8.6.2024 Mystic Festival – DAY 4 @ 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. MysticFestival 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. The festival’s final day concluded with bands like GHØSTKID, OWLS WOODS GRAVES, UNTIL I WAKE, LORD OF THE LOST, BEWITCHED, Kerry King, DARK FUNERAL, ENTER SHIKARI, ASPHYX, SATYRICON, BRING ME THE HORIZON, and CHELSEA WOLFE.

GHØSTKID is led by Sebastian Biesler, formerly from ELECTRIC CALLBOY, who wanted to explore different musical territories. They are definitely a darker entity than ELECTRIC CALLBOY, combining industrial metal and post-hardcore. What they share, however, is a really energetic live show that captures the crowd in seconds. Their recent release is “Hollywood Suicide” in 2024.

OWLS WOODS GRAVES is a Polish band that uniquely combines black metal and punk. They do this really well in a live setting; their gig is like a kick in the teeth. Their latest album is “Secret Spies of the Horned Patrician” from 2022.

Americans from UNTIL I WAKE pay homage to early 2000s nu-metal but add a core spin to it. Their latest release is “Inside My Head” from 2022.

German gothic glam rockers from LORD OF THE LOST came back to perform on Mystic Main Stage as they weren’t able to do so in 2023. They proved that they are way more than their flashy image, as they know how to put on a proper live show. They forged iron while it was still hot and followed their 2022 album, “Blood and Glitter,” (which also led them to represent Germany in Eurovision 2023) with “Weapons of Mass Seduction” in 2023.

Sweden’s BEWITCHED sounds very modern and very ’80s at the same time, reaching to the roots of thrash and heavy metal. Their most recent album was recorded in 2006, “Spiritual Warfare,” but in 2020 they released a compilation, “Encyclopedia of Evil & Hell Comes to Essen.”

Seemingly, KERRY KING was not able to sit still on his Slayer retirement for too long, so he created his own band with an excellent lineup: Mark Osegueda, Phil Demmel, Paul Bostaph, and Kyle Sanders. Kerry delivers the thrash we’ve all been missing since SLAYER did their farewell tour. Nothing fancy technically, but did we love that? Hell yes!

Continuously holding the torch for black metal for over three decades, Swedish DARK FUNERAL does not take anyone hostage, especially at gigs. They released their most recent album, “We Are the Apocalypse,” in 2022.

British alt-rockers ENTER SHIKARI were a massive mood change in between other gigs. They also like to add other musical elements to the mix, such as electronica or post-hardcore. They were promoting their latest album, 2023’s “A Kiss for the Whole World.”

Death metal four-piece ASPHYX from the Netherlands is always an absolute must-see live. They keep their stuff particularly heavy but catchy and headbang-worthy. Their latest release is “Necroceros” from 2021.

The Frost and Satyr duo from SATYRICON are black metal legends that have been present on stage for well over 30 years. Although their core has always been black metal, they explore different territories while still remaining a real treat to listen to and see live. Their latest release is technically an Edvard Munch exhibition soundtrack, “Satyricon & Munch,” from 2022. There was curiosity about how their new live bassist, Frank Bello from Anthrax, would perform. He thankfully remained his cheerful and energetic self, which only added to the show.

British BRING ME THE HORIZON headlined the Main Stage on the last day and gathered a substantial crowd yearning for the Sheffield five-piece. They had just released “Post Human: Nex Gen” right before the festival started. They didn’t skimp on the concept, including a whole video game-style intro before the actual performance started. What followed was classic metalcore shenanigans to the crowd’s content.

CHELSEA WOLFE is a true genre escape artist—she creates what feels appropriate to convey a mood or feeling in a song. One could try to describe her music as dark folk with heavy influences of deep dark Americana, overlapping with gothic at times. She manages to pierce her listeners with her charm each and every time. She released her new album, “She Reaches Out to She Reaches Out to She,” in 2024. Sadly, Chelsea was forced to carry out her performance in heavy rain, which literally flushed some of the audience away (as it did us), resulting in a very limited gallery of one whole picture.

The festival was definitely a success, and before everyone departed, next year’s date was already announced. Overall, it was really well organized and ran mostly smoothly, without hiccups, as we obviously cannot count things promoters had no control over (i.e., power failures). Mystic Festival has no intention of stopping, and we are sure they will surprise us with a more interesting lineup. They seem to be only warming up.

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