Wacken 2007

2.-4.8.2007 Wacken, GER

That weekend the little but world famous one-horse town Wacken in Northern Germany had 70.000 people more. The prospects were at first not very inviting because the grass was soaked by the rain, and so the organizers had to ask the festival-goers on their website to arrive only on Thursday so that they still had time to fix it with straw or other materials. Luckily the Wacken crew seemed to have bribed St. Peter, and so the sun dried everything on Thursday again. This time the line-up offered something for everyone and most people got into a scrape not only once, because often great bands were playing at the same time. In cooperation with Metal.de like last year we managed to see most of them.

(Interactive festival photo gallery at the end of the text)

Day 1 – Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

Sodom
Thursday, 7:45 pm – 9:30 pm
Black Stage

Time travel was the name of the game with Tom Angelripper and his men…namely all available men who are still alive and able to play – Frank Gosdzik (Frank Blackfire), Michael Hoffmann, Andy Brings, Guido Richter (Atomic Steif) and Josef Dominic (Grave Violator). 25 years Sodom were worthily celebrated until sundown with a medley of classics from their entire career like „Napalm in the morning“ and „Ausgebombt“. During the set Tom put on his old jacket and told a godawful joke: „A musician sees a doctor who tells him that he has only two weeks left to live. The musician answers: on what??“ – Awesome! The soon-to-be-released album „The Final Sign of Evil“ with new versions of old Sodom classics will surely sell like hot cakes. I missed „Agent Orange“ but otherwise everything that should be there was there. Even though you could hear that the former Sodomers (except Brings) were a bit out of practice everything by and large was well done and the last song, when all of them played together, was a great sight. (sa)

Hatesphere
Thursday, 9:55 pm – 10:40pm
Black Stage

When Jacob Bredahl and his Hatesphere guys entered the stage, one thing was clear: one highlight of this year’s W:O:A was just playing the „Hellfest Stage“. The crystal clear, powerful sound made sure that killer songs like „The Sickness Within“ hit the listener twice as hard as from CD and the band played flawless, especially fronting Dane Bredahl. He was a little bit tipsy, but all the nicer were his announcements and his singing is killer anyway. A successful performance which can only be described with one word: Awesome! (Death Angel / Metal.de)

Saxon
Thursday, 10:00 pm – 12:00 am
Black Stage

Wacken is a first class home game for Saxon. There’s no other band that has performed here that often in the last years than those NWOBHM legends. Therefore it was only understandable that Saxon were greeted and celebrated like the home team at a football game. Musically the Brits are beyond all doubt. Besides some new songs (amongst others „Red Star Falling“ and „Let Me Feel Your Power“) the setlist contained primarily classics like „Crusader“ and „Denim and Leather“. Astounding – and in my opinion it’s a shame that the two predecessors „Lionheart“ and „Killing Ground“ almost weren’t included at all. But still Saxon were entertaining as usual which was also because of a brilliant light- and pyroshow. Anytime again! (tp)

Letzte Instanz
Thursday, 9:10 pm – 10:45 pm
W.E.T. Stage

The sweat of the crowd waiting inside the W.E.T. Tent already condensed on the ceiling, when finally something happened… A theatrical Intro accompanied Letzte Instanz as they entered the sagte, singer Holly showed his trademark grin. They opened with „Du und Ich“ which also is the opener of their new album „Wir sind Gold“. Those Folk-Goth rockers ignited their audience immediately. Songs like „Unerreicht“, „Ohne Dich“ and „Tanz“ were sung along perfectly by an enthusiastic crowd. Their song „Mein Todestag“ probably does not just appeal to old fans only, because it might be the oldest but also best known Instanz-songs. Together with „Das Stimmlein“ and „Rapunzel“ it is always a must at good Gothrock parties. Finally the guys from Dresden surprised their fans when they turned their last song „Rapunzel“ into the 70s KISS hit „I was made for loving you“.
(kd)

Electric Eel Shock
Thursday, 10:15 pm – 10:45 pm
W.E.T. Stage

Unfortunately, an overlong soundcheck took much time off of those mental Japanese, but when Electric Eel Shock finally kicked off they made the waiting all worthwhile. Extreme as usual they rampaged with their mix of rock, metal and punk as if there’s no tomorrow. When bassist Kazuto Maekawa climbed up the stage scaffold with his bass, I was a little worried because he swayed badly and I was standing right under him with my camera. This time the drummer didn’t get all naked – only the shirt which probably was because of the fact that it wasn’t Tomaharu “Gian” Ito but a session drummer who filled in for him. Akihito Morimoto really gave his all and during the set every now and then reached for his belt with its attached talisman – a stuffed elephant.

