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Wacken 2009

20 years WOA, the 21st time Faster, Harder Louder! Because of the anniversary this year, the organizers of WOA tried to organize an unforgettable festival. The camping ground integrated in the programme itself by building here a small stage, a medieval village, called “Wackinger“ and a wrestling tent. All in all the weather did well well this year so that everything was prepared for a nice metal weekend. Oh, I almost forgot: It felt as there were less people on the ground this year. This was necessary, but there is still some more room for improvement (what means less is sometimes more!).

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


At noon 12:00 sharp the festival area opened and so did the 20th anniversary Wacken. Besides the traditional music performances exclusively on the W.E.T-Stage, the tent besides the festival area, there was plenty of further entertainment, e.g. the  „Firefighters“, the Wacken fire brigade, a medieval festival named „Wackinger“  featuring traditional costumes, handicraft and food/drinks, the latter could be also enjoyed in a huge wooden bathtub. Ragnarök was one of the medieval bands entertaining the guests, and even a wedding on the band stage. Wrestling and soccer for Metal heads were further attractions and activities to enjoy.  (gw)

Onkel Tom
This was the first band for me to enjoy on Wednesday evening, a solid show as expected. I just wondered why such Metal celebrity played in such a small tent (W.E.T.-Stage) instead of a proper Wacken stage. (gw)



This year there are some problems with the press check in, so I am missing the first band Skyline, which actually is the band of WOA organizer Thomas Jensen. From a distance I just hear some celebrity guests like Onkel Tom and Doro Pesch, who joins the band singing the new WOA hymn `We are the Metalheads`. (tp)

© Maike Eisenmenger

Two years ago, Schandmaul played the Party Stage, which was totally overcrowded. So today they are allowed to the main stage. The leave a very good impression with a very good setlist. Well done, guys and girls! (tp)

Der W
In 2004 Die Böhsen Onkelz did a farewell show in Wacken, so it was just a question of time until their former member Stephan Weidner, aka Der W would also play here. As well as the Onkelz, Der W provoked a discussion in the crowed because of his non-metallic attitude. Nevertheless, Der W is motivated and leaves a good impression. (tp)

Running Wild
The inventor of “Pirate Metal“, Running Wild (or what is left of them: Rock `n Rolf) do their farewell show today. Maybe it is the best solution, because the band seems to be really unmotivated. Also the introducing pirate`s theatre piece is quite boring. This is a shame after such a great career! (ja)

Heaven & Hell
Now the time had come for one of my favorite gigs. The new HEAVEN AND HELL songs from the album “Bible Black” must be played live! And they really kicked-ass. With “The Mob Rules” as second song something neck-breaking was played. Someone should make some good pics of this! The good mix of old and new HEAVEN AND HELL songs was played well, and with songs like “Time Machine” or “Falling Off The Edge Of The World” overwhelming songs were given to us. The audience thanked with crazy pit-action, although singer DIO did not have one of his best days. I saw him in a better mood sometimes. But nevermind, because HEAVEN AND HELL came, saw and conquered! (ms)

Party Stage

The Danish Dynamite is doing a good show with a bunch of special gimmicks. At the bginning the crowd was still small, but it grows as the show progresses. At the end the guys get more than only kind applause. (tp)

JBO (Secret Show)
Because Thin Lizzy cancelled their show right before WOA, the organizers announced a secret show. But long before JBO entered stage, it was no longer a secret that they would play today. As usual they are playing their funny metal with German lyrics. This is not my cup of tea, but the audience liked it. (tp)

© Maike Eisenmenger

Today the Berlin based The Bosshoss are playing WOA for the first time. Their cowboy beats as well as their sexy outfits (hopefully their white muscle shirts were washed!) convinces the crowd. So dancing is indeed possible and most of the watchers are heaving fun. (cj)

Lacuna Coil
Lacuna Coil have to play in the sunlight this year. But this does not stop their successful show on the party stage. Especially `Enjoy the Silence` is being celebrated. In fact it was a visibly smaller crowd in front of them, because many seemed to prefer the Running Wild farewell on the Main Stage. Nevertheless this was a great show, having me looking forward to the rest of the festival. (cj)

