On Saturday I headed to The Asylum in Birmingham for Power Metal Quest Fest – an ever-expanding all-day festival celebrating some of the finest power, prog, viking and battle-infused heavy metal that the scene has to offer.
After arriving from London and checking into my hotel, I headed straight to the venue, arriving with just enough time to get my bearings before five-piece heavy metal band Forlorn Hope from Merseyside took to the stage. Playing first at a day-long event can be tricky, but there were already a good number of metalheads in the room, and vocalist/guitarist Chris did a great job of getting everyone into the spirit. Their battle-infused songs were hook-filled and went down well with the crowd – a brilliant start to the day!
Next up were Primitai from Berkshire, who played a great set of melodic heavy metal featuring stadium-rock vocals from Guy, and some incredible riffs from Srdjan and Sergio on guitar. The band had great stage presence and I really enjoyed their set. Hitting the stage at 3pm were six-piece melodic metal band Control The Storm from Bristol, who played a great set including “Darkest Fantasy” from their most recent album Forevermore (released on the 25th of July). The band had great energy, especially Firouzeh on vocals, who danced around the stage majestically.
Singer / songwriter Luke Appleton (of Iced Earth and Absolva) was next to take to the stage, accompanied by Becky Baldwin (of Hands Off Gretel and Fury) on bass. This acoustic metal interlude provided a calmer period in the day of power metal, whilst still being very much… Metal. The duo performed some great songs, including tracks from Luke’s most recent album Snake Eyes. Next up were power / prog metal band RuinThrone who had come all the way from Rome to play for us in Birmingham. After some initial technical issues the band owned the stage and vocalist Aedo really blew everyone away. The band played a powerful set that went down very well with the crowd.
Five excellent bands down, three more to go, starting with “epic power metal” Memories Of Old. When doing a bit of research ahead of the festival, I saw that the vocalist of this band was Tommy Johansson (lead guitarist of Sabaton). Unfortunately Tommy wasn’t able to fulfill his vocal duties on this occasion, but his replacement blew everyone away – Craig Cairns of Midnight Prophecy. After photographing the first three songs of their set I grabbed a beer and watched the rest of their set from the side of the room, and noticed some people in front of me turn to each-other and mouth the word “wow”. Wow indeed. The band were really polished and tight and put on a great performance.
The penultimate band to take to the Asylum stage were four-piece prog / power metal band Dakesis from Birmingham, who I have had the pleasure of seeing a couple of times before. They were also the organisers of the event, and so got an extra big cheer from the crowd for putting on such an awesome day of metal. Vocalist Gemma owned the stage as soon as she stepped onto it, with her trademark blue hair and a swooshing black cloak. They treated the crowd to some brand new songs from their new album that is currently in the works, as well as some fan-favourites. The room was packed and there was a great atmosphere.
Headlining Power Metal Quest fest this year were Italian symphonic epic power metal band Ancient Bards, who took to the stage shortly after 8pm. The band looked incredibly unified in similar black tops, and vocalist Sara Squadrani took to the stage in a gorgeous floaty black dress. The band’s music is a unique blend of orchestral symphonies, and crushing guitar riffs, overlaid with Sara’s amazing vocals. Ancient Bards were a brilliant choice of headliner for what was a truly wonderful edition.
Despite being on my own, everyone I met was so friendly and welcoming towards me, and I would thoroughly recommend Power Metal Quest Fest to anyone who enjoys power, prog, viking and battle-infused heavy metal. Keep an eye on their website for details of next year’s event.
I would also like to give a shout-out to Patch Amnesty who I met at the event. They collect donated patches to sell at music festivals and events in aid of the mental health charity Mind, so if you see them at an event make sure you check out the brilliant selection of patches they have on offer. I picked up a few new ones for my collection!
Pics by Katie Frost Photography