The very first edition of the Faroese Wacken Metal Battle took place in the capital city Tórshavn, at the characteristic Sjónleikarahúsið theater, crowded until sold out. On this very special occasion, 8 different bands have performed on stage, making the local audience enjoy a 6-hours non stop metalnight, quite a record for such a small country like the Faroe Islands are.
Konqueror, first band to perform at the Metal Battle, is probably the one to have disappointed me the most during the entire evening. This very young quintet has disinterestedly performed 5 not so original thrash / death metal songs, so much so that, in their closing track Lady Hellbender, its singer David Reinert Petersen looked sick and tired of having to entertain the audience, singing and acting very unenthusiastically. More generally, despite the pressing rythms of their songs, the group appeared to be very static and unwilling to pay much attention to the public reaction, even less than they had dedicated to the Meet & Greet with the press and judges, not sending any band member to introduce themselves. Certainly it's not a coincidence if the organizers have chosen this group to be the opening band..
Beyond the Flames
Everything luckly changes with the gig of The Happening, a recently formed band which already knows what it's about. These four guys from Søldarfjørður performed a classic rock'n'roll, very catchy and absorbing, which allowed them to pass on to the audience all their energy and enthusiasm, despite some minor technical problem occurred during the performance. Thank to their dynamic frontman Anselm Højgaard, The Happening performed all the five tracks at their best, being able to involve the crowded audience, fastly growing under our very eyes. Very good job for a budding band.
When it's over
Living is not easy
Reaching for the Stars
She's on the move
As soon as a band like Synarchy went onstage, it has been immediately clear that we were in front of one of the potential winners of the competition. This Faroese group demonstrated maturity and a great ability to hold the stage for the entire duration of their performance, thanks to their long live experience (gained, for example, while touring Europe with Musica Diablo), which allowed it to do an excellent job despite not having their current official live keyboardist on stage, who had chosen to focus only on the performance with Hamferð. During the gig Synarchy gave a good account of themselves to the beat of an original melodic death metal, with an unexpected modern touch, that made the audience go mad since the very beginning of Tear Up the World. A band with a significant potential, which we will probably see again soon on stage around Europe.
Tear up the World
Sært tú Meg
The Bitter End
Release the Free
Despite having to deal with a too short set for a doom metal band, Hamferð (already known to the European public for opening to Moonsorrow and Týr gigs during their last European tour) actually managed to convince everyone attending the Metal Battle about its value. The sextet has in fact proved its great strength and maturity, taking care of every detail during the entire gig and elegantly giving off the feeling of a funeral procession, which started already with the slow and gradual entry of each member on stage, while a long, dark and brand new intro was playing in background. Led by the charismatic frontman Jón Hansen, Hamferð performed well during a concert substantially without neither faults or pauses and eventually opting for an unexpected closing track, Opið Hav (from their first demo, Doomo), succeeding in entertain the enthusiastic audience.
The Apocryphal Order
Beyond The Depraved Scope Of Salvation
The Gates Of Deceit
Blood Shall Be Raining
When it has been announced that Earth Divide, a recently formed progressive metalcore band, had entered the Metal Battle competition, I admit I thought that they would have had little to say in a basically all metal night. This quintet has instead proved I was wrong, being able to bring on stage a tough, non commercial metalcore, capable to drag the audience into its rythms, thanks in particular to the charismatic and powerful voice of its frontman, Johan Fríðrikur Sanderson. It has to be mentioned that most the band members are not newbies, but musicians having long experience into the metal scene, consequently having all the means to create and perform live four tracks which sounded original, thank above all to the great work of the two guitarists. A very interesting experiment that promises well for the future.
Intro the Maelstrom
If you are looking for a Metallica-style thrash metal band, here is the group for you. Incurse are indeed a band which is able to perform a very energetic old school thrash metal, with no gimmicks, no frills or modernisms, that immediately sends the audience into raptures. The five tracks presented on this occasion, all strongly structured and very incisive, have made the audience travel back in time, to a classical and stinging past we are all missing. Creating new old school sounding songs without any progressive touch and almost perfectly performing them live is certainly not easy, but Incurse can do it very well, above all on stage. That's why a so short gig left everyone with a bitter taste in their mouth: you can't really get enough of groups like this.
Forcing you to Die
The last band to perform on this occasion has been SIC (pronounced as 'sick'), a quintet that immediately became one of the top 3 favorites for the final victory. The band, which has a long experience of live concerts all around Europe, has been able to create the most energetic and powerful performance of this very special evening, thank above all to the great charge of the singer Mikkjal Hansen, the only frontman to talk to the public and judges in English as well as in Faroese. SIC's tracks tare an overdose of brutal and straightforward thrash metal, with a smart hardcore touch, that takes the audience breath away until the closing song Fighters they Bleed has ended. A top mark performance. If they're touring next to your place, don't miss them, they're totally worth it.
Cold & Black
Fighters they Bleed
At the end of this successful event the jury, composed by 4 foreigner experts and a Faroese judge, announced the winner of this Battle, which will perform at the WOA 2012, challenging all the other winners from the various Wacken Metal Battles around the world. This once in a lifetime chance has been given to the doom metal sextet Hamferð, certainly one of the favourites since the competition had started.
However, what impressed me the most during this metalnight has been the general sense of pride that this nation has for its bands (surprisigly having a very high quality in general) and musicians, who looked more as members of the same family, rather than as artists engaged in a no holds barred close competition. A great example of how much music can be powerful.