Rockstadt Extreme Fest 2019 edition- review

~ a personal approach ~

Another year, another Rockstadt Extreme Fest experience and this time I might speak a lil bit more about it. With ups and downs, this past edition was actually pretty nice, with a nice crowd much more civilized than the last time and of course good music. Overall the line-up was pretty nice consisting of bands which haven’t played in Romania before and this was a great initiative but in my opinion too many bands who played metalcore per day…

The new system replaced by cards without tokens which could be lost very easily was actually a good idea also the prices for drinks were very decent and the food was really tasty and pretty cheap comparing to the past editions of this festival. First band I saw was Sur Austru on Brasov stage where in my opinion the sound was not as good as “Adrian Rugina” stage. 2nd time I saw these guys performing and yet I don’t have a firm opinion towards it except the familiar sound close to Negura Bunget. Not bad not good their performance seemed to be enjoyed by the crowd.

One of my all-time favorites of this year’s festival were Katatonia, of course. Seeing them for the 4th time makes me feel so happy and grateful because they are very loved in our country and it’s obvious, they are coming back with pleasure every damn time.  This time they played the entire “Night is the new day” album, to celebrate its 10th anniversary. An album which I always loved for its power to touch the soul in a way that only Katatonia can. The entire performance was great, beyond perfect, I remained speechless for a while after they ended their performance…probably the best sound they had since 2014, back when I first saw them live. Despite all the mean comments towards this show which I cannot agree with, Katatonia proves to me time and time again, whenever I see/hear them why they are my favorite band.

Another night, another great performance from Candlemass…I’ve been listening to them ever since a long time ago and I really wanted to see them live. I was very happy when I heard they were confirmed for this festival. Candlemass are not only the greatest doom metal band that has ever existed, but also one of the better bands I’ve ever heard ( and seen ) live. Their unique sound can never be taken away from them, even though they have existed for many years as a band it is great to hear that they have not lost their classical doom sound. Candlemass put on a really good performance and I am so happy I got to experience this. That they can still perform this well and solid after so many years and let’s face it they are not in their 20’s anymore is so impressive. I love seeing that they played old material and not only new stuff, as one could expect seeing as they have recently released a new album.  I am being so cheesy now but what they do on stage and the feeling you get from a Candlemass concert can almost not be explained but nevertheless needs to be experienced!

Six Feet Under were one of the bands that I wanted to see the most at this festival. And it was…HUGE! Chris Barnes is still kicking ass and the voice..man…the voice was amazing ! I didn’t have high expectations, but I was left in a “wow” mood.  I found myself moving and headbanging all around and this is something that I don’t usually do. For those who are brutal death metal fans, it’s such a shame if you missed them on stage. That might be the first and the last time you could have seen them in our country.

Another festival premiere was the Swiss black metal band called “Schammasch“. Formed back in 2009, releasing three albums and an EP and going strong, the band delivered a great performance. Shrouded in mystery and smoke, they created a dark, gloomy atmosphere with a great selection of songs as well as a visually impressive show, with appropriate lighting as well as elaborate stage costumes which fit their lyrical themes. It was indeed a great show. One of the things which I find noteworthy when it comes to bands is the difference of quality when comparing studio released material versus live performances… And I must say that I was impressed. The vocals were strong, and the occult chants getting a across an overbearing sense of doom, all of which aided by great instrumentals, delivered on point. Hope to see them again. Suffice to say that the Babylonian god did not disappoint that day.

Neither the cold weather or the pouring rain could dampen the spirits of the crowd when it came to this next act. The Swiss band, Bolzer, rocked the stage to its foundation with their unmistakable sound. This band impressed me a few years back when I first saw them play here in Romania and I must say that I was so happy I got to see them again now, as their sound only got better and better with time.

