Metalhead Meeting Festival kicked off in Bucharest with a thunderous roar (luckily not literally, since the rain was very limited) on May 26, captivating metalheads from across the country. The festival originally announced Pantera as a headliner and then silence for a while. It became surprising when they did announce the whole lineup just how diverse the lineup of bands was, each bringing their unique style and energy to the stage. In the end, Pantera is actually the odd one out :))
At 17:30, Adam’s Parade took the stage, instantly igniting the crowd with their explosive sound. This up-and-coming band wasted no time in setting the tone for the night, delivering a high-energy performance, even though it was way too early during a working day for crowds to gather. Adam’s Parade delivered a dynamic setlist, combining melodic hooks with heavy riffs.
Following Adam’s Parade, it was time for Beyond the Black to grace the stage. The German symphonic metal band brought a touch of grandeur to the festival with their enchanting melodies and soaring vocals. Lead singer Jennifer Haben mesmerized the audience with her angelic voice, effortlessly hitting both high notes and gritty growls. The last time we saw them was in 2013 at ArtMania and my God what a difference now in her performance, in the way she matured and commands the stage. Beyond the Black really delivered!
As dusk settled over the festival grounds, Finnish folk metal pioneers Korpiklaani took the stage, infusing the night with their unique blend of traditional Finnish music and heavy metal. The band’s energetic folk melodies, infectious rhythms, and exuberant stage presence had the crowd in a state of euphoria.
The audience enthusiastically joined in on the traditional chants and dances, creating a vibrant and celebratory atmosphere. A few drops of rain here and there didn’t stop us from having a blast. We don’t understand a single word (except for Vodka) but we’re gonna have a party!
The highly anticipated headliner for the evening was none other than Ville Valo, the charismatic former frontman of HIM. The enigmatic singer emerged amidst a haze of smoke and a cascade of lights. The setlist included a mix of his solo work and beloved HIM classics, allowing fans to revel in nostalgia. It certainly was a trip down memory lane and let’s face it, if you enjoyed this show you probably were a Ville Valo fangirl when you were 15.
As that wasn’t the case for me, I was left a bit disappointed. Or a lot. This is not the show of a headliner. His whole sickly Peaky Blinders act had little to no stage presence, no public interaction. We love a good Lord of the Darkness, but we also love to feel part of it and this was not the case. The sound was horrendeous and it was a mix problem not a festival problem since I couldn’t complain about it at the previous acts. You could barely hear the vocals from the noise of the instrumental. Forget about being able to distinguish words. He did a good job vocally and if you were there for the nostalgia of it, I am sure you would have liked it. After all, it is something to hear Ville Valo sing Join Me In Death right in front of you. But that’s about the only redeeming thing of the show.
Overall, the first day of Metalhead Meeting Festival in Bucharest was a success. We avoided heavy rain and had some fun, just enough to get us pumped for the following two days.