At the end a fan in costume plunged into the crowd with a red rubber boat. Great, just too short! (sa)

Day 2 – Friday, August 3rd, 2007

Suidakra
Friday, 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Black Stage

Those who still weren’t awake here were dead. Suidakra delivered a great show in which an odd-appearing bagpipe player was involved, too. With their new, more folkish style they seemed to have finally found their own style and it didn’t sound bad at all.


They even engaged in self-marketing because the whole band (apart from the bagpipe guy) wore shirts advertising their new album “Caledonia”. At the end the band was cut off from electricity but this wasn’t so bad because they anyway had reached their obligatory “thank you’s”. (sa)

Supporting programme – a fire

Already queuing for the media pit for Amorphis and suddenly it got hot at my back because not 10 meters away at the True Stage the dry straw had caught fire. Fortunately the fire fighters must have been just directly around the corner because in under a minute they were on-site but they seemed to be a little out of practice and so the fire got bigger and bigger for a while and everyone, who was standing with me close to it and couldn’t leave because everything was crammed, slowly started to get nervous.

The nice man onstage probably wasn’t able to speak English because the announcement that the 35,000 people should go towards the Black Stage was done repeatedly but only in German. And he said a lot of stuff like “We record everything on tape, that’ll be great!” or “Something like that only happens when I don’t have my camera with me” well, the most important things only. No one was really moving and the awesomely intelligent fire fighters extinguished the fire at first from the wrong side so that giant walls of smoke drifted towards the pent-up crowd. Only the request by the German speaking host that they should please put out the fire away from the people was heard and so they changed the sides.

Within a radius of 20 meters around me everyone had streaming eyes and coughed. When the fire was finally put out Amorphis’ gig was postponed – which made sense because with all that smoke it wouldn’t have worked anyway. Unfortunately I had to skip my photo session for Amorphis because my contacts had to be removed from my glaring red eyes. (sa)

Amorphis
Friday, 12:00 pm – 12:45 pm
True Metal Stage

The biggest part of their great set was compiled of songs from their latest album “Eclipse” and so the first three songs were taken from it. After that the Finns started a time travel, starting with “Against Widows” via “In the Beginning” back to the early days (“Sign from the Northside” from their debut). The Finns seemed committed and highly motivated during their whole gig, especially new singer Tomi Joutsen visibly enjoyed his role and scored over his predecessor in “motility” and “agility”. And he’s also the better singer. This became clear with the challenging switch between the brilliantly sung clean parts and the growls. That he also masters those was proven beyond doubt with the older songs and therefore should have silenced even the constant complainers. There were no real surprises in the setlist. But this was only because of the stupid camera man. Because of the postponement AMORPHIS were the only band whose performance couldn’t be followed on the big video screens between the stages which wasn’t that tragic but the only thing the camera man did before he went on strike was to show the setlist on the stage floor for 30 seconds. And thus it wasn’t that much of a surprise that Amorphis finished their good but not staggering gig with “Black Winter’s Day”. (Raphi/ Metal.de)

Napalm Death
Friday, 12:55 pm– 1:40 pm
Black Stage

That Napalm Death, the working-class children from Birmingham, had to enter the stage prematurely because of the fire in front of the True Metal Stage led to the fact that those, who came here at the actual time, saw only the end of an intensive and out-and-out great show. Nevertheless a respectable gaggle of fans had gathered in front of the Black Stage when the grindcore legends kicked off their gig with “Sink Fast Let Go” from their latest album “Smear Campaign”. The sound was good, the setlist ranged from very old “Scum” material to songs from their last albums and singer Mark “Barney” Greenway went berserk in such a way you soon started to worry he has to cancel the show because of epileptic seizures. The whole thing was spiced up with Barney’s left-wing and church critical comments of which in a (at best) apolitical scene you don’t necessarily have to think much but he had the crowd on his side and because of his typical, dry English humor the statements never get boring. Setcloser was the obligatory “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” which was belted unerringly as usual and all those who had the luck to know about the changed schedule left the site happy. (Death Angel/ Metal.de)

Therion
Friday, 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
True Metal Stage

