Ultima Ratio Festival 2007 -
I'd never been in 'die Turbinenhalle' myself, but I'd heard some very positive things about this venue. And that in combination with the Ultima Ratio Festival had to be a great experience.
The festival would start at 12 o'clock, so me and my friend went early so we wouldn't miss anything. We arrived at 11:15h, but there was quite a big queue waiting already. Unfortunately we weren't able to be on time for the first band, Wolfchant. Which was quite a pity, because what I've heard sounded not bad at all. Normally it's quite a hard job for the opening-act to get the crowd enthusiastic, but the atmosphere in the hall was very nice. Fortunately we were able to see about 15 minutes of some nice pagan metal with some heavy influences.
After some alterations on the stage, which were done quite fast, it was time for the second band, Minas Morgul, a name I'd heard before (no, I don't mean from LOTR) but I never heard any music, so I was curious. It took me just a few moments to decide if I liked this band and hell yeah I did. Nice up-tempo riffs and screaming vocals, I like that. The vocalist also used some clean vocals, which sounded a bit irritating at the beginning, I guess his monitor-settings weren't that good, he just didn't hit the right tones. There was also some feedback that caused some irritating noise. Fortunately it got better after a while. Their choice of Motörhead's 'Ironfist' was a good one, I really enjoyed that.
Time for the British band Waylander. These guys covered with blue war-paint began to play, and all I thought was 'grindcore?', but after a few seconds I noticed they were playing some folk metal. Damn their sound was pretty fucked up. Their music was quite okay, but after a while I wished it would be over, it was getting a little bit boring. Sorry, but it was too much of the same for me.
Because of the fact Equilibrium cancelled their gig, Thronar was able to play at this festival. Thronar was actually the first band that didn't have many sound problems. The balance of guitars and the synths was good, I was actually a bit surprised. I hoped the other bands would get a good setup as well. The up-tempo battle-metal did quite a nice job among the audience. Their songs were all very catchy, and never got me bored. Just like the bands before, the interaction with the audience was great.
After Thronar, Heidevolk hit the stage, another band from The Netherlands. To be a bit more specific, from Gelderland. Yes I've to mention that, because that is what most of their songs are about. I'd already seen Heidevolk a couple of times before, so I knew what to expect. And I was right, but it was even better as I hoped. This band really knows how to deal with their audience. Their gig was great. It surprised me how many Germans knew this band. I was aware of the fact Heidevolk had played in several foreign countries, but they've made quite an impression, even with their Dutch lyrics. It's great to hear the audience screaming some Dutch sing-alongs like 'Wodan Heerst' and 'Vulgaris Magistralis'.
After this jolly music it was time for some dark black metal by Helrunar, a band I really love. The atmosphere they create on their albums is awesome, and I really hoped they could give me that same sinister feeling on stage. And I must say they did a wonderful job. The variety of older songs and some songs of their new album 'Baldr Okk' was a good choice. I really enjoyed their song 'Älter als das Kreuz' which is great for screaming along. The sound was okay, but when the band was playing some faster stuff with a lot of blasts, the music became indefinable, which was a real pity.
Then it was time to eat. But when we went to the bar we were told everything was sold out. Sold out? A festival without any food? That is a real bad thing. We were sent to the fastfoodchain with the golden arches, if you know what I mean. Luckily it was just around the corner. But the fact there was no food left…. A big minus. Talking about minuses, I almost forgot… The beer was way too expensive. I've never been at a festival where I had to pay €3,- for a beer (or soda). Because we were sent elsewhere to eat, we weren't able to see Suidakra.
My friend told me Eluveitie would be a great band. She made me very curious, I never heard of that band before, and I'm still having problems pronouncing the name. The sound check was promising, so many people on stage, with some great ancient instruments. But again, the sound was pretty poor, which was a real pity, because these Swiss were having quite a party on stage, and the audience was having a great time as well but for me, someone that didn't know their songs, it was bad luck. They also brought a huge jerrycan with mead, unfortunately it never reached us. Luckily mead was sold as well, and was even cheaper than beer.
Skyforger is band that I know quite well. I really love their music. Last year I'd already seen them at the Arnhem Metal Meeting. Back then they had some serious sound problems, and it actually sounded pretty fucked up. I really hoped the sound would be good this time. But again it really sucked. You can imagine I was disappointed, very disappointed. Fortunately I was amused by the vocalist, he is so funny. His English kicks ass, and his performance without his guitar (which he had lent to the other guitarist because of some technical problems) was hilarious. I guess he never played without his guitar, he really didn't know what to do with his hands.
Moonsorrow, for some reason this band never achieved it to get into my CD-collection. Last year I'd seen them live, but they couldn't convince me. Perhaps today? Nope, the vocalist was drunk, and their performance missed something, balls. For some reason it sounded just a bit boring. Okay, not their entire performance was bad, there were some nice songs as well, but mainly it sucked in my opinion. I was glad when they went off stage.
At the time the stage was altered again for Korpiklaani I was getting the feeling my body, especially my back, really had enough of standing the entire day. During the day the pain in my back was growing, I can tell you, it really wasn't a pleasant feeling. So we decided to stay for Korpiklaani , and then we would leave, although there would be another band, Kivimetsän Druidi. But after 2 ½ songs we decided to leave, even sitting wasn't helping anymore.
All in all it was a great day, with some great bands, an awesome location, but with some small minors. I hope next year the sound will be better, because this is a festival I will visit again, definitely.