9th to 13th June 2011
Wave Gotik Treffen Day 5: Die Vorboten, Northland, Coppelius, Crimfall, Moonsorrow, Mediaeval Baebes, Chris & Cosey, Eluveitie
A very long festival weekend was coming to an end. The final festival day arrived, mostly filled up for us with medieval and metal music, but also with a very rare show of CHRIS & COSAY...
Die Vorboten - Agra [Florian Schürmann]
DIE VORBOTEN is a German melodic metal band from Wismar founded during the summer of 2009. They play guitar heavy, driven “Kraut Metal” on their own admission along the lines of German bands from the 70’s. Their lyrics reflect topics based on reality and are written in German to express their messages in the band’s mother tongue. Musically, they want to walk in different ways, constantly releasing their written music for feedback from fans and friends. Their first full-length album ‘Aufschrei’ was released on May 20th, 2011. http://dievorboten.de / http://www.myspace.com/vorboten / http://www.youtube.com/user/DieVorboten
Music & Performance
Although the share of metal bands to the diverse billing perceivably increased over the years, head bangers are obviously not the WGT’s main target audience. That was noticeable since this year’s Monday had a more metal approach than in the last years, while staying true to the folk / medieval undertone. So the venue remained not even lightly crowded during the concert of DIE VORBOTEN. When I listened to their recorded music I immediately had the reference to DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER in mind in term of song structure and vocal style. Both manage to combine strong melody parts with epic double bass driven choruses to create their distinct sound.
Anyhow, listening to DIE VORBOTEN live did not bring that into my mind. The music came across as fresh and easily accessible due to mostly simple arrangements. The guitars were able to assert themselves, while the keyboards played a dominant part and also the vocals were handled very well, balancing a heavy but melodic timbre. Lyrical wise I can’t say that the words sung were of the deepest content I’ve ever heard, but songs like ‘Vaterland’ at least keep stuck in your head. Visually there was not much going on, since everyone had an instrument to play; the band performed in matching black outfits featuring a yellow stripe on their sides of which I’m not sure whether I found appropriate or not. The band had a lot of fun on stage and invited a person from the audience to come onto the stage to handle their so-called “chaos-pad”, a gimmick that produces interference-like sounds by touching it. That part dragged a bit, since the chosen one was not the fastest to get there and the effect was barely there, because it lasted just a few seconds and in my opinion was not worth the effort. Anyway, DIE VORBOTEN played an enjoyable concert, which can be revisited along with other impressions from the WGT on their abovementioned YouTube channel.
Total: 7.4 / 10
Northland - Agra [Florian Schürmann]
Northland is a Folk / Melodic death metal band from Spain and has its roots around year 2004 when Pau Murillo decided to start a band with Viking and Melodic Death Metal touches, which is completely dissolved due to different problems. After a short period of time, Pau found another band and proposed to continue with the style his previous band had but much more Death / Folk metal oriented. After some time, Pau announced that he was back with Northland, looking for musicians. The band started to be known playing at small festivals in Catalonia and the Iberian Peninsula. The band then released their first demo, ‘Freezing Sadness’, with good response from the audience. At the end of 2009, Northland signed a contract with Black Bards Entertainment in order to edit the self-titled debut record of the band, which was released in 2010. This release opened the gates of Europe for the band, where they played at several concerts and small festivals. Currently, the band is working on their next visit to Europe and on their second CD, with the aim of releasing it by the end of 2011 with the support of Black Bards Entertainment. http://www.myspace.com/northlandmetal / http://northland.cat
Music & Performance
In my opinion the second band of that day, NORTHLAND, turned out to be the most sympathetic band of the festival. The audience was instantly in their hands, clapping and cheering through the whole concert of the Spanish band, which played a good amount of solid pagan metal tunes with a folky touch. Like vocalist Pau Murillo mentioned they were there to get the party started and they did with melody driven songs in the vein of ENSIFERUM like ‘Where the Heroes Die’. Some of the announcements were held in German and some of them were just funny like the song, which was ‘dedicated to a good friend in common’ that is ‘blonde and tastes good’ and was entitled ‘The Beer’. This track in particular, which apparently will be found on their next output, had two issues: The overall song quality flattened a little bit, but the major one was that one of the guitars refused to cooperate for that.
