We’ll Be There: Damnation Festival 2018

The time for metal fans to descend on Leeds University for another Damnation Festival is fast approaching (Saturday 3rd November) and now that the full 27 band lineup has been announced it’s time to work out who I’m most looking forward to seeing. 

The organisers have been fairly open about the difficulties of trying to book bands for this year’s festival but they’ve managed to get an incredible lineup together. With something for any discerning metal fan, Damnation Festival splits the union building into four stage areas and features death, black and post-metal, hardcore, sludge, doom and grindcore bands. Going by previous years, I’m usually able to see 10-13 bands depending on clashes so below are some the bands that I’ll be catching and that I think will be well worth watching.

Leeched – Hitting the ground running, this Manchester hardcore trio have been active for just over a year, yet after their 2017 EP (Nothing Will Grow From the Rotten Ground) Leeched signed to Prosthetic Records for the August release of their punishingly heavy debut You Took The Sun When You Left, and are now playing Damnation. 

OHHMS at ATG – Photo by John Higham

OHHMS – The always captivating OHHMS have just recently premiered a new track “Shambles” from their upcoming second album, Exist (out the week after Damnation) and are sure to bring an energetic, progressive and doom-laden live performance. Expect long songs and big riffs.

Celeste – Celeste are a French blackened sludge band, and their unique stage setup makes for a visually striking and aurally fierce show. Even if you’re not familiar with their material (for research, Misanthrope(s) is a great start point…) Celeste’s intensity makes for a very interesting performance.

MØL – MØL’s ArcTanGent set in August exceeded my expectations and then some, so I’m very much looking forward to seeing the Danes perform again. Mixing black metal with elements of shoegaze, MØL are beautifully absorbing and devastatingly heavy in equal measure.

Napalm Death – It’s Napalm fucking Death.

LIK – A band I’ve only recently become aware of, I’ve been advised by Moshville’s very own death metal connoisseur Ricky, that LIK are “Swedish death metal to the core”. The old school death metallers have the pedigree – their members that have played with Bloodbath and Katatonia – and their Carnage album is an HM-2 riff-fest so should make for an impressive live assault.

Fukpig – A Birmingham based blackened-crust-grind band with strong political messages, the masked Fukpig play fast and dirty. It’s been a long time since I last saw them live, and hopefully, Fukpig won’t clash with anyone else as they’ll be a great warm-up for Napalm Death.

The Ocean – Headlining the Eyesore Merch stage 5 years since the release of Pelagial, this will be The Ocean’s 4th Damnation appearance (3 years since singer Loïc Rossetti’s balcony jump) and the 2nd of November will see the release of Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic, 1 day before the festival. I highly suspect that this will be very, very good.

Rosetta – Conceptual post-metal band from Philadelphia that builds bright atmospheres bathed in tone and texture to then blow it all down under a blast of noise and energy.  

Hundred Year Old Man – A Leeds based post-metal band in the vein of Cult Of Luna, Hundred Year Old Man have an expansive and densely layered sound awash with atmosphere that escalates to wall of noise climaxes. This year’s Breaching is an excellent album and when Hundred Year Old Man hit, they hit hard.

Other bands I’m hoping to catch include Ihsahn, Entombed AD, Batushka and Årabrot.

Damnation Festival 2018 takes place at Leeds University Union on Saturday 3rd November

Tickets are £46 and still available from https://www.damnationfestival.co.uk/tickets/

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