MAKE METALDAYS GREAT AGAIN!
METALDAYS IS ABOUT THE PEOPLE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE!
If the visitors are happy: everyone’s happy and you will have a successful festival for many years to come! I must especially praise the staff working at all the bars and info points as they were very helpful, warm-hearted and patient in resolving all issues visitors may have and lifted the positive atmosphere at numerous occasions!
MetalDays, with its very long tradition became a central point of the year for many, as I’ve met many metalheads that have visited every single MetalDays edition throughout the years. The atmosphere in the audience is simply indescribable, as we had a chance to see all the dearest friends from all parts of the word; after several years of a break caused by the pandemic. Many of those friends are closer to us than some family members will ever be- and all the aforementioned resulted in a beautiful atmosphere of positivity and love! It’s been very easy making new friends (a thing that usually doesn’t come natural to me) and I had a perfect sense that can be described only as: “This is where I belong. This feels like home.”. Wish I could stay here, but I can’t: I will make all the memories from the festival my new “happy place” I’ll go to when needed!
MetalDays represent a tradition that is so dear and precious to thousands of people as it’s not just “one of the festivals”, it’s “THE festival” that showed us once again what makes some festivals stand out and simply be great. Although my friends think I’m old enough: I must repeat once again: I wasn’t old enough to attend Woodstock! Nevertheless, MetalDays this year reminded me of Woodstock stories- because I’ve experienced so much love, positivity and happiness from the visitors that I’ve felt almost like I fell from Earth and entered into another dimension! That is the greatest compliment I could give and all positive points go out to the metalheads that attended this years MetalDays!
Now that we are on the same page on the enormous potential this festival has: let’s ask the biggest question of all: Could human greed corrupt the most beautiful event we had?
HOPEFULLY PRICES WILL NOT SIGNIFICANTLY RISE NEXT YEAR
I’ve felt more welcome at the local store, than at the festival venue- which is as sad as it gets. Local store employees wore T-shirts with signs: „Welcome metalheads“ which was heart warming. On the other side: merchants at the festival venue kept all prices of food and drinks at a very high level. It’s disgraceful as I’ve noticed that the festival was also attended by elderly people and some people with disabilities which enabled them to go outside the festival venue and buy an affordable meal. I suppose the thinking behind that action was: fuck the poor Balkan people, this festival is for rich foreigners. Well guess what: majority of foreigners have stated that the festival became too expensive. Just remember that you can rip the skin off the back of the customer once, but that customer will never ever return to the same venue if he felt ripped off. Majority of Croatians are choosing more affordable festivals, such as Brutal Assault in Czech Republic, where the prices of beer at the venue have stayed reasonable and it has the immediate effect of making people feel more welcome.
I do understand the world crisis effects and market rules but please be reasonable for the next time, as it would be great if the prices will not skyrocket any more.
WHY WAS EVERYTHING CHARGED?
We had to pay for early arrival (20 EUR), cup deposits (3 EUR) and card issuance fee (3 EUR, with no return of funds after the return). The relations with partners was poor as this was the first year that no Press Passes were issued and only few official photographers have worked on site. That didn’t make an effect of good business relations with the press representatives who have worked for years on promoting the festival together with the organisers. Video wall had serious malfunctions and it interfered with our ability to fully enjoy all the concerts.
The visitors have also felt that and some commented that it’s like many things have been done on a budget and with serious budget cuts. At one point I asked a man to move a bit because he was walking too slowly and I was in a hurry and he joked about it saying: “It will cost you 6 EUR”.
Hopefully things will get better next year.
Apart from the above mentioned issues, security personnel had to follow some insane instructions, such as entry and exit points even at night when the venue was nearly empty. Not all of them had the same rules regarding the issue: what to do with people who have bought their drinks at the venue (or at the beach) and tried to enter the festival venue. In some cases it was forbidden and in others not which was confusing.
But my praise goes out to all the staff working at the venue as they knew English, were very helpful, ready to help and kind.
WILL THE NEW VENUE MATCH THE MAGIC OF THE OLD ONE?
It will be hard to match the beauty and magic of Tolmin and river Soča, but Slovenia is beautiful and hopefully everything will be nice at the new location. The key factors will be to have the most beautiful nature where people will feel they are having a beautiful vacation during daytime and all preconditions to successfully organise all events during the night. Bear in mind that many have high emotional attachment to the old venue due to many years of beautiful memories created there so the new venue will have to match very high standards.
The effect of construction works before the entrance to the venue took its toll. The construction site was visible and many came to watch the concerts on the main stage for free, as no high fences were placed on top of the hill. I felt a bit stupid knowing that many hardly collected the money to buy expensive tickets, when it was feasible to see the concerts for free.
Unfortunately, Napalm Death cancelled their arrival due to a flight being cancelled. It was one of the bands I was mostly looking forward to, as I saw them live in 1994, at one of the best concerts in my lifetime. The amount of energy, stage diving and moshing has never been matched by any band afterwards. It wasn’t the organisers fault, but unfortunately the change in the festival line-up wasn’t clear to everyone- so the problem occurred when the audience missed the start of some concerts.