Charmingly the problems were blamed onto the beer itself, while the last two songs had to be pulled off with only one guitar, after the other one couldn’t be fixed during the audience bridged the time shouting ‘Hey Hey Hey’ and the keyboardist playing some tunes. Pau introduced another song called ‘Revenge’ by asking the audience to imagine an enemy or simply ‘the guy at work, who fucks you’ and scream the song title, what was granted. Although the bass drum was a little bit weak, the rest of the mix was great, even the violin and the keyboard were balanced well. Altogether NORTHLAND played a very entertaining gig which had a lot of great music and they proved themselves being a very good live band.
Total: 7.6 / 10
Coppelius - Agra [Florian Schürmann]
Nothing particular is known of this mysterious band. If you take a look on their homepage you can find a “concertography” dating back until the early 19th century but the first known appearance of COPPELIUS was the farewell tour of THE INCHTABOKTABLES where they had the support slot. They also performed as support for MILA MAR, MUTABOR, FIDDLER’S GREEN and others in 2003 & 2004. A demo EP called ‘To my Creator’ has been released which also includes the first video for the song ‘Get used to it’. In April 2007 a live DVD was recorded in Berlin followed by the first time appearance at the Wave Gotik Treffen in the same year. In summer 2007, COPPELIUS signed a record deal with Fame Recordings and the debut album ‘Time-Zeit’ was released in September 2007. With ‘Tumult’, the fine gentlemen would return with fresh material in 2009. COPPELIUS is Max Coppelia (vocals, clarinet), Nobusama (drums), Graf Lindorf (vocals, cello), Comte Caspar (vocals, clarinet), Sissy Voss (contrabass) and Bastille (vocals, servant). http://www.coppelius-band.de / http://www.myspace.com/coppeliushilft
Music & Performance
It is no secret to say that COPPELIUS most of all is a live band, but for a long time they were only a live band for me, since I found their music not that much intriguing that I would listen to it just by itself. That changed with the recent record titled ‘Zinnober’ of which most parts of this year’s concert consisted. One factor to that is the fact, that founder and name giver Max Coppelia gave up more and more of his exclusive singing position for a more choir like approach with each member of the band getting his chance to solo now and then. That is a large improvement, because the long time live butler Bastille, who is a great gimmick to have on stage, turned out to be a very decent singer on his own. Under show aspects the idea of the band is just gold. The members are convincingly acting like 19th century gentlemen who meet in their chamber to make music together while being served by their always caring butler, which is just entertaining. That effect is supported by the wide backdrop and matching displays resembling red theatre curtains, in front of which the whole show takes place. There is too much going on to recap everything.
Of course Bastille takes off the gentlemen’s clothing as always, he’s cleaning, he’s holding occasionally signs into the air, which demand the audience to applaud or giving the advice that a solo is being played; he climbs the stage frame and dances with the audience in front of it. He even managed that nearly everyone sat down during the last song titled ‘Adé mein Lieb’, which he vocally performed alone in a heartbreaking way. In my opinion the song quality of the show improved very much with the last record, so it was also a feast for the ears. Each of the chamber instruments was mixed well, also the drums were assertive. The enjoyment was audible and the audience, which instantly at least doubled for that band, wanted more, since they kept on shouting COPPELIUS’ trademark encore line ‘Da Capo’ even after the change-over music was already running.
