Paganfest 2014 via Columbus Events Group came to the Alrosa Villa Friday May 2nd and was a night of truly multicultural exchanges with bands from Columbus, Cincinnati (by way of medieval times), Germany, Taiwan and Finland.
The evening of armor and knightly chivalry commenced with the Kingsblood of Columbus. A mix of melodically epic, Viking, thrash and Swedish death metal, when Amon Amarth meets Cannibal Corpse and the Norse with an appetite for human dead flesh. Forged in the bowels of Columbus’s metal scene, they play an onslaught of battle marching riffs with a vicious drumming assault. Whirling up imagery of epic battle scenes from days long ago, they charge with axes raised high. They’ve been in the works for several years bursting on the scene in 2011 opening for the legendary Immolation. Night Of Fire’s pounding drums and new growling voice of the horde Bill Rush got the berzerking started off. The marching riffs of Hordes Of The Night as soldiers fight a never ending attacking army to the death along with new song Creature From The Black Forest. Future Norse legends of local lore, with the Trudging Through The Field Of Crows EP out on vinyl with digital download. They finish with a brand new one In The Shadow Of Cowardice.
The suits, armor, medieval swag and attire came on stage in the form of cold blooded American Folk Metal Winterhymn. The battlefield had its first wave of warriors ready to play and kill along with the seductive musical allures of thy lovely maidens adorned with raven marked eyes, enough to enamor any man to surrender. Front huntsman Draug stood tall, guitar in hand ready to slay, decked in full fur, always ready for the icy kiss of lady winter….even in early May. Drummer Valthrun, bass/vocalist Alvadar and guitarist Varrik were attired in animal skins (thankfully no fresh kills) and appropriate folk/thrash attire. Our ladies of modern day yore violinist Umbriel and keyboardist dressed in bewitching black Exura, stood equal amongst them. We start In The Troll Forest surrounded by the flesh hungry greedy creatures. The howling moon of the Wolfs Head began with a cold nightly cry and growl as the mist rolled in. This was the closest stop to their home town Draug announced, a quiet sleepy village south called Cincinnati.
They thrash out, medieval peasant style as the fire-breathing Dragonborn Comes to save Skyrim and Columbus. You must be a certain level of drunk for the other bands to come out and though they were drinking Canada’s finest, mead and other American booze/liquors were available at the front tavern. All hail the Alesong! The war-horn was blown as we sang along to an old song as we yo, de yo’d with an aye aye aye, commanded to Stand Your Ground, strong and proud. We’ve earned the right for a wedding cry, group pic. www.winterhymn.net
Germany’s Varg appeared looking the part of war ravaged warriors, blood stained before the pit started but ready to contribute. With the wolf’s hungry predator eyes, fangs and claws ready to attack they started with A Thousand Eyes. Metalheads are made of metal so time to f’ing headbang and celebrate with a Viking warrior song and start a circle pit! The dirty, nasty sounding Germanic riffs of Was Nicht Darf started with the aggressive words of Freki changing to dark deep whispers and yelling about closed door justice for hypocritical men of the cloth. He gave everyone ‘prost’ with an aggressive German accent for coming out and supporting Paganfest. We got a happy, heavy, hardcore hello German style with Guten Tag and finish with Rotkappchen, the retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and this time she’s a real bitch to the misunderstood wolf.
Next the mysteries of the Orient came to central Ohio told by Chthonic bringing their unique form of Orient Metal with a mix of black, death, symphonic, Taiwanese folk and opera music. Singer Freddy Lim also plays the traditional Taiwanese hena violin adding a classical flavor to the keyboards and other metal instruments. Their lyrics inspired by Taiwanese mythology, folk stories and history are fused with the electricity of one of Revolvers sexiest female’s bassist Doris Yeh, guitarist Jesse Liu, synthesizer CJ Kao and masked drummer Dani Wang. Together for almost a decade they took us on a time traveling journey through their countries bloody history, their songs and albums rich in layered concepts. It’s time for Taiwan to rise again, reborn into the Next Republic.
