A new story has been written! MetalDays announced a winter edition: “Winter Days of Metal”. The first edition of this festival took place from the 19-25th of March 2017 in the village Bohinjska Bistrica, and since this is the real definition of grim and frostbitten, of course the GRIMM crew was there!
Fun Fact: Belphegor, Destruction and Dew-Scented also played on the very first edition of MetalCamp (now known as MetalDays). Coincidence or a very nice nod the the past, to the very beginning … who knows?!
The festival is located 54 km from Ljubljana airport and is easily accessible by car, bus and train, with a guaranteed amazing view on your ride there. The idyllic village of Bohinjska Bistrica is situated in between the beautiful Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj and next to Vogel Ski Resort. It offers the guests an amazing winter holiday experience on natural snow, with spectacular views. If you’re not really into skiing or snowboarding, you can also take a Wellness festival package, so you can enjoy the Bohinj Aqua Park, with its pools, jacuzzis and saunas.
Of course Bohinj has a lot more to offer, so you can also go on a hike and discover the surroundings and other activities. You can find more information about the possible activities on the official Bohinj website.
Festival Area & Ski Resort
The festival itself takes place at the Dvorana Danica venue, just at the edge of the Bohinjska Bistrica village. It’s a sports hall, located at the Danica Camp site. Upon arrival you could get your festival packages at the local tourist office of Bohinj or at the reception of Camp Danica itself. The festival bracelet itself was available from the first real festival day, at the entrance of the venue.
There were several places to sit down outside, a small bar for the pre- and afterparties and enough toilets inside of the venue. The bars were like stalls from Christmas markets, so they really added to the winter feeling of the festival. The stage, lighting and sound (though sometimes a little too loud) were great throughout the whole week. Sadly the Gostilna Danica restaurant was only open for the catering of the bands, because we saw on TripAdvisor it should be a great culinary experience as well!
The Dvorana Danica venue is about a 10 minute walk to the village center and Aqua Park so everything is really close. To get to the Vogel Ski Centre you can take a shuttle that gets you to the start of the ski slopes, at the edge of Lake Bohinj. At the tourist center you can get a bus card for a €3 deposit fee and go by bus all around the Bohinj area and even to Lake Bled for free. You can also buy a Bohinj Guest Card (€10) which will get you even more discounts on several activities around the area.
Food & Drinks
At the Dvorana Danica venue there were 2 food stalls: one local one with burgers, sausages and the sorts, and the vegan one known from the MetalDays beach. In Bohinjska Bistrica itself there are 2 supermarkets (Spar and Mercator, several small stores / bakeries and restaurants to make sure you won’t get hungry.
Outside the venue there is also a bar where you can get beers, soda’s, schnapps and great mulled wine (glühwein). Inside, to our great pleasure, you could also get the famous MetalDays cocktails. So we gladly drank our ‘Sex on The Beach’es and Piña Coladas once again!
!! At the festival you can only pay cash. You can get money at the ATMs in Bohinjska Bistrica itself.
You can choose to stay at the winter campsite Camp Danica, in an apartment or in a hostel/hotel. It’s possible to book your accommodation privately, but if you book a package it will already be arranged for you. In the end we even had a great AirBnB apartment just 1 street from the venue!
For booking your 2018 Festival-, Ski- or Wellness package, check out the Bohinj Info Website. They will be online soon. If you only need festival tickets: they are already available. Early bird price: €59 + commission. You can order them here.
For the 2017 visitors the Winter Days of Metal organisation also posted a nice surprise on their Facebook wall:
“Each of you, our visitors, that have purchased the ticket for the WDoM 2017 (either festival ticket or any of the daily tickets) will receive free ticket for the WDoM 2018 : festival ticket buyers will receive festival ticket, daily ticket buyers will receive a daily ticket for the WDoM 2018 for a day at your choice. All you need to do is send either a photo of a ticket or a wristband (or any proof of payment) to our e-mail : email@example.com, together with your personal details (name, surname, address, country, phone number and e-mail) and you will receive further instructions.”
This is just another example of how awesome the MetalDays / Winter Days of Metal organisation really is!
