful piece of paper with all these cool bands playing, it was easy to think this could just be another one off gig and next year “Damnation Festival” probably wouldn’t even be a thing just like so many before and so many after.
Fastforward slightly to 2008. The rebirth of UK grind legends Carcass and the Damnation Festival organisers managing to solidify a UK exclusive show, anyone attending (which felt like the whole world at one point) would see that this was no ordinary event that would just simply disappear when things got tough, when things changed within the music scene landscape. No, this was special. For us personally, 2008 was the turning point where this festival really started to feel like something really special, an integral part of the UK metal music scene that would leave such a massive hole every year should it go away.
Since then, the festival has gone from strength to strength. Talked about by many with announcements eagerly anticipated by all. Booking acts like Kreator, At The Gates, My Dying Bride, The Haunted, Ulver, Cult Of Luna and Bolthrower just to name a select few of our favorites. The festivals ability to adapt to the ever changing variables that come with putting on a festival like this is a testament to their success. The UK has never been so spoilt when it comes to this one cold November day up north that has the ability to send even the pickiest fans home with a smile on their face.
2016 will be no different.
As the masses make their way to Leeds November 5th 2016, they will be trying to figure out their days schedule from a lineup which simply does not let up. Even looking at it ourselves, we find it hard to decide who we will see and who we will miss because Damnation Festival have not made it easy for us to make such a decision when every band is worth watching. But that’s just us. For those who like their music slow and heavy, they have the magnificent Ufomammut, Electric Wizard and Kroh. The Black Metal fans are spoilt for choice this year with Abbath, Enslaved & The Infernal Sea and for those who are prepared for something special, Cult Of Luna with Julie Christmas will simply blow people away.
But if we had to pick just 5 bands to not miss, who would we choose?
The Infernal Sea
Our own personal home town heroes, it would be rude not to show them some love not that they need it. The blackened metal titans are on an incredible roll at the moment having been touring non stop all year as well as supporting the likes of Arch Enemy, Anaal Nathrakh, Forgotten Tomb and The King Is Blind just to name a few all whilst finding time to release their debut album and shoot a new music video for ‘Plague Herald’. One of the hardest working bands of the East is arriving at Damnation Festival to make a mark, to make their voices heard and they’re not leaving until you know their name. Speaking on their upcoming performance, Vocalist Dean Lettice told us “It is a great honour to have been invited to perform at Damnation alongside many of our peers. We have been attending the festival for many years now and witnessed it grow. On the 5th November our blackened plague shall infect all who attended our ritual” If you like your metal black and vicious, this should be one of the top bands you check out.
For Fans Of: Dissection, Watain, Winterfellyth, Behemoth
Having just played an incredible London show supporting tour mates SubRosa, Darkher make their way up north to grace the fans of Damnation Festival with their presence. Its dark and haunting music which ranges from crushingly heavy to chaotic beauty. The band recently had a spell of cancelled shows due to illness much to the dismay of fans, but the band have assured they will be fighting fit in time for Damnation festival (as well as the upcoming shows with Wardruna). Darkher will be playing The Mine stage and will be playing tracks from their incredible 2016 release ‘realms’ so be sure to get there early to witness something special.
For Fans Of: Chelsea Wolfe, In The Woods..., October falls,
Hang The Bastard
Hang The Bastard will make Damnation Festival its its final performance as a band as they call time on an almost 10-year career as a band. The last release was the incredible ‘Sex In The Seventh Circle’ which is as sludgy and damn right dirty as it gets. This final farewell show will be one to remember as the band promises to end on one final heavy note and we say goodbye to another fine UK band. “After nearly 10 years, thousands of miles and millions of beers, the time has come to end what has been an amazing journey into the world of heaviness. We, Hang the Bastard are thrilled to announce our last show will be at this year's Damnation Festival. Having played before with a mixed line up due to injuries we will play full strength a heavy set to wave good bye for good”.
For Fans Of: Bastions, Sea Bastard, Slowmatics
In all honestly, as good as the band are, Conjurer were one we never really expected to add to this list but we just caught them a few days ago at The Underworld in London where they really were close to stealing the show on a bill of amazing bands. Conjurer are on fine form right now and really are worth your attention. Their live show is just one big war contained to a stage. We’re sure if they had it their way, they would be jumping around the whole room at this years Damnation Festival whilst trying (and failing) not to hit you with their instruments. With regards to the music, its brutal. It’s a sonic attack of biblical proportions and what’s more is, you can see they love performing it. Be sure to check out this band on the Eyesore Merch stage. Hopefully it will be a stage big enough to throw themselves around a bit. What else can we say? They impressed us so much they deserve to be seen by many more at this year's event!
For Fans Of: High On Fire, Converge
Cult Of Luna & Julie Christmas
Playing ‘Mariner’ live and in full but having both Cult Of Luna and Julie Christmas present means this could pretty much be the show stealer. ‘Mariner’ has been on of 2016s masterpieces and one of the best in the Cult Of Luna back catalogue. We get chills just thinking about what this is going to sound like live and loud. Seriously, just close your eyes for a second and imagine it. Imagine ‘Chevron’ being played live. Imagine Julies terrifying screams and the heaviness of the band backing her up. Its not going to be one that’s forgotten any time soon and when its all said and done we will all owe the folks at Damnation Festival a beer. In fact, if you’re reading this, that is our challenge to you. Watch Cult Of Luna perform and if you loved every second of it, find the festival organisers and buy them a drink.
For Fans Of: The Ocean, ISIS, Rosetta