26 March 2013

Live report: Wacken Metal Battle Føroyar 2013

Leggi la versione italiana su Metallized.it: Day#1 & Day#2

After the great success of the first edition, which led the Faroe Islands to the victory in the international finals of the Wacken Open Air, thank to the great performance of the talented doom metal band Hamferð, the decision to attend the national finals of Wacken Metal Battle Føroyar 2013 was quite natural for me.

Once more, the atmosphere we all felt in Tórshavn, did not evoke the idea of a tough challenge to the last riff, but rather of an informal competition within members of the same family, as the jury (composed by 3 foreign experts, Icelandic Þorsteinn Kolbeinsson, Danish Kasper Molin and Finnish Teemu Suominen, as well as by the well-known Faroese guitarist Terji Skibenæs) and press could already notice during the Meet&Greet on Friday afternoon. 

After a enjoyable trip to the historic town of Kirkjubøur, including the nice visit to the Kirkjubøargarður, organized by the Upp Við Hornunum crew to spoil us foreigners, time had come for the finals to kick off, once more at the Sjónleikarahúsið (Tórshavn’s city theater).

DAY #1: Friday 15th March


First band to perform live was The Happening, solid Rock group who had already taken part in this very same competition in 2012. These four musicians, led by the energetic and unstoppable Anselm Højgaard, played six classic and addictive Rock'N'Roll tracks, with almost no breaks. This group, as a whole, seemed much more mature than a year ago, expecially when it came to involve the audience, which immediately gave full support to the band. A light-hearted and irreverent frontman, who loves to wink to all the women attending, and short but catchy tracks, with their direct and exciting style, seemed to be the right formula to start an evening that already promised to be full of surprises. Definitely a nice confirmation.

1. When It's Over
2. Danger Danger
3. Two Girls And A Hoe
4. Living Isn't Easy
5. Heartbreaker
6. She's On The Move

Since the announcement of the competition billing, Tidal Crush was probably the wildest card to enter the competition. Tidal Crush is in fact a young combo, with not enough stage experience: a classic band with 'few ideas and also confused'. And their live performance did (unfortunately) not betray the expectations: a chaotic set, during which the dominant idea that the band gave out was that its five members were following different paths at the same time, without playing almost anything in a proper manner. A quite disappointing performance, from a group that hopefully will change and learn a lot in the future.

1. Rising Hatred
2. The New Order
3. Place Inside
4. Bruce Lee vs John Wayne
5. Mr. Man

Next on stage, Synarchy, a melodic Death Metal band that had already convinced both judges and press during last year's competition. This year, this quintet opted for a different set, which has changed a lot from what they proposed in 2012 (above all, the absence of a live keyboardist and the choice of tracks to play during the set, which this year included also some from their first album, Scars of Gratitude). The result was convincing but, due to some technical problems, during whole performance all the backing vocals disappeared, as well as the clean vocals of frontman Leon Hanson, at least for the first half of Synarchy's act. Truly a pity, as the great skills and talent that this band once again showed on stage have been diminished by some external factors, which have compromised their chances of winning. Still, a band that has not to be underestimated.

1. Descending
2. Release The Free
3. Beyond My Wreckage
4. Sært Tú Meg

The closing act of the first finals night had been assigned by the organizers to another group of newcomers, Reduced To Ash. Although having only lately become an actively rehearsing combo, this band seemed to already know how to rise from the ranks. Led by Eyðun Hvannastein, this quartet managed to perform a compelling set, made up of quite original Melodic Metal songs with quick and modern rhythmics, which pleasantly surprised more than a metalhead attending the gig. However, concerning the attitude on stage, the band members paid the price for its inexperience, standing too much still during their whole act. But, it's easy to understand that many other underground musicians would sign anything to only have this kind of minor issues during their concerts. A very convincing performance.

