Metalcamp Festival - Tolmin Slovenia, 2011
Tolmin, one of the most appropriate locations for an extreme metal festival, is the city that named the whole region. At a first glance, the city seems quiet, with tidy houses and lots of flowers, but once you reach the concert area, you see people from every corner of the world. During the festival week, the city changes, becoming a Babel tower of metal.
On the first day, the Mexicans from Brujeria â€“ a truly special appearance. A circle pit formed from the very first song, meaning the Mexicans were by the public's own heart. Even if the show was at a relatively late hour, they proved to be pros making it a big hit. The next band on the big stage was Moonspell which, to be honest, weren't as impressive. It wasn't the first time I saw them and even now they failed to pique my interest. The show was by the book, tipical for the portughese band, but brought nothing out of the ordinary. Arch Enemy's show was slightly brutal and dynamic, which left quite the plesant impression. Arch Enemy is a must see band, even if you're no fan of the genere, there's no way you'll leave disappointed. Moving on to the smaller stage I had the pleasure of listening to Winterfylleth, with a mix of melancholic chords and brutality typical of black metal.
The first band to claim the big stage is Katatonia, with a relatively short show, laying down their intruments for Legion of the Damned; another performance on the big stage, with an energetic vocalist, running from one end of the stage to the other. The result was an ample wall of death. The long awaited finnish band Wintersun began rather timidly, only to later unleash chaos upon Tolmin. Songs like Battle Against Time, Winter Maddness or Starchild set the public on fire. The show lasted for about an hour, leaving just enough time for a good encore. Sadly, I can't recall an enthusiastic reaction of the public that split after Wintersun, moving on towards Mastodon, one of the festival's headliners. Their idea is interesting, but hard to swallow if you're not familiar with their style.
True Norvegian Balkan Metal, otherwise known as Trollfest, was a bizzare appearance on the Metalcamp stage. With the vocalist dressed as a potato, or a beer bottle â€“ I couldn't quite figure it out myself because of the dust that rose when the dancing began â€“ they still managed to gather quite a few people for an early evening at 17.30. A long break followed in which I managed to get to the famous Metalcamp river. Its water couldn't have had more than 10Â°C and it was almost always visited, even at 5 a.m. That's the perfect spot to relax â€žafter the battleâ€; sun and shade, sand and rocks, ice cold water, beer and fun.
And here comes the headliner, Slayer with a show of about an hour and a half, and a journey from Show No Mercy to World Painted Blood. I didn't get to see the end of the Slayer show because of another show that couldn't be missed, namely Taake, with their dynamic and agressive black metal coming from its homeland of Norway. Leaving norwegian black metal I move on to the big stage just in time to see the dark side of Sweden, Watain. After a show of upturned crosses, satanic altars and pyrotechnic shows I return to the smaller stage, only to be greeted by Germans in goat costumes. Milking The Goatmachine are a brutal death ban****d with grind influences and a carefree attitude, who gathers at least as much public as Watain. A must see band!
Yet again I have the pleasure of seeing the Russians from Arkona, a hard name in pagan-folk metal. After releasing Stenka Na Stenku, they're getting ready for their sixth album Slovo. A typical Arkona show, with lots of merryment, dances and mosh-pits. Even though I liked the show, I had the feeling they were a tad tired. From pagan folk metal, I move on to some by the book trash metal, namely Suicidal Angels. The Greeks offered us a dynamic and agressive show that made me honestly regretmissing them when they came to Romania. The next pleasant discovery was Imperium Dekandez. I'd heard them before, but they hadn't really stood out. Now, they managed to build the perfect feeling, helped by the location and the full moon just above the pine trees â€“ the perfect picture. The last band of the evening â€“ Alestorm held a relatively short and not very impressive show, but as far as the music goes, it was enough.
On the festival's last day I had the opportunity to see Belphegor, which replaced Ava Inferi. A dust dry show with an anemic audience, especially since the words â€žFuck you Tolminâ€ were said. The next band, an american death metal legend was Deicide. Even though I was dying to see them, I was a little disappointed, maybe because of the early hour and the blazing sun. On the small stage, the evening ended in pagan folk chord and two well recieved bands, namely the german VARG and the finnish Moonsorrow.
Metalcamp, a must-see festival for those about to rock; no matter how picky you are it's impossible not to find some four or five bands by your own heart. Aside from the music, the mix of different people and cultures and the perfect setting (mountains, pines, the river and the beach) the festival has one more thing to offer â€“ time.
Review by Matei Petrescu
Translation by Diana Popa