As a huge pagan metal fan, concerts like these are always a big thing for me. The line-up, which consists of bands like Eluveitie and Korpiklaani, for this year’s Paganfest also seemed promising.
The first band I could see live was the black metal band from Transylvania, Negura Bunget. It was my first time seeing this band live and they left a good impression on me. However, I am not sure if everyone in the audience were into the band since people expected more “folk” melodies rather than the dark and ambient atmosphere that the band created. However, they pulled a great show in my opinion and the unique instruments they used during their performances was a great combination to the dark atmosphere.
After Negura Bunget left the stage, the next band was Equilibrium. I didn’t know what to expect from this german quintet but I could see that the audience was already motivated and I was right. From the first song “Unter der Eiche”, the band had a huge impact on the audience and the mosh-pit of course. The setlist of Equilibrium consisted of songs like “ Unbesiegt” , “Blut im Auge”, “Widars Hallen” and “Der Ewige Weg” but what made the audience go crazy was the famous song “Met” and the Skyrim cover. Especially, the Skyrim cover was really good since it fit to the concept of “paganfest” and the fact that the song was rather like a ‘surprise’ made it epic . What I also liked about the band was the “smoky” stage effect that made the atmosphere a lot cooler and more impressive. I also liked how the vocalist Robse, who joined the band in 2010, was cheerful and motivating throughout the whole show. Surely, the fans did not need to be motivated but it was good to see that the band was motivated and eager to play as well.
After Equilibrium, the irish band Primordial was next. To be honest, their music is not my style but I have to say I respect them since they are considered as the founders of the celtic metal and the fact that they have been in the metal scene for 21 years puts the band in an honorary position. The band started with “No Grave Deep Enough” from their latest album “Redemption at the Puritans Hand”. The vocalist Alan Averill Nemtheanga’s moves and emotions added a vibe and atmosphere to the songs. It was also interesting how he interacted with the fans by leaving the stage and shaking their hands. The band played some other songs like “Heathen Tribes”, “Lain with the Wolf”, “Bloodied Yet Unbowed” and “God’s old Snake” and left the stage for Korpiklaani.
As the soundcheck was made for Korpiklaani, the audience was getting more eager by each passing minute. With the intro and the first song “Hunting Song”, Korpiklaani proved that they were still full of energy after 20 years. The setlist consisted of songs like “ Lonkkaluut” and “Tequila” as well as the Motörhead cover “Iron Fist” from their album “Ukon Wacka”. But surely when it comes to Korpiklaani, there are two songs which every metal fan knows and after the guitarist Kalle “Cane” Savijärvi asked “Do you want to drink vodka?” everyone knew that the infamous Korpiklaani song “Vodka” was next. Like Equilibrium’s song “Met”, “Vodka” was also the peak point of this live show and it was what made everyone in Paganfest go crazy. The band also surprised a fan from the audience when they invited her to the stage while playing “Tequila”.
Another nice highlight from the show was the violinist Tuomas Rounakari’s solo performance “Langetus” from his solo project Shamanviolin. It was indeed moments like that which made everyone appreciate how good and magical it was to be there.
Everyone was tired after Korpiklaani’s energetic performance but one could still feel the remaining energy for the headliner of Paganfest, Eluveitie. As the lights faded and the intro began playing, it was obvious that the Swiss band was not going to disappoint anybody. The band started with the songs “Helvetios and “Luxtos” from their latest album “Helvetios”. Especially, the collaboration of Anna Murphy and the frontman Chrigel Glanzmann in Luxtos was breathtaking. As a new Eluveitie fan, it was great for me to hear the songs such as “Meet the Enemy”, “Scorched Earth”, “Uxellodunon” and “A rose for Epona” from the new album. The band also had some good songs for the fans of old songs such as “Dominion”, “Thousandfold”, “Calling the Rain”, “Tegernako” and the most famous Eluveitie song “Inis Mona”. Just when the fans thought it was all over, the band made a great finish with their latest single “Havoc” from the new album. Once again, Eluveitie proved that they were one of the best out there with their new material and new style.
Overall, it was a magical and awesome night filled with folkish elements and pagan stories. Especially the bands Korpiklaani, Equilibrium and Eluveitie were the big highlights of the night for me.