14.-17.8.2017 Dinkelsbühl, GER
From the beginning it was clear that this year´s Summer Breeze billing was too good to be missed. But it was still clear at the same time that, as at almost every festival with more than two stages, maybe 6 out of 10 bands of the personal running order will actually be seen. Just a pity that the weather this year was no too pleasant, apart from the temperatures – neither too cold nor too hot. It should also be mentioned that a 54-year-old visitor died at the Summer Breeze, in the night from Friday to Saturday, from natural causes. Our heartfelt condolences to the relatives.
(Interactive festival photo gallery at the end of the text)
The first missed band on Wednesday was Carnal Ghoul from the Swedish Death Metal department. The setlist seems to be the same as on the PartySan a week earlier, where Husky and colleagues pulled much audience on the tent stage. Must have been good, just get to hear the final songs.
Blues Pills cannot be called newcomers any more, meanwhile the multinational blues rock band with frontwoman Elin Larsson became popular in Europe in general and in Germany in particular, through diligent touring on the one hand and aggressive advertising by Nuclear Blast on the other hand . Crazy how many are into the retro wave here, yet in any case a festival highlight, attracting a huge crowd. With “Devil Man” Blues Pills have already created their own little classic, but also the lesser-known tracks from the debut album “High Class Woman”, “Astral Plane” are celebrated – and rightly so.
Also Grand Magus don´t need to be praised for their live quality. At the T-stage, the audience has been waiting quite a while before the three Swedes enter the stage with the “Conan” intro, followed by “I, the Jury” and all fists are raised. The songs of Grand Magus may be unpretentious as a whole, however, this is an art which in my opinion hardly anyone masters – to reduce the music to the essentials. A killer riff and a killer song t follows the next. In this case, “Sword of the Ocean”, “On Hooves of Gold”, “Let Ravens guide our way.” Then a double feature from the album Iron Will, “Like the oar strikes the Water” and “Iron Will”. Naturally, with a three-man combo and the rather large tent stage, there is not too much action on stage, which in the case of Grand Magus does not matter. On the contrary, it probably would look funny if JB ran across the stage during such songs. After every song the audience shouts for “Hammer of the North”, yet before that “Steel vs. Steel”, a grandiose “Valhalla Rising” and “Triumph and Power” are played, before the audience is taking over the chorus of “Hammer of the North”, which also persists quite a few minutes after the band – visibly moved – has already left the stage.
Ereb Altor with their epic Bathory-like sound on the Camel Stage could relatively easily please the audience after Grand Magus. There are quite many who feel compelled to stay when passing by the area. The band was actually founded as Isole side project, yet Ereb Altor have already left behind their mothership.With the majestic, sometimes quite harsh parts, the Swedes never bored their audience for a second. “Nifelheim” was utter madness, just like the following Bathory cover “Twilight of the Gods” . Pentagram Chile follows on the Camel Stage at a later hour, unfortunately the weather got really bad so that only die hard fans of those Thrashers led by Anton Reisenegger stayed. But you definitely missed an entertaining show with a decent song selection. Pentagram Chile have been in the business for nearly thirty years, but because of several split-ups and other circumstances they never really left the underground status behind. Probably many know the name, but not many also the music. Too bad, I can hear that Pentagram Chile might have influenced some successing bands.
Thursday starts for me with Arch Enemy . Since I´ve never liked Gossow´s voice, I have not followed the career of Arch Enemy in recent years. With the new singer Alyssa White Gluz I´m willing to give them another chance. The airfield before the main stage was of course well filled accordingly, as the Swedes plus a Canadian enter the stage and start with the intro “Khaos legions” and “Yesterday is dead and gone”. This “Hottest Chick in Metal” with her characteristic blue hairstyle captures the audience from the first moment. Also not surprising, because the voice was not so very different from her predecessor. I even like it much better than in the past. Alyssa White Gluz displays the same agility of her predecessor, running around on stage and encouraging the crowd to physical activities. At the guitar – Michael Amott, once again a king on his instrument. Of course they go into Best of – mode for this festival, so there are only three tracks from their latest album “War eternal”. Just the title song, “You will know my name” and “As the Pages burn”. Then for fans from since the early days, “Fields of Desolation”.
The Ocean on the T-stage are a bit late, apparently the bus has had problems. The maritime aspect is given tribute via video projections and several black lights create atmosphere. The singer does not stay on stage for a long time, apparently he rather enjoys shouting in the photo pit, having direct contact with the audience. Good, but I kind of like the instrumental version better.
Then on the Camel Stage it´s time for the Danes Supercharger and I must say that those Motörhead, AC / DC-like songs certainly have their appeal, some Metalheads are even dancing. Need to watch this band again, but now it´s time for Down on the main stage. Although they have blossomed into a cult band, they still are far from being legends, and frontman Phil Anselmo me is slowly becoming unpleasant. He seems tipsy when entering the stage with his band, they start with “Eyes of the South” from the Nola album, followed by two titles from the current EP “Down IV – Part II” “We knew him well” and another one. “Witch Tripper” will be canceled shortly after the start and Phil holds a speech which is difficult to understand, and many are not sure if they should find it funny or not.
