It’s that great time of the year once more when we all gather towards Leeds to take in the mixture of metal, doom, post rock and more that is Damnation and with nine exclusives – including one UK live debut – this year, the high standard that proves why Damnation is one of the best festivals going today still remains large.

What follows is both Matt D and Tim’s picks on who to catch at Damnation this year… 

Matt D

To begin my picks let us start with a slice of tech with Monuments who are making their Damnation debut and are one of the bands that were part of the tech metal boom a number of years ago with the likes of Periphery and others. With new album Phronesis about to make an impact, it will be interesting to see how it all goes down with the Damnation audience.

Next is Norwegian art rockers Arabrot who are also making their Damnation debut in 2018 and for me could be a potential show stealer. Following their excellent The Gospel album there’s been shows in which Kjetil Nernes has worked with writer John Doran as the latter reads poems/rituals such as Lacerated Sky plus a special immersive show in Stoke based around the Japanese short ‘A Page of Madness’ and now it is time for the Damnation faithful to experience the fun for themselves…

For the doom lovers this next pick will hit the spot with Bong who no doubt will have a set that will define a pure experience as their combination of doom/drone and stoner has the potential to truly open the third eye of anyone that views the true psychedelic trip.

The final two picks are linked as they’re both veterans of Damnation itself and are both getting their biggest slots to date at the event: The Ocean and Anaal Nathrakh.

Regarding The Ocean it’s from a small room in 2010 to headlining the Eyesore Merch stage and with a great catalogue (including Precambrian hitting its 10th anniversary) including showcasing live the brand new album (released the day before Damnation on November 2nd!) Phanerozoic I: Paleozoic – with part 2 out in a couple of years – it’s a Damnation moment in the making.

Speaking of which – possibly doing their biggest show to date in the grand hall that is the Reflectory – are Anaal Nathrakh and for those that have yet to see the greatness of a Nathrakh show – this will be one not to miss as not only will it be the first show since the release of A New kind of Horror but the only chance to catch them as 2018 comes to a close.


As ever Damnation festival returns this year with a line up stronger than ever. Gav and his team work tirelessly throughout the year to ensure the one day extreme festival is Leeds is the very best of its kind in the UK.

Having had the full bill announced for a good month now, I look on admiringly at the achievement of a line up. It’s hard to pick who my favourites are, but here’s a selection of five bands not to be missed!


The death metal stalwarts will be playing the Jager stage this year in a UK exclusive show and with a brand new album, their first for thirteen years, due for release the day prior to their appearance. They are the UK’s finest purveyors of traditional death metal and the trio of Ian, Carl and John will put on one hell of a show. 


The reunion of the band is one of the most talked about and anticipated additions to this year’s bill. The masked Birmingham necro punks bring their dirty sound and lyrical hatred of the world to Leeds again. The last time they played the festival they destroyed it, quite literally. Expect the most volatile of mosh pits and the most violent of performances. If you have never seen them these are not to be missed and if you have seen them previously, I know I’ll be seeing you in the pit again!


Poland’s biggest music export started the year touring the UK with Testament on a sell out run of dates and will finish it with an appearance at Damnation Festival. Piotr’s throaty vocal girth accompanied by his and Marek’s duelling guitars will deliver excellence in the extreme and no doubt a performance on par with that of Cancer before them. For fans of Star Wars look out for the tribute at the end of the set 😉

(Video for Sword of The Witcher:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Rx_AA5GfNE)


Nathrakh are another band with a new album out. Opinions are mixed on the new
material, but my own personal view is that the album is phenomenal. Look for a
mix of material old and new during their set and a heavy cross over of
personnel from Fukpig. Deathly growls and dirty looks from Dave Hunt will be in
abundance and fully anticipate a crowd as wild as Fukpig’s just on a bigger


headliners Napalm Death are without doubt the booking of the festival. Through
decades of aggression the band have gone from strength to strength. No longer
the small cult grind band they once were their music has far greater appeal
these days, despite the band themselves not changing direction at all. Shane,
Barney and the gang are the perfect way to close the day and with a later
curfew this year things could get messy!

(Video for When All is Said and Done: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIRUzqHTNh8)