It’s the second to last day at Metaldays. The heat and the hangover don’t leave us be, but luckily the two rivers, Soča and Tolminka, are there to freshen our foggy minds…
Before taking position under the main stage, we go to the second one, where Harakiri For The Sky from Austria started playing. The band’s pretty melodic post black metal creates soothing atmospheres, perfect for the wood context around us and reminding me a bit of Italians Black Therapy.
The band spans draws from “Aokigahara” (2014) and “III – Trauma” (2016), and also from the recent album “Arson“, out last February.
HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY
On the main stage, time for pure heavy metal band Monument, with evident influences by Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath. This helps the audience appreciate their repertoire, without particular highlights anyway.
A pretty big crowd has formed, waiting for Girlschool: active since 1978, they’re famous for being an all female band, often in tour with Motörhead, playing the most classic British hard ‘n’ heavy.
The setlist includes songs such as “Demolition Boys“, “Never Say Never” and the The Gun cover “Race With The Devil“. The show goes on smoothly, without breaks, joining different generations among the audience.
Despite the age, the experience and the long career behind them, Girlschool are very entertaining and in top shape, with drummer Denise Dufort hitting like she was in her 20s.
Meanwhile, the other half of our team goes back to the second stage for a couple of smaller bands.
The first one says it all: Master. The legendary US band keeps the old school death metal banner high, with a rotten sound, full of attitude and bad intentions. No space for virtuoso stuff, just mean music and the synergy that only a band active for more than thirty years can have. Perfect setlist despite the short time available and a great show besides the slot (early in the afternoon). If you love death metal, you probably adore Master already, otherwise: do yourself a favour.
A band with an average member age of seventeen years old which able to find the way to innovate, choose a niche and remind of some great bands in terms of attitude and approach is almost a miracle. Alien Weaponry really surprised me, the trio from New Zealand with members ranging from sixteen to twenty years old boys plays a mix of thrash and groove metal, heavily contaminated by the Maori culture, with movements reminding me of early Sepultura. Their music is not bad at all, with remarkable skills that make them pretty effective. Awesome show, satisfying in all its parts and that, despite giving some glimpse of the pretty young age, gives me a great smile regarding their future. A colourful note from the audience as well, with about thirty people directly from New Zealand to support the band. True heroes.
Time for a cornerstone of death metal, on the main stage: Obituary. After a kinda slow start, without much enthusiasm, and after a few problems between singer John Tardy and the blowers on stage, the band gets serious and shows who’s in charge. It’s all downhill from there: “Find The Arise“, “Chopped In Half” and the mandatory conclusion with “Slowly We Rot“.
It’s a short wait before “All Hell Breaks Loose” by Black Star Riders breaks the silence. The US band, born from the latest incarnation of Thin Lizzy in 2012, plays a pretty slow and common hard rock, failing to fully captivate the audience for the whole concert. Bassist Ricky Warwick tries to awaken the sleepy crowd without any luck, but he’s greeted cheerfully after an hour which seemed to last a lot longer than that.
BLACK STAR RIDERS
Hatebreed is what the audience needs to come back from its sleep, and in no time it starts moshing and doing circle pits. People may like the hardcore/metal/punk band or not, but it’s impossible to deny the energy explosion on stage.
No pauses necessary when continuous dust clouds are rising up from the floor. Jamey Jasta doesn’t spare anything: “Empty Promises“, “Proven”, “Perseverance” until the last “Looking Down The Barrel Of Today“, with an enourmous moshpit filled with neck breaking headbanging.
From our terrace, we’re able to see Judas Priest coming on stage one by one, sadly noticing that Rob Halford is proceeding slowly, holding onto a walking stick and a crew member.
Welcoming the band is the classic “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath, sung by the whole twelve-thousand people crowd. But it’s “Firepower“, from the latest, eponymous album, that starts the show, with other great classics like “Grinder” and “Sinner“. The guitarists do their job pretty well, with Richie Faulkner playing with his Ray-Bans and pointing to the audience, while Ian Hill is standing in the background, as usual, never coming in the front. Rob Halford, despite barely moving on stage, with his eyes low, closed eyes and clumsy movements, doesn’t fail to hit a single note. Sometimes, during the solos, he takes brief pauses and goes back to take a breath and freshen himself.
The performance, in general, is not the greatest possible, becoming boring from time to time if only we weren’t in front of a heavy metal legend. In fact, the audience sings each song from start to finish, but it’s pretty unmoved and not entertained enough.
It may sound blasphemous to some of you, but I left Judas Priest quite early to gain the first row in front of the second stage, waiting impatiently for Myrkur. I’ve had the chance to enjoy her angelic voices when she played as support to Sólstafir in Zagreb and it was fantastic. This time, however, it was almost transcendental. The location, between the woods, was a perfect fit for her music and personality.
Clad in a long, white dress, with an horizontal black line painted on her face, Amalie Bruun enters the stage under artificial lights and the natural moonlight. Rapid and eerie movements, distant gaze and unique voice. The other musicians are on the background, almost invisible.
The artists draw from the latest album “Mareridt” (2017), with “The Serpent” and “Ulvinde“, going back to other songs like “Dybt I Skoven” (where I struggle to fight back tears).
The repertoire spans from black to nordic chants, performed a cappella with just a traditional drum.
It’s too early when the Danish singer timidly disappears, missing the warm salute by the audience, which is more than satisfied, but definitely wanting some more songs.