Overshadowed by roaring expectations from Indonesian metal heads, Hammersonic Festival returned this year with much rooted spirit of metal. The theme ‘Metalveva Jayamahe’ was set as a translation of the rooted spirit of the united metal communities in Indonesia. Claiming to be the last rock-metal music festival standing and the most-anticipated, they went big this year and managed to create quite a stir. Bringing punk to a rock-metal festival.
Dead Kennedys was one of 38 performing bands and they were the first punk rock band to headline Hammersonic. This decision had raised some questions and controversy before the event, but it turned out that Dead Kennedys stole the show. They tried to burn the audiences’ energy with their anthemic punk beats of hit songs such as California Uber Alles, Kill The Poor, and Nazi Punk Fuck Off.
Their fiery performances were also complemented by the members’ vocal opinions about social issues; racism, religion, and homophobia. Unfortunately, the audiences weren’t responding well with much less energy.
Crossing back to the heavy metal side, various international bands were also performing at that night. H20 brought up the adrenaline through their hardcore persona, Vital Remains reminded us of how brutal this genre needs to be, and Ihsahn gave a great show by mixing skills, technicality, and proper brutality into their music. Indonesian bands were also generally put up good shows in likeness of Koil, Saint Loco, and Revenge The Fate.
The critical attitude was also maintained throughout these performances as musicians pointed out and addressed multiple social-political issues, both locally and internationally. Like Mexican band Brujeria who called out US President Donald Trump for his controversial policies or Kameradz from Majalengka, West Java that criticized evictions of farmers from their ranches for construction purposes in their region.
These approaches are very common on rock-metal festivals, since it is one of many factors that creates this tight-knit metal communities around the world. A couple things to highlight: There was something off from Escape The Fate’s performance as their musical style, genre, and DNA didn’t quite goes with the festival’s. This year’s sound was definitely the best ever yet, but compared to last year’s festival, this year’s visuals weren’t that mesmerizing.
Hammersonic 2018 was concluded by performance of Swedish alternative metal band In Flames who gave out an awesome performance, which we strongly hope won’t be the last of them. As one of the biggest of its kinds, both in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, let’s conserve it to maintain the aliveness of local heavy metal scene. Metalveva Jayamahe!
Reported by Aldo Moz
Photos by Willya Sandy