The Über Rockin’ Guide to… Damnation Festival Print
Written by DJ Astrocreep and Rich Hobson   
Sunday, 29 October 2017 04:40

Twenty-seven bands, four stages and more furious noise than you can shake an Albini at – Damnation Festival is back, baby. The UK’s premier end-of-year metal gathering, Damnation has pulled together some blinding line-ups over its twelve year run, pulling together an assortment of viciously exciting bands at the cutting edge of noise, punk and metal – and the 2017 event is no different.


Featuring the likes of doom legends Paradise Lost, pedigree death metal champs Bloodbath and hot black metal sensation Myrkur, it’s fair to say that Damnation ain’t offering no easy listening experience. Instead, fans can expect some primo sets from some of the brightest and best talents in the extreme music underworld, all descending on Leeds University next Saturday (4 November) for something truly special.


Not sure who to watch? Let the highly specialized Über Rock team of DJ Astrocreep and Rich Hobson guide you through the programme…


Beyond Creation (DJ)


A band I happened on through a friend, who, whenever we went out drinking, would insist on putting their stuff on loud when we got back to his. They are a progressive/technical death metal band from Quebec, Canada, but are slightly atypical for a lot of death metal bands, when you consider how much emphasis is put on the highly technical bass work. The bassist was changed in 2015, unfortunately, but there is still that same emphasis on the technicality that just seems to grab your attention. I was lucky enough to see these guys a year ago in London, so I already know quite what to expect - the perfect reason to know I have to catch them at Damnation!



Big Business (RH)


Returning to the UK for the second time this year to pound your eardrums to dust, US sludge heavies Big Business went down a storm when they played back in April, so you can bet we’re looking to these with eager anticipation (and still slightly damaged ears). Thunderous minimalism turned up to 11, Big Business don’t fuck about in creating an almighty din, creating a sound so renowned it got the band picked up as extra players in legendary proto-grunge sludge punks Melvins. This is the kind of drum n bass that’ll kick your teeth out and leave you shivering for more.



Bloodbath (RH)


Pulling double duty on vocals, Paradise Lost growler ‘Old’ Nick Holmes will be lending his inimitable snarl to death metal luminaries Bloodbath. Death metal gorging in the classical vein, Bloodbath takes its membership from such esteemed bands as Opeth, Katatonia and Paradise Lost to lend the act a true sense of pedigree. Not content to be a mere supergroup however, this is a band that mine the depths of death metal’s biggest and best moments to create something worthy of each member’s individual legacies. It might not be flu season just yet, but there’ll be plenty of sore heads, necks and throats come Sunday morning…



Dying Fetus (RH)


With a name like ‘Dying Fetus’ you’re not getting on TOTP any time soon. You will, however open the main stage of Download Festival, in no small part thanks to the rabid fanbase you have built with your insanely technical take on death metal. Where Dying Fetus tread pure riffage is likely to follow, the band proving this more than capably on the stellar ‘Wrong One To Fuck With’, which was released earlier this year. Crushing skulls and grinding bones, Dying Fetus bring such groove to the world of extreme metal that you’ll likely be left adrift in a wave of pure devastation.



Grave Pleasures (RH)


Fusing moody post-punk, gothic imagery and massive pop choruses, Grave Pleasures have landed like something of a sensation in the world of rock, metal and punk. With their latest album ‘Motherblood’ only a little over a month old at the time of Damnation, next Saturday will be the first opportunity for UK fans to fall for Grave Pleasures’ seductive charms. There’s plenty to love – GP don’t do things by halves, and Baphomet knows metal fans love a bit of darkness.



Mutation (RH)


The closing date to the band’s first ever (mainland) UK tour, Mutation will be bringing the first leg of their to a close where the tour began. A collaboration between wrong ‘uns Ginger Wildheart (The Wildhearts), Scott Lee Andrews (Exit_International) and Denzel (Horsefight, Vennart), Mutation create nothing less than pure sonic hell. The band’s latest release ‘Dark Black’ is a hellish soundscape of mental health issues, a wall of furious noise and riffs hacking away at the listener’s senses. Light a candle and hope for the best…



Myrkur (RH)


Black metal has been bent into some strange shapes in recent years and the genre has never been better for it. One of the most exciting artists leading the charge for a change in black metal’s tried and true methodology is Danish artist Amalie Bruun – best known as Myrkur. Fusing old school black metal nastiness, haunting ethereal vocals and stirring folk melodies into one hellishly addictive package, Myrkur are built on pure vision, sure to challenge expectations. Yer da’s black metal, this ain’t…



Nails (RH)


The filth, the fury, the pure fucking fun of it all. Heavier and more gore splattered than an elephant in an industrial blender, Nails are grindcore at its hardest, grinding eardrums into powder and smashing every sense like a tonne of C4 being detonated in the brain. Misfortune might have robbed us the opportunity to see Nails in the past, but November 2017 feels like its Nails’ time to shine.



Pallbearer (DJ)


Celebrating their ninth anniversary are Pallbearer, a doom band hailing from Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. They've had three releases, all on Profound Lore records, the latest of which was released earlier this year. I found these guys by accident almost, on the second year of Temples festival in Bristol, where a conversation with someone turned quickly into how I MUST make sure I checked them out. Rarely has such a conversation put me on to a band that just seem to appeal to me as they do. Thank god for outdoor bars with shorter queues!



Paradise Lost (RH)


Doom metal legends and all-round masters of all things slow and low (end), Paradise Lost are one of those rare extreme bands whose careers are marked by both a constant stream of reinvention and continued brilliance. Never allowing themselves to fall into a rut, PL are coming home to the North of England for a performance which may very well set in an early winter chill. Stick Medusa on and marvel at how fantastic this band still is.



Psychedelic Witchcraft (DJ)


An Italian band that I was very fortunate to review the first album of a year ago on another site, bringing me quickly into the fold as a fan upon the first listen. Mixing in occult rock, stoner and psychedelic blues, there is definitely a very 70s feel to their sound, very much so in the same vein as Jefferson Airplane. Upon seeing them on the line up, I immediately marked them on my 'must see' list.



Psycroptic (DJ)


A technical death metal band, hailing from Tasmania in Australia, who have been playing since 1999. They have released six studio albums to date and have amazingly only made one line up change in their 18 years as a band, when Jason Peppiatt came in on vocals in 2005. They tour a fair amount, yet are another band I really like but seem to somehow have always missed.



Sodom (DJ)


It's pretty hard to not really know who Sodom are, if you have any interest in black or thrash metal. Founded in 1982, they are one of the biggest selling thrash metal bands of all time, and are known, alongside Tankard, Destruction and Kreator, as one of the Big Four in regards to the German/Teutonic thrash metal scene. To date, they have released 15 studio albums and six EPs, with plans to release their next offering next year. They are the last piece of the puzzle for me to see live, from the Big Four previously mentioned, and I simply cannot wait!



Warning (DJ)


A band founded in Essex in 1994, they are renowned for a slow, almost prog-doom at times, approach to doom. They have split and reformed a few times previously, with guitarist/singer/songwriter Patrick Walker embarking on side projects such as 40 Watt Sun, and under his own name, since the last discontinuation of the band in 2009. Warning reformed this year for a performance as Roadburn Festival, and have since embarked upon a tour, playing the 'Watching From A Distance' album in full.



Damnation Festival comes to Leeds University next Saturday (4 November). For more information, including directions and a full list of artists, visit The event is totally sold-out.


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