A dutch folk-metal showcase at the Vorstin with Alvenrad, Alvader and Mourning Wood at Metalcafe.

Last Friday night the metalheads from Hilversum and far away gathered for the fifth edition of Metalcafe Live in The Vorstin. MetalFromNL was there once again to report on the recurring event. This time with pictures by Nicky van der Schaaf and a write-up by Ruben Baar.

The theme of tonight is folk metal, a personal favorite of mine. So I’m very excited to see what the Dutch scene has to offer in that regard. I walk in right as tonight’s host Niels bellows out his welcoming words. The room is already packed and the crowd is rearing to go. Good thing that the first band of the evening stands ready to deliver.

Mourning Wood

When you think of folk metal, you think of bagpipes, violins, and flutes. But the guys from Mourning Wood take a different approach. Dressed in Hawaiian shirts and leis, these guys are clearly taking a page out of Alestorm’s book and are profiling themselves as a party band perhaps best suited for later in the evening rather than an opening act. Their music is somewhat chaotic and the seven members don’t always mesh well together, but they are clearly having a lot of fun.

In front of the stage, there’s immediate audience participation, a moshpit breaks out as soon as the band starts playing and it only takes three songs into the set for the singer to don a pirate hat and tell the willing crowd to start rowing. His vocals and grunting are good and lend the band a heavier sound to offset the many cheerful notes being played on the keyboard and guitars. These come to the forefront after the pirate-themed song switches over to ‘Redneck Redemption’ which has to be a play on the videogame title ‘Red Dead Redemption’. There’s a thumping chiptune beat throughout this song that never shows up again.

It’s a whirlwind of different styles and themes made all the more apparent when the set continues without the bells and whistles and the band starts playing more traditional death metal. Only to kick it back to the more silly vibes with ‘Heathen Hoorah’ which features a classic circus medley. It’s quite a thing to behold as I’m still not sure what exactly it is that saw, but the audience is eating it up and happily dancing and moshing away. To close out with the band plays an English cover of a classic Flemish children’s song ‘Dwarven Dance’ which the millennials in the crowd can definitely appreciate. I couldn’t help enjoying it myself.

Alvader

After this whirlwind of a party starter, the stage gets set for Alvader. On paper these guys have the highest pedigree in the folk metal genre, having three former Heidevolk members in their ranks including their singer. Heidevolk has always had characteristic vocals and these are present in Alvader as well.

Unfortunately this band is so poorly mixed no one can make out a word he’s saying. The vocals get completely drowned out by the other instruments, especially the drums. Which is a shame because a track like ‘Midwinternacht’ starts off strong with such fast passed and heavy drums, you’d think it’s the start of a Motörhead song, but it just devolves into a barrage of noise due to the poor sound quality.

Guitars meant to bring the folk melodies completely disappear in even their self-titled song and with what’s left of the baritone vocals we end up listening to a droning wall of sound that’s more like blackened noise metal than anything else. The crowd, presumably still on an energy high from the previous band, do try to enjoy themselves. And in such a community, who couldn’t? But with every passing song, there’s less and less movement.

Our MC Niels does push for one more song at the end and they play a cover of ‘Ostara’, which is a Heidevolk song. So the gathered folk metal fans know how it goes, so they can fill in the missing words for themselves. It serves as a strong signal that Heidevolk is still clearly the better band and to add insult to injury, as soon as the band stops playing the house music kicks in with more of their music.

Alvenrad

To close out the evening Alvenrad takes the stage. Though it seems about half the people from the start of the evening have already left the venue at this point. Had they stayed, they’d have seen an impressive handlebar mustache on the bassist and felt some heavy blast beats.

The people that are left have no quit in them, they are determined to keep that pit going all night long. Even if it doesn’t always align with what’s being played on stage. The vocals are distinguishable again, but besides the lyrics there’s not a lot of folk in this band. It feels more like melodic death metal.

Every song is about The Netherlands most well-known woodland region and we get plenty of songs off their latest album ‘Veluws Ijzer’. As well as some of their latest singles like ‘De Verborgen Beek’. What’s left of the crowd does seem to enjoy it and after a disappointing second act, it is a step up.

Despite it not really having a folk tone, the band does work together really well and delivers some pounding melodies. It could be a nice prelude to the next edition of the event on October 4th. That night the theme for Metalcafe will be melodic death metal bands from The Netherlands. When the last notes are played the room rapidly drains of people, which leaves a DJ playing requests for only a handful of people. Barely half an hour later these final stragglers are being shown to the door. Start of the evening definitely being Mourning Wood for their sheer display of insanity and though it was too bad we didn’t get to see Alvader at their best, we had a strong finish. We’ll definitely be back here in October for more metal from the Netherlands.

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