Another year has passed, and once again thanks to the organizer’s collaboration, we were given access to this very unique festival, in which various musical cultures (although the predominant is Gothic) coexist in a healthy way. Here is our report!
Due to having to withdraw the press accreditations, we only arrived at Heidnisches Dorf in time to see the second band, the Portuguese Urze de Lume. They experienced problems during soundcheck, especially with the bass drums, so the concert started 10 minutes late. During the first song, there were also sound problems that were fixed during the performance. Ignoring the rough start and from the second song until the end, this Portuguese Iberian folk band gave a good show. Most of the songs played belonged to their latest album released last year “As árvores estão secas e não têm folhas”.
After a break, the second band that played was Ganaim, a German band that plays Irish and Scottish folk music. During the performance, the environment became more lively and more people approached the venue. Some Jigs and Reels from their two released albums were played, interspersing ballads with music to dance. To the sound of a violin, guitar and bodhran, the trio got people dancing and clapping with songs like The Boys Of Bedlam, Follow Me Up To Carlow, Rocky Road to Dublin, Johnny Jump Up, and I’ll Tell Me Ma. The audience appreciated the quality of the musicians during calmer songs like Viva Galicia and An Hini a Garan. The interaction between the members was very good and it was obvious they were having as much fun as those watching.
Then we went to Agra, the place par excellence where the bulk of festivalgoers moved, not only due to the dimensions of the space but it is also where the campsite, clothing stores, footwear, jewellery and CDs were located. It’s not far from where we were and we wanted to attend the Das Ich show, one of the greatest exponents of Darkwave / Goth-Industrial german music.
Das Ich was the first band to take the stage in Agra. The concert schedule in this venue was different from where we were because in Heidnisches Dorf it was an open-air venue and there are noise restrictions in Germany. And what better way to start the concerts in this place than with this band. The concert was a blast. Unfortunately, and despite being one of the oldest and most respected names in the German (and worldwide) Industrial / Goth scene, the day was very open and sunny, and since they were the first band to start at 7 pm, many people preferred to enjoy the good weather by staying outside the enclosure. Well, despite not performing to a full venue, they gave a very good concert, as usual. Many of their classics such as Die Propheten, Engel, Was Bin Ich?, Das Dunkle Land, Lazarus, Uterus, Kain und Abel, Re_animat, Kannibale and Gottes Tod were played. Also noteworthy was the excellent interaction with the public.
We return to Heidnisches Dorf to see In Extremo, that medieval metal band that needs no introduction. Combining drums, guitars, bagpipes, hurdy-gurdy harp and shawm they put all the crowd in euphoria. The medieval traditional songs, blending with the sound of the standard rock/metal instruments got everyone stirring. After a short intro and the first song In Diesem Licht until the regular final with Moonshiner, the audience sang in chorus, danced, clapped, raised their arms and waved, all in sync with the band. An entire discography was covered with songs like Vollmond, Gaukler, Unsichtbar, Quid Pro Quo, Rotes Haar, Frei Zu Sein, Herr Mannelig, Feuertaufe, and put the crowd in ecstasy. There was also an encore with 3 songs: Liam, Sternhagelvoll and Pikse Palve. And for this day, the concerts at Heidnisches Dorf were over, in the best possible way.
We return to Agra in time to see Hämatom, a German band with a peculiar sound that mixes crossover metal with rock and dance music (It could be called dance metal). It was a concert full of energy and an excellent visual spectacle with lots of lights. Some of the songs played were Zeit für Neue Hymnen, Mein Leben – Meine Regeln, Ich Hasse Dich Zu Lieben, Wir Sind Keine Band, Alte Liebe Rostet Nicht, “I Want It All” Queens cover, Kids (2 Finger an den Kopf), Fick das System (in which the word “fick” – fuck in German – appeared in lights behind the stage), Made in Germany, Wir sind Gott. The highlight was, in the middle of the concert, when the drummer put himself on top of a small drum kit grabbed on top of a board, was carried on shoulders by 4 security guards, and walked around over the heads of the crowd playing a solo as if he was crowd surfing.
Due to the late hour and for logistical reasons it was impossible for us to follow the performance of the post-punk / indie rock band White Lies, the last one in Agra.
On the second day, we returned to Heidnisches Dorf. According to the interests of our readers, it was here that the most significant concerts would take place on this day.
Once again for logistical reasons it was only possible for us to arrive at the venue shortly before the second band started playing. And the second band was XIV Dark Centuries, an old German Pagan Metal band. They had a lot of problems with equalizing the sound on the soundcheck, which forced them to cut the set shorter. Even so, they started to play and it became obvious that the performance, no matter how hard they tried, was condemned to haunted by poor sound conditions. The intro started too loud, then dropped dramatically, and was always with ups and downs. During much of the concert, the sound was always muffled and a little too low. Michel, the vocalist, kept apologizing in between songs, while at the same time tried to encourage the audience, which at that time of the afternoon was not much. There were also issues with the keyboards until the last 20 minutes of their concert. From those 20 minutes until the end, as if someone had pressed a magic button, the sound was clean and loud and remained in good conditions. The band realized the miracle and played the faster and more folkish songs. The concert was great for the last 20 minutes, and it led the audience to approach the stage and have fun. Zeit der Rache, Skithingi, Runibergun, Julenzeit, Auf Zur Schlacht, Teutonentan were some of the songs played, interspersed with some new ones in between that have not yet been released on CD (such as Svava, Firratan, Ich bin das Feuer, Atme den Wald).