Therion had pretty much blown me away already on their last tour so I wasn’t that surprised about the big crowd. In contrast to earlier days the band has now a nearly ideal combination of people onstage to brilliantly orchestrate an entertaining but still ambitious rock show. The orchestral bombast of the records from these Swedes is discreetly taken back and compensated by a clear gain in joy of playing. Already the monstrous opener “Rise of Sodom and Gomorrah” showed that the compositions didn’t lose anything of their fascination but even benefited remarkably from that more spontaneous approach. The instrumental faction is with the technically brilliant and extremely cool posing Niemann brothers, pace setter Petter Karlsson and of course mastermind Christofer Johnsson, excellently staffed. Latter has meanwhile passed the growls completely to the brilliant Snowy Shaw about whose powerful voice and charismatic stage presence one doesn’t have to say much anymore. With Katarina Lilja and the former Aeama Daeva singer Lori Lewis the band has finally found two singers who not only unerringly vocalise the mere opera parts but here and there effortlessly are able to switch to a more rock-orientated singing style as well. Besides, the two – not only in direct comparison to the voluminous opera-matron of Therion’s past – have also optically a lot to offer. Nevertheless, on the big festival stage and in the early afternoon the gig lacked a bit the concentrated eroticism of their club shows which have surely given one or the other metalhead some wet dreams.

The singer quartet was completed by Thomas Vikström (Mehida, ex-Candlemass) who, however, couldn’t quite fill the giant shoes of his predecessor Mats Leven yet. The impressive stages setting, in which the clothes of musicians and singers fit perfectly, was already known from their “Gothic Kabbalah” tour. In bright sunshine, however, there was no real gloomy atmosphere coming up. The streaming picture of a Gothic cathedral as a backdrop put up a wild fight with the drummer who was covered in it over and over again. That he still kept the beat and was not impressed by fabric attacks showed that he’s a pro and deserves recognition. Remarkable was also the setlist sprinkled with hits that showed Therion at their best with “Blood Of Kingu”, “Seven Secrets Of The Sphinx” or “Lemuria”. Songs from their new album only played a minor role today, “Son Of The Staves Of Time”, though, was one of the highlights and gave new singer Thomas Vikström the opportunity to give his all but he was still unable to hold a candle to his predecessor. In the end, “To Mega Therion” couldn’t of course be left out and was enthusiastically received and sang along by the fans. A kick-ass show which whetted the appetite for more. (Xeledon/ Metal.de)

Possessed
Friday, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Black Stage

Possessed had half an hour delay – which was not their fault – before they took over right after Therion, who had played right beside them on True Metal Stage, and immediately drew the attention of the crowd. The reason might be singer Jeff Becerra who performed there, after his 18 years stage abstinence, and despite the wheelchair in his full glory. The band is known as the first Death Metal band after their debut „Seven Churches“, and indeed they live up to their reputation. Possessed played a best of-mix of their three albums and reminded the fans of their achievements, celebrating a great come-back! With „Burning in Hell“ they broke the decibel record, and even the toughest had to admit that this was very loud. Finally „My Belief“, according to the singer a very personal song, gave the chance to relax your ears a bit, during a civilised guitar solo and emotional vocals, spiced with fog effects. Yet the absence of decibels soon invited loud „PO-SSESSED!“ chants… A concert that left nothing to desire, hectic guitars, bass and drums, plus blast beats – simply FASTER, HARDER, LOUDER!!!
(kd)

Volbeat
Friday, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Party Stage

With loud „Volbeat, Volbeat“ yells the Danes were called to the stage. The sound came back from the stage as powerful as the crowd had claimed the band. The chemistry was right from the first second on. The energy-laden performance of the Danes had even those in the last rows moving. Those who were not quite convinced by the stage show were in any case captivated by frontman Michael Poulsen’s extraordinary voice. The mix of Live of Agony singer Keith Caputo and Elvis was and is something special and accentuates the band’s uniqueness. But not only the voice had Volbeat stand out from many other bands, also their unusual mixture of musical styles did its bit. Metal combined with rockabilly and a dash of country – that’s hard to copy! “Soulweeper”, “The Garden’s Tale” and “The Human Instrument” were only a few songs that Volbeat belted towards the crowd. A nice change provided the Western guitar with which Michael Poulsen gave a certain something to some of the songs. With this gig everything was just perfect – the sun was shining, the sound was great, the people partied and the band visibly enjoyed playing. (me)

