We’ve already shown you the vast array of photos we took at this year’s Hammerfest, but they only tell part of the story. What really went on at Hammerfest IV – The Hammer of Thor? We turned to David Keevill, our man on the ground, to find out…
6 things we learnt on Thursday at Hammerfest:
1) Pontins may look (and smell) like seven shades of shit, but it is undoubtedly the most appropriate setting for what looks to be the one of the more devastating incarnations of Hammerfest yet. Chalets have all the essentials; wipe-clean surfaces and all major appliances bolted down to something else . What more do you need?
2) Thursday night has traditionally been the time that Hammerfest resurrects bands out of obscurity, and tonight is no different; the majority of the bands on the bill are Jurassic-period NWOBHM acts, with a couple of notable exceptions. With the festival only being at around 30 percent capacity until tomorrow night, we decide to take the opportunity to get down the front and raise some horns of mead (or Carlsberg) to some classic chug and roll.
3) The unenviable task of kicking the weekend off falls to Edinburgh’s succinctly-named Firebrand Super Rock, and one of the fresher acts to be playing to the ravening hordes at Pontin’s legendary Queen Vic. Despite this small venue only housing a handful of early-bird punters, FSR’s feisty banshee Laura Donelly seems unperturbed and rips into their set with gusto, showcasing the clutterless frenzy of their self-titled debut album. In spite of it not being an easy task to break the ice of a festival weekend, the Scottish metalheads reduce the stage to a pile of ash with the cantering pace of ‘River of the Dead’ and screamer ‘Wheel of Pain’.
4) The second stage, which will house the main event for this evening, is aptly named Thor’s Stage, presumably because some of the bands who zimmer their way on to it tonight were reaching their peak during the actual Viking Age. Blackrose showcase their Saxon-esque sound through 80s classics such as ‘Boys Will Be Boys’, which although sounds dated, is a good riler for these early crowds. Saracen also rely on their earlier work and only play one song off their new album, Marilyn. Instead they rollick through days of yore, living up to their name and singing songs of crusades and blasting metal-clad metal.
5) Whilst watching Fury (not Fury UK), we decide that we are going to start a metal band that revolves around the concept of making metal, and that each of our albums will showcase a different part of the process (i.e. smelting, refining). We then decide that we’ve clearly had one too many drinks.
6) Listening to AC/DC songs, even if they are performed by a covers band, is fucking incredible when you’re drunk. Luckily Dirty DC do Angus Young and co. well enough (at least we think they do through the beer-haze), and they soon have us moving at a unwise velocitiy given the kind of state we’re in. In typical Hammerfest fashion, we turned Thursday night into a fair demonstration of how not to pace yourself at a festival weekend, and as such is an absolutely devastating yardstick for the full fury of the days ahead of us….