PROPHECY FEST 2023 • BALVER HÖHLE, GERMANY • 7.-9. September 2023
PROPHECY FEST 2023
BALVER HÖHLE, GERMANY
7th - 9th of September 2023
Unlike other festivals, we will not start with the most “unknown” artist and end with the “headliners”. To us, they are all headliners and were chosen as we expect amazing performances. Therefore, the running order will reflect what we consider the optimum in terms of dramaturgy and suspension.
From New England, home of American horror’s finest, Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, and Stephen King, wayward occult rockers 1476 from the infamous town of Salem, Massachusetts will bring their brand new album “In Exile” across the pond. What better place to perform their dark and eclectic music than the Cave of Balve? Best make sure not to miss their very first show in Europe.
When AGALLOCH announced their split on May 13, 2016, it sent shock-waves through the metal scene around the globe. The American band from Portland, Oregon had released five full-length albums since their inception in 1995. During their exceptional career that led them to perform on stages worldwide, AGALLOCH had started out closest to the style of black metal, which remained a part of their sound through many transformations. Their dedicated and large following will hardly be able to wait until AGALLOCH are returning to stage at Prophecy Fest in the ancient Cave of Balve this September – the perfect place for this occasion where nature, magic, and myth meet with thrilling music!
AMENRA stand at the centre of a collective known as “Church of Ra”. Working with themes revolving around religions and duality at its core, the musicians and visual artists involved are closely connected to the band from Kortrijk. The Belgian city is famous for a brutal medieval battle, but AMENRA offer a far more modern vision with their hardcore-infused dark post-metal sound.
Unfortunately, ARTHUR BROWN had to cancel as every member of his support band called in sick on short notice. Arthur will be back!
CRONE will come cruising to the cave in the high octane fuelled hotrod of their sophomore full-length “Gotta Light?”. The German dark rock innovators have been rising like a beautiful phoenix from the ashes of black metal frontrunners SECRETS OF THE MOON, and composer, guitarist, and singer Phil “sG” Jonas has unleashed a wild firestorm of fresh ideas on this latest masterpiece.
DARKHER wove magic at last year’s edition and hardly surprising we received high demand for the spectacularly red-haired front-lady Jayn Maiven to return to Balve. The self-proclaimed witch and her unique blend of Northern English doom metal, folk and other elements promise another emotional roller-coaster ride through darkness, hope, and despair. We are thrilled to be able to oblige your wish.
Working with lyrical themes that reach into the darkness of outer space and dwelling on cosmic mysticism, Swiss ambient black metal act DARKSPACE have so far released four acclaimed albums that only carry the band name an a Latin cipher in their titles. Their somewhat mysterious demeanour and highly individualistic sound makes the band into a perfect guest for Prophecy Fest this year.
Conceived in the East Germany city of Zwickau in 1994, DISILLUSION pulled the rare trick of already becoming a staple in the field of avant-garde melodic death metal with the release of their debut “Back to Times of Splendor” in 2004. Since then, the Germans have been driven to seek new challenges and find new ways to evolve their music, which reached a new peak on their acclaimed latest album “Ayam”.
Metal-Show – exclusive for 2023
DORNENREICH were formed by frontman Eviga and ex-member Valnes in 1996. The Austrians were inspired by melodic black metal on their debut “Nicht um zu sterben” (1997), but have developed a wider stylistic horizon on the next 7 albums by including acoustic elements derived from folklore and classical music. Their last much praised album “Du wilde Liebe sei” has been dubbed “dark arcane rock”.
DYMNA LOTVA unleashed the second part of their planned musical trilogy entitled “The Land under the Black Wings: Blood” (Зямля Пад Чорнымі Крыламі: Кроў) on August 4, which turns their show in Balve into a release party. The post-metal act from Belarus can proudly celebrate this as a triumph of their resistance against the regime persecuting the duo and other artists at home.
Swiss trio E-L-R took many by surprise, who attended the 2021 edition of Prophecy Fest. Their massive doomgaze style is based on the generally down-tempo, meandering, epic side of doom metal, but incorporates other elements such as repetitive phrasing reminiscent of shamanistic rituals. Expect a return of the trance-like experience and more songs from their sophomore album “Vexier”.
He is back! The one and only ERNIE FLEETENKIEKER, who is also well known for his popular video channel Krachmucker TV. His glorious campfire reading of King Diamond last year was definitely a match for the opening scene of John Carpenter’s original movie “The Fog”. Well, this year, Ernie will be back and as he just released his own book “Metal-Manifest”, it is an obvious choice for another reading.
