Bands: Psychiatric Ward, Sky Down, Nordjevel(NOR), Dead Furies, Herald, Sungehel, Hate(Pol), Goresoerd, No-Big-Silence, Progress, Estoner, Intact, Tankist, Val Tvoar, Condescension, Sanctimony(LAT). DND, Asphyx(NED), Shower, Arcturus(NOR), Loits, Katatonia(SWE)
Place: Vana-Vigala, Estonia
By: Nilla Meri
It is end of June and this part of the world is full of amazing festivals and concerts. In Finland there are Tuska (also it is the festival’s 20th anniversary), Provinssirock, Guns n Roses and many more. Then there is HRL, 180km south of Finland, in a tiny village called Vana-Vigala in Estonia. I cannot promise that you will read about the most exciting festival of the year but it is indeed interesting to get to know about the biggest metal festival held in a tiny country. Isn’t it? When I told people that I would be going there the reactions were similar: “But why?” Perhaps, I just wanted to experience a festival in Estonia this year. When I noticed that how little I have been involved in Estonian music scene even though I have been living here for couple of years, it hit me hard and I prepared my backpack to head to this biggest metal festival of Estonia. Do not get fooled by the adjective “biggest”. Honestly, it is probably one of the smallest “biggest” metal festival you can imagine. Yet, it does not change the fact that it still survives while there are big brothers around and gathers up almost 2.000 metal lovers from around Estonia.
Dear readers, are you ready to meet with some cool Estonian bands and go to a muddy festival journey with me? Let’s go!
Weather forecast for the festival weekend was not promising at all. But I do not fully count on the forecasts so I still packed a skirt, swimming suit, flipflops and my sunglasses with me. Guess what? I didn’t even touch any of them. My beloved boots, rain jacket, leggins and woolen socks were my best friends throughout the festival. Honestly, it was a mud-bath all around the festival area which was located in a forest south of Estonia.
First band of the festival was Psychiatric Ward from Estonia which I unfortunately missed due to transportation failure. Second band was Sky Down. They played in the B-lava (B-stage) which was the smaller of two stages.This power metal band from Tallinn with a female singer gathered a big crowd to watch them. Next band was a black metal band from Norway in A-lava called Nordjevel. During Nordjevel’s performance it was raining cats and dogs but it did not create a obstacle for the black metal lovers.
Next band to see was a famous Estonian band called Dead Furies and for me they were one of the stars of the first day. Hearing their names and music many times but not seeing them up until that moment, I knew that it was going to be an enjoyable performance and it so was! Dead Furies rocked the B-lava and made people mud dive. These current example of Estonian rock n roll, garage rock kings were more than energetic on the stage. And I have to add that I loved their huge Elvis Presley poster on the stage!
I guess, for many the star of the day was Herald. Before they started playing the A-Lava was full of people who claimed to come to festival only for this band. Herald is a heavy metal band with a heavy influence of thrash and heavy metal classics. No doubt that they had an exiting and amazing performance for many.
For me the main band that I have been waiting for this day was Hate from Poland. This death metal band from Warsaw that dates back to 1990 was amazing and it was an honor to see Adam Buszko(aka ATF Sinner) the founder of the band live.
Goresoerd is another band from Estonia that is focused on grindcore as their names suggest. Their performance was impressive in my opinion as they made so many young kids and elderly and young to headbang together. My new homework is to get familiar with the grindcore scene in Estonia as it seemed very vivid and lovely.
And the headline of the day: No-Big-Silence! Just as their name suggest, they did not let their fans be silent. Originally known as Agressor, No-Big-Silence is an industrial metal from early 1980’s. Even though they have changed drastically with time it seemed like their fans stayed loyal to them.