After being frozen in time and space for an hour and a half between clouds of Earth’s humanized land, I have finally arrived late at midnight to ATATURK airport and took the HAVAS shuttle to TAKSIM square, where by then I was so tired and totally drowsy. I could not help but notice that most of the buildings there were wrapped with huge despotic Turkish flags that reflectedan immense patriotic society; also TAKSIM is filled with shops, pubs, and myriad restaurants. Well, of course, I headed straight to a metal shop and bought few T-shirts that I could not find back in my home town. After that, I headed to the hostel and thought I would sleep as soon as I see a fluffy tempting pillow, but that did not actually happen, even though I was dead tired, I could not resist the roars of a beating metal heart, so I spent the rest of my night in an awesome metal pub called DOROCK. And speaking of metal pubs, well they do have quite a lot! The pub was amazingly huddled with steel-hearted people proving loud and proud that the Turkish metal scene is damn alive and ceaseless.DOROCK opens its doors from 10:00am till 5:00 am everyday. It includes amazing talented bands performing live everything from DIO to RAMMSTEIN…, while others playing originals in Turkish. Among the local bands I saw were SST and RAZOR.

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I noticed that the younger metalheads there are not as welcoming and kind as the older generation. But despite the minimal hospitality,I really fell in love with that place, and so I spent my nights there daily after the festival used to end. It was much like “Living after midnight rocking to the dawn…”, plus I met metal heads from different countries (Jordan, Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Syria) that crossed miles for the Headbangers’ Weekend… which I salute all \m/

DAY ONE Aug-29-2015

And so the day that I had been anxious for began early, three hours before the festival’s actual time, because I had no idea how to reach the park, so I asked for directions and used Google map that showed none of the shortcuts that I discovered later, but only one of the longest paths.Therefore, I had to walk 40mins to KUCUKCIFTLIK PARK under a blistering sun that took half of my energy by the time I reached the aforesaid park. And as I was getting closer and closer, I could hear the sounds of the drums pounding loud and guitars screaming high that turned out to be a simple sound check for making sure everything is ready. I got so excited and could not wait for the day to kick in at 1:00 PM.Finally, I reached the park with a sighting of two extravagant Porsche cars on the sides of the gates and a couple of Turkish metalheads patiently waiting under the sun’s blazing cloak. I had to collect my ticket and pass after waiting for an hour because the verbal communication was not so easy; people there barely speak or understand English. Meanwhile, it was almost 12:30 pm and I could see an endless array of people eagerly waiting to set foot inside this renowned park.
1:15 pm, got my wrist bands and The HORDES OF CHOAS marched beyond the gates that were separating all of us from the real deal. Suddenly, I saw an amazing huge stage and the control tower facing it, as well as the countless yellow bars distributed all over the park, food stands, fun activities space, an interesting mirror booth for taking pictures, a Metal Hammer stand selling merchandise, a shack for beverages, recharging cellular phones and a cigarette stand, yet the best thing was a green space filled with comfortable seats and umbrellas to chill under.

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The park exhibited varying attendance (some bought a one-day concert ticket) throughout the festival’s time, increasing gradually with the rise of the full moon and the ascendant heavy dark night. After watching a couple of cool local Turkish bands performing, I was so excited about SEPTICFLESH that did not fail to deliver an incredible symphonic atmosphere from songs likeWar in Heaven, Communion, The Vampire from Nazareth, and Anubis for 60mins, and I could not forget SETH and his invigorating words:“Are you ready my friends?…let’s DESTROY” with a serious smile on his face!

It was 6:35 pm when ENSIFERUM struck the mighty hammer on stage with a set list filled with folk-like music, though I am not a fan, but they were cool. I saw few people dancing as well.

MOONSPELL were entertaining either with music that was enshrined in darkness from songs like Full Moon Madness and Medusalem,etc., or the beautifully talented Turkish belly dancer that moved every single muscle in her bodyincredibly on guitar solos!

AT THE GATES played songs from their album AT WAR WITH REALITY and a bunch of old ones from SLAUGHTER OF THE SOUL.

KATATONIA were cool,I’m not a fan though, but I gave them a listen.

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DAY TWO   Aug-30-2015

The day started again with Turkish local bands till 15:00,but I only liked one of them called PITCH BLACK PROCESS. By that time, I was preserving energy for the next couple of hours away from the scorching sun.

AT 15:40, ROTTING CHRIST were up and performed greatly! CARC-ASS as it was displayed on stage, the band tried to add a funny sense of humor also through Jeff’s Turkish words.1985 was the intro and took us back in time with their epic show, I really was exulted watching them live! THERION were much into opera that I didn’t enjoy and felt the stage was overly packed with members (3 vocalists, guitars,bass, and drums).

22:16 was time for the great thrash titans KREATOR to tear up the stage with Violent Revolution, Flag of Hate, Phantom Antichrist, United In Hate, Black Sunrise and Phobia…, that had a CO2 cloud rising high into the sky every time Mille shouts the aforesaid word, not to forget the wicked mosh pit, wall of death, and circle pit vigorously demanded by Mille. The crowd went insane. I could not help the tears of joy during the best 100mins ever!

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DAY THREE   Aug-31-2105

The last day was a bit disappointing. First, it was Monday, an official work day,and the attendance in the early beginning was considered low.Second,there was a bit of technical difficulties (delays) during most of the shows. Third,the Turkish bands sounded messy and some used their own amplifiers on stage and I couldn’t hear anything more than the drummer. Therefore, I didn’t waste much of my energy,so I just sat down and patiently waited for SVENGALI, the Dubai-based band that brought their best and deserved every single applause back then.

20:15, ARCH ENEMY ignited the whole stage with blazing brutal fire (yes there was fire at the end) as they played 16 epic tracks with breathtaking solos especially from Michael Amott, and Alissa was a beauty and literally a beast that exhibited robust highly energetic performance, hence the whole crowd was singing along, head banging, and jumping through choruses such as of No Gods, No Masters, etc. HELLOWEEN were the final act in the lineup opening with Walls of Jericho, Eagle Fly Free,etc.… and closing with I Want Out and A Tale That Wasn’t Right which is one of my favorites at 23:45 instead of 23:55 because there was a few minutes delay at the start of the show.

All in all, the %100 Metal Fest was a great weekend for us Headbangers, and I cannot wait to get back there again. Cheers \m/

All Photos by: Lilas Mayassi


-Lilas Mayassi

Read More by: Lilas Mayassi

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