But when he begins to address the audience as assholes several times, the first middle fingers are raised towards the stage and discontent is spreading, many cannot understand this not entirely serious provocation due to language barrier and extreme drunken Southern accent. I do, however, yet it´s difficult. Well, musically there are gems like “Lifer”, “Funeral Procession Lysergik” and “Pillars of Eternity”. After a powerful “Hail the leaf” Phil tells the audience not to take everything too seriously and Don´t fuck with me and blablabla. “Stone the Crows” and a constantly requested “Bury me in Smoke”, where Machine Head´s Phil Demmel and Rob Flynn take over the six strings, provide some reconsiliation, and with the refrain of Stairway to Heaven the show is runded up. Mixed feelings!
Originally founded as a Bathory cover band for a few gigs in 2010, Twighlight of the Gods have matured into an original band that holds up the torch of the original heavy metal (like early Manowar). Alan Averill, a lot into intense stage performancesanyway , has been inspired by Freddie Mercury for today´s show, or at least this is my impression. No difference however in the passionate way Twighlight of the Gods perform their music, in comparison to Primordial, Alan´s main band. A slight disappointment is however the fact that this former Bathory tribute band did not play any classics of this late Swedish legend, which many surely had desired.
I have not seen The Haunted for what felt like an eternity, it was 2000 or 2001 in Wacken, as the Swedes had just published “The Haunted made me do it”. Fittingly, Marco Aro has recently returned to the vocalist position after Peter Dolving left the band. Also fittingly relatively many titles of this very killer album are presented. Unfortunately the sound is not perfect, especially later the whole thing sounds a bit mushy. “The Flood / the Premonition”, “99”, “Trespass”, “Eye of the Storm,” “Hollow Ground”, “Bury your Dead” and the “hate song” show the audience that the Haunted manage – even after the departure of long-time band members – to give the fans what the fans deserve. After the disaster at the Rock Hard Festival this year and also a quite lame appearance at last year´s Metalfest, I was reluctant to watch Testament , but then two friends dragged me to the Pain Stage and – hey what can I say. It paid off. Testament rocked like hell, and the sound was great, the band tight, and even Chuck Billy was vocally in really good mood. The setlist left nothing to wish for, only “Sins of Omission” and “Trial by Fire” are songs I would like to hear live again.Great!
Getting woken up by Stahlmann in the early hours is not nice, then an hour later Doro wakes me up again. Wait a minute, something´s wrong here. Doro would never have played in the afternoon at the Summer Breeze. The band I hear are Crucified Barbara, quite funny which kind of associations a tired yet open mind can make. But well, it rocks in any case nice background music for a hangover breakfast. Much later and much cleaner, I´m glad not to attend JBO on the main stage, the mere warning from tape in the style of a disaster alarm, everything was turning pink, is in itself a sufficient deterrent. Apart from their music, I can not believe that I liked them back then. Much later the announced threat was real when the Germans threw pink paint into the crowd and created a tremendous mess. Somehow the movie title “Paranormal Activity – the Blight” comes to my mind.
I rather prefer Anneke van Giersbergen on the T-stage, where even less was going on as I had already expected. Yet the sympathetic ex-The Gathering singer managed easily with her first-class voice and a cross section of her work to inspire the only slowly increasing audience. Naturally “Saturnine” and “Strange Machines” were not to be missed.
With “Buried Dreams” Carcass start their set, as expected, and in front of the main stage it seems quite cuddly. Compared with other headliners, the band sticks to the music and doesn´t care about decorum. Carcass have certainly not lost an ounce of their ingenuity and show the crowd with classics such as “Incarnated Solvent Abuse”, “This Mortal Coil”, a medley of “Genital Grinder, Pyosified and the raven Exhume to consume”, titles from the new album “Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System “and” Unfit for Human Consumption ” and ” Captive Bolt Pistol “where the bone saw is to be positioned. With “Heartwork” the set is unfortunately already closing.
Motorjesus! yes, they are also here, I almost forgot. On the way to AHAB show on the T-stage I had to pass by the Camel Stage in any case, and I got stuck. Unfortunately, I´m a bit late and only get to hear the last heavily celebrated songs. In the front there seems to be quite an enthusiastic crowd..
With the unplanned but great intermezzo I almost spoil the feeling for Heidelberg Doomsters AHAB. I don´t mean you have to feel miserable for their you do not mean that you have to be for their Nautical Doom. Funeral Doom is gone, with the second album Daniel Droste, Stephan Wandernoth & Co. Have stripped off this sort-of restricting corselet. They start with “The Divinity of Oceans”. One gets the impression that each of the four plays for himself in a world of his own, connected only by their music. “Deliverance” from their latest album “The Giant” and “Nickerson´s Theme” from the “Divinity” album provide the audience with a little premiere. With “wolves” to pay homage to the recently disbanded Omega Massif.