WET Stage

Grand Magus
As I listened to Metal gods Heaven & Hell, I had to hurry to the WET Stage, for warming up and to watch Grand Magus. I get to see the last few songs of those Swedish Doomers who play their very first show at Wacken. And again Black Sabbath, another first for this band, their cover of  „War Pigs“ incl some guest performers, e.g. Amon Amarth’s Johan. A wild mix that worked nicely, though. A fantastic gig in a nicely heated tent, and a nice finale for my first day at 20-anniversary Wacken.  (rg)


Main Stage

On Friday morning Vreid have to wake up the tired tent crews with their dark Viking Metal. The do it bravely, even if the crowd is still small. (tp)

No bombastic intro, no scenery, no glamour. Only a hand full of guys, going on stage and playing Rock music. This is UFO 2009. They do have a weak start with acoustic guitars, so most people in the audience are a bit sceptical from the very beginning. UFO cannot break the ice during their set, so the show remains without highs or lows. (tp)

The show of the German Black Metal formation Endstille takes place somewhat ill-omened: 1. the bad guys have to play in the heat of the sunlight. 2. Because their frontman Iblis has left the band at short-time notice before the festival, the needed a new vocalist quickly. The job is taken by Mannevond of Koldbrann. So they are presenting a nice set, but they can not convince all of their fans with the vocalist solution. We will see what happens in the future. (rg)

Gamma Ray
For more than 20 years, Kai Hansen is navigating Gamma Ray through international waters. So, meanwhile, the have a bunch of perfect singalongs and the best one is actually `Heavy Metal Universe`, their opener of today. A perfect beginning for a perfect WOA show. So crowd is having fun from the first second and the band as well. Only the early playing time with its sunny weather is not perfect. (tp)

Walls of Jericho
Walls of Jericho play these days in every corner…W:O:A has not been forgotten. To fill out the time until Nevermore would come, the Americans and front women Candace Kucsulain came just in time. This band is absolutely perfect for live performances. Headbanging, an extraordinary musical work, most of it the guitars and also catchy songs had been shown. The single point of critic is the camera, which filmed the whole gig. If there is someone, who did not see the band yet… check them out! (ms)

To be quite honest, I still don`t like Nevermore. After several festival and club shows, I think that their songs are to a large extent obsolete and that Warrell Dane is only an average vocalist. But when I watch the guitar playing of Jeff Loomis, I become really envious. (tp)

Airbourne are the band that searches contact to the fans. First, vocalist Joel o`Keefe jumps in the pit, so that they guys in the front row can almost touch him, later on he climbs up the light traverse so that everybody can see him swinging in the air. So it is quite understandable, that the guys win the Metal Hammer Award of the best newcomer this year. (me)

The late evening came and the light went down, so the time was right for a nice power metal performance. So of course the time was right for HAMMERFALL to come. Everyone was curious, because the journalists praised their latest record “No Sacrifice, No Victory”. The lots of shirts I saw at the festival made it clear why the late hour was the right one. So many fans had been there, who turned the gig of the Swedes into a march of triumph. With songs like “Hearts on -Fire” or “Glory to the Brave”, “Any Means Necessary” and “Blood Bound” they really burned it down. As always, this has been a wonderful gig. (ms)

Bullet for My Valentine
It is up to Bullet for my Valentine to play Metalcore this year. When the four guys from Wales are entering the stage, the crowd in front of it consists basically of girls and young teens. They are welcoming the guys as it would be their last show. Bullet like the welcome and starts a Metalcore massacre with heavy guitars and thunderous drums. Only the clear vocals are not my favourite. At the end, matt Tuck becomes a bit obstreperous and wants the audience to shout “Fuck You!“. To my it appears a bit cheesy, but nevertheless it was a good show. (rg)

Motörhead delivered what everybody expected: Louder than hell, a bunch of classics and Lemmy Kilmister in a great mood. The guys played tightly and enthusiastically, so the audience was really enthusiastic, too. Nice sound, nice show! (ja)

