The UK’s Damnation Festival is fast approaching. Saturday 5th November will see a plethora of top metal bands, large and small, take to the stage in Leeds to show off their music, and there’s a lot to be excited about.
With a whopping 4 stages and a wealth of metal talent spread across many genres and drawn from all over the globe, there’s bound to be something here to satiate even the most jaded of metal tastes. There’s a very good reason it’s my favourite UK festival and seems to only be going from strength to strength every year.
Unfortunately there’s always going to be certain bands that you want to see that are playing at the same time as others, so clash management is always going to be an issue to some extent, (tellingly, the Damnation Festival organisers have a history of being very good in this regard though). However, you’re still guaranteed to be able to see a massive amount of top-notch artists, all for an affordable price in a great venue. What more could you ask for?
Below I’ve listed just some of the bands that I think you should be on the lookout for if you’re going, (and you should be). Note – these aren’t the only bands playing, but they are my top picks, for whatever that’s worth.
So let’s have at it!
Attan – Terrorizer Stage – 13:00-13:30
Opening up the festival for me will be the mighty Attan. Still relatively unknown, their apocalyptic brand of post-hardcore is as refreshing as it is crushing. I can’t wait to check them out.
Kroh – Mine (The 4th Stage) – 13:30-14:00
Although I’m not hugely familiar with Kroh, what I’ve heard, I like a lot. It’s very tasty female-fronted doom, and they promise to be good in the live arena.
Mithras – Terrorizer Stage – 15:00-15:35
Unfortunately my knowledge of Mithras’ music begins and ends with 2003’s Worlds Beyond the Veil, and what an album that is! They’ve done a lot of stuff since then, of course, and the Damnation Festival just might be the perfect time to catch up with them.
Erlen Meyer – Eyesore Merch Stage – 15:00-15:35
Here’s a quite exotic brand of sludge, post-hardcore and alternative metal. Erlen Meyer impressed me greatly with their debut album and I’m sure they’ll take to the stage with just as much confidence and passion as they’ve demonstrated so far in their recorded works.
Venom Prison – Terrorizer Stage – 16:15-17:00
UK death metallers have produced an utterly ferocious beast with their debut album Animus. Here we have a fusion of death metal brutality, hardcore energy and some more nuanced quirks of sonic extremity that has seen me not being able to stop listening to this. I don’t know about you, but this is one band I have to catch live.
Bossk – Eyesore Merch Stage – 17:50-18:40
Experimental post-metallers Bossk are veterans of the Damnation Festival and always put on a good performance. Their dark, moody and brooding music translates extremely well live and are definitely worth a look.
Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas – Jägermeister Stage – 18:40-19:40
This, for me, is the big one. Both artists are utterly unmissable in their own right, but together they’re just even more essential, if that’s even possible. Mariner is such a good album it’s a very strong contender for my album of the year, and the chance to see them perform it in full makes me feel giddy just thinking about it. This is a performance you cannot miss out on!
Akercocke – Terrorizer Stage – 19:40-20:30
A reformed and refreshed Akercocke are ready to stalk the Damnation stage once more. They have a top-quality legacy to live up to, but if ever a band were up to the challenge it’s them.
Black Tusk – Eyesore Merch Stage – 17:40 – 20:30
Playing an endearing and rawkus brand of sludge metal, Black Tusk seem to me like their songs were born for the live environment. I’ve heard they put on a good show, so now’s the perfect time to see whether that’s true or not.
Abbath – Jägermeister Stage – 20:30-21:30
Abbath is a pretty legendary character, and soon he’ll be bringing his individual brand of black metal to the UK. His show is bound to draw a big crowd, so make sure you get there early if you want to get down the front.
Dread Sovereign – Mine (The 4th Stage) – 20:30-21:30
Dread Sovereign’s debut album All Hell’s Martyrs has turned out to be one of my favourite doom metal albums since its release in 2014. When they were announced for this year’s Damnation Festival my eyes lit up with excitement. Oh yes.
Enslaved – Terrorizer Stage – 21:30-22:30
Enslaved are one of my favourite bands, so it’s without any qualms that I’m heartily recommending their live show. Their brand of cutting-edge progressive black metal has been doing the rounds for so long now that the band are celebrating 25 years of existence and I’m sure they’ll put on a blinding show and make 2016’s Damnation Festival a very memorable event.
Ufomammut – Eyesore Merch Stage – 21:30-22:30
Slow-building, monolithic doom has rarely sounded as good, or as heavy, as Ufommamut. Their hypnotic, psychedelic sludge/doom definitely has its own personality and they seem like the kind of band that would just absolutely crush in the live environment. Well, there’s only one way to find out.
Electric Wizard – Jägermeister Stage – 22:30-23:30
Electric Wizard are the biggest doom metal band in the UK for a reason. Making a name for themselves early on in their career, they have consistently put out music that’s as enjoyable as it is dense. One of the last bands to take to the stage at Damnation, they offer a perfect way to end the event.
Ingested – Mine (The 4th Stage) – 22:30-23:30
Or, if you fancy something a little more upbeat to finish things on, there’s always Ingested. Death metal/deathcore/slam brutality with a strong live show, Ingested are a high-energy way to see out the festival. By the end of their set there’s sure to be carnage in the pit. Be prepared.
And there you have it. These are my picks for the 2016 edition of the Damnation Festival. Remember, these aren’t the only bands playing, so make sure you check out the full lineup and get yourself along to Leeds on the 5th November. It’s unmissable.