Home » UP THE HAMMERS FESTIVAL 2024 – A Presentation

UP THE HAMMERS FESTIVAL 2024 – A Presentation

by MythofRock

In just a matter of days, Athens, Greece, will play host to the much-anticipated 2024 edition of the Up The Hammers Festival, drawing fervent heavy rock and metal enthusiasts from all corners. Anticipation is rife as fans prepare to immerse themselves in a veritable onslaught of heavy metal greatness, spanning the genre’s illustrious past, its dynamic present, and the promising sounds of the future. March 8th and 9th mark the focal points of the festival, with March 7th serving as an electrifying warm-up to the main event. Myth of Rock is eagerly joining the ranks and we are poised to delve deep into this year’s stellar lineup for Up The Hammers. Let the battle cry ring out as we embark on this epic journey!

by Dimitris Zacharopoulos

07/03/2024 – WARM UP SHOW

  • Saturday Night Satan: The Greek occult metal newcomers have already released two lyric videos, “Rule With Fire” and “Lurking in the Shadows”, and their debut album, “All things Black”, is set for a mid-March 2024 release via Made of Stone Recordings.

  • Lynx: Lynx is a quartet of heavy rock aficionados who pay homage to the guitar driven music of yesteryear while forging their own path forward. Founded in Gießen, Germany in early 2020, the band blends vintage influences with innovative creativity to carve out a distinctive sound.

  • Dolmen Gate: Dolmen Gate, an epic metal ensemble hailing from Lisbon, Portugal, was established in 2021 with a mission to honor the legacy of sacred metal. Drawing inspiration from the esteemed tradition of Portuguese old-school bands, Dolmen Gate delivers a potent blend of pure steel, evoking the spirit of revered acts such as Manowar, Omen and Manilla Road.  The band has already left their mark with the release of the “Finis Imperii” demo, available digitally on Bandcamp.

  • Witchunter: Founded in 2007, the Italians emerged as a manifestation of unbridled devotion to true metal. Drawing inspiration from various metallic influences, including NWOBHM, ’80s European heavy metal and speed metal, and the raw essence of ’70s hard rock, the band embarked on a sonic journey that defied the constraints of time. In a harmonious fusion, reminiscent of bands like Angel Witch, Jaguar, Tygers of Pan Tang, Saxon, Mercyful Fate, and Black Sabbath, Witchunter created a paradoxical time-warp where traditional metal received subtle yet refreshing twists.

  • Sentry: After five years of contemplation, former Manilla Road members Bryan Patrick (vocals), Phil Ross (bass), and Andreas “Neudi” Neuderth (drums) made the decision to forge ahead and establish a new band, dedicated to carrying on the legacy of the epic metal masters. Joining them is Kalli Coldsmith on guitar. The band, named Sentry, made their debut with a two-track promo EP in 2023, featuring the songs “Heavensent” and “Black Candles,” before securing a deal with High Roller Records. Their self-titled debut album comprises six fresh compositions along with the two tracks from the promo EP.

  • Night Demon: Night Demon, an American heavy metal band hailing from Ventura, California, has been a prominent figure in the resurgence of traditional heavy metal during the 2010s. Formed in May 2011 by vocalist/bassist Jarvis Leatherby and guitarist Brent Woodward, the band quickly gained recognition for their classic sound and energetic performances. Their debut EP, “Night Demon,” released in June 2013 on Reinig Records, received praise from the underground heavy metal scene. Shortly after, in September 2013, drummer Dusty Squires joined the lineup, solidifying the trio’s formation. Night Demon’s rise continued with their first festival appearance at Ragnarokkr Metal Apocalypse in April 2014, followed by a successful European tour later that year. Their momentum further grew as they joined Raven on the “ExtermiNation America Tour 2014.” In January 2015, Night Demon released their full-length debut album, “Curse of the Damned”, which garnered widespread acclaim and topped the WJCU Metal on Metal radio show’s listeners’ poll for the best album of 2015. Despite lineup changes, with guitarist Brent Woodward departing in January 2016 and Armand John Anthony joining as his replacement, Night Demon maintained their relentless touring schedule. Their second album, “Darkness Remains”, released in April 2017, further solidified their position in the metal scene, earning praise from critics and fans alike. Throughout 2017 and beyond, Night Demon embarked on numerous tours and festival appearances worldwide, showcasing their dedication to live performances. Their triple-live album, “Live Darkness”, captured the essence of their energetic shows and received acclaim upon its release in 2018. Night Demon’s continued success led to accolades such as being named the best “Up & Coming” band by German Metal Hammer magazine in September 2017 and earning album of the year honors from various publications. In 2020, Night Demon released a series of singles, followed by the compilation album “Year of the Demon” in March 2022, which featured tracks previously only available on limited-edition vinyl. Their third studio album, “Outsider”, released in March 2023, marked another milestone for the band. A concept album based on a movie script written by Leatherby, “Outsider” received positive reviews and was supported by extensive touring. Night Demon’s dedication to their craft and their unwavering commitment to the heavy metal genre continue to resonate with audiences worldwide, solidifying their status as torchbearers of classic metal.

