Horns Up Festival 5 (Pandemic Edition

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It’s really hard to be a rocker/metalhead and stay dry from gigs for six months. To be honest with you, I can’t remember such a huge concert gap since the late 1980s! But, as you probably already know Covid had other plans for 2020 and all concerts and festivals after March were canceled, including HORNS UP Festival 5 that was scheduled for March. Its cancellation was announced just a few days before we travel to the beautiful town of Trikala. The organizers tried to find a solution with a new date, so on September 12 we managed to enjoy a short version of the festival, which they called Pandemic Edition.

Varathron

Of course, instead of 3 days with 15 bands this time it was only one day with 5 bands and obviously these were only local bands as the pandemic doesn’t allow any band to travel from abroad. The organizers had to go through a lot until the managed to make it happen, first of all the lovely Suita bar wasn’t suitable because it had to be open air. So, the open air theatre inside the castle of Trikala came as a great solution. It is a truly beautiful place to see any kind of event. All the safety measures were taken, masks on the entrance, proper distances (only a small part of the theatre were used), hand sanitizers etc. OK, it was bit awkward to have stand only fans in a rock concert but at least we could see a real concert again.

Warcode

There was high anticipation in the air, we really dint know if the festival was going to begin even a few minutes before the doors opening as the police was checking the place. But just after 19.00 WARCODE were on stage a people burst into applause. They are a local band that plays death/thrash metal and managed to grab the fans from the beginning. They opened with “instigate the suffering” from their latest album «Post-Modern Delusion», an album where they actually based their setlist (+something from «Vortex Of Chaos»).

Video WARCODE:

setlist:

Intro / Instigate the Suffering / The Vile Truth / Ruination / Observe In Apathy / This Civilized Decay / Left Drained Out / Architects of Immoral Dogmas

Freefall

For the nest 25 minutes we enjoyed Freefall from Thessaloniki. Brutal death metal that played mainly new stuff as they recently released the Ep «Dead Is The Oldest You Can Get». Hopefully, the pessimism of their lyrics were balanced with the humor of their drummer. Sun had already set during their set, more fans started to arrive, beers were cold (kudos for the low prices too!), the night was getting better and better.

Video FREEFALL:

setlist:

Aurora boredalis / All hopes collapse / Untitled / Dead Is The Oldest You Can Get / Behold the truth / Family spree

My Turn

It was time for My Turn to take their place on stage. Oh my! They were the big surprise of the night, especially for those that didn’t know about them, even for those that are not much into their kind of music. What we got was 35 minutes of pure hardcore, with the proper attitude, proper lyrics from a fully energized band that electrified us as one great track was following the next one. Their setlist was based on «My Turn» album (2017) along with some great new songs that mixed nicely with the old stuff. I must admit that at moments we wanted to get up for some old school friendly violent fun but no, we behaved, we were gentlemen, we just raised our beers in the air 🙂

Video MY TURN:

setlist:

Intro / Mother / Li(f)e / Buried Inside / Lessons learned / Stand up and fight / Reap what you sow / Modern Life / massacre / To the kids / Don’t run away / Shield / Livin on the edge / Ούτε στιγμή

Dreamrites

The next band on the billing was different once more. Dreamrites have their base in Larissa and they are into classic heavy metal so they gave some extra variety into the night and pleased those that are not much into the extreme genres. Unfortunately, their setlist was short because they have two new members and they didn’t rehearse more stuff. People in the theatre seemed to enjoy their show though.

Video DREAMRITES:

setlist:

So dark inside / Only time will tell / Thunder and lightning / Lament of Sorrow / With blood we pay

Varathron

The time had come to enjoy the headliners though. Varathron is a legendary band of the first wave of greek black metal. The band from Ioannina is not just part of the emblematic extreme greek metal scene but they keep releasing top class albums. The low lightning on stage was a nightmare for the photographers but it matched perfectly with the dark music of the band (along with the epic small fire torches at the edge of  the stage).

They started with “Ouroboros Dweller” (like the last time I saw them live, hopefully this time with no technical issues) and then they offered a full set that was nicely balanced with new and old stuff that left no one complaining. All musicians were great but the beast Necroabyssious was the one that draw attention as he seemed to live his music 100%.

Video VARATHRON:

setlist:

Intro/Ouroboros Dweller / Unholy Funeral / Nightly Kingdoms / Cassiopeia’s Ode / Tenebrous / Lustful Father / Saturnian Sect / Son Of The Moon / Flowers Of My Youth / The Tressrising Of Nyarlathotep / Genesis Of Apocryphal Desire / Sic Transit Gloria Mundi / Outro

Encore:La Reine Noir

Report & Photos: Konstantinos “MindcrimeK” Vlachos