Summer Breeze 2009

12.-16.08.2009  Dinkelsbühl, GER

It´s mid August and thus time for the infamous Summer Breeze Open Air. Just like in the years before the organiser has once again put lots of effort in preparing a really good mixture of various bands. If there´s one festival, were you can call the line-up “varied”, then it´s surely SB, simply because you rarely find that many different genres in one festival. More than 90 bands for a reasonable price, what more can you ask for?

After having received lots of criticism because of the huge traffic jam (due to controls for glass and the like at the entrance) in 2008, the organiser had promised to work on it and so they did. In 2009 they had completely rebuilt the place and had then 40 entrances waiting for the metalheads. Same goes for the campingground itself, where a new way of putting people there was introduced. Judging from what we heard and read this worked fairly well. The stages were bigger and not as close to each other as in the year before, between them a huge screen had been put up, so you could also enjoy the gigs from further away, thumbs up for this!

The only thing that should´ve been enlarged as well was the Partystage, because this tent was more than packed during some bands. On the other hand this can of course also be seen as a compliment for the bands, since their attraction-factor had obviously been underestimated. So far for now, more later on in the summary and now for the bands, day by day.

(In case text illustrations and links no longer work, go to interactive Flickr gallery at the end of the text)

WEDNESDAY 12.08.2009

More band photos here!
Unfortunately I was a bit late to catch all the bands of the Newcomer Contest that was taking place during the first day. But at least I managed to enter the photopit just in time to catch the last two (out of four), one of them being Cypecore, who already impressed me quite a lot after giving them a try via MySpace beforehand. And what can I say, they did a great job in getting the audience going, a circlepit, some moshpits, there was more going on than during some bigger bands! After having seen this quite impressive gig, I was almost sure, that I had seen the winner of the contest (well, I should be wrong…). However, if you´re into Melodeath, you should definitely check them out. Even though they haven´t won the contest, I´m pretty sure, that it shouldn´t be too hard for them to find a label, that´s willing to sign them!


More band photos here!
Short changeover and then it was already time for the fourth and last band of the contest Second Relation . Completely different from the band before. No wild looking Metalheads and a little “oops, they look quite young!”. But already during the first few tunes it was clear, that they were obviously quite big Opeth fans and thus they got my complete attention within seconds. You couldn´t deny those aforementioned influences, neither from the music itself, nor from the singing, even though the vocalist was using clean vocals throughout and no growls. A very intense clean voice I have to say! The material presented was quite calm with some rougher eruptions in between and even though the crowd still seemed to be quite hyper after the gig before, they managed to attract a big crowd and captivated everyone with this special atmosphere. A high precision and truly interesting songs paved the way to victory. Well done! Chapeau!

The following One Way Mirror and Razor Of Occam were skipped, due to meeting lots of old and new friends. But around 10pm, it was time again to head back to the partytent, since it was time for Vomitory, who were living up to their name “vomiting” the song material over the wild crowd. From 0 to 100 within seconds. No mercy for no one. Great mood all over, what a gig!

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Well, after that I should get my punishment immediately for not watching the complete Vomitory gig. IF I had stayed there, I would´ve maybe heard, that the upcoming band would not be as originally planned Cataract, that I´ve seen a few times already, but God Dethroned – therefore here a guest review:

So you´ll a report from a colleague here instead:
Originally planned to be the last band of the day, God Dethroned changed places with Cataract, so that unfortunately quite a lot of fans had to miss this gig. Nonetheless, the tent was filled quite adequately and the Dutch around fronter Henri Sattler started to serve the Metal hungry audience with what it was waiting for. Since half of the old line-up moved into the ranks of Epica, I was really looking foward to see, how the completely renewed band would be now. And I was pleasantly surprised, how tight the quartet presented their music. The vocals were simply great (heard definitely worse stuff from Mr Sattler) and the new girl on the lead guitar (Susan) is a worthy replacement for guitar wizzard Isaax Delahave. Can´t complain about the setlist either. Apart from a few songs from the latest “Passiondale”, you could of course hear the hits like “Nihilism”, “Warcult” or “Villa Vampiria”. For me already a highlight of the still very young Summer Breeze. (Julia Wehning)


More band photos here!
Well, after shit had happened, it was Powerwolf´s turn and their gig turned out to be quite amusing, even though I´m no fan of this kind of Powermetal. They presented a good show and caused some laughter with songs like “Resurrection By Erection”. Church stuff on stage, religious on the outside, but evil/kinky lyrics, when you have a closer look. 😉


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Yep and now it was time to recognize that there was no Dutch Death Metal awaiting us, but Swiss brutalities from Cataract. However, the disappointment was literally blown away within seconds by the brutal sound. The band presented itself in the old well known explosive manner, leading to lots of crowd surfers and busy security guys. What an ending for the first day!

THURSDAY 12.08.2009
The first evening ended somewhen between 3 and 4 and after 2 hours, at least that´s what it felt like when crawling out of the tent, the first band of the day started very early at 1. Ok, ok, 1 might not be that early, but everybody knows, that clock´s are ticking a bit different at festivals.

Allright, stuff packed, camera grabbed and there we go straight to the Painstage, where I saw Second Relation a second time. They had already presented themselves pretty well at the newcomer contest, even though I had thought, that Cypecore would win. But let´s not fuzz about the choice, this Progressive Metal had definitely deserved wining this battle! I´m pretty sure, that we´ll surely hear more of this upcoming band in the future. Thus it wasn´t too amazing, that they managed to gather quite an acceptable crowd for this early hour in front of the Painstage.

Strong beginning of day 2, but after that it got a bit weaker. Katra from Finland were awaiting the early birds with female-fronted Gothic Metal. There was surely nothing to complain about the music itself, don´t get me wrong, but the voice of fronter Katra Solopuro sounded a bit weak and not all the notes sounded properly. However, they surely did their best to get the audience going and to warm them up for the hard day, that was awaiting them. Well, could´ve been better, sorry!


