Monday 22nd July 2024,
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Report: Wave Gotik Treffen 2023

João Osório 08/06/2023 Festivals, Reports Comments Off on Report: Wave Gotik Treffen 2023
Report: Wave Gotik Treffen 2023

This year we were once again present at Wave-Gotik-Treffen. 2023 marked the celebration of the festival’s 30th edition.

Day #1

We started our trip differently this year, as we had time, we went to Clara-Zetkin-Park where, every year, on the first day of the event, the Victorian picnic takes place. Dozens of people dressed up as if it was the 18th century started arriving at the park around lunchtime and continued throughout the afternoon, providing an interesting view in which the past is revisited.

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After that, we took the tram and went to Heidnisches Dorf where the Swedish folk metal band Utmarken was starting their performance. The band, which has been active since 2015, played songs from their 3 albums released in the last 8 years, although they focused more on the last album of 2021. “Förfallstid”, “Välkommen till Norrland”, “Jaktmarker”, “Älgtid björntid vargtid”, “Hell Odin”, “Svåra år”, “Bröder i strid”, “Hedningablod”, “Lidandets väg” were some of the songs that were played. The joy with which the band members played combined with the fact that they genuinely showed how happy they were to be at WGT, and the festive musical genre played contributed to the concert they gave being very positive.

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Then Shireen took the stage. Shireen is a Dutch band that plays what they call Witchpop, a mix of modern music, rock and folk. Led by the talented vocalist Annicke Shireen, the band performed a sober and very intense concert, where it was clear that the audience was always connected to Shireen’s performance. From the beginning with “Game of Wits” to the end with “Values in Blood”, songs like “Have it So”, “So Human of You”, “Bright as Daylight”, “Tiny Boxes”, “Unmarked”, “Storm”, “God”, “Taste de Flames”, “Running from Wolves”, “Cloudweaver” entertained the audience.

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After this excellent performance, Harpyie, a German folk metal band, followed. The venue was almost full and when the band started playing the first riffs, there was some movement in the crowd. In addition to the folk energy, the band uses a lot of groove in their sound, which makes it more powerful. The band chose “Dunkelschwarz”, “Schneeblind”, “Fauler Zauber”, “Blutadler”, “Der schwarze Mann”, “Totem”, “Freakshow”, “Berserker”, “Seemann Ahoi”, “Monster”, “Ikarus”, while songs sung in German, helped make the venue explode with movement and exultation.

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After the brutality of Harpyie’s concert, it was time for the mood to calm down a little with the next band: Qntal, an electro-medieval band. Unfortunately, the group experienced a lot of technical issues during soundcheck and the concert began more than half an hour late. Sadly, we missed the Qntal performances due to moving to Agra, where the Lord of the Lost concert would take place. Ten minutes after we arrived the concert started. Great delivery from the band members with a good sound quality coming out of the speakers. After a long intro, they start with the song “The Curtains Fall” and then “Morgana” followed. The concert was certainly one of the best concerts we have had the pleasure of seeing in the years we have been covering WGT. The band was tight, solid and well-rehearsed. “Kill It With Fire”, “The Future of A Past Life”, “Dry the Rain”, “Under the Sun”, “The Gospel of Judas”, “Full Metal Whore”, “Blood for Blood”, “Reset the Preset”, “Loreley”, “One Last Song” and “Drag Me To Hell” were executed with mastery, bringing the crowd to a roar. Many danced, jumped and headbanged with the electronic/industrial sounds, drums and guitars of Lord of The Lost. One of the highlights was the audience singing along to the song “Blood & Glitter” in chorus, proving that what isn’t good for some (Eurovision Song Contest 2023) is gold to others. It was an excellent end to the first day of the celebrations of the WGT 30th edition.

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Day #2

On the second day, we returned to Heidnisches Dorf and arrived a little before Wolfenmond started playing. Wolfenmond is a German medieval rock band inspired by Viking mythology from the late 90s (1999 to be precise). Their career is long and so is his discography. After a hiatus of a few years, they returned to the stage in 2023 and their comeback aroused our curiosity. Under the command of vocalist Sonja Saltara, the band gave a strong and lively concert, her joy on stage and her communication with the audience made this concert a very enjoyable moment.

