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Summer Breeze 2008

14.-17.8.2008 Dinkelsbühl, GER

It´s 2008 and Summer Breeze is already taking place for the 11th time with 90 bands on 4 days on 3 stages. A packed program with bands of every genre you can think of, more visitors than 2007 but nevertheless the festival rocked. Apart from some rain on Friday, even the weathergods showed some mercy. But let´s start en detail now!

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

Day 1, Thursday 14.08.2008
Unfortunately I didn´t make it to the festival before early Thursday morning. Apart from a wonderful 10 km long traffic jam somewhere on my way to Dinkelsbühl, everything went fine. In contrast to Wedesday, there was no traffic at the entrance security check for glass and the like as well. (some people where standing in traffic for about 12 hours !! the day before).

The winners of the newcomer contest on Wednesday Fuck Your Shadow From Behind had already played, sam with All Ends and Emil Bulls when I finally entered the photopit just in time for the gig of the guys from Aborted from Belgium.
Can it get more brutal? Holy shit, what a gig. Vocalist Svencho and the other guys where playing one brutal song after the other and surely did their best to wake up everyone, who might´ve still been sleeping then. Those who still weren´t awake after the gig, ,surely have problems with their ears! Especially the vocalist was hyperactive as usual. No wonder that the energy from the stage was transported into the crowd within seconds
Check out the Aborted-galleryhere!

Time for some calmer but not neccessarily less entertaining music on the mainstage. Now it was up to Saltatio Mortisto please the fans of Medieval sound. And they succeeded: Lots of headbanging and singing along – quite a lot of people had obviously found their way to the stage at this early time. When it comes to crowdsurfers, well, they made the securities work pretty hard, hehe
Check out the Saltatio Mortis-gallery here!

Torturing your necks second round! Over to Painstage once again and welcome Graveworm who invited the waiting fans for some serious headbanging and going crazy. Of course they didn´t have to force anyone to do so, people went crazy right from the first song on. The sinister sound of the band from South Tyrol worked perfectly, despite (or maybe because of) the warm temperatures. No matter what the reason was, the band was in a great mood and so was everyone after that gig!
Check out the Graveworm-gallery here!

No rest for the wicked, over to the mainstage again, because Soilwork from Helsingborg were already waiting. What can I say, the audience was quite pleased, once the sound got better and went off the rails to the songs frontman Björn “Speed” Strid and band where playing. But they still thought that the audience could surely get a bit wilder and fired off some more catchy tunes from all albums, except the first two. First two albums or not, they rocked!
Check out the Soilwork-gallery here!

Arch Enemy were definitely one of those bands that people had eagerly been waiting for at this festival. You could easily see that, when having a look at this huge crowd that had gathered in front of the stage to welcome Arch Enemy. Angela Gossow was quite happy to see all those headbangers waiting for songs like “We Will Rise”, “Nemesis” and the like and they got it! Lots of headbanging once again, a satisfied audience, satisfied band, mission accomplished!
Check out the Arch Enemy-gallery here!

After a little rest, I headed over to the Painstage once again to see one of my favourites of day one:Behemoth from Poland! If one should ask for one of the most brutal bands from our neighbour country, you could easily name Behemoth, among some others of course.
Nergal and Co started the riff massaker right away, in corpsepaint, sinister and evil as always and didn´t even let anyone have doubts about their brutality when it comes to music! This band was in perfect shape that day, unbelievable how precise and hard they fired their stuff into the crowd! Well, shame on those who missed it,don´t miss them again, when you have a chance next time!
Check the Behemoth-gallery here!

Nearly at the same time a completely different music was played in the Partytent: The Nautic Funeral Doomers of Ahab were dooming through their set gathering quite a huge crowd in front of stage. Heavy, heavy stuff with even heavier riffs that produced an impressive wall of sound that could easily compete with the darkness Behemoth had created at their gig!

Oh, oh, oh….I had so many doubts whether Paradise Lostwould play a captivating gig, since their gig at Rock Hard Festival earlier this year had been everything but captivating and motivated. Well, I was so wrong, this time they were good! Especially fronter Nick Holmes appeared totally different. He was actually communicating with people in front of stage and simply seemed much more active that at the last gig. THIS is how I wanted to see them live! The setlist contained songs like “Never For The Damned”, “Erased” and “Pity The Sadness”. Yes, here PL proved, that you can play melancholic songs without clichés but with lots of energy. Ok, with that gig you managed to erase my bad memories of the gig before at least partly.
Check out the Paradise Lost-gallery here!