Grave Digger
Friday, 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
True Metal Stage

26 years into their career and Grave Digger still storm through the hard’n’heavy scene and show no signs of tiring. And so it wasn’t surprising that the topic of today was “No fillers – just killers”. Songs like “Knights of the Cross”, “Excalibur” and “Last Supper” were enthusiastically soaked up by the crowd in front of the stage and were celebrated by every trick in the book and chef-reaper Chris Boltendal thanked with a big grin on his face. (tp)

Turbonegro
Friday, 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Black Stage

After the last bag pipes had faded away on the “Party Stage” it was time for a proper dose of politically incorrect fag-rock: Turbonegro! And what can you say: Turbonegro did their thing, did it well, had fun but a real party looks different. Is Wacken and its crowd too traditional for those unconventional Scandinavians? Or was it just too early ? Be that as it may the band played a mix of old classics and lots of material from their last two albums. Only a few seemed to be familiar with the new material (including me) and so mood swings were the result. Even onstage I thought to have seen Turbonegro a bit more cheerful and motivated but whatever the guys are pro’s. They played their set which didn’t appear to be boring or slick and after “I Got Erection” Turbonegro left me in the straw pretty much without excitation. But why was here straw anyway? Oh, that was another story… (Raphi/ Metal.de)
J.B.O
Friday, 18:45 – 19:45
True Metal Stage

Friday evening, right after the usual lunch break, it was time for ultimative nonsense. The partly knowing, partly curious crowd was attracted by huge pink J.B.O. Letters on stage and an urgent countdown to get to the stage. This fun Metal band, founded in 1989 in Erlangen, Germany, should not be missed, so they say. In order to win over the Wacken audience, they started with some „Rock Muzik“ before they became „defenders of nonsense“, „Verteidiger des Blödsinns“. Singer and guitarist Hannes insisted that „Wacken, you are so sweet“, and that was true as several dedicated fans had put on J.B.O. Pink. During the show a happily jumping grim reaper appeared on stage („Faulheit siegt“), as well as a Country-Britney, and with a lot of comedy time flew by. Who did not really know the lyrics could read them – thanks to the cameras – from a huge screen, even from a distance. J.B.O. Is indeed big fun!
(kd)

Four ears – two opinions

Admittedly, J.B.O. is a question of taste, and not mine. But it´s a fact that the majority of the audience is of different opinion. This is why despite summer temperatures spirits are high. The Franks add funny statements and rhymes to their usual musical program, targeting e.g. Britney Spears, Sido and Edmund Stoiber, When J.B.O. end their set after one hour, everybody feels like party. And even Metal fans should have their share of nonsense!
(tp)

Lacuna Coil

Friday, 20:00 – 21:00

Black Stage

Because of their recent success Lacuna Coil can play this year in the evening hours. And the dark sounds of this Italian band draw many people to the Black Stage, remarkably many females among them. You could have expected that a good front woman would particularly attract the guys. Altogether the show of Lacuna Coil was quite good, considering that their sound in the style of KORN doesn´t really fit to the rest of the program. (tp)

Enslaved
Friday, 20:00 – 21:00
Party Stage

With their particular melodic Viking/Prog/Black Metal-style the Norwegians roamed on Party Stage. Those posers par excellence are infectious because everywhere around me air guitars are played and people are moshing. Enslaved also had the best sound on this stage. Grutle Kjellson and his guys offered a great show that is regarding sound, atmosphere and performance among my Wacken Top 5 this year.
(sa)

Blind Guardian
Friday, 21:15 – 22:45
True Metal Stage

Blind Guardian gathered all 72.000 visitors in front of their stage. So how it seems as the area from the entrance to the photo pit is one single huge mass of people. The guys from Krefeld choose the usual opener `Into the Storm` and receive a lot of cheers. The security has a rough job just because of all those crowd surfers. Guardian are at their best: Tight, playful and entertaining. I´ve hardly ever seen them so perfect on stage!

