Location: Burg Bornstedt (Germany)
By: Basak Günel
The last day of the festival began with the ‘franconian pagan metallers’ Delirium from Germany. The band started out as a blackened pagan metal band in 2006 but later, due to the band’s interest in mythology, the band switched their style to only pagan metal. With their debut album “Frankenblut” released in 2011, the band has been going stronger than ever and their performance did manage to captivate the people and catch the attention of the audience at an early hour. The catchiest song of the performance was probably “Frankenblut”; the audience helped motivate the band by singing along and applauding so generally, everyone seemed to have a good time. I really loved the melodic but also the harsh style of the band; the guitar riffs were catchy whereas the vocals sung by Manuel Hiller were harsh.
Next were the German folk-fantasy metallers Kultasiipi. They were probably the most interesting band of the day; although the band is from Germany, their songs and their style is all about the mixture of folk metal in Finnish language with a touch of old Finnish songs and mythology . It wouldn’t be wrong to say that they were probably the only band in the festival who gave the fans that Finnish folk metal atmosphere. The flute played by Kirsikka Kukka was really entertaining and I am sure anyone who loves humppa/folk metal with flutes and who yearns for Celtic/Irish songs enjoyed this band a lot! Seeing Kultasiipi in such an atmosphere was truly magical. They were really fun to sing and dance to; the audience was also having fun… Well, it was impossible not to have fun with this band!
After some fun and catchy folk metal, it was time for something harsher. As soon as the Irish blackened folk metallers Celtachor started playing, the mood of the festival changed. During the performance, the audience and the fans were able to hear some finest Irish pagan metal and hear stories from the Irish mythology. The band’s style is a mixture of many genres such as black, folk and doom and this was the highlight of the show. Celtachor was not just an ordinary band but the diversity in the band’s sound made this performance much more colorful and interesting. I really loved the band’s stage outfit as well as the whistle played by the vocalist/front man Stephan Roche. Hearing folk elements is always fun and adds a diversity to a live show and Celtachor did not disappoint anyone in that sense. It was also interesting to see a female drummer (Anais Chareyre) in a folk/pagan metal band. I must also mention that I love the fact that the front man explained every song in detail before playing it; in this way, a performance was educational as well as full-on metal! Generally, I can say that Celtachor was greeted in a great atmosphere and by a happy audience.
Next were the Austrian post black metallers Harakiri for the Sky. The band has recently released their new album “Aokigahara” and after reviewing the release, I was amazed by the band’s sound and the darkness in their songs so they were one of the bands I was eagerly looking forward to see live. During their performance, the band definitely gained my respect more. The vocalist J.J’s vocals reflected the aggression in the songs quite well and the guitar riffs. Furthermore, a surprise was waiting for the fans; during the song “Burning from Both Ends”, the vocalist Torsten from Agrypnie, who was also one of the guest musicians in the album, performed with the band. With their performance, the band definitely gave signs that they have potential and that they will be around, they are such a great live band!
One of the most anticipated bands of the evening were the legendary ‘extreme epic metallers’ Stormlord from Italy. As the venue got more crowded, the tension arose; we are talking about a band who has been around for 20 years and who is very good at creating the energy in their live performances. Surely, the audience was more than helpful; the front rows were full of people headbanging and I could see that this made the band really happy. Furthermore, I really liked the overall stage show of the band; they did not only sing but they added diversity to their show with their happy attitude and the stage outfits. The vocals sung by Christiano Borchi were extreme indeed but the sound of the band was also melodic and fun at the same time. Although the music they make is not my cup of tea, they were a great live band that should be seen live!
Due to the problems in the schedule, I had to skip the Austrian metallers Bifröst so the next band I could see was the Austrian post – black metallers Agrypnie (which means sleep disorder/insomnia). The band, formed in 2004, has released their latest album last year and an audience craving for black metal and the darkness was waiting for the band. My first impression of them was that they were the darkest band of the evening. As a person who has seen this band live for the first time, I found myself mesmerized by the band’s overall stage performance and the black-metal riffs that they brought. The face-paint of the bandmembers added a great vibe to the band’s overall performance and it definitely felt like a black metal heaven for the audience. Agrypnie knew definitely to perform and they gained my respect with their own style and their own sound.
Another anticipated band of the evening was the Dutch headliners Heidevolk. The band, formed in 2002, welcomed Lars, the second vocalist, on November 2013 after the departure of Joris Boghtdrincker. Lars had already performed a few shows with the band as the permanent vocalist so this time, an energetic show with a great new line-up was waiting for the Heidevolk fans in the crowded audience. Despite the long and problematic sound check, the band started the show with full energy and with one of their classics “Nehalennia”. From the first moment, it was great to see how well Lars fit into the band; he and the other vocalist/frontman Mark Splintervuyscht were especially a great team!
When we are talking about Heidevolk shows, the neverending energy and a happy audience has to be there and it was the same this time. The set-list was quite interesting as well; the band played some classics like “Ostara” and everyone’s favorite “Vulgaris Magistralis” but also included material such as “ Een Nieuw begin” from their latest album “Batavi” which was released in 2012. I found the set list really entertaining; there was no pause for the audience and every song kept the crowd moving and dancing! One more time, these crazy and happy Dutch metallers didn’t disappoint anyone and left a smile in everyone’s face!
The last band of the day and of the festival was the German black/folk metal band Ahnengrab. Sadly, because of the long sound check and the delay of the Heidevolk show, the stage time of Ahnengrab was also delayed and this meant that the band had to play to a much unmotivated audience which was also not so crowded. This was surely unpleasant for the band; the crowd had to applaud and motivate the band after each song to please the band. Despite this unfortunate situation, I found the band really harsh and quite good in its own genre! Sure, they were not so motivated but they delivered some great ‘black metal’ and tried to keep the fire burning in the audience despite the late hour. Maybe this should have not been the way for a festival to end but it was great to see the few people in the audience headbanging and enjoying the songs. Dark Troll Festival ended with darkness, black metal and the harshness and that was enough for the audience!
And so Dark Troll Festival ended; 3 days of pagan/folk/black metal madness managed to make every metalhead happy. I must also mention that the festival has had generally a lot of improvements in the sound system or the general merchandise/food catering/camping area compared to last year. After 3 days, everyone was tired but noone was dissatisfied. Now, the countdown begins until next year’s 6th Dark Troll Festival!