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Melody of the Soul

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Concert Reports

[LIVE REPORT] SKALMÖLD, ARKONA and ELUVEITIE @ Bremen

Date : 20.11.2014

Bands : Skalmöld (IS), Arkona (RUS), Eluveitie (CH)

Location : Tivoli – Bremen

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It’s been a while since I last attended to an energetic folk/viking metal concert so I was super excited for the gig on Thursday evening. The audience did not also mind the super cold weather in Bremen; the venue was already crowded before the show began and the energy could be felt.

The first band was the Icelandic Viking metallers Skalmöld. I first saw Skalmöld in 2011 as part of the Heidenfest tour; they were not so known back then but I remember being really impressed with the band’s music and the good energy they created within the audience. This time, it was even better than I expected. The band was on fire from the first moment they started playing; compared to 2011, I can definitely say that Skalmöld has improved musically and also as a band in general. In this sense, they are stronger, harsher but they did not lose the essence of their music which is the most important thing of course. Another thing that caught my attention was how happy and surprised the band was; I guess they did not expect a crowded audience for a warm-up band and considering it was their first time in Bremen, they were also overwhelmed and motivated which could be felt in their live show.

Although the band’s latest album “Með Vættum” has been released two weeks ago, the setlist did not consist of only the new songs but also some old songs such as the intro song “Árás” (from Baldur, 2010) and “Gleipnir” (from Börn Loka, 2013) so the people in the audience, who did not have any idea who the band was, could get a glimpse of the band’s old and new sound. I personally could see the difference between the songs; the ‘new’ Skalmöld was much more powerful and mature, which fit to the band’s style of epic viking metal. The band might have been the first band of the evening with the shortest setlist, but I personally loved the band even more. All in all, they are the true viking metallers! 😀

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The second band was the Russian folk metal band Arkona. I could already see the ‘loyal’ fanbase of Arkona even before the start of the gig so the anticipation could be felt clearly. It wasn’t my first time seeing Arkona; I saw the band live on Heidenfest 2011 (along with Skalmöld :D) and the mixture of Russian melodies combined with the authentic Arkona sound was quite impressive although I gotta say that their music is not my cup of tea (apart from the Russian melodies maybe.. :D)

One aspect I really like about the live performances of Arkona is the neverending energy of the frontwoman, Masha Scream. She is indeed the definition of how a frontwoman should be like; she is really talented, aggressive and knows how to create the ambience within the band and the audience. She is like the tribe leader! 😀 You might not be into Arkona’s music but when you are watching Arkona live, it’s impossible not to be mesmerized about Masha’s overall energy; that aspect combined with the band’s unique style is what makes Arkona so admired and respected. This was also clear in the live show; one moment the audience was headbanging and the bandmembers were dancing on stage and the other moment, a wall of death was happening in the middle of the venue.

As the fans know, Arkona released their latest album “Yav” on April 2014 so the setlist consisted of songs from the band’s latest album (“Yav”, “Na Strazhe Novyh Let”)  but also of the classics such as “Goi, Rode, Goi”, “Slav’sja, Rus” and everyone’s favorite “Yarilo”. There was probably almost noone who never heard of Arkona before so the audience was quite familiar with the band’s sound and songs. They might not be my favorite pagan/folk metal band but I respect the band for the overall vibe they create in their live performances.

Eluveitie at last.. What can be said about a band like Eluveitie? To be honest, I did not know what to expect from the band; their latest album “Origins” was kind-of a disappointment for me despite a few great songs and the technical improvement of the band’s musical style.

The band started the show with “King” (from their latest album Origins) and from that moment, I knew that a great show was awaiting the audience! 😀 I also have to say that the live version of the songs from the latest album sounded much better than the album version so in this sense, Eluveitie definitely made me ‘like’ the new album a bit more. New songs such as “Silver Sister” and “Vianna” were also quite impressive. I also really liked the fact that the frontman Chrigel Glanzmann told the story of Vianna before starting the show so the live show was also educational in that sense. That was not it though; the band surely did not forget the classic admired Elu songs such as “Omnos”, “Kingdom Come Undone”, “Thousandfold” and of course “Inis Mona” and many more including songs from the band’s previous album. It was so great hearing those songs live again. Surely, old Eluveitie is a fucking classic and it was also clear in this show.

One highlight of the show was the lovely hurdy gurdy player and vocalist Anna Murphy. I always admired her contribution to the band and this was obvious in the song “The Call of the Mountains”, which she sang in German instead of in English. I never heard the complete song in German before so this was a different experience for sure. Other songs sung by her in the set were “Omnos” and “A Rose for Epona”.

Another interesting highlight was seeing Matteo Sisti (Krampus) as the bagpipe/whistle player on the stage instead of Patrick Kistler. I honestly did not know who he was but after the gig, I learned that Pade indeed parted ways with the band; it is still shocking for me since Patrick was one of the bandmembers who formed the essence of the band. Nevertheless, Matteo was quite succesful during the live set. Surely, he was not like Pade but he fit the band quite well; for now, he is only the session musician but let’s see if he will become the permanent bandmember.

Eluveitie was better than I expected despite the sad news I had learnt but the band managed to leave a smile on my face. They are one of those bands that I can see live again and again.

3 bands and an awesome night full of harsh metal and folk melodies.. 😀 Thanks to the organization and to the bands!

More info :

SKALMÖLD – http://www.skalmöld.is

ARKONA – http://www.arkona-russia.com/

ELUVEITIE – http://www.eluveitie.ch

[LIVE REPORT] She Past Away and Golden Apes on Halloween

Date : 31.10.2014

Bands : She Past Away (TR), Golden Apes (DE)

Location : Schlachthof Bremen

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What’s better than Halloween/Samhain? A Halloween full of darkwave/gothic music of course! 😀

This Halloween, Turkish darkwave band She Past Away were to play at Schlachthof Bremen. The support act were the German dark/gothic rock band Golden Apes. Even before the show, the crowd gathered in front of the venue to wait for the bands to play; it was surely obvious that it was gonna be a crowded evening. The venue was decorated quite well which fit to the Halloween concept; little dolls were hung on the ceiling and the eerie atmosphere was created quite well.