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Next, came Vogelfrey, another German folk rock band. As time went by, more and more people were arriving at the venue and, by the time they started playing, it was full. The joyful sound of electric guitars, violin and cello quickly won the public over and throughout the crowd, people could be seen shaking their bodies and dancing. Some of the songs such as “Nie wieder Met”, “Galgenvogel”, “Magst Du Mittelalter?”, “Legenden”, “Feenfleisch”, “Flammenvogel”, “Mittelalter Rockstar”, were highlights of the performance and brought joy to many of those present.

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Next, we went to Agra, to follow the performance of the legendary Swedish electronic band Covenant. When we arrived, Hocico was performing on stage and, from what we saw, they were nailing it, the concert was absolutely devastating. As we arrived mid-concert, we enjoyed the rest of the show that the Mexican electro-industrial band was delivering. As we didn’t watch the entire lineup, we can only confirm that they played “Poltergeist”, “Altered States”, “Forgotten Tears” and ended the performance with “Tiempos de Furia”, which consequently led to everyone dancing and jumping. After a short break, Covenant finally took the stage. The group had the difficult task of keeping the audience going after the release of emotions and rhythms provided by Hocico, and they succeeded. Many people, like us, were curious about the Swedes’ performance. Songs like “Der Leiermann” (the opener), “Bullet”, “I Close My Eyes”, “False Gods”, “Dead Stars”, “Stalker”, “We Stand Alone”, “Ignorance & Bliss”, “Ritual Noise”, “Prometheus”, “Lightbringer”, held the audience in this emblematic venue that is Agra.

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After such good shows, it was time to return to Heidnisches Dorf and witness the last band of the day: the pagan folk band Faun. This concert was a little different and special (a romantic night concert) as they focused on an acoustic component. The low light on stage contributed to the feeling of intimacy, where it was sometimes difficult to distinguish the members of the band. They started the concert with the song “Baldur”, and then came the carousel of some of the most beautiful melodies created by Faun, paraded in an acoustic and intimate format. “Alba”, Walpurgisnacht”, “Nacht des Nordens”, “Odin”, “Gwydion”, “Iduna”, “Galdra”, “Rhiannon” and “Hymn to Pan” were some of the songs performed by the group. It was a great way to end the day (night) more sweetly and calmly.

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Day #3

On the third day, we came across a situation that has been common in recent years: Metal events in two different places, several kilometers apart, on the same day, in both of which we would like to be present to report both to our readers. In this impossibility, we had to choose to be present in the one that seemed to raise the most expectations among our readers. So, we headed to Heidnisches Dorf again.

The first band we saw take the stage was XIV Dark Centuries, a German Pagan Metal band from the Thuringia region, a band formed in the 90s but still active. Despite its longevity, the band only has 4 albums released in its career, all of them which were revisited during this show. Songs from the 4 albums and the 2005 EP were performed, such as: “Skogafulka”, “Firratan”, “Auf zur Schlacht”, “Svava”, “Teutonentanz”, “Runibergun”, “Zeit der Rache”, “Sunna”, “Atme den Wald”, “Bragarful”. The songs closer to a more Viking metal approach were a good bet to liven up the crowd that was filling the venue.

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And speaking of Viking metal, the band that took the stage next was Thyrfing, a Viking/black metal band that needs no introduction. This Swedish act, born in 1995 and featuring an extensive curriculum, put up one hell of a show, and it was quite clear that a large part of the audience was there to see them. From the beginning, the band delighted the fans with “Mot Helgrind” until the last with “Kaos återkomst”. The mood was festive even though some songs brought a lot of darkness to their atmosphere. Not only did they play songs from the 2 most recent albums, but they also covered some classics: “Döp dem I eld”, “Fredlös”, “Mjölner”, “Sweoland Conqueror”, “Järnhand”, “Jordafärd”, “Veners förfall”, “Far åt helvete”, “Digerdöden”, “Storms of Asgard” were kept for last, culminating in a giant round of applause from the audience.

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Next, Skálmöld took the stage, another Viking/folk metal band that has gained a lot of fans in recent years. After an intro, the band began with “Árás”, from their first album from the distant year 2010. One fine detail about this group is that almost all the members know how to sing and contribute to the vocal diversity in the band. The good selection of songs as well as their diversity, not only instrumental but also in vocal spectrum, contributed to the audience’s warm welcome to this Icelandic band. The Icelanders focused mostly on their second album “Börn Loka” (2012) as well as the latest album “Sorgir” (2018). “Gleipnir”, “Brúnin”, “Narfi”, “Mara”, “Miðgarðsormur”, “Niflheimur”, “Fenrisúlfur”, “Móri”, “Niðavellir”, “Að vetri” and “Kvaðning” helped the audience to move, dance, jump and, of course, headbang.

