Ostara Metal’s 2019 In Music

Another year, another ton of gigs, festivals, and album releases to keep me busy!

Personally I have had quite a few hiccups over the year which has meant I haven’t been able to spend as much time as I would have liked reviewing albums and keeping this website regularly updated, but I want to thank each and every one of you for sticking around and being so supportive of what I’ve set out to try and do, which is to create my own little corner of the internet to promote folk, power, and pagan metal, and support the lesser known bands out there to hopefully get them an extra fan or two!

We’ll get the boring admin bits out of the way first so you can get on with having a good old read of my musical year!

Special Shout Outs

Thank you to the following people:

Iti of Vorgrum for making me cry with happiness when he sent me the full set of Vorgrum merch for free.
My dickhead Dutchmen in Vanaheim who dragged me up on stage for a special rendition of Happy Birthday.
My boyfriend Jamie who has recently been stuck with the job of taking photos for me at live shows because I’m a short arse.
The team at Wacken Winter Nights who kindly gave me press access to the festival this year to review.
The Russian symphonic metal band Imperial Age who allowed themselves to be my guinea pigs for my very first band interview.
Ted from Grimner for taking his own time out at Wacken Winter Nights to do an interview with me.
Glyn and the rest of the Warhorns Festival team for kindly granting me press access this year.
David from Argon Events who paid for my train tickets to and from London in order to catch the coach to Wacken Winter Nights.

January to March

January was a slow month for me music wise in terms of shows. However, there were a few albums that I really enjoyed and reviewed; Norwegian Fairytales by Trollfest, and The Hysterical Hunt by Lemuria.

February saw my first live show of the year with Imperial Age doing a UK tour. I saw them at The Hairy Dog in Derby on 2nd February, supported by The Wild Strays, Aonia, Winter’s Edge, and Serpentyne. Despite Aor’s (Imperial Age male vocalist) accident in Poland, they performed fantastically well, and Aor and Corn were kind enough to do an interview with me. You can read a review of the live performance, as well as the interview on my website.

February also brought my first EVER overseas festival. It may be a little late at the age of 27 for some, but after seeing what would probably be my dream festival line up, I just had to go. Wacken Winter Nights (Part 1, Part 2) had the honour of popping my European festival cherry. I even treated myself to a LARP cloak for the occasion to really get into the spirit of things. There was an organised coach there which helped with the luggage situation, and the owner of the travel company was kind enough to pay for my London train tickets as I had promoted the coach and event so much. I was lucky enough to be able to stay in a heated hut, and I even had press access to a festival of this size which was an incredible achievement for me. I sadly couldn’t interview Skiltron as planned, but I did interview my friend Ted from Grimner. Some say it’s cheating, I call it networking…
The festival was a lot of fun, and I hope one day to return. Sadly it won’t be 2020 due to money, but I am determined to get back there! If you get the chance, definitely check the festival out.

Grimner and DoomFace at Wacken Winter Nights

March again was live show light, but albums from Týr (Hel) and Norvhar (Kauna) piqued my interest

The final important note from the first three months of the year actually got me all teary. The wonderful Iti from Vorgrum was an absolute star and sent me out all of their merch and CDs for free as a thank you for supporting them and the folk metal community. The words “Ah, you’re the Englander!” will forever be etched into my memory from meeting Iti for the first time in Berlin last year, and I will hopefully be crossing paths with him again at the end of next year.

Vorgrum gifts

April to June

The beginning of April (the 6th to be exact), called for a trip to Camden town for the Festival of Dance or Death. This festival ran over two venues, The Lounge and The Dev. I was very privileged once again to have press access for this festival. I spent all of my time at The Lounge as this is where the folk metal was. The day featured Call of Fenrir, Scars of Sense, Atorc, Isarnos, and headliners Waylander.

April and the subsequent months were a tough time for me, and so album reviews fell by the wayside. A couple of recent releases got me through those times though. Fornaldarsagor by Månegarm, Ategnatos by Eluveitie, and Berserker by Amon Amarth were standouts in these darker months for me.

July to September

Summer was upon us, I was seeking help for my mental health, and Bloodstock Festival would soon be upon us. I never reviewed the festival itself this year, but I did previews of the Ronnie James Dio Stage, the Sophie Lancaster Stage, and the Hobgoblin New Blood and Jagermeister stages. It was a wonderful weekend away, but while preparing for that weekend, a little known band called Sabaton released The Great War. It was alright, I suppose. It was so alright that I immediately bought myself a ticket for their Wembley Arena show next February, which I had considered not attending due to their headline slot at Bloodstock Festival.

The very end of August brought Warhorns Festival, and what a Warhorns Festival it was! Only a 2-dayer this year due to semi-last minute relocation to The Trades in Rotherham, it was still fantastic, and I’m sure my body would thank me for the proper bed back at the hotel room each night. It was an incredible weekend, including bands such as Wyrdstæf, Dark Forest, Demonic Ressurection, Cistvaen, Pallas Athena, YYLVA, Countless Skies, Stonebearer, those dickheads in Vanaheim, and Kampfar.
The reason I call Vanaheim dickheads can be seen in their Path of the Domovoi vlog…

Vanaheim, Path of the Domovoi weekender
Vanaheim, 31 August 2019

But seriously, no one had ever done something that incredible for me before. It was not only an amazing birthday present/experience, but it showed me personally just how far I’d come with my own mental health demons. Having roughly 300 people sing “Happy Birthday” to you with a specially orchestrated instrumental is not something that happens every birthday!

September brought the third edition of Power Metal Quest Fest, which is an amazing one-dayer in Birmingham, featuring the best in power and heavy metal. For the second year running Amie was kind enough to provide me with press access to be able to review the festival. This is the festival I discovered the incredible talents of Forlorn Hope and Memories of Old. I also learned more about Patch Amnesty who sell patches to raise money for Mind, the mental health charity. I’ve recently had the privilege to hear some Memories of Old demo tracks, and I am not disappointed with what I hear, definitely keep an eye on them next year!

October to December

All the best things happen towards the end of the year (normally), but my October didn’t start too well! My bank account was drained by fraudsters, and my Gloryhammer ticket was sent to the wrong address! You’ll be pleased to know that everything was sorted out, I got my money back, and got to the gig!

The day before the Gloryhammer show in Manchester, Sellsword and Forlorn Hope were playing at The Fenton in Leeds. It was a great show, and I even bought an extra copy of Forlorn Hope’s album to give to my Dad as a Christmas present!

Gloryhammer’s headline tour with Beast in Black and Wind Rose as support was incredible. I actually danced so hard that night, I ended up doing some sort of damage to my knee, and limping back to the train station to get back to Leeds! I got to meet Francesco of Wind Rose and Yannis of Beast in Black that night, and especially had a good chat with Francesco about this little corner of the internet.

Francesco from Wind Rose, 26 October 2019
Yannis from Beast in Black, 26 October 2019

There was another month of rest before HRH Vikings Chapter II in Sheffield. It was another incredible year, and I got to see Skálmöld, Finntroll and Skyclad for the first time, as well as seeing Heidevolk and Moonsorrow again. I didn’t see a bad set at all this year, and I’m really excited for next year’s festival already when my friends in Grimner and Vanaheim will be joining the party.

With Heidevolk, 1 December 2019

What was your 2019 in music like?