Taking place in Clisson, France, Europe's biggest metal festival Hellfest will this year celebrate its tenth birthday. Set over three days and seven stages, the event will play host to rock legends Alice Cooper, Motörhead and Slipknot amongst others. But the festival is not just about big names; the weekend programme boasts a variety of acts from across the spectrum of the genre, from folk metal to thrash.
Armored Saint are sometimes best known as the band that Metallica wanted to poach two members from - bassist Joey Vera and singer John Bush. Strangely, years later, John Bush would end up singing for another of the Big Four of thrash, Anthrax. Born in the early 80s whilst still at school in Los Angeles, The Saint were a band always slightly apart. Whilst their peers looked towards Aerosmith and Van Halen, The Saint had more in common with British bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, and in John Bush one of the greatest metal vocalists. Always a class live act, The Saint are touring in support of their fantastic new album, Win Heads Down, so make sure you catch them on one of their all-too-rare live appearances in Europe.
Faith No More
The Main Stage 02 is the place to be on the Saturday evening. Killing Joke will be laying waste to the place with their hosannas from the basements of hell, and later Marilyn Manson will no doubt be doing his best to shock and awe one and all. But between the two will be Faith No More, back with a vengeance to promote their killer new album Sol Invictus. Just 18 years in the making, but well worth the wait; Mike Patton still retains every facet of his scintillating but schizophrenic vocal delivery and the band sound as visceral and bloody-minded as they ever did. And who else has got the balls to cover Burt Bacharach's 'This Guy's In Love With You' before a rabidly metal crowd? Guaranteed unmissable.
Triptykon is the latest in a string of revolutionary bands led by charismatic but inscrutable Swiss frontman Thomas Gabriel Fischer. First came Hellhammer in the early 80s, a short-lived but hugely influential death metal act. Then came the much more ambitious, and frequently avant-garde, Celtic Frost. Afterwards, Fischer flirted with industrial-dance in Apollyon Sun, then briefly reformed Celtic Frost before forming his latest outfit, the claustrophobic and crushing Triptykon. Their second and latest album, Melana Chasmata, is the towering culmination of Fischer's life-long vision. Make sure you don't miss a legendary icon of extreme metal playing on a stage called The Temple, as the Witching Hour approaches. Just perfect.Jazz At The North Pole (Reissue) Various Artists 21/01/2017