Metal Over Malta 2018 

Review by Rainer Kerber

Location: Château Buskett (Malta)
Date: March, 9th/10th 2018

Malta is worth to go there. That’s why I combined this year’s visit to the Metal Over Malta Festival with a slightly longer holiday trip. Wildly romantic landscapes, rocky coasts, a colorful blooming in spring vegetation and many testimonies of a varied history. All this offers the Maltese archipelago in the southern Mediterranean. And a lot of sunshine. For me this year Gozo and Comino, the capital Valletta, the old capital Mdina and much more were on the program. If you’re a metal fan you should not miss a trip to one of the many festivals in Malta. Some selected pictures can be seen here. More on Flickr.

The Metal Over Malta Festival took place this year for the fourth time. The venue was again the Château Buskett in the scenic Buskett Garden. Here you can see the probably oldest and biggest trees of Malta. Also this year, the festival was lovingly organized by the members of the Maltese band Weeping Silence. And you can also see the pictures from the festival on Flickr.


The first day was opened by the local Align The Tide. I have to confess, though, that I have never made friends with Nu Metal. And that did not succeed on this evening either. But with the fans in attendance, the musicians could certainly score with their energetic show. Then there was Technical Death Metal on the ears. Gravestone who came from the Italian capital of Rome also processed prog elements in their inaccessible sound.

From Tunisia are a number of top metal bands. One of them was then on stage, Carthagods were founded in 1990 and are thus probably one of the first metal bands of the North African state. And the guys played pure Power Metal. A marginal personality, the lead guitar played Timo Somers (Delain). The Italians of Eversin describe their music as Post Thrash Metal. The Thrash-cracking was accompanied by bitter growls.

Since 2003 Ereb Altor are on stage. Founded by Isole members Mats (Jimmy Mattson) and Ragnar (Daniel Bryntse). It goes without saying that the sound of both bands is similar. Called Scandinavian Metal, the music contains a multitude of epic Doom elements, but is more rocking. The texts, most of which are written in the national language, often deal with Norse mythology.

Setlist Ereb Altor:

  • Völuspa (Intro)
  • En Synd Svart Som Sot
  • Nattramn
  • Av Blod Är Jag Kommen
  • Nifelheim
  • Gathering Of Witches
  • Myrding
  • By Honour
  • Ulfven
  • Gleipnir
  • Midsommarblot

The last time I saw Sirenia live was at the Dames Of Darkness in Bilston, England, then with singer Ailyn Giménez. Meanwhile, however, the line-up carousel has turned. New frontwoman is the French Emmanuelle Zoldan since 2016. Of course I was curious about the performance of the new singer. And Emmanuelle was able to convince me fully with her expressive voice. Mostly she sang a bit lower than her predecessor, but also ventured into higher pitches. The band around mastermind Morten Veland presented their current album “Dim Days Of Dolor”, of which four songs were played. Although Sirenia performed without bass player that evening, it was a compelling show again.

Setlist Sirenia:

  • The Path Of Decay
  • Treasure n’ Treason
  • Lost In Life
  • The Funeral March
  • Goddess Of The Sea
  • Cold Caress
  • Dim Days Of Dolor
  • Meridian
  • Elusive Sun
  • The End Of It All
  • Ashes To Ashes
  • My Destiny Coming To PAss
  • My Mind’s Eye
  • The Other Side

And another show after the headliner? But Steel Engraved could only play on Friday due to scheduling problems and that was the only free slot. Although the rows in front of the stage had already lessened, the Germans still provided a great atmosphere with their Power Metal. Also technical problems with the drums could not impress the musicians.


Also Saturday was opened by a local band. Insurgence play a melodic Metal with some Thrash influences. Singer Keith Cordina switched between clear vocals and growls. It was really fun to listen to the band. Then there was Doom in combination with discreet Death elements. The Italians of Invernoir celebrated this with slow, melancholy melodies.

Actually it should be a very special show. The organizers Weeping Silence were founded twenty years ago. And the debut album “End Of An Era” was released ten years ago. But unfortunately it was completely different. A few weeks before the festival, four members left the band. However, the remaining musicians want to continue, but with a change in the musical style. So the fans saw a farewell show of the current lineup, one last time Scandinavian Doom-Metal from the sunny island. The musicians lay down again so shoulders to the wheel and delivered arguably one of their best shows. With “Second Age” also a new song was presented, which was originally scheduled for the next album, but now remains unreleased. At the end there were a lot of tears, the musicians lay one last time in the arms. It is hard to believe that this era should be over now.

Setlist Weeping Silence:

  • Oblivion – Darkness In My Heart Anno XV
  • The Search Within
  • Eyes Of The Monolith
  • Ivy Thorns Upon The Barrow
  • Gothic Epitaph
  • In Exile
  • Second Age
  • Innocent Cries

An interesting metal mixture then presented Vinegar Hill from Styria (Austria). Melodic Metal and fast thrash parts took turns. Not so spaced out as so many other bands from the Alpine country that I’ve seen live lately, but still a little unusual. While vocalist Dominik Stadler mixed clear vocals with growls, Off The Cross completely avoided clean vocals. Nevertheless, the songs of the Belgians sounded quite nice. Melodic melodies and Thrash were enriched with hard metal rhythms.

Once again melancholy sounds were heard. For the Swedish doom veteran Isole it was the first gig after a long break. The band was founded in 1990 under the name Forlorn, the name-change in Isole took place in 2003. The musicians showed how brutal melancholy sounds can be. The songs with extra length were refined by ingenious guitar solos.

Setlist Isole:

  • The Calm Hunter
  • Deciever
  • The Lake
  • Dead To Me
  • By Blood
  • From The Dark
  • Moonstone

Finland is a stronghold of Pagan Metal (Fintroll, Korpiklaani). Metal Over Malta 2018 was concluded by Moonsorrow. The band was founded in 1995. After several demos, eight studio albums were released. Elements of Finnish folklore were skillfully integrated into the melodic songs. Of course, the song texts were written in the national language. Both guitarists and the bassist shared the vocal lines, both in clean vocals and in growls. A worthy conclusion of the festival.

Setlist Moonsorrow:

  • Sankarihauta
  • Ruttolehto
  • Pimeä
  • Suden Tunti
  • Kivenkantaja
  • Mimisbrunn
  • Sankaritarina

The fourth edition of Metal Over Malta was also a great success. The selection of bands was extremely varied. The sound was very good like in the last years, the light show excellent. In the reconstruction breaks DJ Toty provided the suitable entertainment. A big thank you to everyone involved, to the bands, to the organizer Weeping Silence and to the engineers. Of course, I will come back again next year.

MHF Magazine/Rainer Kerber


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