Dynamo MetalFest 2019 (I)

Airbourne, Avatar +

To celebrate the 5th anniversary of Dynamo MetalFest (DMF) the fest was not one, but two days at Eindhoven Ice Sports Centre. For some (also in the audience) a flashback to the very early days of Dynamo Open Air. It’s different, however every edition there are bands with a history from that period. In addition there was also quite some new stuff.  And interesting, both days two total different bands that competed for headliner.


With ‘only’ six bands programmed, DMF started at four o’clock. “We’re Baest from Aarhus. We play death metal”.  Not only the T-shirts of the band members, also the first tones confirmed the quote.  Very motivated and energetic they started the set. As a ‘newbie’ (the band started in 2015) they wanted to make a good impression. Despite the weak sound at the beginning, what improved during the set. With more and more people coming in, the start became better and better.  The old-fashioned death metal was received quite well looking at the headbanging metalheads and the first initiatives for a pit. The singer is more off stage (on the speakers) than on stage to motivate the crowd to join in. This effort was appreciated. Older work was mixed with songs from the upcoming album “Venenum” (release 13 September). The festival booklet described Baest as bunch of beasts, but in the good sense. Also promised were heavy trash-riffs, grunts and speed-records on the bass drums. And that’s what we got. A pretty good start.

Jungle Rot

The warmed-up audience could enjoy in the hot sun another set of death metal. Unlike the opening act, Jungle Rot has been there for years. Since 1992, the Americans have been making death metal with elements from thrash metal and hardcore. With a history of 8 albums they could easily select their songs; amongst others ‘Doomsday’, ‘Worst Case Scenario’, ‘Send Forth Oblivion’ and ‘Eat Fuck Kill’. The more experienced men could notice many headbangers and first crowd surfers were detected. The dust clouds indicated some mosh pit activity. The start of their European Tour can be booked as successful.

Grand Magus

The cheerful presenter announced Grand Magus as “the best heavy metal band in Europe.” In the booklet the Swedish band was called something special. The expectations were set quite high. With a history of 20 years known as Grand Magus, they should be able to meet that. It’s clearly less speedy then the previous bands. Nevertheless songs like ‘Steel Versus Steel’ and  ‘Iron Will’ made the fans sing loudly joining the band.  A nicely build-up setlist, which of course ended with ‘Hammer of the North’.  The audience thanked the band with keep singing “Whoooo-oooo-oooo, Whooo-oooo, Oooo-ooo” although they already had left the stage.


The stage crew had to work hard in the 25 minute change-over. Now three times as many band members on stage as with Grand Magus. And Eluveitie brings in a large set of instruments that usually will not be expected at a metalfest. A hurdy gurdy, a small harp, a bagpipe and a load of flutes. A nice challenges for the guys. After a big line-up change (in 2016), the band had to settle again. Chrigel Glanzmann, known for his screams is now supported vocally mainly by Fabienne Erni.  Although she’s playing a Celtic Harp, she was definitely in the singing lead with ‘Call of the Mountains’ and ‘Breathe’. Impressive was ‘Artio’ where she sang solo. She also impressed with ‘Ambiramus’, where the fans jumped and the instrumentalists got their ‘moment of  fame’ (solo on drums, guitar, hurdy gurdy, …). What makes Eluveitie different is the inclusion of violin, hurdy gurdy and flute. Clearly not standard, but fitting pretty well to the sound. Although hard to mix all participants with their specific instruments, it was a respectable entertaining performance. The set ended with ‘Inis Mona’ where big dust clouds coming from the midfield.  Maybe for many people a surprise, for the connoisseur a pleasant confirmation.


The battle for the headliner was opened. Looking at the presence of band shirts and how people dressed up, you could consider Avatar as the winner.  Some of the fans for this Swedish band are definitely dedicated.  The band around eccentric frontman Johannes Michael Gustaf Eckerström found a formula that works extremely well. Their approach, creating a kind of freak show, pays off. Avatar is ready for headlining (at Alcatraz they will have a headline position). Today they started with ‘Hail The Apocalypse’ and ‘A Statue Of The King’. The party has begun. Many fans sing along and headbang. The theatrical clownish show was well arranged and orchestrated. Synchrony wind milling was the art on stage. ‘Paint me Red’ and ‘Let it Burn’ did well. They were here to give us a good time, said Johannes, and that Avatar managed. An incredibly energetic showman with many faces (and outfits) knew how to entertain and to win people. With ‘Smells Like A Freak Show’ Eindhoven Ice Sports Centre was concurred. ‘Dynamo became (part of) Avatar Country’.


The temperature, with 25 degrees Celsius, was still very comfortable. Waiting a bit for delayed official headliner Airborne was not a problem. The stage of the Australians was filled with a huge number of Marshall amplifiers/speakers. A wall of sound guaranteed. The many that stayed answered the question ‘Are you ready to rock?’ positively. Yes, you might consider Airbourne as AC/DC 2.0. So what, nothing wrong being compared to a great band. As expected ‘Ready To Rock’. ‘Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast’, ‘Runnin’ Wild’ and ‘Live it up’ were part of the set. The light show in in the dark(er) evening setting completed this nice performance.

Obvious, for the ones that left Avatar was the winner. The ones that stayed might decide different. Anyway, DMF was the winner. A very pleasant Friday was over. But no worries. An even longer day full of metal music on Saturday to go!

More photos: Airbourne, Avatar, Eluveitie, Grand Magus, Jungle Rot, Baest and of course atmosphere.

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