First up today were Mercy Isle, a band with a mix of European and American members. They play a mix of rock and symphonic metal – which sounds like a slightly odd mix, but it works very well. Keyboard player Joop de Rooij is no stranger to MFVF having played before in Magion, and singer Kassandra Novell has also performed at MFVF before as part of the Eves Apples collaboration, and the band look completely at home on stage here, and work well together as a band which is something I’d wondered about as being split between two continents must make rehearsing difficult. A band well worth checking out.
UK band Skarlett riot came next and it was made quite clear how many British people go to MFVF as the front part of the crowd seemed to be largely made up of the British contingent making Skarlett Riot feel welcome. I may be slightly biased as I think they’re a great band, but Skarlett riot really did demonstrate why they deserved to be here – musically they were great, and whereas some bands don’t make the best use of the large stage, Skarlett Riot looked completely at home on a big stage. A great set.
Blackthorn were next. A Russian band, they have an all-female lineup including a singer who seems able to switch between growling and operatic styles with ease (and it’s not easy as very few singers manage it). Largely symphonic, the music has heavier and darker influences too giving them a heavier sound than many of the bands on the bill. Although most of their set was their own songs, they did an Anorexia Nervosa cover too, and ended the set with a song in Russian.
Feridea were a name I didn’t know, but someone pointed out that the lead singer has released several solo albums as Katra, which certainly got my attention as I’ve got a couple of her albums and really like them, so I was looking forward to hearing Feridea by the time they came on. They’re a Finnish band and as I found out during their set they play some really good sumphonic metal. Katra Solopuro has a fantastic voice and really impressed me. Another great performance.
Whyzdom are a band I’ve seen several times before and always enjoy. While singer Marie Rouyer has a great voice, the band add a 4 piece choir to really fill out the vocal parts – and I suspect if they could afford to they’d bring an orchestra too. A rare slip by guitarist Vynce Leff saw him land flat on his back mid-set but he was unhurt and barely missed a note.
Greek band Enemy of reality came next. Singer Iliana is a woman with a huge powerful and beautiful voice, and with the rest of the band being great musicians we get some music from their brand new album, Arakhne which sounds fantastic – nice and heavy but also melodic and it contrasts nicely with Iliana’s beautiful vocals. They could have done the set without any guests and we’d have been very happy, but bringing on three guest vocalists during the set (Maxi Nil, Chiara Malvestiti and Kassandra Novell) and Symphony X’s Mike LePond on bass was a nice bonus. A fantastic band and one that I hope gets a lot better known than they currently are.
Tristania don’t seem to be very active these days – we’re told during their set that it’s a year since they last played a show, so hopefully that lack of shows means they’ve been working on an album as it’s been three years since “Darkest white” was released. Kjetil Nordhus and Mariangela Demurtas were in great form on vocals and the whole band put in a great performance.
Liv Kristine came next. Unlike her previous solo show at MFVF, tonight’s set wasn’t purely material from her solo albums, but instead included something special. She was performing with a special guest – Raymond Rohonyi who she worked with in Theatre of Tragedy, so tonight we’re treated to some Theatre of Tragedy material with both of them on vocals. By the end of the set I think a large part of the audience was hoping that she might record with Raymond Rohonyi now she’s no longer in Leaves Eyes, but we’ll have to cross our fingers and wait and see if that happens.
Finally it was time for tonight’s headliner, Tarja. Since leaving Nightwish her solo albums have been good but the two released this year have been the best by far, and having seen two of her shows this year, it’s also noticeable that she’s better live than ever before, so I was really looking forward to tonight’s set. As expected the set is based heavily around the new albums (“The brightest void” and “The shadow self”), and the new songs sound fantastic live. We also get some songs from her earlier solo albums, and for Nightwish fans there’s a medley of Tutankhamen/Ever dream/The riddler/Slaying the dreamer which sounded great, and it was nice to see that she’d chosen some songs that Nightwish rarely play rather than going for the obvious greatest hits type medley. It was nice to have a Nightwish medley but equally it was good that it was only a small part of the set, with her solo albums and the newer ones in particular dominating the set. It’s a great performance from her and she genuinely looks to be having a great time on stage and her new band are great too. A fantastic end to a great weekend.[flickrapi user=”planet mosh” get=”photoset” id=”72157676662161705″ size=”z” count=”100″]