Second day of ARTmania festival 2022 – review

Read about how our minds were blown by Meshuggah, Cult of Luna, Leprous and The Vintage Caravan.

The start of the second day of festivities was marked by The Vintage Caravan‘s classic rock show infused with psychedelic undertones. The Icelanders managed to bring the festival goers together in front of the stage from the beginning with the energy they transmitted and the crowd responded to that energy in kind.

It was a beautiful energy and you could see that on the faces of the people who were there rocking with the band, as well as the band members themselves, who were visibly having a blast.

They revive the 70s psychedelic rock aesthetic, staying true to their name: vintage. They play on vintage looking Orn custom guitars, by an Icelandic guitar maker named Gunnar Örn. They wore leopard print, black and white stripped flared pants and leather vests and boots.

The stage presence was backed up by the musical performance they put on with songs like “On the Run”, “Crystallized” and “Reflections”.

We’re looking forward to seeing them again live with Opeth at Arenele Romane on the 23rd of September 2022.

ⓒRares Helici

Leprous is already a well established and highly appreciated band among Romanian fans and the crowd  was happy to see them again on the ARTmania stage after 4 years. They always bring an infectious enthusiasm to their performances and you can’t help but move along to the rhythm of their music. This enthusiasm is enhanced by Einar Solberg’s easily recognizable high pitched vocals and the pathos he puts into his live shows.

Their setlist was a combination of older songs such as “Foe” from the “Coal” album, “Slave” and “The Price” off of “Congregation” and newer songs including three off of their latest album from “Aphelion” from 2021: “Nighttime Disguise”, “Out of Here”, “Running Low”. Although some fans have expressed their disapproval of their musical direction of late it is undeniable that their sound is solid and their performance is worth seeing time and time again.

ⓒSebastian Marcovici

It’s hard to describe the experience of seeing Cult of Luna live, but if we were to summarize it in a few words: they fucking crushed it. Definitely one of the highlights from this edition of ARTmania, Cult of Luna impressed both long time fans as well as first listeners. Their sound is both crushingly heavy and cathartic, a perfect balance between oppressive guitars and trance inducing melodies, with vocals filled with raw emotion.

They made the perfect choice of opening with the song “Cold Burn” off of “The Long Road North”, which starts with a bellowing foghorn-like sound that is meant to grip you from the very start and take you to a state of contemplation, torn from the realities that surrounds you.

The atmosphere created was out of this world, and a part of this was also due to the combination between the impressive light show and the quality and sound of the music.

ⓒSebastian Marcovici

Between the acts on the main stage, we got to also see live one of Romania’s oldest metal bands, Taine. We felt that the overall good organization of the festival was shadowed by the scarcely equipped second stage. It felt improvised, and the sound unfortunately suffered as a result: although it was a nice addition to the festival, and it was appropriate for interviews and miscellaneous activities. Taine gave their best given the circumstances and as always the performance was really tight. 

The night couldn’t have ended better than with Meshuggah, the kings of “Chuggah Chuggah”.  Any superlative would fall short when describing one of the most influential bands of modern metal.

When they stepped on stage, they completely obliterated every bit of energy and angst left in the audience. Their performance has the precision of a perfectly wound Swiss clock, which is enough to leave the audience in awe. Not getting into any technicalities, because this article would become a full blown Berklee academic paper, all we can say is that Meshuggah has kept over the years their iconic, easily recognizable sou…chuggs. You really have to experience their live shows to fully comprehend the enormity of their music. Even though you don’t know how to move on their music, you feel compelled to do so anyway.

We cannot end this article without praising the insanely good sound quality. For making this happen we can only be thankful to an already established master of sound engineering, a craft that is never in the spotlight but is equally important for live shows. A testament for that would be the scores of local musicians that were posted at the front of house, the right angle for analyzing a show.

On par with the overall high standard of the Meshuggah production was also the light show which complemented what happened on stage and enhanced the entire experience. After the show was done, fans could notice the truckload of equipment that was necessary to make this concert possible. 

ⓒSebastian Marcovici

This wraps up our review of the second day of ARTmania festival. See you tonight for the last day of the festival!

 

— an article by Alexandra Revenco and Marian Blanaru

 

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