Damnation Festival 2016: Editor’s Choice

Damnation Festival, the annual one day event in Leeds has a solid reputation in the metal community. Year in, year out the festival boasts a lineup that covers the spectrum of extreme metal; from the sludgiest doom to the most aggressive death metal. 2016’s edition of the festival is no different, with arguably one of the strongest lineups in the festival’s history. Now, here at Distorted Sound, team Editorial gives the lowdown on who you should watch at Damnation Festival 2016!

CULT OF LUNA (Jagermeister Stage)

When Swedish post-metal leviathan CULT OF LUNA released Mariner back in April, a collaborative effort with Brooklyn-based former MADE OUT OF BABIES and BATTLE OF MICE vocalist Julie Christmas, no one really considered the possibility of seeing this live. These two creative forces on opposite sides of the Atlantic each with their own schedules and personal commitments teaming up for a tour seemed out of the question, and it was a shame because Mariner is phenomenal. CULT OF LUNA have always been a musical behemoth, but on Mariner Julie Christmas adds an element that lifts things to a whole new level, an incredible vocal performance veering between vulnerability, despair, bellowing anger, and undeniable menace with a glint of childlike glee in her eyes. It gives CULT OF LUNA’s celestial gait a very human and totally engrossing focal point, and now that it has been announced that Mariner will indeed be performed live at just five shows scattered throughout Europe, including one of Damnation Festival’s three headline slots, with no plans to do so again, it is a tremendous proposition. CULT OF LUNA’s usual crushing power combined with the savage and heart-wrenching vocal acrobatics of Julie Christmas is not only going to be a spellbinding set but one that has all the potential to be spoken about for years to come.

WORDS: Perran Helyes – Live Review Editor


The UK underground has given us plenty of exciting hardcore bands in various shapes and sizes since GALLOWS exploded a decade ago, but with their debut album last year EMPLOYED TO SERVE rocketed right to the top echelon of that list. In possession of a seemingly endless well of unstoppable grooves and relentless aggression, EMPLOYED TO SERVE are the sound of filling your mouth with glass and being smashed in the face with a brick. Channelling the likes of BOTCH and NORMA JEAN through their manic but precise attack, live they are untameable, frontwoman Justine Jones’ throat-shredding howl offset by the wild lunges and lack of concern for his own safety guitarist Sammy Urwin is fond of. For the visceral excitement and genuine air of danger that comes with a real and gritty hardcore show, EMPLOYED TO SERVE are one of the finest in business, and are sure to impress at Damnation Festival.

WORDS: Perran Helyes – Live Review Editor


It’s nice to think of extreme metal in a high-brow and intellectual manner sometimes (and that’s not to say this band are bone-headed, far from it), but ultimately its cornerstone is killer riffs, and killer riffs east England’s THE INFERNAL SEA have in spades. One of the finest signings of the reborn Cacophonous Records alongside the likes of THE KING IS BLIND and NECRONAUTICAL, THE INFERNAL SEA’s black metal racket is both deliciously evil and tremendously catchy. They also know how to put on a show, the Black Death concept surrounding latest record The Great Mortality making its way to the stage as the band adorn plague doctor masks and are swallowed by sickly atmosphere as they weave their tales of pestilence and doom. In Dean Lettice they have one of the most distinctive and vitriolic black metal vocalists to emerge from this country in recent years, and Damnation Festival attendees looking to indulge in some vicious fun could do a lot worse than this lot.

WORDS: Perran Helyes – Live Review Editor

MITHRAS (Terrorizer Stage)

A band with a hell of a bite, MITHRAS tackle the big and the bold in their music. Self proclaimed, this is as if RUSH did Extreme Metal. A well established after a career spanning out from 1998, these midlands guys have a fully realised identity that is entirely their own. While the sound and subject of the band is very much based in the science fiction ideas, but don’t be preempting a whimsical sort of show. It’s philosophical and layered, with many different themes and theories. This is a band to watch out for if you’ve not already found them in the past few decades.

WORDS: Laura McCarthy – Introducing Editor

BOSSK (Eyesore Merch Stage)

No, not the bounty dinosaur guy from Star Wars, but the Kentish five piece Post-Metal band. BOSSK sound is often eerie, thick and heavy, and sometimes clear and full of clarity. It’s in this sound that you can find something personal, thought the ambience of it might not be for everyone. If you look for a band with more than just a hard punch, but an ambience, a beautiful and remote feeling as well, then this is just the band to seek out at Damnation Festival.

WORDS: Laura McCarthy – Introducing Editor

CONJURER (Eyesore Merch Stage)

Post Sludge can often be a hard one to go straight into, but the bellows of CONJURER are sure to persuade you. Dark and demonic, this is a sonic ear bashing that you won’t regret. Having two vocalists, this is noise of the maximum decibel. To say that this is substantial, is an understatement. You’ll come away from this feeling like your bones have been shattered and your brain has melted. It’s a buzz you’re unlikely to feel from any other band, and well worth the pain afterwards to experience it.

WORDS: Laura McCarthy – Introducing Editor

OCEANS OF SLUMBER (Jagermeister Stage)

One of the more melodic bands on this year’s bill, OCEANS OF SLUMBER are one of the more intriguing bands on the lineup. With a frontwoman like Cammie Gilbert at the helm, be prepared for an emotional roller-coaster. With Gilbert‘s soul-esque vocals driving the emotion, the band ebb and flow are poignant and exquisite in their technicality. From the soaring melodies to the devastatingly crushing drumwork from Dobber OCEANS OF SLUMBER will move you from start to finish.

