Rétrospective 2008

Wednesday 08/13/2008

Bloodwork

16.00 (PT) BLOODWORK
Proceedings on the Newcomer Stage were started at 16:00 sharp by the bloodworkers from Paderborn, and the allegedly negative opening slot was in no way detrimental for the powerful quintet. Singer David Hambach was even successful in mobilizing the masses in the tent during soundcheck, willingly raising his hands to the air. Be it due to the big numbers of fans that had arrived right on time or the fact that they just couldn't wait for things to get moving, the band's massive sound was welcomed with open arms. Openeing track 'Demonic' was also a smart choice with its powerful attack and its insistent snare, so soon there was a lot of movement in the audience. Not long ago the band had already played another big festival, and their album was obviously voted 'Demo of the Month' in Metal Hammer magazine for a reason – the gentlemen on stage definitely knew what they were doing, and drummer Moritz was even wearing shades to protect himself from the direct sunlight inside the tent, ahem... A big plus with this band are the shared vocals: frontman David provided the brutal shouts while lead guitarist Nikko Schaffranek was responsible for the excellent melodic backing vocals – other bands would be happy to have such a talented singer within their ranks. Stylistically they didn't play just metalcore but navigated through related styles, with the song 'Deadlocked' for example almost bordering on power metal. A gig that didn't leave anything to be desired, excellent band.


A dead Lament

16.35 (PT) A DEAD LAMENT
The following band began its set with a film intro. Pretty soon it was clear that they were headed in quite a different direction from the openers, even visually it was pretty obvious. Female singer Samira Dahl provided a little variation in the color department with her red trousers. Stylistically it's difficult to pinpoint this band. Metalcore meets hardcore with elements from 70s and 80s rock. The frontwoman's uninhibited performance, complete with lots of gesticulation and jumping around, stood in contrast with her cohorts' music. One of the guitarists had a cool John Sinclair style 'Ghostbusters' sticker on his guitar and provided some harmony vocals here and there. But the audience seemed to have a bit of a problem with the mix on hand as the tent emptied a little compared to the previous act.


Black thoughts bleeding

17.10 (PT) BLACK THOUGHTS BLEEDING
Due to the traffic jams on the way to the festival it was unclear until the last minute if the band was going to make it on stage with its complete line-up, but they managed just in time. The band from Düren started with a quiet intro but quickly switched into metalcore mode – with core being the main ingredient, as there were loads of classic hardcore shouting in addition to the usual screams. Guitarist Markus was a real eyecatcher with his super long dreadlocks and his tasteful Kylesa shirt, becoming the main focus of the show along with frontman Dominik Szelinski. It was cool how they pepped up the popular metalcore sound with one or two surprises. Once they slammed on the brakes and slowed down to almost doom metal speed, elsewhere they incorporated some Deftones influences. Thanks to their modern sound the audience also returned to the tent and celebrated the band's solid show. Attentive audience members may have noticed that the guy behind the drumkit wasn't playing Summer Breeze for the first time as he had appeared with his former band Koroded on the main stage a few years earlier.


Dargolf Metzgore

17.45 (PT) DARGOLF METZGORE
The Swabians also started with a film sample and subsequently ignited a fireworks display of metal. It was clear that a lot of people had come this early because of them, and so band and audience pushed each other to maximum performances. Their sound was brutal death metal, sometimes tending toward metalcore. The band kept headbanging in sinchronicity while the audience formed the largest pit of the festival so far. There was enough room for humour too; when the instrumentalists changed into a surprisingly quiet part, the singer held up a lighter in the air. The singalong section of 'Horsecock In Tiny Mouth' was a risky bet, but it was deservedly successful with the whole audience responding with an impressive 'That's what I'm talking about!' The band received loud calls for an encore as a farewell, which they thanked politely with the hope for a second show the day after.


