Dominion Festival will be making its debut at Ushaw Historic House, Chapel and Gardens, County Durham, from Friday, July 29 to Sunday, July 31.
The first open air metal and rock festival to be held in North East England will see thrash legends, alt-rock upstarts, fuzz pedallers, crust punks and more come together for a two-stage, three-day celebration of all things heavy, fast and loud.
Here’s what you need to know…
Gothic grandeur, spectral riffs and that unmistakeable voice… yep, Cradle Of Filth are set to bring darkness to Durham on the opening night of Dominion Festival.
And they’ll be doing it with two new members: guitarist Donny Burbage and keyboardist Zoe Marie Federoff, who played with Dani Filth and co. on their recent US tour.
If you’re in the mood for more British black metal on Friday, check out scene mainstays Hecate Enthroned, who have been reaping souls since their An Ode For A Haunted Wood dropped back in ‘95.
Gods of grind
To generations of extreme music fans, Saturday headliners Napalm Death need no introduction.
But we’ll do it anyway.
They defined grindcore with the landmark Scum and From Enslavement To Obliteration records.
They’ve inspired countless bands.
And the UK/US act have been on a real hot streak over the last decade, with Utilitarian, Apex Predator – Easy Meat and 2020’s Throes Of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism all demonstrating Napalm Death’s unique flair for sonic annihilation.
Prepare to get blasted.
German power metal heroes Blind Guardian gave us a taste of their forthcoming new album in May, with the steel-plated single, Blood Of The Elves.
And you never know, their Sunday headline slot might contain a few more cuts from The God Machine, which is slated for a September release.
But with a back catalogue stretching back to 1988, there’s sure to be plenty of Guardian greats in there setlist too.
And if you need a power fix before Sunday, check out symphonic Londoners Pythia, who’ll be hitting the Big Top stage on Saturday.
Creatively, the UK’s heavy music scene is in a great place right now.
And some of the scene’s most exciting acts will be heading to Dominion Festival.
Friday will see South West quartet Heriot hit the main stage – which better be built from something solid, given the band’ Nails-esque, earth-boring assault – and they’ll be joined by Lincoln’s fast-rising tech/metalcore bruisers Borders, Harrogate hardcore/nu metal crew Blood Youth and anthemic modern metal quintet THECITYISOURS.
Bristol’s unclassifiable and enthralling Svalbard will be appearing on Saturday: with three jaw-dropping albums to draw from, expect righteous anger, intensity and catharsis.
And on the same day, York HC outfit Street Soldier will be intent on tearing Dominion a new one, no doubt emboldened by their recent stints with Sick Of It All and Cro-Mags.
But if that ain’t your thing, then Yorkshire’s The Lunar Process – and their ambient metalcore – could be a better bet.
Metalcore will also be well represented on Sunday, with York tech heads InVisions set to show why they’re bagging tours with the likes of Spiritbox.
And Glasgow’s kaleidoscopic Neshima will be bringing their metallic eclecticism to The Big Top stage on closing day.
Satan’s presence at Dominion Festival will be a real treat for fans of the NWOBHM legends, as the Tyneside quintet rarely play this close to their home turf.
And with brand new album Earth Infernal currently garnering praise across the globe, this performance promises to be something very special.
Check out our recent interview with Satan here.
‘Head bangers and Head Girls
The end of Motörhead wasn’t the end for guitarist Phil Campbell, who drafted his sons Todd, Tyler and Dane into a rip roaring rock ‘n’ roll band that would have made Lemmy proud.
Completed by singer Joel Peters, Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons have just completed a Motörhead-themed tour of the UK, but they have two albums and an EP’s worth of greasy, whiskey-fuelled tunes to draw on too – so get set for a thrill ride on Friday.
And Mr Kilmister would no doubt approve of Girlschool’s appearance too. Motörhead’s one-time partners in crime will be bringing their hi-octane NWOBHM to Dominion on Saturday.
And if you fancy more Motörmadness, check out North Yorkshire’s Asomvel on Sunday: the likes of Word Shaker, Runnin’ the Gauntlet and Dead Set on Livin’ doff their caps unashamedly to Ace Of Spades and Bomber.
In a real coup for Dominion Festival, German thrash powerhouse Sodom will be hitting the main stage on Saturday.
And it will be a chance for fans to check out the band’s re-worked line-up live, with founder Tom Angelripper joined by guitarist Frank Blackfire – who played with Sodom in the late 80s – plus six stringer Yorck Segatz and drummer Toni Merkel.