Musically the fantasy Metallers present a Best-of-Set, enriched with some new songs, e.g. the on the tour rarely played `Otherland`. Visually they add an effective Lightshow and video projections
Therefore: Anno 2007 Blind Guardian live have become a Gesamtkunstwerk!
(tp)

Dimmu Borgir
Friday, 23:00 – 00:15
Black Stage

Whether the darklings Dimmu Borgir have an enchanting live show or not is mainly up to Shagrath´s mood. Luckily he seemed to have a good day, and the band managed to create their special atmospheric worlds and take the audience into it. The light, the show, the program including all hits – it all worked. Also the new material appealed. Only the sound was something to complain about, some guitars could not be heard from my position (left side). Yet I heard afterwards that in the middle and on the right the sound was OK.
(sa)

Schandmaul
Friday, 23:00 – 00:15
Party Stage

A special treat for Metalheads who also like bagpipes and flutes were Schandmaul this year. The genre might be questionable for the world´s biggest Metal festival, but the audience at the stage proved that this wasn´t really important. The Party Stage area was full, you better didn´t suffer from claustrophobia in the front rows. There were no stage divers but other attractions. Invited by singer Thomas Lindner all people crouched and jumped up at his command. That brought life into tired bones. And people danced like hell, especially people in the back who made use of their space: „Walpurgisnacht“, „Vogelfrei“ and „Kein Weg Zu Weit“ are some examples. Some guys shook their hair to the faster guitar parts. Yet this time Thomas Lindner cut out all those nice stories he usually tells because there was not enough time. The encore was something for the female fans, another highlight: „Dein Anblick“.
(me)

Fastway
Friday, 00:40 – 01:25
W.E.T Stage

Who wants to listen to ingenious guitar soli? Well, according to the size of the W.E.T. Tent audience most people rather preferred Iced Earth, one of the True Metal Stage headliners, than listening to Eddie „Fast“ Clarke, Ex-Motörhead guitarist and living legend. For this year´s Wacken Open Air the Hardrock band Fastway, founded in 1983, was reformed, mainly appealing to fans of 70s to 80s Rock. Fastway remind you of Led Zeppelin, Guns´n´Roses and also Europe… „Steal the Show“, an 80s classic, was the motto of some indecisive festival visitors, and the tent filled up slowly, perhaps to half of it´s capacity. Those who chose Fastway instead of Iced Earth definitely didn´t regret it. We enjoyed a great show with impressive guitar licks in a comfortable surrounding.
(kd)

Iced Earth
Friday, 00:30 – 01:45
True Metal Stage

Jon Schaffer and his crew start with `Burning Times` and inspire from the first second. You can feel their and especially Jon´s hunger and pleasure to play. No wonder, the last Wacken gig was 10 years ago. Iced Earth impressed with a selection of their back catalogue and presented also two new songs that have you longing for the soon-to-be-released new album even more. Not only sound and songs are great, but also the master mind´s stage presence, hardly ever to be seen of a guitarist. Yet also singer Tim Owens deserves to be mentioned, he had a great vocal performance also during the old Barlow-songs. Because of the 75 min limit Iced Earth cannot play the grandiose `Ghettysburg`-epos. Still the Americans leave me impressed and are for me THE positive surprise of this festival.
(tp)

Die Apokalyptischen Reiter
Friday, 02:00 – 03:00
Black Stage

Even before Die Apokalyptischen Reiter were on stage, you could see raised fists and cheers everywhere. Reason was singer Fuchs who was lowered from the stage roof. A good start that even woke up the tired fans at two o´clock. As usual Dr. Pest spent the show playing keyboard in his cage. Naturally they needed a beauty, too, so frontman Fuchs picked a girl from the audience, and after dancing with her, put her into the cage to Dr. Pest. But one was not enough, he fetched another one for adding vocals, a beauty in white sang with him a duet. Not only she was beautiful, but also the pyroshow: Firewalls lit up the festival area. They focused on the new album „Revolution“, „Friede Sei Mit Dir“ and „Riders On The Storm“. Fans were enthusiastic as if every song was the last. Those high spirits on and off stage turned this show in one of the best of this festival.
(me)

Samael
Friday, 02:00 – 03:00
Party Stage

Samael managed to breathe new life into the tired masses. Singer Vorph tried very hard to add this sinister cold feeling to every verse – and he succeeded – if you did not look at bass player Mas who jumped all the time with a big smile. Very funny. Moreover, it was great to hear Samael classics in dark night. Unfortunately I was too exhausted after half of their show, but not because of the band who played a great show, but because of my uncomfortable shoes.
(sa)