More bandphotos here!
Over to the Painstage again, only 5 minutes of reast and now everything looked quite different. Not only had the crowd grown remarkably, but there was also a female fronter again – she presented herself much better, than the last times I had seen Deadlock. I always had my problems with Deadlock, especially because of the female vocals, however, her voice has improved from gig to gig. Today her voice sounded really well, along with the growls of vocalist Johannes, a very harmonic duo! Their try of warming up the audience with “Code Of Honor” and “Dark Cell” or “As Words To Bullets” worked damn well.


More bandphotos here!
In case this was still too soft, what about some decent portion of brutal stuff hailing from Poland? Perfect, because Vader started their set with “Dark Age”, followed by “Sothis”. By now half of the members has been exchanged, but this didn´t change anything on the brutal sound of the band! However, no matter what, there seemed to be something missing to let the audience go off the rails completly. Was that already the first problem of the stones in front of the stage? Unfortunately this underground wasn´t really the most attracting ground you could´ve had for moshing or crowdsurfing. But, Vader wouldn´t be Vader if they hadn´t managed to convince the audience in the end. As soon as the first tunes of “Epitaph” started, the audience started a wall of death. Luckily! Else I´d have really been disappointed. Thus this gig can be called successful after all!


More bandphotos here!
And over to the right once again, where Grand Magus from Sweden were awaiting the audience with Stoner Doom. It was grooving, it was dooming, a great start! The Swedes showed, that they were stronger on this huge stage, than I had actually expected them to be. (the last time I had seen them, was in a small club at Inferno Festival in Norway). Unfortunately the reactions of the audience got a bit calmer, which made me once again think, that the tent stage might´ve suited them better. However, this could still be considered a strong gig, with which the Swedes could surely win some new fans for their groovy mixture.

Since I had been forced to photograph Unheilig shortly after that, I unfortunately couldn´t see more than three songs of the now following gig of Jack Slater, taking place at tentstage. Thus I´ll once again hand over to my colleague. However, I won´t write anything about Unheilig, since this is absolutely not my cup of music, sorry! Bandphotos here!


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Like during other gigs before, the tentstage was once again filled. Not completely full, but sufficienctly full I´d say. While the front of the tent was going crazy, it got calmer the further you went to the back, it almost felt like being at a cocktailparty – well apart from some people headbanging. A pity! However, the vocalist´s voice was brilliant and he got lots of pluspoints with his humorous annoucements, even the sound was more than ok, nothing to complain here. Unfornately the stageshow itself was a bit boring, one green-red light, some moving white lights, well… but apart from that there was nothing to complain and fans of Jack Slater surely had loads of fun there. (Jule)

Shortly after that, the brutal madness started on the tentstage. From now on the tent was completely in the palm of Brutal Metal bands, simply great!

More band photos here!
Well, what can I say, I had already been convinced by Sylosis last year, when they were part of the Never Say Die! Tour in 2008. At the latest with their latest album “Conclusion of an Age”, they should´ve managed to gather an even great following. Luckily they were obviously in perfect condition, when entering the tentstage that day and served their mixture of explosive Thrash and modern elements, alongside with some Core elements. There were surely people, who didn´t welcome such a modern day on the tentstage (and mixing the bands of the following days with modern bands a bit, would surely not have been that wrong…), but all bands managed to satisfy those, attending the gigs, in their very own way. Back to Sylosis: It didn´t take long, until they had their first Wall of Death going on, followed by circlepits. Thumbs up!

After that I decided to take a short rest and skip Equilibrium. Luckily I had taken this rest, because the tentstage madness continued without mercy. Since I wasn´t in the mood for fun-crazy-stuff like JBO or folk-mead party with Equilibrium, I just followed the “invitation” for some serious brutal stuff in form of Psycroptic hailing from Tasmania.

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Perfect decision, as I should notice just a few minutes after the gig had started. The tent was pretty packed from the very beginning and the band managed to gather more and more headbangers during the gig with their Death Metal being complex but still uncompromisingly brutal at the same time. Some fun in between: There was a waterball with “Australia” print and flag constantly flying between stage and audience. Unfortunately the madness was over way too fast after 6 songs like “Isle Of Disenchantment” or the last song “Initiate”. However, I´m damn sure that the Aussies won new fans and could fly home with a big grin in their faces!

My colleague was checking out JBO in the meanwhile, her impressions:
Being a die-hard fan of the “Verteidiger des wahren Blödsinns”, I of course had high expectations to their gig and was waiting quite a while in front of the mainstage, before the gig even started. Thus is was even more disappointing for me to see that the show and announcements during the show have become kinda rehearsed, in a way, that there´s little spontanity left and most gigs look more or less the same. What I want to say by this is not “If you´ve seen one show, you´ve seen all”, but I have to admit, I´ve been thinking like this a few times during the gig. Nevertheless, the songs are still brilliant and I didn´t wait for nothing for songs like “Verteidiger des wahren Blödsinns” or “Ein Fest”, even though they were played pretty late. Thus: Great gig….unfortunately…only like always. (Jule)


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Thursday was my brutalo-day, I guess it was hard to catch me without a big grin on my face, since one good band after the other was playing on the tentstage. Brutal as hell and lots of fun. This shouldn´t change during the gig of the Canadians Beneath The Massacre. Technical Brutal Death at it´s best. In case you were looking for some rest during this speed-massacre, you were definitely in the wrong place, since they played killer songs like “Reign Of Terror” or “No Future”. Above the massacre you had the mighty growling of fronter Elliot. Great!

Nearly at the same time, it was also time for some brutal power on the Painstage. Walls of Jericho with female shouter Candance, attracted quite a reasonable amount of fans. What a brutal voice this girl has, she´d definitely win against lots of her male colleagues with easy. Not only with her voice, but also with her energetic stage acting. Thus it wasn´t amazing to see, that she got the audience going with ease from the first tunes on. Lots of energy on stage was followed by crazy circlepits, sometimes even more than one at the same time. Well, it was pretty to stand still, when songs like “Feeding Frenzy” or “A Little Piece of Me” were being played.

Mehr Bandfotos hier!
Power fronter, power band, power gig!

