By: Nick and Colin
Location: Geiselwind, Germany
The news about Bayern was pretty bad lately. Heavy rainfall, flooded basements, mudslides and landslides. But still the line-up of the very first edition of Beastival was irresistible, so we jumped in our car for this new German festival. Sabaton, Kreator, Kataklysm, Wintersun and many other great names following each other up in 3 days, how much better could it get?
After spending 7 hours sitting in a car (due to one and a half hour in a traffic jam) we finally reached Geiselwind, where we’d spend the rest of our week. Of course Geiselwind is known because it’s a resting place for travellers to Austria, I guess there are just about 50 houses, but there are a McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, a Subway and a gas station and one big event hall. The festival terrain is behind the event hall, in which the second stage stood. The main-stage is outside and on the mountainside next to it was the camp-site. Unfortunately it was dark when we arrived, but luckily for us the rain had stopped so we could set up our camp. the next morning we started by exploring the terrain. Beastival contained a very wide range of merchandise stands, and considering the food there was something for everyone. Döner kebab, pizza, chips, donuts but even a Chinese Wok, where we of course enjoyed ourselves.
After having a good breakfast and explored everything we found ourselves in the crowd for Brainstorm. Brainstorm is quite a standard powermetal band that made a lot of hair swung through the air.
Beastival had 2 stages, which enabled them to build up one stage while having a band on the other. Between every band we had 5 minutes of time so the crowd could all move from one stage to the other. As I’ve set before the second stage was based in the event hall, which was a big advantage with the terrible weather.
Inside the hall there was a café/restaurant, a bar and lots of space filled with tables and benches. So we were able to take a seat there while Screamer played their set. The first thing I noticed was that the crowd, even though they where just with a few sometimes, there were always people enthusiast. Especially for the smaller bands, this was of course a great thing, it as well gave the festival a very good sphere.
It was dry outside when we walked towards the first paganmetal gig on the festival. Varg used to be one of the really violent brutal paganmetal bands, but with their latest album they clearly decided to go another way. That’s legal of course, but personally I think it’s a big loss. Fortunately the guys got on stage playing a song from their previous records, “Wir sind die wölfe”. It was supposed to be a good start, but unfortunately the guitar player tuned his guitar on a wrong tone, which caused the guitar to sound terrible and it ruined the sound of the band. During the gig they haven’t fixed this either.
Another thing I noticed was that Varg used to have so much moshpits and headbangers, but when singer Freki asked for a circlepit, just a few people reacted. Varg played new work, but a lot of old work as well, which was a good thing, but every time I see Varg it seems their singer has more and more trouble with the grunts, especially the long lash outs. As well the bassplayer seems to think it’s better to replace his brutal grunts for clean vocals, well I tell you mate, it isn’t. This all caused me to end this suffering and leave, so I could stand front row with Ex Deo.
For years there is this heavy discussion about Ex Deo, do they or don’t they belong on folk-metal.nl. The second project of Kataklysm front man Maurizio is fully dedicated to the Roman Empire. After a long heroic piece of film music, the legionnaires arrive in their Roman breastplates on stage.
I, Caligula am god made flesh, thy rope around your neck… this is the will of the gods!
I, Caligula am master of all your fears, thy might colossal, these hands are drenched in blood!
The big hall was filled all the way to the back with clenched fists.
After Caligvla we went on with The Tiberius Cliff. With Dano on his bass-guitar who as a ferocious beats on his chest while the crowd swings their hair trough the air. The sphere was incredibly good, everyone was fully dedicated and able to sing all the lyrics along.
Maurizio, who wasn’t headbanging at all, expanded the Roman sphere by just using might hand and arm gestures, which gave the whole an extra Roman sauce.
Pollice Verso was the next song, my personal favourite. What an amazing show, they just did everything right, the podium presentation, the light effects, their sound.
Than it was time for an Roman Wall of Death. The cohorde of troops where split in two and only on Maurizio’s command, it was war, The Final War!
For your glory,
Take this blood I sacrifice
For your glory,
Per oculus Aquila!
At the end there even was some time for some older work, Cruor Nostri Abbas was performed. And the last song of course was Romulus, and even from this album, the entire legion knew the lyrics.
