Hammerfest 2015: Gurt, Spider Kitten & Dysteria

Hammerfest 2015: Gurt, Spider Kitten & Dysteria

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The edition of Hard Rock Hell Doom to this year's festival is an inspired one and it's shown immediately with Gurt pulling in one of the biggest crowds of the entire weekend. While you could argue that may be in part due to the fact that, at one o'clock on the Friday afternoon, the AOR and Hammerfest stages were yet to open, but the fact that people made the effort to witness the band's sludgey bludgeoning speaks volumes.

Fronted by none other than Jesus H Christ, Gurt are nothing short of excellent. The London wrecking crew was through treacle thick riffs, infested with the spirit of their main influences - mainly Electric Wizard, Crowbar and Eyehategod. It's slow but ultimately forceful.

The packed room is dense with a murky fog as they smash through their set - Dave Blakemore's fuzz-flecked bass tone resembles that of an elephant shamelessly breaking wind. Alongside Bill Jacobs' tight, pristine drum work, there is nothing more fitting to underpin this band. Occasional bursts of pace that defy their largely pedestrian pace leave you gobsmacked while the lead melodies that scrape atop the mix are simplistic but cut deep into your flesh. Conclusively however, it's their droning boom that is most important and most staggeringly effective here. A fantastic set.

 

Spider Kitten never meant to be anything longstanding - hell, they didn't even have a drummer for their first few records. This was supposed to be a mere side-project in which they could 'gruff out some sludge,' but 13 years after their inception they are building a notoriety in the scene for their near cosmic doom based sound, highlighted here by their presence at the festival. What they offer us here is a monsoon: Thundering drums, lightning cracks from the rig above them corresponding mightily with their rumbling sound that falls upon us like dismal rain. But every storm has its quiet moments and Spider Kitten are no exception with the passages of solitudinous emptiness adding extra emphasis to the distorted battery when it returns for a second bite of the apple.~

They keep talk to a minimum, allowing their music further voice. The Welsh band, formed in Cardiff in 2001, state that their songs are pop songs deep, deep down. As musicians, they are hardly the greatest - singer Chris Lameo plays his six string with one finger for the most part - but as songwriters they are very impressive. There's a hypnotic magnetism to them which simply can't be ignored.

 

On blast Dysteria, Armed with one brutal set and a fierce presence. Their songs were interesting and, more importantly, loud. This was my first taste of the day to come and oh boy did it sound good. The London metallers left the Hammerfest crowd with slightly worse hearing as they came in with as they tore the place up something fierce. The singer was actually a pretty quiet talker, she was soft spoken and and well versed, however when the songs actually started, she was screaming, with supreme guttural vocals you knew there was something special to her. The music was pretty awesome too, with heavy riffs and distortion that was off the richter scale. They weren’t the best band, I’ve seen but probably one of the most brutal. I was having an awesome time with them, They just has this great sound that I hadn’t really experienced before. Although I was a bit disappointed with the crowd, I know it’s midday but there should have been more people there, there really should have been, and the people who were there looked more concerned with their drinks, I’m not telling you how to enjoy a show, I just think when a band is one, screaming at you, maybe think about paying some attention, especially when they’re talented like Dysteria. This was one really fun band with a lot to show off, if you have the chance definitely check them out live.

Words: Phil Weller (Gurt & Spider Kitten), Mick Birchall (Dysteria) Photos: Phil Goddard Twitter: @philipweller @mickbirchy @philipgoddard73

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