The night was young and you could immediately feel that unlike the Wacken Battle of the week before, this night would be packed. And true to that feeling, from the first band to the last, a steady crowd of supporters filled the Hard Luck Bar.
Straight from Brampton, the first band up was The Fiction in Folklore. With a band name like that, I was amped up for bagpipes and mjolnirs, but The Fiction in Folklore turned out to be more progressive rock than folk metal. The highlight of this band was their bassist, who popped and slapped like a pro while rocking out energetically. The vocals were decent, but perhaps due to nerves or the shitty sound system at the Hard Luck, their vocals weren’t pitch perfect and seemed a bit unsure at times. Though I enjoyed their set, their tunes seemed more rock than metal and the growing crowd huddled off to the side, sipping their beers weren’t motivated enough to take a closer look.
Endemise took the stage next with vocalist Franky Falsetto urging the crowd to react. His dedication to growling whilst headbanging seemed a bit awkward at times but he managed to get the crowd interested in their set. A pit even fizzled and died after a second, but hey, you try getting sober metalheads to throwdown early on in the night. The highlight of their set was their sheer musicianship, with drummer David Sauve blast beating as if it was nothing and guitarists Dale Sauve and Will Mctavish shredding like pros. Endemise is an advocate of the crab stance, which was frequently seen throughout their set by most members.
Our Covenant got a good crowd going for their set. Vocalist Nick Sakal’s voice is both dreamy and powerful. Yeah! I said dreamy! Think Nocturnal Rites meets Firewind with a sprinkle of Kamelot. Sakal had great control over his vocals, proving his professionalism. The songs themselves were pretty cookie cutter songs as far as Symphonic Metal goes. Pleasing songs with catchy repetitive melodies but nothing in particular stands out. The whole band gave a tight performance and in return received a good response from the crowd.
Protokult has come back with a vengeance from their hiatus. With their traditional fast paced and upbeat songs specific to Folk Metal, Protokult got a great response with lots of headbangers up front. They even broke out the wenches with horns of beer towards the end of their set, who quenched the thirst of their fans. Protokult is either a big hit or miss with fans. I heard a lot of adoring comments contrasting with some harsh criticisms. But after a long absence in the metal scene, they still delivered an energetic set despite a lengthy set up and technical difficulties.
Last but not least Operus débuted their new line up for tonight’s Wacken Battle. If I thought Our Covenant’s vocals were dreamy, I was in for a surprise when Operus vocalist Will Patterson broke out the big guns. With deep vocals like those found in Turisas to the higher emotion packed vocals of Kamelot, Patterson can do it all. Cellist Robin Howe entranced fans and was a common favourite amongst the crowd. With such a complex arrangement usually comes some drawbacks. Vocalist/Flutist Tara Mill could not be heard until the last song which left a few parts feeling a bit empty. Oscar Rangel’s growls gave the songs a heavy punch but his solo’s lacked precision and seemed a bit sloppy. Either way many fans were intrigued by their symphonic elements.
Will Patterson - Lead Vocals
Tara Mills - Vocals/Flute/Percussion
Oscar Rangel - Guitars/ Vocals
Robin Howe - Cello
Wojtek Sokolowski - Bass/Backing Vocals
Alan Madhavan - Drums/Percussion
*WINNERS: Endemise and Our Covenant