GOSPELHEIM have been burning to showcase their catchy new full-length “Ritual & Repetition” live in the rest of Europe ever since the album was released last year. With touring still in a mess, this proved harder for the British dark rockers than expected. Well, here they finally come to present their perfect blend of dark rock and metal with a pinch of gothic flourish in Balve at last.
Only show ever!
GRÀB never intended to play live. Then they came to Prophecy Fest 2022. Now they do. But only one time. Ever. Founded by former DARK FORTRESS fronter Grant, the very well-received first album of the black metal project, “Zeitlang”, is entirely written in Bavarian dialect – as is the bandname, which means “old” or “grey” and tells the story of a recluse living and dying as a hermit in the Alpine mountains.
Shantel Amundson and ILLUDIUM enjoy a standing as an excellent live act in their native state of California and well beyond. It has become very difficult for young US bands to cross the Atlantic, and the more stoked we are to be able to announce that ILLUDIUM are bound for Balve and have promised to perform their acclaimed latest album “Ash of the Womb” in full. Get ready for a real treat not to be missed.
Black, weirder, LASTER. The experimental post-black metal explorers from Utrecht, the Netherlands are pushing the limits of their genre by taking detours into other genres including art pop and jazz. Their sophomore full-length “Ons Vrije Fatum” scored an ‘album of the month’ title in Terrorizer mag (UK) and their next release “Het wassen oog” was as well received. Balve beware, something wicked comes!
MY DYING BRIDE
MY DYING BRIDE are one of the pioneering bands of the popular insular death doom style that developed in the North of England in the late 80s and early 90s. Their unique blend of harsh metal with the poetic spirit of Blake and Byron as well as their hard-earned reputation as a brilliant live act has gained these gents and one lady a special place in the hearts of audiences. For the first time in the cave!
NOVEMBERS DOOM go way back in time to the year 1989. While thrash was beginning to decline and death metal grew out of it to head towards into a continually more brutal and faster direction, the band from Chicago, Illinois turned the other way. Decidedly heavier and slower than many metal acts of the time, NOVEMBERS DOOM became one of the driving forces behind the developing death doom scene.
Death doom veterans SATURNUS came, saw, and kicked ass with their amazing performance in 2022. This year, the Danes will bring their new album “The Storm Within” to Balve, which is already being tipped for ‘doom metal album of the year’ titles by many. Top tip!
SLAGMAUR have earned a reputation as one of the most terrifying black metal bands. The Norwegians have built an international die-hard fan base, toured the world, and stole the show repeatedly as a highlight of major festivals. Their concerts are radically individualistic and inventive art as well as morbid and shocking. The only proper reactions are either silence or Munchian screams!
Swiss doom visionaries TAR POND have recently announced their sophomore full-length “PETROL”, which will be unleashed on September 15; just a few days after Prophecy Fest. The band featuring former CORONER drummer Marky Edelmann and renowned scratchboard artist Thomas Ott as vocalist was co-founded by the late Martin Ain, bass player and co-composer of the legendary CELTIC FROST.
When mastermind Jurre Timmer came to Balve last year to perform songs from his debut album “Menhir”, the audience welcomed him with open arms. This time, he has announced to “try somthing different”, but he won’t tell us what it is going to be yet. Well, we are sure that it will be great and are as curious now as you are.
VEMOD have been among the most requested bands to return to Prophecy Fest for years. Alas, the schedule never seemed to fit – until now! The Norwegian dark ethereal metal visionaries from Namsos in the Trøndelag have only one full-length under their belt so far, but it well might be that we are getting to hear new material in Balve.
THE VISION BLEAK
Conceived by EMPYRIUM mastermind Ulf Theodor Schwadorf and main vocalist Allen B. Konstanz at the turn of the century, THE VISION BLEAK scored an immediate hit with their highly atmospheric debut album “The Deathship Has a New Captain”. Riffing on well-known themes and storylines from classic horror movies, the Germans will perform this fan-favourite in full in a most suiting location: the cave. Tekeli-li!
VRÎMUOT (“candour”) from Germany’s fabled Teutoburg Forest are the brainchild of composer, instrumentalist, and singer T.S., who founded the band with the stated mission of and infusing fresh blood into the time-honoured body of neofolk. T.S. describes his venture as “mythopoeic darkfolk” and his main artistic intent is to evoke spiritual feelings in the vein of the European romantic period.
YEAR OF THE COBRA
Seattle’s ultra-heavy psychedelic doom duo YEAR OF THE COBRA are currently still working on new material to follow up their acclaimed latest album “Ash and Dust” (2019). But having honed their live set in support of VOIVOD on the “Synchro Anarchy Tour 2022” across Canada and the United States lase year, it is about time to test their new ideas in Balve. Expect the unexpected and a massive party.