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Wacken 2010

4.-7.8.2010 Wacken, GER

People were a tad nervous hearing the weather forecast for the 2010 Wacken weekend. The memories of the past swamp battles were vivid in the minds of past attendees. Fortunately, apart from a few moments of rain, the sun burnt metal heads to a crisp throughout the entire festival. Whether or not Mr. Hübner bribed some weather gods, is still unclear. Due to the deadly mass panic occurring shortly before Wacken at Duisburg´s Love Parade, the security measures at Wacken 2010 were tighter than ever before. The walls of death and circle pits were forbidden – and this rule was strictly enforced. Whether or not this was completely necessary is still a matter of discussion. Bottles were also prohibited, although were still sold on the festival area. This regulation did not seem to be too enforced. Some of the bands tried to get the audience to break the rules, instigating moshpits. Apart from attempts during a few bands, the audience managed to behave themselves.

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

Wednesday 04th Aug 2010

The „Victims of Madness“ had to accept playing on Wednesday, just as they did two years ago. This year they were also the day´s opening act. It is a shame really, because as good or bad as people think they are, they are always a lot of fun to see. They were saved from playing on the Beergarden-Stage and the Wackinger-Stage and ended up on the W.E.T.-Stage – just like the unlucky Metal-Battle bands that preformed on the opening day. Fiddlers Green ended up playing in front of a small audience on the Wackinger stage – which is another pity. They could easily have gathered a sizable audience for a Thursday show. Those willing could watch four movies on the Movie Field: “Anvil”, “Metalocalypse I & II” (they were also repeated on Thursday) and “Until the Light Takes Us”.

Thursday, 05th Aug 2010

Skyline (Black Stage)

For the second year in a row, Skyline opened Wacken Open Air. The veterans from northern Germany played metal classics like “All we are”, “Balls to the Wall” and “Breaking the Law”. They were supported by stars like Doro Pesch and Udo Dirkschneider (U.D.O., ex-Accept). People were celebrating a lesson in Heavy Metal history, so this was a perfect beginning to the festival. (tp)

Metal Hammer Award (Black Stage)

Only a small audience showed up the next day to the Metal Hammer Awards. Yet, Schmier from Destruction hosted the event and managed to brig life into an otherwise stiff series of announcements. He broke it up, saying things like “The Maximum Metal Award goes to…What the hell is that suppose to mean anyhow?” The awards included: Best Album: Rammstein – “Liebe ist für Alle Da” Best Debut: Steel Panther – “Feel the Steel” Best German Band: Blind Guardian Best International: Motörhead Best Live Act: Iron Maiden God of Riffs: Kerry King / Slayer Legend: Ronnie James Dio Maximum Metal: Anvil & Doro Metal Anthem: Behemoth – „Ov Fire And The Void“ Up and Coming: Eluveitie The award for Dio was definitely right on the mark. In addition to the editorial staff at Metal Hammer, musicians and readers chose the winners. The winners included performing artists already at Wacken, as well as musicians who were en-route and accepted their awards via video. (sa)

Alice Cooper (True Metal Stage)

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The definitive kick-off for Wacken was Alice Cooper. The performance was a real show – an ongoing spectacle ranging from executions with massive syringes to a guillotine and a hanging. This spectacular performance from the 62 year old made many of the younglings pale in contrast; there where many musicians, who just came on stage, played and buggered off. Alice Cooper offered a true show. Unlike many of the other older bands, Alice Cooper played many of the beloved oldies, like “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “Poison,” finishing up at the crescendo with “School´s Out”. One could hear that there were times where he had problems with his voice, but that merely exiled any notions of playback. One could have not asked for more full points there. (oa)

Four Ears – two opinions:
Even though he is as old as hell, Alice Cooper put on one of the most creative shows of the evening. A lot of effort was put into the outfits and the props, which went one-in-one with the lyrics; there was a humorous touch to the whole show and the audience loved it. Sadly, the vocals came very quietly in the beginning and the classic “School´s Out” was almost impossible to hear. Later he rocked the evergreen “Poison”. (tp)

