Fekete Zaj 2021 – Noises of Mátra

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Mezolit - Tales from Thy Catafalque at Fekete Zaj 2021
Mezolit - Tales from Thy Catafalque at Fekete Zaj 2021. Photo credit: András Melles/Festileaks

With Festileaks we visited Fekete Zaj 2021 between 18-21 August 2021. The festival that focuses on niche and obscure genres left us with a wonderful and unique experience. Here we share how we spent our days, and which performances were the absolute highlights to us. Also, we explored wonderful acts we’ve never seen before, and we enjoyed a spectacular, special headline show by Mezolit – Tales from Thy Catafalque.

A day in the mountains

First, we need to emphasize how great the location of Fekete Zaj is. It is one of the most comfortable festival sites we’ve ever visited. Festival visitors can sleep in wooden cabins, in the on-site hotel as well as in tents. We were lucky and found an excellent shady spot for our tent. Another huge plus is that taking a hot shower here is not a myth! The whole festival area feels like a school trip in a really cozy setting.

Kacsatónia
Kacsatónia (a fantasy wordplay name Fekete Zaj gave to Sástó lake). Photo credit: András Melles/Festileaks

Our favourite spot was definitely the tiny lake close to the festival. On one of the small isles, there was a stage for acoustic shows. At this lake, the sound and light installations create a special atmosphere, especially during the evening. Also, we were considering going up the 50 metres high lookout tower. However, it is definitely not for the faint-hearted! Unfortunately our fear of height conquered us and we missed this opportunity.

Photo credit: András Melles/Festileaks

Instead, we decided to take a walk in the forest. Mátra is a famous hiking spot with many routes, and the highest peak of Hungary, Kékestető, is also here. We didn’t go that far though. While walking in the forest, we ended up seeing a beautiful scene, overlooking the mountains of Slovakia, as well as the closest city, Gyöngyös.

The most special show at Fekete Zaj 2021

The organizers of Fekete Zaj decided to bring a very special headliner for the last day of the festival. On 21 August, fans of Thy Catafalque had the opportunity to hear their songs live for the first time ever. Tamás Kátai’s avant-garde metal project is active since 1998, with their 10th studio album, Vadak, released in June 2021.

Mezolit - Tales from Thy Catafalque
Mezolit – Tales from Thy Catafalque at Fekete Zaj 2021. Photo credit: András Melles/Festileaks

At Fekete Zaj 2021, a supergroup consisting of 26 musicians performed 14 songs from Thy Catafalque’s discography under the name Mezolit – Tales from Thy Catafalque. As Kátai never intended Thy Catafalque on stage, it was an important moment for him to hear his songs live. Every 3 song was played by a different group of artists. In one of those small groups, Tamás Kátai himself played the bass.

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Festileaks Festivalvakantie 2022

We have seen an incredibly powerful performance from all musicians. They had only three months to prepare for this special show. However, it felt they’ve been playing this together for years. The visual effects in the background as well as the lights added to the atmosphere too. The show was closed with an unexpected encore: Tamás Kátai finished it with one of his poems.

Mezolit - Tales from Thy Catafalque
Mezolit – Tales from Thy Catafalque at Fekete Zaj 2021. Photo credit: András Melles/Festileaks

In addition to that, Fekete Zaj reached a new milestone. With Mezolit as a headliner, Saturday 21 August was fully sold out, for the first time in the history of the festival. The whole performance was recorded, however there is no information regarding in what form and when it is going to be released. It is also unknown as of now whether there will be any other live performances from Thy Catafalque. Visitors at Fekete Zaj 2021 definitely experienced something truly special, an incredible moment in the history of underground music.

Our highlights

The Southern Oracle at Fekete Zaj 2021
The Southern Oracle at Fekete Zaj 2021. Photo credit: András Melles/Festileaks

Apart from Mezolit – Tales from Thy Catafalque, we’ve seen other concerts we consider as highlights at Fekete Zaj 2021. For example, Dávid Makó’s solo dark doom folk project The Devil’s Trade delivered a unique full band performance. Metallic hardcore powerhouse The Southern Oracle ripped the School Trip Stage into pieces with their strong and energetic concert.

While VHK (Vágtázó Halottkémek – ‘Galloping Coroners’ in English) is an active band since 1975, they truly mesmerized the festival goers. Many younger formations would be envious of their energetic and cultic performance of magical folk music.

VHK at Fekete Zaj 2021
VHK at Fekete Zaj 2021. Photo credit: András Melles/Festileaks

Unfortunately, Belgian formation Cocaine Piss had to cancel their show in last minute. However, they were replaced by Quixotic. For the duration of their synthwave concert Mátra-Sástó went back to the 80s. Lastly, we’d like to thank Beneath the Void for fulfilling our needs for technical death metal at the festival, as they truly delivered.

Artists we discovered

We intentionally didn’t research the full lineup prior to the festival. The reason for that is that we wanted to explore new music at Fekete Zaj 2021. Indeed, the festival didn’t disappoint us. We did discover outstanding bands! One of them is an electronic music act called Superflake, who made us dance immediately in front of the Delta Stage. Furthermore, the experimental noise-rock band pozvakowski entertained us with their slow, but loud riffs, as well as with amazing visuals.

Ottone Pesante at Fekete Zaj 2021
Ottone Pesante at Fekete Zaj 2021. Photo credit: András Melles/Festileaks

As this year Fekete Zaj could host international acts too, we also explored artists on that front. Have you ever heard about brassmetal? Well, Ottone Pesante (meaning ‘heavy brass’ in English) from Italy might be among the first bands of this genre. Their lineup consists of a drummer, a trumpet and a trombone player. It was difficult to comprehend what a cool performance we’ve seen. Definitely something unique we’ve encountered nowhere else. Another international act worth highlighting is Dordeduh from Romania. Their atmospheric folk/black metal set the audience in an excellent mood before Mezolit’s headline show.

The noises we’ll never forget

Photo credit: András Melles/Festileaks

To conclude, we left Fekete Zaj 2021 with unforgettable memories. We’ve seen many bands we were looking forward to since the first lineup announcement. In addition to that, we also had the chance to explore new bands too. Not to mention all the special shows one could only see here. The beautiful location of Mátra-Sástó adds a lot to the whole atmosphere. Furthermore, it is a pleasure to spend a week and enjoy these concerts with such a community Fekete Zaj has built throughout the years. We would like to thank the organizers for having us. This year is definitely not the last time we visit the festival!

I am a concert and festival enthusiast from Hungary, living in the United Kingdom studying History and International Relations. I've been to various festivals in Europe, and my optimal number of festivals I need to visit a year is 3, but we all know that the more the merrier! My favourite genres are rock and metal, but I am open to all different kinds of music. Favourite bands? Name the sub-genre and I tell you my choice! ;)