The 9th edition of Damnation arrives once again in its adopted home of Leeds University in early November. The festival always seems to provide top draw headliners and encompasses a wide array of bands which should offer something for fans of all things noisy.
Sharing the headlining duties with Carcass on the night will be fellow Liverpudlians and self professed Cavemen Battle Doom band Conan (Electric Amphetamine Stage 9:50pm – 11:00pm). The three piece could very well bring the foundations of the University crumbling down with their immense sound, described in their bio as being ‘…as heavy as interplanetary thunder…’. For me the clash of these and Carcass is the one big decision, but they should draw a big crowd and they will be rewarded by one of the heaviest sets of the day.
As well as the returning headliners, the highlight of the day for me is undoubtedly Vallenfyre (Terrorizer Stage 6:45pm – 7:45pm). The debut album “The Fragile King’ still sounds as stunning as it did on its release two years ago and this rare occasion to see a UK show from this supergroup (I generally hate that term, but this is one band that deserves such a tag). The band features members of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Doom and At The Gates and vents its fury towards religion, politics, society and band leader Gregor Mackintosh’s experience of dealing with his father battle with cancer. Grim, yet magnificent.
Earlier in the day, Black Magician (Electric Ampehetamine Stage (2:15pm – 2:40pm) bring their olde English pastoral doom to Leeds, mixing sinister tales for Britain’s darker side with huge riffs, Hammond organ and acoustic passage. Far removed from the 70’s obsessed scene which has been growing for the last couple of years, these are the real deal and offer up a very English approach and will be one of the highlights for me.
With live shows as stunning as the music they create, The Ocean (Eyesore Merch Stage 5:15pm – 6:00pm) should provide one of the more eye opening moments of the day. Their bio states tat they play ‘music with guitars in it’ and that sums it up better than any particular sub genre label, progressive music which is sometimes sublime and delicate and at others brutally heavy. I saw this band supporting Earthtone9 a couple of years ago knowing very little about the band and returned a fan.
Eight years into their career, crossover thrashers SSS (Jagermeister Stage 4:35pm – 5:15pm) have recently signed with prosthetic Records and seem to be going from strength to strength and will have the new ‘Manipulated Living’ 7” on hand at the festival, their first release since the switch of label. If one band is going to tempt me out of my pit retirement, it is going to be these. Be careful people, it could get messy down there.
See you there!