Mötley Crüe (Black Stage)

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Mötley Crüe started off very well with “Kickstart my Heart,” “Wild Side” and “Shout at the Devil.” It sounded just like the good old Mötley should sound. There was nothing wrong, but sadly only the first three songs were the good old songs. Wanting to promote their new album, almost the whole of the rest of their material came from therein and it failed; the effect was an audience full of stiff feet and still heads. As a whole, the “show” started off well and ended up with group after group of people from the audience leaving before the show ended. The only remaining positive aspect was the closing track, “Girls, Girls, Girls.” In the end, Mötley Crüe was fairly entertaining and worth 8/10 points, but the most irritating aspect was the lack of showmanship and good tracks; from any other band, it would have been great, but they could have done so much better. (oa)

Iron Maiden (True Metal Stage)

Before Iron Maiden entered the stage, there was another skirmish for the pit passes, which were given more or less randomly to only few of the photographers. Gentlemen, this is kindergarten, not Heavy Metal! But let us talk about music: The opening triplet (`The Wicker Man`, `The Ghost of Navigators` and `Wrathchild`) reminds one a bit of the reunion tour of 2000. It immediately showed that the concert would not be comparable to that of 2008. Instead of an awaited best of program, the Maidens focused solely on their albums released after “Brave New World“. Surprisingly nobody seemed to care about this though. Only when they played two new songs, and the really weak `Wildest Dreams`, did the mood sink down to the substructure. But as it turns out, Steve Harris and co. have written many powerful songs in their later years. These may even compete with their old classics. But then they came, the long awaited classics! After `Fear of the Dark`, `Number of the Beast`, `Hallowed be thy Name`, `The Iron Maiden` and the final `Running Free` it was already over. Even if the last track was quite unspectacular, this showed that Iron Maiden is still among the number one live Heavy Metal bands. (tp)

Gojira (W.E.T. Stage)

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Gojira gathered a sizeable audience and filled up the W.E.T stage tent to the brim. Managing to drive the crowd more and more insane, they transformed the whole tent into a massive moshpit. It probably could have been a somewhat less of an experience to those, who were not so familiar with the band. But to those well acquainted with the production, it was a whole different world. One aspect, which must be noted, is that Gojira´s genre is very susceptible to errors within the sound. There were some ever so slight bumps here and there, but as a whole, they played awesomely. (oa)

Friday, 06th Aug 2010

It´s time to go to the side program from this year´s Wacken there was something for every person, even if some was in poor taste. A lot of the Wacken regulars frowned upon the “tourists”, who went to the Bullhead-City. Wet-T-shirt Contests, Wrestling, and Oil Catching Girls… What the hell? Well, ok, back to the 20.000 m2 Wackinger Village to recuperate from the culture shock. There were knights and Vikings battling away as well as pseudo-Scots inviting people to the Highland Games; there was mead, entertaining role games, where they threw imaginary light balls at each other, shouting “Light ball! Light ball!” There were also a few people dressed in latex and rubber, sweating away in the sun, directing the audience´s attention to the Fetish-Bondage-Show. Really! (sa)

Dew-Scented (Black Stage)

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They were worth the wake up! Astonishingly many sleepy-eyed morning birds came to the early show. Leif Jensen and his men woke up all of the people with their new album “Invocation”, which goes along with their tradition of brutal and yet delicate sound that has been consistent in their 7 albums. They bombarded the audience with their riffs and double bass´ and ripped away the last remaining tiredness, effectively stirring the first moshpits into life. The quartet from Lower Saxony, Germany, hammered through their new songs, delivering an orderly show and disbanded their audience, having filled them up with lots of expectations for the shows to come. (sa)

Amorphis (True Metal Stage)

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Since the entry of vocalist Tommy Joutsen, Amorphis is coming back to life. So today there were already many fans in front of the True Metal stage, raising their fists into the morning sky to welcome the guys from Finland. The opening `Silver Bride` gave me goose bumps all over my body – I did not feel this at a concert for a long time! The following 55 minutes were also really atmospheric and made this the first highlight of the day. It is just a pity that the guys had to play so early in the day. I can´t imagine how great it may have been, if they had played later on when the light had faded… (tp)