1. Malice
2. Our Cunning Freedom
3. Restrained
4. Daybreaker
5. Vain
6. Chain the Soul

After a first exciting evening, full of good music, everyone slowly left the Sjónleikarahúsið, looking forward to the second night of finals. Not forgetting a new, peculiar feature of the event, which I don't think could so successfully work in countries like Italy: in fact, most of the people who were working as security staff were young women, easily recognizable by their shirt with the Vakt logo on the back, which effectively helped to maintain everything under control during the whole event. A really good model, which needs to be exported abroad.

DAY #2: Saturday 16th March

After the first, successful night of competition, judges, press and audience came back to Sjónleikarahúsið with a lot of expectation an curiosity about the other Faroese bands which were about to hit the stage. 

Despite the snowy weather, the second final of the Wacken Metal Battle Føroyar took place into a crowded venue, where metalheads coming from all over the islands were ready to let the madness begin. 

Soon after Ragnar Jacobsen, local radio journalist and host of a rock and metal radio show called Ragnarokk on Kringvarp Føroya (the Faroese national radio), once more introduced the audience to the event and announced all the metal bands scheduled to play during the night, most lights in the theater were faded out and everyone made themselves ready for another epic metal night


First on stage was SIC, one of the most mature and successful bands to take part into these finals. These standard bearers of Faroese of Hardcore/Thrash Metal, one and only group to introduce itself and speak in English during the whole act, gave one of the most exciting performances of the evening. SIC, led by its well-known frontman Mikkjal Hansen, played four tracks taken from their latest album Fighters They Bleed and gave the idea they were playing like there was no tomorrow, despite recent line-up changes. In fact, former members of the band got along very well with the new guitarist and bass player, actually achieving a great show. Hats off.

1. Acid
2. Fighters They Bleed
3. Killing Birth
4. Cold and Black

Konqueror should also be counted among the groups that had already performed in 2012. However, in this case, last year's show was pretty poor and has been remembered more for the mistakes, than for the music style performed on stage. This year, however, this young Faroese quintet managed to do something more, and do it better, proposing four Death/Thrash Metal tracks, slightly original and technically much more accurate than what the jury had seen one year ago. On the other hand, still disappointing has been the performance of Konqueror's frontman Dávid Reinert Petersen, who tried a professional approach, but gave instead the idea of leaving its fellows members at the mercy of themselves. The fact is that, for this band, much remains to be done.

1. TRT (Third Reich Today)
2. Become War
3. Weeping Wizard
4. Beyond The Flames of Hell

Afterwards, time had come for Earth Divideanother band among the favorites for the final victory. After having taken part to last year's the Wacken Metal Battle Føroyar, this quintet demonstrated to have reached a very high standard, performing on stage an original and powerful Progressive/Alternative Metalcore, well supported by Johan Fríðrikur Sanderson's brilliant vocals.  This band, which has just released its first EP, showed to have a great know-how on stage, involving from the very beginning the whole audience, which accordingly supported with enthusiasm the probably best performance of the entire Battle. What has most definitely prevented Earth Divide to get its well deserved one-way ticket to Wacken has been the behavior of its bass player, who looked unenthusiastic during the whole act, while just standing in her corner. (By the time I ended writing this report, she already decided to leave the band, Ed.)

1. Atlas
2. Into The Maelstrom
3. Claustrophobia
4. Daybreaker

Last but not least to perform, was Asyllex, another group of newcomers. Worthy continuation of the Thrash Metal "tradition" coming from Suðuroy, which last year had given excellent proof with Incurse's high-voltage act, these seven Faroese musicians, headed by Ari Farstad, brought the audience right back to the 80's Bay Area, thank to their energetic performing style which, while maintaining a bit of originality, clearly reminded of all-time masters such as Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax. However, to surprise the audience even more than the quality of the tracks themselves, is the ability of this young group to have stage presence and transmit the great vigor of its music to the crowd, despite having to deal with a stage too small for six always moving musicians. A hell of a great performance.