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Golden Apes started the set with “doomy” and “gothic-like” synths and so the Halloween started. The dark vibe that the band created was what kept me hooked on their live show. All in all, we are not talking about a newcomer band; Golden Apes has been around since 1998 and they have released 7 studio albums so far. In this sense, the impression they have left on the stage was not just “darkwave/gothic” like; throughout the show, I felt that I was hearing a harmony of different genres, from alternative/indie to gothic/darkwave or even hard rock;  the band managed to warm up the crowd in this magical night although most of the people in the venue were waiting for She Past Away and there wasn’t so much movement in the audience.

Another great higlight of the show – apart from the beautiful and magical synths- was the bass guitar played by Christian Lebrecht ; I think that the band used that aspect very well in their live show. I think that the bass guitar can be quite important and astonishing in the genre of darkwave/gothic/doom (Type O Negative/Sisters of Mercy, anyone?). My favorite songs of the night were “Happy Losers” and “Archers”.

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What can be said about She Past Away? Anyone who is craving for 80s retro elements and darkwave music knows this Turkish band of course. As soon as they were on stage, the audience (which was more crowded than before) clapped along and started dancing. It was amazing to see how these 2 guys can take over the whole stage; they have got this charismatic and cool attitude but yet so much energy in their songs that it’s hard not to dance.

The band started the set with “Belirdi Gece” (The Night Emerged) from the album with the same name, released in 2012. What was great about their stage show was the dark and dynamic aura that they created; vocalist Volkan Caner’s deep vocals added that ‘dark’ vibe to the music whereas bassist İdris Akbulut’s bass added a great dimension to the music. I also loved the fact that the band sometimes changed the songs while keeping the essence; the songs they played live did not exactly sound like the album version but much more unique and ‘atmospheric’. I gotta say that I did not see many bands do this but She Past Away definitely proved how authentic they are in this sense. It’s no wonder how successful and adored they are in many countries worldwide.

Some of the highlights of the show – apart from everyone sweating and the venue getting warmer and warmer :D- were the songs “Sanrı”, “Monoton” and “Kasvetli Kutlama” (which was definitely everyone’s favorite I guess). Apart from that, the band also played the For Against cover “Fate” and Suspiria cover “Allegedly, Dancefloor Tragedy” . The audience loved the show so much that the band had to come to the stage 2 times after ending the show. For the last time then, they ended the show with “Ritüel” (which they played for the 2nd time!). She Past Away was simply just amazing, no words needed for that! 😀

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Links :

Golden Apes Official

She Past Away Facebook

[LIVE REPORT] Rock Off Festival

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As the summer is coming to an end,  I thought I would share my impressions of this year’s first Rock Off festival, which was held in Istanbul, Turkey! This festival was quite important for a ‘regular’ Turkish metalhead since the festival had some quite promising names like MEGADETH, AMON AMARTH, TURISAS, GOJIRA and… HIM!  Apart from the foreign bands, the line-up also included Turkish acts such as MURAT ILKAN, MURDER KING and much more!

Day 1 :

Since I was there as a visitor and not as a journalist, I decided to skip acts (and tour Istanbul a little bit) so the first band I could see was the German act HAGGARD. Known for their symphonic melodies and the ‘crowded’ appearance on stage, the band had generally a good energy. It was also a good start to the festival for me; I always have a thing for violin + the mixture of the female and male vocals and Haggard did indeed satisfy the audience. The band has played in Turkey for more than 3 times so they were quite relaxed on stage!  The sound system this time was also (surprisingly) good so it was possible to hear almost every element – from the violin to the harsh male vocals- in the band’s music. The highlight of the show was surely “Herr Mannelig” which is the band’s classic!

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After some symphonic metal, power metal madness was awaiting the metalheads. The excitement arose as STRATOVARIUS started the show. It was such a great feeling seeing this legendary band on stage; I am not a huge fan of the power metal scene but Stratovarius is definitely one of those bands that every metalhead can enjoy. The band started the setlist with “Speed Light” so it was clear that the setlist was gonna be colorful and it was indeed so! The band continued the show with songs like “Eagleheart”, “Deep Unknown”, “Legions” and “The Kiss of Judas”. However, my favorite of the whole show was definitely “Hunting High and Low”.This song had a great energy within the audience and it was surely the highlight of the performance. As the band closed the set with “Black Diamond”, they finished the show with smiles on their faces. 😀

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Soon after Stratovarius finished the show, the warm (and extremely humid) weather had a sudden change and we faced with a quite aggressive rain shower.. When I say rain shower, it was a shower indeed. The shower did not intend to stop and this put a question mark in everyone’s face.. Was the next band , HIM, gonna perform at all?! This was an anxious moment for all the HIM fans. We later learned that the stage was flooded as well so this got us even worried a lot more.

After a delay of about 1 hour and after the rain eventually stopped, the Finnish love metallers were finally able to perform. As a person who has seen this band a few times in different countries, I was quite interested how this would turn out; HIM’s performances were either extremely awful or amazing so what was it gonna be this time? As the band started the set with “Buried Alive By Love”, I knew this show was gonna be fucking amazing. It was quite surprising to see the headliners had a happy mood overall; it was not just about Ville Valo but everyone was rocking on stage! The band had a great setlist overall; some songs like “Join Me In Death” , “Kiss of Dawn”, “Your Sweet 666” were some of the classics that the band played.

Despite an amazing performance, the band could only play for 40 minutes (normally, the band was going to play a 105 minute show) and they had to finish the show with “Wicked Game”. This was such a disappointment for the hardcore HIM fans. Surely this was the organisation’s fault ; apparently, the stage was flooded so much – including the PA system- that it was risky for the band to play on stage.. Well, such a shame!  I hope the organisation learned its lesson and will not repeat a mistake like this again.. Nevertheless, it was an amazing feeling to see these guys in Turkey after 10 years. Who knows? Maybe next show will be organised more professionally!

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Day 2 :

A sunny second day was awaiting the ‘fierce’ metalheads. Why ‘fierce’? Because it was the day of fucking viking metal!

Today for me started with the Turisas signing session. It was especially surprising to see those kinds of sessions in a Turkish festival but this time it was clear that everybody was quite excited for the signing session. I also gotta mention that the queue was quite long; Turisas surely had lots of fans in Turkey but I also kinda saw that the previous signing session of Amon Amarth was taking longer than usual and each fan, who got an autograph from the band left with a smile on his/her face! 😀

Meanwhile, the legendary MURAT ILKAN was already on stage. From what I have heard, the former Mezarkabul vocalist was diagnosed with MS, which was quite sad to hear. However, as a person who saw him on the stage for the first time, I was impressed to the core. Surely, we are talking about a very talented and professional vocalist but this time, it seemed like he did beat MS (in a way) and he was definitely back on track. As for the crowd, the warm humid sunny afternoon did not matter to them and Mr. Ilkan was definitely appreciated.

