Brainstorm is an annual festival which originally was build around white or christian metal bands. Not sure how far religion plays a role in the life of bands and fans nowadays, but at least the merch is strongly pushed into that corner. Now I can't be bothered by that all too much as long as the music is good. Actually some very good bands are from this corner (Extol, Fleshkiller) and bands like Lillian Axe never hid their beliefs either. So it can happen that not that religious me is going to a mass of metal on a part of Holland's bible belt (or is Apeldoorn not part of that?) As I went to see In Mourning and Darkwater and Ron & Astrid were as interested in both the three of us took a train to Apeldoorn and did run into several PPE regulars, who must have been there for same reasons. At least Willem did as he joined us for the day in Apeldoorn.
Entering de Gigant we were just in time before Kalidia kicked of. So sorry Askara and Monograf, but a fairly long trip and an early start made us miss both. Kalidia are Italian and play power metal. Reading this most people know what to expect and the book of cliches is within Power Metal the thickest of all metal genres. Still as it was performed nice, with religious or not an angel in black on vocals there was enough to like. Not that this band would make me run to the merch stand afterwards, but a warm welcoming band they were.
Brainstorm is not just some bands on the mainstage, so hereafter there was a photo presentation by Polish band Metus in the Theater. Now I am not one for running around fast, so we skipped, tried a local nice bokbeer and were back in the mainhall for Drottnar. This band is heavy and play bunker metal as they call it. Now I am firmly rooted in progressive metal and we have a bible as well. That bible is called Mean Deviation and written by Jeff Wagner. In that book Drottnar appear and are mentioned to play un-black metal. Well whatever the name, they seem to be Christian and play loud. Originally it did not do a lot to me really. No real solos's just a wall of sound and an average voice screaming over it. Than when Ron & Astrid just decided another bokbeer at the bar was the better option a military dressed communist walked on the stage and grabbed the mic. Suddenly things were happening on stage and his eclactic performance made him fall over and jump around wildly. Also his screams were more expressive, so suddenly the music was OK, but the show was great. We March (repeat 217 times) closed the set strong, after which they left the stage in order to come back for an encore without the commie. Pity as they did not end with a high now.
The next hour had a pianist in the theater, but we used it to up our food and beverage levels a bit before the highlight of the day would come on stage. In Mourning only three weeks earlier blew Omnium Gatherum off the stage in Baroeg (in my view that is) So I definitely wanted to be back and see them again. This time they had ten minutes more, so one extra song was added as well and I can be brief. This was a trancelike trip through heavy progressive death doom landscapes wirh the frequent calmer breaks. I wrote it three weeks ago and can repeat it now. This band has three guitars and makes good use of the possibilities this gives them. At the same time they have four mics for massive grunts and two clear breaking alternatives as well. The setlist was in line with last tour, but without me taking notes I do not recall what the extra song was really. Does not matter as this time after one hour we again were left with this feeling of wanting more of this. The current line-up is so alive on stage that several friends told me liking them this time even better than theri last PPE performance. In order to fit the religious festival the main vocalist wore a fitting Morbid Angel Tee for the occassion. For me they reached the levels of way up there live bands and I should see them again next year. This time they did bring CD's along, so I could correct that miss in my collection of Garden of Storms. After the show I tried to get as appreciation another colour of the one I bought in Baroeg, but sizes were to small for tall me.
Now I usually have some issues in liking a band that plays just after an absolute highlight of a festival. For Darkwater the task to draw me into their show. And to even my own surprise they managed to do so. Darkwater play Progmetal of the accesible kind. Ron mentioned Enchant as a link and they have similarities indeed being slightly louder though. This year they released a new album Human, which was visited for several songs. The most interesting fact was they had not played live for eight years, so how did they manage to play that tight? Surprising, even more so if the drummer was a hired hand from Vola. Turns out that the drum riser showed him, unlike Patronaat's small hall in September so I did not notice that before. This hour or so flew by really and I did enjoy their set so much that afterwards I picked up my copy of Human. Darkwater are one of those bands that play in typical traditonal progressive metal. So all is there, the good voice (close to Ted Leonard indeed), the melodic guitar solo's the tight playing, keyboards live played not from tape and songs that tend to be long. As one should not spit on its origins, I did love them and would say why not return to that other Dutch festival one day again as well?
After this second highlight of the day we considered it time to hit home as the trip would be long. So we walked to the train station, where we said goodbye to Wllem going north and us returning to the west, where all is best. This was one fine day in Apeldoorn and this festival definitely has its charm. Beer tasting, coverart expositions (Witherfalls Vintage included!), good beer options at the bar and a calm atmosphere made this one enjoyable day. Let's see if next year they again put two interesting bands on one day and I might be back. Thank you Brainstorm, Amen.