The Irish flags on the other stage were already a portent of what was coming up next, time for Primordial, one of the most intensive live bands! “Empire Falls” was the opener of this theatrical and pretty emotional gig. Charismatically presented by vocalist Nemtheanga. Epic, full of feeling and captivating – 50 minutes, 6 songs, a great, even though surely not the best Primordial show. Not to forget, that the drummer was quite sick and played a good gig nevertheless, thumbs up for that!
Check out the Primordial-gallery here!

Well, if that was too dark, sad or whatever, no problem, now it was Helloweens turn on the mainstage.
Having 25 years under their belts they still know how to rock and surely haven´t become quiet. (well ok, the vocalists voice wasn´t perfect all the time, but else…). The place in front of stage was absolutely packed, the band was playing in front of a gigantic backdrop and lateron even two huge glowing pumpkins were put up on stage – nothing to complain when it comes to impressing decoration. So far for the visual part, now to the audio stuff: After playing “Future World” and “I Want Out” as last songs, they left lots of happy people, who surely didn´t have anything to complain lateron. Great gig, great party, happy people!
Check out the Helloween-gallery here!

For those, who thought that this was way too “happy”, there was a perfect possibility for a “brutal” escape with Cephalic Carnageon the Partystage. Everyone definitely went off the rails, cause the guys took no prisoners and played one brutal song after the other. A little gag happened at the end, when the vocalist asked, whether anybody was up for some “real Norwegian Black Metal from Texas”. Sure, so they returned with a corpse paint mask and the other with some “king” masks playing some real true and evil BM, that could´ve made quite a lot of real BM band really envious. Totally funny!

Allright, let´s stick to the black sound, since it was now time for Marduk from Sweden, who invited everyone as the last band of the day (well, at least on the mainstages) to a sepulchral-cold sound experience. Nasty, dark and ultrabrutal those guys were bombing down their set and Mortuus and the rest of the band did their best to mobilize the last bit of energy left after such a long day. The focus was put on older songs, which surely pleased quite a lot of fans out there. The “cherry on the top” of that gig was surely the guest appearance of Primordial vocalist Alan Nemtheanga. (in my opinion they should really think about doing something like that more often!)
Check out the Marduk-gallery here!

It was already one o´clock when the Swedes of Cult Of Lunaentered stage, shortly after the programm on the mainstages had ended. This was quite a diversified, multilayered and captivating sound, that was created there. One could even go that far to call the sound kinda hypnotic, because this quite contrastive mix of “shrieking” and charmingly calm passages made it hard to “escape”. Not, that anyone here wanted to escape, haha. No way, the gig was way too short for all people present at the tent and it was no wonder, that all were shouting for an encore. I´m pretty sure that the guys have made quite a lot of new fans and pleased the long-established ones as well.
Check out the Cult Of Luna-gallery here!

I slowly started to feel my aching feet and legs after a long day of running around between camping place and three stages, but what can you do, if you want to see as many bands as possible?! Well, enough moaning, just one band to go! The gig of Despised Icon had been postponed in the running order from around 7 pm to 2 o´clock in the night. Pretty late one might say, but those guys entered stage and the audience was going crazy as if it was still early in the afternoon. Where did some of them get that much energy from? It was simply amazing in combination with the brutal, straight-in-your-face sound that made the audience wilder and wilder. I felt kinda sorry for those, who had already gone sleeping or partying and missed such a great and energetic gig.
Lots of energy or not, my energy was completely gone after such an exhausting gig. Time to catch some sleep, the second day was waiting!
Check out the Despised Icon-gallery here!


Day 2, Friday 15.08.2008

Friday started with absolutely disgusting, grey weather, but were would we end up if some rain stopped us from checking out bands?! So, what could be better than some Metal for breakfast? Breakfast today was quite “nordic”, since Dark Age started the 2nd festival day pretty early, even a few minutes before 11 with “Fix The Focus”. Great to see, that quite a lot of people had obviously thought the same about the weather and thought, that headbanging was surely a great way to dry wet hair again!
Check the Dark Age galleryhere!

