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2015-11-27 DE – Dortmund - FZW

Long Distance Calling - Crippled Black Phoenix - Dead Lord - Zodiac - Bombus - ’77

Sorcerer - Disillusion - Sulphur Aeon - Hexvessel - Kamchatka - Chapel Of Disease

Great to see that there are still maniacs, diehard enthusiasts and doers around, who would love to establish a remarkable event despite of a flooded and oversaturated festival scene in Germany. And guys who aren’t even scared of a city such as Dortmund ;) Well, with the troika consisting of Mike Heinemann (Continental Concerts), Bastian Brühl (Red Shift Music/Freak Valley Festival) and Jens Prüter (Head of A&R at Century Media Records) you have all the of know-how, experiences and strong partners in hands you need to exactly do this. But it also needs a cleverly arranged line-up to attract and satisfy people.

:: pics ::

LEAFMEAL – A Feast Of Friends. That’s the name of this brand new festival - a festival to conquer Dortmund when leaves change color and to be established as an annual ritual from now on. The • FZW Club • seems to be the perfect location for that. It houses a club and a big hall, so you have 2 stages to switch easily back and forth, a foyer and a bar with enough space around for merchandise, drinks and food. The billing is much varied, rather unusual and aside of classic mainstream festival line-ups. Well done! Some bands offered exclusive releases, strongly limited and only available at this festival. The Earth Over Us 7" of HEXVESSEL for example, as a green special edition, limited to 100 pieces. And the exclusive DISILLUSION vinyl of Back To Times Of Splendor.

From an organizational point of view there is not that much to nag about. A Friday isn’t the best choice for a one day festival as many fans still have to work till the late afternoon/early evening and thus most likely miss the first bands. There were some minor delays due to usual imponderabilia (missing equipment, late band arrivals etc.). Sound on both stages was pretty good (except for the singing at DISILLUSION). Only deductions go for the lights, at least for me as a photographer ;) It would have been great if more fans would have found its way to the LEAFMEAL. The club was packed but the hall had a lot of space left to be filled with fans.

Cologne’s own :: CHAPEL OF DISEASE :: opened the LEAFMEAL – A Feast Of Friends festival on time in front of a clear crowd and played finest Death Metal to warm up for the things to come. Most tracks came from the band’s new album The Mysterious Ways Of Repetitive Art. Great start but now it’s about time to check out the bar and merchandise ;)
Setlist: The Dreaming Of The Flame, Symbolic Realms, Lord Of All Death, Summoning Black Gods, ...Of Repetitive Art

The one and only change in the billing happened now on the big stage. :: ‘77 :: had to kick off here, because Bombus had not arrived yet. The missing audience in the big hall was now much more striking but the Spaniards did not care that much about and played one of their highly energetic and active shows and rocked the stage much in the veins of their idols: AC/DC. Their shows might be meanwhile more of a routine than a surprising performance but it is still fun to watch them play, although you can see them several times a year live on stage.

Next up were :: KAMCHATKA ::, a novelty to me. Extremely likeable those Swedes and playing bluesy but driving Power Rock. No chance to stand still and watch ;) With every new song I more and more got into swing and dance moves. Here I’d just warmly recommend the band’s new long-player Long Road Made Of Gold!
Setlist: Perfect, Human Dynamo, TV Blues, Made Of Gold, Coast To Coast, Dragons, Slowly Drifting Away, Pressure, Get Your Game On, Son Of The Sea

:: BOMBUS :: finally arrived and now it got louder, heavier and filthier. Musically of course ;) Having hardly recovered a breath the… um… Swedes... entered the stage and kicked off with Repeat Until Death, the title track of their new album, set to be released on Feb 26 via Century Media. It’s my first BOMBUS show and I got blown away from the first minute one. Geez! They reminded me a bit of Warrior Soul. Much the way I like it ;) It’s the first tour date for BOMBUS - they are on a current adventure trip with Clutch to paint some towns red. Great show! First highlight. Love!
Setlist: Repeat Until Death, Master The Reality, Let Her Die, Enter The Night, Rust, Biblical, A Safe Passage, Into The Fire

Back to the club to embrace the wonderful music of :: HEXVESSEL ::. Another novelty to me and an awesome musical discovery. Second highlight! As already mentioned, HEXVESSEL have released a 7” EP, with one new song, The Earth Over Us, and a cover version of Tiamat’s Gaia, both played, to give a first impression on the new album, When We Are Death, which will be released on Jan 29. HEXVESSEL actually played four new songs and I have to say, I’m much looking forward to this new output! Fantastic music, fantastic band!
Setlist: I Am The Ritual, Teeth Of The Mountain, Earth Over Us, Sacred Marriage, Transparent Eyeball, Cosmic Truth, Gaia (Tiamat cover), His Portal Tomb, Woods To Conjure

Now was up to Muenster’s own :: ZODIAC :: to get the crowd rocking out a little more. And they did it excellently. ZODIAC gained a huge and strong fan-base and this was to hear. Still great music and charming guys but I think that their overwhelming delight in play lost ground towards a proper portion of routine. That might be inevitable over the years, but I missed it anyway. Had the same feeling with ‘77 (and later with Dead Lord). Though, songs such as Cortez The Killer, A Penny And A Dead Horse and the epic closer Coming Home fkg kicked ass!
Setlist: Intro - Who I Am, Swinging On The Run, Moonshine, Cortez The Killer, A Penny And A Dead Horse, Diamond Shoes, Coming Home

Meanwhile the sky had darkened and huge tentacles from the depths of R'lyeh twisted around the FZW, following the call of… :: SULPHUR AEON ::. They put a spell on me at Party San Open Air in 2013, a spell not broken yet. Well, easy task, SULPHUR AEON have released two outstanding records with Swallowed By The Ocean's Tide and the current effort Gateway To The Antisphere, both brutal death metal masterpieces of mystical darkness and intensity. Damn, do they have a vinyl edition of the new album? Forgot to check that out… Damn! What more can I say? Incredible show! Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
Incantation, Abysshex, Calls From Below, Inexorable Spirits, Diluvial Ascension - Gateway To the Antisphere, Titans, Swallowed By The Ocean’s Tide, Devotion To The Cosmic Chaos, Onwards... Towards Kadath!