1. Living in a world of my own
2. Sodom
3. Scars after war 
4. Hour of justice

At the end of the competition, a long jury meeting took place, almost until midnight, scheduled time for the award ceremony. After Teitur Fossaberg (Upp Við Hornunum) reminded the audience that this year´s event was dedicated to the memory and legacy of Rasmus Rasmussen, the judges took an introductory speech, in which they all gave their positive opinions and precious feedback about the event and the bands which had performed throughout two nights. Soon after, Terji Skibenæs made the final announcement of the winner: unexpectedly for many people, the victory went to SIC, which therefore gained the chance to perform at the international finals of Wacken Metal Battle, which will be held during the WOA 2013 (discover more about the winners).

But, the evening was not over yet...


In fact, although not competing into the Metal Battle finals, HeljareygaFaroese Progressive Metal band and side project of Heri Joensen, hit the stage with a good act, lasting a bit more than 45 minutes. Heljareyga played their whole debut album of the same name, performing their tracks with a dynamic and compelling style, including interesting backing vocals of both guitarists as well as of the bass player, all sung clean. However, the unpredictable last-minute technical problems forced the band to interrupt their live performance  more than once, causing more disappointment to Heri himself than to the public, which in part left the venue after the announcement of the winners.

1. Regnið
2. Heljareyga 
3. Lagnan
4. Feigdin
5. Vetrarbreytin 

Once all the latest tasks in press room were done, everyone happily left the Sjónleikarahúsið, being well aware that this year’s edition of the Wacken Metal Battle Føroyar had been even more successful than the first one, held in March 2012. Accordingly, heartfelt thanks go out to the whole Upp Við Hornunum crew, to Eija Mäkivuoti, to the jury and to all the musician involved into the competition. So, what’s up next?

All the photos in this report by Eija Mäkivuoti
Check her website and Facebook page

Who are the Wacken Metal Battle Føroyar 2013 winners?

SIC hails from the Faroe Islands and plays brutal in-yer-face thrash metal!

SIC was disfigured and mutated at one of the most isolated places on earth, the Faroe Islands, in 2002, by founder, guitarist and co-manager Eddie Jacobsen. In 2003 he joined forces with frontman Mikkjal G. Hansen. In 2005 the lineup was finally complete and work on the band’s debut album Pandemonium began. The album was released by Faroe Islands-based TUTL Records in February 2007. Pandemonium grabbed the attention of many online communities and word began spreading all over the world almost instantly.

In 2009 the band went on its first full scale tour along with Danish metal act Hatesphere. During that period SIC also opened twice for French metal act Gojira. The second half of the tour saw SIC co-headlining close to 20 shows in the Uk together with various local acts such as Attica Rage, Ten Ton Dozer and others. During the entire tour SIC really developed into a brutal force upon stage and this was recognized by both fans and the media and earned the band a lot of recognition.

In the fall of 2009 SIC began working on its sophomore album Fighters They Bleed. However, in December 2009 drummer Magnus Hansen parted ways with the band due to personal reasons. SIC began looking for a new drummer right away and it did not take long before Dennis Buhl (ex-Hatesphere) agreed to join forces with the band.
In May 2010 all 12 titles for the album were ready and SIC went to Hansen Studios, in Ribe, Denmark to begin recording Fighters They Bleed together with acclaimed producer Jacob Hansen. SIC and Eyðun M. Thomsen also co-produced the album.

Fighters They Bleed was mixed and mastered at Antfarm Studios, in Århus, Denmark, by Tue Madsen and  hit the stores in April 2011. After taking part into the competition in 2012, SIC won Wacken Metal Battle Føroyar 2013, getting the chance to play at Wacken Open Air.

SIC current line-up
Mikkjal G. Hansen - Vocals
Eddie Jacobsen - Guitar
Henning Jensen - Guitar
Ísak Petersen - Bass
Dennis Buhl - Drums

After the Faroese Metal Battle 2013 was over,  I had the chance to do a short interview with Eddie Jacobsen, guitarist and founder of SIC, about their successful result and future plans...