What an amazing act! The gig ended with the entire crowd shouting “Zugaben!”. But of course the organization was merciless for the Romans, they kept tight to the time table, which is easy to understand.
After Ex Deo, we stayed around the second stage for a while, eventually to get out to see Tankard. After the serious Roman Deathmetal Ex Deo plays, these German Trashers are the exact opposite. There really is nothing musical about these guys, but they are going on their enthusiasm. Oh, and because every song is about beer of course. Unfortunately it started to rain, but we where really happy this started just around 16:20, the weather forecast told us it would rain all day. Even though we went inside, where Debauchery played a while later. They’re okay, but it’s not my kind of music. Due to the rain I decided to skip Destruction. Fortunately the next band was indoor again, and what a band this was, Insomnium. There were so much good bands in Geiselwind this week, but of all these bands, Insomnium was definitely the best! I must admit I didn’t knew them so well, but wow, I was just blown away by these Finnish men! What an major positive surprise this was! We where treated by a portion of melodic metal, that reminds me a bit of Amorphis or Wintersun every now and then, but these guys take music to even a higher level. Amazing riffs and brutal grunts where mixed with clean vocals. Insomnium is in one word, amazing!
After Insomnium we went to the rain again, to see a couple of songs played by Sodom, luckily we have seen them play Surfin’ Bird. Even though Sodom was really good, it was nothing compared with the show we had seen half an hour earlier. It was a long day, so after Sodom we where able to watch U.D.O. play. What a waste that is, the band is really good and they know exactly what they are doing on stage. But between those young heavy metallers, there was an fat old guy with a peeping voice I couldn’t understand, Udo. The result was a big bunch of people going wild in front of the stage, and all the others sleeping against the wall or on the benches. After this we got on our ponchos to watch Kreator, but the rain won over our curiosity, so we left to get some sleep.
The second day started up with a Subway breakfast, but as well Beastival had a big breakfast menu for only 5 euro’s at the restaurant near the entrance. Concerning the food, Beastival took care of us really good.
A bit too late we arrived at the next band of our website. Winterstorm, a self called pagan/power metal band from Germany. With their not so complicated, but really catchy songs they knew to get the crowd going during their show. All my favourite songs where played, Winterheart, The Stormsons and Into the Light. The show was just over half an hour but they performed really good. As during the entire festival the sound was incredibly good. The vocalist who has a really typical power metal voice was singing great, which is really important at this kind of music. As well In time we trust and Kings will fall where played as one piece. Noticeable was that even though it’s a German band, not every German was able to sing along, fortunately the lyrics are easy enough that everyone could sing the refrain after hearing it once. In the end I was really excited I was able to finally see those guys live.
After Winterstorm we where just hanging around a bit and buy some merch. Just filling up the time until Eisregen. The band has been support act for the extended Heidenfest shows in the past and I like to listen to their CD’s every now and then. The band is amazingly popular in Germany, which was pretty obvious by the big moshpits and more crowdsurfers than I could count. What a remarkable show this was. The crowd went completely insane when Elektro Hexe was played as last song. After Eisregen we hurried to the other stage to see our fellow Dutchmen, Vanderbuyst. They really are born artists! Just a drummer in the back of the stage, a guitarist and singer/bassist on stage and still filled the stage amazingly. This was all just because they exactly know how to give away such a show! They where embrace by our neighbors in the east really well, who came in massive numbers to headbang for Vanderbuyst.
Die Apokalyptischen Reiter
Despite of the terrible rain that was falling from the sky, a pretty big crowd turned up to see the Germans of Die Apokalyptischen Reiter. It is without a doubt that this band has a lot of fans, especially in Germany. The sound of this concert was fine, and the band seemed to be enthusiastic. This includes the weird, fetish-like keyboardplayer who seemed to enjoy himself in his big swing. The setlist was diverse, and was closed traditionally by ‘Seeman’ and ‘Metal will never die’, with a rubber boat including a fan crowdsurfing during ‘Seeman’. All in all a decent show.
