METALDAYS 2013 – Day 5 – Tolmin, Slovenia

METALDAYS 2013 – Day 5 – Tolmin, Slovenia

We have sadly come to the end.  Yes, day five.  Longer than every other festival, yet it still feels like it went by way too fast.  That’s the sign of a good time, though!  Sadness aside, let’s get to the last day.  It was a full one!

Eternal Deformity was first, and they were definitely worth coming out early for.  Playing an avante garde sort of doom metal, these Polish veterans – they’ve been around since 1993 – have a very distinctive sound.  A sound of which could be difficult to present live.  However, present it they did, with flawless execution.  The offbeat time signatures and very progressive riffs these guys are known for sounded superb.  Add in their fitting haunting atmosphere, and you have one of the best bands of the festival.  A shame more people didn’t turn up.  Their loss!

A long two-hour plus break followed.  How to spend this time, you ask?  Time to FINALLY take a dip in the Soča River!

One of the most intriguing elements of the MetalDays festival is the fact that the grounds include a beach on this beautiful river.  Unlike the rivers that I’m used to, which are so polluted that you’ll end up growing a tail from the radiation, this one was crystal clear and gorgeous.  So for the next few hours, it was time to swim and wade in this valley of awesome.  Sucks to be me!

After that refreshing swim, it was back to the bands.  Under the Abyss, a French thrash outfit, was the first band on the list.  Harkening a little towards some classic metal, their old school style had a fresh approach – something not easily achieved.  A pleasant surprise, for sure, as fans of the older stuff done right will enjoy what these dudes are doing.  Unfortunately, only a few songs were watched, as the dreaded clash came into play again.

BLOODSHOT DAWN live @ Metaldays 2013
(Photo: Dan Barkasi)

Bloodshot Dawn is a band of which this guy was quite excited about.  A blisteringly fast melodic death/thrash hybrid, these Brits tunes are super potent.  Having been a fan for a few years now, and the band never have been to my shores, this was an important one.  Boy did they make the wait worth it!  A lively stage show along with precision instrumentation, as well as a very fun atmosphere, made for one hell of a set.  The band even encouraged a dancing mosh pit, to which many others and I proceeded to make complete asses out of ourselves.  Nobody cared how ridiculous they were acting, and it made for one fun moment, being the icing on the cake of a perfect set.

Another highly anticipated melodic death metal band, Karlahan, was about to show their stuff on the second stage.  A symphonic-driven sound was to be expected, but unlike most bands of that ilk, these guys also had a lot of snarl to their sound.  This sound translated to the stage very well, with the band playing a potent set of tunes tightly as possible.  These guys are impressive, and this guy can’t wait for these youngsters to lay down a full-length.

GRAVEWORM live @ Metaldays 2013
(Photo: Dan Barkasi)

Symphonic black metallers Graveworm were due up on the main stage, and a big of déjà vu was in order.  Having seen these guys at Summer Breeze the year prior, it was cool to see them in consecutive years in Europe.  Certainly not going to complain about a Graveworm show – ever.  And they delivered with a sublime showing, braving the sun and the heat, to give the crowd a dose of blackened darkness.  Stefano Fiori is one hell of a front man, and his imposing presence brings so much to the band’s live show.  A top act in the symphonic black metal scene, no doubt.  Not to be missed!

Progressive death metal veterans Karnak came out and put on a solid performance next, with the Italians blasting the audience with their blend of the heavy stuff.  I liked these guys before, but came out a bigger fan due to their on-stage prominence.  Gotta love it when a band surpasses what was expected.

METAL CHURCH live @ Metaldays 2013
(Photo: Dan Barkasi)

Re-united classic metal legends – and I do mean legends – Metal Church were the next act on the main stage.  Having never been able to see them before, and them not touring anywhere near me, this was a hell of an opportunity.  It ended up being one that I was beyond glad to have taken.  A high level was expected, but not this good.  Absolutely flawless.  Glad to have these guys back, and they showed that why they’re such a landmark act.  If the chance to catch them comes, take it.

Svart Crown, one of the most potent black/death bands in the scene today, followed.  Their latest release, "Profane", is the band’s best work to date, furthering the eagerness for their set.  A forceful show was what the crowd got, with these guys proving that they’re indeed a force to be reckoned with.  Definitely one of the better bands to play the fest, and hopefully they continue to receive more exposure.  With their songwriting talent and all out energy in the live arena, more people are going to be hearing about these guys.

PRIMORDIAL live @ Metaldays 2013
(Photo: Dan Barkasi)

Traveling back to the main stage, it was time for some Primordial.  The eclectic black metal act from Ireland has made waves with their ever evolving sound, as well as their intense live performances.  They don’t come around much to North America, either, so this was a special opportunity.  It did feel somewhat odd seeing a band of this ilk under the hot beating sun, but despite the lightness and heat, they put on a show for the ages.  Primordial’s music is the kind that the listener feels, and that is ever more evident live.  No band is quite like Primordial, and their passionate performance is as genuine as one will get.  What an experience!

Keeping with the theme of unique black metal, it was time for Otargos.  For those unfamiliar, these fine fellows are a French outfit that plays an avant garde style of black metal.  And they do so better than most.  Their albums all have a huge sound to them, with a delightful excess of razor sharp riffage.  These songs came off fantastically, and the band exuded a presence that most bands don’t achieve.  One of the loudest and heaviest at MetalDays, everybody into extreme metal should be listening to Otargos.

