Doors open at 2:30 pm on Saturday and 1:00pm on Sunday
Who was there?
|Finntroll and Gotthard!!
|Ok, since my camera was broken at this Raismesfest and that I wasn't accredited (that's ok, see why below), I'm not making an article but a huge comment containing what should have been an article.
Also, the fact I find it lame helped a lot in my decision to not make it an article
Saturday, September 8th
Main stage: S2D2, Delain, Koritni, Black Bomb A, Finntroll, Pain Of Salvation, Glenn Hughes
Small stage: Carbur, Kill For Peace, Sheeduz, Clampdown, Fiinky Pie, Cool Cavemen
Sunday, September 9th
Main stage: Syrens Call, Koritni (Guns N'Roses), Seraphim, Misanthrope, Gotthard, After Forever, Therion
Small stage: Lethal Mind, Xianosys, Outcast, Ufych Sormeer, Shannon, Amphitryon
Ah, when I think I was nearly condamned to miss this year's edition of the Raismesfest, this small rock/prog/metal festival I've heard of in 2004 and attended every year since then... Two days before the start of the festival, I still didn't know whether I'll be able to go. That is before a very friendly girl responded to the call for transportation I made on the official forum of the festival. I just had the time to buy a new tent on Saturday morning (I had left the old one in the mud of the Hellfest).
And so we arrived early in the afternoon on Saturday before the first concert. By the gates, a rather important number of people (I say "important" given the size of the festival) were waiting to go in and set their tents, the camping site being located inside the festival area.
Then things get a bit messy because after I had bought my ticket (I was not accredited this year, given that I didn't know if I would be able to go), I should have been directed to the camping manager, yet I turned to some people handing out flyers instead and was never told about the fact I should have paid to enter the camping. Being used to go there I somehow remembered the camping wasn't free in the middle of the afternoon, and returned by the entrance to pay (yeah, I love those guys).
Nevertheless, once the tents were up I could start roaming the festival ground while watching Carbur from a distance. They opened the festival on the Discover stage (the small one, where more or less unknown bands play for 20 minutes while the staff and roadies are preparing the main stage for the next "big" band). I also bought some tickets for food and drinks. Food tickets were new to the fest, though not the food which I must admit has never been a delight (except the waffles and pancakes). This year, the beer was not that good too... But the music was!
So as I already wrote, Carbur were the first band to play. They left me with a good impression, even though their set was apparently shortened. Some good old rock delivered by some cool guys in their forties (or fifties?).
After them came the winners of the battle of the bands that took place earlier this year, in March. The band is called S2D2, and the music is somewhat power metal oriented, but power metal with heavy riffs rather than boring chords, as far as I remember. The same thing can be said about the singer's voice, not necessarily high but heavy and powerful enough to match the music.
Their performance was good and a bunch of people in the crowd seem to have come especially to support them.
Kill For Peace
Back to the small stage to see the first hardcore band of the day, again from a (far) distance. Hardcore is not my cup of tea and I already bitched about the amount of hardcore bands when reviewing previous editions of the Raismesfest, but this year it was fine. Still I didn't enjoy anything from the performance of Kill For Peace, the typical hardcore band, jumping and screaming all the time while a few "moshers" bump into each others in the void in front of the stage.
Delain, the Dutch band founded by ex-Within Temptation keyboardist Martijn Westerholt, hit the main stage with a song that clearly reminded me of Within Temptation. I cannot say I know the band very well, yet I enjoyed their honest performance though it was nothing special, apart from the fact all men were staring (or drooling?) at Charlotte Wessels. I must say that the image of her singing in that blue top will stay longer in my mind than the music of her band. Charming. Oh, and she also said something about voting for them in a song contest in Europe, which I suppose is not the Eurovision (haha) but the European MTV Awards (see their website for more info).
Speaking of charming creatures, here's Sheeduz on the small stage. The music performed by this female trio is not metal but rock. To be honest, I think I was turned down quickly... Not because it was bad, or because they are bad looking, for they are - as written above - charming, but because the singer totally bored me with her sarcastic comments (meant to be jokes) about men and women and whatever it was she was talking about. She just didn't give me the impression she was having fun being here on stage.
Wanna go back in time, to when rock was glam? Then you've got to see Koritni. Hailing from Australia, those guys embarked on an European tour and if I'm not mistaken, they chose to record bits of their shows at Raismesfest. Yes, shows is plural because they also played on Sunday, covering Guns N'Roses.
Everything they do is not new but is perfectly done, from the way they look to the notes they play: the result is kinda captivating. Another good moment spent staring at the stage (from a closer spot now).