After having joined the Metal Battle competition last year and having gotten positive feedback from the judges, you've decided to take part in the Faroese finals once more, eventually gaining the once-in-a-lifetime chance to play at Wacken next August. How do you feel about this result? Did you expect it?

Eddie: We are extremely happy about the results of course! To be honest, while the judge announced the winner, I was texting, not because I didn't care, but because the other bands were simply amazing so I really didn't expect us to win, I knew all along we had a very good chance and that it would most likely be between SIC, Synarchy and especially Earth Divide, those other 2 bands were simply amazing. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I'll always remember back on that night as something nothing short of EPIC! 

The fact that the the victory has been assigned to a band performing with a new and temporary line-up, means that former and newest SIC members really get along well. How has it been to work together with skilled musicians like Ísak Petersen and Henning Jensen? Why have you chosen them?

EddieWe do get along very well. It was very different of course, because the two members left after 7 years in the band. It seemed very natural to rehearse with them and Ísak has stepped in before, so picking him was just natural. I didn't know Henning that well personally but I knew his style, he was the first person I thought of that could step in for Frans, and I couldn't have been more right about that call, the guy has amazing talent, they both have. It was very important for me and the other guys to choose someone who thought in the same lines as we do and me and Henning are already writing new stuff together! 

Your Metal Battle setlist this year included four tracks from your album Fighters they Bleed, two less than last year's performance, while in 2013 you've focused more on your attitude on stage. In your opinion, is it correct to say that during the last year SIC has matured into a more efficient unit, showing more personality and conviction than the band which performed on stage in 2012? How have you managed to do so? 

EddieWe were actually supposed to perform a new track as well, but our drummer Dennis has a severe infection in his leg making it hard for him to practice at the moment so we decided on saving the new stuff for later. And as you say, instead of taking 1 or 2 more older songs into our set we just decided to stick with the 4 songs and really play like it was our last show ever, and I think it's safe to say that we really delivered on stage: I for one have never head-banged that insanely before... 
I don't really know how we managed that, I guess it came natural, SIC has been around for 10 years, most of us are experienced musicians, and we just wanted that to shine through on stage, and it worked!

Now, which are your plans for the international Wacken Metal Battle finals? For example, are you going to keep this line-up until the summer or try to find other permanent replacements to fill the slots? 

Eddie: We will keep this line-up for Wacken. Ísak has agreed to play live with the band and I'm already writing stuff with Henning, so if he wants a permanent slot in the band, he's more than welcome! For Wacken... we will probably play 2 new songs and 2-3 from our album Fighters They Bleed and we will give it our all! And time will tell if that will be enough again!

More about SIC

Photo in this article courtesy of Eija Mäkivuoti
Check her website and Facebook page

21 March 2013

Metaldays: contest winners announced

This year's MetalDays newcomers contest has come to its end.

Now, after having gotten rid of all the fake votes,
MetalDays organizers have announced the list of the 10 most voted bands, which have gained the once in a lifetime chance to perfom live during MetalDays 2013.

The official winners list is the following:

Acid Death (Greece)
Blynd (Cyprus) 
Drakum (Spain) 
Imperium (Mexico) 
Karlahan (Spain)
Mystery (Australia)
Ravenblood (Spain)
Stormcast (Cyprus)
Vallorch (Italy) 
Under The Abyss (France)

The only Italian band among the winners
of this competition is the folk metal combo Vallorch.