Heidevolk from the Netherlands unfortunately had to play their with only one, instead of two vocalists, but they did their best nevertheless. The second was definitely missing somehow, but still, the gig was quite entertaining and fans did their best to support them and helped by singing along.
Check the Heidevolk galleryhere!

Midnattsol got a bit out of the line after that, musically as well, as optically. The female vocalist dressed all in white was hovering over the stage like an elve, but the rest of the band, except the bassist, who was headbanging like crazy, was looking kinda unmotivated in a way. If I´m wrong with the impression I got, sorry for that, but this bombastic, symphonic Nordic Folk Metal didn´t knock my socks off.
Check the Midnattsol galleryhere!

3 Inches Of Blood were the complete opposite and they really managed to warm up the audience, that was slightly freezing, due to still cold temperatures. Pretty cool with jackets and patches all over, posers, lots of energy, that´s how a gig should be!
Check the 3 Inches Of Blood galleryhere!

After this quite entertaining gig, I thought it was time for a little break, so I skipped Schelmish and Mad Sin and just took some pictures of Megaherz – this day would be a damn long one once again anyways!
But I jumped back into the pit just in time for the partyband from Finland: Korpiklaani. Wow, how packed the area in front of stage was, I have to say, I was quite impressed by the numbers of people those Finnish guys had attracted that early! Pretty cool, to hear lots of them screaming for Korpiklaani and well, they got what they wanted. After that gig, quite a lot of smiling faces could be seen in the crowd and Korpiklaani once again proved, that it is possible to present folk music stuff in a very metallic way.
Check the Korpiklaani gallery here!

Pro-Painjust continued the Finnish party, but in typical New York style. After about 16 years of band history, they don´t even think about getting calmer, no way, they got the crowd going at ease, just as lots of younger bands did. No huge backdrops or decoration, no special outfits, just pure “in-your-face” music – that was and still is their motto. And it still works. At the latest, when they played “All For King George”, singing along was a must. Thumbs up, pure party!
Check the Pro-Pain gallery here!

Enemy Of The Sun were playing at the partytent at nearly exact the same time and surely didn´t let anyone have a rest. Especially their hyperactive vocalist Jules wasn´t standing still for one second adding that special something to the music of Waldemar Sorychta with his quite variable voice. The guest appearance of Gus Chambers, who was singing two Grip Inc. Songs “Ostracized” and “Hostage To Heaven” made this gig a perfect one.
Check the Enemy Of The Sun gallerie here!

End of Greenhad just released their newest album “The Sick´s Sense”, when they already entered the stage at Summer Breeze. You can easily call this band a “permanent fixture of the SB”, since they seem to be there every year. Those guys were definitely in top form, no wonder cause all those people surely made them giving their best. Pretty cool ,that so many were singing along to their Gothic Metal. That´s Gothic Metal, that doesn´t get totally cheesy and rocks!
Check the End Of Green galleryhere!

Six Feet under on the Mainstage and at exactly the same timeManegarm were serving their very own mixture of Death, Black and Pagan Metal, that worked perfectly for the eager headbangers. Yes, I hadn´t seen this band before (unfortunately I have to say after this gig!), but I at least knew their stuff on CD and was thus looking forward to that gig. What can I say, neither me, nor anyone else was disappointed by this energetic performance.
Check the Manegarm galleryhere!

Six Feet Under, yes, one of THE Deah Metal bands from America was just destroying the mainstage. Rastaman Chris Barnes was propelling the audience more and more with a best-of-set. No problem of course thanks to a heavy sound, great choice of songs and a band that obviously totally enjoyed playing this gig. At the latest when they were firing off “TNT”, a cover version of ACDC, there was no one standing still anymore. The audience was going off the rails, wonderful!
Check the Six Feet Under gallery here!

Kataklysmtied in there pretty smoothly and simply continued destroying the battlefield a bit more. Thanks to the sloppiness of the airline, they arrived at the festival without equipment and backdrop. Thanks to Eluveitie and Aborted they could play, since those guys where so nice to lend them their equipment. However they didn´t let anyone on about this trouble and played a sovereign gig. Can Death Metal get any more brutal than this?! Audience “destroyed”, mission accomplished!
Check the Kataklysm galleryhere!

