And the summer festivals just keep rolling in! Only mere weeks after attending Amphi in Cologne, I once again found myself in Germany! This time Hildesheim was the destination of choice, for the amazing M’era Luna! Last year proved to be quite spectacular, with a strong lineup, and a brilliant atmosphere. How could they possibly up the ante for 2019?
Luckily, the bad weather that was promised over the weekend only transpired throughout the Friday evening. Still, travelling on a coach for around 20 hours, along with copious levels of booze, as well as a severe lack of sleep did take it’s toll. Yet there was no stopping us for the stupidly early start to see the first act, that act being Empathy Test. It was an extremely pleasant way to begin the festival, and the ailments that had plagued us before were forgotten about rather quickly. The band really struck a chord with the crowd, and the turn-out for them at the hangar stage was an extremely impressive one. In a fraction of time they’ve made huge waves, gaining popularity at rapid pace. It’s clear to see why too, as they put on a magnificent performance. Frontman Isaac Howlett knew that there wasn’t as much time to chat with the audience a usual, being as their set was a criminally short 25 minutes, so they plowed through. Still, they packed the set as much as they could, in what was an extremely emotional ride.
Next up, Terrolokaust took to the stage. They were pretty good too, their set filled with energy, as the catchy synth melodies met with bulky riffs and solos, creating a vicious, yet dramatic atmosphere. They definitely had an excellent presence, especially lead singer Javi Ssagittar who completely owned the stage. Sadly, what prevented their show reaching true greatness, was the fact that the sound quality was awful (and this was also an issue for Empathy Test.) It was a bit too muddy, and a lot of the intricacies were lost in translation, at times being barely coherent. The bands were not at fault in this regard, as they gave it their all, which makes the fact that they were marred with technical issues even more gutting.
Thankfully, the sound was a lot better at the main stage, which made Deathstars all the more enjoyable! After a long hiatus it was good to see them finally return, and it was a glorious showing to boot. Even after all this time, their dark gothic anthems still hold up extremely well, whilst retaining their sense of fun. Choosing the word ‘anthem’ sums it up pretty well, as I’d forgotten how many memorable tracks they had! From “Night Electric Night” to “Tongues”, as well as “Cyanide”, it truly was a nostalgic trip down memory lane. This was notably enhanced by their sonic qualities. If I were to have closed my eyes at any point, I don’t think anyone could’ve blamed me for thinking that I was listening to an album on playback! The level of musicianship was astounding.
Not wanting to be crammed in the hangar stage, the group decided to watch Neuroticfish from the screen just outside of it. Ironically, the sound quality was far crisper here (although it’s likely the problems from earlier had been long resolved.) Even so, the aura they generated spilled from outside of the hangar, making it difficult to escape from the feelings that the music evoked. It was mesmerising to get caught into, where moments felt as if they were an out of body experience, as the mind was taken over by the soundwaves. The liveliness was very much intact too, making the hypnotic melodies take hold.
In contrast, Agonoize were extremely hard-hitting. The visceral energy bounded off all surfaces of the hangar, which at this point we were in the thick of, and it created an intense atmosphere. Chris L viciously blasted out harsh vocals whilst spraying the audience with fake blood, as razor-sharp electronic beats blared in the background. It was gritty, it was twisted and it was magnificent! After a disappointing outing at Amphi Festival last year, it was fantastic to see them back in top form. Although a venue such as the hangar feels much more suited to their style, rather than the outdoors of a main stage.
[:SITD:] continued this momentum with a superb set. It was pitch-perfect, and they flew through classic after classic, my personal highlight being “Genesis”. I have to say, from what I experienced, this was easily one of the greatest shows I’d ever seen them perform. Sadly, I had to leave part way through their set, which was my worst clash of the entire weekend.
Luckily abandoning them was totally worth it, as Within Temptation put on an absolutely phenomenal show! After how stunning their most recent album, Resist, ending up being, I was excited to see how the new tracks played out in a live setting. The answer to that was brilliantly, and even more surprising was just how well it slotted in alongside their older material. Opening with the immense “Raise Your Banner”, complete with a flag-bearing Sharon den Adel, it was a wild ride through tracks old and new, never missing a beat. It was a full-on spectacle, the stage taking on a cyberpunk look that was a cross between a sci-fi landscape and a H.R Giger nightmare. The pyro blazed, later being accompanied by a flurry of lasers, just in time for latest single “Supernova”. It was all perfectly choreographed down to the finest detail, as the band delivered epic levels of symphonic metal. We were treated to the likes of “Stand My Ground”, “Faster” and “Paradise (What About Us?)”. I was surprised they decided to do an encore, as they didn’t have a long time on-stage, but ending on the iconic “Mother Earth” was a mighty way to finish. This was quite honestly the best I’d ever seen them, the only flaw was that it felt like it ended far too quickly.
Of course, the day was not over yet, and after a quick rush to the hangar, I made it just in time to catch Die Krupps. It’s no surprise that the industrial legends were headlining, and at the hangar stage no less. Needless to say, they put on an storming show, the texture of bulky guitars mixing with electronic soundscapes, delivering their iconic machine-like sound to perfection. It became even more like and industrial machine when frontman Jürgen Engler took to his custom built ‘Steel-o-phone’, a massive xylophone built with large metallic pipes. These harsh beats resonated throughout the room, aiding their huge sound and adding to the rich atmosphere. The crowd went wild, particularly during hits such as “The Dawning of Doom” and the addictive “Robo Sapien”. Their prowess showed no bounds, and it was superbly executed from start to finish. Whilst Within Temptation had stolen the top spot as my band of the day, this was still an excellent high note to close day one on.
This was only the half way point too, and day two was yet to come. Little did I know that there would be some unexpected surprises awaiting me…