On the first festival day we went for a hike through the area of Bohinjska Bistrica. We ended up at the terrace of Strud’l, a little breakfast/brunch restaurant. We had a cheese platter with cheeses from the Bohinj region, and local beers from Lintvern Brewery. As Belgians, we were quite surprised with the beers, since they were actually quite great. We had all 3 of the beers: the Lintvern (black IPA), Bohinjski Čatež (sweet stout) and Jezernik (white beer). The artwork is amazing too (see picture).
Then it was time to check out the festival itself and see some bands!
It all started with some good old school thrash metal from Switzerland. Although it’s hard to start off a brand new festival as the first band, these guys sure set the tone for what was to come at Winter Days of Metal. Being traditional is what it’s all about and fans looking for a totally new spin on the genre might have been disappointed.
We would like to see this band play in a venue more suitable for them, a dark rock bar at 2 in the morning. When beer and whiskey have blurred your heart and mind so you’re feeling pumped to thrash one last time that night. This is music you need to hear once in a while to put metal back on its feet, to look at the roots and make you linger to the old days. For fans out there it is not that simple to find much info about these guys, you will have to see if they venture to festivals in our region to get a good grasp on what’s what!
To sleaze or not to sleaze, that was the question we were asking ourselves when we were ordering our second sex on the beach cocktail of the day. Tomcat is a hard rock band that takes its bread and butter from superstars like Iron Maiden for the more heavier parts and Guns ‘N Roses for the more sleaze rock ensembles of the band.
While seeing the band we did notice a lack of spandex and over the top behavior. After some asking around we received some info that in 2015 four of the five members quit the band and their new setup was looking for a more serious rock attitude. It is nice to see that Slovenian bands did not forget the ages of grunge, glam and heavy metal and that not all the bands on a metal festival have to be more brutal than the ones before them. Tomcat is easy to listen to and a band for people who just want to have a good time.
We are Malignant Tumour, and we play rock ‘n roll! This should have been the first thing singer Bilos said at the beginning of this show. They describe themselves as “Metallic Crust ´N´Roll made in Ostrava”, but the influence of the mighty Motörhead on these guys is obvious and well placed. They brought us a powerful set full of rambling noises that by skill (or accident?) fell in perfect place. It is not that often you see a band you have never heard of, only listened to a few songs online (which we did not even like that much at first), and then make you want to bang you’re fucking head off at the live show. Apparently these guys are legends in their hometown, and we want to see them again and again. We want more! Graspop? Wacken?
And then something with even more power: Serious Black, six friends, one mission, one goal. They released their second album in September 2016, only 1.5 years after the first one. This power super group certainly knows what they’re doing and that transcends on stage. Vocalist Urban Breed is an excellent front man and even though there were a lot of fans of the more extreme subgenres (and not that many people in total) the show was great and very well executed. We got a fun and energetic set that resulted in a bangover the day after. Because at a Serious Black gig you’re just forced to move and bang your head! And to the people who disagree we’d like to quote the Joker: why so serious?
Do we need to say more about this band? Being a very popular band on GRIMM Nights and parties in our own venue Asgaard, Rotting Christ delivered a near perfect show for the audience at Winter Days of Metal. Could there be a better feeling than seeing all people around you being mesmerized by the extreme melodies these guys have been pumping out the last 2 decades? This was an amazing show to close the first day in Bohinj! Grandis Spritus Diavolos!
On to the afterparty! We got out of the festival venue, and right next to it there’s a small pub. A lot of the visitors stayed there for a while and we even got to be the DJs of the evening! Belgian Invasion done right! After a great folkish party, and some socializing, we headed back to our apartment.
This day we took some time to chill out at the self proclaimed beach in front of our apartment, next to the river. We had a little bit of a Beach Party in honor of MetalDays (the summer edition) before heading towards the festival venue.
The second day of the festival started off with Layment, a Heavy Metal band from Germany. It wasn’t our first time seeing Layment perform live in Slovenia, as they’ve performed on MetalDays 2016 as well. It was a great concert to start the evening with. Light enough to slowly get you started, yet energetic and heavy enough to set the mood for another festival night. We could also sense a hint of folk in between all the heavy metal riffs, which was a nice touch, making sure they can stand out from all the other heavy metal bands out there. Certainly worth our time!
Next up was…something quite different. Youth Man, a band from Great Britain, brought us alternative music, so their music didn’t really completely fit in with the rest of the lineup. Although it was difficult for them to keep us interested, we do have to say that it wasn’t really that much due to their performance, but it just wasn’t what we, or many other visitors, were looking for at this festival.