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After our stay in Heidnisches Dorf we went to see Rotting Christ, who was performing at Felsenkeller. We crossed the city to the place and when we arrived, Eisregen had just finished performing. Just in time. After the change of instruments, Rotting Christ took the stage. The venue was full and, with a set of lights in which darkness prevailed, the band opened with “666” setting the tone for a concert focused on the past and darker themes.”Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy”, “Fire, God and Fear”, “dub-sag-ta-ke”, “Apage Satana”, “Demonon Vrosis”, “Societas Satanas”, “Non Serviam”, “In Yumen-Xibalba “, “Grandis Spiritus Diavolos”, echoed inside the room. It was clear that the audience was knowledgeable about the themes and listened with pleasure to the band’s older songs. The Greek veterans ended with the song “Raven”, one of the band’s most hypnotic songs and in which the public’s communion with the group was undeniable.

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Day #4

On this last day, after consulting the program, we concluded that the one that best suited the tastes of our readers continued to be located in the Heidnisches Dorf and Agra area. And that’s where we went.
Arriving at Heidnisches Dorf, Manntra was starting to play. Manntra is a Croatian rock band with some electronic and industrial elements. Even though we weren’t very familiar with this band, what we had heard made us craving for more. The concert started with the song “Heathens”, and right away it became clear why this band is gaining more and more fans. Then, “Morama” was heard and came the first pyrotechnic display. Pyrotechnic effects with fire were a constant during the concert, which contributed to such a better show and in which the public demonstrated a greater reception for the band. If this concert had been at night and not during the afternoon, the colour of the flames in the dark would have made this concert pop into something memorable. “Yelena”, “Ori Ori” featuring a clapping crowd, “Barren King”, “In the Shadows”, “Koningsmord”, “Slave”, “Et In Peccatum”, “Lipa”, “Nightmare” were some of the songs featured, interspersed with multiple pyrotechnic displays.

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Then we moved to Agra and arrived just in time to see Forced to Mode, a Depeche Mode tribute band. Basically, the musical lineup consisted of several Depeche Mode classics played competently by this band. Being a tribute act, the secret to keeping the audience hooked is playing a fluid setlist. And they did. “World in My Eyes”, “Walking in My Shoes”, “Halo”, “Shake the Disease”, “Leave in Silence”, “Stripped”, “The Things You Said”, “Home”, “Nothing”, “A Question of Time”, “Personal Jesus”, “Enjoy the Silence”, “Photographic”, “Never Let Me Down Again” were some of the songs with which Forced to Mode paid homage to Depeche Mode and the public joined in this celebration.

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Then we continued inside the Agra venue to see Eisfabrik, a German electro-pop band. After an intro, the concert began with the song “Mirror”. Soon the danceable electronic sounds from these Germans took over the place and people began to dance and move their bodies everywhere. “Grim Reaper”, “A Million Lights”, “Saving Shore”, “No Matter”, “White Storm”, “Schneemann”, “Eins mit dem Wind”, “Walking Towards the Sun”, “The Choice”, ” Friends” were some of Eisfabrik’s hits that contributed to the party inside the facilities.

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Stay and watch Frontline Assembly or go see Apocalypse Orchestra? Hard choice. We chose to return to Heidnisches Dorf.

Apocalypse Orchestra is a Swedish medieval folk/doom metal band. Having only one album in their career, it was thought that the setlist would be that album. Wrong. “Pyre” and “Flagellants’ Song” from the “The End Is Nigh” album were the first two songs played. And then came the first surprise of the night. “Virago”, a brand new song was presented to the public. As the band has already composed several songs for a new record (no release date yet), the band chose WGT to introduce the new material to the public for the first time. After “Theatre of War” came another new song: “Anchorhold”. Another from the album “Here Be Monsters”, another new “Saint Yersinia”, ending the performance with “The Garden of Earthly Delights”, the first song from the band’s debut full-length.

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Given the lateness of the hour and because we had scheduling commitments the following day, we had to give up on The Mission concert, the last concert that took place in Agra.

Another year, and we just have to thank the Wave Gotik Treffen organization for the opportunity they gave us to cover this festival and tell you all about it once again.


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