After that it would´ve been time for Kreator and Hackneyed but we couldn´t resist taking place in the Jägermeister skybar. Those who don´t know what it is: Just imagine a bar, seats round it, that look like those on a rollercoaster, thanks to the three safety belts. When everybody is secured and hopefully not afraid of heights, a crane is lifting the whole construction to a height of about 40 meters. Once you´re up, you have a fantastic view over the whole festival area. From the stages, to the camping places – there you can realize how big the whole festival really is. Something you don´t recognize like this when being on the ground. Actually it was pretty cool to see a band like Kreator from a different perspective. This view made us almost forget to drink the Jägermeister shots that had been handed over to us by the bartenders.

Thus a Kreator report from the ground-base: Kreator entered stage with a slight delay, but from then on, they thrashed the masses. Mille and his bandmates definitely looked, like they were enjoying being on stage a lot and thus the audience was in a great mood as well from the first second on. The only thing, that was slightly disturbing were Milles strange annoucements, but as soon as “Pleasure To Kill” was being played, nobody really cared about this anymore. Same goes for the intro of “Violent Revolution”, that caused some goosebumps for a few moments. Thus: Thumbs and horns up for this gig! (Javed)


More band photos here!
In the meanwhile the skybar had arrived back on the festivalground. Still being kind of “hyper” and happy because of this great experience I rushed over to the Partystage once again to catch The Red Chord from Massachusetts. Like all the other bands before, there was no time for taking a rest, it was all about torturing your neck! With this mixture of Death, Grind and Hardcore surely no problem! Blasting, breaks, growling, madness! After a short while TRC also had their audience on the palm. Party all over on the Partystage today, no wonder with such quality bands playing there!

Well, as great as this gig was, I had to run again after a few songs to catch Backyard Babies over at the painstage about half an hour later. It´s time for Rock´n´Roooooll! Posing like mad, they were doing their best to fulfil as many clichés as possible – but in a positive way. Just like the second song title already said “Everybody ready” and everybody was ready! One guitarist was jumping around on stage like Angust Young, while having a cigarette in mouth looking all cool.

More band photos here!
Something that was a bit strange though, was the comparably small number of people in front of the stage, especially for this time. Not interested? Too much party already? Well, whatever it was, those who had been there definitely had fun and party – audience and band!

Shortly after that it was time for a little premiere: Anal Natraakh (yes, strange name somehow) were playing the very first gig in Germany. While some people obviously had their problems with the mixture of Black Metal and some Death Growls those guys were presenting, the fans surely had their fun! However, the vocalist was really torturing his voice with various styles. The band was polarizing, but I definitely have to say, after one or two songs, I got into this music the guys were presenting.

Shortly after that the “obligatory” medieval band was on stage: Cantus Buranus. Not my cup of tea, since I´m not really a fan of all this medieval stuff, but I have to admit, that this show was clearly something that would deserve the description: bombastic or epic. An orchester with 30 musicians, huge drums, timbals, epic costumes, lots of fire and a vocalist that could easily keep up with all the musicians and stage setup around him. This wasn´t the usual medieval-fun stuff, this was bombast at it´s best. Yes, even though I don´t like the music that much, this was impressing. Impressing like the huge crowd that had gathered in front of the stage, thus they clearly deserved the headliner position.

However, after about half of the gig I headed back to “my” tentstage, since it was time for the American Death/Grinders Misery Index.

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I´ve seen them countless times, but still totally enjoy the gigs. Grooving like mad as soon as the songs start getting a bit slower and kicking in some tight riffs, just great. No wonder, that the heads were rotating in the audience, lots of flying hair, circlepits -a crowd gone mad, the best sign, that they had done everything right once again. Great job from the guys from Baltimore once again. Death/Grind at it´s best.

And back to the painstage one last time, at least for today and time for yet another Swedish band: Katatonia! They were headlining the smaller one of the two mainstages and presented some completely different music, when thinking of Cantus Buranus just a few minutes before. After a somewhat halting beginning with “Consternation” and the great “Soil´s Song”, audience and band slowly got more into the right mood. Vocalist Jonas Renkse seemed less shy than nomrmal, since he wasn´t constantly hiding his face behind his hair, like he normally used to. But not only the pretty communicative vocalist, also the rest of the band was obviously highly motivated and played “Ghost Of The Sun”, “My Twin” and “July”.The setlist was well mixed, but still there was something missing, something that really got the audience connected to the band. The last song “Murder” was one of the nicest surprises for me. Thus a gig, with not such an enthusiastic audience as one might´ve expected it, but that I still don´t want to entitle with “just ok, but nothing more”, ended. Thus it´s no wonder, that I stayed there for the whole gig and decided to skip Hate Eternal on the tentstage, sorry!


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After that the fun on the tentstage continued in form of Suffocation. While some of my colleagues weren´t that happy with the music, I enjoyed the gig once again, since it´s not only brutal, but in fact pretty entertaing. Let alone the “waving” of the hand, that the vocalist is doing when the blast parts start. It´s almost some kind of running gig, since you could see the same move in the audience. Instead of horns, you saw people waving their hands, just like the vocalist did and that along made it very entertaining to have a look at from the side. However you could hear lots of fans, that were telling each other to have seen the best gig of the festival.

Luckily there was no more running between three stages after Suffoctation, since I was slowly getting a bit tired and still wanted to see Carnifex, that were about to enter stage at 2:20 in the night…or morning, however you´d like to see it. Allright, those guys managed to gather quite a solid following within a short time and thus it wasn´t actually that amazing to see a still well filled tent at this late/early hour. Fronter Scott Lewis and his bandmates offered a fat portion of Deathcore as day 2 of the festival was slowly coming to an end. Lots of energy, a good sound and songs like “Slit Wrist Saviour” or “Lie To My Face” made it easy for the audience to get moving. Some might´ve disliked the constant Breakdown stuff, but the biggest part of the audience, that was singing along most of the time clearly showed, that constant touring and fun on stage pays off.

There would´ve still one band left at around 3 o´clock, but my body wasn´t willing to move anymore at that time. Over and out – we survived day 1 and 2 so far, time for some relaxing, a short sleep and then onwards to new ventures on Friday!

