2010-07-05_10 Metalcamp, Tolmin, Slovenia

Tolmin is located at the confluence of two rivers (Soca and Tolminka). The location and the two rivers make this metal festival unique, as well as the duration of the festival. Six days of metal bands and, this year for the first time, followed by the magic circle festival (with Manowar as headliner). The campsite opened on Friday although the festival started on Monday. The name Metalcamp is perfectly chosen, the site is fully metal (as stated by the presence of a large number of dixies and only a handful of showers), metalheads as far as you can see and metal music surrounding you. In early July, temperatures in Tolmin can rise up to 35 degrees Celsius or more (30 + is more rule than exception), but heavy rain and storms are no exception either. This year we got the complete package, hot every day and two heavy rainstorms. Most tents stayed up and remained pretty dry. Seems to us that the subtitle of the festival "Hell over Paradise" is chosen very well. Hell refers to the obscure nature of the bands and their fans, the other reason to call it hell is the sun. The sun will burn you out of your tent at 8 o'clock each morning.

Why it's called paradise will become clear the first day you'll step out of your tent and open your eyes. The view is magnificent: mountains, green meadows and forests everywhere you look. The best aspects of this campsite are yet still unmentioned. Walking distances are short, even if you camp on the outskirts of the terrain the main stages can be reached in a 15 minute walk. But most campers managed to camp within a 5 minute walking from the stage. The tents located farthest from the main stage were almost standing on the parking lot of the local supermarkets (who had stocked enough food and beer). The locals seemed to be completely at ease with all the metalheads (mainly dressed in black, of course) decorated with tattoos and piercings just about everywhere. Even if they were thinking ' YOU ARE WEIRD' they did not express their feelings and stayed as friendly and helpful as ever. Conversation is easy, the Tolmin people do understand the German or English language. For an extra friendly smile just ad a few words in the Slovenian language (Good-day and thank you will do the job). You can find bars and terraces all over town, and they all play music that suits the temporary population. But the best part of about Metalcamp is still to come. At some point you will get sun crazy and you have to find a way to refresh yourself. The solution is nearby. After a short walk you will see a green-blue river through the trees, the water looks cool and believe us: this was by far the coolest thing we were able to find on this metal festival. The water is ice cold, but with a merciless sun (trying to cause a metalhead meltdown), you won't think twice and jump in as soon as you can. It seems that every metalhead is child again and has brought his water toys, super soakers, air mattresses, tires, floating islands, crocodiles, inflatable chairs, turtles and anything that can float. A cold river is also very handy to keep your beers (and other drinks) on a good drinking temperature.
So far all about the campsite. But a campsite filled with metal freaks and metal lovers isn't the reason to travel 1300 kilometres. The organisation also told is some bands will be playing from Monday till Saturday. It would be almost impossible to follow three stages filled with bands for six days. On Metalcamp there are only two stages and most days the bands don't start before 3 pm. The main stage features the famous bands and the second stage will host the less known bands.

The sound on the second stage never exceeded medium quality, but that never kept us from checking out the bands. The bands that appeared on this stage were mainly bands that had not played outside their home country very often and therefore were not very well- known to most people. Still we found some pleasant surprises:
Noctiferia from Slovenia, Kalmah from Finland, Ashes you leave from Croatia, Deströyer666 from Down Under (also world famous in the Netherlands), Under a Curse from Italy.