My Elegy

18.20 (PT) MY ELEGY
This year all of the bands cultivated more or less the same style, the popular metalcore, and (unfortunately) MY ELEGY were no exception. They too made the best out of their stage time and started energetically, the singer delivered brutal shouts and growls and received the sporadic support of bassist Christoph Becker with his melodic vocal parts. Most of the time it was precise high-speed riffing, which was completed by a stomping rhythm here and there as well as the obvious breakdowns. Technically it was all pretty tight and the guitarists also dared to wear other colours than black, with one of them dressed entirely in white and the other wearing a light green shirt. Only towards the end of the set the band used the whole stage surface, standing close to the monitors for most of the gig despite having wireless systems. Only the singer was active throughout. One pretty melodic song toward the end of the set was strongly reminiscent of Killswitch Engage, where the guitarist started moving their instruments in synchronicity. Solid show and a good introduction for the band.


Fuck your shadow from behind

18.55 (PT) FUCK YOUR SHADOW FROM BEHIND
What followed was – visually and sonically – a real challenge. A motley band of youngsters entered the stage and in no time turned it into an inferno of scurrying, jumping and screaming persons which all together make up FUCK YOUR SHADOW FROM BEHIND. The band had two singers, but there were hardly any differences in style (both growled and screamed and sometimes even used pig squeals), but visually they were quite different, one of them with 'heavy bones', meaning quite chubby, and the other almost haggard and with heavily tattooed arms. Apparently their lyrics were sung in German, but nobody could understand them anyway. The band was so enthusiastic it seemd like an adrenalin infested load of rubber balls. And the band infected the audience too, which motivated the skinny singer to dive into the crowd towards the end of the opening song. Technically it was the drummer who drew the most attention as he fired ultra fast snare rounds without batting an eyelid. Fans of The Black Dahlia Murder got the full treatment, the only minus being the bassist and hisn shorts, the ugliest in a long time.

After some deliberation, the jury, consisting of the Party Tent stage manager, collaborators of Metal Hammer, Rockalarm, Metal.de and Helldriver, as well as members of staff from Metal Blade and Nuclear Blast, had reached a decision regarding the winner of the Newcomer Stage Contest 08. The winner was announced by END OF GREEN singer Michelle Darkness, who was also part of the jury. In the fierce competition with some very strong candidates, it was FUCK YOUR SHADOW FROM BEHIND who finally made it to number 1, earning the right to open the actual festival the following day on the Main Stage!


Anima

20.00 (PT) ANIMA
The tent was half full by the time ANIMA, a band from Thuringia formed in 2005, who had signed a contract with Metal Blade early in the year, stepped on stage, at first a little reluctantly. Much like the band members (all of them still in their teens), the audience was quite young... and enthusiastic. Their powerful modern deathcore anthems were exactly what the fans wanted, not surprisingly considering their monster grooves, rapid blasts and massive breeakdowns. While still a little static at the beginning, ANIMA quickly picked up energy from the crowd. By the time a wall of death was constructed – as loudly demanded by the crowd – there were no holds barred. The band presented itself in perfect form, also making a tight unit in the visual aspect. Their fresh melodic leads set ANIMA apart from the trendy metalcore masses. However, despite all harmony, the Thruingians are just extreme and brutal. This band has got a bright future ahead!


Lay down rotten

20.55 (PT) LAY DOWN ROTTEN
LAY DOWN ROTTEN is brutal violence in its most direct and unadulterated – yet somehow harmonic – form. By the time Germany's death metal hopefuls hit the stage the tent was already packed. Compared with the preceding ANIMA, things picked up quite a bit in the speed department. The godly snare sound – trademark: tin drum – fitted the pretty old-school sound really well. On and off stage all hell broke loose, the band was extremely active and left the impression of a well-rehearsed, tight unit. Seriously, there are very few German bands in this genre that could even remotely compete with the precision and power of LAY DOWN ROTTEN. This is simply where the years of experience show. The band just played one brutal yet melodic killer after another in a very professional fashion while the audience seemed to consist exclusively of wildly headbanging fans. Singer Jost's question if the audience was with them was more rhetoric than anything, as hundreds of horns and loud screams were the fitting – and expected – response. And when the Carcass cover 'Heartwork' followed, the tent definitely went bonkers. 'House Of Insanity' was a sneak preview of the next album, starting slowly and harmonically, but quickly picking up speed. A very catchy song with loads of melody and guitar leads, which could easily have been penned by Bolt Thrower. It was quite obvious that the band was having a great time on stage, as they even played a bit of the famous 'Doug And Carrie' theme from 'King Of Queens'. Cult-like!


