The first three acts on stage – starting at 11am – were three bands from the Czech Republic: Noostrak, Trollech and Brutally Deceased. It was really impressive that even such less known acts had a pretty large audience for such an early start. Even Noostrak, who were on at 11am, got some violent (but friendly) mosh pits. Well, I guess, it’s never too early for moshing for a metalhead when you hear the sounds of extreme. Nevertheless, this still means that Noostrak gave a solid show which pleased the audience with a good mix of death and deathcore.
It was Trollech, however, who were the first to impress me at this fest. Being the KVLT master which I am, I researched the band a bit before and, thus, was looking forward to their show. They definitely didn’t disappoint. Deservingly they had their own audience – a nature friendly audience holding tree branches at the front. Trollech play a type of raw melodic black metal. The only effects they use are plain distortion, even the melodic interludes sound rather raw and rusty – it works well, however, and is effective. Another plus is that the lyrics are in Czech. I’m really looking forward to getting more familiar with this band.
The next band, Brutally Deceased, was also very impressive. To think that I wanted to leave the stage area and get myself something to eat is embarrassing. After the first few minutes I stopped feeling hungry as I was feeding on some awesome pure raw brutal death metal. The most amazing thing was the combination of the Swedish guitar sound with the deep and raw drums with the immensely brutal vocals on top. Amazing. Do yourself the favour and check them out, you won’t regret it.
Now, please forgive me but I have to take some time to ask you something. Please explain to me what is with couples standing in front of the stages and grabbing their asses? At times it looks like they’re fingering each other… I know that this is a free world and it doesn’t matter what I say but please, keep that kinda stuff to your privacy in your tent! …or at least hide behind a bush.
The next act was Totem from Poland. Did not manage to catch their whole performance as I was queuing for coupons to get some food and a beer. Nevertheless, from afar they sounded pretty solid on stage and the woman on vocals knew how to growl.
Toxic Holocaust were next and they thrashed the place. They are a good festival act, great to headbang to and to mosh to. They started with “War is Hell” and continuing with “In the Name of Silence”, “I Have Disease” and “Nuke the Cross”. A good band to have fun to but offering nothing special to the table. Right after was another mediocre act; Arkona from Russia. The fact that they were energetic, especially the vocalist, and used bagpipes, a flute combined with blastbeats did not satisfy my KVLT metal tastes. It was, however, humorous watching her running around the stage like a little warrior!
After a little break from all the brutal loudness, it was time to watch stoner legends Crowbar. They took the stage 15 minutes late, the front man apologised for that. He exclaimed that they will play the remaining 25 minutes and hit the beers. What I really enjoyed about their set was the combination of the fast paced parts with the slow parts. It created an enjoyable balance in their music. The best parts though were the long draining slow chord changes – ultra bliss.
Before we get treated to another sludge/stoner legend, The Black Dahlia Murder went on stage. It was the solos and the melodic parts which made their music interesting. Otherwise, for me, it was just deathcore with skilled performers. It was cool though watching the pit from the hill behind. They also dedicated the “Weed Song” to Lock Up who were going to play later.
Corrosion of Conformity were up next and, oh my, how awesome were they. It looked as if the sound check was still underway but once they turned to the audience and the drums joined in, you realised that they were jamming. It had a great effect; I was shocked by how awesome it was. Love at first note? Very much so. I really loved their heavy rocky blues. The solos, the riffs, the drums, the looks; everything about them was groovy. If their music did not make you move your body to the rhythm then something must be wrong with your head…or you just could not hear the music over the annoying toilet cleaners…
Lock Up and their front man Thomas Lindberg were the first act to really communicate with the audience. Lindberg actually talked unlike the rest of the bands who just gave out the usual shout outs encouraging the audience to take part. He kept referring to the great line up, especially Krisiun, Nile and Inquisition. He kept saying how much he loves the Czech Republic and Prague. The music though… Well, obviously, as you’d expect they didn’t disappoint; they delivered their style of death metal and grindcore with new and old tracks. They also covered a Terrorizer track, “Storm of Stress”, in memory of Jesse Pintado. The performance got even better towards the end when the band froze on stage and the audience started applauding. Somehow, unexpectedly, they all of a sudden started playing again to finish off the song. This might not sound very special and over done… however, if it’s done correctly, it has a great effect. Lock Up managed to get that effect 100%.
