Summer is coming to an end, leaving all those big festivals behind. But before the touring session begins for many bands - school or work for many metalheads - we still had to attend one very good melodic metal festival, Raismesfest!
Raismes is a little town in France, very close to Belgium. The festival is not a big one (about 1000 visitors a day), but it's getting better and better over the years. For this 8th edition, they decided to have more power and heavy metal bands on Saturday and more rock and progressive bands on Sunday.
Before we go on to the concert reports, let's have a quick look at the festival area:
Raismesfest 2005 - Saturday (wrathchild)
There are three main facts to be told about this Saturday:
1 - It was a rainy afternoon but it was tolerable. The ground didn't turn into mud;.
2 - It was a heavy/power metal day on the main stage, a hardcore day on the small stage for local bands;
3 - The replacements: Edenbridge replaced with Imperia, Imperia replaced with Even Flow a day before, Dragonforce replaced with Machine Men and Symphorce, Loudness cancelled.
Ok so, as I said above, we can say that the main genre was hardcore concerning the local bands; needless to say that not all the people who came to Raismes for the big bands enjoyed that choice (see the official forum of the festival to read more about those debates...).
In fact, three bands belong to the same association named "Les Insurgés". Those bands are Oxees (who played on the main stage), Wombat and Cloon. The last local band to play was Cross 9, a band with three growlers.
Unfortunately, we were still interviewing Manigance when Wombat inaugurated the small stage, so we cannot tell you how it was. They had to deal with the rain, definitely not the best to gather some people... Too bad.
Next was Mr Toc. I don't remember much of their show, except that the bassist looked very motivated and the guitarist was a bit more static. Not bad, not good, too hardcore for such a festival.
The third local band was Cloon... I wonder why they had this Guns'n Roses flag in a corner, for they constantly told the heavy metallers to fuck off. First, you take it as a joke, but after they insist a bit more, you're pissed off.
Sure, they had a funny side, that can be guessed in the titles they give to their songs (like "Faut que j'aille chier", meaning "I need to have a shit"...). They also had the same "dancers" as Oxees, nearly naked... But this time they stayed for the whole show. Not the right spirit, but some good blasts.
And finally, Cross 9 and their three singers. If only they were used for different purposes... But no, all their singers sound the same. The only good thing it brings is that it forces them to be active on stage.
Oxees, Even Flow, Machine Men, Symphorce, Nightmare, Manigance, Sonata Arctica.
The opening act for this 8th edition was Oxees, a band that you have probably never heard of before: They are a local band that has won a small contest which took place some months before to raise funds for the organization of the festival.
They came on stage jumping in suit and tie, giving the audience the feeling that this is not going to be very serious. And yeah, after a few songs of what could be some kind of hardcore/nu metal and punk rock mix (not that bad actually) came two guys wearing... nothing except their underwear and a mask. They danced during about one song and left the stage. Later came a reggae man, singing and dancing, but unfortunately it was hard to hear his voice. They also had one song on which they danced like if they were a boys band!
The band was quite active on stage and they weren't a bad choice for opening the festival after all. Unfortunately, they didn't transmit their good mood to the sky, and many people were worrying about the weather more than the music...
Even Flow was the totally unexpected band of the week...
In fact, Edenbridge was scheduled to play but they cancelled some months before. The organization had them replaced by another female fronted band, Imperia. And just one day before their scheduled performance, they announced that their frontwoman Helena Michaelsen was injured... And they canceled their performance.
So within one day, the replacement was found thanks to Even Flow. I cannot tell you much about them. They're apparently from Belgium and they apparently played some covers (Pearl Jam).
The fact is Jeff and I were in the catering room, interviewing Manigance so we couldn't attend their show. And we were even happier to be there cause that was exactly when the rain started to fall heavily on Raismes.
After the rain comes Machine Men! Both Machine Men and Symphorce were added to the lineup after Dragonforce canceled, and I have to say that the change was good. The crowd went closer to the stage - perhaps in an attempt at having a look at Toni Parviainen, such a tiny boy - and their melodic metal appealed to many. They were the first "famous" band to play and they did good on stage. Most of the audience didn't know them but their music and that voice reminding of Iron Maiden and Edguy caught our attention. Unfortunately, not enough to make any of their songs stand out or stick to the mind. But we'll all remember their performance.
Symphorce suffered from the same problem as Machine Men: They're not yet very well-known. So that was the opportunity to see how the German combo could convince the crowd. They sure had a lot of individual charisma thanks to their experience with other bands (Cede Dupont with Freedom Call and Andy.B.Franck with Brainstorm are the most famous) but their songs weren't catchy and original enough. Their heavy sound and attitude were right in the mood anyway so we enjoyed their show. Once again, some girls must have taken loads of photos of the singer!
