Today was the final day of the festival, and a slightly shorter day than the Saturday, but with some great bands playing.
Aria Flame were the first band of the day. An American band, they’re here today with several special guests. Firstly Joop de Rooj who joined them on keyboards, then two American singers – Sabrina Cruz, and Grace Meridan. Aria flame are one of the bands I hadn’t heard anything by before the festival, so I didn’t know what to expect. The band fall broadly into the symphonic metal category, and got a very good reception from the audience – I noticed quite a few people buying their CD at the merch stand after their set. Having the guest singers worked very well – not only vocally but also from a performance perspective and Joop was great on keyboards.
Italian band Evenoire came next. They give us a set full of good quality symphonic metal, but there really is little here that makes them stand out from all the other good symphonic metal bands. Yes they have a great singer, but so do plenty of other similar bands, so Evenoire are a good band and you’ll certainly enjoy listening to them, but they just aren’t different enough to keep me interested.
Magistina saga came next. A Japanese band who made a very good impression visually and musically. I really enjoyed their set – they’re probably the best of the Japanese bands to have played MFVF in the last few years, and I headed over to the merch stand after their set to buy their albums. A great addition to the lineup.
Enemy of reality came next. Singer Iliana Tsakiraki founded the band after leaving Meden Agan, and earlier this year they released their debut album after a successful crowdfunding campaign. I love the album so was hoping their live set would live up to the standard set on the album, and tonight they proved that they are just as good live as they are on album. Iliana’s vocals are superb – her powerful operatic vocals are beautiful and go so well with the powerful heavy music. It’s a very impressive performance, and I’m already looking forward to their first UK date at the Dames of Darkness festival in May 2015.
Viper solfa were next. I knew the band featured former Trail of areas singer Ronny Thorsen, but that was all I knew about them before their set at MFVF, but once they started I realised I recognised their female singer – Miriam Renvåg, from Ram-Zet. There are also two other former members of Trail of Tears in the band, along with Morfeus (Mayhem, Limbonic Art, Dimension F3H). The band look the part, wearing outfits that suit the aggressive heavy music and vocals. I have to say i was really impressed by Viper Solfa – I arrived knowing nothing about them, and left looking forward to the release of their debut album sometime early next year. Based on their live set at MFVF the albums going to be well worth watching out for.
Holy Moses were up next and took the heaviness up a few notches. This German thrash band have been around for many years having released their debut album in 1986, and are one of the first thrash bands to feature female vocals. Recently the band has gone through a rebirth changing almost all the lineup with Sabina Classen being the only member to stay. She may be fifty years old but she’s for more energy than most women half her age and she is constantly racing around the stage as she snarls out the lyrics. It’s a great set, and she puts plenty of effort into getting the crowd involved, and a mosh pit and wall of death are the results – neither being familiar sights normally at MFVF. To end the set Sabina came down off the stage and crowdsurfed – probably another first for MFVF. A great performance.
Stream of passion came next. They’re a band that seems to be going from strength to strength at the moment and are one of those bands that never disappoints. The guys are all great musicians and always give everything they’ve got putting in superb performances, but the star is singer Marcela Bovio who has a beautiful voice – her vocals are what take Stream of Passion from being a very good band to being a superb band. Marcela doesn’t just sing – she also plays violin during the bands performances and has what has to be the coolest violin I’ve seen at any metal/rock gig – a Flying V violin. A superb set as always.
Xandria were next up. The band have been touring heavily since the release of Sacrificium, their first album with new singer Dianne van Giersbergen. As you’d expect, this means they put in an excellent well polished set.
Therion were tonight’s headliners and it didn’t take long to see why. They are a big band with several singers that perform individually or several together. They’ve got a mix of male and female vocals that works really well. Therion are one of the pioneers of symphonic metal so have been doing it longer than almost any other band, and that experience shows – they are excellent musically, vocally and performance-wise – one of those bands that make it look easy. With the different singers all having different vocal strengths then they are able to do a very varied set as each singer is used to maximum advantage.
Sadly MFVF is taking a break next year, but will be back in 2016. This year was a great weekend – as indeed it always is. I always leave having seen bands that I hadn’t heard before and that I thoroughly enjoyed, and this year was no exception – Viper Solfa being a particular highlight.[flickrapi user=”planet mosh” get=”photoset” id=”72157648609712860″ size=”z” count=”100″]