Many have also commented that last year’s line-ups were better, especially the people that have bought the tickets years before because of specific bands that were not included in this year’s edition.
But enough with the criticism, nothing in life is perfect and this year’s edition included many bends that we love and adore, so let’s look at all the positive sides:
It took us several days of recovery and gathering of impressions from this beautiful festival to take the most difficult task of all: cover this extensive festival and try not to breach all limits in length of the report (the latter obviously not successful;).
Let’s start with an important disclaimer: there are no two individuals with the same impressions; and loving and writing about bands always contains some amount of subjective prejudice, in spite of all our best efforts to respect all genres and present an objective overview. So, if your favourite band isn’t mentioned in this report (as we would breach all decent lengths of texts): you can rejoice you had a chance to see them and spread the word about the band to your friends.
Another thing is that the schedule contained overlapping of bands we wanted to see and many external factors got in the way our intention to see all the bands we wanted (work hard, party harder). That only means we had fun and if I had a chance to see only the opening of some concerts- it might be enough to remember to see the band next time they come to town. That would cover the main meaning festivals have: present as many bands to the audience to promote them and hope new fans will arise from that intention.
The performances from MOONSPELL, MESHUGGAH, VISIONS OD ATLANTIS and SRD were absolutely amazing! The interactions with the audience fired up the atmosphere on this first day and slid us into an abyss of perfection and everything MetalDays stand for. All the criticism and minor faults were forgotten as soon as we faced so many amazing concerts!
SRD are a Slovenian Black metal/Black’n’Roll band which presents their magical world that simply devours you and takes you for its own. The special atmosphere and the main factor that makes this band stand out is that they don’t sing in English but in Slovenian. The atmosphere of their live performance was great and special spices have been added at same instances regarding hardly traceable folk elements to the songs. Listen to the “Zlohotne zvezde pleme” song to get the impression on their magical world of black Slovenian woods at night and secrets they hold.
MOONSPELL outdid themselves beyond our wildest dreams! It was really precious to see them live in front of such a large audience after so long! They have rewarded the fans with the most perfect set list that included: “Extinct”, “The Last of Us”, “Breathe (Until We Are No More)”, “Vampiria”, “Alma Mater” and “Full Moon Madness”. Almost seems like it doesn’t get any better than this! The band created the most beautiful sing along moments with the audience that were not overshadowed by any band afterwards.
It is getting harder and harder to choose the bands that have impressed us, as the selection of the bands is getting better and better day by day and time becomes a scarce resource. But, among others, these concerts were amazing: NANOWAR OF STEEL, TESTAMENT, DEEZ NUTS, SUFFOCATION, AMENRA and COUNTLESS SKIES.
We recently saw DEEZ NUTS live and had many occasions before and they never stop amazing us with their sincere energy and performances. This Australian hardcore punk band, formed in Melbourne in 2007, has one really amazing feature: they have already created an iconic hymn: the song named “Stay True”– so many great accomplishments are ahead of this band for sure.
SUFFOCATION and AMENRA gave us an unforgettable experience with their performances, but detailed descriptions of the bands performances are given in our other reports, so we will only emphasise that an performance at open air festival gave an special edge to their interpretations of how music should sound, feel and look like. It indeed was pure magic.
It was an extreme pleasure seeing TESTAMENT live and their music and performance still haven’t lost an edge that has amazed us for years and years.
The winner of the day for the best and most entertaining show performance is: NANOWAR OF STEEL, as expected. “Norwegian Reggaeton” brought total chaos into the audience and created the atmosphere of pure happiness! The moshing with inflatable animals was amazing and they will have to share a first place for the most fun performers at this festival together with GUTALAX. The most precious moment of the concert was the creation of the “wall of love” instead of wall of death at the initiative of the band which created the perfect setting for two sides of the audience to crash, collide and hug in order to express their love for each other.
Day three was amazing, and although there have been many exciting bands, these ones stand out, at least for me personally: THE HALO EFFECT, GROZA, JINJER, DEATH ANGEL, SICK OF IT ALL and SAOR.
We have already had many occasions to see some the aforementioned bands and we will focus on the ones we haven’t covered before:
THE HALO EFFECT would be the winner of the award of the biggest surprise of the festival! The Halo Effect is a Swedish Melodic death metal band formed by former members of IN FLAMES with the vocalist Mikael Stanne (who founded the band Dark Tranquility and remains its sole founding member today). Their performance was beautiful and very uplifting! Mikael, as one of our favourite singers, lifted the band into immediate success although they were formed in 2021. A well earned success indeed: as their musical skills and performance showed that they are of the most exciting new-old band in existence today.
SICK OF IT ALL, New York City hardcore legends, really proved that age is just a number and the strength, power and stamina comes from determination and aren’t features granted only to the young. Since forming in 1986, Sick of it all have travelled the world many times over, played in front of hundreds of thousands of fans and proved at MetalDays that their performance hasn’t lost an edge. They were explosive, energetic and uplifting! In other words: perfect!
