Paganfest 2009 - Arena, Vienna, Austria 10/2/09
(Kórpiklaani, Unleashed, Swashbuckler, EX Deo, Alestorm, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter)
From Aural Innovations April 2010 update
I was in Vienna for work and on the last night of my stay, the Paganfest 2009 happened to be in town. This is a cool concept. 6 bands from 6 different countries all playing music somehow rooted in ancient folklore or pirate or Viking culture but doing heavy metal music. The US band from New Jersey, Swashbuckler, opened the show and dressed as pirates, including a fake parrot on the shoulder of the bass player and singer. The band played a very heavy set of nearly thrash metal but all Pirate songs. The crowd was totally into it and loved these guys. It was very cool when the singer told the crowd to part down the middle and when they started the next song, Walk the Plank, that they should all run into each other and kill one another!
Swashbuckler singer (note parrot on shoulder!) Ex Deo
Next up was El Deo, from Rome, and they were dressed like Romans and played a very epic, style of metal, with a pretty dark deep singer. They were much cooler than I thought they would be despite playing along to a lot of pre-recorded music. They also only had 30 minutes to play. The venue was an old slaughterhouse but was very good place to see a show with good views from many places and cheap beer. Alestorm, from Scotland, also play pirate metal! I had never seen even one, much less two pirate metal bands in one night. The place was totally packed for these guys and the crowd was totally into it. The singer has a great voice and plays one of these keytars (Roland). The guitar player plays some wicked fast lead guitar sometimes but it is totally out of place in another world compared to the tracks… They had a lot of great and fun songs as well about drinking, pirate raids, etc…. Lots of drinking songs…
Alestorm and Swashbuckler singer Unleashed
Next up was the Swedish death metal band, Unleashed, who were celebrating their 20th year anniversary. While they are considered death metal, most of which I am not a big fan of, this guy was a decent singer and they had a lot of cool lead guitar work (not just all riffs). They had some really killer songs like the Longships. Their mid-paced songs were the best. Cool band and the only band so far that was drinking beer on stage, despite the other bands singing and talking about drinking, they all drank water on stage!
Die Apokalyptischen Reiter
Next up was the co-headliner, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, a German band. I had never heard of this band and had no idea what it was going to be all about. Anyway, they sung all the songs in German except for a few choruses on a couple of songs and I had no idea if it was some sort of nationalistic German homeland stories or what but I asked a young lady next to me and she said all their lyrics were about having fun and doing crazy stuff. They had a keyboard player, who did not play often but was dressed in a bondage mask and leather shorts and walked around with a whip. He also had this metal swing set up that he would swing back and forth, play at little, etc. strange. Anyway, musically, they had some great metal anthems and the crowd was totally into it and packed the place. A lot of people left after them and it was like ¾ full for the last band.
Korpiklaani, from Finland, were amazing. Sue and I had seen them twice before at Sweden Rock. They were introduced by the singer in Swashbuckler, who seem to have had quite a few drinks by this time. Anyway, they played more darker heavier less polka rhythm stuff this time. The opium song was excellent. The crowd kept yelling for Beer. They would eventually play it, after we had to leave. High energy metal with violin and accordion. Sue and I had met the singer and drummer on the walk to the club and had a nice chat with them. Super nice people. I really like this band and so did the pretty drunk crowd.
Reviewed by Scott Heller