Just a few months ago these German Paganmetallers performed on the Paganfest Tour, where I really liked them. I’m fan of these band ever since 2008 and know all their songs they made. But still on Paganfest it seemed the two singers stood more in each others way than extended each other, and because of that it seemed the podium presentation wasn’t optimal. Here on Beastival Wolfchant brought two big chests with Wolfchant carved out of the front. From the chests came some white light to show their name and a bit of smoke, which gave a great effect. These guys score many points on their podium presentation this time. They kicked off with Embraced by fire, followed up by my favourite, Eremit. The two vocalists where so played in to each other, and as well the guitarists and the bassist gave away a great show together. An extra bonus point for the lead-guitarist who didn’t just played a perfect set, he as well stood everywhere on the stage, filling up all the small gaps, perfecting the show. Autumns Breath was played, but they hadn’t forgotten about the old work by playing the big Wolfchant Classic, A Pagan Storm.
With power and Might this storm wind blows
Tear down the Christian monuments this night
Take hold of our trembling Enemies bodies
Fear the force of the pagan storm
At last they even performed Never Too Drunk, which was certainly not inappropriate at a German metalfestival. And was loudly singing along. Men did this gig make me happy!
Yesterday we’ve seen Ex Deo, now it’s time for Kataklysm. Maurizio left his cuirass in the bus and stands yelling and headbanging on stage with his violent Deathmetal. Kataklysm just stays one of the best bands in this genre, really. What an incredible show. But in the mean while it’s passed 10PM and it’s hours ago we’ve been at the wok, and with 6 more hours of gigs to go, it’s time to get some pizza. As well from the back of the crowd we could watch Kataklysm real good.
For every festival with rain, put Kataklysm on your setlist, ‘cause just as with Metalcamp last year, during Kataklysm the rain will shoo.
Back inside Katatonia is ready to show us what they’ve got. Musically it’s all really good, just after the party Wolfchant had and the violence of Kataklysm, Katatonia is really slow, which caused they weren’t as exciting as they deserved.
After Katatonia we ran out of the hall again to join an already big crowd and wait for Jari Maenpaa and his band. Wintersun starts with Sons of Winter and Stars, immediately followed by Land of Snow and Sorrow. These Finnish men play a set of one hour and twenty minutes without any mistakes. As third Battle Against Time was brought to us. The sphere was amazing, Wintersun had the biggest crowd of the entire festival and from the front to the back everyone could sing along. Everyone stood with clenched fists, headbanging to the wonderful music that was played for us. Sleeping Stars was performed and no-one could do anything besides enjoying it all, what incredibly great this is!
After Winter Madness the band had some trouble with a technical problem, this ruined the set quite bad because no-one seemed to know what to do any more. Eventually the drummer and the bassist played a stupid tune and a while later Jari decided to play an awesome, but entirely unnecessary guitar solo, fortunately the problem was fixed and the band could go on so the crowd could just close their eyes and sing Death and the Healing. No way I can ever tell enough how perfect this song is! After that Beautiful Death and Time where brought to us. But like this all wasn’t enough to play a gig this long, everyone just asked for more and more. So Wintersun was allowed to give us another fifteen minutes. Beyond the Dark Sun was the first encore. I was very happy when they even played Starchild too!
Wow, what a set! Wintersun at it’s very very very best!
After Wintersun we hurried inside to see a band that wasn’t as pleased with Wintersuns extra time. Trollfest had finished some songs of their short 40 minutes during set. I’m quite a fan of these guys, and usually I can tell which song they’re playing within 10 seconds. This time I couldn’t, I had no clue. The accordion was turned off, the saxophone only gave one annoying tone and all the rest was off as well. When the band suddenly yelled BRUMBLEBASSEN I still didn’t recognize it. Such a shame, because usually Trollfest has a really good sound live, but this time it was horrible. As well the microphone of the accordionist was turned off, while the microphone of one of the guitarists was way too loud. In the end when the accordion was turned on, it was far too loud. I’ve seen Trollfest several times, and they give an amazing show every time again, so I’d rather forget this one really soon. But I really believe they’ll be better next time again.
The next morning we just decided to break up our camp. The rain had covered the entire campsite in a stream of mud and water, and everything was wet and dirty. While we were breaking up our tents and brought everything to the car, Nick went to Bornholm.
