Dark Mental Festival - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

As darkness was creeping in on the final night of Dark Mental Festival, the music took a serious turn towards the sinister darkness within and around us all, with the Danish black metal band Blodarv (eng. Bloodlegacy), much like Angantyr had done the previous day.

Blodarv hail from the most Eastern part of the Danish kingdom, the island of Bornholm, and if you were to trust in the stage equipment used by the female vocalist Satinae Ma, they had flown here on witch’s brooms. All in all, this was a band which had gone pretty much all out within the black metal restrictions of the visual side – the clothes were black and tattered, the corpsepaint was grim, and the spikes were long and plentiful! They were also, as far as I recall, the first band to use special effects such as smoke on the stage, all to add to the cold and wicked atmosphere which the band was obviously going for.
The faces of the band, below all the grease paint, were not all too unfamiliar though, as we on bass saw Huul who had also played with Bone earlier on, and behind the drums, where I expected to see Ynleborgaz of Angantyr, was another familiar face. Not Ynleborgaz though, but rather Azathil from Archain, the band that had opened the second day o the festival. Small world, isn’t it?

Anyway, back to the event.
Blodarv was pumping out a rather traditional, raw black metal, and clean female vocals added to a small extent to add an extra dimension to the music.
This was obviously something that sat well with the Copenhagen crowd, as the room was well-filled compared to how it had looked for most of the bands at this festival, and at least in the front rows people were getting busy with a manic amount of headbanging. Between songs the people further back also joined in with applause and shouts in the bands honour, something that definitely helped lift the atmosphere.
The band, or I should really just say Huul, tried to pull it down though, with using an excessively angry and threatening behaviour as he complained that his bass was set too low. To my ears, Blodarv had the perfect black metal sound, which should be predominately high-pitched and shriek guitars, and this was something that was lost when Huul got his way and got the bass sound turned way too high up in the mix… His manner improved after downing a pint of beer which he had demanded as an excuse for the sound issue though, and the show could continue in peace (at least as much peace as you can expect from this genre).
Later on, guitarist Pest even tried to get a “Hey” shout-along started, and met with some success from those closest to the stage. This couldn’t prevent the fact that the crowd began sneaking out for a beer after a while though, and as the band kept on playing, it was clear to see that at least parts of the crowd were already getting ready for the finale instead of enjoying the present.

For my own sake, I have never been much for this primitive type of black metal, so even though I appreciated what the band trying to accomplish, the visual side was in the end the only part of it that really spoke to me, and even that was hard to get a clear idea of in the darkness.
Neither was I a big fan of Satinae Ma’s vocals; it was easy to hear that she was going for that big soprano thing which is popular in and on the outskirts of this genre (I suppose the higher a female can reach in the vocal register, the more innocent she seems to the listeners, and thus makes a greater counter-weight to the demonic shrieks of the male vocalist), but it was just as easy to hear that she didn’t have any form of proper training in this (if she did, I at least couldn’t tell from this performance), and it was very pitchy and annoying most of the time.
Blodarv certainly did not deliver the worst performance of Dark Mental Festival, you would be very wrong to think that, but they were some way away from the best as well, at least in my humble opinion.

Latest uploads: