Metaldays - 2013

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Vegard ‘Ihsahn’ Sverre Tveitan, famed frontman of black metal giants Emperor now having large success with his solo project simply called Ihsahn was surprisingly visiting Slovenia for the first time in his musical career, and Metaldays was of course the way to go.

Doing most of the studio stuff on his own, he clearly needed a backing band when performing live, and this lot had fallen on Leprous, a rising progressive metal band from the same city in Norway. Actually, the bond goes deeper than that, but it is doubtful that this has affected the choice.
Anyhow, Leprous had had the pleasure of warming up for Ihsahn, playing a 25 minutes set of their own song leading up to this show. Even so, a bit of time was still spent on soundchecking and refining the final details – this made the show even more late than it already was, and honestly didn’t all that much difference to a sound that was before and kept on being quite muddy and lacking in detail in the front where most of the people were standing.

The crowd had certainly grown since Leprous had come on, but it was still only mid-sized and calm. Ihsahn, who was wearing a guitar strap with the Emperor logo, possibly for easy recognition, didn’t seem much affected by the turn-out though, and much like his backing band had done before him he came on and delivered songs and not much else. It could be felt that this man had a greater presence, but apart from that the connection with the crowd was almost fully forgotten once more. An instigated applause session in The Paranoid and a short greeting was just about it.
Even though they were sweating profoundly in the heat with Einar Solberg almost drowning in his shirt, the guys in Leprous gave headbanging a try once in a while, but this was not nearly enough to lift the show from mere mediocrity. The songs that should have been the driving force here were more or less completely lost in an unhelpful sound mix (which was a bit better to the back of the plain but still far from acceptable), and the performance that could have saved the missing sound was all but none existent!

I admit I wasn’t especially taken with Leprous even though I had had some expectations to their show, but a man with stage seniority like that of Ihsahn really should know how to do better than this!
This may have been the first visit of the black metal superstar to Metaldays and Slovenia, but I can honestly say that this festival and its audience deserved better and hope that if he decides to return, and of course is invited back again, he will have pulled something worth watching together.

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