By David Gasson
GoatHell Metal Fest, Pula, Croatia
Over the weekend of 21.06.18 ~ 24.06.18 the first GoatHell Metal fest took place in Pula, Croatia. There were over 25 international and Croatian bands performing at this open air seafront festival. The main stage was fittingly named "Jure Grando", the vampire from Kringa who, according to historical records, was the first real person to be described as a Vampire.
There were over 25 international and Croatian bands performing at the open air seafront festival. Despite waking up on the Friday morning to torrential rain , high winds, thunder and lightning, the organisers and volunteers did an incredible job of making the festival a success and by 16.00 in the afternoon the stage, which had looked like a disaster area, was looking like a stage again. Cables were dried out and electricians and sound engineers were busy at work, whilst the festival site was cleared and prepared again.
MartYriuM, the Blackened Industrial Death Metal from Malta performed an intriguing and, at times, dramatic set with some great guitar playing and the impressive Sandra Misanthrope on vocals. From Poland, the Alternative Metal band, Chaos Engine Research played their set and making the journey from London were the Hard Metal Rock band Other Eyes Wise.
With two lead vocalists, Frank Novelli and Kyo Calati, the Italian band MindAheaD gave an alternative perspective to Progressive Metal. Rounding off a great night of music and entertainment was the local Modern Metal band from Pula, Mortal Divinity.
Following on from this year`s European tour "The Beast Within Me "and with Aura Danciulescu on lead vocals Scarlet Aura, the 4 piece Melodic / Rock / Metal band from Romania offered up a great set. Since winning the Black Sea Battle of the bands at Kavarna Rock Fest in 2014, they have gone from strength to strength. They played tracks in Romanian from their debut album "The Rock Chick" as well as English tracks from their second album "Falling Sky". They will be playing at various festivals during the summer before embarking on a tour of North America in September. Autumn also sees the release of their third and slightly more Progressive / Heavy Metal album, Hot n Heavy as well as the first book in a trilogy written by Aura Danciulescu
The headlining group for the Friday night was the Ukrainian Metal band Jinjer, with Tatiana Shmailyuk on lead vocals. They offered an explosive mixture of Groove, Hardcore and Progressive Metal. Tatiana's energy was phenomenal as she danced and sang her way around the stage. Her ability to sing in such a rich and velvety tone coupled with her contrasting unique, raucous and gravelly voice was breathtaking.
No storms or adverse weather conditions overnight so the festival was all set for a great day of entertainment in the sunshine. With over 10 bands scheduled for the main stage, they started promptly from 16.00 and played continuously until 03.00 with just a 10 or 15 minutes break in between for sound checks..
From Croatia and from the festival's home town of Pula, the hugely popular Death Metal band Infernal Tenebra put in a great performance with some incredible head banging and guitar playing.
The Croatian Doom Metal band Old Night from Rijeka played long into the night. Three Italian bands Reapter, Arkana Code and the five piece Death Metal band Mechanical God Creation all put in good performances and brought their own version of metal.
The face painted Black / Death Metal Spanish band Atrexial from Barcelona were a joy to watch and put on a great show. From Britain came the Old School Death Metal band Repulsive Vision and from Poland the Industrial Metal band UDS - Underdamped System
The headline band for Saturday night was the Dutch band Sinister. With over 25 years of tours and festivals behind them, it was no surprise that they gave an outstanding performance with their compact and fierce style of Death Metal music.
Food and drink
It was refreshing to go to a festival and not be charged extortionate prices for food and drink . The bar offered reasonable and normal priced beer with friendly helpful staff and the caterers kept me well fed for 3 days
Away from the music
There were also exhibitions by numerous artists such as Ksenija Mijoković and Nikola Mijoković and sculptors by Mario Devcić from Pula and Laura Pepel from Italy. There was also an interesting historical exhibition about Pula before 1945. In between the live bands, Roman Gladiators from Pula wandered through the crowds and performed hard fought battles.
All in all, it was a great festival which I enjoyed and we would highly recommend you attend next year, you wont be disappointed.