ArchiveFestivals / EventsLive

Rock Hard Festival 2005


Arrived, we found that at least as many people were gathered around the stand that served coffee as there were around the beer stands because it was damn cold. I had missed the first 2 bands, Regicide and Sunride, and heard only the last 2 songs from Abandoned. I couldn’t see that much because, despite the cold, it was pretty full in front of the small stage. What reached my ear was good old bay area thrash and looking at the crowd, the other songs I had missed must have been similar and well-suited for warming up to celebrate.


After their latest album not only I was thrilled to see the girls live in action. Unfortunately, they couldn’t live up to my expectations. The performance was rather boring and musically, the ladies could only elicit a “quite ok” from me. They weren’t bad but on their silver disc everything sounded moreish. (SA)


The bands that played until the early evening had a fierce competition because at the same time 2 football games (BVB vs. FC Schalke 04 and VFL Bochum vs. VfB Stuttgart) took place and some from that region had a hard choice to make. Fortunately, not everyone was so nuts about football like my friends who arrived only towards evening and so already the first bands could kick off in front of a numerous crowd. (SA)


Communic, the prog-shootingstars from Norway had the privilege to start off the spectacle and to everyone’s surprise the amphitheatre was already full when the guys kicked off! Apparently, many people know Communic from their great debut album on Nuclear Blast and celebrated the band worthily. The a bit lame stage show quickly gave way to a constant grin in singer and guitar talent Oddleif’s face and with every song the band blossomed more and more! No wonder, because songs like “History Reversed”, “Ocean Bed” or the hit “Conspirarcy in Mind” come across live as perfect and subtle as on CD. Fantastic! (CT)

photos: Diana Nitschke, Samira Alinto, Caroline Traitler

Heaven Shall Burn

After the first emotional flight with Communic you were quickly brought back down to earth because Heaven Shall Burn thrashed with kick-ass metalcore one or the other killer song over our ears. The boys had to borrow the shouter from Maroon because their original squaller had to stay at home with the flu. Somehow the spark didn’t really jump across with some which could be due to the fact that the sound of Heaven Shall Burn needed a little warm-up time with the metalcore unexperienced audience. Besides, announcements like “We drink non-alcoholic beer” are, on a metal festival, as out of place as a vegan in the butcher’s shop! Cheers! (CT)


Long time ago they have become masters of their genre and are no insider’s tip anymore and so it got really crowded when the Finns took possession of the stage. Ensiferum make fun and have fun… that’s exactly what they put over from the first song on. Petri Lindroos’ stage outfit raised the question in me if the frontman had lost a bet because you don’t see a cowskin patterned cowboy hat every day! Ensiferum hits like “Treacherous Gods”, “Hero In A Dream” and “Lai Lai Hei” were shouted back from the crowd as much as possible and the first noon-divers were also sighted. A totally successful performance! (SA)

The Haunted

Heated up by Ensiferum big parts of the crowd then outspend themselves with The Haunted and made the security face some problems (which they solved very well). Pure thrash is the best term to describe what the Swedes delivered here. Therefore, some minor sound problems carried no weight. Peter Dolving raged onstage that much that the rest of the band appeared almost immobile. With a lot of biting humour and a good show The Haunted said goodbye after one hour and cleared the stage for Samael. (SA)


Apart from a few exceptions I always think back to Samael concerts with a certain amount of horror. Not that the band had ever delivered a bad show but most of the mix masters seem to have their problems with the in large part synthetically created sounds. When the Swiss quartet entered the stage at the Rhine-Herne-Canal in the afternoon hours I again had a sense of foreboding: undifferentiated drum roars, muddy keyboardwalls, way too loud singing, as a precaution the guitars weren’t there at all. Luckily this changed during the first 3 songs so that the rest of the 1-hour set earned the rating “outstanding”. Despite several songs from the new “Reign of Light” album the choice of songs left nothing much to be desired. Even the “Ceremony of Opposites” über-song “Baphomet’s Throne” was played. The only drawback was the lacking darkness due to the time of day, which would’ve been more than suitable for the occasion. (Konz)

Sonata Arctica

After Samael’s show, which was dark despite the early time of day the contrast to Sonata Arctica was quite sharp! Nevertheless Sonata Arctica made the crowd to switch their mood from wonderfully melancholic into party-mode. Jani Liimatainen who’s infamous for wearing weird t-shirts seemed to want to prevent possible rumours and had a bold “I love vaginas” shirt on which led to reactions from estranged to the widest grin. The show was fun and towards the end the crowd even formed a conga line… The meanwhile a little outdated band joke to play “We Want Vodka” besides some covers was in my opinion a little overshot but the crowd didn’t seem to mind. (SA)

Amon Amarth

As the sun slowly set and the twilight shed light on the stage the Vikings of Amon Amarth came sailing in with their dragon boats to conquer the amphitheatre and make no prisoners. Alright, the former is not really true, however, it surely would’ve been great. The line with their brutal triumph is in contrast rather understated. The 5 Swedes obviously had an enormous gain in popularity last year which resulted not only in increasing sales but also in a huge increase of the crowd in front of the stage. There, one headbanged, especially to the songs from their latest output, the neck vertebrae into pieces. The band itself was damn tight-rehearsed, posed well and left nothing to be desired. Awesome performance! (Konz)

