Here we are again at FortaRock, with a line-up consisting of Kvelertak, Valient Thorr, God Dethroned, Agnostic Front, Gojira, Parkway Drive, Ghost, Dark Tranquillity, Tryptikon, Channel Zero, Paradise Lost, Sacred Reich, Immortal and Arch Enemy. It seemed to be a day full of metal in Park Brakkenstein, Nijmegen The Netherlands on the second of July.
Somewhere between 4.000 and 5.000 metalheads visited the 2011 edition of this fine festival. Last year’s edition was very hot, but today the weather was a pleasant at about 20 degrees.
There were a few minor changes in the layout of the festival this year. The outside stage was way bigger and for some reason the Marquee seemed smaller than last year, which made it a bit crowdy with lots of metalheads being forced to watch from outside.
We were standing in line for the security check when the first band of the day started to play, and as soon as we were inside we walked to see this band perform live. Kvelertak had the honors to be this first band of the day, and they were really rocking. Their mix of black metal, hardcore punk and rock ‘n roll was very convincing and they put up a really good show. As one of the few bands of today they had a perfect sound and they kicked ass.
After only half an hour the set of Kvelertak was finished and we headed to the open air stage for the second band of the day, Valient Thorr. According to their biography Valient Thorr landed on earth to save Rock ‘n Roll from extinction. With a typical seventies-feel and look Valient Thorr put up a great rock-show.
After Valient Thorr it was straight back to the Marquee to see one of the last shows of Dutch legends God Dethroned. At the end of this year they will quit and until then they only play a few selected shows. God Dethroned put up a decent show and while they only played seven songs, they were from five different albums. I still like their newer work better than the old stuff. And who couldn’t agree that it’s great to hear songs like Under a Darkening Sky and Poison Fog being played live?
Near the outside stage one of the sponsors (Monster Energy Drink) had put up an elevated bar, and from there we saw the show of New York Hardcore Veterans Agnostic Front. Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to be at their best today.
During the three bands that followed (Gojira, Parkway Drive and Ghost) it was time to relax a bit and walk around the festival terrain. We checked the merchandise-stands, had something to eat and relaxed lying on the grass. Food stands were plenty this year, but the food-prices seemed a bit high though that’s fairly normal for European festivals nowadays unfortunately.
After these three bands it was time for Dark Tranquillity on the outside stage. Most of their set consisted of material of their last two albums (Fiction and We are the Void) but also songs from Projector (Therein), Damage Done (Final Resistance and Monochromatic Stains) and Character (Lost to Apathy) were played. Michael Stanne seemed to be the only one who wanted to put up a good show today, with the rest of the band standing a bit static on stage. Overall, absolutely not a bad show but I’ve seen them better.
In the Marquee it was time for Tryptikon, the new band of former Celtic Frost frontman Tom Gabriel Warrior. I was very curious how they would perform live, and it was good! It’s just that the special atmosphere that was always around Celtic Frost isn’t there anymore. Maybe it’s unfair to still keep on referring Tryptikon to Celtic Frost though.
And then it was time for Channel Zero on the outside stage. For one, I don’t know what they were doing on a festival like Fortarock, and second why they were this high on the bill. I walked away after seeing a few minutes of their set, in my opinion the worst act of the day.
In the Marquee it was time for Paradise Lost. Since I haven’t seen them live in 11 years, I was curious about their live performance nowadays. The band played nice but singer Nick Holmes lacked some energy on stage for one reason or another. The setlist was quite nice though, with songs like As I Die and Pity the Sadness. Just too bad they didn’t play anything from Icon (where was True Belief for instance?). Also the newer songs sounded nice, but I had higher hopes of the show of Paradise Lost.
With only three bands to go, it was time to head to the mainstage again for American Thrashers Sacred Reich. Though they didn’t release any album in the last 16 years, it’s still nice to hear Surf Nicaragua and Death Squad.
The last band in the Marquee was Immortal. Since the Marquee wasn’t that big this year, many fans were forced to watch from outside the marquee (including me). It’s still funny to see Abbath dancing his strange moves on stage, but with songs like Sons of Northern Darkness and Tyrants they still kick ass live.
The headliner of this year’s edition was Arch Enemy. And they totally blew everyone away. With nightfall setting in it was the perfect atmosphere for the melodic death metal of the brothers Amott and the grunts of Angela Gossow. A perfect ending of a perfect festival on a perfect location with a perfect atmosphere.
Fortarock: We’ll be back in 2011!