The next act, Swallow the Sun, from Finland immediately won points from me just because the vocalist was wearing a Type O Negative T-shirt. In addition to the clouds gathering on top of us, it started to rain after a few songs. A perfect atmosphere for a doom gig. We’ve been treated to tracks such as “New Moon”, “Cathedral Walls” and “Swallow” among other. Although instrumentally I enjoyed the set, the vocalist disappointed me which ruined the whole effect for me. There was something missing, something went wrong. Next time it should be better, I hope.
After that I felt like I should go on an adventure just like Indiana Jones. As I was not looking forward to Heaven Shall Burn and I’ve seen Krisiun before, I thought I would put on my safari hat and discover the smaller stage – the “Budvar club” stage – where Czech act Dievision was playing. As I have not listened to them before and reading their description as “melodic death metal”, I expected an average melo death act. It was not exactly that. There was much more to them. First of all, the vocals were a mix of high and low pitched growls with the addition of some clean parts here and there. Instrumentally they were a blend of the trademark Swedish melodic death metal and the European one. A good live band; catchy and definitely headbangable to.
Right after I head to the main stages area to catch Ministry and then Dimmu Borgir. Although Ministry are not really my thing, I enjoyed their “dystopian/utopian” lyrical themes. They played a song about “wankers bankers” and about “big brother” – awesome. However, it was hard to differentiate the instruments in their music… too much noise. I guess, like a lot of other great bands, it’s a matter of getting used to. Straight after, it was the next headliner’s turn to get on stage: Dimmu Borgir. This time not with an orchestra (Wacken review here), however, still really enjoyed it. Again, it brought back memories of my black metal “baby steps” with awesometastic tracks such as “Mourning Palace”, “Spellbound (By the Devil)” and “Puritania”. Oh wait, I did not mention the epic “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse”. A lot of you might react as most KVLT metalheads react: “this band is a sell out!! Stop writing positively about them!!” Well, I’ll tell you one thing. I also went through a phase thinking that they’re a “sell out” but then I told myself that if I like the music then it’s fine. Sure, making Dimmu Borgir Vans shoes is definitely not underground or KVLT but at least they still sound like Dimmu Borgir and they recognise how big the band has grown…unlike Rob Flynn of Machine Head who says “fuck pop music and mainstream”… (more of that later) Anyways, the band put on a strong show and proved that they’re still up for the task of performing live. This is definitely a band worth checking out in concert if you still haven’t done so.
Talking of KVLT matters, Inquisition were blasting out the “Budvar Club” stage. Indeed, the Americans were nothing but KVLT. For obvious reasons, the place filled up and it was quite hard to see anyone on stage – not that being a two-piece: a drummer and a guitarist/vocalist – made it any easier as there was only one “visible” person while the other one was behind his drum kit. All in all, it was a rather awesome demonic black metal show even if the acoustics of the place were not that great. Right after it was American death metallers Nile to hit the main stage. The highlight for most people present was probably George Kolias and his drumming which caused damage to his drum set. In between tracks, vocalist/guitarist Dallas entertained and encouraged the audience to shout out: “Don’t fuck up the drums, George”. We’ve been presented tracks like “Sacrifice Unto Sebek”, “Ithyphallic” or “Black Seeds of Vengeance”.
I believe you may understand that since it was already 1 am and listening to metal from 11am – that’s 13 hours of ear-pounding metal – one had enough and had to head over to camp to save his sanity.
Stay tuned for the report of day 3!