Aaaand the moment (most of) the fans had been waiting for.. TURISAS in Turkey for the first time! 😀 My first impressions of the show were undescribable of course.. The band started the show with a little intro and then one of the classics ; “To Holmgard and Beyond”. This was a perfect start to the show as it gave just the right amount energy and motivation to keep the crowd going. That was not the only classic they played though ; “One More” and “Battle Metal” were also some of the amazing songs in the setlist. For the fans of the new stuff, the songs “ We Ride Together” and “No Good Story Ever Starts With Drinking Tea” were played with joy. The mainman Mathias Nygard was quite obvious though; throughout the show, he greeted the crowd three times saying ‘We are Turisas from Finland.. How are you?’ 😀 But I could see why they were so excited and I am sure any Turisas fan will know as well. The city of Istanbul (or Constantinopolis back then) is significant for the band. For that matter, they finished the show with “Miklagard Overture”.

Overall, this was an amazing Turisas show filled with excitement and lots of little circle-pits 😀 It was definitely different, watching this band in Istanbul… Well, they need to be back so soon! Istanbul will surely miss them!

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It was time for some heavy/power metal… The Norwegian mastermind JORN on stage.. I remember reviewing one of his albums many months ago and his voice definitely captivated me at the first listen. I was tired as hell after the Turisas gig so I decided to chill with friends at the back  and listen to him from a bit far away.

When we are talking about a performer like Jorn, who has worked with many bands like Masterplan, Ark, Beyond Twilight and The Snakes,  the professionalism and perfectionalism were surely there. He definitely is one of those artists who always performs awesome shows live. Let’s not forget the most important element about him : the vocals of course! Some of my friends even said “Well.. This guy sounds like Dio!” and it was indeed so. For metalheads who were craving those old days, Jorn was the answer. However, the other half (who was waiting for the headliners, Amon Amarth) were really bored and just wanted it to be over.. Well.. Personally, it was soothing for me to listen to Jorn but I wish the audience could have been a bit more motivating and enthusiastic.

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AMON AMARTH at last! I especially moved to a bit front to see the guys live for the first time.. (yes, for the fucking first time after all these years :D). What can I say? After the little intro, it was time for some mindblowing viking metal. The Swedish vikings started the set with “Father of the Wolf” and I could already hear that almost everybody was singing (or growling) along and headbanging.. It was a crazy atmosphere there! 😀

The band had a great setlist for the fans in general; some of my favorites were the intro song “Father of the Wolf”,  “Deceiver of the Gods”, which can also be regarded as one of the audience’s favorite songs, “Cry of the Black Birds” and of course “Guardians of Asgaard”. However, the higlight of the setlist happened before the last song “The Pursuit of Vikings”; the mainman/vocalist Johan Hegg held a huge Mjölnir high and then the band finished their amazing performance with the last song.

I guess there is nothing to say more; Amon Amarth definitely killed it. I can definitely say that they were my favorites of the festival. They were the great headliner and their show was filled with the whole viking spirit and I guess this was just what everyone needed!

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Day 3:

Going to the festival at the last day was a bit of a last-minute decision for me. However, after wandering around the city, I decided to head to the venue to see the last two bands, GOJIRA and the headliners MEGADETH.

The French death/groove metallers GOJIRA were already playing when I entered the venue! I remember listening to this band long ago; the band was not my style back then. But I have to say that their live show this time did manage to convince me. I really like the overall dark atmosphere that the band created, not to mention their technical sound. It was Gojira’s first time in Turkey and they were also surprised to see so many Gojira fans in the venue!

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As the festival’s last band, the headliners MEGADETH were next. I was a bit skeptic about this performance since I know for a fact that mainman Dave Mustaine’s vocals are not always the best recently. However, this performance was better than I have expected and the setlist included (almost) everything that a Megadeth fan needed ; “Symphony of Destruction”, “Hangar 18”, “Tornado of Souls”…. You name the others  😀 As a matter of fact, I was quite surprised that the band did not play so many songs from their  recent albums.. I guess they also knew that the fans wanted to hear the classics more than the ‘new’ and ‘totally different’ Megadeth stuff.

The higlight of the show was definitely the huge screen on stage. During every song, there were images, videos related to the song performed and since some of the Megadeth songs are political, the fans were able to see lots of images of politicians and political situations. This was surely quite meaningful; especially in a country like Turkey.

 

All in all, I can say that, Rock Off Festival was a great start when it comes to metal festivals in Turkey. Surely, there were some (huge) mistakes that the organisation made and need to avoid at next year’s festival (yes, it’s happening indeed!). Apart from those mistakes, everyone seemed to have a great time and both the bands and the audience were satisfied. We just gotta hope that Freebird Agency – the organization- is a bit more careful regarding weather conditions 😉

 

Metal Summer Festival and the Biggest Fiasco of my Life

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Well..  on 24th of May 2014, there was Metal Summer Festival, which hosted some bands like Fallen, Kırmızı, Mezarkabul ( Pentagram ), Arch Enemy and Manowar. I was so excited to see Manowar after 4 years ( my last time was  in 2010 at  Sonisphere İstanbul ) but this time,  it turned out to be the worst concert of my life.

The sound system was so awful and sound technicians were also terrible. At first two bands,  it was OK but possibly it was because of the fact that those were the  first hours of the event and people really didn’t care about the warm uppers. Fallen was ok, I was late to concert a bit due to traffic but it’s OK right? 😀

Then Kırmızı took stage ( A band which consisted of only female members,which is a little bit rare thing here in Turkey ). Personally their own songs are not my type. Lyrics mostly sounded like “I hate all male creatures.” “Don’t say goodbye.” “Stupid, asshole males.” to me.  Anyway,  the songs they covered were pretty good;  they played Overkill‘s “Necroshine” and I screamed my ass off!
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After these two bands,  Mezarkabul took stage. After Murat İlkan departured the band due to his medical conditions, their new vocal Gökalp Ergen ( ex- The Climb, which was an awesome band ) is pretty much a big disappointment for me. His performance on old songs were really bad, yet his breath cannot take him to the end of any song he sang, even the songs he composed after he joined  the band. But all of these aside, the sound was so low and even though I was close to the stage,  I could figure it out and people were like “What the hell?“.