In Flames
To say it directly: In Flames are really disappointing to me! After a great start with older stuff like `Embody the Invisible` and `Only for the Weak`, they play basically stuff of the last 2, more or less average, albums. Why was a song like `The chosen Pessimist` performed at a festival like this? Besides the setlist, they do their job as always: Great visual effects ( IF seem to play inside a big TV), bombastic sound and masses of pyros are their trademark. And they do not break with their traditions today. Especially the flame throwing towers in the middle of the crowd are great. So all in all – mixed feelings about this show. (tp)

The German Metal queen Doro Pesch kicks off with the emotional “Für immer“. Supported by a tight backing band, a choir of three guys and bunch of light and pyro effects, Doro performed a powerful show with a best of program. Unfortunately a lot visitors seemed to recharge their batteries in their tents during her set. (cj)

Amon Amarth
Right before the show, the band received the Metal Hammer Award of the best live band 2009. Now it is up to them to prove it! So they are starting enthusiastically and supported by light effects, the hell of flames and of course their viking dragon boat. But due to all of these pluses, there are also points of criticizm: to me it appeared as if the man working in the FOH tower fell asleep. The sound was muddy and absolutely not loud enough. But when Amon Amarth played `Cry of the black bird`, they finally won this battle.(tp)

Party Stage

© Maike Eisenmenger

From the very first note Dragonforce rocked the stage and owned the audience. The aggressive Speed-/Power-Metal is awesome to hear, even if you also know the songs. Songs like “Trough The Fire And Flames” or “Heroes of Our Time” burst powerfully out of the boxes. Most of all, the Dragonforce drummer had a hard work to do. As a result, the snare-drum broke after the first songs. The whole stage-crew repaired it quickly, so the level of energy was constantly high. The other musicians gave their best, too, with good stage-acting. Because the sound was brilliant, people enjoyed the show and the band gave them another song after the end. A quite awesome Speed-/Power-Metal_show from a band you should have an eye on. (ms)

Coheed & Cambria
It is Friday evening, the weather is wonderful, it is warm, the audience is in a good mood and Coheed and Cambria enter the stage. The Swedes managed to increase the mood with their melodic rock. Enthusiastically the four started to play and the fans joined the show, the singer cheered on also the metalheads in the last row. My mood increased a lot because the Swedes had also some more optical events. As far as I am concerned the sound was perfect, the voice came out brilliantly. Sadly sometimes some noise came from aside, where Bullet For My Valentine seemed to try to shatter the walls of the world. Band and fans partied and I think both of them had the same fun. Coheed and Cambria are a positive surprise at this festival. Keep it up, guys! (ms)

Today it is up to Frankfurt based ASP to end up the Friday on the Party Stage this year. They are delivering a nice best of set along with some songs from their latest release “Krabat Liederzyklus“. The atmosphere is mystical and the audience celebrates together with the band. A nice finish of the day! (cj)


Main Stage

This year, Rage celebrate their 25th birthday. So I don`t understand why they have to play so early the day. In addition to their birthday, they do also have several guests who share the stage with them, e.g. Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), Schmier (Destruction) and Eric Fish (Subway to Sally) support Peavy & co. This is one more reason why I do not understand their billing position. This one would have been perfect for the evening hours, what is accounted by the many fans, who are already on the area. (tp)

Vier Ohren – Zwei Meinungen:

Rage lieferte eine fulminante Show mit tollen Gastauftritten von langjährigen Freunden der Band. So traten etwa Hansi Kürsch von Blind Guardian oder Marcel „Schmier“ Schirmer von Destruction als gesangliche Unterstützung nebst Peavy auf die Bühne. Viele Gäste, eine mächtige Setlist und die tolle Show, bescherten Rage ein großartiges Jubiläum. Auch die Bandmitglieder selbst gingen wieder ans Limit, und so sorgte Gitarrenvirtuose Victor Smolski mit seinem gnadenlosen Können wieder für massig beeindruckte Gesichter. An der Stelle auch von Metal-Fanatics aus Herzlichen Glückwunsch für 25 Jahre Rage und hoffentlich mögen noch viele Jahre ins Land ziehen! (gw)

I don`t understand why Testament have to play at such an early time (not the first band with an early slot this year). But the crowd is there, the sound is heavy and the band is playing tight. So everything is fine and we can ignore, that the guys on stage making quite a static show.