Samstag, 03 August 2007

Forum Band – Victims Of Madness
Saturday, 12:00 – 12:20
W.E.T. Stage

It is every time a funny highlight, getting up early to watch Victims Of Madness anzusehen. The musicians on stage have never rehearsed together and met via Internet. And it sounds exactly like that. The first song was no good for hangoverish audiences who forgot ear plugs. Only the toughest could survive that. The second song, a Saxon cover „Princess Of The Night“ played by differend musicians was more digestible, and the singer had a nice posing. The Iron Maiden cover „Run To The Hills“ worked best. Big fun and there was still time to see the second half of Disillusion. Until next year, VOM.
(sa)

Sonic Syndicate
Saturday, 12:00 – 12:45
Black Stage

For the newcomers Sonic Syndicate one dream after the other must be fulfilling. First the record deal with scene giant Nuclear Blast, then the well-received album and now a gig on Wacken main stage. But the seven musicians live up to expectations and played actively, with fun and competent. Remarkable is also the fact that a lot of people were in front of their stage. If also the next album fulfills expectations, a lot of things must go wrong for Sonic Syndicate not to play next time at some better time.
(tp)

Disillusion
Saturday, 12:00 – 12:45
Party Stage

Unfortunately I just saw Disillusion´s last 15 min as their show started simultaneously with the Forumband who I wanted to see. But those 15 min were enough to get an impression of the new band members´ live qualities. Alex Tscholakov, who had played with Disillusion before, and Alla Fedynitch (Enemy Of The Sun, Ex-Pain) seemed to enrich the band that sounded better than before. Yet I still cannot stand Andy Schmidt´s voice. So for those who like it the Crossover Metal breakfast must have been appealing as there was nothing to complain about.
(sa)

Sacred Reich
Saturday, 12:50 – 13:50
True Metal Stage

Despite the 10 year break Sacred Reich had no problem to mobilise their „sleepers“ and unite them to an international „One Nation“ at Wacken, Germany. Singer and bass player Phil Rind thanked the fans for their loyality that has been lasting throughout those 20 years of band history. Sacred Reich play US Thrash/Speed Metal with some melodic parts and rather political topics. Songs like „The American Way“, „One Nation“, „Ignorance“ or „Independance“ are a good example. The band from Phoenix, Arizona, even featured the Black Sabbath classic „War Pigs“ and invited the audience to sing along, so that their position to US foreign policy – pretty much the same as back then – became clear to everybody. This cover was fun and even produced a circle pit in front of the stage. Sacred Reich are a very sumpathetic band I can just recommend!
(kd)

Moonspell
Saturday, 13:55 – 14:40
Black Stage

I have often found that Moonspell in daylight don´t really appeal, just like Samael, Dimmu Borgir, or Immortal – no go! Still Fernando Ribeiro gave everything and captured you after a long war-up and pulpy sound. Finally the guys from Portugal – with a great backdrop – really enchanted the audience, and then… well, then came „Alma Mater“, and then it was over. It might be that the sun heat slowed down the set and only later the spell was broken, but I wasn´t the only one feeling that this set was way too short. Hopefully Moonspell have a later slot next time.
(sa)

Heaven Shall Burn
Saturday, 13:55 – 14:40
Party Stage

Heaven didn´t burn but it must have felt like that in front of the stage. As soon as the band was on stage the fans freaked out. They didn´t need a song to warm up, the first body divers started right away, being picked out of the crowd by Security. Stress made those otherwise nice guys look angry. Singer Marcus Bischoff invidet to do crowdsurfing and therefore added work for security. Quite a lot of action was on stage, too, with a hyperactive Marcus and his band colleagues who used every chance for posing. Fans and band stimulated each other, the moshpit looked like an anthill going wild. Who thought that this was tough had not seen a „Wall Of Death“. Over and over Marcus split the crowd in two and had them run towards each other on command. Luckily there were no injuries, all participants had a lot of fun. After short 45 min it was over, although both parties would have preferred some more.
(me)

Stratovarius
Saturday, 14:45 – 15:45
True Metal Stage

The guys of Timo Tolkki find with `Hunting High and Low` an excellent start for their set. You can feel the fun they have on stage. Still the spirits cannot stay that high during the whole set. Stratovarius still had a good and solid show, and in this form (also on CD) you can definitely expect much more of those virtuosos.
(tp)