I think I enjoyed Clampdown's gig, though I can hardly remember anything from it apart from that feeling. It was something like death metal, with a meshuggish touch. Since it's not what I like the most, the short length of their set on the small stage was ideal for me to enjoy it.
Black Bomb A
And now, the second hardcore band of the day, Black Bomb A. This time on the main stage, and this time I can say I liked it. Sure, they were also jumping on stage, asking for moshpits, etc. but they did it with a very cool attitude. Plus their music is a lot better, perhaps less extreme, but better (at least to me and my ears). The songs are powered by a duet of guys, one doing the low singing stuff (and who seemed very friendly), the other screaming and going quite high. The latter was perhaps what I enjoyed the least from their show, and not only because his voice sounded quite bizarre at times, but also because he was wearing clothes that were totally different from what his bandmates were wearing. I know, who cares about fashion when attending a metal festival? Well, I usually don't pay attention to those details in my everyday life, but it's different when I'm attending shows. I mean, it's like seeing someone dressed in white among a crowd of gothic people dressed as black as they can, it draws your attention even though there's nothing wrong with that.
Anyway, back to Black Bomb A: I spent an unexpectedly good moment with them.
Time to meet Fiinky Pie! It was not the first time I heard the weird name of this hard rock band, since I remember reading an album review by Jeff. Though their hard rock is somewhat heavy, thus matching the spirit of the festival. Not memorable but enjoyable.
Finntroll! Finntroll in Raismes? Aren't they a little bit too extreme for a festival like the Raismesfest? Many people thought so, and I admit I was among them. But this year the fest opened its main stage to such bands and the result is undoubtly positive. Proof is that many fans of the band had come and were chanting "Finntroll!" before the Finns appeared on stage.
Their show was good and the said fans moshed happily throughout. The highlight of the show was when they played Trollhammaren, at least it was to me. A rather normal [/b]Finntroll[/b] show.
As the night started to fall, it was time for the final show on the small stage. The headliners for this stage were the bands that ended up at the second and third places during the battle of the bands of March. And this Saturday, the band that stepped on stage was a real surprise.
They call themselves Cool Cavemen and they sure were cool. As for being cavemen, I'm not quite sure about that, since they are not as hairy as usual cavemen or metalheads. But they're funny and talented! A drummer, a bassist, a guitarist, a singer and an instrumentalist playing the saxophone and percussions (including a triangle) blessed with a touch of craziness that makes them announce a country song during which they wore silly cowboy hats. Not a very metal moment but still one of the shows I enjoyed the most this weekend.
Pain Of Salvation
Pain Of Salvation had performed in Raismes in 2002. In 2007 they were chosen as co-headliners and many fans traveled to the Northern city especially to see them. As for me, I had already seen them twice, and I was kinda disappointed the last time at Hellfest - mostly because the setlist featured many tracks from the last album. This time, the setlist was a bit better. For instance, we got "People Passing By" from their first album "Entropia" as well as "Inside" and "Inside Out" from their second album. Of course, they played the expected "Disco Queen", THE hit from the new album and the reason why some people were wearing flashy wigs throughout the day.
Although this was a rather normal show from Pain Of Salvation (thus a rather intense show), I couldn't help but to feel something special about the fact it was probably the last time I see Johan Langell, the drummer, since he announced his departure earlier this year. Hopefully this isn't the last time I'll see this great band!
Before the performance of the second (and final) headliner of the day, a few organizers went on stage to proceed to a draw: since last year, two guitars (one per day) can be won, the participation costs 2.
And so, to close this first day of festival, we welcomed a guy who dubbed himself no less than "The Voice Of Rock". Gosh, I know that having played in Black Sabbath and Deep Purple (and some others) is something one can be proud of, but this title sounded a bit pretentious to me, at first. At first, because after the first song, Glenn Hughes proved he still has a hell of a voice. To be really honest, I don't know much of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. I like the former but never got into the latter (hey, don't blame me for that!)... I know the band played "Mistreated" and "Burn" from Deep Purple but I can't tell about the other songs except that I guess the first song was from "Music For The Divine", Glenn Hughes' latest album.
Nevertheless I enjoyed watching this show, so I suppose that those who had come to see Glenn weren't disappointed (especially since he's hardly toured France so far). Mr Hughes, also calling himself "papa", still has a lot to give and he made sure to tell the crowd about it - perhaps a bit too much actually - with his speeches and solo spots.
That's not because the concerts are over that the party is too! The staff had organize an after party at the bar. Well, many would just say it was not really a party and not really organized, but one thing was great: the beer had dropped from 2 to 1! Yeah, the beer itself didn't turn out to be better... yet the bar was full.
