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The last day of any festival is always the hardest one, your legs are destroyed, your eyes aren't ready to open till 12 AM and your willpower cries and i s actually ready to give in. To my relief there were not too many destinations in my plan for that day, all the bands I was interested in must play in Agra Halle and a unique MISFITS show in Werk II club was going to be a nice ending. So I started my day in the Barbarian village again to find the right mood and to have a shot of my favourite stimulant - a glass of Teufelsbier (can be traslated as the "Devil's beer" which is true). I also had a brief chance to check a couple of bands playing there - quite well-known WOLFENMOND and a one with a funny name LOS DILETTANTOS. Both were very good but I needed to move to be in time for the first act.
The spanish young band NORTHLAND plays on the crossroads of folk and death and that's very unusual for a band from Spain. Viking stuff could be easily expected from a band from Germany, Norway or Sweden, but it looks like Spain has also something to say about that. NORTHLAND was founded in 2004 and got its first contract in 2009 to realease the first album in 2010. This self-titled CD got some very positive feedback from the whole Europe and it led the guys to their first ever European tour (partly as a support act for TURISAS) and also to their WGT gig. It's very easy to express an opinion about NORTHLAND live performance - it's loud, funny, very melodic and it has a very nice and appealing attitude of a metal party. The band's music is really very optimistic and you just can't question its professionalism. If you ask me, I'd say it's influenced by CHILDREN OF BODOM and bands like ENSIFERUM. The vocalist Pau Murillo can not only scream but also sing in a clear voice and it surely puts some diversity in the band's material. What is also worth mentioning is the NORTHLAND's charisma - all those people in the hall saw the band for the very first time in their life, but they clapped and sang starting from the very first song! That was a luxury even some known band can't reach - the audience reacted like there were their old friends on the stage, not less! Even when one of the guitars refuced to work the fans' support got even stronger. The set-list consisted of the tracks from the first album and even one of the new songs called "Beer", something they prepared for their next album. All in all it was a great gig and NORTHLAND can be pround of themselves - Spain can really rock!
When I asked some of my friends what is COPPELIUS and what do they play, a vague mumbling was the answer. The articulatest one was "They are... interesting". Not a bad sign for someone who loves to be surprised. What's even more interesting ist the fact that the band practically hides any information about itself like a top secret. All the musicians have characters they play on stage and their official web-site is not to reveal any real information but just to present the band's image. You can read something about their stage personas and the albums though. COPPELIUS was born in 2003 but lived as an exclusively live band for several years (with some EPs as an exception) till they finally realeased their first album "Time-Zeit" in 2007. The last album "Zinnober" was released in 2010 and the band's recent set-list usually consisted mainly of the songs from it. Well let's get to the show. COPPELIUS concert is staged as a XIX century home performance. You see five slightly manic nice gentlemen gathered in a music room to play violins and cellos together. The 6th member of the group - a butler - runs here and there trying to take care of the gentlemen clothes, cleans the room, asks the audience to be quiet or applause, makes some announces and of course sings. Combined with a very "mentally unstable" kind of music COPPELIUS plays, the whole gig turns into a theatrical and highly entertaining muddle! All the musciains take part in the action, they all sing, dance and go crazy and this performance was exactly what you could expect at its best. Too bad the festival time was limited and COPPELIUS had just 8 songs to play - the audience was actually screaming for more. What I'm trying to say is I strongly advice you just not to miss a chance to see the band live if you have one, it's worth your time.
I didn't know CRIMFALL till that day, so my impressions were completely fresh. The band appeared in the red smoke dressed in furs and leather and just from the first sight you could tell it was going to be a pagan metal. In reality CRIMFALL appeared to be a little more than that, mainly due to some heavy orchestration usage. They already have two full-length albums - "As The Path Unfolds..." and "The Writ of Sword" - and do have a lot to show live, though the stable line-up was found already after the first album was recorded. As I said the CRIMFALL's music can be described as epic pagan metal with a lot of orchestral work and two lead singers - the male growler Mikko and Helena who has a beautiful and very strong clean voice. If I have to label them, I'd say their Finnish colleagues BATTLELORE sound pretty much similar (it's not like they're a somebody's copy, but now you should have a general idea). The start was slightly currupted by the indispensable minor sound problems, but CRIMFALL didn't let them spoil the party. They sounded like a bombastic shredding storm of battle hymns and you could see they really enjoyed every minute of their set, epecially Helena who sang fastastically even though she had some problems with her microphone. You could also appreciate the band's very sincere approach to the audience and I hope they found some new fans that evening.