Shadow Reichenstein where one of the very few bands at this festival, I only knew by name. But like every year the SB is always good to get to know some yet unknown bands – horrorpunk in this case. Perfectly styled the guys from Texas entered stage and their vocalist inevitably reminded me a bit of Wednesday 13 – well just some information on the margin. Pretty cool gig I have to say, something different between all those metal bands and I´m pretty sure that they got some new fans!
Check the Shadow Reichenstein gallery here!

Since Subway To Sally weren´t really my cup of tea, I decided to stay in the Partytent, to listen to some more brutal and absolutely captivating stuff from some guys from the Netherlands: Textures. If you want to describe this polyrhythmic madness, it´s located somewhere between Death and Thrash, but that´s all you can say, you simply have to see them live! Fans of progressive tunes got their moneys worth for sure. Great to see, that the Dutch weren´t only technically absolutely skilled, but also enjoyed being on stage, delivering some of the best technical stuff The Netherlands have to offer nowadays.
Check the Textures galleryhere!

While ASP were playing the last gig of the day on the mainstage, Hollenthon entered the Partystage and I once again decided to stay. Once again, I surely didn´t have to feel sorry at all to miss the programme on the mainstage. You didn´t hear much about Hollenthon for a few year, but now they´re back! You could easily see, that there were not only still a lot of people awake, but that quite a lot had also been waiting for this gig – the partytent was pretty packed. So Hollenthon celebrated a nice party with dark epic music in quite a convincing way. Thumbs up, nothing to complain about this gig!
Check the Hollenthon galleryhere!

Up for more epic stuff? Good! Because the next band should be at least as epic as the Austrians, if not more. I had already heard and read some quite impressing concert review about The Vision Bleak. So I had quite high expectations and finally a chance to see, whether it was true or not. Just like before the tent was still quite packed for this time and since the fans seemed to be amazingly awake and fit after a strenuous day, the band got them going with ease. People were singing along and the vocalist jumped into the photopit quite a few times to be closer to the fans. Great gig, I got convinced completely!
Check the The Vision Bleak galleryhere!

Jesus On Extasy had to finish the second festival. And everyone seemed to be in partymood, since the tent didn´t get empty at all. Well, this was definitely something for the eyes, especially for the male fans. They presented some nice Electro/Goth/Industrial mixture that made everyone, who was into that stuff go off the rails. Well, it wasn´t completely my cup of tea, so I decided to go to my tent and catch some sleep. Day 3 was coming up and would surely be a pretty exctiting one again.
Check the Jesus On Extasy galleryhere!


part 3, Saturday, 16.08.2008

Debauchery started this third and last festival day in quite a bloody day and that in front of quite a lot of fans. Honestly I wouldn´t have expected that many people to show up at around 11 am after a hard party night. But hey, even those who were still a bit sleepy surely got woken up completely during this gig. And for those, who were still a bit sleepy, well, they should get a second chance right after that.
Check the Debauchery gallery here!

Japanische Kampfhörspiele went on with the “wake-up” programm serving some nice grind breakfast on an early festival morning. I guess quite a lot simply went to the left a few meters after the Debauchery gig, to catch JaKa as well. Lots of blasting, groove and neck torturing, along with some shrieking and grunting from the red/pinkhaired vocalist. Yep, those guys are still kinda underground, but I´m pretty sure, their status won´t stay like that for long, if they go on like that!
Check the Japanische Kampfhörspiele gallery here!

What a contrast, after all that brutal stuff it was now time forThe Old Dead Tree from France, who presented their very own and quite unique mixture of Doom/Death chopped off with some Gothic elements. The definitely hypnotized everyone in front of stage in the truest sense of the word. This music indeed has quite a hypnotic effect, since you simply can´t walk away, once you started listening to them. Very emotional, melancholic but in no way boring! From the smashhit “It Can´t Be” up to newer stuff they surely played enough stuff to please the fans. The only thing that I have to complain about is the fact, that they unfortunately only had about 30 minutes to play, way too short for the symphatic French guys!
Check the The Old Dead Tree gallery here!

