2016-07-30 DE –Balver Höhle
:: MAIN ::
:: FRIDAY ::

Vemod - Sol Invictus - Alcest - GlerAkur - Antimatter - Bohren And Der Club Of Gore - Völur - Wöljager

Although I was pretty much knackered I woke up before the alarm. Ok, never mind, more time for breakfast, because the second festival day starts early.

:: pics :: WÖLJAGER ::

At 11 am in the morning many fans got together to experience the theater-musical play Van‘t Liäwen un Stiäwen (Of living and dying), which is the brainchild of Helrunar’s mastermind Skald Draugir. As for that we had to go back to the so charming gun club, which was really well filled at this early hour.
Van‘t Liäwen un Stiäwen tells the story of Wilhelm, a boy with a supernatural gift he gets damned and rejected for almost his entire life. He gets played by Stefan Naszay. Also director Konrad Haller has a short appearance too, while Marcel Dreckmann led through the play lyrically. This time he did in High German and not in the special dialect the play is written. But most of all it is Tine Schoch who impresses. She plays the mother/Magdalena/Anne Ruhkamp so asskickingly great, it blew me away. What a charismatic actress.
Although the story plays far in the past, the theme is up-to-date, mirroring social evils. The simplicity and tragedy of the play is highly emotional and incredibly touching. After 75 minutes many fans are moved to tears. Van‘t Liäwen un Stiäwen was an excellent experience!

:: band pics ::

After a short countryside walk, I headed back to witness another mind-blowing European live premiere. Hailing from Toronto, Canada, :: VÖLUR :: were signed to the Prophecy family in April and released their debut, Disir, in June. They played one song from this album, Es wächst aus seinem Grab, surprisingly a German title (notice to myself, what about an interview with them to ask about that?). All the other tracks were unreleased to date. Another premiere I’d say ;) As it happened yesterday, first band, first highlight. Once again I had goose bumps and shivers were running up and down the spine. Such awesome music and an even greater atmosphere, as made for this cave. Strongly recommended by a huge audience that almost frenetically celebrated them.
Setlist: Breaker Of Skulls, Es wächst aus seinem Grab, Breaker Of Silence, Breaker Of Oaths

Dark, darker, pitch black! :: BOHREN UND DER CLUB OF GORE :: was the one and only non-label band and came to push minds and souls of festival attendees into a fathomless abyss. The sound of the cave was perfect to support this undertaking, even if we got the first overridden bass sequences. That BOHREN played the PROPHECY FEST was something really special to me. I love this band and every show I have seen so far was pure magic. And so this show turned out to be a breathtaking highlight too. With well-known non-light scenery, tons of smoke and creepiness turned the so far lively cave into a wavy sea of hypnotized people. Announcements, as dry as a bone, though carried the fans to short burst of laughter. Stunningly awesome!

:: ANTIMATTER :: not so soon afterwards couldn’t keep up that level of intensity. It was a good show, no doubt, but without special moments. Vic Anselmo, guest keyboarder and guest vocalist for ANTIMATTER back then, was also at the fest but not on stage. The set was a best-of one spanning the first four records, so we got quite few classics not heard live for a longer time. Beside, ANTIMATTER caused a 30 minutes delay that couldn’t be outweighed anymore. Vemod took it easy ;) Nice, but I expected a bit more. And got what I was longing for short after ;)

