01.02.2009. WINTERNOISE Festival
Better late than never, and since I'm in a festival writing frenzy, please read hereafter my report on Germany's WINTERNOISE festival in Osnabrück, Germany.
Once famous for its metal gigs in the nineties, Osnabrück has gradually fallen into a dire limbo of indifference. Located a stone throw away from Holland and the metal-metropolis formed by the Cologne-Düsseldorf-Bochum region, it should in theory be the perfect and busiest location for metalheads young and old, coming from what once was the 'blue banana' and all the way up to Hamburg, but with well over 3 shows a day over the area all year round, it's hard to get aroused by one more show. This explains why club N8 is only about half full, in contrast with the quality of the billing, that would otherwise be the promise of an eargasm to anyone even loosely interested in pagan or folk metal.
The package includes almost exclusively painted up and furry bands, such as Mael Mordha from Ireland, who are a bloodier and more picturesque version of Primordial, which makes sense since the bassist and guitarist are the touring replacements for the famous Irish metal band. Also on the music menu is giddy Russian-folk metallers Arkona, who play a surprisingly energetic set, considering that their vocalist is quite visibly pregnant, but nevertheless running up and down fore-and-aft with cymbals and drums and the occasional helicopter-mosh. Fun music, entertaining the already alcohol-soaked Dutch-German mixed audience. Taking the crowd into a much darker place, Sweden's Thyrfing play a mixture of sombre epic and melodic death metal with quite a lot of catchiness.
Winternoise has hopped on the train of those festivals now offering mead and derivatives on the drink card, so headliner Turisas is the perfect band to square-dance to while sporting a drinking horn full of your favorite medieval alcoholic beverage. The enticing set list contains the classics Rasputin and Battle Metal, so a friendly Gimly look-alike German fan comes into to the photo pit since there is no security in front of the stage, only to push away potential crowd surfers. To mellow out the evening, co-headliners Moonsorrow offer a long series of their slower repertoire, leaving out some of their classic crowd-pleasers such as Kylän Päässä, but including some of their darker pieces instead. Nearing the end, a visibly spent Ville Sorvali anounced the last songs, so 'everyone can just go to bed'.