Name : Metalfest West 2012
Location : Loreley (DE)
Date : 07.06 – 09.06.2012
Since the festival season has begun, I decided to attend Metalfest West which took place in Loreley. Since it was the first time that Metalfest was going to take place in western germany, the expectations were mixed. It was also going to be my first festival experience so I was feeling anxious and excited at the same time.
The first band I could see was the Scottish pirate-metallers Alestorm. When it comes to Alestorm, there is no such thing as a “bad performance” ; as a matter of fact, it is just the opposite. The crazy vibe could be seen from the crowd singing along and having fun with the metallers. They played songs like “Wenches and Mead” , “Over The Seas” , “Rum”, “Rumpelkombo” and “Shipwrecked” (of course!) and left the stage for Moonspell.
It was interesting to see Moonspell after a pirate metal band but this did not stop the crowd whatsoever. The Portuguese metallers opened their set with their new song “Axis Mundi” from their new album “Alpha Noir”. This song was a really powerful start to a powerful setlist and the vocalist/frontman Fernando Ribeiro’s mask when he entered the stage was beyond amazing ; not to mention the decorations for the set. The band kept playing a few songs like “Lickanthrope”, “Alpha Noir” and “En nome do medo” from their new album. The band probably guessed that the fans wanted to hear the old material so they played some old songs like “Wolfshade” , “Trebaruna” , “Alma Mater” and finished their set with “Full Moon Madness”.
The Dutch death metallers Legion of the damned were next and they rocked the stage! Even for someone like me who is not so interested in death metal, the band’s show was really impressive. Some of the songs they played were “Son of the Jackal” , “Pray and Suffer” , “Cult of the Dead” and “Werewolf Corpse”. The same thing could be said about the next death metallers from Sweden, Hypocrisy. They were powerful, brutal and they knew how to warm up the crowd for Blind Guardian.
Even though all of the bands I have watched were amazing, it was Blind Guardian who took everyone’s breath. The band made a humble entrance to the stage but the crowd was just the opposite of humble ; almost everyone was singing along to the songs and showing their support of the band after so many years. The band opened their set with “Sacred Worlds” and played their classic songs like “Nightfall” , “Valhalla” , “Tanelorn”, “Imaginations from the other side” and “Majesty”. There was one song, though, which made everyone go crazy and even made some people cry. When the vocalist Hansi Kürsch announced the song “Bard’s Song”, the singing along was expected but the interesting thing was, it was the audience that sang the song instead of Hansi. That moment was so magical that it was impossible to describe it ; I am sure that Blind Guardian gained everyone’s respect in the area. The band closed the set with “Mirror Mirror” and left for the headliner Megadeth.
The legendary American thrash-metallers Megadeth opened their set with “Never Dead” and played a mixture of old as well as new songs. Surely, they played their classic songs like “Hangar 18” , “She-Wolf”, “Trust” , “Symphony of Destruction” and “Sweating Bullets” but they also played songs “Whose Life (Is It Anyways)” and “ Public Enemy No.1” from their recently released album “Th1rt3en”. As a huge Megadeth fan, I also wanted to hear songs like “A Tout Le Monde” but since the band didn’t have a lot of time, it was expected of them. One thing that disappointed me was the sound system during the performance. There was nothing wrong the guitar sounds but in a lot of songs, the vocalist Dave Mustaine’s voice could not be heard properly. Nevertheless, their performance was amazing as usual.
BEST BAND OF DAY 1 : BLIND GUARDIAN
The second day of the festival started with some “heavy stuff” with the Polish black-metallers Vader and the Swedish heavy-metallers Grand Magus. It was pretty colorful to feel the black metal vibe on a sunny day with Vader. Moreover, Grand Magus also caught my attention since it was my first time listening to them but they were really powerful and confident on stage.
One band that really “got it off” was the German medieval metal band Saltatio Mortis. I had exactly no idea what kind of music this band was making but as soon as I saw the bagpipes, I knew the funny hours were ahead and I wasn’t wrong. What caught my attention the most was the relationship between the vocalist and the audience. The vocalist “Alea der Bescheidene“ was so friendly and ‚interactive‘ with the fans that I don’t think anyone expected this kind of warmth. At one moment, he even crowdsurfed for about a few minutes. Saltatio Mortis proved that they were not only an amazing band that got the crowd going but they were ‘fan-friendly’ as well.