Rage
Saturday, 17:15 – 18:30
True Metal Stage

For Rage this show was an anniversary: It was exactly 10 years ago that they appeared first with the Lingua Mortis-Orchestra in Wacken. It starts with a best-of their bandhistory, before they unwrap the long “Lingua Mortis-Medley“ in the middle of the set. Altogether it was a good show, just the short orchestra parts during which the band left stage were a bit annoying. First it was interesting but then it became boring. Still it was great to hear the classics also live in a powerful orchestra-Metal-wrapping.
(tp)

Norther
Saturday, 18:45 – 19:45
Party Stage

With good sound and cool sunglasses – in this weather situation that wasn´t just for decoration – the Finns started their set. Their catchy Old School Thrash/Death had several Finnish flags waved and a lot of Metal-heads bang. Those days when Norther seemed a bit insecure are definitely over, yet their show was a bit too much routine for my taste.
(sa)

Destruction
Saturday, 18:45 – 20:00
Black Stage

German Thrash-Veterans Destruction lured fans to the “Black Stage”: Up to the very back the space was filled, but comfortably as people didn´t want to squeeze into the front rows. And right after chief destroyer Marcel “Schmier” Schirmer entered stage, classics like “Mad Butcher” or “Death Train” were played, before guests come on stage to play “Alliance Of Hellhoundz” from the recent album “Inventor Of Evil”: Peavy – Rage, Blitz – Overkill, Oddleif Stensland – Communic, Onkel Tom and ex-guitarist Harry Wilkens. A nice effect that still cannot distract from the fact that Destruction are basically very ho-hum. This was the reason why their show became more and more boring, and it was apparent in the crowd, too. Only the front rows had some action, but further back people just stood and applauded politely. A show to be seen, especially as a fan, but you could save your energy for the following bands.
(Death Angel / Metal.de)

Turisas
Saturday, 19:05 – 19:50
W.E.T. Stage

It was dripping from the ceiling, when Turisas started in the packed Sauna named W.E.T Stage with „To Holmgard and Beyond“. I simply melted away and didn´t want to think about the situation for the Finns on stage in their make-up and furs. Turisas were brave, though, and tirelessly fired up the audience. Their costumes are – like Lordi´s – a question of taste, I think it´s ridiculous but nice for photos. Musically Turisas´ Battle Metal was exactly what the crowd wanted, and they would deserve a bigger stage next time.
(sa)

Type O Negative
Saturday, 20:15 – 21:30
True Metal Stage

Is this really Pete Steele? Some fans might have asked who have not seen Type O Negative for a while. Marked by his excesses but seemingly good-humoured the icon and his colleagues entered the True Metal Stage in Wacken. Fans could see a well-known design, water bottles besides wine and Jägermeister for Mr. Steele. Naturally it was mainly the alcohol that was consumed, what else. A bit unusual, though, was Peter Steele´s voice that sounded rather thin. Many songs were supported or entirely sung by band colleague Kenny Hickey. There was not much playfulness or fun in that show. In between the band left stage several times, and every time you wondered if they will come back. They played many of their top classics: „Black Nr. 1“, „My Girlfriends Girlfriend“ or „Bloody Kisses“, but still everything sounded like routine. The major disappointment was the premature finale of their gig, only after 45 min – including all breaks – Type O Negative left and thousands of confused, waiting and disappointed fans remained.
(me)

Immortal
Saturday, 21:45 – 23:00
Black Stage

They are back. Abbath, Horgh and Apollyon have been playing live together again since April and appeared in Wacken for the first time in Germany. Somehow it´s like they´ve never been gone. Songs like „Battles Of The North“, „At the Heart of Winter“ and „Blashyrkh“ win back the old fans. Unfortunately the sound was much too low and a lot was lost, but the obvious good vibes on stage and the cult factor made up for that. This time no Teddy bears were thrown on stage, as it had become a habit in the old days before they had their rest period. Pyro and great light show, spitting fire and making faces, and pulling the legs of their audience a bit, Immortal offered despite low sound a great show.
(sa)

In Flames
Saturday, 23:15 – 00:30
True Metal Stage

After that you get a lesson in Modern Metal / Melodic Death Metal: In Flames work as a hit factory on high speed. You realize how many Metal anthems those likeable Swedes have already released: Older songs like “Colony“ or “Episode 666“ or new stuff like “Take this Life“ or “The Quiet Place“: everything is inspiring and has the crowd cheer enthusiastically. In terms of stage acting you can see that In Flames learned a lot from their many support tours for giants like Slayer, Priest and Metallica. They use the whole stage and appear quite self-confident in front of such a huge crowd. Routine – but definitely not boring. Quite the opposite: You have hardly ever seen In Flames having so much fun during a show, and hardly ever the communication with the audience was that entertaining. Plus this huge light show and those Pyro effects. Great, this is Metal entertainment!
(tp)