Heaven Shall Burn
I heard before, that Heaven Shall Burn are a big attraction. So I was not surprised that the area was almost completely filled with fans. The Germans ruled the place with their hardcore right from the start, which was nice to see from upstairs. (ms)

Axel Rudi Pell
After Axel Rudi Pell and his band cancelled the show in the 2008, they are playing this time on Saturday evening on the True Metal Stage. The crowd was happy about the setlist with tracks like `Strong as a rock`, `Mystica` and several medleys. So the setlist and the sound compensate the disappointment of the last year, but the static show does not. But this is usual of the guys… (cj)

In Extremo
The medieval rockers of In Extremo play a set with quite new songs today. They begin with `7 Köche` and it is obvious that they do have a perfect sound from the first second. But despite their good sound and tight performance, the audience is a bit reserved. Maybe it is because of the still bright sunlight. (tp)

The Danish heroes of Volbeat don`t need a rehearsed show or great costumes to hit the nerve of the corwd, the just need their enthusiasm and their music. Songs like `Guitar Gangsters and Cadillac Blood`, `Sad Man`s Tongue` or `Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza` really did it. The crowd was going mad and the security had a hell of work with the incoming crowd surfers. So Volbeat really deserved to play this late slot on the Main stage. (me)

Machine Head
Machine Head are really a surprise to me. On their last tour with Slipknot, I was really disappointed. But today they are like a steam machine, just like a blizzard over Wacken. And they do have the perfect song for opening their great show: `Imperium`! Both thumbs up and a pleasure to see you again! (tp)

Some people were grumbling: Again Saxon, they played Wacken so often, how boring… Yes, Saxon DO play Wacken very often, but nowadays they belong to the best live acts our scene has to offer. And this year, they prove it once again. The highlight today is the special setlist. The fans had the chance to vote for 2 songs of each album. Even if not every of the selected songs could be played, if became the best setlist ever! Especially stuff, that was ignored long time, just like `Killing Ground` and `Lionheart`, was absolutely fantastic! (tp)

Likewise also Gwar with its poetic Thrash Metal convinced the crowd. The five “aliens” in their pretty costumes pulled the spectators into their spell. They did not only capture the viewers visually but also in terms of music took you into higher spheres. One may speculate upon why the singing despite all the heart blood sometimes sounded weak. However, I can agree with certainty to the statement that it was purely for technical reasons. The Songs were equipped sumptuously and full of ideas, nevertheless did not appear overloaded. (ms)

Subway to Sally
Subway to Sally are back. That´s not only proved with heir numerous appearances at considerable festivals, but also by all those good to euphoric reactions to the latest and twelfth release “cross fire”. No way that this act from Brandenburg is about to quit yet! Now the Wacken crowd could be convinced of this act´s live qualities. Singer Eric -who let certain associations arise to a Waldschrat character – fascinated me not only with his extraordinary singing, but also his extremely cool entertainer qualities. Highlights of the show were Songs like ´Besser, du rennst´, ´So fern, so nah´ and ´Sieben´ which were mercilessly cheered to by the huge crowd. However Subway to Sally had a rather bad sound, which nevertheless diminished the pleasure. Despite that, the Germans played their Middle Age sound cleanly and precisely, which made their Songs and those ear-candy melodies even catchier. Thus everything worked nicely, merciless dynamics quantities did not become blunt and unimaginative thrashing. Quite the contrary. As “Kreuzfeuer” proves without any doubt, Subway to Sally are very gifted songwriters. That also saved their show to some extend, despite the mentioned poor sound. (ms)

