@Hammerfest VIII, Hafan Y Môr Holiday Park, Pwllheli, North Wales, 11 March 2016
While fronting his side project, Devilment, at Hammerfest VII, Dani Filth quipped that he liked Hafan Y Môr so much he might move there – and a year later, the East Anglian was back for a second holiday in the Welsh sun.
This time, he brought his British black metal institution with him, fresh (or perhaps a little jaded) from a lengthy North American tour, and all the gothic fanfare and visual spectacle that goes with it.
So we witnessed scantily-clad, angle grinder-toting women sending showers of sparks all over the stage, ceiling and Dani himself, a drooping keyboard straight out of a Salvador Dalí painting, a drummer bizarrely ensconced behind a plastic screen stage left, and of course, a corpsepainted singer screaming like the a hellhound’s jaw was clamped around his groin.
We also witnessed a headline set ascend from a stodgy, mid-paced start to a crowd-pleasing blast through some awe-inspiring blackened metal. It was touch and go whether this relatively new line-up could ignite the Hammerfest crowd, but the sextet spat fire and venom throughout classic songs like Lord Abortion and Born in a Burial Gown, pushing the intensity levels into the red… even if Dani felt the audience wasn’t rabid enough for his liking.
What was striking about this set was just how easily new material – Yours Immortally…, Blackest Magick in Practice, for instance – slotted in with older tracks; 2015’s Hammer of the Witches album can clearly go toe to toe with the likes of Nymphetamine in the live arena.
Of course, one of the biggest cheers of the night was reserved for ‘Filth anthem From the Cradle to Enslave, and rightly so – especially given the supercharged atmosphere it always creates.
Worthy headliners, Dani’s crew may be a Marmite band… but they tasted mighty fine on Friday night.