Haggard
Saturday, 00:45 – 01:45
Party Stage

Many bands might promote their music as “Metal meets Classic” nowadays, but there is only one band that indeed created a union, on an equal basis, of orchestra music and Metal elements – Haggard, with the probably biggest cast of the whole festival. It is not simply replacing Rock music with bombastic orchestra nor interpreting classic-pieces on electric guitar. The Bavarians with head master and guitarist Asis combine in terms of song writing and live performance the perspectives of Rock music and classic and create something unique. There are not as many spectators as Schandmaul had the day before, but still impressive for the third exhausting festival day. Both “Eppur Si Muove” and “Awaking The Centuries” CDs are featured with the biggest hits, but it is not easy to make a pick for just one hour performance time, especially if the compositions are somewhat excessive. Unfortunately Haggard´s new output is still to be waited for, but there was a little preview of it, yet not enough to understand the whole song material fully. But the first impression was good. At least it´s honourable that Asis and his crew – listen, Mr. DeMaio – rather strain the nerves of their waiting fans than releasing something half-baked. And as Haggard are absolutely unique they are far from any danger to become boring. This gig ended way too soon for my taste.
(Xeledon / Metal.de)

Cannibal Corpse
Saturday, 00:45 – 01:45
Black Stage

Saturday evening, 0.45 Uhr, Black Stage in sinister lighting. Red and blue spots illuminated vague silhouettes on stage. They were Cannibal Corpse. The crowd cheered to enthusiastically to one of the world´s biggest Death-Metal-bands. As soon as they started playing, the moshpit was on the move, too. Thousands of Metalheadz threw their hair in circular motion, just like their Mosh-icon George „Corpsegrinder“ Fisher. Fisher, who must have the neck as strong as a bull´s, still managed to be much faster than anybody. Perhaps only gravitation stopped him from flying off like a helicopter. The good mixture of old and new songs appealed to the audience, and the gig became more and more frolic. „Fucked With A Knife“ is only one song as example for many that satisfied the hungry crowd. The highlight was yet another song that especially German fans, and Wacken, had been waiting for, quite a long time: 2007 Cannibal Corpse finally played „Hammer Smashed Face“! A happening to be remembered for a long time.
(me)

Subway To Sally
Saturday, 02:00 – 03:00
True Metal Stage

Subway had the honour to wrap up this year´s Wacken Open Air. Late at night they gave their best and inspired the still remaining bangers. Besides their festival best-of program they presented two quite promising new songs from the upcoming album „Bastard“. One of those is even filmed that night for a live-video, a courageous act because nobody knows the material yet. But Eric Fish has a good idea: “Just pretend that you know that song for 10 years!“. No need to inspire the crowd more, people cheer as loudly as for the many hits of the band.
So basically STS ended the WOA with a competent show, a slightly ill-fated festival that still worked out nicely and was a lot of fun. So until next year!
(tp)

1349
Full of expectations I arrived punctually in the tent for Vital Remains which should be my Wacken finale, but soon it turned out that they won´t play, and I could not find out why. Still this should not be a reason for 1349 to postpone their set for an hour, but people waited patiently. Then finally, a long intro, cheers, two fire-breathers appear, breathe fire. Cheers. Intro. Then a drummer constantly on1890 BpM, guitars plugged in, and diabolic fun began. The crowd seemed to enjoy it, there´s no room for headbanging, therefore people just stand and applaud in an elitist and misanthropic manner. I personally could not stand this high speed attack longer than for two songs and preferred to have some beer instead. Cheers!
(Raphi / Metal.de)

This year´s Wacken was hopelessly overcrowded, and although there were problems now and then the organisation managed a huge job, and there was a nice line-up. And although many of us spend the days afterwards sick in bed, we have to say again: See you next year!

Text: Timo Pässler (tp), Maike Eisenmenger (me), Katrin Dietl (kd), Samira Alinto (sa) and the Metal.de – Crew; transl. K. Dietl, Kathleen Gransalke
photos: Timo Pässler, Maike Eisenmenger, Melanie Haack, Samira Alinto
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Samira Alinto

Samira Alinto

reports, reviews, photos

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