And then Trash Talk started to play. Whoa! Talking about either keeping things interesting, or getting us to think what the hell was going on here? These Americans were all over the place, literally! Vocalist Lee Spielman just straight off jumped into the audience and decided to perform the rest of the show there. The other band members started to climb the scaffolding on both sides of the stage. This, combined with the raw thrashcore, brought us in a very confused state. There were a lot of *wtf* moments. Again, maybe not what was expected of a band at Winter Days of Metal, and not necessarily our taste, but we were definitely intrigued.
As the band had just returned from a long break which lasted until 2016, we were quite curious to see them live. You could definitely hear that they aren’t a new band. It was nice to hear “something different” from the performances earlier that night. The sound was great and the band gave one hell of a performance, albeit without much variation. They’re great to hear live, but might get boring towards the end of the show.
As you guys already noticed, all the bands on WDOM played an excellent professional show and gave the small crowd everything they had (except one: more on this later on). Belphegor did exactly what their predecessors Rotting Christ did the day before: play a near perfect show. The power and brutality of their music was well decorated by what appeared to be limbs and bones strung up on spikes on stage. Even pyro was brought on stage and gave the show the grandeur it deserved. Belphegor: you hate it or love it but nobody can deny the grit and occultism these guys bring to the table.
They looked hungry for more and after the show we had the chance to meet the guys and take a picture. They are anxious to play in Belgium again and who knows we will see them sooner than expected.
Time for some snow! We are at Winter Days of Metal after all. We took the car and drove to Lake Bohinj and the Vogel Ski Centre. We wanted to try the snow trikes but at the Ski Centre they didn’t know anything about that, so we decided to go to the other Ski area we had seen on our drive to Bohinjska Bistrica, since there was actually snow there without having to take a ski slope. We had some fun there with our small sledges, shouting “sleeër”, and rolling around in the snow.
This Slovenian band plays Heavy Doom Metal influenced by the powerhouses of Black sabbath, Candlemass and Pentagram. They played a very nice show for fans of all subgenres, with an almost full female line-up on stage. It’s a shame this band has not been picked up by the industry. We can easily see them play at stages from Russia to the UK. A side note is that we heard a rumor that the band is falling apart a bit due to the lack of support in Slovenia and the motivation to keep on pushing through. Let’s hope this is false and they can push through to at least Belgium!
Symphonic metal is always a difficult nut to crack and it’s hard to keep up with the big acts. Minotauro put up a rewarding show and gave it their best. This ensemble, gathering artists from Italy, Croatia and Slovenia, showed what true power metal sounds and looks like. Eagerness to play is great to see on stage and the enthusiasm kept on raising the entire show. Not a band to give a set for more than 40 minutes but engaging nonetheless.
Founded in 2001, this Slovenian quartet are being proclaimed as the band uniting the local metalscene in Slovenia. With ups and downs, their set at WDoM showed lots of progressive metal with arrangements that were more aggressive and yet very familiar in sound. As a performance this band knows all the tricks to get a small (and probably bigger) crowd to party and give energy to an otherwise long and sometimes predictable set list. To summarize them: a nice show, some great arrangements but still an appetizer for the bands that are still to come.
Well, we think that the band name is really one of the things you could shout out when seeing this band perform! Sabina is amazing, energetic and clearly very fond of beer. While she was jumping and running across the stage, and getting beer from the audience, the band played a great show. Because of the big distance between the stage and the audience (frontstage/photopit), Sabina invited everyone into the photopit. The interaction between the band and audience was brilliant, and at the end everyone was even invited to join Holy Moses on stage. This resulted in a stage filled with one big party of ecstatic fans. We were very impressed by this gig and would love to see more! Great job!
What better way to end the evening, than with some Destruction? Even though they are most likely used to play for a bigger audience than there was at Winter Days of Metal, the 3 German Thrashers didn’t seem to mind and gave it their all!
Schmier, Destruction’s vocalist, even said how the remembers playing on the very first edition of MetalCamp (the previous name of MetalDays) and how it also had a small crowd at first. Just like us, he likes both festivals and hopes that Winter Days of Metal will grow just as much as MetalCamp / MetalDays did.
