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Hodonin, Czech Republic
15th - 17th August 2014

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland

made of metal

Despite a late finish to day two I made it back to the site in time to check out Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy from the Czech Republic on the main stage. They play a particularly melodic kind of folk metal based on traditional Moravian folk music and were a pleasantly melodic metal way to wake up and start the day.

This was followed by some female fronted symphonic metal from Italy in the shape of Ancient Bards. I'd been looking forward to checking them out and they turned out to be pretty good.

While the music doesn't stand out hugely from the other bands in the genre singer Sara Squadrani has a powerful voice with a beautiful melodic tone to it and easily carried the weaker parts of the material. An impressive performance.

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Another impressive performance was given on the second stage by Czech band Misty Ways. Describing themselves as moon metal they were out of their comfort zone in the afternoon sunshine but still put in a set of atmospheric metal, almost hard rock like at times but full of invention and even some prog metal touches.

Singer Katryna stood out in the sea of black that is a metal festival with her red hair and green dress and oozed attitude and pouted for all she was worth inbetween some heartfelt vocals. It all seemed to pass much of the audience by though and most of the crowd seemed to prefer the death growls of Gormathon on the main stage. I enjoyed them though.

made of metal

The next band I saw a lot of was Heidevolk who had a nice line in pagan Metal. Despite coming from Holland they had a definite Scandinavian feel to them and you couldn't help but thinking they really wished they were vikings. The songs were about beer and other important stuff and they had the audience cheering and shouting 'hey' a lot so all credit to them, they were a lot of fun.

I had heard some tracks I liked by Polish industrial/electronic band Desdemona so I went back to the second stage to check them out. Singer Agnieszka Lesna was obviously nervous about how they would go down in front of a metal crowd but she shouldn't have worried. Opening with three huge pounding industrial songs with huge riffs they soon pulled a big crowd to the second stage and wen down just fine indeed.

made of metal

Things lost their way a little in the middle of the set when it got a bit too electronic and atmospheric but everyone stuck around even if just to admire the singer's huge boots(Gene Simmons would have been jealous) and the show ended on a high with much headbanging to the thunder and drama of their sound. When you add a good drummer and riffing guitar to electronic big beats it makes a fine groove indeed.

Spain's Dark Moor couldn't hold my attention with their melodic power metal so I grabbed some food and returned to the main stage to catch Sweden's Amaranthe. They can be a bit of a controversial band in metal circles with their three singers sparring with each other and their big pop sensibilities but there was no sign of that here.

They all ran around the stage and except for some really naff between song banter had the crowd in the palm of their hands The big pop chorus sections had the crowd bouncing and just about all the guys fell for the beautiful voice and looks of Elize Ryd. Personally I really enjoyed their set but if they dropped the grunts of vocalist Henrik Englund it would have been even better.

made of metal

Ensiferum took the stage with their topless kilt look and much of the crowd loved their spirited Finnish folk metal but for me with no traditional instruments this time around they just sounded kind of heavy and monotonous and I couldn't really find anything to grasp onto which held my attention.

The final act of the weekend was Sweden's Therion who were hailed like conquering heroes when they made their appearance. In a career lasting over twenty five years their slightly mad opera meets metal kind of symphonic metal has been hugely influential.

made of metal

The first time I saw them they had a small choir on stage with them but as the years have passed they seem to have slimmed down the line up and now have reached the point where they only use three lead singers! During a set where they spanned much of their career they switched between the three singers, Thomas Vikstrom providing his strong rock voice, his daughter Linnea Vikstrom the female equivalent and latest addition to the line up Sandra Laureano providing the operatic soprano.

Therion's music is full of chanting choral sections, pounding riffs and soaring soprano and it is almost as pompous as it sounds. However it always comes over as fun, not as something to be taken too seriously and they are often a joy to watch. Old favourites like opening songs 'Rise Of Sodom And Gomorrah' and 'Son Of The Sun' had the crowd bouncing while Sandra Laureano's pretty soprano voice often echoed wonderfully over the sparkling metal soundscape behind her. The constant waving of her dress like she had wings looked a bit pretentious but vocally she acquitted herself well.

made of metal

The highlight of the set for me was the ballad 'Raven Of Dispersion' which featured a fantastic vocal from Linnea Vikstrom before a duet with her soprano bandmate took the song to a spectactular conclusion.

All too soon for the crowd it was encore time and the weekend was finished off in fine style by a rousing version of 'To Mega Therion' which had the crowd bouncing again and singing along. A very good performance from the headliner to end the festival.

made of metal

Made Of Metal was a very enjoyable experience but it wasn't perfect. The toilets and food were disappointing and my feet were sore after three days of standing on crumbling concrete. However there were so many good things to talk about that those things really don't matter.

The beer and music were great and I met people from as far away as Brazil, Mexico and Columbia. Add to that the low cost of tickets and everything else then all I can say is forget Download and Sonisphere and try a metal festival in a different country next year. You'll never go back to the way you were once you try one.

made of metal


made of metal

made of metal

beer beer beerbeerbeer



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