Vast Plains and Goats Fest3 2024 – The Report (Day 1)

Oh my GOAT!

Somewhere not too far from last month, on the legendary date of May 10th, we boarded a train that seemed more exhausted than we were, bound straight for Crazy Town 666. Our mission? To plunge headfirst into the wild world of war metal and goats. I’m, of course, referring to the mighty Vast Plains and Goats Fest3, in case you were wondering what all the fuss was about ( and why you should stick around).

Now, I’d rather not summon the spirit of Las Vegas, but what happens in Craiova stays in Craiova – just like the ancient prophecy of the local sages, give or take by your free will.
But hey, we’ve gathered every last functioning neuron and are ready to serve you up with our (un)conventional review.

What happens on a May weekend? We couldn’t have dreamed of all the wildest, most beautiful chaos a decade ago. Back then, Craiova wouldn’t have cut to have this thought even with booze-fueled nights flirting with commas.
Picture this: two headliners, each more insane than the other (Diocletian and  Nocturnal), and a lineup packed with surprises for any taste, no matter which side of your cup of tea you’re standing on.

After wrestling with common transport, check-ins, and resisting the bar’s seductive whispers we finally rolled up to the venue.
The stage seemed smaller than I remembered, but not a dealbreaker. The madness had already begun with Altars Ablaze. Coming in hot from the Czech Republic to desecrate, decimate, and while we’re stuck on “D“, deliver some death metal (think Hate Eternal style). Their sound was quite technical and a bit progressive, but when you think it’s heading in one direction, it suddenly swerves off the track, yet stays in the landscape, morphing into black metal. With a fast tempo backed by relentless aggression, they created an intriguing blend of half-and-half patterns from both genres, driven by an overall technical approach.

Next up was Svartgren, hailing from the brotherhood across the Danube in Serbia, bringing an interesting cocktail that unites two major scenes from different times.
Riffs reminiscent of Norwegian black metal, yet dancing with melodic tunes birthed further south, filled with manic-depressive shades. Their sound nicely blended straightforward guitar riffs keeping the raw old school black metal flag flying high, with melodic tunes showing off their native roots, making it unique. Svartgren delivered a great show introducing the Eastern Darkness atmosphere to the curious crowd.

And since we’re already talking black metal and locales – NocturN hit the stage around 9 PM. At this point, I’d define NocturN as a rare local black metal delight, emphasizing the local.
Their sound was straightforward black metal, without leaving place for any questions or doubts. It’s one of those bands that know what they want to deliver and go for it without compromise. With a performance that goes above the music, everything is a ritualistic story, nicely exposed following the concept – of darkness and decay.

After a well-deserved break to refill our glasses, Terravore took the stage and shifted the atmosphere. We went from darkness to pure aggression and rage. Their show checked all the boxes: insanity, speed, and a surprise twist I didn’t see coming. Although quite a gem for the Bulgarian scene, the surprising twist was the thrash metal delivered in the most insanely intense, USA-style manner. Their riffs instantly brought Revenant to (my) mind and some old Kreator (talkin’86); Think epic shredding riffs, raging vocals, and slamming rhythms that ranked their show to a whole new level of thrash metal made by the book. With a crowd left begging for more, Terravore show was like a shot of espresso one didn’t know he needed. They delivered such an energy that staying still was simply out of the question.

Another break and the eagerly anticipated Diocletian arrived. With the excitement akin to a teen seeing their crush, we dropped our cigarettes and rushed to immerse ourselves in the war.
Yes, war metal, black metal – whatever label you slap on it, the spotlight is on war. Violence, not for the faint-hearted, I must say. It started like a butcher’s knife thrown into the guts – the most appropriate way of announcing the start of almost 1 hour of complete insanity.

Intense, raw, relentless – a sound that proclaims its name itself, no matter how you interpret it (Diocletian – the Roman Emperor in this case best known for his warrior character and fierce battles against Christians). Blast beats strike one after another like fists to the stomach, alongside well-structured riffs arranged in such a way that feels like the final blow to one’s cranium; just as you’re trying to stand up from the ground, hoping you can still find your feet.

Diocletian delivered a powerful performance over a sound that I missed witnessing so much… The crowd was completely blown away, and who wouldn’t be?! With such a performance, it’s hard not to be swept off your feet. Although the sound engineering wasn’t the best, their show was so fantastic that no one could care less about.

Diocletian’s show was like that elusive crush you’ve been pining after for ages. After missing their gigs at least four times (because the pandemic happened) I was ready to accept defeat. But lo and behold, they finally graced the stage, and the anticipation was palpable with a show that makes one feel like they’ve hit the jackpot in their backyard.

Hats off and glasses up to the existence of this festival! Vast Plains and Goats Fest It’s not just your run-of-the-mill event; but a breath of fresh air for all the maniacs tired of all the commercial jokes and scene hijacks. It’s where the real deal happens, where honesty reigns supreme amidst the gentrification of the scene. In short, it’s a must-have in every maniac’s book and calendar.

And now, ladies and gents, we called it a night (actually, we called a taxi to whisk us away to our favorite local bar where the gin is dry and the beers are fresh ‘n’ fine) so we can properly prepare for the next day. Because, you know what they say, proper damnation always comes in pairs.

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