Nov 082021

(Andy Synn was fortunate enough to attend this year’s edition of Damnation Festival and now reports back with his experiences of all the bands he saw over the course of the day, along with video evidence)

Well, here it is, the very last Damnation Festival at Leeds University, as the event has become so popular now (as evinced by how quickly so many stages reach capacity these days) that the organisers are moving it (back) to Manchester where they’ve found a bigger and (hopefully) better venue for future editions of the fest.

And while this gives 2021 a real “end of an era” feel, it’s obvious that the Damnation team really wanted to see out their time in Leeds with a major bang, delivering – despite some well-documented, and sadly unavoidable, pandemic-based issues – one of the most stacked line-ups they’ve ever had.

Now, one thing I really tried to do this time around was to see (and document) as many sets by bands I hadn’t seen before, and while, in practice, this didn’t always work out – sometimes due to circumstances entirely beyond my control, sometimes just because I really wanted to see certain bands in particular – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by who I actually did manage to catch over the course of the day.

So, without further ado…

Continue reading »

Nov 062018


(On November 3rd the Leeds University Union hosted the star-studded 2018 edition of Damnation Festival, and our own Andy Synn was there again, and files this video-adorned report.)

Now, let’s get one thing straight right away – I love Damnation Festival. Alongside Inferno Festival and Maryland Deathfest it’s part of my annual triumvirate of awesome events which I do my absolute best to attend every single year.

One thing that bugs me, however, not about Damnation itself, but about the coverage afforded to the fest (and, by extension, to many other festivals too), is how much of it reads almost like it was written without even attending the event – every band is awesome, every performance is great – with little to no attempt to be critical or to give the reader a sense of the specific flavour and atmosphere beyond generic platitudes which could have been pulled straight from each band’s bio.

So this review isn’t going to be one of those. Because not every band I saw on Saturday evening was awesome, and not every performance was great… and while there were no downright terrible showings, several of the bands put in what I thought was a sub-par effort.

Thankfully, however, the good (and the very good) hugely outweighed the bad, and I think (and hope) you’ll still get a kick out of reading this review and watching the accompanying videos. Continue reading »

Oct 272018


(Andy Synn provides the following preview of Damnation Fest 2018.)

Exactly one week from today I’ll be back traversing the hallowed halls of Leeds University Union, which is once again playing host to another edition of Damnation Festival.

It’s a little-known fact that Leeds was actually one of my preferred choices when applying to university, but probably more widely-known that Damnation is one of my favourite festival experiences of the year (alongside Inferno and MDF, which suggests that I’m much more of an indoor festival guy) and one which I would recommend to any fan of the heavier side of music, in all its glory and variety.

Once again this year’s festival features a wide array of hand-picked bands drawn from across the Extreme/Alternative spectrum, running the gamut from legendary artists to up-and-coming contenders, so I’d like to use this column to highlight a few of the ones I’m most anticipating. Continue reading »

Nov 072017


(Andy Synn was fortunate to witness the 2017 edition of Damnation Festival in Leeds, UK, on November 4, and prepared this report on the performances, along with many videos.)

One of the things I love most about Damnation Festival is that, because it always sells out, the organisers are free to keep things as underground and as intimate as possible, and to resist the pressure to book some of the more popular (and more predictable) marquee names which you’ll see play other festivals year in and year out.

That doesn’t mean that Damnation is an “elitist” event by any means – in fact the atmosphere and camaraderie on display every year is another one of the big draws for me, as it always warms my heart to see a mingling of Metal fans, of all ages, races, colours, and creeds, in an environment dedicated purely to the love of live music – but this focus in quality over quantity, on providing a unique experience, both for the fans and for the bands who play, is something that sets it apart from its peers and rivals. Continue reading »

Nov 082016



(Our man in the UK, Andy Synn, attended Damnation Festival 2016 in Leeds on November 5, and provides this report along with videos he made.)

Oh Damnation Festival how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Whereas too many other events seem content to book the same big-name crowd-pleasers, year in and year out, buttressed by an interchangeable selection of generic sound-alikes and contrived gimmicks – all carefully selected purely for their mundane mass-appeal – the Damnation team seem to operate on an unwavering ethos of only booking the bands they truly like, bands (big and small) that they truly believe in, who have something unique or special to offer.

This is how every edition of the festival features an array of bands from multiple different styles, from Death to Prog to Doom to Hardcore to Sludge (and beyond), from across the length and breadth of the underground Metal scene coexisting under one roof and why, over the years, Damnation has seen everyone from Ahab to Asphyx, Carcass to Katatonia, Mono to My Dying Bride, playing to the sort of packed crowds that are a regular occurrence in Europe, but which only rarely seem to be achievable here in the UK.

This helps make Damnation Festival’s line-up a much more interesting affair than many of their peers, as the organisers seem to operate on the principal of “if you build it, they will come”, putting their faith in the belief that the UK scene doesn’t just want to be fed the same old bands and the same old performances, time and time again. And this year was no different, with a wide variety of different acts, of different styles, on display, coupled with a bunch of exclusive performances which practically justified the ticket price on their own! Continue reading »

Oct 292016



(Our fortunate friend Andy Synn will be attending Damnation Festival 2016 next week in Leeds, UK, and in this post shares a preview of how he’ll be spending his time. Oddly, there is no mention of beer.)

Not all of you might be aware of this, but it’s not uncommon for PR agents and festivals to only issue press passes on the contingency that the writer/blog/magazine makes sure to produce some preview coverage in advance of the show/event in question.

Now although I don’t often ask for accreditation myself (something about the whole process just doesn’t feel right to me), on those rare occasions when I do I have absolutely no problem agreeing to the sort of quid pro quo set out above. After all it makes sense for the organisers to try to get as much coverage as they can, and as long as no-one is trying specifically dictate or mandate exactly what I can (and cannot) write, I don’t see any issues.

After all, I wouldn’t want to go if I didn’t think the music would be worth it, would I?

So, without further ado, I hereby present you with a little preview of next week’s Damnation Festival, complete with music and random ramblings about each band I hope to get to see. Continue reading »

Nov 132015

Damnation Festival 2015


(Andy Synn provides this report on the 2015 edition of Damnation Festival in the UK.)

It’s been a few years now since I last attended Damnation Festival, the annual celebration of all things dark and metallic hosted (as always) at Leeds University Student’s Union. But this year I knew I simply couldn’t miss it, as not only were a number of my favourite bands playing (hello Sólstafir, hi there Primordial) but also two bands I’ve been a fan of since their very first albums, but whom I’d never actually managed to see live before (The Ocean, Altar of Plagues).

Oh, and some band named At The Gates. Who are apparently pretty famous or something. Continue reading »

Jul 162012

Here are some things I saw while having my morning coffee. Wonder what the rest of the day will bring?


This thing is scheduled to go off in Leeds (UK) on November 3.  Festival organizers had previously announced some of the bands, but a group of new eye-catching names were revealed today — and this list still isn’t finished. But as it now stands, this festival looks amazing, and talk about diversity!  Electric Wizard, My Dying Bride, Pig Destroyer (in their first UK show in 8 years), Primordial, Bossk, Belphegor, Extreme Noise Terror, Aura Noir, Textures, Devil Sold His Soul, Gama Bomb, 40 Watt Sun, and Wodensthrone.

For you lucky fuckers who are able to be in Leeds on November 3, go here for more info.


Napalm Records has compiled a free sampler of music from their stable of artists. For my tastes, it’s a mixed bag, but it includes some winners as well as some bands whose music I’ve never heard, and therefore it offers some intrigue. Also, it’s free. To see the list and find out how to get the sampler, go past the jump. Continue reading »