Formed back in 2008, the band consists of only two members. Yes, you read that right. Two people which deliver an astounding performance, as they more than make up for what they lack in numbers, managing to push the boundaries, creating extreme metal “symphonies” of doom. The vocals sounded superbly, with the powerful roars and guttural screams echoing in the evening, accompanied by harrowing riffs and savage blast beats. Admittedly, this was one of my favorite performances in this year’s festival.

Hailing from from Denmark, Hexis took the stage by storm. With a few albums and EPs under their belt, the band delivered an energetic and hectic performance. This energy was maintained throughout the concert, with powerful vocals and shredding, fast paced instrumentals. They were definitely one of the festival’s pleasant surprises and I hope they’ll drop by again in the future.

 

Amidst the dark forest the winds howled, and the crowd cheered in anticipation as everyone waited for 1349 to make their appearance. And so they did, starting off strong with a fiery performance. When I say fiery, I do mean exactly that. Why? Well, apart from the top notch performance from the band, pyrotechnics were also a part of the show, making the hellish atmosphere this band conveys even more prominent.  The sound proved to be great, as the sinister vocals ripped through the silence, accompanied by dark, apocalyptic instrumentals. The hellscape was compete. This was one of the bands I was looking forward to seeing, and I must say that they did not disappoint!

One of the most anticipated bands of the fest were, of course Mgla. Growing in popularity with more and more fans, the mysterious Mgla made their appearance on the stage of Rockstadt Extreme Fest, cheered on. Starting off strong with songs from “exercises in futility” and working in material from their older albums such as “Groza” and “with hearts towards none”, they kept the audience on their toes the entire duration of the concert, fans being visibly excited, regardless of the cold and rainy weather that evening.

For the most part, I can’t complain. The instrumental was good and the vocals were on point…however..for a short while, there seemed to be a problem with the PA system, as the sound seemed a bit off. Overall, it was a good performance,anf of you haven’t seen them at rockstadt I’m eased to say that you’ll get another chance on the 23rd of September, when they’ll have a concert in Bucharest, where they’ll also likely include songs from their newest release “age of excuses”.

Hypocrisy played this year for the second time in Romania at the seventh edition of Rockstadt Extreme Fest. The band played for the first time at Metalhead Meeting back in 2013 promoting their latest record at that time entitled “End of Disclosure”. I’ve had the opportunity to attend to that event and I can sincerely confirm that this band had a spectacular set and a great sound.  This time they played on the last festival day, right before the last headliner Dimmu Borgir. The band came with a very balanced set list; starting their play with the famous Fractured Millenium track and ending with the more famous piece Roswell 47. In between these songs the band presented a combination of their best work of the last 28 years. Peter Tägtgren’s unique voice and Horgh’s (Immortal drummer) heavy blast beats shrouded the crowd in a positive way, playing together with the band the most famous tracks. Obvious the set list included songs like: “End of Disclosure”, “Eraser”, and “Fire in the Sky”, “War-Path and The Final Chapter. I can confirm after seeing this band for the third time that they don’t make compromises when it comes to sound and show quality. In my opinion the actual line up has everything that a band needs for a live show; so if you have the occasion and didn’t saw this wonderful band live please check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

After Hypocrisy’s show we could admire a great fire work show, being actually a great reception for the last festival night headliner. So Dimmu Borgir started their show with various tracks from their latest releases. The Romanian public is familiar with this band (the band played at OST Festival in 2012) and it seems that they are very beloved in our country. I didn’t attend back in 2012 at their show but I saw them on various occasions at other festivals. My personal opinion about their set list is not a good one because the playlist wasn’t that various as I expected. They played half of the last release and a few tracks from their last two albums. In my opinion their sound was too artificial; they played mechanic and with a lack of essence. Still the band played some well-known tracks as “Puritania” and “Mourning Palace”. Maybe the band will return some time with a more various set list and a respectable line up. 

 

 

 

Until next time !

Review done by Vitriol & Bogdan Ciuca.

PHOTO : Miluta Flueras for Rockstadt Extreme Fest

 

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