MOONSORROW is a very unusual pagan metal band from Finland which is unique enough to unite such different things like viking and progressive metal. It's not another Finnish group with the same beer-and-fight attitude, because MOONSORROW was able to drive the style to something new. The fast and heavy tunes with some definitive folk influence are alternated with the conceptual slow and leisured insertions you could easily expect from bands like OPETH, but not from a pagan metal group. MOONSORROW has already released seven albums and is a cult status phenomenon. The last album named "Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa" was released not so long ago in 2011. The uniqueness of MOONSORROW is also in the fact that they can compose the very long songs just like that, and I mean they can be very long, so it was not a big surprise when they manageged to play only 6 songs for an hour. They started with "Tähdetön" from the new album and I must say they probably had the best sound of that day. I was pertty much surprised by the way the band looked and sounded, because I was used to see them in the small clubs and this time they played on the main WGT stage, and it was like there was some other band. MOONSORROW need some more space to show themselves! It's a completely different band when they perform on a big stage, probably because the sound was better and the stage was decorated with a giant backdrop with the MONNSORROW logo and the blue smoke made them look and probably even feel better and more self-confident. The guitar player Mitja Harvilahti surely needs a big stage, because he runs and jumps like crazy! In general it was a very athmospheric and professional show and I've never seen them in a better musical and visual shape, that's what I call a headliner.
MEDIAEVAL BAEBES was a very unusual act from England performing the mediaeval-styled songs (it was obvious from the name, right?). YouTube gave me the first impression and the more I watched their videos the more I was surprised, because MEDIAEVAL BAEBES isn't exactly what you can expect to see after a band like MOONSORROW. The band was founded in 1996 and the idea was to make an all-maidens band with the strong emphasis on singing which could re-arrange the mediaeval songs and also compose the original material. To this day MEDIAEVAL BAEBES released three full-length albums (the fourth one is on its way already) and made the soundtrack for "The Virgin Queen", a historical BBC production composed by Martin Phipps, that resulted in a deserved Ivor Novello Award 2007 for best television soundtrack. The ladies sing a wide variety of songs in about 15 languages with even some dead languages between them. In 2011 the band started to work more on its visual performance and the WGT audience could finally check out the results of these efforts.
Six ladies in some kind of tunics with the long hems came to the stage holding tambourines. Some supporting musicians were also there, but they are were partially hidden in the shadows, so the audience could just hear some acoustic guitars, drums and violins. The ladies not only sang but also sometimes used a couple of instruments, like violin, flute or lute. Unfortunately I can't mention anything from their set-list, but the music was very relaxing and I could describe it like mediaeval folk meets a little of pop music. There were moments when the singers suddently started to dance or waved with the tambourines with the ribbons attached synchronously. The act was perfect... or may be even too perfect. Of course I don't want to show any disrespect and the audience seemed to like MEDIAEVAL BAEBES very much, but I just couldn't help myself imaging them on the stage of Centraltheater where I had a chance to see TROBAR DE MORTE a day ago. I think that would be a perfect place for the band, because the last WGT day in Agra Halle was mainly given to some way more aggressive music and you could really expect to see something a lot more "rocking" between MOONSORROW and ELUVEITIE... MEDIAEVAL BAEBES was fine, but simply out of its place and I've met quite a lot of people who felt exactly the same.
And that was the time for me to make the hardest choice of the evening: to stay for ELUVEITIE or to leave for the Werk II club to see the legendary MISFITS. I've seen ELUVEITIE and I had a strong feeling I was going to see them many times more, but MISFITS gig was way bigger deal for me, so I left to the club. Werk II was packed beyond any reasonable limits, but I was lucky to be the first press guy who got there, that's why I was first in line to the photo-pit. If I came 10 minutes later, it could happen I could not get to the club at all.
MISFITS was born in 1977 in USA and quickly became one of the most important bands of the American punk scene. Their impact can be compared only with what RAMONES did for the punk music in general, they were fast, they were evil and their look was also kind of original, especially their stiletto hairstyle they called "devil lock". Many great and highly popular bands were raised on their songs, like GUNS'N'ROSES, METALLICA and others. In the 80s the original band's singer Glenn Danzig left to start his successful solo career and later to sue his former colleagues for using the band's name again. In 1995 it was clear Glenn lost his case and the band hit the world stages again with the bass player Jerry Only as the new lead singer. As for today MISFITS still releases the albums and plays around the globe holding proudly its cult status.
The guys were stone cold serious - they just came and started to play as hard as it gets, song by songs, very fast and very true like only old pros can do. Jerry was very imposing in his black armour with thorns, make-up and an axe-like bass with a scull on the head. Sometimes he started to walk around in a very demonical way, like he was some kind of Gene Simmons incarnation. The guitar player Dez was also cool with his long red hair and a vampire make-up. The set-list was a real best-of: "Angelfuck", "Hollywood Babylon", "Saturday Night" and so on - they all were there, nothing was missed. I heard some people complained MISFITS played all the songs without the real breaks in between and without even telling the people what song was about to be played. Some say the sound was bad, but I can't agree, the sound was good and that was a very positive ending of my anniversary WGT festival. Thanks MISFITS!
Well I must say it was one the best of all WGTs I can remember, the line-up was perfect and there were as always a lot of interesting bands to see and hear! If I had to rate the overall organization level including security, food, stage aspects, timing etc, I would say it was an "A". I even can't imagine how hard is it to put such a giant festival with 200+ bands on the legs! It's like an endless sea of work to be done to me, but the WGT masterminds do it for already 20 years and make it better and bigger with every year. All I can do is to take off my imaginary hat for them and to wish I'm going to be there the next year to enjoy the WGT XXI. Thank you!
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