Children of Bodom

The only little wrong decision of the festival was obvious with these Finnish shootingstars: Alexi “Stump” Laiho and his cohorts were definitely the headliner of Saturday – and not Jon Olivia. Although they had to struggle with technical problems during the first songs (obviously Alexi’s guitar wasn’t soaked in enough vodka yet and quit its service constantly) the masses went apeshit from the first tones on. Every single song was frenetically celebrated and that the children of Bochum technically belong to the absolute experts of their genre doesn’t need any more words. Regarding the choice of songs, the attention was, in my opinion, a bit too much focused on the latest outputs. But you can’t please everybody! (Konz)

Jon Oliva

Well, usually I don’t belong to those people who make themselves unpopular with phrases like “I’ve told you…” but it was completely incomprehensible to me how you could engage the Mountain King as the headliner at all and moreover put him onstage after Children of Bodom!? The inevitable happened: the masses were worn out after the Finns and began their way back home or listened, if at all, devoutly to the musical presentations. Despite several Savatage classics there wasn’t much besides the obligatory polite applause. And thanks to the jingle solos that never seemed to end there wasn’t much encouraging coming from the stage to mobilize the last power reserves. For nothing! (Konz)



These Swedish wolves already stood out on the previous day by drunken achievements. “You wanna fuck?” was the subtle pick up line of the old men and it was actually a surprise that they didn’t catch a slap in the face with that much of sensitivity or that they weren’t thrown head first into the canal. Speaking of canal, one of the wolvesmen was sighted backstage late at night when he, with increased level of alcohol in the blood, pissed into the canal and in doing so lurched dangerously. It’s a real miracle that no one went down! What went down, however, was the show on the next day. If it was due to the rest alcohol, the hangover or the sick singer couldn’t be determined but one thing you must give the old school metallers, they posed their asses off for the small but nice pack of frock wearers in front of the stage! “This is our worst show but you are the best crowd ever” they thanked after all at the end before they again went looking for beer and women. (CT)


Treshold, who were here already 2 years ago and were driven away from the stage by a heavy rain shower, had now in bright sunshine the chance to show what prog metal is! And that’s what they did! It was a real pleasure to watch the band and especially singer Mac seemed to enjoy every second of the performance. He sped over the stage, swirled his mic through the air, kissed the floor and climbed up the boxes in the media pit to be closer to the crowd without striking the wrong note only once. The proggers had a nice start with “Mission Profile” and songs like “Ground Control” and “Pressure” were also gratefully received by the enthusiastic crowd. Thumbs up for this brilliant performance! (CT)

Pretty Maids

Boooooooorriiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnggggg! That’s how it was. No discussion. Even though the Pretty Maids, as pioneers, are rather allowed to make that kind of sound that nowadays numerous epigones have a bout at but the show was hardly thrilling. The songs caused only rarely more than a weary foot-tapping, the stage show came across little spontaneous. At least they had with “Back to Back” and “Future World” 2 quite pleasing hits in their set, which kept the performance from ending in a complete disaster. (Konz)


I’ve always had my problems with Overkill. Musically, the Americans are alright but the cheepy singing of Bobby Blitz always tears the nerves apart immediately. Because they still hadn’t got new vocal chords also the performance at Rock Hard festival couldn’t convince fully. Neither the agile stage acting nor the fat sound or the perfect playing together could change it. Sorry! (Konz)


Usually, heaven knows, I’m not into dark-rock because just live it depraves to a light guitar-supported pop-singsong with turgid vocals. But what Sentenced as co-headliners came up with on Sunday evening was impressing, indeed. Many a frock-wearers close to me rubbed their eyes and ears in disbelief and whispered to their neighbour something like: “Good Lord, they kick some serious ass!” That’s right because unlike HIM or any other music television wimps the operative word was here definitely “rock”. They obviously remembered their metal roots, mixed it all with a lot of hooklines and action and there you have another climax of the festival. Too bad that the Finns will take leave into the happy hunting grounds after this festival summer. I (and surely most of the attendants) would like to have seen more of this. (Konz)


Not another reunion was maybe the thought of many including me. After a, admittedly, quite lame beginning the reunited Teutonic institution proved at the latest with the frenetically celebrated “Metal Heart” every sceptic wrong. From no prestigious aged lot I’ve ever heard such a fat sound (Wolf Hoffmann’s guitar alone could’ve moved mountains) and with hits like “I’m a Rebel”, “Breaker”, “Princess of the Dawn” and the obligatory “Balls to the Wall” up their sleeves nothing could go wrong. With a view to the crowd it became quickly clear what special position Accept still have, after 25 year: Really EVERYONE, from the old hardrocker to the young blackmetaller, sang along fervently to EVERY syllable. Impressing! Unfortunately, after over 2 hours it was already over. If it would’ve been up to most of the attendants Udo and co could’ve continued for a couple more hours. (Konz)

For the next year we wish the Rock hard warmer weather, just as much fun and see you in 2006!

Konz, Samira Alinto, Caroline Traitler; Translation: Kathleen Gransalke

Samira Alinto

reports, reviews, photos