This day we decided to go to the Aquapark, so we splashed around in the pool with several water activities and had some time to relax in the sauna’s in the wellness part. The water slides were closed that day though, which was kind of a bummer. Afterwards we were really looking forward to some food, and we had found a supposedly amazing restaurant nearby, so we drove to Pension Resje Restaurant. We were not disappointed at all!
The staff was very friendly and even though we were there at a somewhat stupid hour (16h00) for dinner, they were happy to serve us. We got some local cheese, meat and amazing seasoned cottage cheese as an appetizer, and ordered ourselves some of the Lintvern beers again. The main course was to die for, some of the greatest food we had eaten in a while! After that we were really stuffed but were really curious about the desserts so we ordered them anyway! We got some schnapps to close off this amazing meal and headed back to the festival, being very satisfied!
Because of the amazing food we sadly did miss Rest In Fear, but we were ready to rumble with The Devil!
We had no clue what to expect when going in to this performance of The Devil, judging by their Facebook page we were going to be blown away by cinematic metal (yeah we know, yet another subgenre…), but seriously this gig was awesome. The philosophy is that The Devil is inside of us. A depiction of humanity is not an original concept, but this band shines in giving it a face, a sound and a performance everyone should watch. The music was performed to perfection and the only negative thing we could come up with was that fans who do not like repetition will find it dull at the end and the vocal tracks on the background depicting the scenes is sometimes hard to understand. Here is a video of them playing at WDoM. Enjoy!
If there was one band that really took us by surprise on the 4th day, it was Dead Lord. Placing a hard rock band on stage together with the heavier, darker bands that would come and play after them, could have been seen as a risky move. But the Swedes brought us a strong set of melodic hard rock, with a ’70s vibe. Suddenly playing a short part of The Trooper, was a nice touch.
This intermezzo was followed by what Sweden is known and loved for by many metalheads: melodic death metal. Draconian really impressed us with a great show and good variety, infused by gothic and doom metal. Lead singer Heike Langhals did a great job, but we kept on wondering what was wrong with her fellow singer Anders Jacobsson. He looked really drunk and while it was very funny at times, the rest of the band didn’t seem that amused by it. Jacobsson had some problems with his microphone and the mike stand, and even got close to hitting his bass player with it. Because of his state of being we were really surprised that he got the lyrics out right and it did sound good in the end! It was a funny show that we will remember, not only for the drunkness but also for the quality of the music and set!
Norwegian metal to its finest and purest form, brings melody and violence to a ritualistic level. That is the way we like to describe this legendary band. They recently played at the metal venue Verlichte Geest in Belgium right beside Shining and WDoM made it possible to get a guest appearance of Kvarforth in the middle of the set of Taake. A big thanks to the organisers, the band and Kvarforth to make this possible because Shining had to cancel their gig.
A must see bands for fans of the Black metal genre. Hoest did not seem te be bothered at all that he was playing for a smaller crowd than was anticipated, but we guess that the professional behavior of the crew of the festival made sure the music came out perfectly.
We took the bus to Lake Bled, to meet up with our friend Maja, who lives nearby. She guided us around the area and we strolled all around the beautiful lake. If you go to Lake Bled you can also visit the castle on the hill, and take a boat to the church on the island in the middle of the lake. We just enjoyed the view though, and had a drink in the Devil Bar afterwards. It’s a really cool pub with a decent beer menu (a lot of Belgian beers), but sadly not many Slovenian ones. Our bus ran a little late because of the traffic in Ljubljana, so we got back just in time for Morana.
Arriving a little bit late due to our trip to Lake Bled, we arrived halfway into Morana’s show. Morana is no stranger to the festival, as they have played on MetalCamp once and twice on MetalDays. After hearing just one song, they had us convinced and dying to hear more! The sound was great and they didn’t disappoint one second. We’d love to see them perform in Belgium someday!
We at GRIMM always take our time to listen and watch a good female fronted metal band. With a big tour with Dew Sentenced and Flotsam & Jetsam in their pocket this death/thrash metalband from the Netherlands gave an excellent show at WDoM. They definitely seem comfy on stage and with all those good reviews about the tour and their latest album ‘Congress of the Insane‘ (sadly more than 5 years ago) we would like to see them bringing out more music than they have today. A nice addition to the line up of this festival and a shout out to all bookers in Europe. Give this band your stage!
