Metal Female Voices Festival 2011

For the 9th time this festival took place in the Oktoberhallen in Wieze, Belgium. As the name states, this festival is all about bands that have female vocalists. And, like in the previous years, the management did an excellent job in recruiting bands for the festival.

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Battlelore performing at Metal Female Voices Festival 2011
Photo: Frank Wijers / StudioRock

Friday started off with only 3 bands, but nice enough to get a taste of the festival.

The Greek band Bare Infinity was the first one to enter the stage. The start was a bit tense, but the total set was more than decent. Next up was Xandria from Germany. The crowd seemed to get more into it at that time.

The last one was Battlelore from Finland. They have a strong fan base, which was clearly visible in the venue. Just after the gig, they announced that this would be their last gig for a long time. The band is going on an indefinite break to reflect and look back. Therefore, they made sure this gig counted.

Saturday was a long day with, 12 bands entering the stage. The first of them was Hanging Doll from England. The set wasn’t bad, but in my opinion the music was too generic. It had no real things that stood out and make them special.

Punk band Nemhain followed. Most exciting part of their show was vocalist Amber Erlandsson doing some firebreathing.

Coma Divine is the new band of Sonja Kraushofer and Martin Hoefert (both were previously in Persephone). They released their debut album just two months ago and presented it here on stage. A distorted cello gave them somewhat of a unique sound.

Next up were the Kivimetsan Druidi. Their music is more up-tempo and was a pleasure to listen to.

The Swedish band Amaranthe was the band that impressed me the most this day. The vocals of Andy (scream), Jake (clean) and Elize are very well mixed with the fast music. The songs in general are well composed. They were actually the first band that got the crowd going.

Deadlock played almost all major summer festivals this year, including Wacken and With Full Force. Today at the MFVF hey lived up to their name and put up a great set.

The Americans of Benedictum put up a decent set, but in my opinion a bit boring. I guess we’re not quite used to that style of music here.

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Dylath-Leen performing at Metal Female Voices Festival 2011
Photo: Frank Wijers / StudioRock

Dylath-Leen from France is one of those bands where the female vocalist isn’t just a pretty face with slightly above average voice. The harsh vocals of Kathy Coupez are pretty good, and she can also play guitar very well.

Trail of Tears from Norway has been around for a long while. And they proved it by playing an excellent set. Especially the song “A Storm at Will” was very impressive.

Diabulus in Musica is another new and upcoming band. They only have one album out at the moment, but are working on their second album which is supposed to be released later this year. At the festival, they also presented their first video.

Leaves’ Eyes released their fourth album “Meredead” about half a year ago, so about half the setlist was from this album. Halfway the set, Carmen Elise (Midnattsol) joined her sister on stage to perform a Norwegian folk song. They did an excellent job in getting the crowd ready for the headliner of the evening.

Metal Queen Doro has been in the music business for a long time, and although the set is almost the same every single gig, people still like it and come from far away to see her. And she knows how to play with her audience. Songs like “Burning the Witches”, “Für Immer” and “All We Are” are still very popular and I went back home very pleased after a long and well organized day.

Only a few hours later, D.A.M.N. (Diary About My Nightmares) opened up on Sunday. The Germans had a pretty good set, but didn’t seem to win any hearts while the crowd hardly reacted.

Next up was Operatika. The thing that stuck with me the most after the gig was their final song. They took DIO’s “We Rock” and transformed into their own version. I really disliked the fact they took an up-tempo song and made it so slow and operatic. They should have stuck a little closer to the original.

Next up was Velvetseal. I though their music was decent, but didn’t had anything standing out.

Triosphere brought the first real action to the venue this day. Ida Haukland provides vocals for the band, but also plays the bass. They have been on the road for a long time supporting their second album “The Road Less Travelled”, and most songs today were from this album.

System Divide tried to carry over the energy from the previous band, but didn’t succeed. The set was good, but the crowd wasn’t in the mood for their music.

Up next was Midnattsol. Maybe I expected too much from them, while looking at the number of people wearing their merchandise. They put up a decent set and the crowd seemed to like it, but I couldn’t get myself to keep listening.

Stream of Passion is based around the vocals of Marcella Bovio. She’s not just a talented vocalist, but also played the violin on some songs. Most songs this evening were from their latest album “Darker Days”.

Draconian is one of the best bands to enter the stage this year. Their melodic doom metal is not something that everybody there could enjoy. The melancholic melodies combined with the grunts of Anders and the nice voice of Lisa made their set great.

Visions of Atlantis was already there for the third year. After their performance last year they earned a headliner spot. Also because this gig was used to record an upcoming live DVD.

Closing the festival was Therion. Unfortunately, one of the male vocalists couldn’t make it, so the set was adjusted to more female oriented songs. They started with “Rise of Somdom and Gomorrah” with a belly dancer, and performed all the theatrical aspects the band offers. With 7 people (sometimes 8) on stage, the show was very dynamic and the 90 minutes were over before I knew it.

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Therion performing at Metal Female Voices Festival 2011
Photo: Frank Wijers / StudioRock

Overall, I have to compliment the organization and crew of the festival to make the experience a great one. Already looking forward to next year.