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Photo: Caner Güneri

When Arch Enemy took stage, I was so excited to see the new vocalist live, Alissa White-Gluz with them but again a new disappointment occured. But this time it was not also the band but the sound system. The sound was so low, it was so low that the crowd lost their interest in the band’s performance but started to boo and curse the sound technicians. Afterwards people started throwing things to the sound technicians where they do their mojo. At a moment, everyone started to protest and sit down during the concert. Then they opened up the volume a bit but it wasn’t enough. Personally I didn’t understand the band’s performance at all. Well, they also left the stage early. I can’t even write a full set list here due to the fact that I have no idea what they played at some point because I didn’t even hear them.

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And then Manowar here on stage at last. Before they took stage, we heard from a couple of organizers that the sound technicians were Manowar’s crew and they didn’t let warm up and support bands to sound equal with them. But there is no official statement released and I can only say these were rumours. Well, if this is true, shame on Manowar. It was the worst coward move ever a band did, seriously.
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If we talk about their performance it wasn’t even close to a good performance, yet I can clearly say that it was really really bad. During the first three songs, there were a lot of synchronization problems. Furthermore,  the sound on guitars were on and off during the concert like when you try to plug your headphones to mp4 player yet you couldn’t push enough and it sounds like a little bit horrible or on and off sometime to time, it was like that.  The sound was high but still they couldn’t fit the instruments each other. Like guitars were lost behind the drums and I was nearly dead after hearing so much sub bass. During the concert there were a lot of video shows between some songs. The sixth song was Blood of the King and it was the song that I joined the concert at last. The video before the song made me so excited, I screamed like hell. Well you can guess it = ) it was The Warrior’s Prayer!

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Manowar concert had ups and downs during the performance. At some point Joey Demaio played a solo performace and personally it was so bad that I wanted to kill myself after it. It sounded so horrible. People made the same expressions with me ” What the fuck was that?”. Well,  after this concert I can only say they were OK. Classically they came back one more time again but made it look like they came on stage two times during the performance. However, I told to myself “please, one time is enough, just end this terrible performance right now.”

Well the best thing happened in concert was Demaio’s 10 minute-long Turkish speech. He also expressed his condolences to the crowd regarding the mine accident at Soma, Manisa, where 300 people lost their lives tragically.

By the way between the concerts, Timur Akkurt was going the be the DJ but Manowar crew didn’t let him perform. He also confirmed that they only let other bands perform 25 decibel lower than Manowar. He made his statement to us after the concert (Well we were all drunk and chatted by coincidence )

In conclusion Metal Summer Festival was quite bad. An investment to music that had been wasted in mist.

Here are the setlists of last 3 bands;

Mezarkabul aka Pentagram

1- Intro/1000 in The Eastland
2- Ölümlü
3- Unspoken
4- Wasteland
5- Geçmişin Yükü
6- Şeytan Bunun Neresinde
7- Give me Something to Kill the Pain
8- Beyond Insanity
9- Gündüz Gece
10- Lions in the Cage
11- Tigris
12- Bir
13- For Those Who Died Alone aka ftwda (Closure after performance)

Arch Enemy ( Well if I heard it right it was something like this )

1- Enemy Within

2- War Eternal

3- Ravenous

4- My Apocalypse

5- Dead Eyes See No Future

6- As the Pages Burn

7- No Gods No Masters

8- Nemesis

Manowar;

1- Intro/Manowar
2- Blood of my Enemies
3- Sign of the Hammer
4- The Lord of Steel
5- The Dawn of Battle
6- The Warrior’s Prayer ( Fallen Brothers video – a memory of the lost brothers )
7- Blood of the Kings
8- Kingdom Come
9- Heart of Steel ( Before the song a video )
10- bass solo-Sting of the Bumbelee
11- Wheels of Fire
12- Hail and Kill
13- Kings of Metal
————–
14- Warriors of the World United ( Before the song Joey Demaio speech )
15- Black Wind Fire and Steel
16- The Crown and the Ring ( Closure )

 

M’ERA LUNA 2013 – Impressions

Every festival freak out there knows that M’ERA LUNA festival, which takes place in Hildesheim, Germany every year, is really unique and colorful! As soon as the line-up for this year’s festival was announced, I knew I had to go there. What I liked about the line-up was that it was a mixture of symphonic/gothic rock with EBM/darkwave stuff and it was surely going to be amazing! Furthermore, this year, I decided to attend to the festival as a ‘Lotse’ (volunteer) which meant that I would be working and enjoying the festival at the same time.

The festival would start on Saturday, 10th August, but as a volunteer, I had to be there much earlier; right after my 1-month-of-vacation in Turkey on 8th August, I went directly to Hildesheim. I was quite excited at first; I kinda got to know a few volunteers before on the Facebook group but my emotions were mixed. However, it was much better than I expected! Firstly, we had our own camping place which was a HUGE plus for someone like me who is not so familiar with the whole camping stuff. The other volunteers were also beyond nice; everybody helped each other and got to know each other.

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As a volunteer, I would also get to see the whole festival BEFORE it began; during Thursday and Friday, the constructions and the food/shopping places were being built and it was so interesting to see the festival area totally empty! It was nevertheless full of energy.

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The most interesting day for me (apart from the whole festival of course) was the Friday, 9th of August. As I got to work in the entrance, I got to meet so many interesting fans with the most interesting outfits. This was surely different for me because I never got to see so much variety in an average metal festival.

Back to M’era Luna festival… The first band I could see was SALTATIO MORTIS. I saw them live on Metalfest in 2012 and they did not change ever since; they were still energetic and they managed to keep the crowd lively and happy. What caught my attention was frontman Alea ‘Der Bescheidene’’s speech about racism all around the world (they even had a song against it, “Wachstum Über Alles”) and their announcement of the new album, which was released couple of days ago.

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The next artist I could see was the Austrian industrial techno act NACHTMAHR. Everybody had been hyped up about the act this year and this could be seen from the queue formed in front of the hangar stage. It was impossible to enter to the stage; I had to wait 10-15 mins and I could understand why.
The crowd for NACHTMAHR was also divided. The people in the front mostly applaused and took photos whereas the crowd in the far back (including me) consisted of the industrial dancers, who were amazing in my opinion, and people, who just wanted to hang out and get a taste of the whole vibe.

