5, 6 October
Oberhausen and Tilburg
Every folk- and paganfan knows it by now; Heidenfest. This year it was hard to escape this great feast. With a various mix between large bands like Ensiferum, Equilibrium and Turisas, and small bands like Winterstorm and Frosttide, it promised to be a great day. Folk-metal.nl joined the Heidenfest in Oberhausen and Tilburg. What follows below is a total review, because both shows weren’t much different.
Both times it happened that we just entered the venue when Frosttide started to play their last song. We didn’t see much of the whole show, but what we saw sounded good. Musically, it was a perfect mix between Wintersun and Childen of Bodom. Not really special, but at least they played really enthusiastic.
Powermetal that was so cliché that you could sing along after the first time you heard it. Normally I’m not really into such bands, but Winterstorm brought this so convincing that nobody could refuse to clap along, or sing along with that catchy chorus. A guilty pleasure? Maybe, but the fact is that this band plays their instruments really well, and has a stage performance where most other bands could learn from. Really nice, cheerful show from the guys from Winterstorm.
Gernotshagen, together with Riger, was the band who came as a special guest to Heidenfest Oberhausen. That the band has many fans here was clear from the start. A lot of headbanging, clapping and the first pit of the evening was a fact. However, the show seemed a bit messy. Often the transitions were a bit rude, or the changing in tempo wasn’t perfectly fluid. This resulted in that the songs didn’t quite come across.
After that, Riger entered the stage. Also one of the special guest, and probably the ‘harshest’ band of the evening. Melodic black-metal was what they played, and they played it well. However, the bad sound resulted in a performance which wasn’t as good as it could be. The sound was really empty and shrill, and the songs just lacked the power they do have on CD. It’s a shame, because I’ve seen them playing better.
At Suidakra I didn’t see more than just a few songs. However, every time it shows that this band plays incredibly well, and is still extremely underrated. Besides that, the band made a lot of new fans during this tour, according to the enthusiastic response when the band played.
You know what you can expect from Heidevolk. Nothing less, nothing more than a really strong show. New vocalist Mickael seems to be at the right place within the band, and it shows. The setlist contained some surprises like ‘Vlammenzee’ and ‘Een Opstand der Bataven’.
Besides that there’s nothing more to say besides that the show was really solid. A nice sound, more than decent stage performance and a band which was enthusiastic. What do you want more?
And the party continued at Equilibrium. Although many people are still skeptic about the use of tape instead of traditional instruments, the people in the venue clearly couldn’t be bothered by this. From opener Blut im Auge ‘till the encore Unbesiegt, it was one big party. The band played really tight, and seemed to enjoy themselves. This immediately transferred to the audience, with a pit which continued throughout the whole performance and numerous wall of deaths. Nice detail was that bassplayer Sandra announced all songs in Dutch, something she did quite well! The setlist contained only highlights with Met, Unter der Eiche, Unbesiegt, and Der Sturm. Also the new songs like Waldschrein and Himmelsrand weren’t forgotten, and these songs fitted perfectly in the repertoire of the band. The conclusion is simple, Equilibrium bleibt unbesiegt!
Well. Turisas. What shall we say about that? It definitely wasn’t any good, that was clear. Don’t understand me wrong, the band played well (if they’re playing. For example Olli was just waving with his violin half of the show instead of playing on it). However, the new songs weren’t receive well. That the latest album ‘Turisas2013’ was a real ‘love it or hate it’ CD was already quite clear, and most of the audience could be shared under the ‘hate it’ category.
A single look into the venue and it was clear if a new or an old song was played. When an older song was played, the reactions were slightly enthusiastic, but the new songs were received with an awkward, deadly silence. It was a shame that the good mood, created by Heidevolk and Equilibrium, was completely destroyed.
Luckily the saviors of Ensiferum where there to show how it needs to be done. After a short intro immediately start with ‘Into Battle’ was a great choice, and immediately the mood was set. Ensiferum choose to play songs that were quite unusual. So instead of Iron and Lai Lai Hei being played, Windrider, The Longest Journey and Ahti were the ones which could be heard. Nontheless a varied setlist, with songs from each album. The stage performance was extremely energetic, and I had a hard time not to smile when seeing these guys and girl perform. The encore was formed by the songs Wanderer and the cover Bamboleo. You might think that this choice was a bit strange, but the fact that everyone sang along with Wanderer, and that everyone went completely craze one last time at Bamboleo might say enough. Great show!