It’s Monday, July 23th, first day of Metaldays 2018. It’s 3PM and the whole festival area is packed with metalheads: some with already too much beer in their bellies, others navigating the river with inflatable unicorns and pink flamingos. Time to start the experience with a running order full of interesting acts!

Italian version

Starting the shows on the main stage are Moros, a small band from Vorarlberg (Austria), with their self-named “alcoholic death/thrash metal”. The audience is still scarce, maybe because of the heat at its peak, but it’s definitely moved by the guitar riffs and the general headbanging.

A swift change in the equipment and the people let out a huge roar when Anneke Van Giersbergen comes on stage with her new band, formed in 2016: Vuur. The setlist is obviously centered on their last (and first) album, “In This Moment We Are Free – Cities” (2017), conceived after the singer’s various experiences and travels around the globe. Despite the muggy weather, the band is in top shape and captivates the audience. After a brief setlist, due to short stage times, the band closes the set with “Strange Machines“, a legacy of Anneke’s long period with The Gathering. This is how Vuur said goodbye, for the first time ever, to the Slovenian audience, with a promise that they will come back soon.

VUUR

It’s now time for one of the most talked-about bands lately, which I always missed live. Jinjer are an authentic explosion on the Metaldays stage, and the huge crowd proves it.
I caught a glimpse of Tatiana Shmaylyuk erliear during the meet & greet session, and I barely recognized her due to covered tattoos, huge sunglasses and reserved attitude. But, here she is on her natural environment: the stage. With incredible energy, Jinjer deliver shivers down our spines. This is definitely one of those bands who are a thousand times better live than on record. And we like it that way!
After the classic “Who Is Gonna Be The One” (which was stuck in my head the whole week), time for other great pieces like “I Speak Astronomy” and “Pisces“. Shmaylyuk is perfectly at ease in switching from clean to growling vocals, definitely on par with better known frontwomen in the genre.

JINJER

With their shirts all buttoned up despite the heat, Leprous come on stage with extreme elegance, with their indescribable progressive metal. Einar Solberg‘s voice is able to recreate incredible atmospheres, taking the audience onto other planets. Equally great are guitarists’ and bass player’s voices, backing the lead singer.
The band plays songs from the latest album “Malina” (2017) and other, older ones like “Foe” and the nice one “The Flood“, ending with “Slave“.
The Norwegians caught my interest since the first note and, from my point of view, they’re definitely this Metaldays’ best discovery.

LEPROUS

Evening’s getting closer, and almost ten thousand people are waiting for the next band. I’m talking about one of the most successful ones in this edition, Alestorm. They don’t need introduction obviously, but let’s say they came on stage in a “happy” mood, with a giant inflatable duck. Not only figuratively speaking, the dance begins with “Keelhauled“. The masters of “True Scottish Pirate Metal” from Perth start their show like this, with the audience gone completely nuts with headbanging, moshpits, crowdsurfing and circle pits. What a show! Which goes on with great classics like “Alestorm“, “Drink” and the cover “Hangover” which gives – if it weren’t enough already – that surplus of trash to the whole thing (which is always good). Closing the performance, the mandatory “Fucked With An Anchor“, with the well known chorus echoing through the valley:

Fuck you, you’re a fucking wanker
We’re gonna punch you right in the balls
Fuck you with a fucking anchor
You’re all cunts so fuck you all
Fuck you, you’re a fucking wanker
We’re gonna punch you right in the balls
Fuck you with a fucking anchor
You’re all cunts so fuck you all

Alestorm greet us like this, bouncing the yellow giant duck on our heads. Surely not the finest of shows in terms of grace, but definitely one that gave the right push to this first day!

ALESTORM

Taking advantage of the Alestorm pit, the remaining MetalPit team takes a glimpse of the second stage for Skeletonwitch, which (sorry) on paper seemed to be very promising. The anticipation wasn’t met, unfortunately, as the band becomes boring soon, never completely cohesive and captivating, with a few good moments but nothing too special. Stage presence and the huge fanbase are not enough to break through, we hope it was just a bad day for the Ohio based band.

SKELETONWITCH

The light of day is completely gone, time to dive into Eluveitie‘s pure folk metal. The Swiss band are among the ones I’ve seen live most times, but I never back down and it’s always a pleasure. This time, I must admit with some regret, wasn’t one of their best performances at all. The sound was pretty bad at the beginning and it became just slightly better further in the evening. Moreover, the band was pretty flat. Of course, Chrigel Glanzmann got out of hospital just recently, after a week-long stay, so this might be one of the reasons behind this dull performance.
The guitarists and the bassist were totally off, and the women in the band saved the situation but just partially: because of technical problems or something else, Fabienne Erni‘s voice wasn’t the best. The last time I’ve had the pleasure of listening to her singing “Artio“, from their latest album “Evocation II – Pantheon“, I was so moved I had goosebumps. This time, a huge disappointment.
For some of the audience it was the first time hearing her live (after the lineup change with Anna Murphy and the others exiting the band), and I didn’t hear any enthusiastic opinions about. If anything, it was the opposite.
Unfortunate evening for Eluveitie, then, and I’m sorry I was this critic towards them, but sometimes we have to be objective even towards the band we follow with most enthusiasm.

ELUVEITIE

Darkness has fallen all over the valley, and everyone is waiting for the Behemoth‘s unique show, with their blackened death metal. One by one, Inferno, Orion, Seth and Nergal take position on stage, adorned by their classic and beautiful scenery. “Ov Fire And The Void” opens the show, followed by “Demigod” from their eponymous album (2004).
Without a single break, and with very few words exchanged with the enchanted people below them, the band continues with some pieces from their latest, great work “The Satanist” (2014) such as “Messe Noire” and “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel“.
Closing the concert, the much anticipated “O Father O Satan O Sun!“, with masks on the band’s faces, fire sweeping on the drums’ sides and a lit torch passing from one person to the other, among the audience.
First time for me seeing the Polish band live and, despite my great expectations, they managed to do much, much more than that. Without a doubt, I can say they were the best band in the whole festival.

BEHEMOTH