Leeds University Union
2nd November 2019
The 2019 Damnation Festival has made some very exciting band announcements, for what is without doubt the UK’s best indoor extreme metal festival. If you want to experience the expansive and creative musical landscape, extreme metal inhabits, and get lost in a tsunami of intensive and often pulverising sound. This is the festival to experience.
The venue of Leeds University Union holds a fabulous atmosphere across its four stages, and the joy of the festival is moving between stages, to experience contrasting metal styles, encompassing beautiful post metal melodies to full on crushing death metal!
So, to the announcements. The jewel in the crown is of course the announcement of Opeth as headliners. Opeth have pioneered a musical path all of their own in the metal world, blending intense death metal and compositionally complex progressive music. The latter influence, particularly on recent albums, bringing to their music exquisite resonances of prog giants such as the great King Crimson, Jethro Tull and Gentle Giant.
Sorceress, the title track from their most recent album, shows the band in full King Crimson mode, just incredible!
Live the best description of Opeth’s music this writer has ever heard, was given by Sophie Day, previously a wonderful vocalist and guitarist with the doom metal band Alunah. Sophie said ” …. they sounded huge! It sounded like there were 20 people on stage. In fact, just five people, it was so good”.
Speaking of which, Alunah have also been announced for Damnation. With a revamped line up, their intoxicating blend of heavy doom grooves and mystical folklore influences, is not to be missed. A listen to Heavy Bough from their album Awakening The Forest, will give you a good sense of the band’s ethereal yet heavy sound.
Voices are a band that can trace their origins back to the iconic black metal band Akercocke, and at their last appearance at the Damnation Festival, they managed to dramatically topple their bass rig stack; which tells you all you need to know about the power of their progressive black metal music. Their music has a unique thematic take on the urban environment, and reflects a bleak and uncompromising view of the urban experience; and is thus a total musical experience live, that you will not want to miss at their return to Damnation this year.
The line-up announced so far, also includes the great Venom Prison, who are bringing a fresh new socially conscious and musically dynamic approach to death metal; and in Larissa Stupar, the band has one of the best death metal vocalists in the genre. Their new album Samsara has garnered fantastic reviews, and their set is bound to be a festival highlight. With the most recent line-up announcement of Norwegian black metal founders MAYHEM, who have been very influential in the development and trajectory of black metal, the prospective Damnation line up continues to intrigue and set the scene for a great Festival
These are just some of the bands announced, and you are advised to get tickets early for the Damnation Festival, as this amazingly diverse celebration of all that is best in extreme metal, has sold out in successive recent years.
All words by Gareth Allen, for more of his writing visit his archive.