Damnation Festival 2014

Yes its been 10 years since the festival had its first edition in Manchester and this year the 2014 anniversary edition is even bigger and better. Over the past decade Gavin Mclnally managed to build something strong and special, something that many devoted metal heads look forward to the festival with great anticipation every year. Undeniably Damnation Festival is the UK’s premier one day metal event. From one stage festival in Manchester 10 years ago Damnation expanded to four stage party and rooted its place in Leeds University Union and brings out over 2,500 hungry metal manics almost every year and it's worth mentioning  that this year edition was rightfully sold out 

days before the festival kick off. Damnation Festival over the years hosted many metal leading acts such as Carcass, Kreator, Napalm Death, Ulver, Godflesh and The Dillinger Escape Plan. What I like about this festival is that they always give a chance to some young local British bands to perform in front of a bigger audience, also worth noting is that Damnation won a prestigious award in 2008 when it was voted by the readers of Terrorizer magazine as “ Best UK Festival”. I’m sure that the festival will gain many more awards in the years to come and it will grow to be something spectacular and respectful among other festivals in the country.

Looking at the lineup of 2014 edition I can easily say that there is something for everyone. From doom acts such as Ahab to heavy metal classics from Saint Vitus to black metal British leading acts such as Wodensthrone  Falloch and Fen. One of the attractions of the festival also was the impressive metal market area as it wasn't overpriced and you could definitely find many new treasures for your CD or t-shirt collection. From the moment the door opened you could tell that this is going to be one hell of a busy day. Masses of people dressed in black were emerging from every corner of the Student Campus area.

One of the first bands to kick off the Damnation Festival on the Terrorizer Stage was Bristol based brutal death metal outfit AMPUTATED. Can’t think any better way to start the festival, this band has three albums behind them and the latest record 'Dissect, Molest, Ingest' seen the light in January this year. These Bristol lads opened the set with a new song 'When Whores Meet Saws' which is just over a two minute death metal assault, right in your face. Next up was a song from the previous album 'Cunt like a Sewer' and 'Repugnant Genital Deformity'. Amputated mainly focused their set on the last two albums. This short but sweet show finished with a cheerfully titled song 'Skullfuck Lobotomy'. Surprisingly they had very good reception and you could definitely notice that the Terrorizer Stage would be the place to be as the room was filled with lot of people from the early hours of the afternoon. Next band to play at the Terrorizer stage was XERATH. This band was formed seven years ago in Basingstoke and they play Symphonic Groove Metal. They started with the new epic song 'I Hold Dominion' from the album that was released earlier this year and titled simply ‘III'. The room was totally jammed packed and Xerath tend to play live a lot recently and you can definitely see them at most UK festivals.Their music always sounds tight and playing lots of gigs definitely pays off as they look very good on stage. Personally I’m not a fan of this type of metal but the show was well played and received well by the fans. After a short break, Swedish AEON hit the first riffs of 'Satanic Victory' from the highly acclaimed debut album 'Bleeding the False' and what a way to start the show, people seemed to response to this band straight away. The band goes through their discography like a war machine playing many great songs like 'Living Sin, Kill Them All and Biblewhore'. Aeon have got an incredible stage presence and the front man Tommy Dahlström has amazing vocals and connects well with the public. The band finished their set with the great anthem like song from the first album 'Forever Nailed'. This show was definitely one of the highlights of the festival for many death metal fans out there. The next band on the Terrorizer stage was a band that doesn't need any introduction, its only the mighty four piece from Manchester WINTERFYLLETH. The room was packed to full capacity  even before they started to play. Winterfylleth recently gave us a new record literally three weeks before Damnation so they naturally based the set on the new songs. They started with new album titled song 'The Divination of Antiquity' which is over six minutes of fantastic and atmospheric black metal that filled the air with rage and brutality. They have also presented for the fans two other new songs 'A Careworn Heart' a nine minute masterpiece and second track from the album 'Whisper of the Elements'. Those guys are really talented and seem to create these magical moments . Winterfylleth is currently under the Candlelight Records and I’m sure they're proud to have them. The next band preparing for total war is American band REVOCATION. They are from Boston, Massachusetts and their music is a combination between technical death and thrash metal. Very energetic and angry lyrics about war and destruction. After five albums and the newest one being released this year they had plenty to choose from. The show started with the self titled single 'The Hive' which was released last year by Relapse Records. Their set was incredibly high in energy and aggression from start to finish. The last song they played was a great track called 'No Funeral' and the room went absolutely mental, everyone was banging their heads off.