08/03/2024 – MAIN FESTIVAL DAY 1

  • Coven Japan: Coven Japan is a Japanese heavy metal band fronted by female vocalist Taka, drawing inspiration from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM), Mercyful Fate, and various other influences spanning 80s metal, hardcore punk, and 70’s hard rock. Their debut EP, “The Advent,” was released under Svart Records in Finland. Their first full-length album was unleashed by Greek label, No Remorse Records, in 2023.

  • Crom: Originally conceived as a side project by Walter Grosse (1997), German heavy metal band Crom eventually became his primary focus after departing from Dark Fortress several years later. Crom has released three full-length albums and some demos, all crafted as a one-man endeavor. In 2018, Grosse brought guitarist Stefan Peyerl and drummer Thomas Hagl on board, transforming Crom into a fully-fledged band for the first time. The trio’s debut as a cohesive unit arrived in the form of the 2021 EP “Into the Glory Land”. Now, they’ve followed up with “The Era of Darkness”.

  • Wade Black’s Astronomica: For three decades, Wade Black has triumphed and stayed metal recording and touring internationally in bands such as Crimson Glory, Leatherwolf, Seven Witches, Leash Law, and Chalice of Sin. Now he returns with Astronomica, which was the name of Crimson Glory’s album where he sang. Black is going to play songs from that album plus classics of Crimson Glory!

  • Sacred Steel: Sacred Steel, the German heavy metal outfit, emerged in the 1980s as a collective of musicians already familiar within underground music circles. However, it was with the formation of Sacred Steel that they truly commanded attention and achieved significant success. Their journey to prominence included supporting renowned acts such as Blitzkrieg before catching the eye of Metal Blade Records, a milestone marked in April 1997, making them the inaugural German band to secure such a deal. Debuting with “Reborn in Steel” in October of the same year, Sacred Steel garnered widespread acclaim from both critics and fans alike, swiftly ascending the ranks to become one of Germany’s premier metal acts.

  • Sumerlands: Sumerlands, a five-piece heavy metal ensemble hailing from Philadelphia, consists of seasoned musicians deeply influenced by 1970s hard rock and the classic power metal of the ’80s and ’90s. Renowned for their distinctive sound, which seamlessly melds vintage metal elements with contemporary production techniques, the band owes much of their sonic identity to guitarist Arthur Rizk. Their journey began with the release of a highly praised demo in 2014, ultimately leading to a record deal with Relapse Records for their self-titled debut album in 2016.

  • Visigoth: Visigoth come from Salt Lake City, Utah, and are renowned for their masterfully crafted, fantasy-infused power metal reminiscent of iconic bands such as Manowar, Judas Priest, Dio, and Iron Maiden. Formed in 2010, the quintet comprises vocalist Jake Rogers, lead guitarist Leeland Campana, guitarist Jamison Palmer, bassist Matt Brotherton, and drummer Mikey Tee. Their musical journey commenced with the release of their debut EP, “The Final Spell,” in 2012, paving the way for a record deal with Metal Blade Records. In early 2015, their debut full-length album, “Revenant King,” captivated audiences with its epic storytelling and powerful melodies. Following up with their sophomore effort, “Conqueror’s Oath,” in early 2018, Visigoth continued to deliver their signature brand of hard-hitting metal to enthralled fans.