22.00 (PT) THE ROTTED
Things got even more extreme with the UK's THE ROTTED, who provided perfect food for all friends of the violent and the brutal. Fierce, aggressive and highly motivated, the rowdies presented a mixture of grind, death metal, black metal, punk and hardcore. By now the band seems to draw from every extreme music genre, creating an original blend, where there's also room for some melody. Led by singer Ben – wearing a hat tonight – the band filled the stage like a horde of wild animals. The whole band semed highly motivated, thanks in big part to the raging mob in the front rows. You can make what you will of their name change, not only are THE ROTTED still extreme in every aspect, they are also a damn fine live band. If you missed this, you can check them out on their tour in September.

Hail of Bullets

23.05 (PT) HAIL OF BULLETS
Although Holland's HAIL OF BULLETS had only just released their debut album in mid May, they are by no means new to the scene. Actually, quite the opposite! Their entire line-up consists of veterans of Euro death metal, especially the former Pestilence and Asphyx vocalist Martin van Drunen. Not only the massive crowd in the tent, but also the band itself were obviously eager to get things going, as they launched into their set even before their programmed stage time. Just before 11pm the intro started, and what followed was a master class in old school death metal. It could be argued that in this genre everything has been done, but it is obviously possible to make a great recipe using known ingredients. With a perfectly rehearsed band, whose backbone was clearly the mighty Ed Warby from GOREFEST on the drums, van Drunen led through the show in perfectly pronounced German. The band kept every promise made on CD. And it has to be said, the audience was literally at their feet, even though the band didn't use any kind of gimmicks (costumes, effects and the likes), not even a backdrop! 'Ordered Eastward' ended the show much too soon.


Born from Pain

00.15 (PT) BORN FROM PAIN
HAIL OF BULLETS passed the torch directly to their fellow countrymen BORN FROM PAIN, who had Captain Jack Sparrow – and the music from 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' – introduce their set before they started with 'Relentless', and the title said it all. Although in a different stylistic niche, the crowd's response to the band's hardcore-infested metal sound was equally euphoric, and the first few pits started to form. 'Here Lies Civilization', an older song from the 'Sands Of Time' album, followed, being greeted with the same enthusiasm. In the audience things became a lot more violent than during the preceeding band, which has the simple reason that hardcore fans express themselves differently from the average death metal fan. The tall bassist Rob Franssen walked the stage like a tiger and kept telling the audience that it doesn't matter if you are a metal, hardcore or whatever fan, as they play extreme music and people are supposed to enjoy it and have fun. The following 'Crusader', which was introduced with an explicit anti-war message, was one of the highlights of the show, and the gripping song achieved the desired effect, motivating the masses to give their all. Speaking of which: If headbanging was an olympic sport, the band members – despite their short hair – would have had to go to Beijing to get a medal for Holland! The bouncers were also in high demand, permanently picking up bodies from the top of the crowd, which also took the chance to celebrate a massive wall of death. 'State Of Mind' even gave the fans a preview of the new album. In a live situation BORN FROM PAIN are just killer!


Fleshcrawl

01.20 (PT) FLESHCRAWL
Last band on the first day were Southern Germany's 'flesh crowlers'. The crowd was still in an excellent mood and didn't want the day to end, demanding brutal death metal, which was promptly delivered by the band. Without any kind of warning in the form of an intro, the band started the attack pretty much in a blitzkrieg fashion. Despite the late hour the audience activated their last energy reserves and greeted tracks like 'As Blood Rains From The Sky' and 'Made Of Flesh' euphorically. The crowd surfers hadn't had enough either, keeping things interesting down in the pit. The band members made their hair rotate, providing some variation to the dominating high-speed material with mid-tempo tracks like 'Into The Fire Of Hell'. Stand-in drummer Thomas (Karkadan) played a great set, and hardly anyone should have noticed that the band wasn't playing with their usual line-up. Then it was all over and time to get some sleep to catch FUCK YOUR SHADOW FROM BEHIND on the Main Stage a few hours later.


