Steelfest 2022 is 4-day celebration of devil`s 10 year path.
50 bands in 4-Days full of un-compromised metal terror.
We’ve been steady supporters of the Steelfest events and now finally after 2 years of delays and much drama, the 10th year anniversary edition of Steelfest was happening! With twice the amount of days than normally, way more bands and a couple of more surprises along the way, this is simply a festival you didn’t want to miss out on if you’re any bit into underground metal without compromises!
We fully intended to catch the shows of Iku-Turso, Mist From The Mountains and Chamber Of Unlight, but honestly this extended anniversary edition of Steelfest was steadily taking its toll on us, so we sadly only managed to get ourselves together and to the festival grounds when Corpus Christii was about to take over the outdoor stage.
With the Portuguese black metal outfit Corpus Christii, we got ourselves yet another band from the Immortal Frost Productions stall and we were in for some proper traditional black metal. Despite them having to play in the middle of the day, they managed to thoroughly impress and especially vocalist Nocturnus Horrendus had a menacing stage presence. And with guitarist J. Goat on stage, besides live members Andrecadente (drums) and Koraxid (bass), it was a perfect way to start our day. J. Goat is a quite common sight on stage being the live guitarist for legendary bands like Enthroned, Lvcifyre and Vltimas and that simply shows. A couple of weeks later Corpus Christii would be releasing their new album ‘The Bitter End of Old‘ and you can be sure we’ll be checking it out, we hope you do to!
On the indoor stage there was a rather mysterious outfit to be found named A.M.S.G, which would be playing a tribute to old school French black metal. Not being all to familiar with the history of French black metal, you could call us at least intrigued. When the show started, we quickly gathered that this was Seigneur Voland playing classics from the French black metal annals. Honestly, it was interesting to check out, but after a while everything started to sound like the same song over and over again and the band itself played in a rather static and uninteresting way. Not that it was bad, but it simply didn’t capture and hold us for the whole set.
The German black metal outfit Totenwache did somewhat better on the outside stage, but we felt that the “sun curse” played quite a part again with these guys. Somehow it didn’t come across as menacing as it could have and the rather mediocre stage presence didn’t really save it, turning the show in somewhat of a 45 minute set that sounded like one long song without much variation. Again, it sounded pretty decent, but compared to some of the other bands we’ve had over these past 2 days, it just didn’t captivate us.
Now with Maquahuitl, we had something really interesting that we’d been looking forward to quite a bit. The US black metal band brings songs about main man Yahualcuauhli Eztli‘s ancestral Mexico and paganism, bringing stories of the cultures and civilizations of the country’s past. Starting off the show with the frontman blowing what looked like an ancient traditional flute (somehow making us think of an “Aztec death whistle”), setting the tone for what would be a show that had everything we had been looking for to properly captivate us. Maquahuitl was truly something different from what we had seen these past days and we couldn’t be pulled away for anything.
The Order Of Apollyon
After all that purely black metal, I was in the market for something with a bit more of a heavy punch. Luckily there was The Order Of Apollyon up next on the outdoor stage with their black/death metal to meet my needs. Clearly I wasn’t the only one who was getting pumped up by the energetic and rather engaging performance from the guys, because I saw plenty of heads banging along to the music.
Talking about getting pumped up, Finnish black metal band and mainstay at Steelfest organized events, Morgal really took that crown with their show. Before they even played a single note, you could see a bunch of fans in the crowd getting amped up. And once the guys came on stage and started playing, a roar came from the crowd that I hadn’t heard yet today. Morgal has become quite the name in the Finnish scene and with their high velocity and raw kind of black metal, they clearly appeal to something primal within many metal fans. This was also the first time we got to see them as a quartet instead of a trio with the new addition of Serpent Caesar of the Dark Omen (of Malignament) on guitars and I have to say that the dual guitars really gave their music an extra punch and I’m curious to see what will come from the new line-up.