16 March 2013

12 March 2013

Wacken Metal Battle Føroyar 2013: running order ufficiale

Gli organizzatori della Wacken Metal Battle Føroyar 2013 hanno da poco comunicato il running order ufficiale per le due serate in cui si svolgerà la competizione, in programma il prossimo weekend. Ecco i dettagli:

The Faroese organizers of the event have just announced the official running order of the bands performing at this year´s Wacken Metal Battle Faroe Islands, which will take place during this upcoming weekend. Here the detailed information:

Friday 15.03
20.00 Doors open

21.00 - 21.25 The Happening
21.40 - 22.05 Tidal Crush
22.20 - 22.45 Synarchy
23.00 - 23.25 Reduced To Ash

Saturday 16.03
20.00 Doors open

21.00 - 21.25 SIC
21.40 - 22.00 Konqueror
22.20 - 22.45 Earth Divide
23.00 - 23.25 Asyllex

00.00 - Winners announcement
00.20 - 01.00 Heljareyga

11 March 2013

L'ennesima vergogna italiana

Pur allontanandosi dal solito target di interventi di questa pagina, ritengo doveroso dedicare uno spazio pubblico all'ennesima vergogna italiana: il noto Circolo Colony di Travagliato (BS), sede di molti recenti interessanti eventi rock/metal, si ritrova nuovamente a dover pagare il prezzo dell'ignoranza di chi sta in alto. Non mi permetto di scrivere nulla al riguardo, per non fomentare la polemica, ma lascio sia il proprietario del Circolo a farlo per me (questo intervento è stato pubblicato ed è ancora reperibile sulla pagina Facebook ufficiale del locale). Solidarietà e supporto ai ragazzi del Colony!

Sembrava troppo bello per essere vero, ma purtroppo ci risiamo. Stanotte, alle 02.00 circa, ci hanno richiuso il Circolo ponendolo sotto sequestro e sigillando i locali.

Ora, purtroppo non sappiamo a chi abbiamo pestato i piedi, e sinceramente non ne abbiamo la minima idea non conoscendo nessuno in questo paese, ma caro Sindaco, tu che ti fai la bocca larga nei volantini pubblicitari del tuo partito, mi dicono centrosinistra ma è una informazione che non posso confermare in quanto non so nemmeno il tuo nome, dove "santifichi" la Costituzione, ricordati che l'Art.18 dice "I cittadini hanno diritto di associarsi liberamente, senza autorizzazione, per fini che non sono vietati ai singoli dalla legge penale", ma a quanto pare la Costituzione vale in tutta Italia tranne che a Travagliato, dove il Segretario Comunale e l'Architetto Messali dichiarano "non vogliamo i Circoli perché non pagano le tasse". Ora caro Sindaco, visto che predichi bene e razzoli male, che cazzo hai contro di noi? Si rende conto che alcuni di noi hanno investito i propri soldi in questa cosa che prima di tutto si chiama PASSIONE? Si rende conto che con le Vostre invenzioni strampalate avete messo nella merda parecchia gente? Si rende conto che noi Lunedì non riusciremo a saldare le bollette, a pagare i fornitori e l'affitto perché sono 40 giorni che vi inventate stronzate e abusate del Vostro potere per non farci aprire? E tutto questo con un locale a norma al 110% e che molto probabilmente è più a norma del Municipio? E non è una battuta, visto che se qualcuno che lavora in Municipio non conosce la differenza tra cavo di segnale audio e video e cavo di corrente, non oso immaginare cosa succede nel verificare progetti un po' complicati.. Te lo chiedo perché ormai parecchia gente oltre a noi se lo sta chiedendo, visto l'accanimento che hai contro di noi: dichiari cose false e facilmente dimostrabili, non hai nemmeno il coraggio di mettere la tua firma in calce ai documenti ma mandi avanti gli altri, non mi ricevi nemmeno se mi fissano un appuntamento. Bene caro Signor Sindaco, la misura credo che ormai sia colma. 