It was so early, the Saturday of Beastival. Around 12 o’clock I got kicked out of my bed to see Bornholm, the sleep still in my eyes. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one, because the bandmembers looked quite tired,
and their stage-performance was really static. Except for the vocalist, who almost looked like he had an epileptic attack. Running, jumping and headbanging he flew over the stage. Normally this is a good thing, but it turned me even more tired. Also, the sound wasn’t ideal, resulting in the music sounding more like a giant chaotic mess instead of the melodic blackmetal I’m used to.
After this all we got to Nachtblut, very filthy Blackmetal band, it was a bit Dimmu Borgir alike, but much more black. There was a very prominent role for the keyboard, though I had no clue where the keyboard stood, at least not on stage. The singer was longing for so much attention while crawling and rolling across the stage screaming like a pig. It couldn’t really get to me, so we left to wait for Korpiklaani.
It’s clear to me these Fins are over their top already, the last few albums aren’t interesting at all and the liveshows are flabby an bleak. Really remarkable was that only the drummer takes time to show up for a soundcheck, the rest doesn’t care even before they’ve started. In the first empty song in Finnish, every microphone, the violin and the bassguitar had to be adjusted. The second song was a big surprise, Juodaan Viinaa, a party song. There even was a party. Singer Jonne, who was never that talented, didn’t even try to keep his vocals clear, with result that he sung really false. Luckily Korpiklaani played songs as Beer Beer and Vodka again. But once the beautiful forest surrounding the festival terrain gets more interesting than the band, you’re not doing well as a musician. The violin even had some pure notes, however the biggest part of the gig he was way off and made lots of mistakes. As well the new accordion player made much more mistakes than necessary. Bassist Jarko seems to gets less and less motivated every gig, and man, trust me, that skinny shirt definitely doesn’t make you more attractive.
No guys, Korpiklaani hasn’t got it any more, such a shame. Years ago I had a great time at their shows, but this is terrible.
After the miserable show we stayed at the stage to watch the heroes from Dark Tranquillity, what an amazing gig they gave away! Where Korpiklaani doesn’t interest themselves into the crowd at all, Mikael was the total opposite and was really thankful for all the response. Every song he seemed to get more and more excited and the entire band with him, yes, that’s the way I want to see a band!
After this we visited Wisdom for a while, it was cliché as always, but well, it’s powermetal right? Personally it couldn’t really get to me, and after the last few times, it really wasn’t even funny any more. After Wisdom it was time for the Blackmetal that Satyricon made us. I’m not such a fan of them, but wow, this was such an great show. Even though we left quite early, to get front row at Heidevolk
Later that evening the time has come for the Dutch pride of Heidevolk. In the Netherlands, this band is always good for a great party, but I was really curious to see how they managed in Germany. And despite it wasn’t such a sing-along-fest as in the Netherlands, it still was one big party! This was seen in the many pits, circlepits and wall of deaths who were started time and time again. Heidevolk was loved by the German people, maybe because they did all the talking in German, bonus points for that! The setlist was a nice selection of everything Heidevolk had released, with the main highlights being ‘Als de dood weer naar ons lacht’, ‘Walhalla Wacht’, ‘Saksenland’, and standard encore ‘Vulgaris Magistralis’
After Heidevolk it was as well time for Sabaton, the big headliner of the festival. I noticed that it wasn’t as crowded as Wintersun the night before. When we packed our stuff in the car in the midday, many others where doing the same thing. I guess a lot of people had already left before Sabaton. These Swedes play their very catchy war powermetal with so much joy and fun. 10 pyro effects and several smoke machines, extended with a great designed stage and many lights, these enthusiast guys fill their 80 minutes set list. All the hits where performed of course, and after a technical problem which caused all the instruments except the drum to stop at Promo Victoria these men continued really great. The sphere was just amazing at the catchy music. The crowd just kept shouting for Swedish Pagans, and even though the song wasn’t on the playlist, Sabaton had no choice than just to play this one for us. Guys, you where an amazing finishing touch!
After Sabaton we got to our car as well to drive the long way back trough the night.
Tired, dirty, wet, but real satisfied we raced back home.