June 5th, 2016 | Goffertpark, Nijmegen – Day 2 of Fortarock 2016 (check the review of day 1 over here) can be considered as the main day of the festival, with 18 bands on the bill. Unfortunately there are no Dutch bands playing today, but some great international acts like Obituary, Disturbed, Megadeth, King Diamond and headliner Volbeat. The organization had to program some of the bands at the same time on a different stage. Because of this I didn’t manage to see all the bands to review, but that’s all in the game! From the moment the gates went open, it was clear that this was going to be a busy day. With approximately 20.000 visitors is was! The weather was perfect again, so time to go!
Now this is a band to wake up the sleepy heads! From the first second to the last, this band is spitting out their thrash metal. De audience is welcoming this solid wall of sound and despite the heat, there is quit some movement in the crowd. Havok is a band which is born to play live and if you get the chance to see them live… Go! Their show is probably not the most spectacular, but damn… what an energy! This band puts a smile on my face!
The first band to play at the big stage is Architects from Brighton. Their metalcore is a bit political inspired as the band is promoter of ‘Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’ and all members are veganists. Front man Sam Carter is energetic and throws in a lot of screams, which sometimes weakens the performance. It’s good to have a metalcore band on this festival and Architects was a good band to start this habit with.
Fleshgod Apocalypse (ITA)
I looked forward to this band. Their combination of metal with baroque influences are known for having a great show. When the intro starts, a lady in true classic opera outfit enters the stage, followed by the band in classical baroque clothing… In this heat, they deserve some bonus points for that! The lady singer is joining in too with her opera voice, although I doubt she is singing live… She has an important role and is living it to the max! The show is great and musically it is pretty good too! A lot to see and good music in a tent, which became a sauna.
Monster truck (CA)
I left Fleshgod Apocalypse a bit earlier to checkout the remainder of Monster Truck’s show. Well, this band isn’t playing anything like metal. What they play is a bit like the early days of hardrock when blues had a massive influence. I really enjoyed of what was left of the show of Monster Truck, as it brought back a lot of good memories.
Suicidal Tendencies (USA)
Even I can’t remember a time when Suicidal Tendencies was not around and I was curious if they still had it after some 35 years(!). Well let me tell you, within the first minute on the large stage it was obvious they did. God damn what a set did Suicidal Tendencies play! Fast, loud en typical American. Front man Mike Muir gained a few pounds, but who didn’t? It didn’t made him less energetic. The gig is fast with Dave Lombardo behind the drumkit and the crowd is singing along with every song. What a great performance!
Dark Funeral (SE)
Corpse paint galore! In the heat of the tent, Dark Funeral is playing their Satanic music in full leather outfits. I must give it to them. I’m in shorts and a shirt and I am sweating profoundly. This is the first time I see front man Heljarmadr (Andreas Vingbäck) and his band live and it is a very nice encounter. The atmosphere, temperature and humidity sure felt like we were in hell!
Amon Amarth (SE)
Another mythology based band on Fortarock. This time it is Nordic mythology brought by the Vikings of Amon Amarth! On the main stage there are two live size dragon heads whom belch smoke from their throats and a band that is having a fun time. Singer Johan Hegg talks a lot to the crowd and interacts with them during songs and they react enthusiastic. The melodic death metal is catchy and has a lot of details. Way, way, way to soon this performance is over. This is one hell of a band! Tight drums and frivolous guitar play at times.
This was another performance I was looking for and what a performance it turned out to be! During the opening tune Abbath enters the stage with a torch and a horn with flammable liquid… Soon the flames flew through the air and the crowd went beside themselves. Unfortunately there was something wrong with the guitar of Abbath and he got extremely angry during the first two songs. When that problem was over, he relaxed and laid down a stellar show.
On the main stage Megadeth made their appearance. When Dave Mustaine walks on stage the crowd of at least 15.000 people in front of the stage cheer loudly. All the known songs pass by and the typical sound of Dave Mustaine still fascinates people. His gestures are small, so not everybody is seeing what he does. But just like me, the most of the people just want to hear this legend perform. This show is A-grade and although there is not a lot of action on the stage, every move Dave Mustaine makes gets the crowd cheering. If you’re a metalhead, this was the performance you had to see and hear today.