Next up was another band that is no stranger to the Metalcamp / MetalDays line of festivals. Dew-Scented, just like Belphegor and Destruction, also played on the very first edition of Metalcamp, back in 2004. While there are several bands out there that are combining thrash and death metal, Dew-Scented showed everyone at WDoM how it’s supposed to be done! They easily got the crowd excited, as they played a great set with a lot of energy. Thrashers were sure to get what they came for.
Having known the band for a couple of years now and seeing them live on multiple occasions, this show of theirs was somewhat disappointing. Usually they bring a very strong performance that you can enjoy throughout the whole show, but for some reason, that couldn’t really be said about tonight’s show. Luckily the show gradually got better with each song.
Our friends that hadn’t heard or seen them before, did however enjoy the show. One of them immediately loved their music and wants to see and hear them again. So in general, Orden Ogan’s show was great and seemed to be appreciated by the crowd; but usually their shows are a lot more convincing.
None other than ’80s thrashers Flotsam and Jetsam were chosen to end this amazing week and the first edition of Winter Days of Metal. The band never fails to deliver, and this time was no exception. They brought us songs from throughout their whole career of more than 30 years and did it at full power. Even though the crowd wasn’t as big as you’d expect for this great oldschool band, they brought us one hell of a show.
The sound was great, the band was energetic and the crowd loved it all. It was a shame that this week had to come to an end, but it ended on a high note!
Then we headed to the afterparty in the pub, where they asked us to be the DJs again, so we gladly took the responsibility to get another party started!
The festival was done, but we weren’t done with Slovenia yet! Are we ever though?
We took the car to Ljubljana to see the city and castle. We went to Sir William’s Pub, one of the best places in the capital to try some Slovenian beers, and we gladly did so! After a stroll through the city we went for dinner in Das ist Valter, a very cheap and awesome Slovenian grill restaurant, and even got to take some food with us because it was too much.
Very near Das ist Valter you can find Metelkova, and even though the program of that day wasn’t great, we really wanted to check it out. Metalkova is an old military facility which was squatted and turned into a music venue, some alternative bars and art galleries. It’s the main social spot for jazz, rockabilly, punkrock, metal, noise and techno. There’s a lot of graffiti and cool artwork to check out all around the site, so be sure to go there when in Ljubljana! You can find the activities on their website, and there’s a great hostel next to it that’s made out of the old prison and the rooms are actually cell blocks.
Another rock bar to check in Ljubljana is Orto Bar.
Then it was time for a last rest in our Hostel, with the unfortunate name of “DIC”, situated at a Ljubljana University site. It was a cheap and very nice hostel, and very close to the city center, so we would definitely recommend it.
In the morning, when we wanted to take the car to drive home, we found out the battery died, so we had to wait for the road assistance. We took the time to get some groceries at the local Hofer, and when the car was fixed we could finally get our roadtrip back started! The trip went very smoothly, until we were one of the “lucky few” to be picked out at the German border control… So after they searched our car we could head home for real!
In the end we had a lot of fun at Winter Days of Metal. It’s a great festival, and you have a lot of free time during the day to go sightseeing or check out all of the fun things you can do around there! There were not a lot of people, but that didn’t really matter since the atmosphere was brilliant and everybody had an amazing time. The bands played like they were playing for a full venue, and the sound was great as well. Reading the band statements at the WDoM Facebook page, they really liked it as well.
Sadly there was no snow though, only on the ski area itself, but maybe next year there will be snow everywhere, because it will be earlier on. The weather was good, and we could even walk around in our t-shirts by day! Maybe when it’s colder it would be good to have some some terrace warmers and open tents to eat outside. And more (especially gluten free) options for food at the venue would be nice.
We had a different activity every day and went to Ljubljana as well, which is really cool and the area is very beautiful. If you like to ski or snowboard, it’s an amazing combination of a winter holiday and festival, but we thought it was really nice to do something different every day. The Aquapark is definitely cool for one day (or maybe more), but to take the wellness package for the whole week would be kind of an overkill, in our opinion.
The combination of the activities, nature and surroundings, and then in the evening the festival itself, makes for a great holiday experience! We loved Winter Days of Metal and we’ll be back!
WDoM 2017 Highlights