Orphaned Land (Black Stage)

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The band from Israel has been known here for quite a while and their music, which holds pro-peace lyrics in English, Hebrew, and Arabic, is truly a jewel. “We are Orphaned Land from the Middle East”, the band proclaimed right off in the beginning, winning the hearts and minds of the audience, who were not too pleased about Israel´s politics. The band is completely in their own league when it comes to their music and has no real competition to take into account. Their Metal is original, orientally folky with touches of Death and the singer´s vocals sound sometimes euphonious, sometimes snarled. The band is optically individual and this is not only due to the belly dancer, who appeared on the stage during some of the songs. The singer, Kobi Farhi preformed in his white robe and looked just like the classic image of Jesus. One was half-expecting a flock of doves, or a rainbow or something like that to appear around the image Kobi when he lifted his hands onto his sides. “In case you are wondering – I´m not Jesus Christ.” The sympathetic vocalist said, right after striking the pose. The feeling could not have been better. The first crowd surfer was on his way and during the English bits, the audience shrieked along. (sa)

Die Apokalyptischen Reiter (Black Stage)

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Die Apocalyptischen Reiter are always worth a look at WOA as the guys around the front man, Fuchs, come up with something new every time. Very funny this time: There was a swing in front of his keyboard and a slide on top; both of which, Dr. Pest (the keyboarder) used. His S/M & spikes “look” is not new, but still funny none the less. Just like the whip, which Pest misused for headbanging. However, the musicians also had something to offer in terms of music. Old tracks, like “Unter der Asche” go hand-in-hand with new tracks, like “Friede sei mit Dir”. Luckily the five sympathetic boys didn´t fulfil the prophecy in their song “Es Wird Schlimmer” (it will get worse). The show was very powerful and the following applause seemed never ending. (tp)

The Boss Hoss (True Metal Stage)

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Something for the eyes and ears! The seven cowboys from Berlin, who were last year on the party stage were upgraded to a True-Metal-act. The Boss Hoss rocked the festival area with a washboard, contrabass, fishnet wifebeaters and leather boots. Their untypical for Wacken country-punk songs included songs like “Sabotage”, “Yee-Haw”, “Stallion Batallion” and tracks from their latest album “Low Voltage” and they were really good this year too. (tp)

Four Ears – two opinions:

When did they all suddenly get Stetsons? There was a rare image in front of the True-Metal-Stage; an Immortal t-shirt wearer transformed into a cowboy within a matter of minutes. And yes, the seven Berliners with southern-state slang are catchy. The Boss Hoss played at Wacken for the second time and still charmed the audience –even though, and maybe just because, they are not that metal. At the same spot where people were line dancing, clogging, or doing other folk/country dances, the fans figured that head banging and country music should not be separated from one another. They banged through the whole show. The band hammered in hits, like “Sabotage” and “Rodeo Radio”, lifting the mood up to the sky, effectively ruining the atmosphere for the German black Metal band, “Endstille”, who played directly afterwards on the Black Stage. (sa)

Kamelot (True Metal Stage)

Kamelot was the first power Metal band of the day. However, a good part of the audience did not seem to be that hyped up. They did not really react to what was being played. The band did not seem to care, but didn´t do as well as they did on the same spot in 2008. Nonetheless, there were nice pyrotechnics and an opulent light-show. (tp)

Arch Enemy (Black Stage)

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In the past few years, Arch Enemy has left behind a … career. Considering the amount of people, that were wearing the bands t-shirts, one is left wondering why they played so early on. It was complete daylight from start to end, when the Swedish quartet with the German singer, Angela Gossow, played. The quintet did not let themselves be bothered by the daylight and summoned a storm that swept through the audience. I liked it, my girlfriend not, so after the genius “Taking Back My Sins”, we had to head to the Party Stage. (tp)

