On Sunday June the 2nd, Fortarock’s festival-area opens at noon. The weather predictions earlier that week already said so: Sunday the temperatures will rise above 30°C. When I got up that morning to cycle to the Goffertpark a bit before 12 o’clock it was very hot indeed!
At one o’clock it is time for today’s opening band, Savage Messiah. This band kicks off this Fortarock-Sunday on the Main Stage, so in full sunshine. I already saw them perform before once, back in 2014 when I interviewed frontman Dave Silver and former guitarist Joff Bailey. Since that time Savage Messiah’s lineup changed quite a bit. Only frontman Dave Silver and bass guitarist Mira Slama are still part of Savage Messiah. Drummer Andrea Gorio and guitarist Joff Bailey are replaced by Charly Carretón and David Hruska. Besides those changes they now also brought a live-keyboardist. Immediately when Savage Messiah fires their first notes over the Goffertpark, it becomes clear that the sound at the Main Stage is better than yesterday, despite a bit more wind. The only thing that is a bit less is the sound of the added keyboards. However, when those are clearly audible they appear to be a welcoming addition. Besides the, at moments, less audible keyboards and the fact that Dave’s guitar disconnects at the beginning of their show, Savage Messiah plays a very nice and tight show. After a few songs Dave mentions that he has a throat infection and that this day is the first day he has a voice at all, which might have its result when it comes to his vocals. At some moments his vocals do indeed sound a bit less, but with this info in mind he executes his vocals perfectly for the main part. There are already quite a lot of people in front of the Main Stage during this show and many of them are reacting quite enthusiastic. There are already quite some people headbanging and today’s first moshpit is also happening during this first show of the day. A perfect start of this second day of Fortarock 2019!
After that strong start of the day, the stoner rock & rollers van Rhinorino are opening the stage of Hank’s Garage, while I am going to the opening show of the Tent Stage for today. Until a few days ago this was announced to be done by Allegaeon. However, a few days ago this band’s show was canceled. Clearly, the program booklets and merchandise were already finished, because Allegaeon is still printed on that, while their replacement isn’t. This replacement is Car Bomb. Just as on the Main Stage it becomes clear pretty soon that the sound at Tent Stage also is better than yesterday. The only exception to this during Car Bomb’s show are the clean vocals of frontman Michael Dafferner that are at a bit low volume. For the main part though, Car Bomb really delivers a crushing show. Unfortunately there are some technical problems with Greg Kubacki’s guitar as well as with Elliot Hoffman’s drums. Besides his clean vocals, Michael Dafferner also performs some harsh vocals that are very strong and bulldozer through the tent. Here we also got to see the first mosh pit of the day in this already quite crowded Tent Stage. In the Fall of this year Car Bomb will be releasing their new album and the Fortarock-audience is treated on a new song, called Dissect Yourself, that will be on this upcoming album.
Then we go back to the Main Stage to go see a funny and extensive show, because it is time for Gloryhammer. For their opening song almost all members of Gloryhammer enter the stage. The only one still missing is keyboardist Zargothrax, Dark Emperor of Dundee, that’s why his keyboards can be heard from a sample during this song. If you didn’t know it already, it becomes clear very soon that Gloryhammer isn’t about very serious themes. You can also see that at the costumes they are wearing on stage. However, they take their show very serious, they play extremely tight, especially for such a fun show. It is a real party in terms of its atmosphere and show-aspects, but it is very well executed as well. The audience is very enthusiastic during this show and of course there must be a gloryhammer on the stage that is brought and taken from a goblin that entered the stage. Vocalist Angus McFife XIII, Crown Prince of Fife even gets the Fortarock-audience that far that they are performing the sound of a gloryhammer crushing a goblin in space all together. Besides his keyboards Zargothrax, Dark Emperor of Dundee also performs some vocals that unfortunately aren’t very audible. The only exception to this are his grunts during Monsters of the Galaxy.
Then the instrumental guitar driven prog- and djent metallers of Intervals will be performing in Hank’s Garage while I am going to the second crushing show of today at the Tent Stage. There the Polish metallers of Decapitated are on stage. Unfortunately frontman Rafał Piotrowski’s vocals are on a bit of a low volume, especially during the start of their set. Besides that Decapitated really pounds and bulldozes as fuck, resulting in a very intense atmosphere during this show. There is a huge storm of energy coming from the stage during their entire show and that also results in a very powerful release of energy with a lot of people in the audience. Decapitated delivers a very intense, impressing and crushing show that I definitely wouldn’t want to miss.