  • Jack Starr’s Burning Starr: Always showing unyielding passion and undying dedication to its craft, a luminary of US metal, Jack Starr’s Burning Starr is a band, whose name has become synonymous with the pure essence of heavy metal. From their electrifying riffs to their soaring melodies, Jack Starr’s Burning Starr has forged a legacy that burns brightly in the hearts of metalheads worldwide. Formed in the mid 1980s by renowned guitarist Jack Starr, Burning Starr burst onto the scene with a ferocious energy that demanded attention. Starr, already known for his work with Virgin Steele and other notable acts, assembled a lineup of seasoned musicians who shared his vision of creating timeless, anthemic metal. With Jack Starr’s virtuosic guitar playing at the helm, Burning Starr blazed a trail through the metal landscape, drawing inspiration from the classic sounds of bands like Judas Priest, Rainbow and Dio. Their music, characterized by driving rhythms, blistering solos, and epic vocal performances, captivated audiences and earned them a dedicated following. Burning Starr’s early albums, including “Rock the American Way” (1985) and “No Turning Back!” (1986), established them as a force to be reckoned with in the metal underground. Songs like “Blaze of Glory”, “Black Sheep of the Family” and “Metal Generation”, became anthems for a generation of headbangers, showcasing the band’s knack for crafting memorable, fist-pumping tunes. Despite lineup changes and the shifting tides of the music industry, Burning Starr continued to stoke the flames of metal passion with releases like “Jack Starr’s Burning Starr” (2009) and “Land of the Dead” (2011). Each album further solidified their reputation as torchbearers of traditional heavy metal, earning acclaim from fans and critics alike. In recent years, Jack Starr’s Burning Starr has shown no signs of slowing down, with Starr and his bandmates remaining steadfast in their commitment to the metal cause. Their live performances, fueled by an electrifying energy, continue to captivate audiences around the globe. With the release of its latest album, “Souls of the Innocent” (2022), Burning Starr ignites the flames of metal once again, reminding us all of the power and passion that define the genre.

09/03/2024 – MAIN FESTIVAL DAY 2

  • Stygian Crown: Stygian Crown, a doom metal ensemble hailing from Southern California, reverently nods to the likes of Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus, and Black Sabbath in their musical homage. Comprised of members from esteemed acts such as Morgion, Gravehill, and Morbid Eclipse, Stygian Crown emerges as a formidable force in the genre, drawing inspiration from the rich legacy of doom metal while forging their own distinctive path.

  • Steel Inferno: Danish band Steel Inferno is a dynamic force in the realm of speed metal, epitomizing the resurgent wave of traditional heavy metal. With a reputation as local frontrunners in this revival, Steel Inferno unleashes a relentless onslaught of high-octane speed metal that electrifies audiences. Their acclaimed third full-length album, “Evil Reign”, stands as a testament to their ferocious musical prowess, delivering an unrelenting assault on the senses that leaves no listener unscathed. Prepare for an adrenaline-fueled experience characterized by powerful riffs, blistering solos, and an energetic live performance that ignites the stage.

  • Ski: Known to his family as Norman Kiersznowski, Ski gained renown as the frontman of the New Jersey 80s metal outfit Deadly Blessing during their “Ascend From The Cauldron” debut era. With his blistering high-pitched vocals, Ski played a pivotal role in the success of Deadly Blessing. Athens will soon witness the iconic performance of the all-time classic album “Ascend from the Cauldron” in its entirety, featuring Ski’s electrifying vocals. Originally released in 1988, “Ascend from the Cauldron” remains a timeless masterpiece, showcasing a unique fusion of traditional heavy/thrash metal with progressive and power metal influences.

  • Phantom Spell: Phantom Spell emerges as the brainchild of Kyle McNeill, renowned as the frontman for London-based classic metal stalwarts, Seven Sisters. With a proven track record in songcraft demonstrated over multiple albums with the UK’s twin-guitar renegades, McNeill now ventures into new territory, adding another dimension to his musical repertoire. Drawing inspiration from the prog rock luminaries of yesteryear, Phantom Spell becomes a heartfelt homage to McNeill’s favorite artists from the genre’s golden era. Listen to “Immortal’s Requiem”!