The night was slowly coming down on Raismes, setting the perfect atmosphere to welcome Nightmare! They play some kind of heavy metal that appeals to both old and young people and as they're French, communicating with the crowd was easier for them. Franck Milleliri, the new guitarist, was introduced to the audience as well as some new songs from their upcoming album, The Dominion Gate. Their tunes and choruses are catchy enough to be able to sing along without knowing the song. A very good concert!
Set list (thanks Jeep!):
Intro Paranormal Magnitude part II
A Taste Of Armageddon
Spiral Of Madness
Messenger Of Faith
Mind Matrix Schizophrenia
Spirit Of Sunset
Sniper In The playground
I have to tell you that Manigance was the band I wanted to see the most this weekend, and their performance met my expectations. The only bad thing was the sound, as some people had troubles hearing the lead guitars.
In addition to songs from their albums Ange Ou Démon (including Comme Une Ombre, L'ultime Seconde, Dès Mon Retour, Ange Ou Démon) and D'un Autre Sang (Mémoire, Mourir En Héros, Héritier, D'un Autre Sang, Damoclès, Maudit), they offered us a new song called Esclave, powerful and catchy yet maybe not as much as their other songs, probably due to the fact it was new to us.
And we had another surprise: Nightmare came on stage and teamed up with Manigance to cover Judas Priest's Breaking The Law. That was fast but great!
A very good show for those of us who wanted to sing out loud.
On their early European tour, the Finns stopped by Raismes to be the headliners for Saturday. Many people came to see them, and I bet that all those guys were happy with the show. Fans are always happy. But the others weren't totally satisfied.
The photographers from the media could take their photos during the first three songs only. Fair enough, but the band really began to move on stage during their fourth song... They started their show with songs from Reckoning Night and it seems that it was'nt neither theirs nor the crowd's favorite.
But after that, it became more interesting. They played Weballergy and then went into playing a bunch of "old" songs: Replica, My Land, a passage from Revontulet I think, Black Sheep, Destruction Preventer... And then you could see that the audience was a lot more familiar with those songs. Only Fullmoon was missing. They also played Last Drop Falls and The Cage near the end of the show.
They eventually played their Vodka song ("Vodka, we need some Vodka...") and sacrificied a bottle that was waiting for this moment till the beginning of the show. Crazy Finns!
Note that the fans from the audience wished a happy birthday to Jani, who thanked them even though it was two days before. No one had a word for Tommy Portimo (the drummer) who had his birthday a week earlier...
So in the end, that wasn't their best show but it wasn't a bad show. They had a good sound, not excellent but we could hear everything so it was alright. One thing that was just like any other Sonata Arctica concert: Their bassist really looks like he's utterly bored of having to play... The rest was fine.
Raismefest 2005 - Sunday (Jeff)
After a really rainy night, we were all ready to start the 2nd day of this excellent Raismefest 2005. But before the first show we had the luck to take a breakfast nicely given to the campers by the organisation (many thx to Michel a really cool guy of the Raismefest team who had the time to find a free plug to charge the battery of my camera) and above all it was possible for us to watch the sound check of Anathema. The guys were apparently happy to do their setting in front of some 20 - 30 campers and started to play five songs exclusively for us, talking and joking in French with us with some French words like "fromage".
Small Stage (wrathchild):
The first local band to play on this Sunday was called Lopsided. They replaced another band, Hot Tension.
First thing my ears noticed is that it wasn't hardcore! What a relief! And then I heard some nice songs, a bit proggy. But there was a clear lack of action and charism in their performance.
I feared that this band would also be one of those hardcore bands for teenagers who wants to jump higher than Sergei Bubka without pole... But my fear turned into laughs a few seconds after they started to play!
They are totally crazy! They go from hardcore to disco and other stuff like that, a bit in the vein of Fantomas. Not only they play crazy stuff, but they also act like crazy guys, especially the keyboard player who even had a "body solo".
They made us laugh and smile and they even had a very good sound and equipment.
Probably the only real metal band on the small stage. They play something in the vein of Soilwork, melodic thrash heavy metal so to say. Good riffs and solos, good attitude on stage, they definitely deserved to be there. Anecdote: The singer/guitarist threw a CD to the crowd but failed as it hit the stage
To enjoy the music of Svald, you should consider them a theater company more than a music band. Cause yeah, the paint on their face has nothing to do with black metal! A mix between a play and metal that failed to appeal to both me and Jeff... Yeah, it's original, but no, it's not that good. We had the sensation that it was fake, exactly like when a bad actor is overacting repeating his text like if it was a text and not a dialogue.
Main Stage (Jeff):
Conscience, Firemouth, Wild West, The Old Dead Tree, Anyone's Daughter, Deadsoul Tribe, Anathema.
After a little break for the lunch, the afternoon started with Conscience, a young French combo of progressive metal, probably influenced by the masters that are Dream Theater and Pain Of Salvation. To sum-up their performance, it was a show of only 30 minutes with only three songs. As you can understand, it was really short unfortunately but at least, the few progressive but powerful and melodic songs that we heard were well done and the first album of the band that will be released at the end of the year already seems to be really promising.