I leave here because I still want to see a little bit of Hypocrisy I have not seen this band for some time. They play “The final chapter” when I reach the Pain Stage, which is so full that you can hardly reach the anterior third. “Roswell 47” opens the final round, which is closed by “Eraser”.
Already on the way to Hypocrisy I notice that people are securing front positions for the forthcoming Machine Head show. With this Oakland quartet in the billing, Summer Breeze have already set the bar much higher. Even during the final preparations more or less in the dark, you can hear those “Machine fucking Head” chants, and Machine Head start punctually with “empire”, which already opened the first moshpits. Robb Flynn, Phil Demmel and Jared McEachern the new man on the four string, kick ass during the entire show, so that Robb Flynn hardly needs to call for action in the crowd. The best indicator for the quality of a show, considering various other bands that constantly repeat Circle Pits requests to the audience, apparently offended if those are not obeyed immediately. Here nothing like that is necessary.
The setlist leaves almost nothing to be desired, but from the “Locust” album it could have been more. Otherwise, “Locust”, “The Blood, the sweat, the tears,” “Ten Ton Hammer”, “Darkness Within” is everything what a decent circle pit need. “Old” celebrates the twentieth anniversary of “Burn my Eyes” album and “Darkest Days / Bleeding” pays homage to the also present Ignite, whose singer, of course, takes care of the vocals here. Then “Halo” with confetti rain, and that´s it. No encore, too bad! But very cool!
Obituary were present this summer on pretty much any appreciable Festival, as well as Summer Breeze of course. Without much ado, only a huge backdrop adorns those harsh tones. Mercilessly the guys from Florida attack us with “Intoxicated”, “Immortal Visions”, “Infected” and “Chopped in half” Great! Then it draws me to the Camel Stage, where Cripper have just begun.
Had but now not expected that the Hanoverian band could compete with Obituary. Quite a lot going on in front of the Camel Stage. Musically it´s like a fist in your face, of course mosh and circle pits. “Fire walk with me” inspires shouter Britta Görtz for some crowd surfing and she thanks afterwards that she had not been dropped.
Since Tarja Turunen annoyed from the Main Stage, quite a lot of people gather at the Camel Stage for The Very End . Immaculate Thrash Metal, nothing at all to complain about. One should keep this band in mind.
If Martin van Drunen calls for a history lesson, then the metalheads naturally show up – “Summer Breeze, are you ready for war?” Hail of Bullets deliver their kind of history interpretation and if the inclined metalheads previously had knowledge gaps in topics like American-Japanese Pacific war or Stalingrad, after this show he possibly knows more. In case you could understand something of the lyrics. People go nuts as if this was the first day of the festival. The great sound is also worth to be mentioned.
A somewhat strange view on the way to the Camel Stage, people dressed in protective gear, gas masks and the like. Somehow a frog pond in summer comes to mind,¨when you hear the singer of Gutalax , the Czech grindcore band. They display pretty weird humor and even more obscure titles such as “Robocock”, “anus Ice Cream” or “Rectal Oracle” have people pay attention to this entertaining nonsense stop with pretty heavy noise and some Pig Squeals. I would not buy the record but live this is quite funny and worth seeing.
Heaven Shall Burn or Legion of the Damned ? The choice falls on the latter, and afterwards I can only say: Good decision! With the opener “Sons of the Jackal” the Dutchman submit an energy level that they would maintain through the full performance and they don´t grant any minute of rest to their audience. LotD have a fairly choreographed performance, and with the lights they offer a killer show, followed by their compatriot Martin van Drunen. Front man Maurice Swinkels shakes his masses of hair, and you could perhaps accuse LotD that their Thrash is somehow lacking in variety, but the energy and the tightness of their live delivery leaves nothing to complain about. Just as “Cult of the dead” impressively demonstrates.
In front of the Pain Stage for Watain you´ll primarily meet people drawn by curiosity to watch the crazy Swedish act with the morbidly intense stage performance. Watain concerts are show as well as ritual. Animal skulls and bones, various candle holders and other remains of probably not too long deceased animals, the stage bathed in an almost palpable deep red, then frontman Erik climbs the stage holding a torch and Watain start their insanity with “De Profundis” Surprisingly few headbangers, pretty much everybody was just watching the show on the Pain Stage. Applause between songs, but even if not, I bet Watain probably won´t give a damn. They just deliver their satanic message. After “Malfeitor” or was it “Outlaw”, all the band members leave suddenly, only to come back shortly afterwards. Probably part of the ritual – quite effective. Coming up were “Reaping Death”, “Stellarvore” from the 2007 work Sworn to the Dark, and “The Wild Hunt” with atmospheric clean vocals. Absolute highlight of the festival! I´m just curious whether Watain were allowed to use rotten pig blood on stage, basically it could have been possible as they were the last band t on the Pain Stage – but somehow I think rather not.