After that enormously intense show of Decapitated we go to a show that probably will be a bit less intense at the Main Stage. There the powertrio Kadavar will be on the stage and they play at a less extreme pace. Something that is quite nice at some moments for sure, especially with those hot temperatures. Does that mean this show is boring? Definitely not! Lupus Lindemann, Simon “Dragon” Bouteloup and Tiger look like they came straight from the ’70’s, something that perfectly fits with their hardrock reminding of past times. Kadavar puts down a hypnotizing show in which the nicely roaring guitars, including very well executed solos, especially stand out. However, when speaking about solos, those aren’t only coming from the guitar, Tiger also performs a short drum-solo.
While the more rock-oriented fans are probably going to see Komatsu’s show in Hank’s Garage after Kadavar’s show, I am going to the Tent Stage where Batushka is performing. As soon as I entered the tent it seems that many others had the same plan. Once inside Batushka’s extensive decor of course is very eye-catching. Batushka starts their show a few minutes after the scheduled time, probably because all candles have to be lit first. Batushka’s very well executed ceremonial show makes you forget this as soon as they start. Frontman Bartłomiej Krysiuk’s vocals, his intense screams as well as his preaching clean vocals, are on a bit of a low volume, but many people in the audience don’t seem to care about this, because of the impressing show. A show that is quite static, with the only exceptions being some movements of Bartłomiej Krysiuk and two people uncovering Batushka-plates. However, that isn’t something negative because of the epic and bombastic way Batushka delivers their show, the decor and frontman Bartłomiej Krysiuk. Of course this is a show that works the best when performed under dark circumstances. So, that Batushka is playing in the tent is perfect for this show’s atmosphere.
After Batushka’s show we go back to the Main Stage where Symphony X enters the stage. Personally I don’t like their music that much, so to me this show is one of the less interesting shows of Fortarock 2019. As can be seen at the look of many enthusiastic people in front of the Main Stage many people are looking forward to this show. That Symphony X is quite a big name and that this is something they earned for sure is proven by the very strong show they deliver. Especially the roaring guitar of Michael Romeo and the vocals of frontman Russell Allen are standing out. Frontman Russell Allen clearly shows that he gives all he can by his enthusiastic movements, his way of cheering on the crowd as well as, of course, his vocals. All his vocals, whether they are calm, full of emotion, raw, or a bit more high-pitched, sound very nice. Symphony X delivers a very strong show with a lot of melody, some heavier moments, some longer instrumental parts and a huge amount of variation in their show.
After Symphony X’s show the instrumental psychedelic stoner/krautrockers of Monomyth are performing in Hank’s Garage, while I go back to the Tent Stage where Katatonia is going to play their 2009 masterpiece, Night Is The New Day, in its entirety. Despite quite some technical problems with Daniel Moilanen’s drumkit and the fact that his bass drum is way too loud during the first song, Katatonia plays a very nice show. Katatonia performs an awesome show that makes you forget everything around you and this show is perfect to let yourself go flowing on the atmospheric vibe they create. This is a very well executed show with a special mention to the perfect moments that vocalist Jonas Renkse, guitarists Anders Nyström and Roger Öjersson are singing together very nicely.
Although Gloryhammer already brought a hammer to the Main Stage, the next band that is playing this stage does so too. However, this isn’t a gloryhammer but a hammer-shaped guitar, from guitarist Oscar Dronjak. This band also has the word “hammer” in their band name, of course I am talking about Hammerfall. Oscar Dronjak as well as fellow guitarist Pontus Norgren perform some very nice solos during this well-done show. The only thing that I don’t like are frontman Joacim Cans’ typical power metal vocals. However, that’s more of a musical taste issue, because he performs them very well. During this Main Stage show the audience is extremely enthusiastic, something that may end up a sold out show on February the 3rd next year. That’s when Hammerfall will come back to Nijmegen as frontman Joacim Cans announces to the Fortarock-audience.