Through Our Windows
Curse Of The Mortal
After Conscience, Firemouth, an English combo unknown to the majority of the crowd, was on stage. If the set was not so bad, it wasn't really easy for us to enjoy the music, first because we didn't know it, but also because their mix of heavy and grunge was really classic and not so original. Well, let's be honest Firemouth, even if their singer was really charismatic and their bassist was a beast, was nothing more than an opener…
Same for Wild West, a French combo that apparently still lives in the 80s. The musicians did their show playing a very classic 80s hard rock in front of a really tiny and not really enthusiastic public. Even the cover of AC/DC (High Voltage) at the end of the show didn't really catch the public. Even if Wild West is not a bad band, I'm afraid this concert won't stay in our memories…
The Old Dead Tree
After our three "openers" the afternoon definitely started with The Old Dead Tree. This band is becoming really famous in France and they always attract a lot of people, it wasn't a surprise to see that numerous people were here to see them. Even if the duration of their concert wasn't really long, their performance wasn't so attractive for me. I don't know why, but I really prefer The Old Dead Tree on CD. Also, they had some problems with the sound and one of their roadie, friend or I don't know what, stayed on stage to give some information to the sound engineer (without even trying to hide) during their first five songs. It was totally disrespectful for the audience, the photographs and even the band, what a shame… Note that the singer got confused and announced twice the same song! At then end it was a good show but not perfect…
Anyone's Daughter was the surprise of the weekend. When all the public was expecting a progressive metal band, we had in fact a progressive rock band, with a lot of keyboards, hammond organ, bluesy/rock solos and above all with really popish melodies. It wasn't metal at all but really enjoyable and the musicians, Germans and Americans were all very charismatic, and wow what a great singer. Unfortunately the show was stopped by a power shut down and we had to wait some 25 minutes to understand that it was definitely finish for Anyone's Daughter…
It wasn't really possible to delay the two other last shows, and as we say, the show must go on and Devon Graves and his Austrian combo Deadsoul Tribe were already on stage. They played a really emotional concert (especially during the musical parts with the flute and also the bow of a violin which Devon threw to the crowd) but Deasoul Tribe is not so easy of access and a lot of people seemed to be bored by the show. Plus, we got a strong rain during 15 mins, and it was the best thing to break the ambiance. We weren't really lucky one more time, but Deadsoul Tribe was a good band with a great charismatic singer who was with us in the crowd to watch all the others shows. Some other artists who don't have half of his talent should think about it…
Talking about simple and accessible guys, a good example is and will always be Anathema. The real headliners of the festival were already at Raismes on Saturday evening, talking with fans and drinking some beers with their friends. But on Sunday they were here for the show, and we got a great time with them.
One hour thirty minutes with the following songs:
Shroud of False
Destiny Is Dead
Leave No Trace
Eternity Pt III
One Last Goodbye
A Dying Wish
Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd Cover)
If some people (who probably didn't know the band) believed that Anathema's shows lack of punch and rhythm, I'm sure they had the proof that they were wrong. Of course, we got calm, atmospheric and emotional songs like Balance, Closer or Judgment as the band is a reference for this style, but we also got really powerful and rhythmic ones like Fragile Dreams, Panic or Empty.
It was the 3rd time I see Anathema live and as always they were really good and damn they're also a very charismatic band. The general and special ambiance that we got this night is the mark of Anathema, their mix between doom and progressive music, with its touches of piano (Les wasn't there and Danny himself played the piano temporarily at Raismes) and acoustic guitars were awesome.
The music of Anathema was touching and gave me shivers. If my general feeling for the afternoon was average due to good and bad things, we eventually got something great at the end, especially when you know that the show finished with an amazing cover of Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb. The public was there for Anathema, and was really receptive. I can only recommend to all those who will have the opportunity to see the band in their town to run to see them. They deserve all our support especially when you know that they can't find any label interested in their music today…
Maybe that it was a bit rainy, but with an average of about 1000 visitors each days, with an excellent ambiance (even if we can regret that the crowd was a bit cold during some concerts), a cool and friendly organisation and some great shows, this Raismesfest was a real success, at least for us at Metal Storm.ee. One can't say that Metal is not a family because we had the perfect proof that a festival can be friendly and without any business spirit.
If you live near of the North of France, be sure that you missed something this weekend, but no worries the story of the Raisemefest Festival is not over, and believe us, we will be there again next year for the Raismesfest 2006!!! See you again and for all the ones who forgot the fest, don't miss it this time!!!
The Metalstormers: Wrathchild, Jeff, Yvesson, Shavo & Shining Dust
Many thx to: Laurent "El" Petrucci, Rainmaker "internet master", Michel (for the battery ), Roger "The Boss" Wessier, Didier, Bruno and Manigance, Jeep and Nightmare and all the Metalstormers who was there with us.
Note: Pictures taken by wrathchild and Jeff for Metal Storm only. Do not use them without permission.