  • Evil Invaders: Evil Invaders emerges as a relentless force in the realm of thrash metal, embodying the essence of speed and aggression. Formed in Belgium in 2007, the band swiftly established themselves as torchbearers of the classic thrash spirit while infusing it with a contemporary twist. With their full energy and raw power, Evil Invaders is ready to make a triumphant return to Greece, armed with one of the most electrifying albums of 2022, “Shattering Reflection”.

  • Eternal Champion: Drawing inspiration from the grandiose fantasy worlds of Michael Moorcock and the brutal, pre-Christian tales of warfare, emerges ETERNAL CHAMPION, an epic heavy metal force forged in the fiery crucible of Austin, Texas. Comprised of members from esteemed acts such as Iron Age, Graven Rite, Power Trip, War Hungry, and Sumerlands, ETERNAL CHAMPION proudly carries the torch of heroic metal tradition. In the spirit of legendary bands like Manilla Road, Warlord, Omen, Brocas Helm, Cirith Ungol, Metal Church, Griffin, and Liege Lord, ETERNAL CHAMPION delivers a powerful and immersive sonic experience that transports listeners to realms of myth and legend.

  • Cirith Ungol: In the vast tapestry of heavy metal history, certain bands stand as titans, their influence stretching far beyond their years of active presence. Among these legends, one name resonates deeply with aficionados of the genre: Cirith Ungol. Hailing from Ventura, California, this enigmatic group carved a unique niche for themselves in the annals of metal, weaving tales of fantasy and darkness with their unmistakable sound. Formed in 1971 under the moniker Titanic, Cirith Ungol underwent several transformations before solidifying their lineup and identity in the late 1970s. Drawing inspiration from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and other fantasy literature, the band adopted the name “Cirith Ungol,” a reference to the treacherous pass in Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Led by vocalist Tim Baker, guitarist Jerry Fogle and drummer Robert Garven, Cirith Ungol forged their path with a blend of traditional heavy metal, doom, and elements of progressive rock. Their sound was characterized by Baker’s distinctive wails, Fogle’s intricate guitar work, and Garven’s thunderous drumming, all enveloped in a dark, atmospheric aura. Despite garnering a devoted underground following and releasing a string of influential albums, including “Frost and Fire” (1981) and “King of the Dead” (1984), Cirith Ungol faced numerous challenges in achieving mainstream recognition. Their refusal to conform to trends and their unapologetically epic style set them apart from their peers, but also limited their commercial appeal. Moreover, the band encountered difficulties with their record labels and distribution, hindering their ability to reach a wider audience. Despite these setbacks, Cirith Ungol’s cult status continued to grow, fueled by their captivating live performances and the enduring appeal of their albums among discerning metal fans. While Cirith Ungol disbanded in 1992, after the release of the fantastic “Paradise Lost” alnbum (1991), their legacy endured, leaving an indelible mark on the metal landscape. Their influence reverberated through subsequent generations of bands, from doom metal pioneers to modern acts embracing the spirit of traditional metal. In a testament to their enduring appeal, Cirith Ungol experienced a resurgence in the 21st century, as a new generation of metalheads rediscovered their catalog and championed their cause. In 2016, the band reunited for a series of live performances, delighting fans old and new with their electrifying shows. In 2018, Cirith Ungol released “Witch’s Game”, their first new song in over 25 years, signaling a triumphant return to the forefront of the metal scene. The track, accompanied by a visually stunning animated music video, captured the essence of Cirith Ungol’s epic sound, reigniting interest in the band and paving the way for future endeavors. The band’s latest album was titled “Dark Parade” and was released in 2023 via Metal Blade Records. It was an unparalleled triumph, as it encapsulated all the ingredients of the legendary  Cirith Ungol sound, a brave dose of US metal, doom metal, power metal and NWOBHM, which was more than super-satisfactory for the hungry fans! Cirith Ungol’s journey embodies the essence of heavy metal: a relentless pursuit of artistic vision, undeterred by the challenges of the industry. From their humble beginnings in California to their status as icons of underground metal, Cirith Ungol’s legacy endures as a beacon of creativity and authenticity in a genre often defined by its excesses.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.