WORDS: James Weaver – Editor In Chief & Founder

VENOM PRISON (Terrorizer Stage)

Damnation like to bring in new blood and despite only forming last year, VENOM PRISON are ready to lay waste to the festival. On the back of the excellent debut, Animus, the band are ready to unleash their brand of brutal death metal to the masses. Vocalist Larissa‘s growls are trademark to the genre and with an arsenal of savage riffs at their disposal, make no mistake VENOM PRISON will take no prisoners!

WORDS: James Weaver – Editor In Chief & Founder

KROH (Mine Stage)

KROH seem to the band that just keep going from strength to strength. Releasing an album of the year contender in the form of Altars the band are building a solid fan-base after supporting slots at SUBROSA in Birmingham for example. Damnation Festival is a huge step up for KROH but the band have more than enough talent at their disposal. Oliwia Sobieszek‘s beautiful haunting cleans are polar-opposite to the crushing riffs but the combination works to fantastic effect. KROH could just be the band that may steal the show at Damnation Festival

WORDS: James Weaver – Editor In Chief & Founder

ENSLAVED (Terrorizer Stage)

One of the most anticipated announcements from this year’s Damnation Festival is without a doubt ENSLAVED. Not only is their performance a UK exclusive, the Norwegian extreme metal legends will be celebrating their 25th anniversary. ENSLAVED will be taking their rightful place as headliners of the Terrorizer Stage, where they will deliver an hour of their finest songs to a crowd which will embrace the mayhem of an ENSLAVED performance. If you are a fan of Norwegian metal then it is only right that you catch the pioneers of the movement take their Spinning Wheel Ritual Tour to Leeds in November.

WORDS: Tom Wakenell – Head of News

HANG THE BASTARD (Jagermeister Stage)

 If ever there is a time to see a band play a farewell show, it will be HANG THE BASTARD at Damnation Festival. After nearly a decade of tearing the roof off venues around the world, the London metallers have decided to call it a day and will be taking to the stage for the last time at Damnation Festival. HANG THE BASTARD have a solid reputation at the festival and have performed numerous times before, however it has always been a mixed line up due to injuries, but this time HANG THE BASTARD have promised to perform a full strength set to bid farewell to fans. This is one show not to be missed.

WORDS: Tom Wakenell – Head of News

ELECTRIC WIZARD (Jagermeister Stage)

ELECTRIC WIZARD are an essential listen for fans of stoner rock, psychedelic and doom fans – arguably one of the cornerstones of the genres. They have an iconic sound and a powerful tone with a stage presence to match. If you are a fan of BLACK SABBATH, BONGZILLA and other old school doom heavy hitters then check them out! Notable tracks to listen too are Dopethrone, Funeralopolis and Black Mass.

WORDS: Jim Forsyth – Magazine Design Editor

UFOMAMMUT (Eyesore Merch Stage)

Italy’s own UFOMAMMUT will be making an appearance at Damnation Festival too, the sludge/doom/psychedelic rock 3-piece will be hitting the stage with their signature crushingly overwhelming sound. If you’re a fan of KYUSS, ELECTRIC WIZARD or BONGRIPPER, then UFOMAMMUT will be a welcome addition to your roster.

WORDS: Jim Forsyth – Magazine Design Editor

NE OBLIVISCARIS (Terrorizer Stage)

The death metal scene was rocked when Aussie giants NE OBLIVISCARIS released Portal of I in 2012 – the prog metal kings continued to dominate with the release of Citadel in 2014. This year the boys will be hitting the stage at Damnation Festival, so if you’re into WOOD OF YPRES, ENSLAVED or PERSEFONE then check them out!

WORDS: Jim Forsyth – Magazine Design Editor

ABBATH (Jagermeister Stage)

In this day and age, does ABBATH really need an introduction, let alone a reason for you to go a see him live? The black metal icon has arguably become the face of the genre over recent years and after the uproar over IMMORTAL breaking up, he was quickly able to cease the whining with a rather brilliant solo venture. ABBATH is a legend in his own right and his collective of some of black metal’s finest musicians means that his set at this years festival is likely to be crushing as well as deeply chilling. ABBATH has a fantastic ability to control the audience with his demonic ways and his frosty vocals will likely the bring the house down, so whack out the corpse paint and make sure to catch his set.

WORDS: Eddie Sims – Album Review Editor

INGESTED (Mine Stage)

British extreme metal has been on the boom recently but INGESTED have been a staple of the underground for going on a decade now. Sounding absolutely putrid but executed with stunning precision, INGESTED are able to create a monstrous racket that slams so hard it’ll give you whiplash. Vocalist Jay Evans has a reputation for being one of the fiercest vocalists on the scene and you need only listen to almost any INGESTED track to hear his guttural tones make the tracks all the more brutal. Headlining the Mine Stage at this year’s event is a big step and it’s likely that INGESTED will deliver one of the most abusively brilliant sets of the day.

WORDS: Eddie Sims – Album Review Editor

BLACK TUSK (Eyesore Merch)

Stoner riffs delivered with aplomb is the BLACK TUSK modus operandi and it’s difficult to argue with just how good they are at what they do. Their sludgy sound is as heavy as they come and their punk energy helps give their music the urgency required to stand out amongst the rest of the pack. This year’s Pillars Of Ash displayed just how dominant the three piece are in their current form and being main support to UFOMAMMUT means that if riffs are what you require after your meeting with Mary Jane then you should find yourself at the Eyesore Merch Stage in time for BLACK TUSK.

WORDS: Eddie Sims – Album Review Editor

Well there you have it! That is who we think you should watch at this year’s Damnation Festival! Don’t agree with us? Let us know in the comments!

Damnation Festival 2016

Damnation Festival takes place on November 5th at the University Union in Leeds.

For more information on Damnation Festival, like their official page on Facebook.