Metal Female Voices Fest VIII – first day with Arch Enemy, ReVamp, Tristania and more.
photo: Moon In Virgo
Metal Female Voices Fest VIII
Saturday 23th October 2010
Arch Enemy, Revamp, Krypteria, Tristania, Dylath-Leen, Visions Of Atlantis, Skeptical Minds and more .
Over the years Metal Female Voices Fest (MFVF) is grown into a very professional and unique brand with a simple format. Every band with female vocals and a passion for metal can deserve a place on the line-up of the Belgium festival.
This year there is for the first time a ‘ MFVF Roadshow’, in combination with Dokkem’ Open Air. MFVF is such an important factor in keeping gothic metal alive. Unfortunately Dejafuse had to cancel their openings act on he Sunday, but with Ram-zet, Leaves’ Eyes and a special ‘ Phantom Agony’ show of Epica there is a lot to discover. What follows is a special festival report from the Saturday.
Skeptical Minds is one of the bands on the warm up tour and a familiar face on stage. With their new album ‘Skepticalized’ released on this festival day, three years of hard work has reached its goal. A mature album with many familiar songs, also with a surprising twist (cello’s are involved).
Unfortunately logistical problems are the cause of my arrival at the end of their set. Just in time to see the energy boost from vocalist Karolina Pacan. In December they return to Belgium with an own show. They have a special sound and potential, so it is worth to check that out!
The festival changed more and more into a multi-media project with video screens on the side of the stage, and the entourage is also bigger than before. For the first time the merchandise is moved to the back of the hall. Also on the left side there is a corner with tables and chairs to sit down for a while. Finally after years there is a chance to sit down, because it is a long day for sure.
Near the backstage area there is a corner for the autograph sessions, organized by Rock Tribune, and that is a pretty crowded place the whole day. It is a big success, especially because Doro Pesch came over to say hello to the fans.
MFVF is an international meeting point for metal fans all over the world, and it is an important element of the atmosphere that day. Everyone is excited and when the Austrian Visions Of Atlantis enters the stage, I have a nice reunion with friends over the border; from Belgium, France, Canada and Germany they are all gathered for this same event. That makes it also very special and hart warming to be here.
The line-up is drastically changed and new female vocalist Maxi Nil is a real talent. She has expressive Greek blood, and that makes her movements exotic. I have the feeling she has more potential to grow into a dynamic performance, but she needs some time to get moreexperience on that level.
Her voice is very clear and high, but also has a lot of power in the low layers, personally I like that combination a lot. It makes her different and it gives the crowd something more than soprano songs.
Also the duet with he male singer Mario Plank, is a trademark. The sound changed from power metal into a more symphonic sound, with heavy guitars and more drums. Like on ‘ Though My Eyes’ and ‘The Secret’ with melodic piano.
A very convincing show, that rises above my expectations. It is a real energy boost for a band that struggled for three years with line-up changes. The band made a strong entrance and won the crowd during the set. New album is in the making.
Then there is Dylath-Leen, also a band from the Roadshow concerts and I know they are capable to blow you away with their strong technical metal music. A refreshing sound with groovy guitars and a female grunter on stage.
Personally I like them more than the headliner of today, because they show a lot of energy and even the bands backstage are totally surprised by their sound. When even colleagues are curious, then there is not only potential to grow, but then there is a real talent awoken. On the new song ’ Forever Still’ Kathy Coupez shows a lot of power, suddenly she switches to a fragile clean voice and a well-deserved feedback from the crowd is the result of an intense show.
Norwegian band Tristania returns in a different shape in compare of 2006, with a new line-up and album. It is the last show from their Rubicon tour and a real highlight of the day. Not only because the members are very charming and kind, also the feedback from the crowd is really surprising and heart warming after all those years.
For the first time the whole venue is packed and excited. The setlist contains many new songs, with a glance role for Mariangela Demutras in duet with Kjetil Nordhus, the new male vocalist well known from Green Carnation.
Opener ’ Year Of The Rat’ is a catchy song and gets a good response from the audience, during the set the energy grows more and more. Also ‘Protection’ shows a strong convincing band, with participation from all the members.
People start to scream when ‘Tender Trip On Earth’ sets in and it feels like Tristania is back stronger, filled with passion like it always belonged this way. It is hard to describe how natural and mature the show is, and an important element is the natural charisma of Mariangela; a real eye-catcher and a singer with a wide spectrum of voice techniques.
On the older songs she shows her bombastic side, what perfectly fits to the original melodies. On the new songs she dares to be more powerful, like on the encore ‘Exile.’ She transforms it all in a very interesting adventure, and with very capable musicians on her side it is an adrenaline growing experience.