There I made new friends, the people from the Internet forum of the festival. But I was tired so I left the party quite early and went to sleep in my brand new tent.
The night wasn't as sweet as I wished it would be. The ground was hard but the most annoying was that a few guys by my tent kept on chatting in the early morning. It could be worse, for instance I could have forgotten my earplugs...
I woke up early on the Sunday, but not really because of the noise my neighbours were making, just that I'm used to waking up early when I'm not at home. And this is a great thing since at Raismesfest, breakfast is offered to the campers. Basically, you can have a glass of coffee or hot chocolate as well as bread with jam or chocolate. Those hot drinks were nice to finish waking up by this rather cold morning.
Hopefully the weather got warmer later as I walked round the lake behind the festival area with some friends. After a couple of beers we were back in front of the gates (since the campers had to leave the place before noon - something that is always confusing, and not only to the campers but to the organizers too).
Waiting at the gates, I felt that there were less people around me then there was on Saturday. Of course, since many people can't afford to stay since they're working/studying the day after. Proof is that half the tents in the camping had disappeared, while it was full on Saturday, thus explaining that some people would leave (or had already left) on the very day. However, after a few concerts, the crowd was quite as big as it was the day before (probably the highest attendance count of the fest ever).
Once again, the first show was on the small stage, with Lethal Mind, a thrash/death band from Paris that I liked a lot. Not that I remember anything of their music, but the were good, especially when considering that the average Raismesfester is not particularly a death metal fan. Also, the whole band were convincing, especially the singer whose way of looking at the crowd was captivating.
The openers on the main stage were Syrens Call, a French female fronted power metal band that had already performed here in Raismes in 1999 and 2001. Nothing to fancy about, I first thought. This was also what I thought after the show. I just don't enjoy such unoriginal bands, although I must admit I was pleased to distinguish the keyboards as they are usually hard to hear. The overall sound was ok, the performance was ok, the crowd was ok, everything was ok except that it was nothing more than ok, not an exciting discovery. Ah, and they also played the 1.542.687th cover of "Enjoy The Silence" (Depeche Mode) I had the chance to listen to so far.
Back to some more punchy tunes with Xianosys. Again, I don't really remember the music they played. Something not so far from death/thrash metal, with 3 guitars, but I can't tell much more. What I remember the most was their logo printed on several t-shirts. I liked it, kinda futuristic. I also think I liked both the show and the music but really my memory is failing me.
Koritni (Guns N'Roses)
Guess who's back? Koritni, the glam rockers from Australia! Back on the main stage to cover a few classic songs from Guns N'Roses, like "You Could Be Mine", "Sweet Child O' Mine", "Night Train", etc. What more to say? They were great the day before and they were great on this day. Perhaps they even gained some fans in between.
If you read what I wrote somewhere above, you know I just don't hardcore. Outcast wasn't supposed to be hardcore, but (brutal) death/thrash metal. I still don't know why I can perfectly listen to the songs on their MySpace but felt obliged to leave after the first seconds of their show on the small stage, as it started out as something very hardcorish and noisy and totally out of place to me. Perhaps my memory is failing me again, but all I remember where a bunch of guys jumping everywhere on stage in rage, as if they were forced to do so. I'm really sorry if I'm mistaking them with another band because I don't understand how I couldn't enjoy at least a bit of their music judging from the songs available on the Internet. Still, I've got no doubt that this music is a bit too extreme for a festival like that.
Time for something special now, something I had been waiting to see for some time now: Seraphim. Hailing from Taiwan, they're on a world tour, although we're forced to admit they're not very famous and that many people were wondering who the hell they were. I for one know them thanks to Metal Storm, where I first heard of them in 2005. The band plays power metal with female vocals and good guitar solos. Let's face it, even on CD their songs are often boring (too long and too similar) but they have that little something that I enjoy. My eagerness to see them quickly turned into THE disappointment of the week end. Simply put, they had an awful sound: we could hardly hear the vocals, distinguish the guitars, etc. The result was even worse, since when Quinn Weng, the singer, addressed the crowd with her soft accented voice, we reacted a few seconds later, first because we had to understand what she tried to say and because we didn't really know whether we should shout the usual "yeah!!!" for that was clearly not worth a "yeah!!!"... To be honest I felt bad for the band. The worse concert of the festival. I wish Seraphim will have a better experience at the Metal Female Voices festival (they were all wearing MFVF t-shirts - a clever way to advertise about their next gig).
Ufych Sormeer, a band I can't pronounce the name, was next on the small stage. Again, I can't write a lot about them, having forgotten most of the few songs I watched. It was cool, and you'd better check their website or MySpace to hear what they do because I find it very interesting. A sort of metallish proggy hard rock, brilliant.
