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Metal Female Voices Fest Day 2
Written by SC Staff   
Saturday, 18 February 2017

Metal Female Voices Fest Day 2 (Metal Day 1)
Saturday, 22 October 2016
Oktoberhallen, Belgium
Written by Doctor T, Kassandra Novell, Ton Dekkers

Metal Female Voices Fest Day 2 

Saturday morning saw the beginning of the metal part of MFVF. The night before had been an acoustic show and it was delightful. But most of the people at this event came for the metal. And they got what they came for early.

I showed up just before the start of the first band with Ton Dekkers with whom I shared a room. We came in his car from Aalst since I had gone home with him Friday night, I was in no shape to drive so my car remained at the venue, which it did again Saturday night for similar reasons. But, I was very much interested in catching the first act, Evig Natt from Norway, a band I had come to know a little since writing a review of their latest release for the Zine. I also had a bit of history with vocalist Kirsten Jorgensen from a previous article where she had been involved. And, beyond that, I am very impressed by their music.

Kirsten showed up in a very different attire from the more conservative outfit she had worn the previous evening during her performance in the acoustic show. This was Gothic metal after all, and the ladies do dress the part. And Evig Natt put on a solid performance covering tracks from several releases. The one that stood out for me was “How I Bleed” from their latest. Following their performance, the band seemed to spend most of the next 2 days backstage in the VIP area where they were a very popular, and friendly item for the assembled hooligans. Seemed like pretty much everyone met and talked to them at some point.

Evig Natt
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Metal Female Voices Fest Day 2

MFVF has always been an international event with bands from different parts of the world and it was that way again this year. We had bands that first night from a number of countries including Japan, China, Poland, Norway and other locations. They suggest that this genre is clearly expanding with top acts showing up in the most unexpected places. And the second band was from one of my favorite femme metal locales; Chile. The band was Mourning Sun, a somewhat different sound than much of what appeared on the bill. Vocalist Ana Carolina had performed Friday night and no one really knew what to expect Saturday. But, it was clear that this was a different approach to the femme metal sound. I guess the term ethereal might be appropriate. The band was clearly quite professional, but the sound was a bit more in line with some of the things I had heard during the hazy days of the 60s and 70s. Ana Carolina clearly had a voice that worked with that style and I made a point later to ask for a copy of their latest for review on the Zine.

Mourning Sun
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Metal Female Voices Fest Day 2

Ancient Myth is a band from Japan, one of a number of Japanese bands Helcanen Val has brought over for the festival over the past several years. And they proved to be as good as any of them. Personally, although I try to keep up with the sounds from Japan that Val introduces us to, I had no experience with this one although others seemed to know something about them. The Japanese Femme Metal bands are all more than a little interesting, musically and visually. And, Ancient Myth followed this tendency. The vocalist was a lovely lady with orangish hair and she put on a performance, vocally and in her stage presence. But, with the Japanese bands, it’s often difficult to tell whether the rest of the band is male or female, especially on stage. That was the case again here, and, it’s an interesting twist. Hard to tell who to focus on. They all looked good.

Ancient Myth
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Metal Female Voices Fest Day 2

 

Following the Japanese we were treated to a Chinese band from Taiwan; Crescent Lament. This band has been together for a while and maybe the most interesting component was a string instrument I hadn’t seen before. Believe they call it a Erhu or something like that. Made an interesting sound but there was plenty of metal to go along with it. And a solid vocalist. Muer, that vocalist, was a lovely lady with a rather large voice. They were a finely tuned band, both musically and in terms of performance. Another band that spent some time backstage with the troops, although I don’t think they drank as much as the English guys. But then, who did?

Crescent Lament
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Metal Female Voices Fest Day 2

 Spoil Engine was next. This band is composed of both Belgian and Dutch musicians and they did a style of music that was a bit different from much of the sound we heard for the 3 days. They’re described as “melodic thrash metal” which is truly a definition I haven’t heard of previously. Vocalist Iris Goessens does a harsh vocal and pretty much stays with it. Certainly one of the harder sounds of the weekend, more in line with typical metal in some respects.

Spoil Engine
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Metal Female Voices Fest Day 2

 The following act was Savn. This is a bit of a composite band, made up of some of my favorite musicians. The front woman is Carmen Elise Espenæs, Liv’s younger sister and a performer familiar from her time with Midnattsol. She is joined by two former members of one of my favorite all time bands, The Sins of Thy Beloved. They were joined by a solid violinist and some guests, including Carmen’s sister. Lot of talent on stage for that one, and as close as I’m ever going to get to The Sins of Thy Beloved.

Savn
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Metal Female Voices Fest Day 2

 The next act was another I was highly anticipating. Artrosis is, arguably, one of the originators of Gothic Femme metal having begun in Poland during the 1990s. They have put out more music than probably any band to ever perform at MFVF and SonicCathedral is, in a sense, an outgrowth of this Polish musical direction, the site having begun largely as a result of the owner’s interest in Polish Femme metal. So, this was something of a historic occasion, at least for me. The band performs largely in Polish, at least, I’ve never heard anything in any other language, but the music was timeless, no matter what language the vocals were done in. Vocalist Magdalena "Medeah" Stupkiewicz-Dobosz has a magical voice and their set did nothing to lessen my interest in the band.

Artrosis
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Metal Female Voices Fest Day 2

 Kontrust came next, a German stage act I’d seen once before here at MFVF. They tend to come out like a German Beer Hall act but the music doesn’t always follow that theme. No Gothic, no Doom but a first rate stage show, one that moves to a highly structured sequence of events. They sometimes use stage props and often involve the crowd in their performance. It’s a different approach but it certainly works with the crowd. Just like last time.

Kontrust
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 Metal Female Voices Fest Day 2

Battlelore took us in a different direction. You could say there is a Viking thing here at first glance but, in actuality, it’s more focused on J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth sagas. So, you do get costumes and some stage craft but the music had a bit of a folk metal feel to it. The band had been relatively quiet for some time and this was a reawakening so to speak. There were a lot of people on stage and I have to comment that there was a lot of excitement prior to their performance. Seemed like the Europeans were a lot more familiar with them than I was but it was a solid performance and I enjoyed the show.

Battlelore
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Metal Female Voices Fest Day 2

 MaYaN, however, is one of the current biggies. This is Mark Jansen’s “other” band and I’m not sure which one is better. Laura Macrì does most of the female vocals but she wasn’t alone here. Stream of Passion vocalist Marcela Bovio found her way to the stage to join male vocalists Jansen, Henning Basse and George Oosthoek. From a vocal standpoint, this was probably the highlight of the show. I bought the CD immediately.

MaYaN
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Metal Female Voices Fest Day 2

The evenings final act was Leaves’ Eyes, complete with the Viking ship. This was actually the first time I’d seen Finish vocalist Elina Siirala live and she seemed to have settled in nicely with this first rate Gothic metal band. And, that Viking thing sure made for some interesting events back stage. I was nearly impaled on one sword while weaving around trying not to spill my beer, much to the amusement of the Viking warriors getting ready to go on stage. But, it made for an interesting stage set; lots of flame and fire and Viking warriors hacking and cutting in realistic violence on stage, all to the sounds of killer metal. Not a bad way to end the evening. g.

Leaves’ Eyes 1
Leaves’ Eyes 2
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Metal Female Voices Fest Day 2

 

Metal Female Voices Fest Day 2

So that was Day 2. A different approach from the previous night. There was a lot of material I certainly wasn’t familiar with but it was a great night. And, Sunday was poised to be even better.

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