Autumn played their gig with a rather new front woman, who obviously also needed a while to warm up. Well, at least she seemed to be pretty nervous at the beginning. Luckily that changed during the gig, but still I can only rate this as an average gig…
Check the Autmn gallery here!

Hackneyed showed everyone, who thought that they have this “very young band” bonus, that they were totally wrong. At the latest after the first song, it was pretty clear that they absolutely kick ass, despite an average age of 17. They don´t need this bonus and once they start adding their very own signature to the songs, I´m pretty sure that some other bands have to be afraid. Great to see, that they attracted such a huge audience and made good use of it as well, thumbs up, they convinced us!
Check the Hackneyed gallery here!

Endstille were up next, doing their best to please the fans of Black Metal. sorgten dann für Hochstimmung bei allen Schwarzwurzelfreunden. Brute, evil, icecold Black Metal, pretty amazing atmosphere for a gig at early afternoon. Even though I´ll surely never get really used to that band, I have to admit they were pretty good posers. And fans of course liked this quite experienced and intensive gig.
Check the Endstille gallery here!

Keep Of Kalessin who played shortly after them, were more my cup of tea. Optically, as well as musically absolutely impressing.
Their latest album “Kolossus”has been highly appreciated by press and fans, so it was just normal, that quite a lot of people had gathered in front of Painstage to see them live. Well, what else can be said? No one was disappointed by this blackened melodic stuff like “Come Damnation” and such. For me definitely one of the best bands of the day!
Check the Keep Of Kalessin gallery here!

Just about 10 minutes after that gig, the Swedes of Dismember were grinding over the audience with their brute Death Metal. mit ihrem brachialen Todesblei eine Runde über die Menge. Entertaining as always and pretty funny Matti Kärki and his bandmates entered stage. The sheer amount of funny faces made this gig already an entertaining job for the photographers. No matter if you like their sound or not, this gig was really a funny happening. Too bad, that this was already over after about 45 minutes.
Check the Dismember gallery here!

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

Neaera are damn great live! They simply came on stage like whirlwind and showed from the first song on, who´s running the show. The music was like a punch right in the face, no rest for the wicked, powerful from the first second on till the end. When it comes to the vocalist, the stage could´ve been even bigger, he wasn´t standing still for a second and running around from one side to the other. No wonder that this energy was transported to the audience within seconds. That´s Metalcore how it should be!
Check the Neaera gallery here!

Ensiferum played shortly after that and pleased quite a different sort of fans. First difference was already, that their vocalist hardly moved at all. But well, it fighted to the folkloristic stuff they have in their music. Fans liked it and obvsiously enjoyed the gig pretty much (even though I have to say, that I´ve already seen better Ensiferum gigs). The guys, all dressed in men´s skirts that looked like Finnish flags, played sing along songs like “Lai Lai Hei” and”Token Of Time”. At the end they even played a coverversion of Iron Maiden´s “The Trooper”.
Check the Ensiferum gallery here!

Short rest and time to eat something, until I had to run over to the Partytstage once again.
Hacride were my first “must-see” on this stage for day three. I´m pretty sure, that there´s something in the water (just like in Scandinavia), that produces such great technical and often pretty complex music. Absolutely wonderful what those guys served there! Brutal, technical and pretty convincing. I´ve rarely seen so many grinning people, who were going off the rails to such complex music. Those French guys definitely did it right, check them out, if aren´t familiar with Hacride!

Sonic Syndicate are a kind of phenomenon to me. All over a sudden they had already appeared from out of nowhere and catapulted themselves to the top within quite a short time. Seems as if they´ll stay there for quite a while with ease. Needless to say, that the vocalist didn´t really have to tell people to go crazy, since they were filming the gig – they went off the rails anyways. I´d say, that the perfomance of the band was nearly too perfect, when it comes to the flawless choreography they were doing there. Headbanging here, run over there, horns up here…you know… But anyways, energetic gig, happy fans, what more can you want?
Check the Sonic Syndicate gallery here!