02. Schöne Augen
03. Diener 5er Herren
06. Coppelius hilft
07. I get used to it
08. Adé mein Lieb’
Total: 8.5 / 10
Crimfall - Agra [Florian Schürmann]
CRIMFALL is a symphonic / progressive power metal band from Finland. Started as Jakke Viitala's vision, his then one man project CRIMFALL took its shape in 2007 as siren Helena Haaparanta and growler Mikko Häkkinen joined the project to split the vocals. The 1st album ‘As The Path Unfolds…’ was done with session musicians but after its release in 2009 the line-up stabilized with the addition of drummer Janne Jukarainen and bass player Miska Sipiläinen. ‘The Writ Of Sword’ was produced by the band itself and the mastering was done by Swedish sound whiz Jens Bogren at Fascination Street studios. The music of CRIMFALL is eludes description as it wears many masks and disguises. You can hear influences of grim-frost north and its folk metal, even echoes from cold black metal in Mikko's demonic screams and lyrics, but this all is layered with massive orchestrations and epic atmosphere that draw from legendary movie soundtracks. Indeed the album conquers the feelings of majesty and journeys lost, with melodies and angelic voice of Helena that bring forth the uncompromising feelings, contrast of the ascended light and the fallen shadow. http://www.crimfall.com / http://www.myspace.com/crimfall
Music & Performance
I thought I’d be watching a Finnish band, when the words “Did everyone drink enough mead already” in nearly accent-free German was called out to the audience during the gig of CRIMFALL, but I wasn’t wrong. In the vein of their fellow countrymen and women from BATTLELORE they combine operatic female vocals with harsh male ones over aggressive shredding and orchestrated keyboard pads, in which they songwriting wise succeed. However the symphonic backtrack often was very dominating so that the single guitar could not completely compete, but the bass helped as well as it could with diverse segments on its behalf. Anyhow the live mix did appeal more to me than the one on their records, on which the orchestration is all over the place. These symphonic parts, which indeed are very impressing, were not entirely played live, but incorporated some nice choir elements, which enriched singer Helena’s voice beautifully.
While she had to struggle getting a working microphone nearly during the whole first song, she performed with great passion and succeeded doing so. With songs like ‘Wildfire Season’ and ‘Storm Before The Calm’ they covered both of their records and enchanted a lot of people in the audience, not only by giving away free shirts in the end. CRIMFALL do not reinvent the wheel, but gave a solid impression of their interpretation of the genre, which they were well capable of putting it onto a stage.
Total: 7.6 / 10
Moonsorrow - Agra [Florian Schürmann]
MOONSORROW is a pagan metal band formed in Helsinki, Finland, in 1995. Musically, the band incorporates elements of black metal and folk metal in their sound. The band call their sound "epic heathen metal” and try to distance themselves from the term “Viking metal”. Their debut album, ‘Suden Uni’, recorded in early 2000, was released in 2001. It combined Finnish paganism and folk elements. After recruiting Mitja Harvilahti and Markus Eurén, MOONSORROW started playing live, releasing ‘Voimasta Ja Kunniasta’ in late 2001. However, the real takeoff for the band is generally held to be their 2003 release, ‘Kivenkantaja’. On March 7, 2006, MOONSORROW announced a 2-album contract with Spinefarm Records, and that their next album was slated for release in late 2006. ‘Viides ‘Luku - Hävitetty’ was released in January 2007. The album contained only two tracks and displayed more overt influence from progressive rock. Their recent record ‘Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa’ continues this path. http://www.moonsorrow.com / http://myspace.com/moonsorrow
Music & Performance
MOONSORROW is a band that tried to stretch the term “epic” more and more throughout the years. Since black metal bands get very little airplay in the first place, there is no impediment preventing them from recording songs with a length of half an hour - and so they do. Under reconsideration these are still kind of bulky to fit into a set of 60 minutes. However, MOONSORROW managed to play six songs during that time and they succeeded doing so by condensing the longer ones. They are capable of writing songs to go along whilst head banging on the one hand and to enjoy their atmosphere with closed eyes on the other, which I find at least as amazing as the dedication they are putting onto the stage. The live sound reflects the recorded one very well with a not ultra-transparent, but atmosphere wise beneficial guitar sound and Ville Sorvali’s sharp screams, which are backed up by the other member’s chanting.
Apparently they had fun performing and messing around with the people with questions like ‘Are You having fun?’, the wait for the obligatory cheering audience in response and the promise: ‘We are going to take all the fun and bring you coldness and winter’. One of the songs even was announced as a ‘pop gothic metal’ track called ‘everyone will die’, which of course doesn’t exist. Actually they stretched their choice of songs throughout their back catalogue and gave a great impression of their abilities playing a great show.
