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

THE HAPPENING



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.

Setlist
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
TIDAL CRUSH


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.

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


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.

Setlist
1. Descending
2. Release The Free
3. Beyond My Wreckage
4. Sært Tú Meg
REDUCED TO ASH


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.

Setlist
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


SIC


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.

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



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.


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



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.)

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


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.

Setlist
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...


HELJAREYGA


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.


Setlist
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

16 comments:

  1. complimenti e ottime anche le foto

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  2. Upea raportti,hyvää työtä!

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  3. Good report, but the last bit of the Earth Divide review seems unprofessional, childish and like a personal attack against the now former bass player, rather than an objective observation.

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  4. Great work as always Akaah!!now good luck with the anonymous orde that will invade this reportage with useless comments...people show your balls if u wanna criticize someone!

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  5. great reportage!!! it is like we all were there

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  6. @Matti, you seem to have missed the first two words of my previous comment saying that the reportage overall is good. Secondly, I don't think it was a useless comment, since it's purely unfair to subjectively give Tinna the blame for Earth Divide not winning the contest due to her being a bit reserved on stage. I'm sure that the judges had other reasons for not selecting E.D. as winners of the Wacken Metal Battle 2013.
    This is btw NOT a personal attack against the author so there's really no reason to get offended.
    I've chosen to remain anonymous simply to avoid any drama in my personal life :)

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  7. Hm.. I am the former bassist of earth divide, and since I have no idea (what so ever) who the rewiewer is, I can't belive it to be personal? However, it does seem a bit unnecessary :).. and I don't feel I deserve those words.. I quite enjoyed the consert, even though I was way to sick to perform, and probably just should've stayed in bed :o) and me leaving the band had nothing to do with wacken metal battle!
    Anyways, everyone is entitled to their opinion (whatever the reason for those opinions) ..and all I can do really is laugh about it :P ..and so should everyone else! -no one has to be offended on my behalf ;)
    *hippie hugs*

    Tinna

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  8. I didnt know there was something more than tyr form these faroe islands

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