The black metal scene is known to have plenty of bands and projects where you see certain musicians come back. At a festival like Steelfest, you often see artists do double duties or even more and with the international, kind of “supergroup” black metal outfit Doedsvangr we got ourselves such a collective. With the stoic Shatraug (Horna, Sargeist,…) and hairwhipping BST (The Order of Appollyon) on guitars, live bassist Evil (Narrenwind, Sauron), the quite energetic AntiChristian (Grimfist, Gothminister) on drums and the blood-soaked vocalist Doedsadmiral (Nordjevel), we had quite the gathering of talented black metal musicians in front of us and got an absolute blast of a show. Especially Doedsadmiral stole the show with his expressive and rather menacing stage presence, including covering himself in even more blood later in their performance. They released a banger of a black metal album last year with ‘Serpents ov Old‘ and are a project you want to keep your eyes on if you’re into a vicious kind of black metal…
Infernal War‘s set was probably the closest you can get to a hardcore show at a black metal festival like Steelfest. The Polish black metal band’s sound and anxious energy really gave us a hardcore vibe and the continuous pacing around of vocalist Herr Warcrimer really added to that vibe. I guess the vocalist’s shirt with the text “The Original Black Metal Hooligan” kind of established a certain mood as well. All in all a really cool and different show with musicians that really seemed to want to connect with the fans in front of them.
Up next was probably one of the best acts of the weekend, giving us a schooling in Hellenic black metal: Αχέροντας (or by many better known as Acherontas). These Greek dudes know how to pull off a spell-binding performance! Taking over the stage wearing masks bearing a sigil, they baptized us in an occult and spiritual experience that stuck with us for weeks after. The howls and growls of V.P. Adept were haunting and ferocious and the music adeptly played by these excellent musicians grabbed us by the throat and pulled us into somewhat of a trance from start to finish.
Talking about spell-binding and haunting at the same time, there probably was no match to the Norwegian Slagmaur on the indoors stage. Masked up and playing different and weird characters going from a cloaked human bird to a rather creepy butcher and a pig-headed guitarist to drummer with a goat head, the darkness and eeriness radiated from these avant-garde black metal magicians. It looked somewhat like a horror show, and it sounded like the perfect soundtrack for an absolutely disturbing horror story. Absolutely mesmerizing and otherworldly, there was no other band like this throughout the whole weekend.
At Steelfest you can always expect a nice amount of legendary status bands and with Blasfemia we got yet another one. The black/thrash outfit from Colombia was founded back in the eighties after the equally legendary Parabellum disbanded. After a quarter of a century of silence, original vocalist Ramón Reinaldo Restrepo gathered some talented musicians around him to bring Blasfemia back to live in 2013 and now they were here almost 10 years later. Live it was one of those bands that as soon as they started playing made the crowd explode into a frenzy. Their high speed thrashy black kind of black metal really got the juices pumping and didn’t sound anywhere near outdated. Ramón wearing his classic jester hat was a sight to behold and you could just see that everything gravitated around his personality. It was an absolute honor to see these guys live.
Usually we do some proper research before heading to an underground festival like Steelfest to figure out what we can expect and see if there are some nice discoveries to be made ahead of time. Somehow the Italian outfit Mortuary Drape slipped through the cracks. So when their music blasted through the speakers, it hit us pretty hard. Their black/death metal oozes with occultism, black magic and co and for some added drama, right at the start of their show they made a little Mortuary Drape flag appear at the front of the pulpit where vocalist and only remaining original member Wildness Perversion was stationed behind most of the show. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but there was something in the air during their show that felt like (black?) magic. The hooded vocalist was preaching their incantations and darkness on and off from behind that pulpit, mixing up with his enthusiastic band mates from time to time. An absolute blast of a show of which I have their latest EP ‘Wisdom – Vibration – Repent’ blasting through the speakers here while writing this.
As the headliner of the outdoor stage, we got quite the treat again with the French black metal outfit Osculum Infame. Having been around since the early nineties on and off and under different forms, they have mastered their craft to bring across the evil and darkness they sing about in both aesthetics and atmosphere. Very much continuing the vibe and intensity of Mortuary Drape, it felt they have full control of the crowd and there was a feverish dark energy in the air that we hadn’t properly felt with earlier bands this day. The hooded, cloaked and masked vocalist Deviant Von Blakk was quite the sight to behold behind the big upside-down cross attached to his mic stand with his theatrical motions making his robes flow around, adding a bunch of drama. An absolute highlight to wrap up our third day at this special anniversary edition of Steelfest.
Since it was already the 3rd day and we were getting pretty exhausted, we decided to cut our day somewhat short by skipping the Inquisition show, in favor of the 4th and last day.
For more pics, go check our photo report here.