Metal Female Voices Fest – quality level is increased on eleventh edition
photo: Monica Duffels
After the jubilee edition of ten years Metal Female Voices Fest, the question raise if it is still possible to offer fans an exciting program after such a long time.
Frankly since the beginning in 2003 there are bands on the list returning almost every year. That is still the case, but MFVF is developed in a professional festival.
What means that bands are presenting a higher quality, also the opening bands and not only the headliners. The stage set-up is more professional and there is less delay between acts, meaning that fans don’t have to wait. Also the amount of seats is increased and there is more food.
On a festival likes this, where people meet from all over the world, the social aspect is higher than on other indoor festivals. In that atmosphere it is important that fans have a contact moment with their favourite bands.
Rock Tribune provides signing sessions of almost all the bands. Its pretty amazing seeing fans waiting so patiently in – often – a long queue.
Walking in when Serenity is finishing their set, isn’t the best timing. The progressive power metal band from Austria is touring intensively last years with Kamelot and Delain, doing them good. Singer Georg Neuhauser is confident on stage and each time his voice impresses me.
Since female vocalist Clementine Delauney joined, the group became stronger. ‘War Of Ages’ is a challenging album, showing that Kamelot has a real competitor (their last album is more over a repeating of what they did in the past).
Chaostar comes from Greece and adds a real own sound to todays program. There are traditional instruments on stage, a violin and also electronic arrangements mixed with Eastern vibes.
The tall blond Androniki Skoula, dressed in red is quite an appearance. Her voice is high, and bombastic. It is nice when she use folk influences. An old song comes with an plan flute.
Skull is a good storyteller and that makes her performance authentic, although sometimes she is busier posing than seeking for interaction with her band members.
The quality level of bands is increasing and there are more bands showing a wider spectrum of the female voices. It is not only about high, bombastic voices anymore and that is a good development concerning the diversity.
Kobra and The Lotus is a heavy hard rock band coming from Canada. They are active since 2008, although their debut is released this year. Recently touring with Halestorm increases their fan base all over Europe.
Also Brittainy Paige is an eye catcher on stage; not only having a strong, powerful voice but also a dynamic performance that comes with such a sound (heavy guitars and drums). It is important for a singer to find a balanced sound without losing tension. Paige understands that pretty good and it is a pitty the sounds is too massive in Wieze.
Last minute Dutch dark gothic band Asrai is added to the program, replacing Visions Of Atlantis. They aren’t touring that much, so it is a nice surprise to see them in Wieze.
Immediately Asrai grabs the attention, their sound is fresh and heavy at the same time. There is a new face in the band and recently EP ‘Between Dreams And Destiny’ is released. Some new songs are played and the general impression is a heavier, darker sound.
The show is dynamic and vivid. The circumstances are harder on such a big stage; there is less frontlight and that makes it harder to follow the movements of the band members (especially the keyboards and drums are hidden in the dark).
‘Stay With Me’ is a well-known song and its soon crowed in front of the stage. Magriet Mol is a strong frontlady, not only having a great voice but also reaching the audience easily with her performance.
Her movements are very expressive, carried by the catchy melody. Add a rising beat and drums of Karin Mol and there is immediately a strong interaction.
The whole day the venue is half empty, the real fans are gathered in the front but many people are walking around. During Asrai it is finally more crowded in the back, it’s after five so the camping is awake too.
For many the first Dutch band is a real highlight, and it is not easy to top their energy. Luckily Kontrust is more than capable to raise the energy level. The crossover band from Austria is ready to make a big party with their contagious sound.
The mixture between screams, drumbeats, heavy guitars and even reggae influences makes the band special. Their sound is impossible to compare with any other band and that is already impressive nowadays.
More than the music their live performance is striking. The duets between frontlady Agata and male singer Steve are the real eye-cather, especially the show elements like red flags around the microphone and hand puppets. Without any doubt they are the most spontaneous, humoristic band on stage today.
The first headliner of the day is German band Leaves’ Eyes. On Friday Liv Kristine performed solo for the fist time in this area, and today it is full force accompanied by the whole band.
It’s the kick-off from a new worldwide tour, in November ‘Symphonies of the Night‘ will be released. An album that live will impress the most, because it shows the strength of this formation; on stage Liv Kristine totally has control over every detail and every tone in her voice. What makes it fascinating to look at.
Over twenty years she is still one of the top vocalists in the gothic metal scene and for a very good reason. There is nobody like her, the lightness in her voice and the technics to create a soft – and then bombastic sound.
New songs are presented today, among them ‘Galswintha’ that reflects the new path of the band. It is darker, heavier, stronger, bombastic and easily fitting in the clear voice of Liv Kristine.
After the semi-acoustic opening of Thorsten Bauer on guitar, the show is strong and bombastic. The beauty and the beast concept of male vocalist Alexander Krull in combination with his wife on stage, is still attractive. Many fans are waiting for songs like ‘Elegy’ or ‘My Destiny‘ and singing along. It is really crowded also in the back.
Each time the musicians are getting stronger on stage, and the new material makes it more appealling. It is rare that a band has such a dynamic career and still is open for new influences. Today Leaves’ Eyes surpasses themselves once again in the most powerful way imaginable.
Delain is the second headliner of the evening, presenting a special set with guests. One of them is Sharon den Adel, and surely many Within Temptation fans are in the crowd. Both bands have some similarities, like having mainstream success, besides the family bound.
Charlotte Wessels dressed in white this time, is definitely not the strongest vocalist from today. She has a strong pop-orientated voice, instead of the bombastic ones today, but that is a matter of taste.
The band is a strong well balanced formation, mainly Charlotte shows the capability of entertaining a large fan base. The songs are well performed by all musicians and it is smart of them to invite guests on the stage to make it more exclusive. Serenity’s Georg Neuhauser fits beautifully, resulting in a dynamic duet.
Then at the very last songs, the woman that is an example for so many singers enters the stage. Almost unrecognizable in black, Sharon den Adel blows away Wieze. Even old Winthin Temptation song is played ‘Restless‘, with Martijn Westerholt behind the piano. After a long set, Delain says goodbye and of course their big hit ‘The Gathering’ is the perfect adrenaline rush, including catchy guitars and uprising drums.
The Italian band Lacuna Coil has the honor to close the evening, also playing a special set. For the fans ‘Karmacode‘ album from 2006 is played entirely. That doesn’t mean that well known songs from their ‘Comalies‘ period aren’t forgotten.
The format of strong duets between male vocalist Andrea Ferro and beauty Cristina Scabbia is familiar and working well as a trademark worldwide. In fairness there is nothing new presented by them. Since their show on the Lowlands festival in 2007 Lacuna Coil is pretty disappointing ever since.
It seems the band has an ‘American’ air around them, somehow not willing to deliver live anymore. The sound is often pretty bad. Each performance on MFVF is loud, what makes it pretty annoying to listen to them.
Above that the show is familiar and I can’t discover any pleasure or happiness, just an automatic pilot. There is no front light what makes it hard to see their faces.
Something that is a downside the whole day; bands are moving and there is no real light in the front or in the back. A spotlight is definitely necessary, more than beautiful laserlights.
The guest performances made MFVF XI a success today and the social reunion created a special atmosphere; there are people from Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Japan. That is enough prove that the festival is still standing strong!
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