Baldrs Releasefest 2017

Date: 7 October 2017
Location: Iduna, Drachten, The Netherlands
Photography: WietskE Photography

26 September 1345 The Battle of Warns, a day of great importance to the Frisian people. 7 October the day of the release of Baldrs Draumars new album, their first acoustic one ‘Fan Fryslâns Ferline’. Another memorable day in Frisian history. And to celebrate this they threw a releaseparty. Hailing from Frisia, a part of the north of the Netherlands, which inhabitant are known in the rest of our little country as rather self-willed, the band had obviously decided to underline this statement. And when Frisians underline something they do it big-time. Not only did they trow a party with no less then 8 bands! No, they decided to work with 2 stages, 4 bands at the metalstage and 4 bands at the folk-stage, referring to their folk-metal background. Well, you’ll probably think: ‘That’s nice’, but this is not all. In between all concerts there were Barbarian Bohurt fights. If you’re not familiar with Bohurt, this is a full contact fighting sport in which knights in full armor fight with real swords, of course they are blunt, but nonetheless, this is heavy stuff. Many fighters left the cage in a rather dizzy state. But no worries, like the whole evening, it was well organised. Not only was there a competent jury and referee, there was a professional medical team present as well. Really big fun, I can only advice… no, no, I’m ordering you to visit a Bohurt event when there is one in your neighborhood. This is a very spectacular event!

Watching this fights you feel the adrenaline pumping through your veins and this makes you hungry and thirsty after a while. Well, that’s taken care of as well. Of course there is a bar in this nice venue, but that’s not enough. The band has it’s own beer, brewed in the brewery of Wacken, this very tasty beer is called ‘Baldrs Beer’ and outside the venue, in the stand next to the medieval market you can get a ‘Baldrs Dog’ a delicious bite for the hungry ones!

The program of the day was tight, you could see every band and every fight if you wanted too. You only had to skip something if you wanted to go outside for the market or some food. The bands on the metal- and folkstage were alternating the first 2 bands at the metalstage, Tjuster and Friesenblut took care of the Black Metal part of this evening. The deafening mayhem in this part of Iduna, was a great contradiction to the Medieval folk of Kapriol and Wortsatia. Where the first two displayed pure energy without caring too much about melody,
the bands at the big stage were caring about their instruments and the melodies, but the rhythm of the medieval times wasn’t very up-roaring, so you could get some rest while listening to the beautiful instrument and old melodies of these inspired bands. Kapriol played a more dreamy enchanting folk, which lots of harmony singing. Wortsatia on the other hand displayed the more popular music for medieval folk as you would expect this at a medieval gathering.

Warmed up by these bands the first band which makes a fusion of this hits the stage, Vanaheim. In it’s short time of existence, the has made some fame and a lot of fans with their Epic Folk Metal, in the style of bands like Equilibrium. The band has released an EP ‘Vanaheim’ earlier this year and they really deliver this evening, they sound very nice, except for the first song, where the technique in the venue is failing and we can’t hear the lead-vocals at all. Just like their big German brothers they use samples for the orchestration, which I find a bit disappointing in these bands. With ‘The Dwarven Chant’ they end this gig in a very nice and entertaining way. To me Vanaheim was undoubtedly the best band at the metal-stage this evening, good songs, good performance and a nice sound.

The time Baldrs Draumar will enter the big stage is nearing, but not before Plunder gets to play this their party-pirate folk. Like all genres, this genre knows a lot of bands which all do a bit the same, but in a slightly different coating, using other instruments, playing songs a bit different, louder of less. But this label doesn’t stick to Plunder, their music is original in this genre. The band is mainly playing their own songs and they have a somewhat different character. Pirate folk is a fine description, but it has a very own trademark. The music has a (street-)theater component, which causes you’re taken along on the journey with these pirates and it is very inviting to join in. And that’s what happens very soon after they start to play. People join in, women and children start to dance, metalheads grab each other by the shoulder and party along. The band truly amazed me with their style of music and I hope to see them much more, because they earn to be at every folkfestival and in every Irish pub which has a stage.

The last band for the metal-stage this evening is the Belgian Lemuria, my expectations were high for this one. But when the intro is started, this is deafening. The music is way to loud for this small room. This is a burden for ears, but it causing the music to disappear in this big wall of noise. The first songs are mainly one blur of noise, the volume is restrained a bit, this helps in the next song, but it remains way to loud. The bands puts down a good entertaining show, in which their singer Wesley has a great role. But I give up in the fourth song, to protect my hearing, I’m leaving the metal stage. If the sound has been as good as it was with Vanaheim, this would have been a much more enjoyable concert.

Baldrs Draumar
Time for the big thing! Could Baldrs Draumar beat their own festival? Great bands like Vanaheim and Plunder, great fights, very good beer and delicious Baldrs Dog’s?
The answer is 15 times yes, this is if I counted well. Filling the stage in a sober way, the four of them at the front on a rather empty mist-filled stage, set the perfect atmosphere for their acoustic songs. The guitars changed for acoustic ones, percussion on multiple instruments like the bodhran, exciting so see all these instruments played so well, you can’t be sloppy on these instruments, everything can be heard better, and they do this well. But what would you do with a bass-player in such a acoustic setting? Well, I love to hear him play bass, but luckily for Baldrs Draumar this multi-talented guy knows his way around all kinds of instruments, and he plays them so naturally, it’s a delight to listen to.
The songs are all of a great quality and telling a tale of the great Magna Frisia times, the crowd, mainly Frisians, are eating from their hands. Tales about the great history of Frisia and the proud free spirits, what do you want more. All who understand and speak Frisian, sing along with Baldrs, giving the performance another great dimension.
And this wasn’t only for the Frisians, the people from Denmark, Germany and other parts of the Netherlands had a great time as well. Baldrs Draumar managed to capture every soul in the audience with these acoustic songs. They even proved their is more, by playing songs which are not on this album, they were just as beautiful and I’m sure this album will get an successor in the future.
This concert was simply amazing and it was a great final for a tremendous spectacular evening. Everyone who was there will have bought a CD to remember this evening. Tor all of you who weren’t there, I can only say: ‘Buy this album’. It will give you a glimpse of what was a wonderful evening and a band which makes Friesland proud. Magna Frisia, Magna Baldrs Draumar.

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