original@Hard Rock Hell United, Pwllheli, North Wales, March 15 2015

They could have opted for trad metal, sleazy glam or chorus-laden AOR to being the curtain down on Hard Rock Hell United. Instead, it was Scouse crossover thrash reprobates SSS who ensured that three days of partying went out with a bang, rather than a whimper – the choice of act testimony to HRH’s willingness to embrace rock music in all (or at least most) of its forms. 

How many of the assembled throng took in vocalist Foxy’s warning about the dangers of GM crops (Burn The Fields)is anyone’s guess – especially given the band were playing in the early hours of Sunday morning. But you have to hand it to the bearded Liverpudlian, he takes his music and message deadly seriously, delivering each track as if it was his last, and is ably supported by the passion and aggression of his bandmates.

Taking in Hirax’s Hammerfest show the day before, Foxy had been acknowledged by the LA veterans’ livewire frontman, Katon W De Pena, and the balls to the wall, adrenalized thrash which burst out of America 30 years ago certainly lives on in SSS. In Pwllheli, the quartet sounded phenomenal, blazing with hardcore fury and pulling many a festival punter out of their drunken stupor. They may have looked a world away from the flamboyant acts treading the AOR stage on this weekend, but SSS can still command plenty of attention, especially with quick-fire, raging little ditties like Oil and Water and The Beast in their arsenal.

To stay standing for this set may have been a big ask after Hard Rock Hell’s closing day – however, few at this closing party will have regretted sticking around. Thrash metal at 2am? Let’s have a bit more of that please…

Richard Holmes