PPM Fest 2014 (Day One)
Bands: Pain, In Extremo, Pagan's Mind, Epysode, Furyon, Kells & Monument
Location: Lotto Mons Expo, Mons, Bergen, BelgiumDate: 18th April 2014
19 mile car journey, the 384 miles by plane and then a 75 minute train
journey can only mean one thing, we were off once again to Mons, Belgium
for PPM Fest 2014! The sun was shining, the weather was a lot
warmer than back home in not so sunny old England, and we were ready to
party big time over the next 3 days in celebration of the great bands
PPM is one if not the biggest European indoor metal festival and this year another truly international line-up hit the Alpha and Omega stages of the Lotto Mons Expo, from as far a field as Toronto, Canada to St Petersburg, Russia. Calling at all points in-between to bring the best of the international metal scene to perform live at one venue over 3 days. A total of 32 bands donned the stages this weekend, as well as entertainment in between bands, a metal market, with food and drink a plenty. In fact the perfect Heavy Metal weekend.
Opening up this years proceedings were the UK’s Monument, who because of early interview commitments, I only managed to catch the final song of the bands set, but by all accounts the band gave a good account of themselves. Luckily enough my partner in crime ducked out of the interview in favour of catching more of the band's set and reported back that these old school metallers really blew the cobwebs from the rafters with their power driven set, giving the crowd everything they had with their performance. The set was well received by the crowd of metal-heads who had ventured out early enough this evening to catch the earlier bands.
For all the British fans of the band, you can catch them here in the UK in May as they kick off proceedings at the Rebellion Bar in Manchester. I personally hope to catch the band at this year's S.O.S. Festival at the Radcliffe Civic on July the 19th, to make up for missing the guys today.
up this truly international bill heading off to Lyon France for
Symphonic Nu Metallers Kells, led by the effervescent Virginie Goncalves, who along with Patrick Garcia, Laurent Lesina and Julien
Nicolas, took up where Monument left off, with Goncalves angsty vocals
hitting the heights from the opening barrage of ‘Illusion d'une aire’
and ‘Se Taire’, really setting the venue alight. That angsty
vocal assault went on to hit even greater heights with the massive
‘Sommeil infini’ and the full on symphonic metal of ‘Emmurés’.
Even though I couldn’t understand a single word of the lyrics, the
international language of music was all I need to know that Kells meant
business, and were here to make their mark on PPM 2014.
They continued to impress with the impressive riff drive ‘La Sphère’, before closing in style with ‘Irrationnelle’. Definitely one of the bands of day one and I dare say one that will have given them the perfect exposure to make people watch out for their forthcoming new album later this year.
was more to come, as it was time for the second of the UK bands on
today’s bill, Brighton’s Furyon to hit the stage.
a new album in the offering, it was over to 'Gravitas' for the majority
of the set, as Matt and the guys hit the stage running with ‘Disappear
Again’ and ‘Wasted On You', with the Belgium crowd really warming
the band from the off.
The set continued its impressive path with the stomping ‘Souvenirs’, as the band showed their darker edge with this one. The band really hit home with a short but impressive set that was rounded off with show stoppers ‘Fear Alone’ and the massive ‘Stand Like Stone’, both of which showed why they are one of the UK hottest properties around today and their much anticipated second album is sure to propel the band to bigger and better things. This is another band who will be hitting the road in the UK later in the year and definitely one to watch out for in 2014 and 2015.
up were band I was really looking forward to seeing after hearing their
superb 'Fantasmagoria' opus, Epysode led by founder Sam Arkan,
who was joined on stage by Julien Spreutels on keyboards, Simone Malroni
on guitars and the entire vocal might of the album, Tom Englund, Henning
Basse, Ida Haukland, Tezzi Persson, Mike LePond, Matt Marinelli and Leo
Margarit. In fact the entire cast of 'Fantasmigoria' was here on
one state for the very first time. Wow what another fabulous
exclusive PPM managed with this one.
band set about delivering one of the highlights of the night with the
opener ‘Ravenscurse’, with Evergrey’s Tom Englund opening the
vocal might on this one. After the titanic opener it was time for
more of the same with the excellent ‘T.H.O.R.N.S', before we are
treated to the vocals of Triosphere’s Haukland, who brought an air of
grace to proceedings with one of my favourite tracks off the album
‘Morning Rose’. Another show stopping slice of sheer class in
Gothic / Symphonic Metal.
band continued to win a great many new fans as their set continued with
the thumping ‘The Black Parade’, again with Englund laying down his
vocal might on this song.