     

Highlights of the whole performance were surely the two female ‘entertainers’ during the performance (one of them ended up topless towards the end of the performance) and the whole slide show. There were lots of sentences from artists/authors in this slide show that made me go ‘Wow’ but the most interesting was the sentence “War is not the answer.” And I think the message was clear on this one. This whole slide-show/animation thing was surely a contrast to the whole dynamic performance and it built the essence of this Nachtmahr show.

The last band I could see the first day was the Finnish rockers HIM. I last saw them on Helldone Festival in December and I was quite disappointed with the band ever since. Especially after “Tears on Tape” came out, I thought that HIM would never be the same again. So I also did not have high expectations this time. However, HIM surprised me! They started the set with the songs from their new album “Tears on Tape” and from there on, it was like a journey through time. I really liked the setlist they chose for the festival; it was not too much rock’n’roll (did I mention M’era Luna was not 100% metal/rock festival ? :D) but it was not too ‘cheesy’ either. They played some ‘classics’ like Wings of a Butterfly, Join Me and It’s All Tears but also some of the ‘new’ songs like Hearts At War and All Lips Go Blue.  The crowd seemed to love the brand-new HIM as well. The frontman Ville Valo seemed ‘healthy’ and ‘fit’; he played his cool acoustic guitar most of the time and this time, it was actually the other members (especially the guitarist Linde) that were in the spotlight so that was great to see! The only thing I did not like about the performance was the last song “When Love and Death Embrace”; I always found that song ‘too’ slow and it was just like a lullaby for an energetic festival like M’era Luna. Nevertheless, the performance was nothing like Helldone festival and I can clearly say that HIM has improved since December and they kick ass more than ever!

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The second day started with a ‘traffic-shift’ for me. I had to stand in the entrance road for 6 hours and tell the ‘confused’ drivers where to park and stuff 😀 This meant that I would be missing the performance of the Finnish goth’n’rollers THE 69 EYES. Something rather different was waiting for me that day though; I decided to dance a little bit and headed to the hangar stage for German EBM act  [: SITD:]. The whole atmosphere was just like Nachtmahr; it took me a while to get into the stage but once I got there, the people were going crazy! I especially loved the moves the industrial dancers were making and the whole performance definitely brightened up my day.

M’era Luna was not all about artists and performances though; the ‘Mittelaltermarkt’ and the ‘Gothic Fashion Town’ looked promising as well. As a person who loves gothic clothing, this festival was the perfect location for me. I even ended up buying 2 great gothic tops! 😀 Mittelaltermarkt was also astonishing although I think that there should be more space for more middle age stuff next time; surely there were lots of ‘goths’ around but majority of the festival freaks were also fans of Viking/pagan stuff as well!

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One of the highlights of Sunday was BLUTENGEL. I wanted to see this act for a long time and M’era Luna was the perfect festival for this! I would have preferred Chris Pohl and Ulrike Goldmann to perform during the night since Blutengel songs go perfect with the night but I can’t complain; Chris Pohl and the performers managed to give a great performance to an enthusiastic crowd. My favorite songs from the whole set were “Die with You” and the last song “Engelsblut”.

   

As the night has fallen on M’era Luna festival, everybody had been waiting for one band only ; NIGHTWISH. The band has been through a lot recently; it’s been a long time since the former vocalist Anette Olzon left the band and with the success of the movie/soundtrack/album Imaginaerum and the replacement of the temporary tour vocalist Floor Jansen, all eyes were surely going to be on Floor’s performance with the band.

As soon as the band started their performance with “Dark Chest of Wonders”, I knew that it was gonna be just a spectacular show. From the first song, Floor Jansen, who is also the vocalist of Dutch metal band ReVamp, proved that she fit perfectly to Nightwish. There were no complaints about it; she totally rocked the whole performance and she gained a lot of respect with her sympathetic attitude.

Throughout the whole performance, the band performed old songs (Nemo, Ghost Love Score, Ever Dream, Bless The Child, Wish I Had An Angel) as well as brand new songs (Storytime, I Want My Tears Back, Last Ride of the Day) and fireworks accompanied some songs so it was like a circus for the festival; some people were headbanging while others were just singing along and applausing. Nightwish deserved all of it though; it was my first time seeing the band but I wasn’t sure how Floor was with the band. I knew that she has an amazing voice but I wasn’t sure if she would actually rock the ‘old’ Nightwish songs and she did!  She might even be THE singer of Nightwish. She has the perfect voice and the perfect stage appearance.

2 days of great music and 4 days of fun volunteer work… M’era Luna 2013 was definitely the best experience I ever had. It was also a different atmosphere for a metalhead like me; I got to see another side of a festival and got to know so many cool people! As the Germans say, ‘bis nächstes Jahr!’ 😀

FINNTROLL – Spring Tour 2013

Date : 11.05.2013

Bands : Finntroll (FI), Keep of Kalessin (NO), Killfloor Mechanic (DE)

Location : Cologne (DE)

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After the release of the latest Finntroll album Blodsvept, it was finally time for the Finnish trolls to entertain their fans throughout Europe. It wasn’t long ago that Finntroll gave a concert though, their ‘big event’ was Heidenfest in 2012 so although it had been only 6-7 months that I last saw Finntroll, I was eagerly excited for this concert. Furthermore, the support acts KILLFLOOR MECHANIC and KEEP OF KALESSIN looked promising.

The concert started with the German death metallers KILLFLOOR MECHANIC. My first impression of the band was that they were completely different from Finntroll. Although the band was formed in 2011, they showed that they look promising. I especially loved the vocalist Felix’ vocals; normally the concerts can go bad for death metal vocalists when it comes to their growls (either because of the sound system or because of the growls) but the vocalist Felix proved that the vocals (both clean and harsh) were good enough for the live performance. Furthermore, the other band members – especially the e-guitarists- definitely made the show colourful.

Generally the band performed quite a decent show although it was  a bit obvious that the crowd was not into it. Moreover, although the band was quite promising I felt that they were a bit anxious and excited at the same time. The vocalist, Felix, was practically everywhere during the performance and it was really hard to follow him throughout the performance! 😀 Surely, Killfloor Mechanic was not the crowd’s favorite that night but I gotta give kudos to them, they were quite good!