Another impressive act of the second day was the German/Romanian power metal band Powerwolf. Like Saltatio Mortis, I did not know what to expect from these guys with white body paint and rather ‘dark’ costumes and decorations but they surprised me by being funny rather than dark. The vocalist Atilla Dorn just kept making the crowd go crazy and they even had 2 ‘catlike’ girls coming to the stage and dancing at one song. After Saltatio Mortis, Powerwolf’s performance may not have been so energetic but they proved that they are indeed a powerful band with great songs.
After so much power metal, it was time for bagpipes and strong vocals again and the next band was the famous Swiss- metallers Eluveitie. It was my second time watching this band live and I understood that they never disappoint the crowd and the energy within the band never fades away. The vocalist, Chrigel Glanzmann, was charismatic and friendly as always. The same could be said for the hurdy-gurdy player Anna Murphy, who impressed the crowd with the song “A Rose For Epona” from their new album “Helvetios”. Surely they also mixed their old new stuff ; they played new material like “Havoc” but also their classic song “Inis Mona”. Unfortunately, the set was really short and I am sure the crowd wanted to hear more but I could see the Behemoth fans gathering as Eluveitie finished their set.
I had to watch Behemoth from far away but I have to say that proved that they were one of the best live bands. They started the set with “Ov fire and the void”. What was amazing for everyone was surely the pyro show going on during their performance and Nergal shouting “It’s good to be alive!”. It was indeed good to see Behemoth rocking the stage again since the fans had been concerned about Nergal’s health (Nergal was diagnosed cancer a while ago but he recovered). The band made an amazing finish (probably the best ‘goodbye’ of the whole festival) with the black confetti thrown all over the area. That was surely unexpected and kept the crowd wanting for more.
It was a bit funny and weird for an epic power metal band like Edguy playing after Behemoth but everything was just perfect ; it stopped to rain, there was even a rainbow in the sky and there was the typical spring breeze although. The german power metallers made an epic start with “Nobody’s Hero” and made a spectacular performance .Undoubtedly, the performance was amazing but one thing bothered the fans : long speeches of the vocalist Tobias Sammett. In my opinion, the speeches were beyond funny ; Tobias Sammett talked a bit ironically about bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth and Kreator. I could see the audience laughing but surely they wanted to hear more music and less talking. Nevertheless, I have to say that the whole Edguy performance was the highlight of the second day. It was my first time watching them and I was beyond entertained. Edguy is undoubtedly powerful as a live band and Tobias Sammett knows how to be funny!
The headline of the second day was the German thrash-metallers Kreator. Once again, the crowd got bigger and bigger as the set was a bit delayed. Kreator started their set with “Violent Revolution” and played songs like “Phobia”, “Extreme Aggression” , “People Of The Lie” and many more. Kreator did not only “shake” the stage with their performance but I also loved their fire and smoke show during the performance. All in all, something like this was expected from a band like Kreator. Their show was a bit ‘extreme’ for me and I was really tired from standing up for hours and hours but I could see that the hardcore Kreator fans were beyond excited to see their favourite band kicking and screaming. Kreator has also recently released their brand new album “Phantom Antichrist” so I am sure this show , along with other Metalfest shows, were important and exciting for them.
As soon as Kreator finished their wonderful show in the main stage, I had to hurry to the second stage to see the Finnish doom-metallers Swallow The Sun. I have always wanted to hear how they sounded like and despite my tiredom, I decided to check them out. The second stage, which was basically a big and sincere tent stage, was full with metalheads. I could only catch Swallow The Sun halfway through their performance but I was not disappointed at all. The songs I could hear were “New Moon” , “Cathedral Walls” and “These Woods Breathe Evil”. Swallow The Sun once again proved that despite the technical problems with the sound, they were one of the true Finnish melancholic metallers out there. At one moment, I even closed my eyes and just lost myself in the whole melancholy of the music.
BEST BANDS OF DAY 2: ELUVEITIE, SALTATIO MORTIS, EDGUY
The first band of the last day was the Dutch symphonic-metallers Epica. Epica has recently released their new album “Requiem For The Indifferent” and I wanted to hear how the new material sounded like. Honestly, I expected them to play more newer material but they surprised me by playing their ‘old’ classics like “Cry For The Moon” , “Sancta Terra” and “Obsessive Devotion”. Surely, they played the new material like the first single from the new album “Storm The Sorrow” but I really liked how they made a mixture of the older and new material. The highlight of the band was of course the vocalist Simone Simons who caught everyone’s attention with her not-so-metal dress and kind speech. All in all, Epica played impressively and left the stage for Dark Tranquillity.