Party Stage

Actually I cannot write something bad about the Suidakra performance. In front of the stage were lots of fans and the band was therewith quite engaged, showed good stage acting and smashed the heads. Who has songs like “Isle Of Skye”, “Darkane Times”, “Gates Of Nevermore” or “Dead Man´s Reel” with this well made blend of death-metallic rage, burning riffs and hymn-like passages, crowned with really good, clear vocals, has nothing to fear, hasn´t he? Actually not, but it all is futile when the sound is not good. From the very beginning the guitars were too silent. Sadly during the whole gig it did not change. So the Suidakra gig has been nothing more than a nice little one. I am sure this band can do more than this, but therefore the sound has to be better. (ms)

Onkel Tom
Originally Kampfar should have played. Because they cancelled the gig, Onkel Tom from Germany were the stand-in. They had been a worthy alternative. Inspired by those guys, the audience was in good mood and made another party with Onkel Tom. With funny comments in German the laugh was on their side and this gig was something funny in general. (ms)

Vier Ohren – zwei Meinungen

Die Freude war groß, nachdem das Zelt der W.E.T.-Stage am Mittwoch so überfüllt war… Wie viele Fans gerne Onkel Tom im Zelt sehen wollten wurde einem erst bewusst als man sah wie viele tausende Menschen so kurzfristig zur Partystage gekommen waren. Ausgelassen betraten Tom Angelripper und seine Truppe die Bühne und warfen erstmal einige Bierdosen in die Menge. Leider nicht ohne einem Fan eine blutige Nase zu werfen, dem als Trost jedoch angeboten wurde Backstage mit der Band zu trinken. Der Auftritt an sich war locker und amüsant, und tausende Onkel Tom-Fans kamen trotz der Enttäuschung am Mittwoch noch voll auf ihre Kosten! (gw)

In comparison to Onkel Tom, Borknagar are playing a totally different show. Borknagar, with support of Vintersorg on the vocals, are playing a show with a variety of emotions and deepness in their songs. Songs like `Future Reminiscence`, `The Genuine Pulse` or `Colossus` show that this was the show of a very special band. (me)

Peter Tägtgren and his guys are kicking off with `I`m going in` and `Monkey Besiness` from their last release “Cynic Paradise“. The following hour is full of great songs, Peter`s angry shouts and pyro effects. The crowd celebrates together with the band before `Shout your Mouth` ends this nice show case. (cj)

In the night the corpses which all seemed to be tired in the midday were fit. No matter which band will play, the mood will be the best now. To diversify the mixed genres the British grand masters Enslaved were called. With the focus on the primitive but listenable things mostly the old stuff was played. It does not matter much to me because the new stuff sounds almost the same. The people enjoyed the primitive stuff and thanked with madness. (ms)

What is the Finnish stereotype? Mostly pale, blond and not made for a hot climate. Perhaps this was the reason why Korpiklaani had some problems in the beginning. Rumbling, especially from the drums, is typically for them. They follow easy song structures, but those make a good mood. The sound got better, the beer-hour started and the mood improved. To choose Korpiklaani was a direct hit so I want to see them again of course. (ms)


Even if their were not so many big names on the billing as in the previous years, WOA was again very nice. A positive point was, that there appeared to be less people on the ground, so that it was much easier to walk across the festival area. But it is still necessary to reduce the number of tickets furthermore. See you again next year, guys!

Your Stalker Crew in Wacken: Timo Päßler (tp), Christina Jäger (cj) und Markus Seibel (ms), Guido Wegener (gw). We were supported by Maike Eisenmenger (me) and Ruth Gräbeldinger (rg) of and Jonathan Augustin (ja).

Text: Timo Pässler (tp), Christina Jäger (cj), Markus Seibel (ms), Jonathan Augustin (ja), Guido Wegener (gw) sowie: Maike Eisenmenger (me) und Ruth Gräbeldinger (rg) von
photos: Timo Pässler, Maike Eisenmenger

Airbourne1 Kopie


Timo Pässler - reports, reviews, photos - - - Favorite genres? - - - Power, Speed, Melodic, Symphonic and Thrash Metal, sometimes also Black and Death Metal, when I am in mood for it - - - Favorite bands? - - - Blind Guardian, In Flames, Children of Bodom, Powerwolf, Kreator, Vader, Avantasia, Iced Earth, Amon Amarth and many more! - - - Other interests? - - - Music (listening + playing), sports, acting and scouts