After a break, the next band to play was Welicoruss, a symphonic black metal band originally from Russia, but currently based in the Czech Republic. In this second band, the sound was good from beginning to end and it can be said that the concert, as a whole, was very dynamic, with the band members moving around on stage a lot. The set played alternated between the 3 albums already released with predominance between Wintermoon Symphony and Az Esm. It should be noted that as the concert progressed towards the end, more people were piling up close to the stage, certainly waiting for the next band.
After another break, Eluveitie took the stage. We could see that it was the band everyone was waiting for. The setlist was a killer choice. Balancing new songs with the classics that made the name Eluveitie one of the great metal bands in the world. With an excellent sound, the band grabbed the audience in a way that, practically from start to finish, it was total madness offstage. The audience clapped, sang in chorus (one time they sang “a cappella” while the band listened to them), headbanged, danced while listening to songs like Ategnatos, King, Deathwalker, Worship, Artio, Epona, A Rose for Epona, Ambiramus, Breathe, Rebirth, and closing after the encore, the well-known Inis Mona. There was an amazing interaction between all parts involved – bandmates among themselves and with the audience. This symbiosis gave the show a unique feel.
At the end of the night, and with the specific task of keeping the audience entertained after the musical explosion that was Eluveitie’s concert, the band Schandmaul performed. This German group with its folk/medieval metal played with traditional instruments gave an excellent concert successfully pulling the audience to dance. And they didn’t appear to be tired at all. The venue was completely full during Eluveitie’s concert and remained so until the end of the Schandmaul’s performance. Songs like Kein Weg Zu Weit, Hexen, Auf und Davon, Das Tuch, Froschkönig, Vagabunden, Bunt und Nicht Braun, Kapitän, Euch Zum Geleit, Traumtänzer and Der Teufel got the whole crowd moving the whole time. For the encore, there were 2 more songs: Die Insel and Dein Anblick.
For everyone who went to Heidnisches Dorf that day, surely both afternoon and evening were well spent.
On the third day, we went to Felsenkeller because on this day, it was the day when metal bands would play at this venue.
The first band to act was Thy Antichrist, a black metal band originally from Colombia that is currently based in the United States. In 2018 they released the album “Wrath of the Beast” in which they invested a lot and are still promoting, so the set played was basically the entire album in length. The members took the stage with corpse paint and, in addition to the visual component, there was also a scenic detail in the shape of a spiked mummy head on a stick carried by the singer. The sound was very good and so was the band’s performance and attitude. But unfortunately, as Thy Antichrist was the first band of the afternoon, there weren’t many people in the venue.
The second band was the Finnish Wolfheart, a melodic death metal band. The concert was very intense and basically, they did a retrospective of their entire career, playing songs from various albums across their discography. They started with Everlasting Fall and soon the melodic and atmospheric guitar leads grabbed the audience. Aeon of Cold, Strength and Valor, Breakwater, Ghosts of Karelia, Veri, Zero Gravity and The Hunt formed the remaining setlist played that pleased the assistance who was still coming into the venue as the band’s performance unfolded.
The next band to hit the stage was the Dutch Carach Angren, a peculiar sounding symphonic black metal band. The band never stopped for a moment on stage. Dennis Droomers, the vocalist, was hyperactive throughout the performance, playing the guitar, singing and whirling non-stop, while Clemens Wijers, the keyboardist, was always shaking his head while playing the keyboards. More people kept entering the venue, while the band delivered The Sighting Is a Portent of Doom, General Nightmare, The Carriage Wheel Murder, In De Naam Van De Duivel, Charlie, Pitch Black Box, Heretic Poltergeist Phenomena, The Funerary Dirge of a Violinist, Bloodstains on the Captain’s Log echoed within the walls. The sound could be better, especially the keyboards, though. Still, this was a very memorable show.
After waiting more than 50 minutes to put all the props on the stage, Batushka, the Bartłomiej Krysiuk’s version took the stage. Since there is an ongoing lawsuit in court to decide who gets the copyright to the name Batushka, they were unable to play anything from the first album, the one that made them famous. They have an album ready that will be released next July and it was this album that they played in full. Speaking of the visual spectacle, it was very good, very well thought out. They played without stage lights, having only dozens of lit candles on top of the stage all strategically placed. Dressed like Orthodox priests, featuring an altar with some skulls on top and a small coffin with bones. Talking about the music, the songs had nothing to do with the first memorable album: basically, it was raw black metal with some male chorus singing “ooooh”. For what we could see by the facial expressions, everyone was trying to assimilate what they were hearing without much enthusiasm, just looking and waiting for the next band. 50+ minutes to put things on stage, and 40 and a few minutes of music. Somethings need to be planned again.
