Black Troll Festival 2010 - Bornstedt, Germany, 11-12 June 2010

Event: Black Troll Festival
Written by: Promonex
Published: 12.07.2010

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Black Troll Festival 2010 - Bornstedt, Germany, 11-12 June 2010 by Ven (231)
Black Troll Festival 2010 - Bornstedt, Germany, 11-12 June 2010 by Promonex (47)
Black Troll Festival 2010 - Bornstedt, Germany, 11-12 June 2010




1. Table of Contents
1. Table of Contents

2. Introduction

3. Friday, June 11
3.1 Fimbulthier
3.2 Fimbulvet
3.3 Ignis Fatuu
3.4 Northland
3.5 Fjoergyn
3.6 XIV Dark Centuries
3.7 Wolfchant
3.8 Thrudvangar

4. Saturday, June 12
4.1 Dyrathor
4.2 Tarabas
4.3 Cumulo Nimbus
4.4 Bran Barr
4.5 Negură Bunget
4.6 Eminenz
4.7 Arkona

5. Conclusion



2. Introduction
Pagan metal booms! Especially as a fan in Central Europe you surely can't complain about a lack of concerts and festivals in this area. A new festival of this kind is the Black Troll Open Air which has taken place for the second time in 2010 on castle Schweinsburg at Bornstedt, a little town in Eastern Germany.



And there couldn't be a better location for such an event! The medieval air of the castle has resulted in an awesome atmosphere, an effect enhanced by the viking encampment beyond the keep where you could also try your luck at archery, axe throwing and javelin. The concerts took place at the castle's inner ward which offered a lot of seating accomodations and many shady maple trees. And whenever some crappy band was on the stage you could just sit down on the castle wall next to the viking encampment, enjoy the view over the picturesque Harz mountain range and watch the vikings hitting each other with swords, daggers and halberds.




3. Friday, June 11

3.1 Fimbulthier
Speaking of crappy bands: the festival was opened by Fimbulthier, a band I've seen and come to hate two years ago already. And truth be told, they didn't get any better at all. Most of the band still wore those strange black suits and red ties which just didn't fit into the whole setting while the frontman wore a supposedly bloodstained wife-beater (check out this pic to find out what I'm talking about). Musically the band didn't seem to know where they wanted to go either: they tried to find a niche somewhere between viking metal and melodic death metal which worked well for two songs, but lacked variety on the long run. Their set was closed by a "Death in Fire/Episode 666" mashup dubbed "Death In Flames" which, frankly speaking, just sucked. Fortunately only about twenty people had to witness this atrocity.




3.2 Fimbulvet
This made things a lot easier for Fimbulvet. The audience was craving some decent pagan metal and that's just what they got. It was obvious that Fimbulvet were strongly influenced by good ol' Menhir, especially in the vocal department. This became even more apparent when Heiko of Menhir joined the band as guest singer: both singers just sounded totally alike, so that you had the feeling hiring Heiko was just for the sake of namedropping. Nevertheless a very good gig with some great work on the guitars.




3.3 Ignis Fatuu
The best thing about Ignis Fatuu's performance was the certainty that the festival could only get better afterwards. In their better moments they sounded like the aborted lovechild of Schandmaul and Nachtgeschrei. In their worse moments - which were clearly in the majority - they would've been too gruesome even as a Guantanomo interrogation measure. Or to say it in a slightly less negative tone: if the frontman had shut his trap, the performance could've been halfway good. His vocals were bad, his speeches were absolutely embarassing, the same applies for his failed requests for interaction and at times the lyrics were quite laughable as well. A pity actually as the instrumental faction wasn't that bad. Especially the female folk instrumentalist knew how to blow her flutes, bagpipes and shawms.




3.4 Northland
And it definitely got better after Ignis Fatuu: the Spanish guys of Northland took the stage and mesmerized the crowd with the their viking metal a la Ensiferum and the frontman's energetic performance while the rest of the band wasn't all that agile. Interestingly the band improved a lot when a string on frontman Pau Morillo's guitar broke. From then on he concentrated on singing, had a lot more freedom to interact with the fans and took advantage of the fact that he wasn't bound to one spot on the stage anymore. Perhaps Northland might want to consider to recruit a second guitarist in order to capitalize on Pau's strong stage performance.