Heaven Shall Burn can easily put into that “phenomenon” category, those guys absolutely deserved being the co-headliner, since they had worked up their way to that position. Already after the first song, people started screaming for a Wall of Death, that´s what HSB are famous for – amazingly large circlepits and walls. Of course it didn´t take long until the first WoD was started. “You´re old enough, just do it”, the vocalist said. And he didn´t have to say it twice. Before they started, he adviced to go apart after they had “crashed” together and start the wall from a new – worked quite well by the way. Seeing this idea really work didn´t surely only leave an impressed band. Once again one of the highlights of the day!
Check the Heaven Shall Burn gallery here!

Destruction were up next, pleasing the Thrash Metal fans out there! Impressive show with a nicely decorated stage (huge backdrop, skulls on the mic stands, pyros and fire en masse and all that). Even though this band is already 25 years old they surely don´t even think about slowing down, no way! Needless to say, that the audience was going pretty crazy here as well was, right?! At the latest, when the infamous Butcher entered stage with a few half naked girls, the mood was top-notch.
Check the Destruction gallery here!

Those who weren´t that much into Thrash and rather preferred some groovy stuff, simply had to go over to the partystage, since it was time for Stonerrock with Mustasch from Sweden. The vocalist got quite a lot of pluspoints by doing annoucements in German and being simply very symphatic. No one cared about smaller grammar mistakes, but he promised to improve his German until the next tour here in Germany. No matter what, the gig rocked and grooved! “Deutschland wir lieben dir!” – we you, too, guys! Check them out on their upcoming tour, in case you missed that gig!
Check the Mustasch gallery here!

Cradle Of Filth were, along with Emil Bulls surely the band whose gig was discussed the most, already before the festival. You hate them or love them, nothing inbetween it seems. After the pretty cool gig of HSB, they should have quite a hard time anyways.
The guys from UK did their best and celebrated a kind of Best of setlist, containing songs like “Dusk And Her Embrace”, “Nymphetamine” or “From The Cradle To Enslave”. Inbetween a keyboarder and female vocalist joined them on stage. Unfortunately, after two songs of encore the gig was over already quite a few minutes before the planned end of the gig. I´m pretty sure they could´ve played a bit longer?! Too bad for the fans, who had been waiting for them eagerly!
Check the Cradle Of Filth gallery here!

Whatever, now it was time for the best gig of the festival in my opinion, Anathema were the perfect band to end such a great festival. This gig was far away from being totally calm and boring – as some might´ve assumed before. Shame on you and sorry for those, who missed it, because of such prejudices. The Cavanagh brothers were in quite a funny mood and the whole gig went pretty smooth but nevertheless very emotional. At the latest when they played “A Natural Disaster” with a female vocalist, the biggest part of the audience was totally convinced, knowing that they were surely attending one of the greatest gigs of this years Summer Breeze. Inbetween the songs, they were wondering, whether everyone was still allright, after “four days camping in the fields”. Of course everyone was! I heard quite a few people “I wouldn´t have thought, that they´d be thaaat good! I need to buy the CDs!”. On top of that, they even played Pink Floyd´s “Comfortably Numb” and as if that hasn´t already been enough, even the Destruction Butcher appeared on stage, doing quite an entertaining fight with the guys from Anathema. I´m pretty sure that you haven´t seen Anathema like that so far and I doubt that a gig like this will happen that soon again!
Check the Anathema gallery here!

All in all I have to say, that the Summer Breeze was quite perfect once again. They clearly proved, that it IS possible to have a wide variety of smaller and bigger bands for 60€. I for my part would´ve also been happy with less bands, cause in this way some bands might get longer playing times. Apart from a damn long traffic jam on Wednesday, the festival obviously went pretty smoothly, judging from what I had heard to far. So let´s hope they´ll work on that situation with the traffic on Wednesday next year! Thumbs up for the security guys, who did a great job once again, pretty relaxed mostly and always up for some chatting, when waiting for the next gig. Or for a big hay-fight like during the H-Blockx gig or when going crowdsurfing during Anathema… The only thing I hope is, that this festival won´t become much bigger, because we simply love that festival for it´s cosy atmosphere you can´t find at a huge festival like Wacken. Apart from that the new partitioning of the festival area was quite a good idea. That way it wasn´t too crowded, not even during the headliner gigs.
So in the impression I got was mostly positive and I hope it´ll stay like this, thus : Summer Breeze 2009 – we´ll be there!

photos: Cornelia Wickel

Cornelia Wickel

(no longer active) - reports, photos

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