Not wanting the least bit to miss this first-rate festival season opener, it’s time to take a look at the artists that will be taking the stage at Steelfest 2019. Since a lot of these bands are going to be completely unknown, I’ll simply be snarking my way through the list.

Friday’s schedule:

Disciples of the Void kick off the weekend, and to say that they’re a new band to the scene would be kind of an understatement. Boasting one release in 2018, the duo maintains anonymity and lets their music do the talking.

Ah, here’s something that’s quite the surprise, since Advent Sorrow is a band I’ve actually heard of before. It’ll be interesting to see and hear how they manage to bring their style of horror black metal onto the stage, so I’ll keep an eye out for them definitely.

Something about Myrkskog sits ill at ease in my mind. I’m pretty damn sure I’ve heard or seen them somewhere, but I can’t for the life of me figure out where, when, or why. Trying to remember it all, I saw visions of eons past, where dark things lurked in intersecting worlds, mankind blissfully unaware of their presence and existence. I guess I saw Myrkskog over there, somewhere beyond the stars. It’s nice of them to pay a visit somewhere closer this time.

Trollheim’s Grott is a familiar name, popping up every now and again, even if I’ve never managed to catch them live. No excuse this time, I suppose.

Arkhon Infaustus was on hiatus for nearly a decade, until they decided to pick it up again in 2016.

Antimateria is another familiar name and tune, reviewing their set a year and a half back in my first Steelchaos. Interested in seeing how the lads have improved, to be sure.

At the time of writing, the band Evil has ten duplicate entries in metal-archives.com. I’m pretty sure that that list bumps into a dozen once Steelfest starts proper, so I’ll be having some great time trying to figure out which one them this hecking band is. At least it’s super easy keeping my “no exposure”-policy.

Monarque from Québec has a very misleading name, since I don’t think independent Canada has ever had a king or a queen. Unless they’re referring back to when they were a colony, but even then, do they bow to the French or the English crown*? Probably neither, since they’re Canadians after all, so the reasonable thing is to just crown yourselves Kings in the North.

Seigneur Voland apparently was an alternate name for Satan back when feudalism was all the rage in northern France. Well, among the nobility at least, being a peasant must’ve been pretty terrible. Nevertheless, Seigneur Voland sounds like a positively charming fellow. The name itself is thoroughly pleasant, so I’m hard-pressed to think why they’d name Satan that.

Vargrav is another domestic product this year, and it seems very interesting for a band with such a small catalog to get such high billing (at least looking at the daily schedules). There’s something I’m missing here, but I’ll see what that is at the fest itself.

The long-running Belphegor from Austria fits a high-billing band profile much better. Formed all the way back in 1992, these veterans should certainly give you your money’s worth.

Finnish Horna is another long-running group. Since I’ve ever heard a song every now and again, there’s not much to do except wait to see them live.

Immolation has been around for three decades, so it’s pretty much a given that this particular fire isn’t going to go out any time soon. Seriously, this band has been around longer than the Russian Federation.

Mysticum on paper seems very interesting. Boasting a whole of two full-length releases, and only a handful of other releases, the group seems to prefer quality over quantity.

 

Saturday’s schedule:

It seems I get to take out Morgal from my “must see” bin and actually go see them again first thing come Saturday.

…and Oceans was one of the first extreme metal bands I ever heard, which now holds a special place in my brain. It’ll be interesting to hear, after all these years, how the memory of them holds up now that they’ve come out of hibernation

Délétère, aside from being a kind of a pain in the ass to write, is another Quebecois band. Now, I’m actually low-key interested in what drives all these young men from Quebec into the hands of extreme metal bands, because I’d wager it’s the weather.

Aeternus on the other hand, is Norwegian, so it is the weather, winter evernights, and government-subsidized access to corpse paint.

Getting back to domestic products, Totalselfhatred is certainly something every Finnish person knows how to make in enormous quantities. Maybe we should try and figure out a way to export that.

Grave Miasma was formerly known as Goat Molestör. I don’t really know how I’m supposed to snark at that.

Interestingly, Deiphago started out in the Philippines and later moved to Costa Rica. There’s probably a story behind all that, but it’ll remain a mystery to me for the time being.

Kroda is a familiar name that I first heard from a former roommate and his endless, burning hatred towards that band and their home-made instruments. Never have I managed to confirm if the instruments actually were home-made or simply traditional folk instruments, but those rants were the funniest stuff way back then.

Einherjer was a word used to describe the warriors that would be scooped from the battlefield by Valkyries and subsequently taken to Valhalla. This time it’s a Norwegian metal band, so half the groundwork for epic viking shit has already been laid.

Keeping with the theme, Naglfar is the ship that sails when Ragnarök is upon us. I’d much rather that it didn’t sail just yet, since there’s a couple of things I’d like to do first. Namely, down a few million more pints.

Dutch Asphyx is another tri-decade troupe, and as such at least has their reputation to live up to.

If I thought Evil was going to take the prize for most duplicate names, Odium proved me wrong. There are eighteen bands that share that name, most have split up, some have changed their names, and some are active. I think I managed to track down the right one, and these guys hail from Norway, because of course they do. On paper, they have one full release from 1998, which instantly piques my interest. How good is that one record?

Vital Remains is kind of a misnomer. How can a remain be vital? It couldn’t be that vital, if it can remain. Or is it some kind of indestructible organ that remains forever and ever?

Nargaroth has a live album named “Crushing Some Belgian Scum.” That’s all I need to know about the band, because honestly, who even likes the Flemish?

MGLA, or rather Mgła, is Polish for fog, and the pronunciation goes “em-gwah.” Sounds curiously like n’wah.

Marduk needs no hype nor introduction. They simply are, and that is enough.

 

Regardless of the snark, I’m all set up and raring to go for another Steelfest. The festival and its spin-off have never let me down in terms of quality and atmosphere. I wonder what’ll be the surprise band this year?

Official site HERE
Tickets can be bought HERE

* [ed: the French lost that fight, so you’d be bowing to the English queen -Amy from Canada]

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