 

FRIDAY 14.08.2009
So all over a sudden it was Friday morning and so it was already much harder to get everyone out of their tents. Hard for me as well, not because of a lack of sleep, but because the day started with female-fronted Metal. I had actually planned to check the new band of ex-Vader guitarist Mauser, Unsun…. the spirit was willing, but… And that´s where the great position of the tent came in handy. From there, we had a perfect view on the videowall, the sound was pretty good as well, so we could “attend” the gig more or less anyways. Once again not completely convincing, but her voice didn´t sound as weak as during the opener the day before. Still, I don´t understand, why the guistarist prefers this band toVader…

And since this was such a damn comfortable way to watch the first band and it was also about time to have some breakfast, we decided to stay at our place for the next two bands The New Black and The Cumshots. Especially the latter one turned out to be a nice surprise, since I had assumed to hear some kind of Grindband, thanks to this name. Well, I should´ve checked before, but sometimes you simply overlook some bands in this huge line-up. However, while The New Black had already rocked the painstage pretty well for this early time, The Cumshots upped the ante. Great Rock, straight forward, unfussy but with a lot of drive, they did their best kicking some asses at this still young day. They kicked enough ass, to get us lazy reporters up from the comfy camping chairs and made us pack everything together and head over to the festivalarea. I arrived their shortly before the end of the set and was then completely awake and ready for all the gigs this day was still bringing along.


More band photos here!
Well, after all this Rock music, it was time for a change on Painstage.Not that I´d say, that Battlelore rocked less, but this was way more symphonic. With this they managed to attract more and more people, who found their way from the tents to the festivalarea. Their setlist contained songs like “Storm Of The Blates” and “We are Legions”, which fitted perfectly and were performed quite theatrically. The band was doing it´s best to get the audience going with lots of headbanging and cheering, but it seemed, as if it was still too early for most headbangers out there to go crazy. Nevertheless a solid gig.

After that I decided to skip to more bands, namely Callejon, who I had seen a few times already this summer and Nim Vind – once again one of those bands I hadn´t really checked beforehand or better to say, who didn´t convince me completely. After all this day was a long one again, ending at 4 in the night again, so pacing oneself was important.

The Other didn´t only attract me but also loads of headbangers in front of the mainstage. I could hear lots of people saying “Well, they delivered a cool show the last time they were here, two or three years ago, I´ll give them another try!”. Well, a good decision for sure, because the guys, who had once started as Misfits coverband, definitely rocked again like three years ago. The audience went off the rails and the band thanked them with songs like “Last Man On Earth”, “Tarantula” or “Beware Of The Ghouls”.

More band photos here!
First pit of the day and first surprise of the day, since I didn´t expect the mainstage to be that packed already this early. Thumbs up!

And over to the Partystage for the first time today. I think, if I just throw in some songtitles, most of you will already be able to guess what kind of music was now awaiting the metalheads in the tent: “Heavy Metal To The End”, “Metal Is War”, “Blood On My Steel” – die hard fans will of course not only be able to tell me that this is True Metal, but also that this were Sacred Steel, who were now presenting their material to the crowd. Lots of posing, lots of trueness – not completely my cup of tea, but they had gathered a solid fanbase, that was headbanging constantly from the first song on. The band itself was pretty amazed and said, that they wouldn´t have expected that many people to show up here already. Bandphotos here!

After that, time for grabbing some food again, meeting some old and new friends, lots of blabbering and fun and…missing the beginning of The Haunted! That led to the fact, that we unfortunately didn´t make it into the photopit. Shortly before that we went back to the tentstage and photographed Skyforger from Latvia. Bandphotos here!

However, back to the mainstage. The Haunted! came, saw and conquered. Power from the first second on, I almost dropped my burger I had still in my hands, but music or not, I was hungry, so food first, instead of running to the mainstage immediately. The crowd was eaglery waiting for the Swedes, this could easily be seen and thus it wasn´t that amazing to see them go totally crazy to “Moronic Colossus”, “DOA” or the stompy “99”. And since the stage is a bit too high, the photopit a bit too wide and thus the audience a bit too far away, Mr Dolving obviously thought, that it would be a nice idea to jump down and pay a visit to the audience and get a bit closer. So he didn´t only go into the photopit, no, he jumped into the audience and walked straight through dividing the crowd into a right and left side to prepare everything for a wall of death. Just standing on stage is boring – be in the middle of things, instead of just watching things happen – that´s the Swedish motto! So the whole crowd from the front barrier to the wavebreaker further back (yes, they had those for the first time at Breeze this year) had been divided and so the band got the probably biggest wall of death of the festival so far. The band seemed to be pretty relaxed, just like at the Metaltown gig in Gothenburg in June and much more relaxed than on their tour earlier this year. Definitely one of my festival highlights. Lots of fun, well done guys!


More band photos here!
Black Messiah were playing on the tentstage in the meanwhile, but because of the Swedish competition on the mainstage, I only did a flying visit there. Maybe I should find a way to clone myself for next year´s edition, just to make sure to not miss any bands again and to avoid lots of running between the three stage. However, back to the gig: Once again the audience was in a great mood, the tent was being heated up in the truest sense of the word, thanks to being packed almost constantly. At the latest when it started getting cooler outside in the evening, this was a huge advantage. Black Messiah proved that they were at least as good at twisting the audience around their fingers as the band on the mainstage. Lots of headbanging was the reaction to a song like “Moskau” that brought up the best partymood in the partytent.

More band photos here!
Swedes again! Arriving back at the Painstage, it was now Entombed´s turn to unleash some good old Swedendeath. I´m pretty sure, that the biggest part of the audience had just moved a few meters from the mainstage after The Haunted. After quite an amusing intro, featuring one of those priests you know from films, that was talking enthusiatically about God and his adversary, coming to the conclusion, that Satan also exists, the band entered stage. After this sermon, they started with “Serpent Saints”. The audience was still in “Sweden-Mood” and thus it was pretty easy to please them with a best-of set. This opener was followed by songs like “When In Sodom”, “Wolverine Blues” and “Chief Rebel Angel”. Vocalist L.G. Petrov seemed a bit befuddled like always, but who cares as long as he´s screaming those brutal vocals. Inbetween, he wanted to be nice to the audience by throwing over a can of beer – thanks to too many hands trying to grab this can, it landed somewhere in the photopit. “Doesn´t matter, you´ll get a new one”, but then he had to recognize, that there was currently no other beer within reach. Well, this or that way, I´m quite sure, that no one was suffering from beer-shortage at this festival. Damn cool gig as always!