Tarja Turunen (Party Stage)
Tarja Turunen´s first solo Wacken performance got the audience really excited. The Nightwish songs, like „Whishmaster“ and „Sleeping Sun“ came out well as a solo performance. Aside songs from her album “My Winter Storm”, she also sang tracks from her soon-to-be-released album “What Lies Beneath”. The mood in front of the stage was a bit held back during the non-Nightwish songs. In the end, my expectations were not met. (cj)

Grave Digger (True Metal Stage)

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The stage was enveloped in an atmospheric light and a big backdrop with Scottish freedom fighters was rolled open and half of the Scottish army ran in, armed with bagpipes. In celebration of Grave Diggers 30th year anniversary, they had prepared something special. They played their full “Tunes of War” album, supported by artists, like Doro Pesch and Van Canto. One has to admit, that Grave Digger never had the higher status to be able to headline the biggest Heavy Metal festival in the world. None the less, it was a nice show from Chefreaper Chris Boltendahl. (tp)

Slayer (Black Stage)

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It took a while until the thrash-lovers got what they wanted, but Slayer made up for the long waiting time. Then sirs King, Araya, Hanneman and Lombardo slammed in new songs, like the opener “World Painted Blood” and “Hate Worldwide” into the crowd. Then it went to a lesson of classic Thrash! “War Ensemble”, “Dead Skin Mask” and “Raining Blood”… One thing must be stated: The quality of a show from a Slayer show depends on the motivation of the musicians. Today it was clear that they had fun and were motivated. Jeff banged himself to nirvana, Tom smiled happily into the crowd, Kerry riffed himself drunk and Dave presented the hardest beat of the festival. That is how it is meant to be! The result was one speaker was completely riffed out and refused to sing anymore. (tp)

Atrocity (Party Stage)

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Atrocity celebrated their 24th anniversary as the last band on the Party Stage. Which did not please them at all. Armed with 4 go-go girls, a fire-breather, an awesome stage, great lights, amazing effects and a rare set list, they were immune to adversities. However, there were difficulties, that no-one could have expected. During the first songs, everything was perfect and the exhausted crowd was staying awake. One tried to concentrate on Atrocity, even though Corvus Corax, who was playing right next to them on the True Metal Stage, was a lot louder and offered a truly bombastic show. Thus, Atrocity tried to overplay their louder neighbours –which was impossible- and ended up trashing their sound, but the show was going otherwise brilliantly. After “Die Totgeweihten”it happened. Alex Krull lost his voice and the band lost its grip. It was a nice show, even if it was more or less trying to hold through towards the end. One could see that the crowd was a bit sorry for the band; although the eye candy on stage inspired a lot of the amateur photographers. The band was visually -and up the second half musically too- great, worthy of full points. As a cheer up for the band, one could say, that it will not go this badly for the band throughout the next 25 years. (sa)

Saturday, 07th Aug 2010

After a freezing cold night, about 50% of the campers (including the STALKER crew) had a cold. However, when the sun came up, so did the mood.
Ektomorf (Black Stage)

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The kick in the arse for the morning was none the less, than Zoltán and the rest of the guys from Ektomorph. If the function of the band is to wake people up, then the right bands were chosen for Friday and Saturday. While Dew Scented cranked up the neck in the form of head banging on one day, Ektomorph provided the morning gymnastics on Saturday. It is difficult to deny the charm of the gypsies (and no, it is not a politically incorrect term in this case, as the guys call themselves so) and after two coffees there was a lot of jumping going on when Zoltán growled his second most favourite word “jump”. Needles to say, the dust cloud that rose from in front of the stage was quite massive when they played tracks, like “”Show Your Fist”, “What Doesn´t Kill Me” and “Outcast”.
To mellow down, the singer grabbed an acoustic guitar in front of the almost collapsing audience and played “I Know Them” unplugged. Really nice start!

