23 July 2024

09-05-2024 Dark Troll Festival

Location: Bornstedt (Germany)

Somewhere between the open fields in Germany not too far from Leipzich and Halle lays a nice town called Bornstedt. The town has a ruin surrounded by trees and a beautiful view, the perfect place to host a festival. Dark Troll takes place in this scenic environment. We were to witness this happening.


Each day has about nine bands playing, all dark but in different shades. A varied weekend so to say. We start our experience by seeing the first band Dvalin entering the stage. The formation has been around for over a decade and plays Progressive Folk Metal. A recipe for success when it comes to setting the mood for the audience, which showed up in substantial amount to fill the area for the first band. Some bagpipes are included in their line ups so that is one thing that helps in defining their sound. It is used mostly in the beginning of their whereas towards the end the band goes for a heavier approach in their sound and leave the bagpipes out of it. This heavier sound seems to hit well with their audience as it seems. A good one to start the day with.


The next band we are getting to see is the formation Alkehmia. It is a rather young formation, birthed in the doomed years of Corona. Musically they are going for an aggressive style of Black Metal. What helps the change from the previous band being more smoothly is that they have a melodic edge to their sound and that works well with the audience here today. It does not take much for the band to convince the people. The first release of the band was out last year. It is called “Abraxas” and naturally the band took their time to put this one in the spotlight. Where the band draws our most attention is in the way they choose to highlight specific elements. The tempo is often set in a way that it runs over you like a high speed train, but there is some melody to soften the blow and bring some ambiance.
The band seems rather active in doing live shows so keep an eye on their name to see when they will be near you.


Switching over to some Melodic Death is somewhat interesting but the cheerful guys from Vanir have all the tools to make it happen. Some folk influences are there in their sound as it seems their earlier work drives you more into that direction and therefor, they blend it nicely. A smart way of choosing their setlist seem to help them with that. Only three months ago the band has released their latest album called “Epitome”, which is their seventh album since they started back in 2009. Live they have a quite active performance style, sometimes it looks like the guys would benefit from a larger stage where they can channel their energy better than they can on this Dark Troll stage, but it does not seem to bother the guys too much. Let’s see where they will end up next!


The German formation Saxorior has been around for three decades, so certainly a band with some experience on the counter. The guys are presenting us with some Melodic Black Metal today. Sound wise the guys are setting a solid sound. Not much surprises but very straightforward and all you may expect. Brought with quality that serves us well on a festival like this so seeing that was totally fine here today. They seem to have a dedicated group of fans around who know their material well, so their show turned out to be one that the audience appreciates. For ourselves, we would have liked them to have something more defined for them to make it our top performances of this festival. Nevertheless, a good add to Dark Troll.


Robse is a name that is maybe a bit less known than the previous one from frontman Robert. Equilibrium rings a bell by many, but in 2022 the project Robse was kicked off. A debut has yet to be released but is planned for August this year so the trust the organization had in this one to put Robse this high on the bill must be good. Now of course the man has quite some material to his name so we can imagine that this was certainly a plus. A lot the material we were presented had a rathe rich sound. It is safe to say that Equilibrium fans will find themselves liking the sound of Robse as well. Here and there you could witness some experimenting where the man seem to see what works with the audience, a fascinating thing to observe. It was probably a good choice of the organization to include Robse here today, a fine show to watch.

Décembre Noir

One of the highlights of the day was the performance of the German Décembre Noir. The Melodic Doom/Death that the band makes has been around since 2008 and with five full length albums on the counter the guys have plenty to draw from for their setlist. We received a nice mix of what they can do, from a melancholic slow approach towards a heavier doom sound. Bassist Stephan is a joy to watch with his active and enthusiastic performance style, making sure his groove gets picked up well by the audience. The field was rather full during the set of these guys, so it seems they have a good amount of followers already and with a charismatic frontman bringing out the words to their catchy darkness they surely have convinced others to join their fanbase. Great show.


Ancient was a bit remarkable here today. Melodic Black they make, and the guys have put a lot of detail into their looks and décor. Now that of course is only helpful if the music adds to that experience and rest assured, they got that part covered as well. Zel, or Aphazel as he goes, is not perse in the spotlight during the show, but you never fail to see him. His evil grin and piercing eyes flow over the audience while he performs his parts. Now the band has some live musicians who play a big part in the experience as well. It is clear that they are equally adding to atmosphere with their enthusiasm here today.

Where the band does not need to put in a lot of effort to get their audience attention it is to be said that there has not really been a recent release from Ancient. A compilation in 2022, a studio album we have to go back to 2016 for. Hopefully we get to hear some new material at some point.


The Pagan formation Gernothshagen was quite up in the list here today. Interestingly enough their crowd seems a slight bit smaller than for Ancient though. The Germans have been around for quite a while and although they have kept their fans waiting for a new release for a long-time they seems to be back at it right now. Catchy tunes that fans can easily pick up help keeping things moving in their set. The audience seem to appreciate them well. There are many layers to their sound which makes that there is much to observe. It is clear they have taken their time to create a rich sound. An interesting way to look at what they have done regardless of whether their music is your kind of thing.


Last band of this first day is the Danish Black Metal formation Sunken. They have been around since 2013, and since then there have been two full length albums. They surely made their name well for they are here today at the end of the day. Their sounds is rather atmospheric and with a dark undertone and while listening to their set you get the feeling of being taken by the hand through a rather vivid soundscape that shows the beauty and the darkness. Where the band is your guide that makes sure you don’t miss out on any highlights and presents you a lot of details. As a headliner the band does quite well, they are sometimes a bit modest in their performance but never fail to keep people interested. Their heaviness is a driving the show and provide us with a good show to end the night with. Well done.


Dark Troll website