On the other stage everything was being prepared for Schandmaul. I can only repeat myself, that this is definitely not my cup of tea, but once again, I wanted to check it out at least and was once again impressed at how many people they gathered in fron of stage. Well, on the other hand, it´s no wonder when you have such a great stage presence. The presented themselves close to the audience, got them singing and clapping along to nearly all songs and had catchy melodies and lyrics on top of that. The songs were that catchy, that even I, who normally doesn´t listen to the songs, still had “Vogelfrei” or “Walpurgisnacht” on my mind till the end of the day. Well, my cup of tea or not, I had to admit that this was a very convincing gig and I´m almost sure, that quite a huge part of the crowd was sure to have seen the highlight of the day.


More band photos here!
To be able to survive till late night, it was all about pacing oneself, as mentioned befor. Thus quite a few bands playing the tentstage were skipped. Instead of that, there was once again Swedes awaiting us on the Painstage. With such a huge presence of Swedish bands we were already assuming that they all had arrived with the same plane. A plane full of metalheads! Sounds like fun! From one really likable band band on to the next: Sabaton! I´ve honestly never attended a single gig of them without standing in the photopit with a smile on my face after a few tracks. The vocalist was once again jumping around on stage like crazy, joking and teasing his bandmates with funny stuff and one guitarist was grinning like a Chesire cat almost constantly. Their setlist of course contained smashhits like “Cliffs Of Gallipoli”, “40:1” and “Attero Dominatus” – lots of sing-along, headbanging and people shouting for Sabaton guaranteed. At some point it was of course time for the famous “Noch ein Bier” (one more beer) shouting. Singer Joakim Broden of course answered to those shouts in German “Wollt ihr noch ein beer?” (you want one more beer), “Habt ihr auch genug Bier?” (but do you have enough beer?), etc. It´s simply lots of fun to attend their gigs and thanks to this fun the war themes of their songs don´t seem to be that cruel anymore or take a back seat.


More band photos here!
Ehm…Hippies on stage? Well, not quite, but you couldn´t help thinking that when seeing the outfit of Life of Agony fronter Keith Caputo. This looked rather like some “I´m gonna make a lazy day at home”-outfit. Loose-fit shirt, sun glasses, shoulderlong hair and “Love and peace” in the announcements completed the hipppie impression. The had chosen “River Runs Red” as opener, followed by “This Time”. This band has been around for quite a while, 20 years to be exact, when you ignore the split-up at the end of the 90s. Even when you might not be into this music that much, you´d have to admit, that Keith was really giving all and put lots of feeling into his interpretion of the songs. In constrast to the vocalist who seemed to be glued to the micstand, the rest of the band was pretty bouncy. The aforementioned hippie-impression was aggravated during the gig, when Keith started a short thank you speech, that wasn´t only adressed to fans and organiser, but also to the universe and of course love& peace for everyone.


More band photos here!
In the meanwhile I had hurried over to the Painstage again, to gather my spot in line to enter the photopit as fast as possible, since my hightlight of the day was being up next: Amorphis! If there´s one thing you can say for sure, then it´s the fact that Amorphis normally guarantee a great gig. The small guy with the big voice always presents himself very well with his captivating stage presence. Guess they didn´t leave the audience with much to wish for, with their setlist containing “Leaves Scar”, “Towards And Against”, “The Smoke” and “House Of Sleep” among others. No matter whether he was singing clean or growling, this voice simply causes goosebumps! Did I mention nearly nothing left to wish for? Yes, nearly nothing, since we badly missed the fabulous “Black Winter Day” in this in other respects flawless setlist. Tomi was headbanging and throwing his impressive dreadlocks around, the rest of the band seemed to be in a pretty good mood as well and this set the audience, that was of course quite huge, as expected, on fire within a short time. Melancholy can be so beautiful when being presented in the right way, thumbs up!

So the gig of Amorphis was over, Vreid were still playing on the partystage, the whole festival was in Nordic grip and this shouldn´t change any soon, since there was already the next Swedish invasion waiting for the masses. For most the gig that was awaited the most. I´m talking of THE Viking Metal band: Amon Amarth. The number of Amon Amarth shirts had constantly been rising during the festival and now surely reached it´s climax.

More band photos here!
The place in front of stage was simply packed, tightly as never before. Unfortunately they had left out all stage decoration, compared to their last gig two years ago where they had this huge ship with them. No ship, but a huge backdrop and a stage, that had been hidden behind a big black curtain till the beginning of the gig. Too bad, that this black curtain just made high expectations for something really special come up that ended into some kind of disappointment as soon as it fell. However, this small disappointment didn´t last for long anyways, not with an opener like “Twilight Of The Thunder God” and more smashing songs like “Runes To My Memory”, “Victorious March” and so on. Front-giant Johan started his famous rotor-headbanging and threw one song after the other into the crazy mob. Here the audience was really going beserk in the truest sense of the word. And as if it hadn´t already been hot enough, pyros were fired off, even more headbanging followed, the crowd was impelled, no time for a rest! Once again the Swedes showed, that they might be omnipresent, but they´re simply a live band you can´t escape. I´m damn sure, that there´s no other band of that genre that will reach this status any soon. So after a fulminating “Death In Fire” an exhausted but uberly happy crowd was left behind. Absolutely nothing to complain about!

So the programme on the mainstages was over nearly over, we skipped Haggard to save some energy for the last bands on the partystage. Thus it was about time to check out Firewind. Something completely different after the viking madness shortly before, not it was all about entertaining Powermetal. And this obviously still worked well at this late hour and attracted a reasonable number of fans. The guys from Greece played an entertaining show, presenting songs like “Kill To Live”, “Mercenary” and a really cool coverversion of “Maniac” that caused some major sing-along in the audience. (I´d even say, that this coverversion was way more appealing than the Flashdance original). I for my part was happy that I was persuaded to attend this gig. Band photos here!