After torturing the neck we are back to a whole-body-relaxation with :: DEAD LORD ::. Again a Swedish band – they are strongly present tonight. DEAD LORD play at every haystack and milkchurn, and you can see them live many times a year. So I did already. Welcome guests, nice show, as energetic as lively, but nothing new or surprising anymore.
Setlist: Strained Fools, Ruins, Because Of Spite, No Regrets, Onkalo, Hank, When History Repeats Itself, Stone Dead, Hammer To The Heart

Aaaaahhhh! Finally! Back to times of splendor ;) Time has come to see :: DISILLUSION :: live on stage again. Long, long time it has been silent around the band. Their latest record, the stunning Gloria, already dates back 9 years. A few shows were played afterwards, line-up changes and breakup rumors followed. Now, the 10th anniversary of their legendary Back To Times Of Splendor album brings DISILLUSION back on stage, playing this record in its entirety. The guys hardly stood on stage as fans started screaming for a new record, which is - as heard, in the making for quite some time now ;)
The club is now packed and crowded and anticipations are high. Unfortunately the singing of Andy Schmidt is too quiet or even dropped out? At first, no one noticed, as the crowd was singing along every song full-throated. How fkg amazing!!! I need more of them! More DISILLUSION please! Unfortunately I had to leave the set in favor of CPB, who were about to start on the main stage. Did I already mention that I HATE overlapping stage times? It ALWAYS hits my faves *grrrr*.
Setlist: …And The Mirror Cracked, Fall, Alone I Stand In Fires, Back To Times Of Splendor, A Day By The Lake, The Sleep Of Restless Hours

Yee-haw, one of my all-time faves! :) :: CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX :: kicked off classical with Rise Up And Fight but sounded kind of …restrained? Like played with a hand brake. Was it just me feeling so? Was I still under the spell of Cthulhu, listening to the inside instead of the outside? Or was it a new tactic by CPB? Because, with every new song CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX gained momentum, accelerated pace and power and finished extremely fulminant, causing goose flesh. Great dynamics during the show, cleverly built up thrill ;) Some minor technical issues appeared. The band only had a short line-check and couldn’t hear themselves via the monitor speakers. Didn’t do any harm to the show, much more it was once again a great one! It actually was my first show with the new members Niall Hone (bass) and Jonas Stålhammar (guitar). CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX have also released something new: the New Dark Age Tour EP 2015 A.D., which immediately landed in my bag, together with a cuddly hoodie. I’m still in need of a nice girlie tee... However, the CBP set was closed with THE classic: Burnt Reynolds, hearing the full hall singing along vociferously. Goose flesh galore!
Setlist: Rise Up And Fight, Black Light Generator, Long Live Independence, No!, New Dark Age, 444, We Forgotten Who We Are, Burnt Reynolds

:: SORCERER :: I almost missed, because I wanted enjoy CBP to the full. Luckily, there were already some delays and so I could run and catch them afterwards. The first tunes I heard while sneaking around the corner made clear, which sorcerer's apprentice the… guess… right… Swedes are: Candlemass. Means, we got epic Power/Doom Metal. Again in support of a brand new album, called In The Shadow Of The Inverted Cross, most of the tracks came from tonight. Yeah, cool stuff!
Setlist: Born With Fear, The Dark Tower Of The Sorcerer, Lake Of The Lost Souls, Northern Seas, Sumerian Script, The Gates Of Hell, The Battle, Prayers For A King, In The Shadow Of The Inverted Cross, The Sorcerer

Switching over to the hall we already had to face the grand finale of LEAFMEAL – A Feast Of Friends. Muenster’s own :: LONG DISTANCE CALLING :: were a worthy and powerful headliner for the inauguration of this festival. It became silent around them lately. Guitarist Flo explained that the band has written and recorded a new album, due next year. And we got honored with one brand new track called Trauma. If this track can be taken exemplarily for the whole record… then be prepared for something really heavy! Perfectly made to burn stages! Singer Marsen (of the last record) wasn’t present tonight. If he still belongs to the band and will also sing on the new album… nobody knows. Things remain exciting within the LDC camp ;) To be honest: I did not really miss him.
Setlist: Into The Black Wide Open, Ductus, Black Paper Planes, Fire In The Mountain, Trauma, Invisible Giants, Arecibo, Metulsky Curse Revisited, Beyond The Void

So! That’s the way the first LEAFMEAL – A Feast Of Friends ends. It was a great day, a successful festival, for the fans, not so much for the organizers I think, at least not financially. As already mentioned, there could have easily been 200, 300 more fans. What remains is the question, how the organizers will go on. I hope that the LEAFMEAL will not be just a Freak Valley winter edition. I personally would love to see the organizers go more experimental with bands, to drift away from metal mainstream and hip retro billings. Bands such as GY!BE, Neurosis, Godflesh, Bohren, Dirge, Master Musicians Of Bukake, Earth, Junius, Nordic Giants, Celeste and many more come to mind for the next edition ;) However, chapeau! See you in 2016!


story & pics © Dajana & Dajana Winkel • Photography