There was a lot to do about Babymetal performing on Fortarock. Some were ecstatic and some were grumpy and said J-pop/rock has nothing to do with metal. The latter may have some trouble to listen a bit beyond the 3 girls voices. The band behind these girls is quite spectacular and has some great musicians. Of course this band is put together in the J-Pop style, but outgrew it. At Fortarock it was not allowed to take pictures of Babymetal by the press. I read that this was because of some sick pervert who took some indecent pictures of the girls on stage and published those. So no pictures of Babymetal thanks to an idiot.
Musically it’s overwhelming: these musicians know their profession! The solo’s are complicated en fun to see. The only thing that quizzed my mind was, did Yuimetal and Moametal sing live? Su metal performance was no discussion, because of the heat and effort she put in, you could hear the strain in her voice and the fact that she was more than once off key. The other girls however… I did kinda like this new kind of metal, but “live” it did not bring the energy I expected. It looked too engineered and at the start of their set, the girls looked a kind of bored.
Does this band need an introduction? On the sunny smaller stage Obituary gathered quite a crowd. While at the main stage Dave Mustaine thanked his audience extensively and throwing his guitar picks and (heavily used) sweatbands in to the crowd, Obituary kicked off. Right from the start it is a metal galore and their awesome set is played to perfection. In front of the stage there was quite some movement even though the sun is still quite merciless. I had to leave early to catch a bite to eat and get in time back at the main stage for the next band, but ultimately I came back for the last minutes of Obituary… Just great!
Frankly this band was a bit of a let down. Although the band played vigorously, front man David Draiman looked uninspired and uninterested. It doesn’t take long before it looks like the crowd is getting bored. Instead of leaving they decide to stay and get “treated” by some pop-covers. Luckily Obituary is still playing…
King Diamond (DK)
Time to get excited! Since Mercyful Fate, King Diamond had my interest. With the release of the album ‘Abigail’ I was really hooked for life! The tent was just filled for about three-quaters, but with very fanatic fans! The performance was said to be the integral performance of the Abigail album, but there was more time planned than the length of the album, so a treat was eminent!
The stage was hidden behind a simple black cloth, which was removed when the intro started. It had 2 stairways with between the drums. Above and behind the drums was a walkway where King could stand. I had seen some footage of recent years where King wasn’t that good and his falsetto voice had abandoned him, but today there was no problem whatsoever! From the first minute till the last the King kept me in awe. Abigail is not the start of the show. The first two songs are from the album “Them” (there is a granny in a wheelchair on the stage too!), followed by a few songs from other albums. One of them is “Melissa” and despite is hot and humid in the tent, the performance of this song sends shivers down my spine.
What an incredible voice does King have, even at pushing sixty! Not only King is stellar, his band is too. There is a female singer tucked away besides one of the stairs, who is singing quite a bit too. A lot of the songs are acted out on stage which makes it a great spectacle to watch. When “Abigail” starts almost everyone is singing along. I got the impression that King had a blast too. His glances and gestures towards the audience showed a lot of joy.
Best of band of the weekend? In my book it was!
This years headline of Fortarock is the Danish band Volbeat. This is no pure metal band according to some, but judging by the crowed that is still present, metalheads like a it lot. Volbeat has a large curtain in front of the stage too, but with the logo of Volbeat on it. When the band starts playing the curtain falls down and fireworks go off. A sparkling start!
The first song is “Born To Raise Hell” and one thing strikes immediately; the crowd sings along every song and know every word and they keep singing until the last encore. The set is professional and there is lots of interaction with the audience. The band members even joke around. The mix of punk, metal and rockabilly is quite catchy and is typically festival material. There are even video cameras in front of the stage, which broadcasts their performance on large screens in the back of the stage. They just bring a great show and it’s a great way to end a very nice festival!
Fortarock did a splendid job this year to organize a festival like this. There was a lot to choose from and there was enough to choose for everyone. Luckily the weather changed right on time, which helped a lot! Looking forward to next year’s edition!