On Saturday November 2nd this year Leeds University will again play host to a cavalcade of extreme metal based in and around the student refectory area. Damnation began life in Manchester eight years ago, and backed by Terrorizer magazine and Jägermeister, has developed into arguably the countries best loved one day extreme music event. In 2008 readers of Terrorizer magazine voted it “Best UK Festival”. November weather is bound to be unkind to the festivalgoer, but fortunately Damnation is entirely indoors with a number of food outlets and bars, ensuring that by the time the last band has left the stage, the intrepid fan may not have even seen daylight for eleven hours. One major modification to the organisation of the Damnation Festival this year is that bands will be playing across four stages as opposed to three, with the idea being that only two stages will be in use at any given time. Hopefully this will help those of us in the autumn of our lives to get between acts in good time and soak up as much of the music as possible.
One of the highlights of the 2012 event was surely Pig Destroyer who played in the UK at Damnation for the first time in eight years. This year the highlight for many will be Carcass who possibly need no introduction to readers of this preview and will hopefully be featuring material from their latest release “Surgical Steel” as well as a few old masters from their legendary back catalogue. Devotees of doom will be gathered at the Electric Amphetamine stage to marvel over the likes of Conan, Moss and Mourning Beloveth.
Anyone interested in how extreme metal can join forces with jazz will be interested to see the Norwegian Shining who have a number of incendiary releases to their name and are bound to provide a number of textures to the event. If the live material on the DVD “Live Blackjazz” is anything to go by, Jorgen Munkeby and the band should fill the need for eclectic artists at Damnation. Brutality and music are happy bedfellows at Damnation and this year personal aggression may be released courtesy of Greek Rotting Christ who headline the Terrorizer stage, as well as Dyscarnate and Vallenfyre.
Originally an international band put together to pay homage to the music of Bathory, Twilight of the Gods felt that the chemistry between them was so good that they decided to produce their own material. In October 2011 they met in Portugal to come up with original material of their own, and on the back of that were given a contract. This apparently is the only UK date for the group whose vocalist Alan Averill was at Damnation last year with Primordial. Celebrating the tenth anniversary of their album “Viva Emptiness”, and the release of a re-mastered and re-mixed edition, Sweden’s Katatonia will surely be a magnet for those who embraced their move to Kscope and release of the progressive sounding “Dethroned and Uncrowned”. As Anders Nystrom himself explains,
“We couldn’t be more psyched to celebrate our ‘Viva Emptiness’ album anniversary (and play the album in its’ entirety) at a festival we never got to play before. So Leeds, join us and be damned!”
Headlining the Eyesore stage this year, Cult of Luna will be showcasing their first album release in five years. Influenced creatively by the hypnotic machine repetition of the film “Metropolis” this appearance will be vying for attention on many punters ‘to see” list. Thrash metal this year is represented by Liverpool’s SSS (or Short Sharp Shock), whilst anyone fond of keyboard soaked black metal will be heading to see King ov Hell’s post-Gorgoroth project, God Seed.
Any event that features nearly thirty acts of extreme music for just over thirty pounds needs attention. And for many, an event such as this is an opportunity, not just to experience some of the most challenging music around at the moment, but to meet up with like minded individuals face to face, and in an age where sites such as Twitter and Facebook are bringing communities together, this should be encouraged.