Damnation is my favourite UK festival. One of the most nerve-wracking days of my year is when the stage splits are announced, but this year it looks like I’m gonna be able to see everything! This will give me solace when I cry into my last ever panini from DeliKate, whose absence will be felt bitterly.
Aside from public sandwich weeping, I’m pretty excited. Here are some of my choice cuts:
Playing: 2:00pm, Eyesore Stage
Cursed to be confused with Paradise Lost (who are themselves burdened with the weight of book/band befuddlements), Swedish post-rockers pg.lost are weighty and groove-heavy, featuring cowbell flourishes interspersed with jagged, aggressive tensions. Their atmospherics and wholesome stoner grooves are an excellent fit for an early slot and would be an excellent start to a day of dreamier bands. Gawd knows you’re spoiled for choice.
Playing: 2:35pm, Jagermeister Stage
Pallbearer’s latest LP Heartless is a fantastic entry in their canon; their lightly psychy, sombre take on the classic doom template is focussed on their more recent material, though their slightly proggier previous offerings are packed to the gills with hidden gems. With their focus on clarity, melody and songwriting chops they’re also a great entry point for people who need convincing as to the merits of doom. Make the most of a reasonably rare UK performance whilst you can; it’s a pleasure to greet Pallbearer back to our shores.
Playing: 4:45pm, Eyesore Stage
Half of the Melvins (sometimes), Big Business play bizarre, high-energy sludge with weird-out noisy percussion flourishes. Their experimentation is frantic but thanks to the massive bass tone anchoring them to their fuzz-sludge roots they’re kept from flying too far off the handle. They’ve even nailed the all-important Sludge Pop Banger (see figure 1 below). One to watch if you’re into weird shit, especially if you really like the Melvins and wondered what the guys who aren’t Buzz or Dale do in their free time.
Playing: 7:10pm, Jagermeister Stage
Triumphant after the release of Medusa, seminal doomsters Paradise Lost are the kind of legacy act that embody the spirit of Damnation; relevant veteran bands who deliver live performing off the back of a strong release. Given these factors this has all the markings of an especially superb PL show; those who’ve seen them before would be daft to miss out. I’m not sure I can add much more to their legacy; they’re Paradise Lost, their new record is ace, this is an excellent setting to see them, go see Paradise Lost.
Playing: 10:00pm, Eyesore Stage
Heavily cinematic, starkly gorgeous and visually astonishing, Nordic Giants are a high point for post-rock’s shock-and-awe aesthetic. Channelling the Neurosis/Godspeed You! Black Emperor tradition of visual spectacle with a dramatic, percussive take on the genre, Nordic Giants are intense and thrilling. In many ways a booking like this is the flipside to Paradise Lost; Damnation has a tradition of promoting lesser-known bands to an inevitably stacked audience. This is the band that will be the surprise hit for a lot of people; if you were on the fence, absolutely go and see them.
Whoever you end up seeing, have a great time if you are going to this year’s Damnation, which we understand is SOLD OUT. Congratulations to the festival on that, and we’ll hopefully see you there!