GROZA gave the most beautiful performance of the day; I’ve felt like I’ve melted, and not out of heat, but out of joyfulness to finally see them live! Groza is a German Black Metal band formed in 2016 and they have already created an iconic song that represents all the beauty the band has to offer: “Elegance of Irony” and luckily for us: it was performed live. At that exact moment: All hell broke loose and I believe no living soul was left untouched by the beauty the band has to offer! Groza includes special melodic sequences that are almost lyrical precious gems that capture the pure beauty.
Once again: impossible to choose the most impressive performances, but some of those were: GUTALAX, COLD SNAP, MANNTRA, SKINDRED, DECAPITATED and INCANTATION.
It was a good thing that GUTALAX performed during daylight as those that didn’t engage in moshing could enjoy the incredible view to it and prevention of all injuries was at a higher level. Sometimes I’m saddened by the fact that great bands I love perform during daylight, as the atmosphere is better at night and the crowd in the audience is bigger (such as: the last time a saw The Black Dahlia Murder at a festival). But, it has its advantages and the bands that didn’t perform during the hottest hours during the day had a privilege to gather bigger audiences. Gulalax started the gig at 7:30 PM, when it wasn’t too hot so the view to the band and the audience was perfect and so were the unforgettable photographs from the concert. We had a discussion on meaning of the band’s name, so here goes the explanation: GUTTALAX in fact is a laxative (gastrointestinal stimulant that stimulates the colon and softens bowel movements) and in line with the deeper meaning and messages the band promotes;)
GUTALAX are a definite winner of the award for the most fun and engaging performance. The performance is impossible to describe, you must experience it so put up all your reminders to follow all the dates the band has to offer in your surroundings! Please be prepared with extra packages of toilet paper in case there’s a shortage due to possible new corona wave;)
MANNTRA performed their first song in Croatian: “Kiša” and it’s been an interesting change which emphasised the bands uniqueness. Their performance was highly impressive and especially taking into consideration that no outfits were left out even though a life-treating heat wave was at its peak. It made us appreciate the band’s determination even more as wearing and surely they have broadened their army of fans as they offer an unique mixture of alternative rock mixed with folk and industrial metal influences.
COLD SNAP represents the most beautiful hidden gem that is about to skyrocketed into an even greater success at any given moment. Unfortunately, their concert overlapped with Gutalax so the crowd in front of the stage wasn’t as big as expected but it had filled up in time before the ending of the concert. The band performed with fresh energy as new members were introduced to the band and has managed not to lose the edge, as new members are experienced musicians so their performance went smoothly. Luckily for us, the setlist was perfect as it included older hits also and one of the peaks of the concert was an emotional intro and performance of the magnificent song “Distance”. Be sure to follow the band if you haven’t already clicked it as we are sure many great things and many more explosive concerts lie ahead of them!
The last day offered numerous treats and definitely was the best day to experience, as some of the greatest performances were given by: ROTTING CHRIST, UADA, MERCYFUL FATE, ORANGE GOBLIN, and PANZERFAUST.
MERCYFUL FATE is one of those bands you have to see at least once in your lifetime, if nothing else: out of respect for their legacy, insane creativity and highly extensive influence they’ve had to other bands over the years of existence. Their performance was perfect and it could be felt that broad stages and large audiences have become their natural habitat a long time ago as no flaws in their performance could be detected. Also no glimpses of slowing down after all these years as they were formed more than 40 years ago! As we take all that into consideration: the performance of this iconic masterful musicians was perfect!
ROTTING CHRIST wins the award for the most beautiful band of the festival. Interpret it as you like,but it’s unquestionable that their stage performance is highly attractive, their musical skills are razor sharp and their creativity melts steel! The set list melted our hearts and I believe no living soul left the venue unsatisfied! The concert was concluded by: “In Yumen-Xibalba”, “Grandis Spiritus Diavolos” and “Non Serviam”. The absolute peak was the performance of “In Yumen-Xibalba” and if you’ve missed it: consider it one of life’s biggest regrets. For those who haven’t seen Rotting Christ live: it would be an absolute must and a task to put on a bucket list.
UADA wins the award for the band that has brought magic. Their musical bravuras has brought us musicgasms felt throughout the entire of our being. Their live performance was indeed magical and the set list was highly satisfactory as included the favourites out of which the best can’t be picked (similar as with children, you can’t pick only one favourite): “The Purging Fire”, “Devoid of Light” and “Cult of a Dying Sun”. For me personally the absolute climax was the performance of the magnificent “Black Autumn, White Spring”. Now, when I’ve experienced this: I can die peacefully as I know I’ve gotten the experience that was way beyond my wildest dreams considering my abilities to travel and experience such greatness.
In conclusion: criticism for organisational and surrounding issues was given only out of our mutual wish to have a better and more successful edition of MetalDays next year.
All shortcomings will be forgotten and only beautiful memories of one of the best experiences you can have in your lifetime will stay! The experience of MetalDays is addictive and due to its long tradition and all successful editions in the past we want all the best for further continuation of the festival in many years to come!