Monday, 31 October 2011

Damnation Festival Preview

Damnation Festival
November 5th
Leeds University

As alluded to in our preview of Constellations, the festival goer need no longer go into hibernation with the end of summer. You won’t find this particular creature mistakenly taking shelter under an unlit bonfire, which unwittingly becomes their funeral pyre. In fact you won’t find me anywhere near a bonfire on the 5th of November as I’ll be making the trip over to Leeds for this year’s instalment of Damnation festival. Where for £29 you can take your pick from three stages worth of heaviness.

Now entering its fifth year in Leeds, the festival originally began life over the Pennines in Manchester in 2005. Yours truly was lucky enough to play the inaugural event and am more than happy to report that it has very much gone from strength to strength ever since.

Damnation’s organisers have managed to score some impressive coups over the years, Carcass’ first re-union show on home soil in 2008 being an obvious contender. This year sees a plethora of bands who, as with Carcass, have called the legendary Earache Records home. The labels MOSH catalogue numbers grace the spines of much of my CD collection so let’s have a look at their Damnation bound alumni.

Influential Brummie industrialists Godflesh are playing only their second British gig of 2011. Having initially reformed for France’s Hellfest in 2010, they have played only a handful of gigs since, so this is likely to be your only chance to catch them in the near future. Much to the credit of the organisers Damnation largely avoids repeat bookings, one of the pitfalls that frequently lead to the feeling of déjà vu at major outdoor festivals.

Currently one of Earache’s highest profile acts, Huddersfield’s Evile are the only band on this year’s bill to have graced Damnation’s stage previously, and back in 2006 they were still unsigned. In the interim they have released three albums through the Nottingham label and have also had to contend with the tragic death of bassist Mike Alexander whilst on tour in 2009. With the band’s career trajectory unlikely to see them returning to Wakefield’s Snooty Fox anytime soon and hometown gigs a rarity this is an excellent opportunity to see the band on a West Yorkshire stage.

Poles Decapitated are another band who have managed to bounce back from the death of a member. Seeing them open for grind super group Lock Up at Bradford Rios in 2000 now seems like another lifetime. At the time brothers Waclaw ‘Vogg’ and Witold ‘Vitek’ Kieltyka were still in their teens, but they managed to blow the audience away with tracks from their Earache debut ‘Winds Of Creation’. Sadly, Vitek was killed in a tour bus accident in 2007, whilst Decapitated’s then vocalist Adrian ‘Covan’ Kowanek was left severely injured. It was only in 2009 that Vogg announced his plans to assemble a new line-up and this will be their first UK date since the release of their album ‘Carnival Is Forever’.

With Decapitated now signed to German heavyweight label Nuclear Blast it’s down to Scots Cerebral Bore to represent Earache’s current crop of death metal acts. I’ve only caught the band once before, when a larger than life lady supplied guest guttural vocals. Slightly more slim line Simone ‘Som’ Pluijmers, who hails from Holland, is now the band’s permanent front-woman.

For details of the rest of the bill and ticket information head to

Andrew Whittaker

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