We joined Tsing-guan in the Bu’-tik Palace via the Mirror Of Retribution as military generals plot strategy against the coming Kuomintang army. They could be described as an Oriental Cradle of Filth with cyborg/robotic themes. Being their first time at the Alrosa Villa, they asked for the crowd’s energy recognizing this historic venue. No matter where you’re from, what ethnicity or nationality you are, we’re all united in metal! Lim declared, finishing with Takao, a name of strength and valor, especially to those who fight on the battlefield for the Japanese Imperial Army. http://chthonic.tw
It was time to kick ass, with more war paint and the red and black attack Finnish style with the modern day band of troopers, Turisas. A God of War has sent these painted battle metal warriors of prog, punk, death and (some would say) folk metal, to us, taking us on our first journey of the night, Ten More Miles toward our true self or the safe PC version. Together with a mix of 80’s arena rock energy and symphonic screaming, Mathias Nygard plays the part of a European Peter Steele when harmonizing. Stand Up And Fight and Take The Day! We set sail on a majestic voyage to Holmgard And Beyond going The Varangian Way. The war horns sound, drums beat as we marched with the Rex Regi Rebellis. Nygard raised his (Canadian) beer high asking all to raise their drink to those fallen comrades and all those who came to see and support the tour. Olli Vanska’s violin led the way, here’s to One More round.
The heart of a true warrior is tested in battle, by Turisas and the Four Winds. Join him on the field in Battle Metal! Spirits were raised again in the name of all good tales that start with strong brew all night long, as the fast punk pace began because No Good Story Ever Starts With Drinking Tea. The riding horn sounds as the galloping drums abound and We Ride Together. Off to the great city of Miklagard, the double-edged Varagians went in epic fashion. The band left, returning to Stand Up and Fight, with Mad Max/Road Warrior fury. They prove what few heavy bands can, that violins and keyboards are ‘very’ metal. The dance party ended with Russia’s greatest love machine Rasputin but his reputation and antics were too great, so his enemies shot him till he was dead. The end. www.turisas.com
Now for Finland’s answer to Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Slayer with a bit of Finntroll, Korpiklaani. The clan of the wilderness play metal with a festive folk base, fan dubbed ‘beer-metal’, using the usual expected instruments with violin and accordion. They start At The Huts Of The Underworld with Tuonelan Tuvilla as the young lad forged his vengeful bow. Next a grave, happy rock tune about soiled work, Ruumiinmultaa. The slow, sexy Sabbathy opening riffs of Sumussa Hamaran Aamun (In The Mist Of A Dark Morning) roar out. Beware of what lies in the mist and above the haze in the early twilight. Time to fetch some Petoelaimen Kuola (Predators Saliva) from the forest to ferment this sacred drink giving praise to Osmotar. We mope on Kultanainen with The Lonely Lady then flew on the majestic ride of the eagle on Tuli Kokko where flute, accordion and metal guitar collide. The heavy dancin’ foot stomper Eramaan Arjyt was followed by Little Pints that rose to cheer little men who live without the sun and party, fight and dance till the morning. They got instrumental going back to the Spirit of the Forest.
The Finns have Uni while we have dreams as the child tires from heavy eyes of golden yarn, sleep now. The alcohol was pouring all night but the real men drink pure liquid courage in Vodka. We danced and sang with Ieva’s Polka enjoying her conniving romp and listened to the eternal hammerer of steel Ilmarinen forge his mighty creations on Rauta. We finished with a happy slam dancing, speed stomper because after enough mead and nature’s finest inebriants we’re all arm in arm Happy Little Boozers. www.korpiklaani.com
Kingsblood/Winterhymn/first Turisas/Second & feature Korpiklaani image(s) courtesy of Glenn Pine Photography
Varg/Chthonic/Second Turisas/First Korpiklaani image(s) by Mike Ritchie
Winterhymn/Korpiklaani setlist contributor: Emily Elaine Owens