The Swedish melodic death-metallers made an impressive start with “Terminus” and played songs like “Misery’s Crown”, “The Treason Wall” and “Zero Distance”. It was my first time seeing this band live but they left a great impression on me. Moreover, not only was the audience overwhelmed but the band itself was beyond overwhelmed. Like almost all of the bands in the festival, Dark Tranquillity also kept thanking the audience for their support; I guess they did not really know what to expect from ‘Metalfest West’ but it could be understood from Dark Tranquillity that the ‘Metalfest West’ audience was really promising. The vocalist Mikael Stanne showed his appreciation by shaking fans’ hands and thanking them over and over again. I have to say that Dark Tranquillity’s performance was one of the best in the whole festival ; melodic death metal may not be for everyone but the Swedish metallers surely know how to do it.
The next act was the Finnish folk-metallers Ensiferum. Ensiferum is one of my favorite bands so I was eagerly waiting for Ensiferum in this festival. I have seen them twice before but when it comes to Ensiferum, there is no such thing as enough!
The band started the set with “Twilight Tavern” from their latest album “From Afar”. Everything was perfect and crazy ; the bassist Sami Hinkka was cheerful as always while the guitarist/vocalist Markus Toivonen danced to the songs during the whole performance. I have always admired Ensiferum’s choice of songs for festivals and this time I wasn’t wrong as well. They played “From Afar” from their latest album but for the fans of the older material, the band had a lot more to play. Surely, their classics like “Token of Time” , “One More Magic Potion”, “Ahti” and even “Into Battle” [the vocalist/guitarist Petri Lindroos stated that this song was the most requested song during the signing session of the band] had to be played. One thing that I love about Ensiferum is the crowd of course ; the Ensiferum crowd is always full of energy and support and they showed their support throughout the whole set. The band also made a surprise for the fans by playing a brand new song “Burning Leaves” from their upcoming album, which seemed quite promising and amazing. The band finished their set with the epic song “Iron” ; too bad they didn’t make the audience do ‘dat-dara-da’ but it didn’t change anything. Ensiferum kept everyone wanting for more.
I had to leave the area for some personal issues so I missed the bands Kyuss Lives! and Fear Factory. Moreover, I was eager to see another epic folk-metal band in the second stage ; it was time for some Heidevolk!
I kind of expected the Heidevolk show to be epic but I just did not expect so much madness, so many ‘vikings’ and so many crowdsurfers! After a bit of delay, the Dutch folk-metallers opened their set with Nehalennia and even from the first moments, the mosh-pit got crazier, the crowd-surfers increased and the band got better and better. In my opinion, the setlist was also great. The Dutch-metallers have released their new material a while ago but they decided to play older songs like “Saksenland” , “Vulgaris Magistralis” , “Walhalla Wacht” but they also played newer material like “Ein Nieuw Begin”. Heidevolk was the best band of the third day for me probably ; surely they were only in the second stage and although the second stage was packed with Heidevolk fans, In Extremo surely attracted a bigger audience in the main stage but the Dutch-metallers totally gained my respect. I just wish they played a longer set but unfortunately when they finished their set, I was a bit sad because for me it also meant that it was the end of a wonderful journey.
BEST BANDS OF DAY 3 : ENSIFERUM , HEIDEVOLK , IN EXTREMO
All in all, Metalfest West was an amazing experience for a metalhead like me! I also think that the people who attended to the festival thought that everything was perfect music-wise ; the mixture of genres was really impressive, there was a bit of everything for everyone. Moreover, the audience itself was really impressive as well ; I did not see any non-metal fans around so that meant that the festival was really pure metal. The sound system and the amphitheatre was also very nice. It was a bit hard for people to mosh and crowdsurf in the mainstage but that is not always necessary 😉
Some stuff bothered everyone though ; firstly, for next time there should be more entrances since a lot of people (me included) had to wait for 2 hours in the queue just to get a wristband. The food/drinks in the festival area were pretty OK although the prices were a bit expensive but that was a bit expected. The toilettes were too far away from the campside so next time, the organisers should be more careful about the toilettes and the showers.
All in all, out of 10 Metalfest West would be rated as 8 for me. I was there for the music and I loved everything about it! Hopefully there will be a Metalfest West 2013 next year! 🙂
I did not write the setlist for all bands but if you wanna know about the setlists of the bands in the festival, check out this link