The festival started with a pre-party on Wednesday, December 14th and The Stone were, in my opinion, the highlight of the day, even if Finn Baptism were more than a worthy closure, but they performed a second time the next day on the main stage; to tell the truth I found their performance a little flat. While the pre-party was held on the District Stage, ie the small stage, the actual festival included shows on two stages, the Large and the District. Unfortunately the concerts took place at the same time on the two stages and you had to choose which concerts to see, and the choice could sometimes be painful. Here is also a criticism: I think it was a pity that bands like Endezzma and especially Deströyer 666 had to play on the small stage (which is very small), and the venue was in fact completely full, as you can imagine, so I decided to give up and be all the time at the Large Stage. Apart from Endezzma and Deströyer 666, the highlights of the day were Blasphemy, Baptism, Cult of Fire, Dark Tranquility but above all Carpathian Forest. With a lineup revolutionized in 2017 with four new members from, among others, Svarttjern and Endezzma, the show of the legends of Norwegian black metal was, so to speak, peculiar: Nattefrost was completely drunk and showed off himself egocentrically, to say the least. He made long pauses between the songs in which he, with a “Ssshhh”, demanded the silence of the audience to embark on a sort of comedy cabaret show, which, while on one hand entertained and made the audience laugh, on the other it seemed a waste of time: at a festival you should not overrun. Although all the thing was funny, it irritated some spectators and I heard someone from the first rows screaming: "You're drunk, go home!" I even had the feeling that the band members themselves were a bit perplexed (see the videos below).
The second day opened with Ukrainian melodic blacksters Balfor, a very interesting band of which I ignored the existence before, and then Swedish thrashers Darkane did an honest show despite some technical problems at the beginning. From this moment the highlights of the day: Gaahls Wyrd, who made a very intense and involving show in which Gaahl proved to be a great frontman. Tankard delivered an energetic and cheerful show, with the singer continually involving the audience, while Swedish Merciless announced that the show at the EMM would be the last one. Swiss Coroner were perhaps the best of the day with their technical, high-class and elegant thrash metal, and above all seeing Tommy T. Baron, one of the best electric guitarists of all time, gave me goose bumps. Venom were also great, they really know how to stand on stage; pity that once again I had to give up seeing another band at the District Stage, French The Great Old Ones. The festival was closed by Czech Master's Hammer, with a fairly flat show in my opinion.
All in all a great festival and an experience to repeat.
Text, photo and videos by Herjann