02. Jumalten Kaupunki
05. Kylän Päässä
06. Kuolleiden Maa
Total: 8 / 10
Mediaeval Baebes - Agra [Florian Schürmann]
MEDIÆVAL BÆBES are a British ensemble of female musicians founded in the 1990s by Katharine Blake and included some of her colleagues from the band Miranda Sex Garden, as well as other friends who share her love for mediaeval music. The line-up often rotates from album to album, and ranges from six to 12 members. Each album features traditional medieval songs and poetry set to music, mostly arranged by Blake specifically for the ensemble, alongside varying numbers of original compositions. They sing in a variety of languages, including Latin, Middle English, French, Italian, Russian, Swedish, Cadenet, Scottish English, German, Manx Gaelic, Spanish, Welsh, Bavarian, Provençal, Irish Gaelic, modern English and Cornish. Their vocals are backed by medieval instruments, including the recorder and cittern, played by the singers or fellow musicians. Their upcoming record will be titled ‘The Huntress’ and is currently being recorded. http://www.mediaevalbaebes.com / http://www.myspace.com/mediaevalbaebes
Music & Performance
MEDIÆVAL BÆBES were by far the most unconventional band which played that day for the visitors of the WGT. That was divinable from the six flower entwined microphone stands that were put up in form of a half circle in the centre of the stage. When the lights went out, half a dozen ladies in evening gowns stepped onto the stage, bringing tambourines with them. The music that was about to being performed can be described as very vocal based supported strongly by a measure giving rhythm section and an acoustic guitar in the background. The BÆBES themselves also occasionally handled various instruments like a cittern, a lute, a flute, a violin and a guitar. However, the main focus was the vocals they provided, which, as far I can trust my ears, often consisted of monophonic choral singing, which is kind of authentic I suppose, given the medieval genre they are dedicated to, but sometimes in combination with the sparse instrumentation it came down to be a little unexciting. To be fair I have to mention that there were a lot of different singing techniques used throughout the set: There were polyphonic chorales, antiphonies, a-capella singing, as well as sing in and repetition, which worked really well.
However, the most interesting songs were those, which combined the medieval influences, which not only were based in Europe but had some oriental touch as well, with a modern pop like approach featuring occasional solo singing. Since the band considers their live appearances less like concert and more like shows, there were also some performance elements like synchronized clapping, tambourine waving, dancing and such, but I am sure that usually there is more going on in those. As I mentioned I found the music and its interpretation quite interesting, but not very exciting, for which the band cannot be blamed. In my opinion they were not edgy enough, while their singing was too perfect and the music’s complexity too simple to be compelling for a full hour, which could not be evened by the robe change halfway through. The whole performance was anything but bad, it was music to let yourself go, as some people in the audience did by dancing and waving back and forth, but for me it was too smooth, leaving myself wondering that bands like HEIDEVOLK, who had to play at the pagan village, would have been a way better fit for that slot, especially regarding the previous and the following band.
Total: 8.7 / 10
Chris & Cosey - Pantheon [Daniela Vorndran]
When in 1981 British THROBBING GRISTLE disbanded, two of their former members - Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti - formed CHRIS & COSEY that in the following released quite some experimental stuff, either solo or in collaboration with other artists. The later career would bring up collabs with such bands as ERASURE, CURRENT 93 or EURHYTHMICS. Actually performing as CARTER TUTTI since the new millennium’s beginning the duo will be performing a new CHRIS & COSEY set at WGT 2011. http://www.chrisandcosey.com
Music & Performance
Who is dealing with electronic music, sooner or later stumbles across CHRIS & COSEY. The concert at the Pantheon mainly attracted the older WGT visitors while the younger ones preferred watching HOCICO in the nearby Hall 15. The duo’s very first WGT appearance can be described as a video-art performance where more or less experimental electro-pop was crushing with industrial elements to form a unique mixture and deal for an extraordinary experience. Luckily, the sounds was quite good this time, perhaps in parts a little too loud, and so, Tutti’s dark voice came into its own. Electronic sounds, samples, rhythms were melting with vocals, cornet and guitar to an extraordinary sound tapestry laying a spell over the audience. Since the discography of the duo is immense, the choice of the setlist was surely not easy. The set mainly consisted of songs out off the 80s, such as ‘Dr. John (Sleeping Stephen)’, ‘Retrodect’ or ‘Exotika’. Finish and encore of a fantastic concert was given with ‘October (Love Song)‘ from 1983.
