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The Best of Prophecy Fest: Hekate

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Now in its second year, Prophecy Fest — hosted by German melting pot label Prophecy Productions — takes place INSIDE OF A FUCKING CAVE.

If images flood your head of dust and mildew floating through the air amidst questionable body odors, bat shit, a poorly lit stage and questionable sound, you’re way off the mark: Prophecy Fest — located in the tiny, fairytale-like town of Balve in western Germany — was one of the most civilized metal gatherings I’ve ever attended. The cave, Balver Höhle, from which the remains of both proto-humans and wooly mammoths have been exhumed, is the immaculate metal venue; plenty of room for a full stage, merch, a bar and roughly 2,000 concertgoers, with moody lighting and immaculate sound. Combine that with Prophecy’s diverse roster of artists — flown in from as far away as Australia and Canada, and driven from right down the road — and a die-hard audience with an appreciation for eclectic music, and they’ve struck a winning tone for a festival that’s unlike any other.

I’ll be featuring five of my favorite bands from the festival in this space in the coming days. Read my brief thoughts, check out a tune, and get hip to what Prophecy Productions is doing; after 20 years they’re only just now hitting their stride with big things on the horizon.

Hekate

Folk/classical band Hekate were the perfect choice to kick off Prophecy Fest. Though the label has become known as a hot-bed of up and coming black metal, its roster is quite diverse. While it might seem odd to have a mostly acoustic folk metal band play directly before a set of ravaging black metal, when you see it live it just makes sense. There’s a commonality throughout Prophecy’s roster that works.

Hekate had no fewer than nine musicians up on stage — including two trombonists and a hurdy gurdy player — but their approach was tight and focused, more symphony and less cacophony. While the folk metal trend already came and went in the late ’00s, Hekate have been going strong since 1992 and they’ve outlasted it all, and there’s a reason why; their music is honest, pure and without much of the pomp and circumstance that typically surrounds modern folk metal.

Check out some videos of Hekate’s performance at Prophecy Fest below.

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