Nov 292019
 

 

Our site obviously isn’t an all-purpose outlet for metal news. We almost never post announcements of tours, festivals, line-up changes, or even forthcoming albums (unless there’s an advance track we like that we can share in a new-music round-up). We get dozens of such announcements in our in-box every day, and even if all we did was copy/paste those things into our page, there wouldn’t be time to do much else. Plus, there are tons of other sites out there which do the newsy copy/paste thing. Why would anyone need one more?

Having said that, the last few weeks have brought a flood of enticing 2020 festival announcements, and I thought it would be worth making a slight exception to our usual decision-making and collect some of those here today. Still, this collection isn’t intended to be comprehensive — most of what I’ve picked will take place in North America — nor is my memory photographic, so I’m sure someone will be irritated that we left them out. Apologies in advance.

ASCENSION FESTIVAL ICELAND

I’ve already expounded at length about how much I loved the first edition of Ascension Festival Iceland, which I attended earlier this year. Definitely one of the best festival experiences I’ve ever had — maybe THE best — and a fantastic successor to the Oration festivals that preceded it. All respect and appreciation to Stephen Lockhart and his partner Edda for making it happen — and even more gratitude and respect to them for bringing back Ascension for round two next year. Continue reading »

Jun 192019
 

 

Yesterday I wrote about almost everything that mattered to me about the recently concluded Ascension Festival MMXIX in Mosfellsbær, Iceland, EXCEPT the music. If you happened to wade through that long post, you’ll know that a lot of things mattered to me besides the music — and I think most other people who attended the event experienced the same extremely positive feelings about what surrounded the sounds. But I suspect all that enthusiasm would have been diminished significantly if the music hadn’t also been great.

Fortunately, it was. With very few exceptions, my own reactions to the bands’ performances ranged from pleasantly happy to wide-eyed, slack-jawed, and aghast in wonder. All that good feeling easily carried over into conversations with friends and new acquaintances in between sets, in beautiful surroundings and sustained by good food and drink. In turn, the fun of that camaraderie carried right back over into the music hall for the next set, in a kind of thrilling feedback loop. Continue reading »

Jun 182019
 

 

(It is Monday as I write this, though it will be Tuesday before you see it, as I agreed with Mr. Synn to post his own reminiscences about Ascension Festival on Monday. All the photos are my own, unless otherwise noted.)

I had a restless period of half-sleep on Sunday night. In part that was due to the sweltering conditions in my Reykjavik hotel room. The sun, which briefly dims in Iceland this time of year but never sets, had warmed it up during the afternoon and the two small windows were restricted in how far they would open, rationing the amount of cool air that could come in. I missed my second-floor room at the Hotel Laxnes in Mosfellsbær where I could keep the door to a balcony wide open, and all the windows gaping, and enjoy the breeze ruffling the gauzy curtains until the land of Nod fully took me.

But mainly my restlessness derived from the fact that I couldn’t shut off my brain. It was still flooded with memories of Ascension Festival MMXIX, which ended in glorious fashion at roughly 2 a.m. on Sunday morning in Mosfellsbær. Of course, many of those memories were re-playing the music that had bombarded and mesmerized the senses over three days, but an equal number that continuously flashed through my mind in that half-waking, half-dreaming state were of other aspects of the experience that had become just as indelible as the sights and sounds from the stage. Continue reading »