was time for Basse to don a priests collar for the mighty ‘Venom’
and even though at times the mike seemed to dip in and out, this
didn’t stop the crowd raising the horns high on mass in salute of the
mighty metal that was being produced on stage.
impressive set continued with the album title track ‘Fantasmagoria’,
where Englund duetted with Huakland for this song, which was almost
seven minutes of pure Metal bliss. The soaring metal melodies of
'Unreal' filled the arena hall, before icing on the cake, the set
the thumping, unrelenting metal continued, there was quick "Happy
Birthday!" to keyboard player Julien, then it was onwards as
upwards with the superb ‘The Arch’, which capped off one of the sets
of the day and what turned out to be one of the highlights of the 3
Again due to interview commitments I had to miss Pagans Mind, but from the people we spoke to afterwards, Nils and the rest of the band gave 110%, such a shame I missed them because its been a really long time since the mighty Norsemen have visited the UK, and with this being their return after the very first PPM Fest, I really wanted to catch these guys.
band that you couldn’t miss were German Folk Metallers In Extremo
who showed how Fold metal should be done. With tongue firmly in
cheek, the German's kicked into high gear from the off with ‘Küss mich’ with
oversized bagpipes, harps, hurdy gurdies and shawn in the mix. Think
Rammstein meets The Levellers. With Folk Metal comes the crowd
surfing and a high tide of fans propelled the tsunami of floating bodies
across the heads of their fellow metallers, as the band continued their
set with ‘Frei zu sein’ and ‘Herr Mannelig‘.
was time for something from the recent album ‘Kunstraub’ with ‘Feuertaufe’, by this time
the Berliners had the crowd firmly in the palm of their hands. The band
rolled back the years with the dark ‘Vollmond’, before bringing back
the pace big style with ‘Gaukler’ and ‘
Unsichtbar’. To say there was much merriment and dancing going
on in the hall at this time would be an understatement, everybody was
having an absolute blast with this band and their music and nothing and
no-one was going to stop this crazy party while the music still
was no stopping the Germans or the fans as by now the mosh-pit was in
full flow and the crowd surfing was at its height, so it was time to
really bring the heat with ‘Saengerkrieg’,
with the crowd also getting in on the singing with a little "HO!,
HO! HO!", before the band returned to 'Kunstraub' for
‘Himmel und Holle’.
The Germans left their mark on the festival with the two closers, as it was back to the bagpipes and harp for the mellower ‘Liam’, before rounding off a truly magnificent and breathtaking set with ‘Omnia sol Temperat’. Now this was one hell of set and one worthy of a headline slot if ever there was one. I hope these guys head on over to the UK with their magical assortment of instruments, so we can get a bit of that fever pitch metal over here as well.
headliners for today were Pain, whose show tonight would be their
only one of 2014 (another PPM exclusive!), so the Swedish Industrial
Metallers led by Peter Tagtgren set about closing day one with some full
up with ‘Same Old Song’, it was clear that their only show of 2014
was going to be massive, Taegtgren was at his intensive best as they
laid waste to Mons with ‘I’m Going In’ and ‘Walking On Glass’.
Tagtgren on stage where regular cohorts David Wallin, Michael Bohin and
Johan Hasgafvel. They all gave the same angsty presence as the
main man himself, as the full on heads-down metal filled the Mons
Expo. The set continued with the massive ‘Dirty Woman’, with
its intense vocals from Tagtgren delivering a definite punch to this
one, then it was full steam ahead with electro filled ‘Zombie
Slam’. A definite crowd favourite as the bodies just engulfed
the pit in front of the stage, as crowd surfer after surfer made the
security work double time.
same electronic metal vibe was continued with the anthemic 'End Of The
Line’. This one wouldn’t be a miss in the likes of the dark
clubs of London, such as Slimelight, as would the next one ‘End of the
Line’. This is Pain at their intensive best.
was time for something a bit more recent and more old school metal with
‘The Great Pretender’, taken from the bands most recent album
2011’s 'You Only Live Twice’.
Then it was time to bring a little dark tones to proceedings with ‘Psalm For the Dead’, before bringing the tone back up with a bang with ‘Monkey Business’.
With the Saturday morning now in its infancy, it was time for the band wrap things up in style with ‘Nailed To The Ground’ and ‘On and On’, the band left the stage to rapturous applause. It was at this time we had to leave to book a taxi back to the hotel, because tomorrow was already upon us and we had another 12 hours of pure Metal to celebrate in just a few short hours. Hell yeah! roll on Saturday!
by: Barry McMinn & Little Linda.
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