E dopo esserci sfogati, avvisiamo tutti gli associati che Lunedì presenteremo presso i Carabinieri di Travagliato denunce per abuso di potere, abuso di atti d'ufficio, falsa applicazione di legge, falso, calunnia e minacce nei confronti del Comune di Travagliato, del Sindaco e di tutti i dipendenti coinvolti, e che nei prossimi giorni inizieremo a preparare la class action di tutti i tesserati contro il Comune di Travagliato per richiedere un risarcimento danni morali per non aver potuto partecipare alle attività del Circolo e per tutti gli eventi che abbiamo dovuto annullare. Caro Signor Sindaco, un ultima domanda? Ma se dovesse perdere queste cause, lo spiega Lei ai cittadini di Travagliato che il Comune dovrà sborsare parecchie decine di migliaia di euro per un suo capriccio personale? Ma che pirla che sono, mi dimenticavo che a Maggio si vota quindi toccherà alla nuova maggioranza trovare i soldi e spiegarlo alla comunità..

Un ultima cosa Signor Sindaco: se Lei sperava che noi, ma soprattutto io scappassi terrorizzato dalla sua arrogante dimostrazione di potere, beh si sbagliava di grosso: i tempi dei signorotti di paese che facevano il bello e il cattivo tempo, se non lo sa, è finito da un pezzo, e purtroppo per Lei sono abituato ad avere a che fare con personaggi molto più importanti, potenti e intelligenti. Non è una minaccia, ma si prepari a rendere conto di parecchie cose.

01 March 2013

Wacken Metal Battle Føroyar 2013: le band in finale

In attesa che la competizione possa finalmente ritornare attiva anche in Italia, ricominciando a dare una concreta possibilità di successo ai nostri gruppi underground, a dar lustro alle proprie migliori band nazionali saranno presto le isole Fær Øer, in cui sta per svolgersi l'edizione 2013 della Wacken Metal Battle.

Infatti, dopo il successo della prima edizione, che l´anno scorso ha visto trionfare gli Hamferð alle finali internazionali al Wacken Open Air, gli organizzatori faroesi della Upp Við Hornunum hanno deciso di raddoppiare l´evento, che vedrà alternarsi sul palco nove gruppi in due serate, il 15 e 16 marzo prossimi. A decretare il vincitore della finale, che si aggiudicherà la possibilità di suonare a Wacken 2013, una giuria formata da giudici faroesi ed internazionali. Le band in competizione quest'anno, tra cui alcune che hanno già partecipato alle finali 2012, sono le seguenti:

The Happening (Rock)
Konqueror (Thrash/Death Metal)
Tidal Crush (Metalcore/Melodic Death Metal)
Asyllex (Melodic Thrash Metal)
Reduced To Ash (Melodic Metal)
Synarchy (Melodic Death Metal)
SIC (Hardcore/Thrash Metal)
Earth Divide (Progessive Metalcore)

Inoltre, al termine della competizione, è stata annunciata una performance live degli Heljareyga, side project progessive metal di Heri Joensen, attuale frontman dei noti Týr.

Qui in seguito la locandina ufficiale dell'evento, realizzata da Eija Mäkivuoti


On March 15 and 16 the second annual Wacken Metal Battle Faroe Islands will take place at the Sjónleikarhúsið in Tórshavn
This year there will be a little change in the event, as the Faroese organizers from Upp Við Hornunum are expanding from one night event, to a two-days competition, featuring 9 bands playing on stage.

These are all the Faroese metal bands scheduled to take part into this year's WMB competition:

The Happening (Rock)
Konqueror (Thrash/Death Metal)
Tidal Crush (Metalcore/Melodic Death Metal)
Asyllex (Melodic Thrash Metal)
Reduced To Ash (Melodic Metal)
Synarchy (Melodic Death Metal)
SIC (Hardcore/Thrash Metal)
Earth Divide (Progessive Metalcore)

Moreover, this year's edition will also include a performance of a well-known band which has been chosen as the headliner of the whole event: HeljareygaHeri Joensen's (Týr) progressive side project, featuring members from other known faroese acts such as The Happening, Synarchy and The Apocryphal Order, will in fact play live at the end of the competition.

To know more, check the Wacken Metal Battle main page on Facebook or the official flyer (credits: Eija Mäkivuoti). See you there!