It is a warm and sunny Friday in Vallamand, near Lake Morat in Switzerland, and our FemMetal report team took a trip there to witness three days of metal and excitement at the Rock The Lakes festival. In these three days, we will accompany you with our photos and reviews of the performances of various artists that are scheduled to appear. First of all, though, we’d like to thank the organization of the festival for hosting us and welcoming us like part of a big family!
The first group to open the performances and, consequently, the festival is Dreamshade, a local melodic death band formed in 2006. Dreamshade delivered a powerful performance despite the relatively low attendance at the festival. Playing in the early hours of the event, their enthusiasm remained unwavering as they took the stage. The band’s musicianship was truly impressive. The intricate guitar melodies seamlessly blended with the thundering bass lines and relentless drumming, creating a captivating sonic landscape. Kevin on vocals delivered a commanding performance, effortlessly transitioning between guttural growls and cleaner vocals. Their dedication to their craft and ability to deliver an engaging live show showcased their potential as a rising force in the melodic death metal genre.
It’s time to change subgenre at Rock The Lakes: we leave the melodic death sounds of Dreamshade to welcome the nu metal of Blind Channel, hailing all the way from Finland. I was completely in awe: they delivered an electrifying and unforgettable performance that left the crowd begging for more. Their exceptional ability to engage with the audience created an immersive and energetic atmosphere, making it impossible to resist being swept away by their music. From the moment they stepped on stage, Blind Channel‘s infectious energy and stage presence captivated everyone in the crowd. One of the highlights of their performance was their incredible cover of Anastacia‘s “Left Outside Alone.” This unexpected surprise not only showcased their versatility as musicians but also set the bar extremely high for the bands that followed. Blind Channel‘s interpretation of the song was nothing short of brilliant, infusing their signature nu metal sound with a fresh and captivating twist. We are now addicted to Blind Channel!
One of Men At Work‘s most recognizable lyrics is “I come from a land down under“, and from the land down under, Rock the Lakes is ready to melt faces with Deez Nuts and their signature hardcore. The Aussies delivered a solid performance that left the crowd energized and engaged. From the moment they stepped on stage, their raw energy and aggression were palpable, creating an intense atmosphere that resonated with their fans. The band’s musicianship was tight and precise, with powerful guitar riffs, thunderous drumming, and aggressive vocals that commanded attention. However, one aspect that stood out during Deez Nuts‘ performance was a sense of repetitiveness, not only in their music but also in the movements of the band members on stage. While their energy was undeniable, it felt like there was a lack of variation in their stage presence. The same repetitive motions and gestures were repeated throughout the set, which, at times, detracted from the overall impact of their performance. That being said, it is important to note that Deez Nuts‘ performance was still highly enjoyable and well-executed.
Bleed From Within
Let’s return to the motherland, as the next act is Bleed From Within, ready to rock with us from Glasgow. The crowd keeps on getting bigger in front of the stage, offering the artists even more opportunities to impress the attendees. What set Bleed From Within apart was their ability to seamlessly blend heavy breakdowns with atmospheric melodies, creating a dynamic and immersive experience. The band’s musicianship was fully displayed, showcasing their technical prowess and tight-knit chemistry. Each member played their part flawlessly, contributing to the cohesive sound that defined the band’s performance. Even though I cannot appreciate at the best their metalcore, it was clear that the talent runs very abundantly in the veins of the members. Scott Kennedy kept on asking for circle pits, walls of death and cheers from the crowd, giving everything he had to this performance. They are definitely one of the bands to keep an eye on.
Rock The Lakes delighted us with another act from Finland: the mighty Korpiklaani took the main stage at 19:45 sharp. Their folk metal was bright, fun and super engaging. The setlist was a well-curated mix of their heavy-hitting tracks and melodic anthems, providing a dynamic and electric experience for the audience. Each song was executed flawlessly, creating an atmosphere that was both intense and emotionally charged. After the first four songs, which hugely excited the crowd, lead singer Jonne grabbed an acoustic guitar and transported the whole festival to another realm, where life is easy, and he guides us with his voice. The softer melodies, while still in pure Korpiklaani style, added value to the performance and brought a much-needed change in the atmosphere. I really appreciated the diversity in their set, proving that the group is well aware of what they can deliver in terms of live shows. During “Beer Beer“, Jonne kept on throwing to the crowd beer cans, and the people who grabbed these memorabilia were also invited to drink from them. How fun! Korpiklaani‘s performance was a defining moment of the festival, leaving a lasting impression on everyone fortunate enough to witness it.
The extreme metal enthusiasts will be super happy with the lineup of this Friday because another historical band is ready to unleash the madness on Lake Morat. We are talking about none but the Brazilian legend Sepultura, who enchanted the audiences for a 1-hour long set. They are obviously promoting their latest release, “Quadra”, but without forgetting their memorable hits. Commanding the stage with an electrifying presence that reverberated through the vast expanse of the festival grounds, Sepultura delivered a show that left an indelible mark on the audience. I am personally not a big fan of their thrash metal with hints of death, but I understood why they are such a big deal in the metal industry. The crowd was ensnared by the unstoppable rhythms, majestic guitar riffs, and the raw intensity of vocalist Derrick Green’s delivery. The band’s seamless cohesion was palpable, each member a force in their own right, yet together creating a sonic tapestry that enveloped the festival-goers. This is another performance that will go down in history: after 39 years they are still a force to be reckoned with.
Heaven Shall Burn
We’re returning to a country much closer to Switzerland for the headliners of this first day: from Germany, the mighty Heaven Shall Burn will start their performance at 22:45. Actually, their performance started a few minutes later, but we didn’t mind. We knew what we were expecting, and we were ready for it. Having seen them just a few days ago at Wacken Open Air, we were eager to see this phenomenal band on stage again. And while the special effects were obviously toned down for Rock The Lakes (due to the stage being a bit smaller and the set time being shorter), they didn’t disappoint. The stage setup, coupled with their dynamic visuals, created an immersive backdrop for their set, enhancing the impact of their music. What set Heaven Shall Burn‘s performance apart was their fusion of melodic intricacy and visceral aggression. The elaborate guitar work intertwined with pummeling drums and basslines, while frontman Marcus Bischoff’s emotive vocals lent a layer of depth to their sound. Smoke and fire blended as their show went on, proving once more why they are regarded at such a high level. Then, Marcus stated, “You will hear this song again on Sunday, but we will play it now for you: Blind Guardian are old friends“, and the unmistakable notes of “Valhalla” resounded in the open air. An epic ending to an epic show that left the audience in complete awe of this group.
The first day of the festival closes with a local band just like it started, and we are pleased to witness the performance of Samael, a black metal institution all over the world. They left an indelible mark: taking the stage with an aura of enigmatic intensity, the band plunged the audience into a sonic journey that flawlessly mixed the ethereal and the ferocious. Their performance was a masterclass in atmospheric black sounds as they skillfully navigated the realms of darkness and light through their intricate compositions. The haunting symphony of distorted guitars, thunderous drums, and Vorph’s commanding vocals conjured an atmosphere that was both evocative and hypnotic. The crowd was spellbound, drawn into the intricate tapestry of sound that unfolded before them. In addition, the band’s connection with the audience was palpable, creating an otherworldly communion between performers and fans. This first day of Rock The Lakes couldn’t have ended in a better manner.