More band photos here!
Everybody seemed to be in party mood after that and this was good, cause the party should continue for quite a while from now on. The next band up were Protest The Hero – “the most colourful band of the festival”, as they called themselves and they totally broke the ranks, not only because of being colourful. Progressive Metal, some Core stuff, technical, melodic, wonderful, you can´t simply label them with “Metal/Matchcore”, this would be fair to their music. At least for those, who were familiar with the material, it was a pleasure, others might´ve stood there being a bit clueless. The vocalist changed between almost hysterical singing to clean parts and more brutal vocals with ease, which could already be heard during the first song “Bloodmeat”, followed by “Wretch” with a wonderfully, highly melodic chorus that gets stuck in your ears very fast. Judging from the audiences reactions, there were obviously (and luckily) lots of die-hard fans present. Would´ve been a pity if not! Definitely one of my highlights, shame on those, who missed it. Maybe you should at least give them a try on CD or so when at home, it´ll be worth checking these guys from Canada!


More band photos here!
Still up for more party? Yes, please! Unfortunately I´ve never had the pleasure of seeing Raunchy live, since they don´t seem to play that many gigs over here. Having heard lots of great stories about them being a wonderful live band, I was of course eagerly waiting for the beginning of the gig, like a little child. And after a short intro, the partycrew from Denmark was onstage with “Remembrance”. Hyperactive with lots of fun, they jumped around on stage and ingnited a spark, that made the audience jump into partmood as well within seconds. They definitely know how to put convincing melodies that get stuck in your ears into their songs. At the latest with “Somebody´s Watching Me”, the sing-along-climax was reached. Lots of fun made this late night gig worth the wait. So it was no wonder that even at 3 in the morning (and please remember, lots of people had been in front of the stages since 11 h) you could hear loud encore shouting. Well deserved! I for my part left the tent with a big grin on my face, after the last song had been the long-awaited “Warriors”. Thumbs up!

And the concert madness was still not over. No matter how hard the last band would try, it would be damn hard to top the gig from Raunchy before. I personally still believe, that it would´ve been way better when Elvenking had played before Firewind and Raunchy, in order to end the day with a boom. Well, we were still awake, still there, so we watched this last gig as well. Now it was all about cheesy Italian fiddeling with “The Scythe”, “Infection” and “The Wanderer”. Don´t get me wrong, they really did their best to mobilize the audience one last time, but it seems as if this was simply not enough anymore at this late hour. I already had my problems with their material before and here it didn´t get any better. Too much party before, too much party during the last two days.

Around 4 o´clock it was time again to kick out the last partypeople from the VIP area and it was definitely time to fall into the tents, since just 7 hours later the next band should already be on stage again. Here the wheat was clearly separated from the chaff!

SATURDAY 15.08.2009
Did I mention “separating the what from the chaff” the day before? Yep, it was clearly like this, because now you could see who survived the band marathon the day before and still had enough energy to show up in front of stage at 11 in the morning again.
I for my part had a little bet with a colleague that I´d surely make it into the photopit early enough to see Benighted. Well, I made it, in constrast to some others.


More band photos here!
And hey, Benighted were absolutely a good reason to get out of the tent after some two hours of sleep, at least that´s what it felt like, it were 5 hours to be exact, but nevermind. In contrast to the other festivaldays there was no soft alarm clock with female-fronted Metal today, no brutal as hell was the motto! Fierce Death Metal chopped of with some Grind. If there was really someone still half asleep after that, there was surely nothing could´ve been done then, except for checking the ears. “Collapse” opened the last day, and let´s hope no visitor did so. Without mercy they went on with “Grind Wit” and “Saw It All”. The band itself was damn awake and you could clearly see that the audience was doing the same and more and more people entered the festivalarea during the gig.

I for my part was motivated enough to endure this last festival day. Over to the Painstage, since the next tidbit was already waiting. Workaholic Tuomas Saukkonen was here with two of his bands on the same day! First one was his new project Black Sun Aeon. It seems as if lots of people have heard that this is a project of Mr. Jack-Of-All-Trades of Before The Dawn, and thus the place in front of the stage was nicely filled, especially for being only the second band of the day!

More band photos here!
The stage, in contrast to that, seemed rather “empty”, but no wonder, since the fronter was sitting behind the drumkit, instead of standing behind his mic like usually, having his two bandmates on the left and right side of the stage. Maybe the material would´ve been more suitable for the tentstage, because of the overall feeling of the songs. However the material worked pretty well and there´s nothing I can complain about. If you´re into Finnish melancholy, you should chek them out, great gig!

After that it was about time for a short visit back at the tents, since I had skipped breakfast to win my bet and see Benighted. During this, we of course watched the following gig of the Danish The Storm, just like on the day before. Lots of people might not know the band, but the voice of the female vocalist, namely from the latest Volbeat album “Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood”, where she was supporting Michael with their really clear and pleasant voice. This gig definitely left an overall positive impression and I can only hope that her collaboration with Volbeat and this gig managed to give them some more success and attention here in Germany!


More band photos here!
Now it was time to go back to the Painstage again, since Tuomas was ready to play with his second band after a short rest. This time with Before The Dawn. After their gig before had already gathered quite a reasonable amount of fans, it was even more now. Well, not that amazing, considering the great reviews their recent albums have received. Gitarrist Lars Eikind supported Tuomas´ growling with wonderful clean vocals that seemed to be even better than at earlier gigs I´ve seen of this band. This definitely caused some goose-bumps despite warm sunshine. Like before it was all about Finnish melancholy at it´s best. And since songs like “Faithless” or “The Deadsong” are so wonderfully catchy, it was no wonder that the crowd was getting bigger. BTD are definitely on the right way and are able to win more and more fans with every gig, well deserved, guys!


More band photos here!
In case this has been a bit too soft for you, the now upcoming gig was maybe more your cup of tea. I´m speaking of some fancy oldschool Death from Death Metal-country Sweden: Grave! Ready for some good portion of energetic Death Metal? They started with “Defored” and from then on there was no time for taking a little rest during this gig with mainly older material, which was either damn fast, grooving like hell and simply kicking ass. Especially in the photopit, right in front of the speakers you could feel this. After “Soulless” and some 40 minutes of music it was over again. Judging from the reactions of the audience, they´d have surely liked to hear even more. But don´t be sad, they´ll be on tour soon again!


