BEDRAGGLED but beaming the Hard Rock Hell hordes emerged from their accommodation ready to take on another day of music and mayhem in North Wales.
Debutantes, stunned from the first two days wandered around considering who to see, and when, while seasoned HRH types settled down to convenient positions to sample the aural fare and near the bars. (Hint - the outside bar is best if you time it right...)
But beers aside (not aside too often, mind you) the music was again a mighty, belly busting feast of hard rock.
Again, the continual shuffling between the two venues trying to cram in the guitar-driven sounds led to much back-and-forth across the few yards separating the two.
And, once again the offering was mighty. That may seem overly effusive, but it was a day or delight for everyone dedicated to enjoying the best of rock - from blues driven, through to prog metal and balls to the wall rockn' out.
Whether it was Western Sand wowing stage two and Bad Touch vying to outdo them, or Lynch Mob and Reef wanting everyone to raise their hands up there was almost unanimous acclaim for the line-up.
The feast devoured by fans proved that they were insatiable. Whether it was King Creature, Lynch Mob, Black Whiskey, or Von Hertzen Brothers they were all greeted with applause and more than a few roars of approval.
For many the aforementioned Von Hertzen Brothers were new found favourites. The Finnish act caught the right mood, showcasing tracks from their latest album 'War is Over' from the off and delivering with poise and panache. There was more texture from the band than in 100 Welsh blankets.
The Saturday headliners, Black Star Riders, are an act that have developed in a few short years as a Lizzy off-shoot to a potent band with their own identity.
Warwick, Johnson, Gorham et al were there to impress, however, there was a whiff of a band that was using HRH as their warm-up for their UK tour. Not that mattered for most. We were under Heavy Fire...
With three albums under their belt it was refreshing to see that they no longer rely on peppering their set with TL numbers, as songs such as 'Testify Or Say Goodbye', 'Hey Judas' and the textured 'Soldierstown' stand on their own strengths.
Sure we expected it all to conclude with a rabble-rousing 'Whiskey In The Jar' but for many 'The Killer Instinct' and 'Bound For Glory' were the highlights.
As the midnight hour struck the weekend concluded with 'Dead City Ruins' ripping it up...
HRH XI ended...and most already looking to HRH XII.
Review by Jonathan Traynor
Pictures by Darren McVeigh and Lizzie Torbitt
See Lizzie's gallery here.
See Darren's gallery here.