At The Lake

Metalcamp - 2008

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

I had seen At The Lake's poster hanging around the festival area, and the slogan "Symphonic Folk Metal" had attracted me enough to pull myself away from the Mainstage for a while to go down to the 2nd stage and see what they were all about.

Well, I was a bit mixed about the experience, I must say. First of all, I didn't find anything even remotely reminding me of folk-music. The only thing that could possibly excuse this term was the fact that they used a violin-player.
"Symphonic Opera Metal" would have been a more fitting term, in my opinion. Here I am hinting at the vocals provided by Marta Wisniewska, who was an excellent front(wo)man. Sadly though, it was her vocals which disappointed me most about the band. It was, as I've already hinted at, a very operatic style, slightly reminiscent of Tarja Turunen, but without the same power. To be fair, what I disliked was when she was singing in the high keys; when she stuck to the lower register it sounded quite good. The rest of the band did a good job with the music, which also sounded good; it was just not what I had expected.

There were several people who had turned up to see the show, but they kept a respectful distance to the stage; most likely because of the water, or should I say moat, which had formed at the fence after all the raining.
This did not seem to bother At The Lake though, they seemed to thoroughly enjoy their time on stage. Especially Milena Gaworek (violin) gave an outstandingly lively performance.
It was also Milena who led the band into the finale of the set with a fantastic cover version of Judas Priest's Breaking The Law. I must admit, I did not recognise it at first, for she played it very slowly, and with only the violin playing it gave a special soulful feeling, which I don't think anyone could have imagined for this song.

Well, all in all, it was an ok+ show, I just which they wouldn't call themselves anything with folk. And this is something that goes out to a lot of bands, it's become too much of a fashion statement to call yourself folk metal. In my opinion.

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