Let’s talk about THE highlight of PROPHECY FEST 2016! Icelandic band :: GLERAKUR ::. This project is the brainchild of Elvar Geir Sævarsson and has to be one of the most recent signings to PROPHECY PRODUCTIONS. It’s a wild mix of Post Rock, Drone, Ambient, Shoegaze, Black Metal, and whatever. The Icelandic style. Crazy. And different. There is already a single out, Can't You Wait, and this one is an epic masterpiece. There is something huge in the making! For this live show at PROPHECY FEST, Elvar Geir Sævarsson got a special band together, consisting of 4 guitarists, 2 bass players and 2 drummers. And it sounded as it looked like: a massive wall of sounds. Eye catcher surely was guitarist Heiða Eiríksdóttir, who played her soul out, totally unleashed. GLERAKUR had to face some technical difficulties as the announced multimedia show didn’t work. No visuals needed, it all gets created in your mind by listening to this fantastic music. The crowd in the cave was totally blown away, screamed and chanted for more. Me too. Now I’m dying to see them playing a long lasting full show! Excellent. Stunning. Truly amazing.
Setlist: Polycide, Willocide - Part 1 & 2, Can't You Wait, Strings. Part 1 & 2

Aaahhh… what a concert night. Next up is :: ALCEST ::, adding 15 more minutes to the delay. For nothing. I don’t know what happened to sound or technique, but ALCEST were suffering from the terribly overdriven bass sound. You couldn’t hear anything else, like singing, or hardly ever. And this now indeed narrowed the pleasure. Even more as ALCEST played their brilliant sophomore, Écailles De Lune, in its entirety… *sighs*. ALCEST have a new album ready. It is entitled Kodama and will be released on Sept 30. A first song got released, which is stunning, and regarding first press comments, it must be a masterpiece (again).
Setlist: Écailles de lune - Part 1, Écailles de lune - Part 2, Percées de lumière, Abysses, Solar Song, Sur l'océan couleur de fer, Autre temps, Là où naissent les couleurs nouvelles, Délivrance

Tony Wakeford is a man with an eventful and debatable history but nonetheless also one of the founders of a genre known as Neofolk. After Death In June and Above The Ruins his musical home for almost 30 years is called :: SOL INVICTUS ::, where Wakeford has been the sole constant member of the group since its inception. SOL INVICTUS have released many albums with changing musicians and played a set picking songs from many chapters of the band’s history. But the line-up for the show here at the Balve Cave was unique: Next to the known members of the last years, also Don Anderson (formerly Agalloch) on guitar, violinist and singer Matt Howden as well as London-based cellist and composer Joanna Quail joined as specials guest musicians. SOL INVICTUS also had to face some technical difficulties but didn’t care that much and instead enjoyed playing together this fantastic show. The crowd? Freaking out, of course ;) Tony Wakeford finished the set in a typical black-humored British manner as he announced the last song, Kneel To The Cross, as an Agalloch cover, cheering to Don Anderson ;) (Agalloch covered this song on their 2001 EP Of Stone, Wind, And Pillor).
Setlist: We Are The Dead Men, Media, Sawney Bean, Stay, Fall Like Rain, English Garden, The World Shrugged, In Days To Come, Old London Weeps, Killing Tide, Hill Of Crosses, Twa Corbies, Blackleg Miner, Black Easter, Kneel To The Cross

Last year, the show of wonderful Norwegian band :: VEMOD :: was suffering from a huge delay. Many fans had already left, when the band got on stage back then. To make amends VEMOD got invited again to play this year’s edition of PROPHECY FEST and… had to face delays again. Not that much this year, 45 mins instead of 75 mins and, what was even more important, this year fans stayed. So, despite of the late hour, VEMOD played in front of a much crowded cave and conjured once again their blue and stellar magic. Those who didn’t know them where astonished and then enthused from toe to tip. Those who already knew them sank into the blue and drifted away. What a stunning show once again and a worth finale to the PROPHECY FEST 2016!
Setlist: Intro I, Intro II, At First Light, Der Guder Dør, Venter På Stormene, Ikledd Evighetens Kappe, Interlude, Og Vinden Sang Mitt Navn

Way too fast the festival was over. While the Prophecy team started to clean up, many fans left to drive home, and many stayed for chats and talks with old and new fans. Everywhere praising words about the festival and its organization were to hear… no, not just praising, highly acclaimed and enthusiastic words were heard. And many about come back next year. I will come back! And I’m already looking forward to meet you all again :).


story & pics © Dajana & Dajana Winkel • Photography