Live Report: Wolfszeit Festival 2022

Texts: André & Aidan, Pics & Video: Aidan

André

Saturday, 13 August 2022 – Aidan and I are sitting together on a hot summer evening and creating one of our excellent playlists for you, which you constantly listen to. Suddenly, my dear colleague comes up with the great idea of going to the Wolfszeit Festival in Crispendorf in a fortnight’s time. Amazing bands like Gernotshagen and Horn will be playing there, which you hardly ever get to see here in North Rhine-Westphalia. That sounded tempting, of course – but Crispendorf is in Thuringia and nearly 500 and almost exactly 400 km away from our respective homes. To make a long story short, where hardly any alcohol was involved: Of course we decided to make this trip to the east of the republic to enjoy the finest black and pagan metal.

Looking back, I can say: we did everything right! Never before have Aidan and I experienced a festival that took place at a more beautiful location. The breathtaking surroundings – we were in the deepest forest with no mobile phone network (how pleasant it is for a while!) – were only surpassed by the equally fantastic billing. The Wolfszeit Festival didn’t have any “intermission bands“, in other words: Your Epic Metal Blog was almost always at the very front or quite far in front of the stage. Since there was quite delicious food on the site (Hungarian lángos!), we were pretty well strengthened. But, I may say it without exaggeration, the weather gods did not mean well with us: It poured down like from buckets in between, we had no dry thread left on our bodies – but before we could freeze, several rounds of warm mead and “Viking blood“ saved us. Yes, we are real metal warriors and don’t let ourselves be put to flight so quickly! However, we have to admit that both the superb line-up and the weather have resulted in far fewer photos and videos for you this time. It was just too exciting or wet – or both…

But let’s get to the music: We only heard something from the Saxon black metal band MÆRER from a distance, as the little hut where day tickets were sold was still closed when we arrived. Therefore, our day started with the Hamburg black metal trio Totenwache, who impressed us with some strong riffs and an extremely tight performance.

Totenwache

Immediately afterwards, the first highlight was on the agenda: The Thuringian pagan metal band Gernotshagen was highly motivated to celebrate a grandiose home game. Basically, the likeable sextet succeeded, but the technics didn’t play along at one point or another – not least because Watain’s truck caused a power failure. Nevertheless, Aidan and I had a lot of fun at this gig, where not least the charismatic singer Askan stood out with a passionate performance.

Gernotshagen

After Gernotshagen, the heavens opened as described above. However, we did not let ourselves be driven out of row one, as we were waiting for our highlight of the day: Horn. The night before, we had already soaked up a complete gig by the band around Nerrath, who also sings for the epic doom band Cross Vault, at my flat to get in the right mood. Even on the four-hour drive, the music of this exceptional artist from Paderborn, who plays multi-faceted and profound black metal of the highest order, crowned by extremely poetic, intelligent German lyrics, was the main focus. The Horn gig convinced us completely – everything fit here, the excellent performance of the four musicians on stage, the outstanding song selection and in addition the continuous rain shower, which created a very special atmosphere that increased the intensity of the performance even more. In short: the long journey would have been worth it for this EPIC metal lesson alone.

However, it was to continue at the highest level afterwards: The black/folk metal band Black Messiah, based in Gelsenkirchen, created an excellent atmosphere on the grounds. Aidan and I also got infected – and believe it or not, we can also enjoy ourselves with a booze song (funnily enough, this was in fact the last song we heard in the car before we reached the festival site). But so that no false impression is created: Black Messiah are an excellent band that also has a hard, serious black metal face that I personally really like. We definitely agreed to see this band live again in the near future!

This was followed by a gig I had been particularly looking forward to: Swedish Viking/death metallers Thyrfing did the honours in Crispendorf. Unfortunately, thanks to the negligence of their airline, only they were there – all their equipment was missing. With borrowed instruments, however, they gave the most energetic performance of the day. Aidan rightly spoke of a wall of sound that rolled over the festival visitors. Here, too, the rain played a very special role, as it excellently suited the song material of the Scandinavians and – as with Horn – created magical moments. Above all, I liked the songs from the latest album Vanagandr – and wondered why this band doesn’t get much more attention from those who are even remotely interested in Viking themes.

Next on the programme was a band that has polarised like no other in recent years: Batushka from Poland! We were lucky enough to experience the real Batushka around mastermind Krzysztof Drabikowski. Sure, you have to like the opulent show elements – but if you get involved with the black metal version of an orthodox mass, you will have a lot of fun. The band scored points with me just by the fact that the choirs did not come from the tape, but were sung live. This led to one or two goosebumps in the audience, as here too the – I repeat myself – breathtaking atmosphere on the Wolfszeit grounds can raise a gig to another level. Even though I liked Horn and Thyrfing even better all in all, every second Batushka were on stage was worth seeing and hearing.

The real Batushka

After that, unfortunately, our strength dwindled. This led to the fact that we didn’t see much of the nominal headliner Watain. At least I was able to take two tracks from my favourite album Lawless Darkness with me, but that was all. At some point the battery is empty – and we started the way back to Aidan’s car…

Conclusion: It is sometimes quite worthwhile to listen to my young colleague and plunge into an adventure that I would never have embarked on alone. So my first thanks go to my friend Aidan! My second thanks go to the entire Wolfszeit crew for giving us an unforgettable experience. I am sure that we will be back next year. But then definitely longer than one day – maybe we can do some hiking then, these wonderful, dense, totally Epic Metal Blog-compatible Thuringian forests want to be explored, after all…

Aidan

The day we made the decision of driving 500 kilometres through Germany had been dominated by tremendous heat, in the days and weeks prior Europe literally had been in flames – undoubtedly a consequence of our ignorant, selfish and naive approach to life, an approach that has been drilling us into superficially wanting more and more, without realising that we are steadily digging our own graves, the hybris of humanity.

Thus, standing inmidst the ancient trees, of which only silhouettes can be seen, feeling the drops of rain, illuminated by the stars, on your skin and simply staring into the endless and eternal black of night, carries one away into a premordern dimension relieved of the constant struggle and pressure, a burden laid upon us by society. Some might say that the weather that given day was burden, it surely complicated many things, especially for the organisers. Yet if we are honest, it simply has to be seen as a beautiful display of nature’s force. Nothing could have provided Wolfszeit Festival with a more fitting atmosphere than the embrace by Mother Earth.

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