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What was it, that made us travel all the way to Katowice in Poland? Exactly! An indoor festival with a brilliant line up. The Metalmania Festival took place in a venue called „Spodek“. It was very hard to miss, since it looked rather like a UFO from „Men in Black“. I could tell you more about our adventurous trip to Katowice, but that would go beyond the scope of this report. Let’s just say: helpful people, „Clubs“, cars breaking down, ice and not nearly enough place name signs; you can imagine the rest. Due to circumstances, we didn’t arrive at the hotel in the middle of the night, like we planned, but unfortunately only just in time for breakfast. When we arrived at the UFO at 14h, we had already missed the first couple of bands. Normally, this isn’t a big problem, but at this festival, the bands that played in the afternoon were the kind of bands that should play in the evening and that we really didn’t want to miss. When we came in, Dark Funeral were just playing their fourth or fifth song. Darzamat, Dies Irae, ANJ, Amon Amarth and Katatonia had already performed. On the smaller stage there were a lot of bands playing until about 19h, but because of the great line up on the main stage, hardly anyone went to see them play, and the breaks were used for more important matters like getting beer, since there was no beer stand in the main hall. People who did manage to visit the small stage, had a chance to see bands like Quo Vadis, Hell Born, Thunder Bolt, Hermh and Hedfirst. The „Spondek“ has room for about 10.000 people, when all ranks are in use, but most of the ranks were closed and there was space for about 6.000 people and the place was about half full.
The Swedes belong to the few black metal bands that manage to really get their show, lyrics and melodies across. Some corpse paint here and there, but these guys mean business and that’s what they bring across. A bit heavy as a first band for us late comers, but still very cool. The bass seemed to have some sound problems during the last two songs, but the overall sound was good, the audience was enthusiastic and the band were clearly pleased with themselves.
The audience was needed for this one. Singer Peter Dolving told everyone to sit down. Unbelievable, but true: I could only find a handful of people who didn’t comply. For the next song, the audience was insistently asked to „Jump!“ and Katowice hopped up and down. With Slayerish riffs, good thrash and truly wicked lyrics, The Haunted had the audience eating out of their hands. They were visibly having a good time and smoothed the way for a good atmosphere during the Pain gig that followed after the short break. The Haunted, who were filling in for Metal Church, were one of the highlights of the day!
It wasn’t a good day for Pain. The many sound problems, which usually don’t affect Peter Tägtgren much, really rattled him and his girls, and you could tell they would have prefered to stop and start over. The audience wasn’t bothered by it and partied away to Pain just the same. Due to the lack of time, there was no encore (the band probably didn’t mind), but if it had been up to the audience, the Arcturus gig would have been pushed back..
Unfortunately, we had to miss out on Arcturus and Turbo, because we had to do a lovely, in depth interviews with Apocalyptica and Dark Funeral. You can find those and some other interviews in the next issue of STALKER, as usual.
The very enthusiastic audience was screaming for „Napalm Death“ for more than half an hour, since that was how long it took to get the stage ready. It seemed as though a lot of people had showed up especially for these old guys; besides the cries, a large amount of Napalm Death T-shirts could be discovered in the audience. The fans weren’t disappointed. Napalm Death played all their hits with a delight in playing I hadn’t expected from these often grim, manic Englishmen. Not bad!
These Finns with eye for detail had the best light show and the most emotional audience by far (not a dry eye in the audience and lighters everywhere!). Paavo Lötjönen and Perttu Kivilaakso ran around onstage like madmen and the wonderfully dry announcements, mostly by Perttu, were plenty. With songs like „ Nothing Else Matters“, "Enter Sandman" and „The Hall Of The Mountain King", there was something for everyone. Even though Eicca Toppinen held back a bit as far as the show was concerned, the interplay between the three men was perfect. Beautiful show with lots of hits!
Glenn Danzig’s little brother?
Does Dani know Glenn Danzig personally or something? That would explain his recent diva behaviour. At Summerbreeze 2004, he made all other artists leave the backstage area, and he didn’t make a lot of friends by making the same demand at Metalmania. Regardless of the band, Amon Amarth, Pain, Napalm Death or Apocalyptica, if you didn’t have the required Cradle backstage pass, you had to leave. The rest of the band was visibly uncomfortable with this situation, but the tour manager saw to it that the rules were strictly followed. And so it was only allowed to take photographs (without flash) during the first two songs, after which, in the case of our photographer, you were quite rudely requested to leave.
Cradle Of Filth
Cardle of Filth usually have the most elaborate of decors, this time was no different. There were two big screens, on which images, and later on film and video clips, were projected during the songs. A man dressed like a stone gargoyle crawled around on the floor and helped a woman get onto a tightrope, from which she proceeded to swing and do gymnastics. The whole thing was a bit silly. Some dancers with fireworks put on a small pyro show and a 5 metre tall wooden Grim Reaper with red, glowing eyes made the grotesque show complete. There was also a certain choreography to the show. Dani ran and jumped across the stage, the band turned their backs on the audience (usually at the beginning of the songs), Sarah had her hands firmly planted on her hips and didn’t move at all behind her desk, but she had an extremely plunging neckline, and through all of that, the gargoyle, the gymnast, the Death incarnate puppet, fire, videos, light effects, smoke etcetera, etcetera.... Did I forget anything? Ah, yes, the music. They played a good selection. They started with „Gilded Cunt“ from the current album Nymphetamine, played classics like „Her Ghost In The Fog“ and „Median“, and the song „Nymphetamine“ on which Sarah sung Liv’s passages. She could have done it with a bit more enthusiasm, though. The show was better than the one at the D-Club (Docks) in Hamburg, but the band still came across tired and bored. This may have had something to do with the absence of bass player Dave Pybus, but since he probably won’t be back any time soon, it is to be hoped that the band get their stuff together somehow and that we won’t have to do without any more band members. The new bass player, Charles, who jumped in at the last minute, did a great job and focused mainly on the guitartist, James McIlroy. Only Dani, who has gotten a bit chubby of late ( like a big life buoy squeezed into skin tight clothes) seemed to enjoy it. The first five rows were thouroughly enjoying themselves as well and didn’t want Cradle Of Filth to leave the stage, but the rest of the audience wasn’t very enthused. Less crap and more band feeling and enthusiasm onstage would help a great deal, but this concert was not one of the band’s finer moments.