More band photos here!
Krypteria who were up next on the painstage were playing something totally different. In fact you could´ve hardly made a harder contrast, because now it was all about Gothic Metal, that was almost getting a bit too pop music like. Singer Ji-In Cho started the gig, wearing a white bride dress, that she slowly stripped off during the gig
until she stood there in some sexy black clothes. A bit too poppy and melodic for some, but surely and eye candy for the male part of the audience.


More band photos here!
This clearly seemed to be the day of contrasts today, because it was time for a sharp contrast once again. Back at the mainstage, the Dutch Born From Pain were waiting the m asses with Hardcore. Since their latest album had been highly acclaimed, the expectations beforehand were of course high. They started off with “Final Nail” and “Rise Or Die” and made the audience go off the rails from the first second on with their powerful stage acting. No wonder, that this was shortly after that followed by the biggest Wall of Death of the day and a circlepit. As if that hadn´t been enough, the vocalist wanted the fans to do some crowdsurfing and the securities really had a lot to do from then on. After “Stop At Nothing” the fun was unfortunately already over again, this is Hardcore as it should be. Band happy, audience floored to the ground, thumbs up!

From then on there was also a programme on the tentstage again, but I slowly had to recognize that 4 days of Metal are really energy-consuming and thus I wasn´t really that eager to run between the stages like on the days before.


More band photos here!
Have I mentioned genre-hopping already? It was the same once again, since Epica were playing the Painstage now. The band around fabulous vocalist Simone Simmons managed to gather lots and lots of fans. And not only the place in front of the stage was packed, also the photopit. They started with “Indigo” and “Obsessive Devotion”. The band obviously had lots of fun on stage, Simone was “flirting” with her bandmates, smiling and headbanging – it seems as if they had been in absolute topform that day. Thus no wonder, that the beautiful vocalist from the Netherlands twisted the audience around her finger with ease. Loud shouts for Epica were the reward for a great gig.

I decided to take a little rest during Brainstorm, but luckily they had even put up a little screen in the VIP tent, so we could follow the gig from there as well. Seems as if the atmosphere was really great and the audience had fun, but the crowd was definitely smaller than I would´ve expected during a gig of the German Power Metal formation around vocalist Andy B. Frank.


More band photos here!
It seems, as if this little rest had been a good idea, because shortly after that there was a really energetic band waiting on the Painstage: Evergreen Terrace (yes, they derrived their name from the street the Simpsons are living in!). Those guys were roughly taking the same path like Born From Pain before. Melodic Hardcore with a modern touch that was gladly accepted by the mob. The vocalist was obviously hyperactive and didn´t even stand still for one second, same for the guitarist, who did some crazy jumps with his guitar every now and then, loads of fun! Seems as if being onstage was a bit too boring for the vocalist, which made him jump into the pit and onto the barrier a few times to be closer to the audience. The fans definitely enjoyed this, as well as the huge waterball, that was being thrown around in the audience as well as onto stage. It almost “knocked out” some photographers a few times. Luckily there seemd to be no three song limit for photographing which made this gig even better.


More band photos here!
I wasn´t really into the mood for Excrementory Grindfuckers and was instead waiting for the gig of the Polish Black Deathers from Hate, who should devastate the tentstage shortly after the grindfun band. The only thing that really disturbs when watching Hate, is the obviously big similarity with Behemoth. This is not that bad in a way, since some good portion of Black/Death can never be wrong. However I don´t want to say with that, that they have played a bad gig. Solid songs like “Luminous Horizon” or “Malediction” really worked well, nothing to complain!


More band photos here!
However, I couldn´t stay at the tentstage for too long, since there was already the next Dutch band waiting at the Painstage: Legion Of The Damned (Sweden day yesterday, today Dutch day?!). Already during the first song “Death´s Head March” the audience was going pretty beserk, since they had been waiting for Maurice and his bandmates, that could easily be seen. Their impelling Thrash Metal works perfectly live, this is something you absolutely have to admit. No matter, if they played “Sons Of The Jackal” or “Bleed For Me”, flying hair was to be seen all over the place. No need to mention the big circlepit that was going on, no? Would´ve been amazed if there hadn´t been one. Once again a good gig, like always!


More band photos here!
Now it was my turn to create a constrast programm myself. Instead of watching the complete gig and waiting for Volbeat afterwards, I rushed over to the tentstage again to catch a few songs of the Finnish band Ghost Brigade. The band is already enjoying a good reputation, thanks to lots of good reviews and even managing to reach place number one of the Metal Hammer review charts. Seems as if this had made lots of people to enter the tent and check them out and nobody should be disappointed! The opener “Hold On Thin Line” made 100% clear that those were musicians putting all their heart into the music. As shy as they seemed to be when entering the stage, the more convincing they got with every song. The Finns definitely defied their position on the tentstage against the big competitor on the mainstage, since there were still more people coming in.


More band photos here!
Since I of course had to photograph Volbeat as well, I could unfortunately not enjoy my dose of Finnish Metal till the end and walked over to the mainstage again. Volbeat… yes what more can I say that hasn´t already been said? It´s clear that this is a partyband, that get their audience going with ease, no matter where they are. Volbeat-Mania all over, and of course also at Summer Breeze. From the kickoff with “Guitar Gangsters”, to “Radio Girl” and “The Garden´s Tale”, the band presented itself well-rehearsed and Michael Poulsen once more turned out to be a perfect entertainer, guiding the audience through the whole show. Sometimes they had more than one circlepit at the same time going on and there were loads of crowdsurfers being carried to the front, lots of work for the security guys and definitely one of the best gigs of the whole festival!


More band photos here!
Evocation were shortly after that devastating the tentstage and made me skip the last bit of the Volbeat gig. Once again running over, but what can you do, when there are so many good bands you want and have to check? The audience was up for a decent portion of grooving Sweden Death. Evocation proved once again, that they deserved to be one of the shootingstars of the last years, that deserved the great reviews of CDs and live shows. “Silence Sleep” opened the gig after an intro and the brutal music was going through the tent like a storm, blasting the ears of the fans big time! At the latest, when the groovemonster “Feed The Fire” was being played, the audience was completely going beserk. What a damn cool gig!

