For one day a year, the University of Leeds students’ union becomes engulfed in a miasma of metal, receiving over 25 bands from across the globe and entertaining thousands of fans who in some cases travel from as far away as the other side of Europe to see exclusive performances and one of the best one-dayer line-ups you could dream of.
This is DAMNATION FESTIVAL, and it promises to be as brutal as ever. Let’s get into who’ll be turning out this year as the event returns to the Uni on Saturday November 3.
NAPALM DEATH are making their first appearance at Damnation since 2008, this time as headliners of the main stage. My neck has just about recovered from Nails’ performance here last year, one of countless bands who owe a huge debt to the Brummie grindcore legends. Despite longstanding guitarist Mitch Harris going on hiatus four years ago, Napalm Death are still an excellent live act, and hopefully we’ll get to hear some new cuts off their upcoming 17th (!!) studio album.
Death metal legends Entombed played the inaugural Damnation festival back in 2005, and I’m sure ENTOMBED A.D, the band that rose from the ashes of Entombed’s demise, will notice how much things have changed since then. 13 years ago, Damnation featured only 15 bands playing across two stages for the price of just £13 at a small rock club in Manchester.
Irish doom troupe MOURNING BELOVETH also make a welcome return – their first gig up north since Damnation 2013. They’ll be the main draw for those who like it slow and, er, mournful, following in the footsteps of Warning last year. It’ll be a treat to finally hear some of the classics off The Sullen Sulcus in a live setting.
It’s not all about veterans though – GHOST BATH, headliners of the Cult Never Dies stage, will be a big draw. Their brand of blackgaze will be especially appealing to the locals that enjoyed Deafheaven’s recent appearance at the same venue a few weeks ago.
The Tone MGMT stage exemplifies the variety of the festival, both in countries represented and genres spanned. Polish death metal legends VADER top the bill with fellow countrymen BATUSHKA bringing their unique take on black metal to the table. Other highlights of this stage include the sweeping atmospheric tones of Scotland’s SAOR and France’s versatile and punishing CELESTE.
It’s a fantastic and varied line-up, and proof that the festival is still going from strength to strength. As many Damnation goers know, the event suffers from perhaps being too good – it’s so tough to pick who to see and who to miss out on, but whoever you’ll end up seeing it’ll be a hell of an experience as always.
For more information and the full line-up, ticket details and more, head over to damnationfestival.co.uk.