With the excitement from day one still boiling in our blood, we were eager as kids as we made our way to the second day of this year’s installment of the MetalDays festival in Tolmin, Slovenia. With nothing but strong names on the bill, a good time was guaranteed. Bring it on, day two!
The first on our list for today was Tesseract, the incredible British modern metal prodigies. Honestly, I’m surprised that they were scheduled so early in the day, as the sun was still keeping the crowd away from the main stage. For a band that boasts technicality, it would be very superfluous to talk about the quality of their musicianship. What they could work on is the stage presence, but I guess they are one of those bands that let the music do the talking (and they weren’t the only ones tonight). I’m not talking Ghost level shenanigans, but a little sign to show the audience that you enjoy being here – it goes both ways after all.
Storming the stage next was Battle Beast, Finnish power metal warriors fronted by the fierce Noora Louhimo. They got the crowd dancing and woke up the people who weren’t quite impressed by Tesseract, and that’s no surprise. Battle Beast thrive on the age-old fact: metalheads love pop music but the constraints of the subculture don’t let you admit that to yourself or others. That’s why there’ll always be a place for Battle Beast, Sabaton and the likes in the scene: they need a band that makes it OK to listen to pop by masking it with distortions and the image. They are a fun, talented bunch and a great way to get the crowd ready for the rest of the day.
The next to hit the main stage was none other than the band many consider the pioneers and the leaders of the progressive thrash metal genre: Coroner. Their show was like a surgery: precise and meticulous but cold and sterile, yet you’re still glad you’ve had it. The band did what they do best and let their music do the talking, not even saying goodbye to the crowd. I was especially glad to see Tommy Vetterli, the man who lent his six-string talents to the mighty thrash metal titans Kreator.
As the first day proved, folk metal has a special place at any festival, and MetalDays is no different. Who better to get the crowd going than the cheerful Finns in Ensiferum? Jumpy as ever, they got the crowd jumping, dancing, moshing and surfing leaving no one indifferent to their on-stage shenanigans. Even though they were down a keyboard (or rather accordion) player, that did not stop them from delivering their folk metal classics. Having recently seen them in a smaller venue, I have to say that they more of an impact in a small venue with a select few people in the crowd.
The night finally fell as the bright stage lights illuminated the industrial-style set up of the mighty Accept. Having seen them with Sabaton last year, I was looking forward to a headlining performance like this one. And they did not disappoint. Precise as clockwork, the band stormed through some of their greatest hits like “Balls to the Wall”, “Fast as a Shark”, “Restless and Wild” as well as their new classics the band recorded with their “new” singer Mark Tornillo. Nitpicking their set for flaws would be a sacrilege and a pointless effort at that since the band delivered an impeccable set worthy of a festival headliner.
Though Accept was not the only one competing for the title. Over at the Boško Bursać stage the ominous, demonic stage setup drew in the crowds looking forward to seeing one of the most controversial bands today, Watain. Having heard a lot about their performances, I can say words can’t begin to describe them. That’s why I won’t waste many. Chanting to himself while lighting the huge trident props on the stage, Eric Danielsson is truly a fear-inciting figure. Whatever you think about them, you can’t say their shows aren’t impressive. And to clear any doubts – the pig blood they are known to spray at the crowd is real, having been one of the unlucky ones to be hit by it.
Overall, the second day made more of an impression than the first one, with a few iconic acts I’ve been dying to hear for a while. The notorious gods of weather in Tolmin heard our prayers and granted us another dry and sunny day. Let’s see what the third day brings.
Written by Jovan Ristić