Glorious Celebrations: Hellfest 2022 – Day Two (Weekend One)
After a somewhat well-slept night, that was only achieved due to the tiredness of our bodies and not the noise from the afterparties, we stepped out of our tents for a well-deserved breakfast, eager to start the second day of Hellfest. Our first musical date was at the Valley with Duel, a heavy psychedelic stoner/doom metal band from Texas that got us ready for the rest of the day thanks to a good headbanging warmup. We then made our first official visit to the Main Stage to witness the obliterating ferocity of Knocked Loose. “Get fucked!”, shouted guitarist Isaac Hale during the opener “Where Light Divides the Holler” – he wasn’t wrong, we got fucked. Crowdkilling, moshing and hardcore dancing were the go-to dance moves during Knocked Loose’s crushing set that also included “Trapped in the Grasp of a Memory”, “Denied by Fate” and “Mistakes Like Fractures”, among other hardcore goodies. Over at the Temple, the Norwegian viking metal masters Einherjer were getting ready to perform at Hellfest for the very first time. Having lost their gear on the way, this could have ended in disaster, but such was not the case, as luck would have it. Always professional, Einherjer played through their set flawlessly, with frontman Frode Glesnes addressing the audience from time to time, thanking them for their patience and their presence. It was a pleasure to finally see live songs such as “Nidstong”, “Nord og ner”, “Ballad of the Swords” and “Dragons of the North” – many a day we spent listening to these songs in our secluded privacy, imagining ourselves fighting dragons and other mystical creatures. Having seen a band such as Einherjer play live when they so rarely do so is something that will always remain in our memory. Afterwards, we returned to the Valley to see The Vintage Caravan, and the most exciting thing that happen during that show was one member of our troupe getting a nose bleed from the scorching heat. We truly mean that. After that unpleasantness, we watched a rather pleasant performance by Pelican, one that reunited the band’s original lineup for a special 20th Anniversary set, which included some nifty cuts from Pelican’s discography, such as “Lathe Biosas”, “Ephemeral”, and “Australasia”.
Later, we returned to the Valley to watch Messa and their performance left in us an indelible impression – this band is sure to become a standard-bearer of doom metal in the near future. Immensely talented musicians and a frontwoman with an impressive vocal range certainly made some heads explode that day. We could see smiles and grins of pure satisfaction as the quartet moved through their latest record, Close, and we hope the experience is repeated again at Hellfest soon. At the end of their set, we quickly flew back to the Main Stage to catch a glimpse of Steel Panther and all we saw was a hilarious debauchery on stage, with more fans showing tits than the band showing theirs, while comedy glam classics such as “17 Girls in a Row”, “Community Property” and “Gloryhole were being heard. A true party, some would say. We remained on the Main Stage to catch yet another legendary act, the heavy prog rockers Deep Purple. One would think that, with over fifty years under their belt, the band would start showing signs of age. But these fine British gents showed why they are still considered to be on top of their game by giving the audience their money’s worth. Whether it was Ian Gillan’s amazing vocals, Ian Paice’s intricate drumming or Don Airey’s impressive yet eccentric keyboard solo, Deep Purple gave it their all in an excellent performance that was heavily focused on what is arguably the absolute gold standard of the genre, Machine Head. In fact, aside from one song, the record was indeed played in its entirety, a delightful gift for the audience.
And as a way to end the night in outright perfection, we visited the Temple to catch Envy. It is incredibly hard to describe such a great show, mainly because one is in such awe that words start failing. Kicking things off with the monstrous “Chain Wandering Deeply” and “Footsteps in the Distance”, Envy carried out an almost flawless performance, with frontman Tetsuya Fukagawa always smiling directly to the audience, the joy of finally being able to play live after a pandemic clearly visible for all of us to see. From the absolutely killer “Swaying Leaves and Scattering Breath” and “Worn Heels and the Hands We Hold” to “A Warm Room” and “Farewell to Words”, this set had a little bit of everything from the band’s discography, something that is greatly appreciated. Emotions flowing and riffs flying; it is no exaggeration to say that this was the best show of the second day of Hellfest, as apart from a small technical grievance at the beginning of the set, this was an utterly perfect show. And as droplets of rain started pouring, we made our way back to the camp site, to rest and contemplate the wondrous performance we had just witnessed.
Words by Filipe Silva
Photos by Alexandra Ramos