The last band of the night was Cradle of Filth, the legendary English black metal band. The venue was already full for the previous band, but when the time came for Cradle of Filth it was pretty much overflowing with people. The show was an absolute delight during the hour and a half that they played. Many of the old classics were present, of course, and it could be seen by the public reaction that it was those songs they were waiting for. Currently promoting the remaster and rerelease of their iconic album Cruelty and the Beast, the band quickly fired the intro Once upon Atrocity followed by Thirteen Autumns and a Widow. Then Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids and Beneath the Howling Stars followed. The band then proceeded to Heartbreak and Seance, a more recent track then went back to Dusk and Her Embrace to revisit Malice Through the Looking Glass. But more epic moments were to come as the complete Bathory Aria was presented to the frenetic fans. Wester Vespertine, The Promise of Fever, Nymphetamine (Fix) introduced 2 more classics: Her Ghost in the Fog and From the Cradle to the Grave entranced the crowd as if they were in a religious ceremony. Was a really good show with very good sound conditions, and it was fantastic to see that the band is extremely solid and tight in a live situation.
On the last day we decided to head to Täubchenthal, one of the mythical places in Leipzig, where during the year so many concerts are held. We saw the plan for Monday and it seemed to fit the best for our target audience.
Unfortunately, we could only make it to the venue at the beginning of the second band. While the climatic conditions were very good during the weekend, on Monday the weather was windy and rainy, typical german style. The first band we saw (and the second at night) was the French Banane Metalik, a punk-rock’n’roll band from the 90s whose imagery/themes are gore and zombies. They went up to the stage with masks and a lot of makeup and from the first chords of Vade Retro, the first song, it was known that there would be a lot of action, both on stage and in the audience. And so it was. The vocalist Cédric Lava was a true stage animal always moving from side to side, going down to the bars, touching and encouraging the audience, returning to the stage and, without rest, squirming again. No Surrender, Opus 666, Maniac, Ride in Peace, Mucha Policia – Poca Diversion with the audience singing in chorus, the AC / DC cover Let There Be Rock followed by the original Let There Be Gore, Strip or Die and Nice to Meat You, were some of the songs that excited the crowd. At the encore, they played The Gorefather, a song from their last album, and Zombie, from their 1994 album Requiem De La Dépravation.
The second band we saw was the opposite of the first since its elements barely moved on stage. Fliehende Stürme, a German Depro-Punk/Dark-Wave Band from the 80’s that, we checked during the performance, still have a lot of followers in Germany, especially among older people. Although the band itself concentrated only on the music and the feelings it conveyed, some people in the front rows fanned their bodies to the music. Die Königin Darf Nicht Fallen, Zwischen Liebe, Kaleidoskop, Puppen, Spiller, Blauer Mond, Lunaire, Satellit, among other songs pleased the audience.
The Creepshow, a Canadian Psychobilly band, followed. Led by the small in height, but giant on stage and attitude, female vocalist Kenda Legaspi, these Canadians put on a memorable show. Very intense, non-stopping, always at top speed and with perfect sound, the band demonstrated why it’s one of the biggest names in this genre. During Hellbound at the middle of the concert, sung only by a male voice, Kenda got off the stage and came to the middle of the crowd to start pushing people. Chaos ensued and moshing began. Other songs were played, such as Death at My Door, Demon Lover, Run For Your Life, Sell Your Soul, Zombies, Devils Son, Stix & Stones, See You in Hell, Born to Lose, They All Fall, Psycho, and ending with Rue Morgue, demonstrating that they have a lot of road on their backs.
The last band was The Adicts, an English punk-rock band since the 70s, with a distinctive Clockwork Orange imagery. In the beginning, a pair of cannons, one on each side of the stage, fired confetti while the band members were going on stage and playing the first song Let’s Go. Soon the whole stage and the entire front audience were filled with small pieces of paper. In the second song, “Joker in the Pack”, vocalist and frontman Keith Warren started throwing cards in front of the audience, distributing them randomly. Keith proved to be an excellent entertainer, in addition to a good singer. The whole concert was an excellent visual spectacle, very colourful. There was always something happening on the stage while the band played. The public’s participation in the band’s games was very positive. Near the end giant inflatable balls were thrown to the crowd and the people kept playing with them over their heads. Some of the songs played were Horrorshow, Just Like Me, Tango, Numbers, Troubador, Angel, Daydreamers, Fuck It Up, Shit Song, Fools, Just Like Me, Steamroller, Crazy, Chinese Takeaway and Bad Boy. The band ended the performance with the trio Viva La Revolution / You’ll Never Walk Alone./ Ode to Joy. A very fun and enjoyable concert without a doubt.
So we say goodbye to another year in which we attended the Wave Gotik Treffen once again. We thank the organization for the trust placed in us.