If you know at least a few French metal bands, chances are high that you've heard of Misanthrope. Their music is special, extreme-based yet very melodic. When I was younger, I didn't like them because of the extreme part, the lyrics in French, the vocals... though the musicians were great. Later, I came to like everything I could hear from them, thus I was expecting a lot from this show - my very first Misanthrope show.
And right from the first notes I knew it would be great as well as the sound (a relief given the previous show on the main stage). Moreover the musicians were captivating, especially the singer, S.A.S de l'Argilière, who's often mocked for some reason (I thought it was because he was acting like if he had to play a role on stage, but that was alright, even when he took a bottle of Champagne). The second (I think) song was quickly interrupted because of something with the sound of the drums yet Jean-Jacques Moréac filled in with a bass solo and somehow this had a good impact on the relationship between the band and the crowd, both looking happy throughout the set.
And to keep the people in a good mood, what's better than hard rock? That's what we got with the next two bands, Shannon on the small stage and Gotthard on the main stage. Once again I only watched bits of what was going on on the smaller stage , but I can tell the guys from Shannon were good, their music isn't rusty at all yet still feels as good as good old hard rock.
As for Gotthard, their performance was clearly one of the best of the fest, if not the best (judging by what other people told me). The Swiss set the stage on fire. Their music may have a sort of FM feel, it doesn't mean they don't rock, oh no, and their energy and enthusiasm (especially that of Steve Lee, singer, and Leo Leoni, lead guitarist) passed on to the crowd. Yet, not knowing any of their songs, I chose to order something to eat to prepare for the last bands I absolutely wanted to see.
But before that, there was still one band left on the small stage: Amphitryon. Chosen at the battle of the bands, Amphitryon plays death doom metal with some symphonic elements, notably two gorgeous female singers (one of them also plays the flute). The music is good as well as the mythical concept but it's not something that appeals to me a lot. I mean, the problem is that to ensure a certain atmosphere, the whole band was motionless, especially the girls. It just bores me to watch statues, with no expression. Probably better on CD.
After Forever doesn't need much of an introduction, although I had only seen them once before, and this was just a few months ago at Hellfest. Back then I thought their show would be disappointing but I was wrong and thus I was eager to see them again at Raismesfest. There they played longer and with guitarist/growler Sander Gommans, back in the band after some health problems.
Much to my pleasure, they played songs from all of their albums thus we got to hear "Monolith Of Doubt", "Energize Me", "Equally Destructive" and so on. The band also played a song they don't do very often, "Yield To Temptation" from their first album. Once more, I was not disappointed and got more fun than what I expected.
Finally, time to see the last band of the festival, the band I really wanted not to miss: Therion. Before they played, we got to wait for quite some time. While waiting, a new draw was used to determine the winner of the second guitar, and the winner wasn't me... Nevermind, I was bound to see Therion in a few minutes so nothing else mattered. Except that "a few minutes" turned out to be "nearly one hour."
Just like After Forever, I had only seen Therion once before, at Hellfest in June and while they were prepared on time they had had to wait for Immortal to finally keep quiet on the other stage before they could start their own show. This time, it appears they were just not prepared on time, or so I've heard.
Nevertheless, the wait was worth it. The set was the most decorated we had throughout those two days, the lights were the best, the sound was good, etc. Even though I only know a few albums (I'm especially fond of Theli) and thus had to wait till the last 5 songs or so to enjoy the music to the fullest, I did have a great time watching them perform songs from other albums such as their newest, "Gothic Kaballah", but as I was waiting for the last songs two power cuts occurred, and that made me worried a lot about whether the band would get mad at this and quit playing. Of course they didn't and it didn't even seem to affect their attitude on stage, which was rather excellent as well as the acting parts played by the 4 singers of the band.
Hellfest was the last show with Mats Levén and I know some people were worried that Thomas Vikström would not be a perfect replacement, but now that I saw the two perform with Therion I can say that he does fit the band quite well vocally and esthetically as he's caring a lot more about the theatrical aspect of the band.
The festival couldn't end in a better way for me!
Another Raismesfest is over and I once again I hope I will be able to attend the next edition. I was curious to know whether this tenth Raismesfest would be as good as the last ones because of some changes within the staff but I was proved I just don't need to worry. As with every festival I attended so far, there are many improvements to be made but the one thing that didn't change and is not ready to change is the so-called "spirit" a festival can have, and I like that of the Raismesfest very much. So thanks to all the staff (especially Satare and Jeristo), to all the friends I made and see you all next year!
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