013, Tilburg, The Netherlands (22-03-2015)
Photography: Paganfest Extended, Turbinehalle, Oberhausen, Germany
One of the places to be if you are into pagan, folk and viking metal is the annual festival Paganfest. After being cancelled last year, the Paganfest tour has returned to Tilburg with an XL tour, featuring some of the best bands the genre has to offer. As has become the custom, the venue 013 in Tilburg is the battlefield for these bands tonight. Despite the early time of the first band we move towards the venue to see the opening act for today, Frosttide!
The Finnish band Frosttide has the honor of starting off the day as an opening act. Despite the early time of the show, the venue is already pretty crowded. The band that released its second full-length album ‘Blood Oath’ earlier this year has obviously grown a lot since the last time we saw them live on stage. Starting from the very first notes of the set, the band has a great performance with a solid sound and good stage performance. The sound of the band vaguely reminds me of Wintersun at times, but Frosttide has somehow managed to create a sound of their own which makes the music very unique and accessible. Despite the fact that the venue is pretty crowded, the audience clearly needs to warm up for the rest of the day. There’s low response coming from the audience, and definitely less than these guys deserve. Luckily some people are already fervently banging their heads and singing along to the music. The setlist is varied, and features both songs from the last album as well as some of the older material. It’s too bad that these guys only got to play a short set, because I would have loved to hear more from them! All in all the band had a great stage performance, the setlist was varied and they warmed up the audience pretty nicely before the start of the next band. Hopefully these guys will receive the praise they deserve, because with a killer album like ‘Blood Oath’ and a great performance at Paganfest it should be obvious that these guys deserve more than just half an hour of playtime!
Score: 8,0 / 10 (Yvette)
After the nice warm-up from Frosttide, it is time for Obscurity to enter the battlefield. After the melodic folk metal from the first band it is time to get the crowd started with some of the heavier stuff. The energetic band managed to warm up the audience with ease, creating moshpits all over the place and having people dancing along fanatically. It’s good to see that people are so eager to party this early in the afternoon! The band put up a great performance and the overall sound and structure of the performance was solid. The great party atmosphere however was soon gone after a guy in the audience lost conscience in a moshpit and both the security and first aid were called to act. The moshpits were soon gone when the authorities came in with a stretcher to help transport the poor guy out of the room. Too bad that this event really caused the audience to lose interest n the band, because Obscurity had a great performance today! Credits go to the band for cutting their performance short due to what happened right in front of the stage. In my opinion they acted really professionally. Despite what happened, the band did a great job as second band for this evening. I’m personally not a very big fan of the band, but they definitely scored some points today!
Score: 7,0 / 10 (Yvette)
After Obscurity and the events that happened right in front of the stage, it was time for Finsterforst to enter the stage. The band performed their sound-check in silence in respect of the authorities that were still helping the injured man in front of the stage. After this short setback it was finally time for this German pagan metal band to really get things started! As expected the band once again put up a great live performance. The shows are always energetic and varied and have the audience moving along in no time. The overall sound was good, however the sound from the accordion was almost inaudible. This might have been due to the fact that Finsterforst was playing with a stand-in accordion player tonight. It is too bad that the accordion sound was almost completely gone, since the band heavily relies on this. Despite this the band still managed to give a killer performance. The vocals were great, the music was great and the band has a great response from the audience. These guys are always in for a party and they made sure to make us remember!
Score: 7,5 / 10 (Yvette)
After the violent sound of this morning it’s time for an epic quest for the holy grail! The super hero’s from the Grailknights enter the arena. After Dr. Skull showed up holding the grail and locking himself in the great castle Greyskull, it’s up to Sir Optimus Prime, Earl Quake, Lord Drumcules, Sovereign Storm and Count Cranium to restore the peace and retrieve the grail from the hands of evil. Of course they cannot do this alone so when they were “Calling the Choir” all people inside 013 had to be transformed to their own mighty Battle Choir, including super hero poses and mighty sing-along’s. From the first row all the way to the back and even the people on the balcony, no-one could withstand the power of the mighty Grailknights so everyone was yelling the lyrics when Sir Optimus Prime commanded us to. When playing “A Nameless Grave” it all reached its peak and of course in the end even Dr. Skull wasn’t able to withstand the glorious Grailknights. After a short slow-motion swordfight the superhero’s prevailed and the “Grailquest Gladiators” could play their last song,
We are flesh and bones.
Gladiators, drenched in blood.
Waving grailquest flags.
Raised above our heads.
After waiting six years to finally be able to see this band, it was totally worth it!