Then it’s already time for the last bands in Hank’s Garage and at the Tent Stage for Fortarock 2019. The Tent Stage is getting closed by the instrumental prog metallers of Animals As Leaders. I went to the show of the closing band in Hank’s Garage, the Dutch hardrockers of Temple Fang. What a show these guys perform! There really is a huge amount of energy being released here, on stage as well as in the audience. On stage this especially can be seen with guitarist Jevin de Groot, he shows that he feels his music very deeply which is great to see. Temple Fang shows to be a very good hardrock band that delivers a strong set of music including some psychedelic edges, some longer instrumental parts and very nicely roaring guitars. At the start of their show Dennis Duijnhouwer’s vocals are on a bit of a low volume, but luckily this soon gets better. At some moments guitarist Jevin de Groot also sings along a part, which makes everything even more intense. This definitely is a very awesome and energetic show. At the end of their show Dennis and Jevin thank Temple Fang’s soundguy, but it seems that he doesn’t like that attention and the band knows that for sure. Suddenly the microphones are echoing very much while they thank him, a nice interaction between band and soundguy that shows the nice atmosphere Temple Fang also created during their show.
After that nice show it’s already time for the last show of Fortarock 2019. This headliner is Amon Amarth and with their very strong set they surely show why. As soon as the curtain in front of the stage falls down the viking helmet decor of these viking metallers can be seen. At that moment the audience is already getting crazy, something that of course gets even more as soon as Amon Amarth is entering the stage and unleashing their nicely pounding, but also quite melodic metal upon the Goffertpark. During the entire show the audience is very enthusiastic, goes completely crazy, headbangs heavily or is almost causing a local earthquake while jumping during Crack The Sky. This for sure is a very energetic and very tight show. Amon Amarth delivers a show that is headliner-worthy, including a lot of pyro and a true viking fight on the stage. Frontman Jonah Hegg clearly is very happy during the show, looking at his big smile on the moments he isn’t singing and the regularly sounding “dankjewel Nederland” (“thanks Netherlands” in Dutch) that is pronounced in a surprisingly well-done way. Half an hour before the end of Amon Amarth’s show the sky above Nijmegen cracks open and rain falls down, something that feels quite cool after such a hot day. A few people immediately run towards the festival area’s exit, but most people are staying to watch the remainder of Amon Amarth’s show. However, some moments later it also starts to thunder and Amon Amarth have to stop their show by order of the police because of safety reasons. Unfortunately thunder can’t be controlled by people, but luckily Amon Amarth played most of their show, which was very awesome. As soon as Amon Amarth played their last notes a warning for bad weather conditions can be heard very loudly through the speakers of the Main Stage with the message of calmly leaving the festival area and finding a safe shelter.
Because of that reason and of course because Fortarock 2019 is over it is very crowded at the exit of the festival area. A lot of people are leaving the area at a very slow speed. It is raining and thundering, but it also is a special feeling when everyone is loudly shouting “Slayer!” after every burst of lightning!
Fortarock 2019 was, again, a very nice tenth edition of this festival that hopefully will see many other editions in the future!
Photos made by Jimmy Israël
At the following links you can read our earlier live reviews of the first day of FortaRock 2019 (here), FortaRock 2018 (here and here), Amon Amarth (here), Symphony X (here) and Batushka (here) as well as our earlier reviews of Batushka (here), Gloryhammer (here) and Car Bomb (here), an earlier part of Promoting Bands including Savage Messiah (here) and the aforementioned interview with Savage Messiah (here).
Fortarock Official Website
Amon Amarth Official Website
Amon Amarth Facebook
Amon Amarth Instagram
Amon Amarth Twitter
Temple Fang Facebook
Hammerfall Official Website
Katatonia Official Website
Symphony X Official Website
Symphony X Facebook
Symphony X Instagram
Symphony X Twitter
Batushka Official Website
Kadavar Official Website
Decapitated Official Website
Gloryhammer Official Website
Car Bomb Official Website
Car Bomb Facebook
Car Bomb Twitter
Savage Messiah Official Website
Savage Messiah Facebook
Savage Messiah Instagram
Savage Messiah Twitter
I’m Tim van Velthuysen and I started DutchMetalManiac back in 2014. I’m 27 years old and I live in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Of course, I like metal, but I can also appreciate other musical styles. However, metal is what I mostly listen to. I also like going to concerts, meeting with friends and watching movies (especially arthouse).