Prophecy Fest 2016 – Day 2 - 07/29/2016 - Balver Höhle, Balve, Germany

After a fantastic first day, we were pretty excited for the excellent lineup in the closing day. After hitting up the local ReWe for some adult beverages and some food, we made our way to the bat cave again for more music.

Hailing from Canada, Völur opened the second day with great atmosphere and energy. As one of the label’s latest signings, this trio did a great job in captivating the audience with their unique sound. Heavily exploiting their crushing bass guitar paired with an emotional violin, the band mixes Doom and Folk elements creating a powerful and emotional sound.

Keeping the crowd going for a while, the band did a great job opening the second day and warming up the stage for one of the most unique performances of the weekend.

Bohren & Der Club Of Gore was the non-Prophecy affiliated act for this year’s festival and their hypnotic and very moody Jazz/Doom music is truly magical. This year we wanted to be surprised by bands, so we avoided looking up the acts that we didn’t know in order to discover them live. We do not regret it one bit as the German trio delivered a captivating live rendition of their very solemn sound.

Playing with their own stage lighting highlighting the musicians and the lone sparkling snare drum, the band had the whole cave entrance closed to increase the ambiance of their performance. With such minimalist and magical music, the band uses the time between songs to interact with the crowd telling funny stories that had everybody cracking up.

One of the few acts that could follow up such an emotional performance has to be Antimatter, and luckily they were doing a set full of their earlier material. The band took the stage after quite a long sound check, and while some people seemed a bit impatient, it was 100% worth it as they sounded amazing.

Drawing comparisons to Anathema and similar artists, Mick Moss and company delivered a great performance with tons of epic rocking passages and a very cohesive and natural transition. In our opinion, this was definitely one of the best performances of the weekend.

With bands from Iceland slowly appearing in the international scene, and with many already making their names in genres like Black Metal, we were interested in seeing what GlerAkur had to offer during Prophecy Fest.

Taking the stage with not two, not three, but five…. Yes FIVE guitar players, the band’s sound is massive, blowing everybody away. Adding to this lineup we have TWO drummers and a lone bass guitar player. With most of the music being instrumental, they give a vibe that the band members are just jamming and delivering a truly majestic aural experience.

After such a powerful performance, the highlight of the weekend for many of the attendees was up next: Alcest playing “Écailles De Lune” in its entirety.

The expectation was very evident as people instantly made their way up close by the stage even before GlerAkur was off the stage. This considerable mass of people only grew bigger and bigger by the minute. We have seen Alcest plenty of times in Europe and North America and they have a certain magnetic vibe to them which generates very dedicated and loyal fans everywhere.

The moment the first few notes of “Écailles de lune - Part 1” played, the crowd went insane and kept this level of energy through the heavier parts of this release. The band topped off their performance with a few others of their earlier (and later) hits before closing with “Délivrance”. It is quite interesting how people react to Alcest’s music, some are furiously headbanging through the faster paced sections, while others look like hypnotized on a state of bliss with the beautiful ethereal atmosphere created by Neige and company. This show has a considerably amount of both, and it almost filled up all the empty spaces close to the stage in the cave.

Following up Alcest is quite a job, but the organizers had the legendary Sol Invictus lined up. This British outfit delivered their trippy Progressive Folk in full force filling up the stage with musicians including Don Anderson of Agalloch fame.

After a solid and engaging set from Sol Invictus we had to leave ‘early’ as we had a long drive to Frankfurt the following day very early in the morning to catch our flight back to the USA. We unfortunately had to miss Vemod, but we will surely catch them at a later time.

Overall, Prophecy Fest is one of the most unique festivals we have attended. Balver Höhle is a truly magical venue with a perfectly placed stage and fairly decent acoustics for a festival. The band curation was stellar as we really wanted to see more than 70% of the bands. The artists delivered great performances, for the most part, and as a complete package, this festival is worth attending for anybody in the world. We met tons of nice people from Germany, Europe, and places like Australia, making the festival atmosphere quite light and relaxed. Featuring most artists from the Prophecy Productions label, this is a great showcase for very unique bands that will be hard to see live in the same place at once at any other time.