Expect a few tracks from the band’s latest album, 2020’s Genesis XIX, and expect some old faves too: we’re hoping for Agent Orange, Blasphemer and Ausgebombt…
Sodom (pictured top) will be joined on Saturday by UK thrash standard bearers Onslaught.
The departure of long-time frontman Sy Keeler in 2020 raised a few eyebrows, but that year’s Generation Antichrist opus silenced the doubters… and they turned in an explosive performance at last year’s Damnation Festival.
And it wouldn’t be British festival season without an Acid Reign shower would it?
Frontman Howard ‘H’ Smith always brings the party, but thanks to 2019’s scintillating Age Of Entitlement and the quintet’s vibrant back catalogue, there’ll be some damn fine tunes too.
Get those hi-tops ready!
The circus comes to town…
Want to see a bunch of masked maniacs lurching around the Dominion Festival stage?
You’re in luck, as German groove metal crew Hämatom will be landing in County Durham on Dominion’s Sunday, in a rare UK appearance.
Before that though, Nottingham lunatics Evil Scarecrow will be bringing nefarious crustaceans, hurricanados and Christ knows what else to the main stage on Friday.
You have been warned.
Getting the horn
It’s a British metal festival.
And that can only mean one thing: Raging Speedhorn.
Corby’s sludge ambassadors were brought back from retirement in 2014 and they’ve been bludgeoning their way across the UK and Europe ever since.
It’s exhausting just looking at them, so bring plenty of energy if you’re intent on watching their Saturday show.
Ray’d against the machine
Staunchly anti-fascist and crackling with rage, Dawn Ray’d have arguably redefined black metal with albums such as Behold Sedition Plainsong and The Unlawful Assembly.
A real force of nature, the UK trio should bring a new level of intensity to The Big Top Stage when they appear on Sunday.
Blaze Bayley is no stranger to the North East: Newcastle’s Trillians venue is a regular staging post when the former Wolfsbane and Iron Maiden singer is on tour.
And the Tamworth terror will be bringing a full Maiden set to Dominion Festival on Sunday, with songs like The Clansman and Man On The Edge sure to get those horns in the air.
The Dominion line-up is admittedly light on death metal, so it’s going to be up to Manchester brutalists Ingested to bring the pain to County Durham.
And with slam-savvy albums like Where Only Gods Tread and The Level Above Human in their armoury – plus some new material – they should have no trouble in devouring anyone who comes near the Big Top Stage on Sunday.
Dominion isn’t just about metal.
Truro’s King Creature, who’ll be appearing on Friday, will be bringing some hefty grunge grooves and classic rock suss to the festival.
Bristol’s Mother Vulture will be giving Dominion a dose of their raucous blues punk on the festival’s closing day and they’ll be joined by Bournemouth upstarts South Of Salem, who’ll be sharing their love of horror and 80s US rock with the main stage crowd.
And Sunday will also play host to North Atlas. Hailing from the Solway Firth, the trio have been gaining plenty of plaudits for their sleek, contemporary take on alternative rock.
Punk’s not dead
Sunday at Dominion promises to be punks’ picnic, with Discharge and GBH bringing their own brands of chaos to the festival.
The incalculably influential Discharge haven’t looked back since reinvigorating their line up in 2014, and 2016’s End Of Days marked a stunning rebirth for Stoke’s finest.
Post-lockdown, the quintet have been racking up the tour miles… and were even joined by Igor Cavalera for a recent London show.
GBH, meanwhile, have been marauding across Europe in recent weeks, celebrating a staggering 42 years of mohawks and mayhem, and proving why they’re still a huge draw for generations of punk and hardcore fans.
Stoner rock legends Nebula don’t often find themselves in a County Durham field… so let’s hope they’ll be bringing some California weather with them when they psych-out Dominion on Sunday.
Expect fuzz riffs aplenty from the LA trio and perhaps even some cuts from their new album, Transmissions From Mother Earth.
And if that’s not enough, Nebula will be joined at Dominion by New Jersey groovers The Atomic Bitchwax!
Close to home
It’s good to see Dominion giving a platform to local artists.
And there’s a couple of fast-rising North East bands you need to check out…
Newcastle’s Rituals will be bringing their slick, melodic grooves to the Big Top stage on Saturday – and you’ll be able to get a taste of their talent thanks to new single, In Devastation, which was released in June.
Plus, on Sunday you can whip your locks around to vicious Tyneside thrashers Kilonova – a band who’ve been putting in the hard yards over the last few years, and perfecting a raging live assault.
For more information on Dominion Festival and tickets, visit https://dominionfestival.co.uk/