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The second act of the night was the Norwegian “epic extreme” metallers KEEP OF KALESSIN. The band has had a tough time lately; they have had some problems with the vocalist Thebon so they had to part ways with him so the band’s performance was carried by 3 members; the bassist Wizziac, the guitarist/vocalist Obsidian C and the touring drummer Sondre Drangsland.

To be honest, I didn’t listen to the band beforehand and I kind of understood that something was wrong in the band; it seemed as though another person was missing. Nevertheless, it didn’t change the fact that they totally rocked! Although the guitarist Obsidian C, who also took over the vocal parts, looked a bit anxious about being the new vocalist, he totally pulled it off and managed to warm up the crowd.  I also found Keep of Kalessin more suitable as a warm-up band for Finntroll; their style might not have been for everyone’s taste but I could see that everybody had a great time and they really appreciated the band.

Generally, the band managed to give an amazing performance and I think that all of the events that have happened recently did not break the bond; it brought the band even closer and this could be seen in this performance. Furthermore, something has to be said about the touring drummer Sondre Drangsland; despite rehearsing with the band for only 2 days before the shows as the temporary drummer, this  19-year-old drummer  was definitely the highlight of the whole performance. He managed to fit into the band very well and someone who had no idea about the band would not even recognize that he was relatively new. Considering how much Keep of Kalessin has been through, I think they were generally the ‘survivors’ of the night; their performance and songs definitely showed that they are still there!

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When it was time for Finntroll, the small venue got more crowded than ever and all eyes were on the stage. Even before the show started, it was really obvious that it was going to be a colourful concert; the lights were a mixture of pink and blue and that was a bit surprising! 😀

As soon as the trolls came on stage, the headbanging started! My first impression of the band was their unique outfit of course; it was a mixture of military and cyberpunk stuff and surely, every bandmember had elf ears which looked awesome! That was also a bit unexpected from Finntroll because their outfits are normally same but this time, they decided to change the style a bit. I think the outfits also fit to the concept of the new album as well as to the performance!

The band started the show with their single “Mordminnen” from the band’s brand new album Blodsvept. The first song surprised me a lot; I was expecting to hear the first single “Blodsvept” from the new album but hey, it’s Finntroll we are talking about here so I couldn’t complain! From the first song, the whole venue was on fire; nearly everybody was headbanging!

Throughout the show, the band managed to play the fans’ favorites. As a matter of fact, the frontman Vreth stated that the fans actually voted for most of the songs in the setlist so I am sure nobody really complained about it. Considering the fans’ taste, the setlist was really perfect! There were a lot of new songs like “Ett Folk Förbannat” (which Vreth dedicated to the mankind) and “När Jättär Marschera” but also some classics like “Trollhammeren”, “Solsagan” and “En Mäktig Har” (according to Vreth, this song got the most votes in every show!). “En Mäktig Har” was one of the highlights of the show in my opinion, it is always so great to hear this song live and it feels as if one hears the song for the first time; it just makes you want to headbang and dance.

Another highlight of the show were definitely the new songs “Skogdotter” and “Häxbrygd”. Since “Häxbrygd” is my favorite song from the new album, hearing it live was a different experience; Finntroll really pushed their limits and managed to make everyone – including themselves- sweat! 😀 It became so warm that it was impossible to move; nevertheless, it didn’t prevent people from moshing around and headbanging and that’s the essence of a Finntroll show!

Speaking of the mosh-pit, the song that made the mosh-pit go crazy was “Solsagan”. I just couldn’t understand how a mosh-pit could be created at such a small venue but the crazy people could manage do it and please the band after all. A crazy mosh-pit also meant that the band was definitely back on track and kicking some major ass!

Finntroll finished their performance with the last two classics “Trollhammeren” and “Jaktens Tid”.  As a person who has seen the band 3 times – including this concert-, I can definitely say that this concert topped it all! With the release of the new album and with this performance, Finntroll proved that they are just getting better and better and there is no way to stop the Finnish trolls. The outfits, the lights, the ambience and the interaction of the band with the crowd made everyone see that it was worth the wait!

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A great night with bands from different styles, a great ambience and a great crowd.. What more can a fan want? Thanks to all of the bands for a magical night!

CONCERT REPORT : Chrome Division & Crossplane

Date : 26.04.2013

Bands : Chrome Division (NOR), Crossplane (DE)

Location : Düsseldorf (DE)

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When it comes to rock ‚n‘ roll, there are certain bands that kick ass in the year of 2013 and Norwegian band CHROME DIVISION is one of them. So when I read the news of these ‘doomsday rock n rollers’ coming to Düsseldorf, I knew I had to be there. It was also going to be awesome to see a local band (from Essen, Germany), CROSSPLANE, opening up for Chrome Division.  I was also curious about how the audience would be like; surely, there would be a lot of rock’n’roll fans but I was also not surprised to see a lot of black metal fans in the venue; all in all, one of the band members of Chrome Division was Dimmu Borgir’s Shagrath. So it was quite nice to see a diverse audience for the show.

The night started with the German rock’n’rollers Crossplane. The way they started the show was awesome : “Wir sind Crossplane und wir spielen Rock’n’roll! (We are Crossplane and we play rock’n’roll!)” and it was indeed so. For the next 45 minutes, the band managed to warm up the crowd pretty well; as a matter of fact, the venue got warmer than ever in a very short time. Moreover, the energy of the band impressed me a lot; the bandmembers were totally on fire and they reflected the rock’n’roll vibe perfectly. Out of all the songs, the two songs ‘Rollin’ ‘and ‘Real Life’ caught my attention the most. I wouldn’t be lying if I say that those songs still play in my head since the day of the concert; the band definitely knows how to catch the attention of the listener and pump up that rock’n’roll spirit. Furthermore, the band also surprised the fans by playing an acoustic set after the Chrome Division concert. It was truly a different and an amazing feeling to hear the songs acoustically as well. I could also see (and hear) that the audience was quite familiar and fond of the band as well, they just kept wanting more and more!

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After this show, Crossplane definitely gained my respect as a band. Not only did they prove that they are a promising band with a great sound, but they also showed the crowd that they are down-to-earth and friendly. If you are a rock’n’roll fan, you should definitely see Crossplane live!