3.5 Fjoergyn
In the past Fjoergyn used to have a lot of problems when performing live. But the times have changed and by 2010 these symphonic viking metallers have become a brilliant live band and manage to surprise their fans positively at every new gig by coming up with a new setlist every single time. Of course their uber song "Katharsis" was part of the set again, a set which they wanted to close with "Ernte im Herbst" from their debut album as encore. However, after the band had left the stage waiting for the shouts, the sound tech, who apparently didn't bother to check his watch if the band still had some minutes left, switched on the background music again drowning out all encore requests, so that an annoyed frontman returned to the stage and told the tech to switch off the music again, so that Fjoergyn could still play the last song on their setlist. Seemed like quite a misunderstanding between band and organizers to me and left the bitter taste of lacking professionalism on behalf of the sound tech.




3.6 XIV Dark Centuries
XIV Dark Centuries on the other hand didn't have much variety in their setlist and played the same songs they've been playing for the past three years. And why not? Their set contained seasoned hits like "Bragarful", "Runibergun", "Toringi" and "Teutonentanz" and the crowd responded in the usual manner: with excessive headbanging. Despite of the high fun value XIV Dark Centuries aren't a fun band as so many others within the scene, but pagans with an authentic attitude, an attitude they emanate through their medieval clothing and down-to-earth stage presence and which greatly enhances their performance.




3.7 Wolfchant
Time for the headliner of the first night. Wolfchant took the stage and just like Fimbulvet they had a guest with them: Michael Seifert, vocalist of Grave Digger offspring Rebellion, joined as guest on the set opener "World in Ice" and reappeared several times throughout the set, so that one had the feeling he'd actually be part of the band. And in case of Wolfchant this guest singer actually contributed something worthwhile. Well, if you like some power metal vocals in your pagan metal, that is. And after 50 minutes of finest pagan metal with some power metal vocals the band finished its set with power metal with some pagan vocals by performing a rendition of Grave Digger's "Rebellion (The Clans Are Marching)."




3.8 Thrudvangar
The closer of the night were Thrudvangar with their brand of keyboard-driven pagan metal. Well, the keyboards were mixed quite far into the background this time around which sounded great for the newer songs as those came along pretty black-ish. Their old songs however lost exactly what made them so special, so that their classics "Der Drachen und der Runenstein" and "Piraten des Nordens" didn't sound as good as normally. Nonetheless a decent closer and definitely good enough as background music while sitting on the castle walls and overlooking the Harz mountain range at night.





4. Saturday, June 12

4.1 Dyrathor
After spending the whole night on the castle walls, I got to my tent rather late. When I woke up I had already missed the first two bands of the day, Thormesis and Den Nordiske Sjel, which, according to others, weren't worthwhile anyway. So the first band I caught was Dyrathor who just seemed to attract bad luck that weekend. First they arrived too late because they mixed up Bornstedt with another town of the same name, but 100 km away, then heaven opened its flood gates as soon as Dyrathor started playing and their trip back home ended in the crash barrier. At least nobody got injured and they can still comfort themselves with having delivered a great gig of chugging pagan metal in the style of old Adorned Brood garnished with some great violin playing.




4.2 Tarabas
Tarabas were received very positively as well, and I still wonder why. Run-of-the-mill pagan metal with no remarkable traits at all, the same stuff you've heard a thousand times before. The fans, almost exclusively from their hometown Magdeburg, didn't care though and celebrated their local heroes as though they were headliners.




4.3 Cumulo Nimbus
Fortunately the storm bringers of Cumulo Nimbus brought something interesting to the table again. Their "renaissance metal" was a whole lot of fun, the band interacted a lot with each other and with the audience, so that even the bassist got to the front of the stage to work the crowd. And unlike Ignis Fatuu they were also fun when joking around between their songs. Add to this great costumes and flawless performances by the piper and the violinist and you get one of the best gigs of the festival.




