Published Jan 01, 2006Rather than the black metal extravaganza that was last year's gathering, Northern Lights 2004 brought together a more diverse metal line-up, adding a little doom, symphonic, death, and classic repertoire to the extreme metal mix. In addition to live music upstairs, festival-goers had the chance to indulge in merchandise and food downstairs, ensuring a steady flow of traffic up and down till late in the night. The Canadian factions opened the day's weighty festivities mid-afternoon, with the tight aggression of Toronto's Lapidate leading into the intense maritime metal of Thy Flesh Consumed. Malefaction's political metalcore followed Goat Horn's old-school crowd-pleasing antics, segueing into Wetwork's concentrated onslaught of technical death. Although metalheads were always milling in front of the stage area, Quebec's Unexpect elicited one of the largest draws outside of the event's headliners; their performance was a chaotic yet seamless bombardment of wild musicality. Teratism faced a meagre audience at first but quickly won people over with their viciously grim performance, contrasted dramatically by Aesma Daeva's more atmospheric and operatic numbers that followed. Aesma Daeva provided the best dancing spectacle of the night, along with a solid set highlighted by a Mozart arrangement an aria from The Magic Flute. Morgion mesmerised the doom fans, their brooding magic just slightly marred by a few tuning issues and brilliant vocals that lay too low in the mix. Kult of Azazel offered another dose of evil black metal, their icy cacophony prepping the crowd for the night's penultimate moment. Technical problems (and the resulting delay) created an energy lull before Melechesh hit the stage, but the Israelis' Mesopotamian-flavoured blackened metal quickly roused the audience, even inspiring a small pit. Melechesh's powerful presence and delivery were no disappointment, and after a brief encore they left the stage tired but triumphant, bringing Northern Lights to another successful close.