Metsatöll (W.E.T. Stage)

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Metsatöll was the first Estonian band ever to play in Wacken and they did very well. Not only as a matter of genre, but also in terms of performance, they have a strong resemblance to the old Finntroll; Metal, which is not only entertaining and melodic, but above all, fun. It was obvious to see that the band members were enjoying themselves and thus their upbeat mood was conveyed to the audience in the W.E.T. stage –which was most of the time approximately three quarters full. One of the greatest aspects of festivals, like Wacken, where bands from diverse countries and cultures perform, is that linguistic borders are crossed for the sake of having a blast. It was just a shame that Metsatöll didn´t play right before or after the Faroese TYR (preferably on the same, or adjoining stage) because a great chance of creating a cultural and linguistic melting pot was lost. (oa)

W.A.S.P. (True Metal Stage)

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After hearing dubious news about WASP in the last few years, I was even more excited about their performance. The band had to play in the earlier evening, as opposed to 2001, when Blackie Lawless & co played as headliner on Thursday. The sometimes moody Blackie did not mind and played a best-of set. WASP preformed especially well; they played really well together and the vocals were immaculate. I never thought that I could write something like this again about WASP! My personal highlight “Hellion”! JA! tp)

Stratovarius (Party Stage)

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Due to the squabble from last year, Stratovarius –just as WASP- had to take a fairly early time to play. Timo Kotipelto and the boys started off with their most popular song “Hunting High and Low”. A good move, considering how fast the audience gets warmed up. During the approximate one hour show, the Finns made it clear that they are not over the hill and they want their old guitarist and songwriter to know this. A solid performance. (tp)

Solstafir (W.E.T. Stage)

Sólstafir came almost right after the Estonians. The Icelanders in turn played only three songs within the 30-minute performance. Considering their genre lies somewhere between ambient and experimental, their music may have been too much for some of the audience who were expecting an Icelandic metal band to sound like Amon Amarth. In the end, the Icelanders played their three hypnotic chords and showed the Wackingers why they are dubbed the Pink Floyd of Metal. Even though they played in the W.E.T. tent, sound is a thousand times better in more closed spaces and thus it lost a bit of its touch; normally one has the sound blasting the audience full in the chest and bouncing back from the walls, enveloping one in a musical cocoon. This is the typical atmosphere, which Sólstafir creates in its gigs and also its strongest point; having its greatest strength weakened, the show was none the less quite good. (oa)
Edguy (True Metal Stage)

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The German Power Metal band, Edguy, found time from their schedule as Scorpions´ warm-up to perform in Wacken. Because the bassist, Eggi, did not want to leave his wife alone to give birth, he was replaced by Markus Großkopf from Helloween to play the two songs “Lavatory Love Machine” and “Superheroes”. The singer, Tobias Sammet and the audience sang the ballad “Save Me” in honor of the newcomer to this world. The mood by the show really shot through the roof and expectations were exceeded. (tp)

Immortal (Black Stage)

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Immortal had little more to offer to the last day of Wacken. The track list was ok, including songs like “Sons of Northern Darkness,” and “Withstand the Fall of Time.” The band is notorious for not being willing to play without pyrotechnics, but theirs was a matchbox in comparison to bands like Atrocity and Corvus Corax, who offered a real optical treat. It is understandable that Horgh could not participate from behind the drums non-musically too much, but Abbath could have had a second microphone on the other side of the stage and switched between the mics every once in a while. Or he could have done the sign of the horns, or done something else apart from planting himself in front of the mic stand. Short and sweet, they played nicely, but did not offer a real show. Strangely enough, Abbath & Co. said the gig went so well, they are including it into their upcoming live DVD, “The Seventh Date Of Blashyrkh”. (oa)
Rotting Christ (W.E.T. Stage)

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While Immortal was desecrating them on the Black Stage, there was a smaller, but more ferocious band on the W.E.T. Stage, which was largely missed. Rotting Christ was there again! Of course the Greeks wanted to promote their new album, “Aealo” and gave their best in the form of two tracks from therein. The minute displeasure from the band not playing their classics was all but gone after the first two verses. If the whole album sounds similar, one should not miss this Black/Death/Thrash Metal album. They started off with their older production with “Athanati Este” from the album “Sanctus Diavolus.” Though they were only allowed to play for 30 minutes, they managed to fit in “Sign of Prime Cretion”, “Phobos Synagogue” and “Fire, Death and Fear” and they finished off with “Noctis Era” from their new album. The small moshpit (yes, they broke the law) showed that the show was a success. Hopefully the quartet will be allowed to play on a real stage in the future. (sa)

