FESTIVAL REVIEW: HELLFEST 2019 Live at Clisson, France – Day 3 (Sunday)
After Knotfest Meets Hellfest and the first two days of Hellfest, you would expect the crowd to start feeling a bit sluggish. Even more so, given the high temperatures and the heatwave sweeping across Clisson. On the contrary, Sunday had the crowd pumped from the very go, with the excitement to see Slayer and Tool evident on everyone’s face.
I have been a fan of Messa since their debut ‘Belfry’ came out in 2016, and last year’s ‘Feast for Waters’ only further cemented their position. The Italians quickly caught the attention of the morning crowd with their jazzy doom metal. Sara’s ethereal vocals built the atmosphere right off “Leah,” as the singer tranced between whisper and screams. By the time the band reaches the beautifully built up “She Knows / Tulsi,” the entire crowd felt rooted to the spot.
If there was anyone in the audience who did not know Death Angel and their music, Mark Osegueda was quick to introduce the band by quipping “we are from San Francisco Bay and we play thrash metal!” The band has been around for over three decades, and the setlist reflected the same, with classics from across the discography. With powerful songs like “Thrown to the Wolves” and “The Dream Calls for Blood,” the band follow a no-nonsense, straight trash approach throughout their 40-minute set (that feels a bit too short).
Doom metal bands and short sets at festivals usually don’t really gel, but when it is Yob, even three songs (over 40 minutes) are sufficient to leave the crowd truly entertained. The music is heavy and rumbling, but it emanates feelings of pure happiness. Somewhere between “Quantum Mystic” (from ‘The Unreal Never Lived’), “Unmask the Specter” (from ‘Clearing the Path to Ascend’), and The Screen (from ‘Our Raw Heart), we traveled across the cosmic realm.
With members from Amenra and Oathbreaker, I had no idea of the type of black metal music of Wiegedood. Delivering beyond all expectations, the band performed a truly dynamic set that combined raw intensity and emotional melodies. The music brought a dark and cold atmosphere into the Temple arena, despite the sun shining bright on this hot day in Clisson. The never-ending blast-beats, cyclical tremolo riffs, and the howling screams resulted in a truly intimate atmosphere, that made the set one of the best on the day.
It felt like the mosh-pits had opened up even before Anthrax started their set with “Caught in a Mosh,” that was the intensity of the atmosphere when the legendary thrashers took the stage. The audience goes absolutely bonkers as the band goes through “N.F.L.” and “I Am The Law,” and this seems to charge Scott and Charlie too, who step up the energy for the rest of the set. The “Antisocial” cover and the rabid “Indians” brings the end of a truly solid set.
This is the last time the legendary rock act Lynyrd Skynyrd is gracing the stage at Hellfest, and as expected the band takes us through a thoroughly enjoyable “Best of Lynard Skynard” setlist. From “Workin’ for MCA” to “Sweet Home Alabama,” the southern rockers are clearly aiming to go out on a high. Metalheads are an emotional bunch, and this was clearly evident as the band ended with “Free Bird,” with a black and white video of the late Ronnie Van Zant singing projected on the screens. Adieu, Lynard Skynyrd!
The Norwegian black metal legends showcased why they are one of the most powerful bands that the realm of black metal has ever seen. Playing their sophomore album ‘Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk,’ Emperor deliver an atmosphere that makes Temple arena feel much bigger and grandiose than reality. The encore of “Towards the Pantheon,” “I Am the Black Wizards,” and “Inno a Satana” from ‘In The Nightside Eclipse’ provides a perfect end to the set.
This edition of Hellfest had many bands gracing the stage for one last time, and the last among them were thrash legends, Slayer, playing their last show in France. Across the 20 songs, the band gives a perfect send-off for their fans, who mosh, sing, and dare I say, shed a few tears. The music is sharp and the sound mix is perfect, as we get to listen to classics such as “War Ensemble,” “Seasons in The Abyss,” and “South of Heaven.” Just as the band pulls out “Raining Blood,” even the skies shed a tear in farewell, as a slight drizzle covers the grounds of Hellfest. As “Angel of Death” comes to an end, the emotion is evident on the face of the band members, as they take their bow and leave us with a set etched in the memory of every fan in attendance.
It is often said, preserve best for the last, and Hellfest clearly did that with Tool. The moment the band takes the stage and “Ænema” starts playing, the fatigue of the day disappears, as one is lost in the trance of Tool‘s music. The set is more than music, it is an artistic statement of the highest caliber. The cohesion of the sound, the strobe lights, and the animations on the screen showcases the close attention to the each and every detail and contributes in making the 90 minutes truly hypnotizing. There is no crowd interaction, there is only some of the finest progressive music ever composed, as the band goes through the classics in “Parabola,” “Vicarious,” and “Stinkfest,” while also playing the two new tracks in “Descending” and “Invisible.” An experience unlike any other, and a perfect ending to the festival. Hellfest, vous êtes magnifique!