Every day the main stage sound work was done by a seemingly tone-deaf sound technician, lucky for us a sound guy with an ear for music took over the job at the beginning of every evening. So, quite depressing for beginning bands (who still need to build up a fan base with a good stage performance), while well-known bands did not have this problem.
Nevermore's sound was unfortunately not optimal. Nevermore played songs from both new and old cd's and they were well received by the audience. Due to the merciless sun, only the first ten meters of the field and any place with just a little shade were filled. Nevertheless, the atmosphere was good and the audience enjoyed the performance.
Sixs feet under. The crowd woke up and came to see this show so the field in front of the main stage started filling. The crowd caught up with the enthusiasm of the band..
Cannibal Corpse. The fat-neck from America was completely ready for action: it's headbanging time. The sound was pretty good by this time. All band members put their whole body and heart in the show (as always). Full power for the music and headbanging in full force. The perfect show for a late supper (just don't listen to the lyrics too much).
After Brasil lost the football match during the World cup, Soulfly were determined to put things right. It seemed like Max didn't have the physique to go full speed for 1,5 hour, but he proofed us all wrong. Although he did not jump around all the time he knew how to put up a good performance. The catchy samba-metal band from South America played more Sepultura songs than ever. Soulfly knew perfectly what the audience wanted. Everybody went crazy and had the time of their lives.
Trail of Tears. Full of enthusiasm the band started playing but due to the awful sound conditions the show didn't work as it should. Better luck next time!
Leave's Eyes. If you do like this music, you probably would have liked this show. Solid show but to poppy for us.
Overkill is like a flashback to the 80's. The guitar riffs, the sound of Bobby 'Blitz' Ellsworth's voice and the energetic performance of the whole band is catching on like a disease. The younger fans recognized the songs from the new CD but the old songs were the ones we came for.
Epica's energetic show got the audience as enthusiastic as possible. The female vocalist (Simone Simons) has a great voice and she knows how to use it. Even the sound was right, although we were standing next to the stage. In spite of the enthusiasm of the crowd begging for an encore, Epica left the stage. Probably because of the strict planning of the running order.
Without any doubt Behemoth was THE best performance of the festival. They played awesome and energetic and the sound was great balanced. This was one of the meanest shows that you can currently see. The light show including fireworks were also tuned perfectly in line with the music. Heavy, fucking hard, brutal and overwhelming are the only words to describe this band. A must-see for every fan of heavy metal species.
Ex Deo is a project of the band members of Kataklysm. The band is obviously inspired by the Romans. The music was okay, but we had trouble eliminating the associations with Asterix and Obelix. Weird guys, these Romans. Musically there was not much to fuzz about, especially because their playlist for Metalcamp ended with a few Kataklysm-songs.
Although John Tardy's vocals were probably effected by the heat and the poor sound quality (again) we really did appreciate Obituary's performance during our late lunch.
Paradise Lost was amusing. Nevertheless the band and especially Nick Holmes gave the audience a slightly indifferent appearance. Although not spreading the sparks to the crowd the music pleased our ears. Even the song 'As I Die' was played.
To get straight to business, power metal is not our cup of tea. We could not get rid of the idea that there appeared to be hardly any difference between Hammerfall and Iron Maiden. The sound, their energetic stage presence, outfit - red legging tights and white shirt included, reminded us of the Iron Maiden shows in the eighties. Unfortunately as long as Iron Maiden still hits the stage Hammerfall will fail to hold our attention. According to their fans it was a great show.
In our opinion Sabaton has invented a new metal style: Pink-metal. The front man poured in one gay joke after another. There was no end to it! He even managed to mention the Village People as a shining example for their music. There is a chance that most viewers could not figure out whether this was a joke or the truth, anyway we were reasonably amused by Sabaton's music but certainly not convinced about Joakim Broden's sincerity telling us he was only kidding.
Without any doubt the heaviest band of the festival, and just for this once we do not refer to the music. The band and the show were impressive and rock-solid. Exodus came to put on a show and that's what they did. No surprises and certainly no disappointments. We did get sore necks though.
Even if you're not a fan of Dark Tranquillity, it goes without saying that this band, and their front man most certainly, enjoys playing for live audience. At the moment the band entered the main stage temperature reached 50 degrees Celsius, but that was no reason at all for Mikael to sit quiet in a corner and wait until all action would have been blown over. Dark Tranquillity's sound was more than acceptable and the show was undoubtedly made by this great singer, although the rest of the band knew their onions. After the show Mikael paid ample personal attention to all the fans by chatting and having his photo taken, BRAVO!
As soon as Finntroll entered the stage hell broke loose and the party began. Old songs were interspersed with new songs. Clearly, Finntroll's more recent work is much rougher than the previous stuff! No reason at all to stop partying.
As the sky turned black for the last great act of Metalcamp 2010, the main stage turned even blacker. It seemed like all Metalcampers came out here to see this show. Abbath and his immortal friends appeared on the smoke filled stage. Immortal's songs were pretty tight and the show was put on professional (nice big flames, fireworks, Abbath´s poses in front of the camera, and of course a fire breathing show). Perfect, except for one thought that crossed our minds: is Immortal playing for the fun and their fans or are they standing on stage for money reason only: a 90 minutes black metal show on stage and then back to the hotel for cold beer and a good night's sleep?
The biggest problem for Immortal (and for us) was the Behemoth show (two days earlier). After this show all other performances looked amateurish. Too bad for Immortal....
Beach bar
The beach bar, opened from Monday 24-7, get into its stride when the main stage remains empty, at nighttime. The beach bar is located at the junction of the two rivers. Due to the lower land level at the river and the low water temperature the beach and it's bar are noticeably cooler than the rest of the site. This is the place to enjoy metal, meet new people, do some bullshitting around and to drink beer or cocktails whole evening and night. Fans of a striptease and erotic show gather together at the stroke of 1 o clock to be able to catch a glimpse of the dancer. After a long night in the beach bar a 10 minutes walk brings you to your tent for a short night's sleep. Within less time the sun will turn your tent into a sweat lodge. Time to return to the river to get recharged for a new day filled with METAL.

Review by: Tinustov, Xi, Marjaaah & Metaldude666