After Crossplane left the stage, it was time for more rock’n’roll! The Norwegian vikings (they were really big and tall!) started the show with songs ‘Chrome Division’, ‘Bulldogs Unleashed’ and ‘Zombies & Monsters’. As a new Chrome Division fan, I was beyond excited and hyped up about the band’s performance and they totally blew my mind. The first thing that caught my attention was the band’s ‘outlook’ of course; if I could describe the meaning of rock’n’roll to anyone, I would have shown the band performing at that moment; sunglasses, leather jackets and that ‘cool & rockstar’ vibe definitely suit the band’s music. I also couldn’t help but notice the way the vocalist Shady Blue started the show; that ‘firecracker’ was a bit unexpected but it definitely was hilarious and awesome at the same time.  Furthermore, it was great to see that the new bassist Ogee, who joined the band in 2012, fit in the band so well.

Another highlight was definitely the guitar solo by the lead guitarist Damage Karlsen; it truly proved the true potential of the band. It was also interesting to see that Shagrath was not in the ‘spotlights’ a lot; he was actually the calmest member throughout the whole concert.

Throughout the performance, the Norwegian rock’n’rollers managed to play a great selection of songs from all of their 3 albums; Doomsday Rock’n’Roll , Booze, Broads and Beelzebub and 3rd Round Knockout. My favorite songs from the setlist were definitely ‘Let’s Hear It’ and ‘Chrome Division’. Nevertheless, it should be said that the entire performance was a blast and the band did not let anyone breath for a second. Even in the pauses between songs, the vocalist Shady Blue managed to entertain the audience by either joking (“This place is warmer than a sauna; we are not used to this. In Norway, it’s still winter”) or by making a great announcement of a new album coming up.

The band finished the performance with the song ‘The Serial Killer’ and left everyone with a smile on their faces and sweating so I can say that they accomplished their mission! Surely, Chrome Division is not the most famous band out there but they totally showed that they do it for fun and for the passion of rock’n’roll. Thanks to both bands for an amazing performance and for taking the audience back to oldies!

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CONCERT REPORT : Epica & Katatonia in Turkey

Date : 24.02.2013

Bands : Katatonia (SWE), Epica (NL)

Location : Ankara (TR)

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Epica and Katatonia concert was one of the most interesting concerts that I have attended. Firstly, it was the first metal concert that I have attended in my homeland and secondly, the fact that the both bands are quite different from each other raised eyebrows. Before the concert, I read lots of (mixed) comments on the line-up and I was really surprised as well. In one side, there was the Swedish gods of doom metal, KATATONIA and on the other side there was the Dutch symphonic metallers EPICA. So it was surely going to be an interesting evening.

The night started with the Swedish doom metallers, Katatonia. I was one of the many people who especially wanted to see Katatonia and I was beyond excited when they came on stage. The band started the set with the songs “The Parting” and “Buildings” from their latest album Dead End Kings (2012). At first glance, the “cool” and “dark” posture of the vocalist Jonas Renkse caught my attention; the way he sang and his ‘cool’ attitude added a great vibe to the songs in general.

The setlist of the band also included some great songs from their older albums ; The Great Cold Distance (2006), Viva Emptiness (2003), Last Fair Deal Gone Down (2001), Night is the New Day (2009) and Tonight’s Decision (1999). Some of these classics songs were “My Twin” , “July” and “Ghost of the Sun”. I think the band made a good decision by including older songs in the setlist because I have heard stories earlier that the new album Dead End Kings was quite different from the band’s previous releases. By playing these classic songs and many other songs, the band made sure that the fans of the ‘older era of Katatonia’ would not be disappointed at all. This could also be heard in the applause and in the energy of the audience; when the band played from their older albums, the audience was much more enthusiastic and beyond excited.

Soundwise, the band sounded really smooth. Before the show, I didn’t know what to expect from the band’s sound quality in the venue but I could almost hear everything  so I can say that band was really successful in that sense. Furthermore, in contrast to the vocalist Jonas Renske, the guitarist Anders Nyström and the bass guitarist Niklas Sandin were really fun and energetic on stage and that certainly added another element to the beauty of the performance.

After performing for approximately 1,5 hours on stage, Katatonia said goodbye to the fans with the song ‘Leaders’. As a person who saw Katatonia for the first time, I was really impressed with the band. I wouldn’t exaggerate if I state that I just listened to their songs even days after the performance; all in all that’s what Katatonia does to the fans. The band is certainly captivating and magical.

Rating : 10/10

Setlist :

  1. The Parting
  2. Buildings
  3. Deliberation
  4. My Twin
  5. Burn The Remembrance
  6. The Racing Heart
  7. Lethean
  8. Teargas
  9. Strained
  10. The Longest Year
  11. Soil’s Song
  12. Omerta
  13. Sweet Nurse
  14. Deadhouse
  15. Ghost of the Sun
  16. July
  17. Day and the Shade
  18. Dead Letters
  19. Forsaker
  20. Leaders

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When it was time for Epica, I could already see that some people had left the venue. Nevertheless, the venue became more packed. It has been a few years since Epica last came to Turkey so it was normal that the fans were really excited. Furthermore, it was the first time that the band was playing in Ankara so it was surely going to be an epic night.

The concert started with the intro song “Karma” from the band’s latest album Requiem For The Indifferent (2012). As soon as the bandmembers greeted the crowd, the band started the set with another song “Monopoly On Truth” from the same album. It was really good to see the symphonic metallers once again; the last time I saw them was June 2012 in Metalfest and this time, they were energetic and sympathetic on stage again. The interaction of the band with the fans was unbelievable; there were no cold moments from the beginning and it was as if the band was used to playing in the venue. I especially loved how the guitarists Isaac Delahaye and Mark Jansen were really sincere with the fans.

The setlist of Epica was quite colorful; the band had  a lot to offer to the fans. Apart from playing new songs, Epica played some of their older songs like “Sensorium” and “Unleashed”. Furthermore, some of my favorite songs from the setlist were “The Obsessive Devotion”, “Sancta Terra” (I loved the keyboard solo that Coen Janssen played before the song!) and the classic Epica song “Cry For The Moon”. As a matter of fact, before playing that song, the vocalist Simone Simons had mentioned that it was the 10th year anniversary of “Cry For The Moon” and that the song had reached over 10 million views on YouTube. After that, everyone knew which song Simone was talking about. I can definitely say that that song was the highlight of the show.

