It’s then on to the bigger names as Imperia take the stage. Fronted by Helena Iren Michaelsen (former singer of Trail of Tears and Epica back when it was called Sahara Dust), they bring some epic leather-clad tunes. Helena has a powerful and passionate voice that enthrals the crowd as she performs songs from their back catalogue and from most recent album Secret Passion. They’re followed by Serenity, who recently recruited Clémentine Delauney as a full-time female vocalist. Clémentine and original singer Georg Neuhauser work perfectly together, their voices and chemistry blending on songs like the classic Fairytales or latest single Wings of Madness. Charlotte Wessels even joins them for a crowd-pleasing rendition of Serenade of Flames, for which she provided guest vocals on the CD. The band have a truly impressive sound and are surely set to become one of the leaders of the genre.
Chaostar in comparison are a bit of a strange one, leaving the crowd divided. They are a stark contrast to the earlier bands in that their sound leans much more towards the operatic and neoclassical styles, mixing singer Androniki Skoula’s mezzo-soprano vocals with screeching violins reminiscent of the music from Psycho. It’s certainly unique and impressive, but feels rather more like an ambient horror film sound track than the sort of thing you can mosh or dance to. Kobra and the Lotus are different from this again going completely in the other direction with some pure old-fashioned heavy metal. The Canadian band sound a little like Iron Maiden, and singer Kobra Paige gets the crowd bouncing around again to songs from both their 2010 debut and their latest self-titled album.
It’s back to some slightly lesser known bands as the Dutch band Asrai step in for Visions of Atlantis, bringing their own brand of gothic metal. Kontrust from Austria bring their own brand of absolute bonkersness as they get everyone to party with puppets, closing with their hit single Bomba.
But it’s Leaves’ Eyes who really get the attention of the masses. Having headlined previous editions of the festival, they’re certainly a huge draw. Liv Kristine is once again on top form, this time bringing out more of the lyrical/operatic style of her singing than she did in her solo show, and supported by her husband Alex Krull who performs brilliantly contrasting harsh vocals. The band play a grand total of five new songs from upcoming album Symphonies of the Night, all of which sound spectacular and perhaps a little more gothic than their usual more folky style. Lead single Hell to the Heavens is a highlight, sounding a little like a heavier version of Nightwish’s Wishmaster. They also play some fan-favourites like My Destiny and Elegy, with a magnificent encore of the beautiful Frøya's Theme. Their performance is certainly a highlight of the festival.
Though Leaves’ Eyes may be a hard act to follow, Delain are surely up to the task. Another band that could easily headline the festival, they create a lot of excitement amongst the crowd. Charlotte Wessels sings her heart out on a setlist that equally combines all of the band’s albums, even some songs from their debut Lucidity that have not seen the light of day in a while. There’s a huge cheer as Sharon Den Adel joins the stage to sing No Compliance with Charlotte, but there’s even more of a surprise when she goes on to perform Within Temptation classic Restless with Martijn Westerholt (Martijn was a founding member of WT and brother to Sharon’s partner, Robert). Charlotte returns for a wonderful performance with another guest; this time it’s Georg from Serenity, stepping into Marco Hietala’s shoes for Control The Storm. The band finally leads the crowd in a rousing rendition of their anthem We Are The Others. Expect to see Delain at many MFVFs to come!
Lacuna Coil are the headliners for Saturday, and they too have a special show performing every song from their hit album Karmacode. Dressed in their signature white shirts and black ties from the time of the album’s release, singers Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro give it all they’ve got. Lacuna Coil are always brilliant live but, despite how many great songs there are on the album, the whole thing feels a little slow and lacking in energy. It perhaps might have been better to mix in some of the other songs as Epica did for their Phantom Agony show back in 2010. Nevertheless, everyone has a great time and we do get some different material in the form of the encore, where the band play Trip the Darkness, Kill The Light, Heaven’s A Lie and Spellbound. It’s a great end to an amazing day of metal music.
Finally, Saturday is also the first day to have signing sessions. This is an excellent opportunity for fans to meet their favourite bands without having to wait in hope outside a tour bus in the cold. A decent portion of the Eve’s Apples singers even manage to squeeze onto the table. There’s a few queuing issues – fans who queued up for Serenity found that by the time they got to the front it had been switched to Leaves’ Eyes. People soon realised that the key to successful queuing was to squeeze down the side and wait for their chosen band well in advance of the signing; worth bearing in mind if the system remains the same for next year.
Author: Sophie Cleverly-EdwardsRead the full story