4.4 Bran Barr
The Frenchies of Bran Barr needed quite a while to get into their flow. First they started with sound problems and communication problems with the sound tech, and the audience reacted quite irritated when words in an unknown language were passed over their heads. A few minutes later the band finally made up for it with a set that truly kicked ass. In addition to a lot of songs from their recently released album "Sidh" they also played quite a few songs from their ten year old debut album "Les Chroniques De Naerg." Unfortunately the flute parts were taken over by the violin, but this was compensated by the lead guitarist's great performance who contributed a few NWOBHM-inspired solos. The combination worked pretty well and so a lot of fans indulged in exalted dancing.




4.5 Negură Bunget
Negură Bunget had quite a radical lineup change in 2009, so I was curious to see if they could still build up such an extremely enchanting atmosphere as they used to. To put in a nutshell: yes, they can! Only the new singer Corb's clean vocals weren't quite as good as those of his predecessor Hupogrammos, but their wall of sound created by tremolo-picked guitars, thick layers of synthesizers and the tunes of pan pipes and xylophones definitely caused goosebumps. In the middle of the set Corb popped a string, so the whole band slipped away from the stage and left the crowd bedazzled about what was going on until they reappeared with a new guitar in the frontman's hands to finish what they had started. It's just a pity the band finished earlier than they were supposed to.




4.6 Eminenz
Eminenz are probably rather unknown abroad, but have quite a cult following in Germany. Formed in Germany's black metal stronghold Annaberg-Buchholz in 1989 Eminenz used the opportunity to celebrate "Two Decades of Blasphemy", which is also the name of their recently released compilation album. Frontman Leviathan was jesting throughout the set, mostly about "our friend Jesus" and the crowd ("When this was recorded, most of you weren't even born.") and despite of corpsepaint and some fire spitting towards the end of the set they didn't seem so tr00 at all, an impression finally confirmed by their rendition of Venom's "In League with Satan."




4.7 Arkona
The last band of the night and of the festival were Arkona. Supported by a cellist this time around these figureheads of the Russian folk metal scene radiated a whole lot of power and enthusiasm. Especially whirlwind Masha kept bounding, twisting and turning on the stage while easily shifting from growls to clean vocals and back. The audience followed her lead, jumped, moshed, sang along and enjoyed Masha's incredible stage presence. And sixty minutes, one encore and a few liters of sweat later Arkona released the exhausted visitors into the night.





5. Conclusion
Black Troll Open Air was a festival that not only impressed with a few great performances (and a bunch of absolutely horrendous ones), but especially with its location which in my humble opinion was the real headliner of the festival. The medieval atmosphere of the castle and the viking encampment, the picturesque landscape, the forest which surrounds the castle and the campground, and of course the low price of 25 for two days of metal. The organizers are already thinking about a third edition of the festival in 2011. Regardless of the bands they plan to book, if it's going to take place on castle Schweinsburg in Bornstedt again, it's bound to be yet another success.





Photos by "Ven" of Sunve Metal and Daniel "Promonex" Pereira of Metal Storm.
All rights reserved, do not use without permission.



 



Written on 12.07.2010 by
Promonex
Daniel "Promonex" Pereira loves to enthuse people with stuff he's enthusiastic about; as writer, photographer, promoter and DJ. Metal Storm staff since 2005.
More articles by Promonex ››




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Darkside Momo - 12.07.2010 at 10:34  
Nice report!
2 days of folky metal stuff would have been too long for me, but the whole concert (medieval castle / viking camp / archery and stuff) does sound interesting.
Also, only 25 ? Nowx that's awesome.
Abattoir - 12.07.2010 at 12:09  
Yeah it looks this was quite interesting and cool festival after reading this review. Also some nice photos I must say...
Promonex - 12.07.2010 at 17:39  
Written by Abattoir on 12.07.2010 at 12:09

Also some nice photos I must say...

Thanks! I truly hope Ven will be able to assist me as photographer in the future as well.
Promonex - 12.07.2010 at 18:05  
Written by Darkside Momo on 12.07.2010 at 10:34

Nice report!
2 days of folky metal stuff would have been too long for me, but the whole concert (medieval castle / viking camp / archery and stuff) does sound interesting.
Also, only 25 ? Nowx that's awesome.