Soulfly (True Metal Stage)

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Soulfly was just purely brilliant. As one can see from the photos, the once big sex symbol had transformed into something between a big caveman and a homeless bum; but regardless of how he looks, he and the rest of Soulfly sounded brilliant. Unlike some of the bands and musicians, who have been around for a while, Soulfly managed to make a new CD that sounds good and the audience was pleased to find that it sounds live even better. The track list left none hoping for more; “Bloodbath & Beyond,” “Roots, Bloody Roots”, “Refuse/Resist” and Pantera´s “Walk” were hammered into the crazed crowd. Due to safety reasons, walls of death and circle pits were disallowed but Mr. Cavalera, nor the crowd showed any interest of obedience; instead of submitting, tracks like “Jump Da Fuck Up” were played. Awesome band, awesome audience and a singer, who looks like a homeless caveman –but hey, this ain´t Wacken´s next top model. Full points there. (oa)
Fear Factory (Black Stage)
The headliner-dilemma from WOA was quite obvious by the Fear Factory show. The band was never one of the biggest bands in Germany and thus them being headliner was questionable. What makes this even more difficult was that Dino Cazares, Burton Bell and co had little to offer in visual terms on the stage. More so, the PA scrambled the sound and it was difficult to tell one song from the next. Thus, the show was really only interesting for fans of the band. This was the disappointment of the festival for me! (tp)

Four Ears – two opinions:
Even when I agree with the most of the points that Timo made, it should be known that Fear Factory´s tour bus burned down with all of the stage paraphernalia one day before they played and most bands would have cancelled. Keeping this in mind, one has to look at the concert from another point of view and you have to give it to the band: they have balls! (sa)

U.D.O. (True Metal Stage)

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Udo Dirkschneider and his orchestra provided the closing act to WOA. After the opening tracks “The Bogeyman” and “Dominator” from the hugely powerful last album, classics from “Metalheart” to “Balls to the Wall” were played. When it started raining –for the first time during the whole festival- the premises was emptied. It was nevertheless a good show and brought the festival well to an end. (tp)

75,000 attendees, plus the Wacken crew & co, journalists, sales people and of course the 107 bands along with their crews filled up the 200 hectare peaceful town, Wacken. 448 flushable toilets, 450 dixies (which had personnel keeping them clean), 5 showering stations (this year gratis!) and some drink water stations –each of which were held clean- made sure that there was nothing to complain about in terms of hygiene (and yes, this is very important for metal heads too). Even when Iron Maiden went from fun to claustrophobic, the 21st Wacken was the most relaxed since a few years ago. The security was very nice, even when they let us know on the second day that they had been there since the whole set was being built to make sure no-one stole anything –and some people in the camping area had let out their inner Hulk. The Middle-age village was very well done as well as the Viking village; however no bands should have had to play on the stages in the villages as the distance between the main stages and the stages in the villages is way too long. Furthermore, there were a few oddities concerning which bans played simultaneously, Solstáfir and TYR, for instance. The W.E.T. Stage was also a fly on the cake; it was a bit difficult to enjoy great bands, like Rotting Christ and Gojira in a tent that smelling of pallid sweat and shoes inch deep in urine. Other than that, there were a few boo-boos, like canvases coming off on Thursday, and the Wacken W-Lan (which is a great idea). The total failures were the Oil-Catching Girls, Wet T-Shirt Contest, Bonding Show and Wrestling. The people that these kinds of shows attract are the kind of people that Wacken could do without. However after Wacken is before Wacken, until next year!

Text: Ozzy Aikas (oa), Samira Alinto (sa), Christina Jäger (cj), Timo Pässler (tp), translation: Ozzy Aikas & Devin Copeland
photos: Samira Alinto, Timo Pässler


Samira Alinto

reports, reviews, photos

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