POWERWOLF live @ Metaldays 2013
(Photo: Dan Barkasi)

The last major clash of the festival was next, and it’s one where I had to sacrifice a band entirely.  Powerwolf and Tsjuder were clashing directly.  No possibility of a split, either.  A 100% overlap.  A tough one, but the decision was made to watch all of Powerwolf.  Reason being, having never seen Powerwolf and been wanting to for a good while now, and seeing Tsjuder multiple times in the last few years, the nod had to go to Powerwolf.

A good decision?  Is Epica overrated bantha fodder?  The answer to both is a resounding yes!

Powerwolf are an entity of their very own.  An over the top power metal sort of sound with very operatic vocals, with a theme of dressing up like priests and wearing corpse paint, all while maintaining a lyrical theme of mocking religion in an overtly silly manner.  Sound awesome?  It’s better!

The band put on an over the top fun show that was easily one of the best sets of the entire festival.  If you thought their music on album was a good time, multiply that by about ten, and you have a Powerwolf show.  Tons of energy and antics, and just as importantly, a very tight musical showing.  The crowd was singing along to every note, and everybody there – band included – were all smiles.  The need to see these dudes again is huge!  So fun!

After this, the night got very interesting.

AURA NOIR live @ Metaldays 2013
(Photo: Dan Barkasi)

After Powerwolf’s fun bit of blasphemy, it was time to see the black/thrash outfit Aura Noir.  One of the best in their respective genre, these guys keep getting better with every release.  And their in your face live shows leave no neck unwrecked.  The plan was to catch a few of their songs, watch a little bit of Wintersun, and then finish off with the end of Aura Noir’s set.  The beginning of Aura Noir went awesomely, and then it was off to watch the first few songs of Wintersun.

There was just one problem.  The power went out.

Everything went dark.  And I mean everything.  Wintersun’s intro music hit, and bam – total darkness.  Evidently, this shut down Aura Noir as well.  After about 20-30 minutes, the power came back on.  After about another 15 minutes or so, Wintersun began their set.  They began with a flurry, blasting out of the gate with gusto.  Wintersun live is so refined and pinpoint perfect that it’s ridiculous.  Unfortunately, only a few songs in, the power abruptly went out again.  Another lengthy delay, and the power again was restored, and Wintersun finished up with an unfortunately drastically reduced set.  To their credit, the songs they were able to get in were phenomenal, and the band did their very best during a difficult situation.  Thanks guys!

Unleashed was up on the second stage, and thankfully, the power-related problems were over.  The death metal legends put on their usual solid performance, which is the equivalent to smashing ones face in with a hammer.  So damn heavy.  Through all these years, they haven’t missed a beat.  That kind of longevity is to be admired, and with the quality of their music still strong and no signs of slowing down, they’re not going anywhere.  Thank Odin for that.

KING DIAMOND live @ Metaldays 2013
(Photo: Dan Barkasi)

A very, very rare treat was coming next.  Having battled health issues for years, this act is one I never thought I’d ever see.  Yes, this is the infamous King Diamond.

Having talked to people who have seen him before, the consensus is that the band’s stage show has to be seen to be believed.  They were right on the money.  Having a huge balcony and multiple staircases, a giant fence, you name it; it was probably on that stage.  The King’s voice also hasn’t degraded one bit, with an absolutely fabulous performance that was much better than was anticipated.  There was a decrepit grandma in a wheelchair, female dancers, and even a guy in drag having a fake miscarriage.  Insanity, right?  This was more than a show – it was a freaking event.  Beyond happy that I was able to experience it.

Now, we come to the last band of MetalDays 2013.  Thankfully, said band was Candlemass.  Making their rounds on their farewell run, the Swedish doom institution is still going strong.  There’s something to be said for going out on top, and these guys are certainly doing just that.  Their last released, "Psalms for the Dead" was well represented, as well as a smattering of tracks from their illustrious career.  Hard to beat an ample dose of doom and gloom at 2am.  A perfect set to end a fantastic festival.


MetalDays was the longest festival this guy has ever attended.  It was also one of the most fun times I’ve ever had.  A wonderful lineup, a lot of good friends, and memories that will never be forgotten.  That’s what a festival like this is all about, folks.  All in all, MetalDays was a rousing success.  Would I attend this festival again?  No question!  The organizers did a good job and put on a good show for everybody.  Will I go back again next year?  Time will tell.  However, I will say this – MetalDays will definitely see my shadow again, and I would recommend at least one visit to this wonderful festival to every metal fan.  The atmosphere is one of a kind, and you’ll have a guaranteed good time.


Also, here’s a top ten list of my favorites at the festival.  Agree or disagree?  Let me know what you think!


1. Legion of the Damned

2. Powerwolf

3. Meshuggah

4. Leprous

5. Stormcast

6. Taake

7. Eternal Deformity

8. Otargos

9. Svart Crown

10. Hypocrisy


I hope you all enjoyed my novel of a festival report.  You’re welcome for the eye strain and the insane amounts of jealousy.  Thanks for reading!