Paganfest 2015

Oberhausen, Germany

Report by Tabitha (T) , Ingrid (I) and Laetitia (L)
The line-up of Paganfest 2015 featured a somewhat of a must-see line-up for folk metal fans, with prominent acts of the genre such as Heidevolk, Turisas and Wintersun, special guest Korpiklaani, Finsterforst, Obscurity and Frosttide (at the extended shows). Due to our schedule, we missed the first two bands and we arrived just in time to catch the German pagan metallers of Finsterforst.

I was looking very much forward to the performance of Finsterforst. They released a new album this year, called “Mach dich frei” and I was eager to see how the songs from this album would turn out live. I was not disappointed, even though they played only one song from the new album. I loved the aggression and energy that the band showed during the title track Mach dich frei. Of course they played the happy song Försterhochzeit which always gets the audience to ´Fiederalala´-along. Unfortunately, the set was frighteningly short – they only had 35 minutes, which is way to short for a band that has songs with an average length of about 10 minutes. So the concert was pretty much over in a heartbeat. Such a shame! (T)

Next band up was Grailknights – always good for a laugh! The muscular multicoloured musical heroes pulled one joke after another, in the meantime performing their songs pretty well! Epic battles, slow-motion attacks and drinking – even though these are a lot of fun to watch, the musical aspect is a bit overshadowed by this. Maybe less Monty Python and more actual head banging? The crowd didn´t seem to mind however – there was a lot of muscle-showing and ´Yes Sire!´-ing. In a nutshell, Grailknights is that guy that you always want to have at your party. (T)

The Dutch horde from Heidevolk looked a bit different than usual. Singer Mark and guitar player Reamon unfortunately couldn’t join the Paganfest tour and were replaced by Jacco (Conorach) and Kevin Storm (Autumn). Just one day before this show, Heidevolk released their newest album Velua, so it was no surprise that we got treated with a lot of new songs including Winter Woede, Urth and Drankgelag. Even though the tour had just started, Jacco and Kevin seemed to fit great into the line-up of Heidevolk and they did a great job performing these new songs, as well as the older songs as Ostara, Dondergod and of course the favorite song of the German audience: Vulgaris Magistralis. (I)

The Finns of Turisas managed to grab everybody’s attention with a showy, Byzantine-themed, flaming red back drop, that featured the faces of the band members painted as icons prominently. Now, I do like that some bands go beyond the usual ‘black with (unreadable) logo’ backdrop, but Turisas took it over the top instantly. Aside from that, the band played songs from each effort of their discography, which pleased the fans who found Turisas 2013 less accessible. The biggest surprise was a cover of : It’s A Sin (Pet Shop Boys) which turned out to be an even bigger crowd pleaser than Battle Metal. I guess there is a little disco maniac in all metal heads. (L)

Tour headliner Wintersun started their show by playing the entire Time album in a row. Happy me, because I happen to completely love this album, and it’s the first time I heard all the songs live in the ‘right’ order! Even after all those years, the magic of this album is still there for me, and it seemed like I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t stand still. After this happened, the audience kept banging and enjoying themselves on the older tunes like Death And The Healing and Starchild, until suddenly something unknown came by; Wintersun debuting a new song ‘Forest’. Like every Wintersun song, the song sounded pretty complicated, and way too deep to process it after hearing it live just once. All with all, a great performance! (I)

The special guest of the evening was Korpiklaani, who could by now be called Paganfest veterans. They played for a somewhat smaller crowd (still sizeable) as some people where leaving to get home. For those who haven’t followed the band in recent years, only the early songs like Pellonpekko, Journey Man and Wooden Pints were the hits of the evening. However, the newer tunes were appreciated by the audience as well, who decided to close off Paganfest in only right way: by dancing to humppa metal! (L)

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