Festival Review: Prognosis Festival 2022, Eindhoven (Day 1)

We all remember the string of plans that got cancelled at the beginning of the Covid outbreak – the holidays we didn’t take, the celebrations that couldn’t take place. For me, the first casualty was the Prognosis festival in Eindhoven – an emergent festival of all things prog, international borders everywhere shut down only days before it was scheduled to hold its second ever edition. More than two years later, having overcome postponements and numerous enforced changes to the line-up, Prognosis festival kicked off on a sunny April Friday. Spread across two stages in the Effenaar concert hall, Prognosis 2022 represented a two-day feast of progressive music – and for the fans that had travelled in from all over the world, a celebration of the return of live music.

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Day 1

Argus (c) Emmelie Herwegh

Dutch prog rockers Argus kicked off proceedings on Friday, warming up the crowd with their sound inspired by the 80s neo-prog movement. Within a few songs, they had used a Theremin and a MiniMoog – early entries to cross from your Prog Rock festival bingo cards. Their symphonic pieces warmed up the crowd well and whetted the appetite for all the music that was to follow.

A short walk to transfer to the main stage saw post-metal German band The Ocean perform an instrumental set – forcibly so, as their vocalist was unable to travel after suffering two broken legs.  Despite this, his bandmates filled the great open space of the Effenaar with their expansive cosmic grooves. The instrumental setting really let drummer Paul Seidel shine, who topped off his energetic performance behind the kit with a centre-stage spot for the trip-hoppy ‘Holocene’, while keyboardist Peter Voigtmann very capably filled in on drums.

UK band The Fierce & The Dead were another instrumental act, though they premiered a few songs from their upcoming album which will be the first to use vocals. Blending elements of psychedelia and stoner rock, their driven sound was combined with winning stage banter from frontman Kevin Feazey.

Enslaved (c) Emmelie Herwegh

Back on the main stage, Norway’s Enslaved kicked the heaviness level up a notch. With a set specially selected to feature lesser-played songs from their long discography, the variety they showcased proves why they are considered true pioneers of extreme progressive metal – with the Viking-like chants of ‘Havenless’ and the krautrock-meets-black metal of ‘Urjotun’ particular highlights.

Rising stars of UK prog metal Novena filled the smaller stage to the brim. Featuring Ross Jennings from Haken (who were part of the original 2020 line-up), they play an eclectic brand of progressive metal with all the trimmings – long songs, odd-time signatures, and a particularly memorable flamenco section in one song – and are bound to grace the larger stages at festivals soon.

Finally, heads turned to Friday’s main course – Sweden’s Katatonia headlined with their melancholy-tinged blend of doom, prog and alternative metal. Performing a best-of set voted by the fans, it was a hit-filled walk through their biggest songs of the last 20 years which saw some rarely performed favourites like ‘Tonight’s Music’ and ‘Ghost of the Sun’ get an outing. Lead singer Jonas Renkse sounded great as ever, but a special mention must go to the backing vocals of lead guitarist Roger Öjersson whose high harmonies flawlessly intertwined with Renkse’s controlled lows. The crowd made sure to shower the Swedes with applause and cheering, and a three-song encore brought the emotional set, and an excellent first day of the festival, to a close.

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Day two was to follow… as is our review of it! Expect it tomorrow!

Prognosis will return in April 2023, and bigger than ever – expanding to a three-day format in Eindhoven, and an additional two-day UK edition in London. I, for one, cannot wait.

All photos by Emmelie Herwegh, supplied by Prognosis Festival

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April 23, 2022 8:59 PM

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