5.6.2024 Mystic Festival – DAY 1 @ Gdansk, Poland

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The Polish Mystic Festival has a lengthy tradition as it first launched in 1999. It suffered an over a decade-long break and came back with a proper bang in 2019. Then, unfortunately, promoters were forced by the pandemic to pause their efforts. Mystic Festival came back in 2022 and showed that Gdańsk, Poland, is soon to become a new destination on the festival map of Europe. One to be reckoned with and worth putting your tabs on. This year, Mystic Festival was celebrating its 25th anniversary and invited a plethora of eclectic artists, both international and domestic, to honor the occasion.

This day was slightly plagued with coastal weather, as Gdańsk is located by the Baltic Sea, featuring spotty conditions. Not that it would stop a metalhead from enjoying their favorite bands, but it made it slightly challenging.

The fairly new Polish act HELLFUCK, which emerged in 2021 as a supergroup of sorts led by Skullripper of the well-known and loved AZARATH, kicked things off. The rest of the crew can also boast quite ample musical CVs as they play in bands such as THRONEUM, F.A.M, EMBRIONAL, and STILLBORN. They released their debut album “Diabolic Slaughter” in 2022 and play a speed/thrash metal hybrid, a crude variant of the genre, but enjoyable nonetheless; perfect to kick the festival off.

FEAR FACTORY, led by Dino Cazares, need no introduction. They have been performing for nearly three decades, with minor breaks, and despite their turbulent history, they still keep their spirits up, which was quite apparent on stage. They released a new album in 2023, “Re-Industrialized.”

Scottish brutal death metallers PARTY CANNON, who dub their music style “IQ lowering party slam,” faced harsh technical difficulties with no power at all for a solid 20 to 30 minutes. That didn’t hinder them at all; they simply went fully unplugged to the audience’s absolute delight, including circle pits to drum solos as it was the only audible instrument in the venue. They eventually got power back and literally slammed the audience with a slightly stripped-down setlist. They released their new album very recently, in 2024, called “Injuries Are Inevitable.”

Belgian thrash metallers EVIL INVADERS also experienced some technical issues, as their venue was right next to the one where PARTY CANNON had no power. However, they finally managed to deliver a very energetic, old-school set, carving solos as if there was no tomorrow. They are still promoting their latest release “Shattering Reflection” from 2022.

BODY COUNT, another rap metal legend that needs no introduction, is led by rapper Ice-T. Body Count has been performing since the early 1990s with a minor break in the early 2000s. They delivered an excellent set, promoting their latest album “Bloodlust.” Even if one isn’t into rap, it was hard not to have a blast during their performance.

KREATOR was the last performance for us on the warm-up day, mainly due to the weather, which was almost stereotypically coastal. Mille Petrozza and the rest of the gang are a usual safe bet for a grand performance; this time was no different. They started strong with “Hate über Alles” (which is also the name of their latest album) and proceeded to older hits like “Phobia” and “Enemy of God.”

Notes by Maria Sawicka, text by Laureline Tilkin
Photos by Maria Sawicka