Some of the highlights of the performance were the drum solo of the talented drummer Arien van Weesenbeek and the entertaining performance from the keyboard player Coen Janssen. I just couldn’t stop smiling when I saw the way Coen was playing the keyboard; the way he rotated the instrument and his dance moves were really entertaining. After playing the last song “The Phantom Agony”, the band left the stage but from the applause of the fans, it was clear that they had to come back for more. Personally, I think that the last three songs – “Delirium” , “Blank Infinity” and “Consign to Oblivion”-  that the band played were the highlight of the evening; especially the first song of the last three songs “Delirium”  showed the true essence of Simone’s voice (I think that in some songs, it was quite hard to get ‘that’ feeling from her voice) and it was really impressive. So I can say that the choice of the songs for the setlist was really good.

Soundwise, the band was good although their sound was not as good as Katatonia’s. At some moments, it was quite hard to hear Mark Jansen’s (e-guitars/growls) growls. In addition to that, I didn’t like the way Simone Simons changed some of the songs as I kind-of felt that she broke the essence and the magic of them. However, the band proved that they are really a great team in general and they really have worked hard to be one of the biggest symphonic metal bands in the world. As I mentioned earlier, their interaction with the audience was unbelievable (and this is quite important for a band) and the band was also really impressed with the crowd; as it was their first time in Ankara, I am sure they didn’t know what to expect but the fans did a great job and I am sure Epica will play in Ankara again. Even the keyboardist Coen Janssen had said that they loved the audience that night and they will surely come again.

Rating : 9/10

Setlist :

  1. Karma
  2. Monopoly on Truth
  3. Sensorium
  4. Unleashed
  5. Martyr of the Free Word
  6. Serenade of Self-Destruction
  7. The Obsessive Devotion
  8. Sancta Terra
  9. Cry For The Moon
  10. Storm The Sorrow
  11. The Phantom Agony
  12. Delirium
  13. Blank Infinity
  14. Consign To Oblivion

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Generally, it was a great night full of Metal!  Some fans would debate about the choice of the bands for the night but personally, I think that both bands managed to satisfy the crowd and they did a great job about it. If I could pick the band of the night, that would be Katatonia though. As much as I like and respect Epica, Katatonia being unique and quite different made me love the band even more. Thanks to both bands for an amazing night! 😀

KORPIKLAANI – Manala European Tour

Date : 30.01.2013

Bands : Metsatöll (EE), Korpiklaani (FI)

Location : Essen (DE)

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When we are talking about Korpiklaani, there is never such a thing as too many Korpiklaani concerts. This was the case with this concert as well; although I have seen Korpiklaani 2 times already, I could not miss this concert. In addition, the supporting act, which is the Estonian folk metal band Metsatöll, was one of the bands I really wanted to see live.

Metsatöll started the first leg of the Manala Tour with “Sojasuda”. I think the crowd did not really understand what was going on when the band started to sing in Estonian but the people in the front rows  – including me – were really into the band! I could already see some Metsatöll fans singing along to the songs, which was quite impressive.

One thing that caught my attention from the first moment was the perfect balance of the heavy metal vibe and the folk music. This perfect balance could be seen in the vocalist/guitarist Markus “Rabapagan” and vocalist / guitarist/ person with ‘the folk instruments’ Lauri “Varulven”. Speaking of folk instruments, there should be something said about Lauri. Normally in folk metal bands, the folk metal players are mostly in the background but it was really clear that Lauri was in charge in most of the songs. At one moment, he was playing the Estonian bagpipes and then he was switching to the flutes. There were moments when he played two flutes at the same time or when he was rocking to the harp. This was one thing that I really liked; this meant that I could enjoy the heavy metal as well as watch Lauri play the most interesting instruments ever!

Metsatöll played most of their classics and the ‘fan-favorites’ like “Kivine Maa”, “Küü” and “Vaid Vaprust” as well as other great songs like “Rabakannel” and “Muhu Oud”. Since the band sings in Estonian, they also did not forget to explain the story behind some of their songs like “Roju” and “Muhu Oud”. Surely, it was hard to sing along to their songs but I think the joy within the songs and the unique sound of the band was enough! 😀

Overall, Metsatöll gave an amazing performance! I remember the first time I listened to the band and I was really impressed by then. I got the same impression in this live show as well; they are definitely unique. One thing I didn’t like was the crowd though; this was a folk metal night after all so I expected the crowd to be a bit more joyful.

Rating : 10/10

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After an amazing performance by Metsatöll, it was time for the crazy Finnish metallers Korpiklaani! After the intro, the band started the set with “Tuonelan Tuvilla” from their latest album “Manala”. It was as if the whole venue was on fire! The band was on the move all the time – maybe except the accordion player Juho Kauppinen and the violinist Tuomas Rounakari 😀 – and cheerful songs were waiting for the fans.

Korpiklaani continued the set with songs like “Ruumiinmultaa”, “Lonkkaluut” and “ Sumussa Hämäran Aamun”. Some of the highlights of the set were the songs “Midsummer Night” and “Kipumylly”  which were surprising to hear. Compared to the songs they played in Heidenfest 2012, I can say that this setlist was really colorful; the fans could get a taste of the new as well as the old era of the band. The vocalist Jonne Järvelä and the guitarist Cane also made sure that the fans did not even have time to breathe or stop; especially the way Jonne bonded with the fans during the songs was amazing. This is always a typical Korpiklaani tradition though so I was not surprised; this showed that just how loyal Korpiklaani is to their fans and this also means that Korpiklaani shows are always special and meaningful.

When we are talking about Korpiklaani songs, there are some songs that should be played at every gig. Some of these songs were “Vodka”, “Tequila” and “Happy Little Boozer”. It is always a great feeling to hear these songs live. I also expected the band to play “Beer Beer” but they didn’t play it this time. I can’t complain though; the band had a lot to offer!

One highlight of the gig was “Husky Sledge” which is the solo performance of the violinist, Tuomas Rounakari,  for solo project Shamanviolin. This song, which only features the violin and the thumping- was like a ‘pause moment’ after so many fast and crazy songs. With this song, the fans could actually see another side of Korpiklaani.

Overall, no words could describe just how powerful Korpiklaani was. This was my third time seeing the band live and I can definitely say that Korpiklaani is one of those bands that one can see live again and again and never gets tired of it. This band gives 110% in their concerts. Thanks to both bands for a great folk metal night! 😀

Rating : 10/10

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