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Dark Troll Festival 2019 Report

BARBAROSSA BAGPIPES & DRUMS, AD CINEREM, LUCIFER’S CHILD, LAGERSTEIN, SEAR BLISS, ODROERIR, SUN OF THE SLEEPLESS, FINSTERFORST, 1914, ISGALDER, MORD-A-STIGMATA, VALKENRAG, :NODFYR:, WAYLANDER, WADGEFLUSTER, SAOR, KAMPFAR, SARKRISTA, VERA LUX, TULSADOOM, SOL SISTERE, ROMUVOS, HIMINBJORG, FJED, WINTERFYLLETH, MGLA, ENISUM
in Thursday, 30 May 2019 at Burgruine Schweinsburg
by Erika Kuenstler & Sarunas Dreseris

 
Size isn’t all that counts, especially when it comes to Metal festivals. One of our favourite festivals here at Metal Temple is DARK TROLL, a small Pagan/Folk/Black metal festival nestled away in some verdant hills in Bornstedt, Germany. The festival this year was even more special, celebrating its 10th anniversary between the 30th of May and the 1st of June this year.
 
 
One of things that sets DARK TROLL apart is that it is perhaps one of the most scenic festivals I’ve ever been to, with an amazing location. Passing rolling hills blanketed in fields of blazing yellow flowers, a small track winds up a hill near a remote village in Germany, with apple orchards slowly giving way to verdant forests interspersed with glades speckled with blooms. And it in these lush woods we find the ruins of an old castle. Completely enclosed by a wide wall, the renovated inner courtyard gives a sheltered niche overlooked by a stage built into the remnants of what was once possibly a bell-tower. A towering spire looms majestically over all, giving stunning vantage points not just of the stage, but also a panoramic view the surrounding countryside. Encamped at the foot of this tower is a small group of re-enactors, their simplistic lifestyle from bygone centuries lending an authentic medieval air to all. And it is in this stunning setting that DARK TROLL FESTIVAL takes place each year, featuring a slew of Pagan, Folk, and Black Metal bands. Thanks to the festival happening so early in the summer, this festival has all your metal heart might desire, from balmy days with blue skies and breath-taking scenery, to cold beer among friendly people, and of course a fantastic line-up, with some extra special shows lined up for the ten-year anniversary.
 




 
Being the 10-year anniversary, DARK TROLL FESTIVAL celebrated with many of the favourite bands from recent years. The debaucherous Australian party band that is LAGERSTEIN returned once more, bringing along a raucous revelry that had the crowd celebrating along with the band in next to no time. Another crowd favourite from last year who again made an appearance at this year’s festival was ODROERIR, who celebrated their 20th anniversary together with DARK TROLL’s 10th. Another old favourite was German Black Metal outfit FINSTERFORST, who had their fourth appearance at DARK TROLL this year, standing testament to the band’s popularity in at the festival. Other reappearances included, amongst others, HIMINBJORG and SAOR. Closing off the festival was ENISUM, who put on a stunning performance at the festival, as they also had in previous year.
 
 
Whilst these were some of the bands that had played DARK TROLL before, there were also a slew of newcomers to the festival. One such band, and one of the absolute highlights of the festival, was LUCIFER’S CHILD, a Greek band founded by George Emmanuel of ROTTING CHRIST. Despite having a very early slot right on the first day, they garnered quite a crowd, blowing the audience away. Considering this was their very first show in Germany, this certainly wasn’t a bad start for the band. Ukrainian Death/Doom band 1914 also had their first German show, and what a performance that was nothing short of spellbinding. Their captivating music combined with the atmosphere of the festival was the perfect amalgamation to make for an unforgettable performance.
 


 
Perhaps the most spectacular performance this year, at least in my opinion, was KAMPFAR, a Norwegian Black Metal band that has been around for the last 25 years. KAMPFAR very unexpectedly announced that they were breaking up during their show at Wolfszeit Festival two years ago, although this luckily turned into more of a hiatus than a split. This year saw them not only release one of their best albums to date, but also sees them returning to the stage in top form, with one of their first planned shows being at DARK TROLL. Close on their heels was FEJD, a Swedish Folk Metal band whose music is super catchy. There is absolutely no point in resisting this band, with their music going straight to your feet. Another fantastic performance was given by SEAR BLISS, who were also celebrating their 10th anniversary. These Hungarian Atmospheric Black metallers completely captivated the crowd with the cascade of enthralling melodies rolling off the stage. Other shows that are really worth a mention were those given by MGLA and by WINTERFYLLETH. The British WINTERFYLLETH were a particularly rare treat, given that they don’t perform very often in Germany. Whilst MGLA is on tour far more often than this, they nevertheless deliver spectacular shows that are shrouded in mystery and passion. This added to the ancient and magical air of DARK TROLL gave rise to the perfect backdrop for their music.
 




 
Another great thing about the festival are all the areas where you can just kick back, relax, and enjoy the festival. Directly in front of the stage is a large open area where fans can headbang to their heart’s content. However, if you feel like watching the band from a shady spot whilst enjoying a nice cool beer, there are plenty of spots to choose from, with the stage area being surrounded by benches which offer a cool, shady view of the stage. Also a nice bonus are the toilets with running water available at the festival. However, one of the downsides of the festival is that due to its increasing popularity and owing to the enlarged demand, the capacity of the nearby camping field isn’t enough, resulting in the opening of a second and ultimately a third camping site further down the hill. With numerous stairs to climb up the hill each day, most fans camping on the lower sites find it easier to stay in the general festival area all day, rather than slog up and down the stairs multiple times. Still, even those lucky enough to get a camping ticket for the closer campsite had to park their cars several kilometres away right on the other side of the village, again resulting in large distances that had to be covered on foot. However, this year, a festival shuttle was introduced, ferrying festival-goers between the campsites and the festival grounds for €1 per ride, and which made this situation a little better. Despite this, the shuttle service was not available at night, and as there was no schedule, you’d have to guestimate when to go up to the festival grounds to watch the bigger bands or risk the long trudge up the hill. A further problem with parking the cars so far away was that on Sunday morning, when everyone wanted to leave the festival grounds, car-owners first had to walk several kilometres to go get their car, before waiting in massive traffic jams in order to drive their cars back up to the campsite to pick up all of their camping equipment, with the whole processes of packing up your tent and leaving the festival by car taking several hours.
 
 
Despite these few gripes, this was nevertheless a stunning festival that should be a must-see for all Metal fans, particularly if you're into more Pagan/Folk and Black Metal music. In short, if you've had enough of thronging masses found at larger festivals, and are looking for a small, intimate, and well-organised festival, with awesome music and friendly people, look no further than DARK TROLL. However, tickets for this festival seem to be selling out sooner and sooner each year, thanks also in part to the increasing international popularity which has fans flocking in from a whole range of countries all over Europe. So be sure to get your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

For more photos, check out Valkyrian Photography here.

Promoter: In Fiction
Ticket Price: €57


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