Worship Metal made the trek to Scotland’s Wildfire Festival (formerly known as Les-Fest) last weekend with just 3 things on our mind; to see every band, drink a shit-tonne of beer and meet a few Hard Rock/Heavy Metal legends along the way. Well, as Meatloaf so succinctly put it, two out of three ain’t bad and while we didn’t manage to see every band we damn near saw the majority of ’em and here’s the Worship Metal verdict on a Festival that catered for all tastes (haggis in a roll withstanding)!
No second stage until Saturday, so all eyes were on those bands demolishing the main stage and Crimes Of Passion (aka C.O.P UK)  had the unenviable task of kicking things off at 1pm on a Friday afternoon. Undeterred, the band produced a storming set led by their god-sized vocalist whose thunder-lunged delivery, backed by a band delivering a Melodic-Metal masterclass, threatened to steal the show before it had even begun! Fortunately, Trad Metallers Kaine  were more than capable of continuing the quality and their Iron Maiden-inspired gallop through Heavy Metal history incorporated everything from Thrash to NWOBHM without once sounding passé. One’s to watch. Ronin‘s  Alt Rock shenanigans, replete with frontman Kit Kinrade beginning their set in amongst the crowd, proved lithe and lively but their questionable cover of Destiny Child’s “Survivor” divided the crowd. Knock Out Kaine  were an unexpected highlight, all 80’s sleaze and 100% Rock ‘N’ Roll attitude. Top tunes and funny as f*ck these guys are tighter than a nuns chuff and come highly recommended. Fahran‘s  anthemic Hard Rock and whirlwind head-banging impressed the throng before Tysondog  bought some veritable old-school grit to proceedings with classic Proto-Thrash numbers “Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down” and “Blood Money” sounding as super-charged as ever. New tricks? These dogs don’t need ’em! The Burning Crows  may be indebted to The Black Crowes in more than just name but their feel-good swagger and Rock ‘N’ Roll party vibes had Wildfire’s classic rock contingent eating out of the palms of their hands before Holocaust‘s  old-school brute force took over. John Mortimer’s Scottish Metal pioneers are on the rise, visibly rejuvenated and deserving of some long-overdue recognition. The trio pulled off a set that enticed, enthralled and educated in equal measure, opener “Predator” – the title of their forthcoming album – as incendiary as stone-cold classics “The Small Hours”, “The Nightcomers” and a blistering “Heavy Metal Mania”. Tygers Of Pan Tang  proved ideal headliners for a day steeped in New Wave Of British Heavy Metal nostalgia and affirmed that these old dogs (or should that be cats) were still more than capable of knocking out a crowd pleasing set full of classic cuts and new(ish) material. Hit after hit erupted as the Tygers delved into their back catalogue with classic cuts “Insanity”, “Don’t Walk By” and “Suzie Smiled” receiving an airing while “Keeping Me Alive” from 2012’s Ambush proved as equally adept at pleasing a very vocal crowd. A great way to end a great day.