01. Dr. John (Sleeping Stephen)
02. Deep Velvet
03. Lost Bliss
06. Driving Blind
09. Beat Beat Beat
12. Love Cuts
13. Watching You
14. Dancing Grave
15. October (Love Song)
Total: 8.8 / 10
Eluveitie - Agra [Florian Schürmann]
ELUVEITIE is a folk metal band from Winterthur, Switzerland. The band formed in 2002 and their first EP, ‘Vên’ came out in 2003. The band then released a full-length album, ‘Spirit’, in June 2006. In November 2007, they were signed by Nuclear Blast. The first production of the collaboration, ‘Slania’, was released in February 2008. The album peaked at number 35 in the Swiss charts and number 72 in the German charts. ELUVEITIE use traditional instruments amidst guitars and loud vocals. The lyrics are often in the extinct language Gaulish. ELUVEITIE is Helvetic Gaulish for "I am Helvetian", referring to an inscription dating to the earliest record of the Celtic Helvetii tribe from what is now Switzerland. Their latest record ‘Everything Remains as It Never Was’ was released February 19th, 2010. http://www.eluveitie.ch / http://www.myspace.com/eluveitie
Music & Performance
Our last band for this year’s WGT were ELUVEITIE, who managed to fill the Agra Hall with a decent amount of people considering them playing extreme metal, which proves my consideration from earlier wrong. The band took their time for the change-up and started almost 15 minutes late, but before we go into the concert, I have to make things clear: I don’t like ELUVEITIE that much. I think the reason why is in great parts based on the vocal style they approached with the album ‘Slania’, which has a great metalcore-ish appeal to it. The screams make the band’s music unlistenable for me, although I kind of like (or at least acknowledge) the instrumental work and composition in a good number of their songs, while often having core influences as well. Anyway, the band eventually came onto the stage and after the introduction ceased and the first song started I knew they won’t win me over with that night’s performance.
The band had put up two rather huge displays with LED bars on top, of which the left one fortunately didn’t work since the other alone dazzled the audience unnecessarily. Beside the size of the display, the stage was large enough to handle the eight-headed line-up well. As expected each member played with expertise, especially front man Chrigel surprised with a variety of instruments played. Also as expected, the harsh vocal performance was not my cup of tea. Sound wise, the electric guitars came down anything but transparent, giving them a thin, ambiguous touch, but the other instruments like flutes and pipes were mixed well. The acoustic part of the set, which incorporated songs from ELUVEITIE’s album ‘Evocation’, was way more enjoyable; not only that the acoustic guitars sounded a lot better, but the clean (female) vocals were also a nice change. Clearly not being used to playing at a gothic festival, there were some strange announcements made in between the songs.
In one, Chrigel inexplicably sought out the pity of the people for the inevitable cut of some songs from the band’s setlist due to the extended change-over time, and others were just odd, like the statement “you’re almost like a real metal audience”. The audience excused the question and proved themselves worthy by singing along songs like ‘Slanias Song’, ‘Omnos’ and of course their mostly known track ‘Inis Mona’, which was the last one we heard as we made our way through the people towards the hall exit, along the mile to leave this 20th WGT - but we promised to be back again for the 21th.
Total: 7/ 10
Pictures by Daniela Vorndran (Chris & Cosey - http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.black-cat-net.de/ / www.myspace.com/vorndranphotography / www.facebook.com/blackcatnet) and Anne Kuhfuß (Die Vorboten, Northland, Coppelius, Crimfall, Moonsorrow, Mediaeval Baebes, Eluveitie)