Voivod playing the Painstage didn´t really suit me, thus I didn´t return to the stages, before it was time for another Swedish band. This time: Opeth! They started with “Heir Apparent” and it seems as if it wasn´t going completely smooth today.

More band photos here!
I had seen them in absolutely topform at Metaltown in Gothenburg back in June and this here was still ok, but still far away from being perfect – as hard as it is to say so, since I´m definitely a die-hard fan of this band. Nevertheless did songs like the wonderful “Soldier Of Fortune” (Deep Furple) or “The Leper Affinity” turn out to be greaet songs again. The audience was pretty pleased with the rather long material of songs over 10 minutes. But as long as you´re familiar with it, it´s absolutely no problem hearing this stuff live. Thus it wasn´t amazing that Opeth were polarizing and you could hear comments from “Daaamn great!” to “boooring!”. As time went by, the Swedes got better and better and thumbs up for fighting their way through the setlist, despite technical problems that would´ve maybe some bands stop their gig for a while. In case you´re interested in a statement by vocalist Mikael Akerfeldt himself, I´d recommend to check out the following link http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=125370 leading to Blabbermouth, where he had called this gig “The single most embarassing show we´ve done with this line-up so far”.

During Opeth, we used our last chance to go up with the Jägermeister Skybar again. We just wanted to have a last glimpse at the festivalsite by night. Unfortunately we started later than scheduled, which led to missing the beginning of Deathstars and thus I had no chance to enter the photopit to get a least some shots of the Swedes. Nevertheless, while being up in 40 m height once again, we heard the first tunes of “Night Electric Night” from their latest album and this was an absolutely ingenious ending of the festival season. The styling madness of their outfits wasn´t to be seen until we got down and went closer to the stage: pale makeup on the faces, glitter in the hair, lipgloss and so on, a very female touch like always. However, the audience, which consisted of girls to a high part obsviously seemed to like this a lot. One thing is for sure, they definitely had the most girls in the frontrows, no doubt! The band was up for lots of joking and according to the vocalist, they had “a slight problem with heterosexuality on stage” – well no wonder with those outfits. 😉 Nah, just kidding! They definitely rocked well with “Blitzkrieg” and “Cyanide” among others. After that the festival was absolutely and completely over. “Death Dies Hard” marked the end of the gig and of the festival. A great band for ending the party with party!

CONCLUSION:

A resume for 2009, where shall I start? Well, let´s see.
The security at the stages were once again damn great, always up for a little chat and fun and they definitely like the work they´re doing. Thus you can see whether you really have metalheads (or at least people who know what this music is about) or any company, who normally does their work at pop concerts, in front of you. This becomes clear when it´s „just“ about catching crowdsurfers and bringing them back to the crowd. According to the forum, however, there were obviously some communication problems when directing people to the camping area and such. Maybe they should work on that for next year ( same goes for VIP Camping. There was one way straight to the stages, but instead of letting people go there, it was a longer walk over the camping place to the entrance – no fun with all the equipment, or when you were a bit late…. 3 songs for photographing is 3 songs, when you´re late…well).

Maybe there should also be more control gates at the entrance, because especially during the bigger bands, you could see long lines of people waiting to get in. Something that was rather a „disimprovement“ on the area itself was those stones, they had put in front of the mainstage to secure this part from getting too muddy in case of rain. At first I had assumed, that they ´s put small pebbles there, but no, rather sharp more or less little stones were there instead. This made mosh/circlepits or simply falling down quite dangerous. Apart from the fact, that it was no fun standing there for a few gigs, let along standing there all day in case you wanted to see many gigs! The straw in the year before was much better (even though not when you were allergic to it of course).

But of course there was also positive stuff like an infopoint they had invented, where you could – as the name says – get information on various stuff and could also complain about stuff that was happening. This was a more or less direct connection between fans and organiser.

The biggest problem of last year: The controls for glas and other forbidden stuff at the entrance of the campground that had caused massive traffic jams last year, has been eliminated due to 40 gates where cars could be controlled simultaneously. This place had been built on the day-parkingplace. The press people were lead to the camping on a completely different way than the year before. So no traffic jams, or no big ones. Thumbs up!

The next thing that might have to be enlargened in the upcoming year is probably the partytent, or the bands have to be chosen in another way, because it was damn full during some bands. Even so full that there were as many people standing outside the tent as inside, which is a hell lot of people! Same for the sound that wasn´t the best there during some gig. Else this concept of two outdoor and one „indoor“ stage should be kept, cause some bands simply fit perfectly on the cosy tentstage and have a great atmosphere there.

Thus I can say, that all in all the festival left an overall positive impression once again. Despite having become a bit bigger once again, it can still be considered a relaxed festival, especially for that size. Sure, that there are always things happeneing that aren´t nice and you´ll always find idiots everywhere, but there it´s also a part of the visitors responsibility to not ignore political bullshit of any kind and tell that to security etc. And the security themselves should control a bit more at some points.

When it comes to the bands, it might´ve become already pretty clear during this very long review, that there´s a huge variety of bands present at the festival. I guess you can hardly make it even wider: From modern stuff to Oldschool Sweden Death, to Medieval stuff to Gothic, you could find almost every genre in a form. Pretty often also in form of bands, that you don´t see at every festival every two years. This of course also has it´s advantages and disadvantages, because of the variety of fans it attracts. Once again, the advantages should outweigh the negative points here.

Long story short: The overall impression can once again be considered positive. It´s impossible to have a festival of that size without negative aspects. In the end I´m sure, that almost everybody had a lot of fun, enjoyed his/her favourite bands, met lots of new people from various countries etc.
One thing is for sure, if the festival organiser once again comes up with such a great line-up in 2010, we´ll definitely be back next year!

Text: Cornelia Wickel + Julia Wehning, Olli, Javed
photos: Cornelia Wickel
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Klaudia Weber

Klaudia Weber

reckless and merciless dictator, so KNEEL!
In other words, editor-in-chief, translator, website and ad admin, “Jane of all trades” – – –
addicted to books (everything between Lord Of The Rings & quantum physics) and music, mainly Metal made in Finland. Furthermore, there’s painting, drawing, movies, theater… so you can expect some variety on this website too.

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