Yeah, too much folk metal stuff gets tedious after a while and such a festival remarkably shows you how much crap can be found in this particular scene. As a matter of fact the frontman of Fimbulthier told me he wouldn't have a single clue why they got signed at all because he himself believes they are crap and asked me to pan them in my review. The live review isn't that bad actually, but their label also sent me their CD, so I'm looking forward to reviewing that one
Darkside Momo - 12.07.2010 at 18:13  
Written by Promonex on 12.07.2010 at 18:05

Written by Darkside Momo on 12.07.2010 at 10:34

Nice report!
2 days of folky metal stuff would have been too long for me, but the whole concert (medieval castle / viking camp / archery and stuff) does sound interesting.
Also, only 25 ? Nowx that's awesome.

Yeah, too much folk metal stuff gets tedious after a while and such a festival remarkably shows you how much crap can be found in this particular scene. As a matter of fact the frontman of Fimbulthier told me he wouldn't have a single clue why they got signed at all because he himself believes they are crap and asked me to pan them in my review. The live review isn't that bad actually, but their label also sent me their CD, so I'm looking forward to reviewing that one

As for the scen, I think that as long as it's overcrowded, it's bound to be full of crap. Bt maybe it's more easily seen in folk metal, with al the flutes and stuff.
As for the Fimbulthier frontman: . But why does he play with them then?
Promonex - 12.07.2010 at 18:18  
Written by Darkside Momo on 12.07.2010 at 18:13

As for the Fimbulthier frontman: . But why does he play with them then?

I have no idea. He also seemed very drunk when we talked. I'll do him the favor nonetheless
Bad English - 13.07.2010 at 00:35  
Prom good rewiew, I check all bands in MA, ok I know all, have herad all, liked bud all has new realises, damn I wish I can spend eternety listening muisc
Ozman - 13.07.2010 at 03:18  
Sorry but I find those viking villages the most laugable LARP htings ever at festivals. Apperently it is the total in thing nowadays. but pathetic nonehtless if you ask me. What's next? Dragonslaying lessons? Or how to score a princess chick?
Promonex - 13.07.2010 at 05:10  
Written by Ozman on 13.07.2010 at 03:18

Sorry but I find those viking villages the most laugable LARP htings ever at festivals. Apperently it is the total in thing nowadays. but pathetic nonehtless if you ask me.

And that's why someone like you would never pop up at a pagan metal festival
A lot of pagan metal can be considered as audiovisual reenactment of a certain historical period. Such camps are IMHO a great extension by adding a visiotactile component to it. If you can't get along with the lyrical content of pagan metal (of which a lot, but not all, is utter crap), it's somehow self-evident that you'd also be ignorant for this kind of reenactment.

I personally would prefer an ideologic reenactment over a historical one though, i.e. the promotion of environmentalism and ethnic tolerance, two big issues on festivals as a whole and the pagan metal scene in particular.
Bad English - 13.07.2010 at 13:49  
Written by Ozman on 13.07.2010 at 03:18

Or how to score a princess chick?


Its be good idea if its includet in ticket price , many many people would go to fest LOL
daniel chack - 13.07.2010 at 15:04  
Great article and great pics.
Cheers
Jeff - 13.07.2010 at 17:05  
Written by Ozman on 13.07.2010 at 03:18

Sorry but I find those viking villages the most laugable LARP htings ever at festivals. Apperently it is the total in thing nowadays. but pathetic nonehtless if you ask me. What's next? Dragonslaying lessons? Or how to score a princess chick?


We promised to ourselves that we will NEVER do it (but you cannot even imagine how many requests we have haha)!!!

The stage at this fest was cool though (objectively speaking of course ).
Carl Berg - 13.07.2010 at 19:19  
Excellent report! I am thinking about joining in for the next year's festival...
hanna of steel - 14.07.2010 at 22:08  
I'm not really into pagan metal either - but that looks like a fun festival .

Nice report
jupitreas - 19.07.2010 at 22:50  
Very nice photos, I love the pastel colors in some of them!
As for the festival, I also would probably not go to one as pagan as this one; however, the location definitely looks very cool. It reminds me of the place where Brutal Assault is held.
GT - 20.07.2010 at 12:46  
Sounds like a blast of a festival. I might consider going next year if the job permits and the lineup is any good

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