Score: 8,0 / 10 (Colin)
Tilburg showed what it means for a band to play in their own country when it was time for Heidevolk, it was packed! Of course everyone knows that Heidevolk will soon release a new album, so the band for the first time in a long time didn’t kick off by playing Nehalennia, it was time for the new Winter Woede! Unfortunately guitarist Reamon and vocalist Mark couldn’t make it due to obligations to their jobs. This was probably the main reason Heidevolk didn’t sound as steady as they usually do. Technical problems with the guitar of Kevin didn’t help either. I must say Jacco (Conorach) did a great job on the vocals covering up for Mark, but it just isn’t the same. Also it didn’t match well with the low voice of newcomer Lars. After playing some famous songs called Ostara, Dondergod and their great hit Saksenland it was time for another new song, Urth. I’m not such a big fan of it but everyone should judge for themselves. Drinkgelag was another of these new songs. Followed up by the famous Nehalennia. After this we left because we had to eat somewhere during the day and wanted to see Turisas, but also because Heidevolk disappointed me a bit. Another thing I noticed, they played nothing from the Batavi album, what’s up with that? This is because Mark wasn’t there? I don’t know, but I sure hope some of these songs will be back on the set list in the future.
Score: 7,0 / 10 (Colin)
Well, I wish I hadn’t gone here. We came in during the second song, A portage to the Unknown, promising, I thought. Then I saw the stage and saw that the new backdrop is vocalist Mathias pictured as Jesus, or at least some kind of saint. Well, this kind of religious delusion is escalating I think. Following up they placed a new song called Piece by Piece. Let’s say I’m no fan of their new work, don’t think it has anything to do with pagan things too. Mathias also definitely didn’t have his best day of vocal work, since he didn’t grunt everywhere where he should and the clean vocals were more spoken than sung. To Holmgard and Beyond was played and it just didn’t have the magic it had a few years ago. Sounded much better with an accordion too. In the Court of Jarisleif featuring Sami from Korpiklaani. A song I think I’d rather heard with keyboards since Robert at least plays his parts right. All the hopes I had for the new album are gone for me now, for everyone who hoped Turisas would make some more Battle Metal, they won’t. For people who love sore throated power metal, please don’t give up on these men.
Score: 5,0 / 10 (Colin)
Yes, since the release of Time 1 back in 2012 the set list of Wintersun hasn’t really changed, the up side of this is that Wintersun can play all these songs really well, tonight that’s what they show us too! Everyone can hum the tune of the intro of Sons of Winter and Stars, so that’s what we heard first of course, followed up by the song itself. The fists of the entire crowd mighty in the air while singing all the lines of the entire song. Nothing new here, we do this for three years already, since we all know this song is followed up by Darkness and Frost, Time and Death and the Healing I can only say that the atmosphere tonight was absolutely perfect. Jari did some great vocal work and the backing vocals where spot on too. Technically these guys are wonderful so everything was just right. Praise to the guys responsible for the sound of tonight too since it was really that perfect. Beyond the Dark Sun, one of my favourite Wintersun songs was played followed up by Starchild, but then it happened. What’s this? A brand new song? Not even The Way of the Fire which has been the “new song” for the past two years, this was Black Forest and actually something I hadn’t heard before! It was a pretty good song, but well, after this time, it must be, actually I expected a bit better. After talking about it with some friends and fellow reviewers we had some different opinions on this new work so I think it’s a matter of taste. The last song of course was not so surprisingly Winter Madness, but a madness it has been again tonight! Best act of the evening once more!
Score: 9,0 / 10 (Colin)
The last couple of years, a split was noticeable within the fan base of Korpiklaani. On one side, there were people who loved, and still love, everything they do. On the other hand there are fans that don’t like the new direction the band is heading; that of a more serious folk-band with more often than not a bad stage performance. However, the venue was still packed before the show started and the anticipation was high. It was Korpiklaani who had the honor to headline this evening. The setlist of the band was mixed and consisted mainly of new material of the last 2 albums. However, the band’s second song was one of the audience’s favorites ‘Journey Man’. Immediately, a moshpit started and the band gave what everyone came for; an atmosphere great for partying. Although the band is not well known for their live performances (playing out of tune and out of sync seems to become more common with every show they play), the audience couldn’t care, as long as they played up-tempo songs. After ‘Journey Man’, quite some new material was played. The effect on the audience was immense; nobody interacted with the band anymore, and everyone succumbed to tiredness. This was the main issue with tonight’s set of Korpiklaani; they can’t keep the attention of the audience. As soon as they played one of the ‘golden oldies’ like ‘vodka’, they ruin the atmosphere completely by playing one of their most boring songs directly after, which is an instant mood kill. The band played quite okay, not as bad as we’re getting more and more used to, but every time it becomes more difficult for the band to keep the audience’s attention. Such a shame!
Score: 5,0 / 10 (Nick)