Kjetil Nordhus suffers from a flue, and his voice is softer to spare the energy till his glance role on ‘ Shadowman.’ With his calm, deep and very melodic voice he is an important element of Tristania and he grabs the attention well deserved.
Also the combination of his acoustic guitars together with grunter and guitarist Anders is a dynamic interaction. In the back, more hidden behind the drum kit, there is Tarald Junior exploding in energy; every song he is given two hundred percent and from the side of the stage it really awakes a dynamic vibe. The ensemble of voices from all the Norwegian members makes you shiver like on ‘Amnesia.’
Even the cynical gothic fans have to admit is a beautiful composition, representing everything what makes this band so unique. The classical roots, bombastic voices and very catchy melodies it is all there and the crowd loves it.
On every level Tristania proves today that they are back and still have a lot of fans appreciating what they do. A new audience had the chance to get enchanted by the beautiful harmony of voices, and with old and news songs the band is back on top level of this scene. That is a more than convincing outcome of this tour.
Krypteria is a rising star, and frankly I never understood the special element besides the bombastic performance. This time no wedding dress or rosebuds, but a natural performance from the front lady Ji-In Cho. Their rock songs are very catchy like ’ Shoot Me’ and you hardly can call it metal, besides the wall of guitars.
The bass sound is very loud; now and then you can’t hear the clean high parts. A fragile side of Cho on ‘ The Promise’ where she demands a lot from herself. For the real fans an interesting set with many new songs. It is better to hear them on a club tour when they have more time to warm up.
ReVamp is the first headliner of the evening and for 75 minutes a lot of power is blowing away the audience, a diva is showing her strength again.
Last year she announced her comeback and today Floor Jansen is back where she belongs: on top of the gothic metal scene.
Step by step the formation around her is growing and the tour with Epica is a step stone for further success. ‘Kill Me With Silence’ is a perfect mixture between Eastern elements, catchy guitars and the recognizable strong voice of the longest lady in the room.
The roots from After Forever aren’t forgotten and for some fans is it a disappointment that Floor didn’t choose to discover new roads, because she is capable of doing everything she wants. On the other hand the real metal fans can be very satisfied, every song is filled with power and technical challenges created by Floor Jansen.
The debut album ‘Revamp’ is well produced, but on stage the diva adds an extra element to enchant you. Again the sound is too loud, what makes the guitars and bass a bit raw and too much all the time.It disturbs the perfect performance from Floor and honestly, she is the real eye-catcher of the show.
Simone Simons makes her entrance on ‘Sweet Curse‘ and in combination with Floor, it brings the show to a grand experience. And it continues on the piano version of ‘ I Lost Myself ’ a peaceful moment after the powerful vibe, with a respectful silence from the audience. It reached a beautiful peak during the aria from
Puccini‘O Mio Babbino Caro’ dedicated to the Italian fans in the crowd. This is Floor in her best environment and it doesn’t reach the level of Maria Callas, but she is close in her interpretation.
She immediately switches to a powerful song with heavy grunts and uprising guitars, the contrast is strong but brings back the energy. ‘ Energize Me’ is an other surprise and it after that everyone knows who the real headliner of today will be.
Arch Enemy makes a heavy entrée as always, after a long changeover and break for the audience. It is a real puzzle why Angela Gossow takes her time, but that is probably a part of the schedule. Maybe it is because many fans are tired of this long day. When the intro sets in, the energy is back and people start to scream: they are ready for the heaviest show of today.
‘My Immortal’ and ‘ Taking Back My Soul’ are filled with Swedish metal, catchy and dark at the same time. If you like it or not, Arch Enemy knows how to present their format of rising grunts and uptempo guitars.
It is a real new approach of female metal, the melody is more complex and not always easy to follow. For the real fans in the front it is a show with many highlights. The hit ‘Dead Eyes See No Future’ are a nice wink to the black stripes under Angela’s eyes.
She looks fragile with her blond hair, but she screams her longs out. A little break for her during the excellent guitar solo from Michael Amott. He is a bit distant on stage, but totally focussed on the good timing and finger fast parts. ‘ We Will Rise’ and ‘ Fields Of Desolation’ are creating a dynamical second half of the set, then it is finally over.
Metal Female Voices 2010 is again a day with many highlights, new discovered bands and a social happening in the front and the back of the stage. The social aspect is as important as the excellent performances today. Nice memories are formed and already new bands are announced for the new edition, write it down on your calendar because you can’t miss this spectacle!
There is special discount if you order your 2011-ticket in December: http://www.metalfemalevoicesfest.be/