The main stage at Leeds’ Damnation Festival has always hosted some pretty special sets. During my visits I have seen Carcass and Godflesh tear the venue apart with their respective comebacks, as well as one of Bolt Thrower’s last UK shows; and Devin Townsend (well, Ziltoid) commanding the packed room to dance to the Vengaboys before they started the show (which of course happened).
As well as another top headline act, this year, the Jagermeister Stage has got a full line-up which could very well be their best yet, and it all starts with Pallbearer (2:35–3:15). It seems strange to have a band this good and on such form on this early, but they will set a very high standard for other bands to follow. Anyone who saw them on their UK run earlier this year will know how good they can be, and they could easily be at the other end of the bill the next time they come over.
Myrkur (3:55–4:45) will offer something very different, not only to every other band on this year’s bill, but possibly any other edition of the festival to date. Ethereal, melancholic music combines with darker black metal passages to create a unique sound that is captivating people around the world. The chance to see this performed live is one that really shouldn’t be missed.
Amongst many special sets this year, Warning (5:30–6:20) stand out above all others. After returning from hiatus at this year’s Roadburn Festival in April, they will arrive in Leeds ready to perform the classic Watching From A Distance album in its entirety. This is a UK exclusive show from the band, and expect to see a large crowd gathered to see this landmark doom masterpiece.
Easily the busiest band of the day are Paradise Lost (7:10–8:10). With Gregor and Waltteri playing with Vallenfyre earlier in the day and Nick returning with the headliners later on, this will be an early chance to hear a selection of tracks from the bands excellent new Medusa album before their UK tour next year, as well, of course, as some old favourites. One of my personal highlights of the day.
Another iconic band on next as German veterans Sodom (9:00–10:00) celebrate 35 years of noise with an hour-long set of pure unadulterated thrash metal, one of the under-represented genres at this year’s festival. Expect the thoughtfulness and emotional atmospheres built by some of the other acts on this stage to be blown away in a whirlwind of old-school Teutonic uproar.
The main stage this year closes with a rare chance to catch death metal super group Bloodbath in the UK. Losing a frontman in the vein of Opeth leader Mikael Åkerfeldt doesn’t seem to have harmed the group in any way. Indeed, with most recent release Grand Morbid Funeral receiving wide acclaim, it seems that Nick Holmes of Paradise Lost may have been an inspired choice as replacement.