With the next two bands preforming on the Terrorizer Stage you could feel the anticipation and excitement reaching its highest point. While the next band was doing their sound check you could tell by the look of the room that there will be many disappointed people out there as they didn't leave enough time to get in to the room. People were everywhere, squeezed next to each other and waiting to witness something totally crazy. ANAAL NATHRAKH is definitely one of the most respected and brutal acts emerging from British soil. After eight albums with the latest one 'Desideratum' being released just a week before Damnation, strategically as any band would do Anaal Nathrakh started their set with three new songs 'Acheronta Movebimus, Unleash and Monstrum in Animo'. Next up was 'Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes' and you would have to be there to witness the total outrage and madness that occurred in that building. The fans were going absolutely mental, moshpits, headbanging and total massacre. This what I expect from every metal show. Total respect to the band and all the people who been part of this show. As on any Anaal Nathrakh show they played some classics such as 'Between Shit and Piss, Submission is for the Weak and In the Constellation of the Black Widow'. As expected they managed to throw in another new song 'A Firm Foundation of Unyielding Despair'. This was definitely the best Anaal Nathrakh gig I ever went to and no surprise that they were voted as the most wanted band to play at Damnation Festival. After the British lads had destroyed everything and everyone in the room it was  time for the headliner of the Terrorizer Stage, CANNIBAL CORPSE. It seemed that even more people managed to squeeze into the room to see this legendary American band. Cannibal Corpse has been brutalising the world with their old school death metal sound for almost three decades now. They are one of the most successful and hardworking metal bands ever with 13 albums behind them the set list was to be as expected, long and entertaining. They started the show with three ultimate classic songs 'Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead, Fucked with Knife and Stripped, Raped and Strangled'. Then they unleashed some new songs upon us such as 'A Skeletal Domain, Kill or Become, Sadistic Embodiment and Icepick Lobotomy'. Even though they are fairly new songs, most of the people in the room seemed to know the lyrics from start to finish and everyone happily growled along with frontman George “Corpsegrinder “Fisher. Cannibal Corpse also played some old time favorites such as 'I Cum Blood, Hammer Smashed Face' and taken from the first album the fantastic 'A Skull Full of Maggots'. The whole setlist contained 19 songs all together, the brutal and old school riffs made everyone extremely happy. One thing I have to say is, If you want to play death metal this is how it's done.

If this is not enough next up was the last band on the bill on the Jagermeister Stage. The legendary BOLT THROWER. What a way to finish the 10th anniversary of Damnation. As we all know Bolt Thrower only plays a few selected shows each year so seeing them in Leeds is like having Christmas two months earlier. They have been playing together for 28 years now and are still going as strong as ever.The Jagermeister Stage was the biggest out of all four stages and it seemed that there was easily 2000 people waiting for Bolt Thrower to start their show. After a short intro the  first riffs of 'War/Remembrance' filled the gigantic hall and you could see many smiling faces. Next was a fast one 'Mercenery' and then the slow, heavy like tank  of 'World Eater/Cenotaph'. The sound in the hall was absolutely spot on. Bolt Thrower didn't fail to impress by playing some of the all time death metal classics like 'Warmaster, The IVth Crusade, No Guts, No Glory' as well as '…For Victory'. BOLT THROWER was chanted out twice to do encore songs. The last song of Damnation was 'Silent Demise'. What a way to end the festival.

Overall the festival was a massive success and also the generosity from the organizers for putting on such an incredible lineup payed off as the festival was completely sold out. The ticket price is quite cheap for what you get and the location is perfect. Many other festivals here in the UK and Europe could only wish to have such a successful business and they should take some examples from this festivals as they must be doing something right to have such a great turn out every year. I wish the festival organizers happy birthday on their 10th anniversary and I also wish them another outstanding 10 years to come.