Location: Burg Bornstedt (Germany)
By: Basak Günel
Unlike the day before, everyone woke up (or kept on drinking to cure the hangover) to a sunny Friday morning. One thing that made everyone happy was the awesome and cheap breakfast that the festival offers; coffee and small sandwiches were available for everyone at a very reasonable price.
The day started with Germanitas, who played instead of Craving. Since Craving had to cancel at the last minute due to the drummer’s health problems, Germanitas, who was also the first band the day before, opened up the second day again. So the fans of the band had the chance to see them twice. Surely for people who saw the band the day before, it didn’t make sense to see them again but it is also understandable that at big organizations like festivals, some unfortunate events can occur. The audience was also supportive enough this time as well.
Next were the Swiss epic folk metallers Caladmor. As a fan of this band, I had been looking forward to see them live; the band has released their latest debut album “Of Stones and Stars” on August 2013 which was quite promising. What distinguished this band from the others in this festival was the fact that the band consisted of a very talented female vocalist and a second male vocalist doing the harsh/clean vocals and also playing the drums at the same time. Although the band’s latest album is not their only album that has been released, they mostly played songs from that album. I was especially surprised to hear that the band sounded much better live than on CD and thanks to the very well arranged sound system, the male and female vocals could be heard very clearly.
Furthermore, a satisfied audience really seemed to please the band; during the show the vocalist Babs indirectly stated that they are more welcome in Germany than in their own homeland, Switzerland so it was obvious that both the audience and the band had a great time headbanging and enjoying the epic metal that the band brought. My personal favorites of the show were the songs “Curse of the Gods” and “Heralds of Doom”.
After some epic folk metal, it was time for black metallers Firtan. Formed in 2011, the band does not only make ‘black metal’ but a mixture of a few genres such as progressive, pagan metal and post-rock. Some themes like nature and death form the band’s lyrics, which are as dark as the band’s sound. Especially, the band’s latest concept album “Niedergang” features texts from some German philosophers so it’s wise to say that Firtan makes music with passion for sure. I especially loved the raw vocals sung by Phillip Thienger, not to mention the guitar riffs that formed the darkness of the band’s sound. It was great to see the audience headbanging and enjoying the dark black metal vibe that the band created. It wasn’t all about black metal though; the band’s diverse sound made the live performance much more entertaining and interesting. It might have been even better to see this band live on a black night; their music definitely does not fit to a sunny day.
Next was the ‘nature mystic folk black metallers’ Aethernaeum. The genre might sound funny but the band has an interesting history; the mainman Alexander Paul Blake, who is also the mainman in Eden Weint Im Grab, originally formed Aethernaeum in April 2012 but it was not until April 2013 that the band became what it is today, mainly because Mr. Blake wanted to do more creative music and he didn’t want the focus on all himself. The band’s name defines the spirituality and the romance and this was clear during their live performance. Sure, they were not one of those typical pagan/black metal bands that you would see live but I personally loved the romance/emotional vibe during their live performance. This is not an ordinary band; when that romance is entwined with the harsh vocals, you would see a unique band with influences from melodic, black and even folk metal. Another familiar face was of course the cello player Markus Freitag, who also plays in Eden Weint Im Grab. Aethernaeum was probably the strangest band of the day but they seemed to make the audience quite happy. Their stage presence and their unique style were the highlights of the show.
Up next were the German avantgarde black metallers Fjoergyn. Formed in 2003, the band knows no limits when it comes to music genres. When it comes to live shows, they are also quite professional; all in all, the band has toured with many known names in the past. Personally, I found the band more progressive and ambient than harsh and direct ‘black metal’ and this was surely a different experience so in this sense; this band is not a typical band in its own genre. Furthermore, there were two vocalists on stage; Ivo Raab did the harsh vocals whereas the frontman Stephan L. was in charge of the clean vocals. Although both the vocalists were in great harmony during the performance, I preferred the harsh vocals more as I think that they fit better to the band’s sound. It was great to see an original band with a unique sound; it was clear to see that the venue was getting more crowded and people were quite interested in the band.
Another interesting band of the day was the Scottish band Falloch. Although the band’s genre can be described as a mixture of post-rock and folk metal, there were hard to see elements from the folk metal genre during their live performance. Surely, the band has a diverse sound and influences from atmospheric, ambient and progressive metal but personally, I found the band a bit less metal and a bit more ‘rock/progressive’ for Dark Troll Festival so their style did not actually suit the whole festival. The ambient vibe in their music was surely impressive but I also think the vocals sung by Tony Dunn could be improved for future live shows; I felt that the vocals were too high-pitched for the band’s sound and they did not suit the harsh guitar riffs.
The most anticipated band of the evening was the German band Obscurity. The venue was already packed even before the band started playing and it was already clear that everybody was ready to mosh and to headbang. These “bergische löwen” know how to kick ass, headbang, perform and keep the mosh-pit going from the beginning to the end. It was my first time seeing this band and although the viking/death metal that they make is not my style, I was headbanging, clapping along and even trying to sing along to the songs. I must admit that the energy they create is unbelievable and it is indeed bands like Obscurity that the fans appreciate and love with a huge passion.
There were of course some highlights of the show. It was amazing to see how well the vocalist Agalaz connected with the fans; during the band’s performance, he pulled a few young fans in the first row to the stage and headbanged with them. Furthermore, towards the end of the performance, he was singing (or growling) along with the audience; he was not on the stage but he was in the audience this time and this added such an amazing atmosphere to the show. My personal favorite was the song “Nach Asgard wir reiten” and I could also see that it was the favorite of the audience as well.
The headliners of the night were black metallers Der Weg einer Freiheit. The audience was not as crowded as before (when Obscurity played) but it was obvious that the band had a hardcore fanbase. Formed in 2009, this young band has had a line-up change in November 2012; vocalist Tobias J left the band and the guitarist Nikita K. had taken over the vocal duties.
As the headliner, the band managed to perform a great show; the lights and the whole smoke added a great vibe to their dark music and during their performance, the harsh vocals and the black metal riffs were the highlights of the show. I really liked how the band managed to bring a modern touch to the black metal genre with their own style and interpretation as well as their stage show. Although I liked the overall performance of the band, I think that the vocals could have been a bit better to fit the raw-ness of the band’s sound. Nevertheless, this didn’t affect the band’s overall performance and these young black metallers surely made the audience satisfied.
After the headliners, the German black metal band Trimonium was next. However, due to personal reasons and the very cold weather, I had to skip the band.