When it launched in 2006, Doom Over Vienna was a small festival that featured five bands in one evening — hardly the staggering multi-day adventures Europe typically offers metalheads. But, like any festival worth its salt, it continued to grow to the point where organizers had to tack on a second day in 2012, cementing it as the European autumn doom destination. For the 13th installment, set to take place November 9-10 at Viper Room Vienna, Doom Over Vienna will have a decidedly distinct flair when three of Cruz Del Sur Music’s best doom bands, APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE, HANDS OF ORLAC and KING HEAVY, partake in the festivities.
Festival organizer Jürgen Dickstein says the decision-making process for Doom Over Vienna is a difficult one since he’s often flooded with requests from bands to play the festival. “For our festival, I’m always in search for something special, something that has its unique sides and edges and something that touches me in one way or the other, whether it be from songwriting, sound or taking a special approach to music. Also, a rather important point is that I mainly choose bands that did not or very seldom play in Vienna or Austria, so we always had a lot of bands who played at our festival the first time outside their country, first time in Austria/Vienna or over here for the first time since quite a while. So, it’s always a longer process of finding a lineup completed by bands that I want to play, also considering the circumstances of a very low festival budget, which makes it hard to book all the bands you want to have here.”
Jürgen was familiar with all three Cruz Del Sur bands prior to booking them for Doom Over Vienna. APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE are already festival veterans, having played the 2016 installment. He caught HANDS OF ORLAC at Dublin Doom Days and Doom Over Scania and has seen KING HEAVY at Malta Doom and Escape Metalcorner, making it an easy choice to bring all three over for 2018. “I’ve known the label for a long time as Cruz Del Sur always has fantastic bands in its stable,” says Jürgen. “So, I have quite some records of this label at home! I’m very happy it’s three of them playing this year as well. Additionally, it’s an honor [Cruz Del Sur owner] Enrico will be at the festival this year — I’m looking forward to meeting him in Vienna.”
Doom Over Vienna 2016 marked APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE’s first-ever appearance on European soil. Since then, they’ve released their new LP, “From Gold To Ash”, which was hailed by Angry Metal Guy as “an album full of riffs, melancholy and a complete lack of pretension.” Drummer Corey Webb says festival-goers should expect a raw and unfiltered version of APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE, who, heading into 2019, will head back into the rehearsal room to work on new songs in addition to more festival dates.
“I think having a bit of familiarity with the club and the arrangements will be beneficial, actually,” he says. “There are so many other great bands that we are also looking forward to seeing and this year, we will have a bit more time to see the city, which will be great. The setlist is shaping up to include a good amount of material from the new album, but there are also a couple of surprises from the early days, including a song that we have only performed live a handful of times in this band’s existence. Anyone who has spent a bit of time with the new album knows that it is heavy in an emotional way as well as sonically, which translates very well in a live setting. Expect to be doomed!”
HANDS OF ORLAC are still supporting their well-received 2017 split with THE WANDERING MIDGET and have since added a fifth member to their lineup. The band was originally asked to play Doom Over Vienna a few years ago, but were unable to do so due to their relocation to Sweden. However, bassist The Templar says the band are eagerly awaiting their appearance, after which, they’ll resume work on their third full-length album.
“We’ve waited impatiently until we got invited again,” he notes. “It’s going to be great to see so many good bands, old friends and be at one of the top doom metal festivals in the world. Since we’re now playing as a five-piece, we’ll play some new material. It’s a different sounding band compared to the recent and far past times. But according to our three leading rules, the show is going to be horror-filled, heavy and mind-affecting as it is supposed to be.”
With their new “Guardian Demons” album still fresh in the minds of the doom scene, KING HEAVY is looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow Chilean bands who have played Doom Over Vienna like POEMA ARCANUS. Bassist Daniel Pérez Saa says KING HEAVY has prepared a special set for the festival, with heavy emphasis on “Guardian Demons” as well as their previous studio offerings. Heading into 2019, Saa says KING HEAVY has already started thinking about a new album, but will continue to spread their word of doom across Europe.
“It’s an honor to be a part of the festival,” he says. “We’re eager to share the stage with bands close to us like IRON VOID, who we toured with in 2015. We’re also excited to play alongside APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE and MIRROR OF DECEPTION, among others. We are a band that is very concerned about our performance onstage. Our sound has grown to devastating levels of late, something we noticed during our recent dates in Chile. Without a doubt we are a band that excels in the live setting and I think that shows in our attitude and sound.”