Thursday 08/14/2008

Fuck your shadow from behind

13.00 (MS) FUCK YOUR SHADOW FROM BEHIND
More than punctually, namely at 12:55, the victorious six-pack from last evening was let loose on stage. The Würzburg band immediately covered the whole surface, as if they didn't know anyhting other than a huge stage. Considering the band's status there was already a respectable crowd waiting for them. Some of the attendees almost choked on their breakfast due to the brutal greeting, because no one had really expected this motley and chaotic bunch to sound this mean. Totally in control of the situation and the dimensions of the stage and audience, they unleashed such an extreme sound that already by song number two the first circle pit of the day had formed. Both singers growled and screamed their vocal cords bloody, and – due to the special occasion – the only long-haird member of the band even untied his hair, running around the stage like a maniac thanks to his wireless system, while his colleagues' movements were a bit limited by the leads. During „Verse Der Freiheit“ there was even a mighty wall of death, and it has to be said that the band really lived up to their role as festival openers.


All ends

13.25 (PS) ALL ENDS
While an atmospheric intro was playing, ALL ENDS gathered behind the stage to celebrate their very own pre-show ritual. Granted, it's something that many bands do, but probably not many bands at SUMMER BREEZE would sing Bon Jovi hits... Which should also make clear that, although the band hails from Gothenburg, they are not typical for that city. All eyes fell on the two ladies with the mics at first, who were clearly the focus of attention during the performance, being competently assisted by their black-clad musicians. They might not have invented the (musical) wheel, but the band has an obvious knack for catchy vocal lines, often sung in harmony, and a lot of groove. Thanks to the big Gelotte tattoo on one of the singers' back, it was quite obvious which one of them was the sister of the In Flames guitarist. After a rather cool reception from the already big crowd, the band warmed up visibly, winning over more and more listeners in the process. During the balladesque 'Just A Friend', the first few rows could even be seen clapping along. ALL ENDS smartly followed it up with their catchiest material, finishing with the title track off their debut EP 'Wasting Life'. It was a convincing show that must have gained them quite a few new fans. The debut will be out in September.


Emil Bulls

14.00 (MS) EMIL BULLS
None of the bands announced had caused as much discussion in the days prvious to the festival as the Bavarian five-piece. But some had definitely judged them too quickly, because firstly, the EMIL BULLS had already proved they were BREEZE-compatible on several occasions, and secondly, quite a few things have changed in the last few years. For instance, their long-time DJ left the band without being replaced, and the current album 'The Black Path' shows a significantly harder side of the band, without leaving singer Chris' characteristic catchy melodies aside. And it was precisely said album which was extensively featured throughout the set after the band entered the stage to the sounds of what was probably the coolest intro of the whole festival: Manowar's 'Kings Of Metal'. Four songs from the new album followed, during which the band members were constantly headbanging and running around on stage. Despite the short set they opted to play a cover, surprising the audience with a convincing version of the Megadeth classic 'Symphony Of Destruction'. The following song was probably the best-known of the band, namely 'Smells Like Rock'n'Roll' from their debut album. Band and audience were visibly enjoying each other, with which the group's third appearance at SUMMER BREEZE can be called a complete success.


Aborted

14.40 (PS) ABORTED
Not only was the sunshine quite intense, Belgium's ABORTED also gave their all to warm their fans up. Brutal death metal with technical refinement can be so beautiful. ABORTED simply know how to win over a crowd easily. Super fast blast beats, powerful grooves, staccato riffing and shredding solos paired with Svencho's brutal voice. Their times of extreme brutality may be over since 'Strychnine.213', but ABORTED are still a very extreme band, which they impressively proved at SUMMER BREEZE once more. The Belgians showed their best side led by frontman Svencho, who could bee seen jumping around the stage and up and down – the guy seems to have bones made of rubber. But his bandmates weren't any less active without neglecting their tight interplay. Obviously during the wall of death all hell broke loose. That was war!


Saltatio Mortis

15.20 (MS) SALTATIO MORTIS
For chartbreakers SALTATIO MORTIS it was an easy feat to draw a huge crowd to the main stage from the beginning of their set, which was quite amazing considering the early hour. As soon as the gleemen entered the stage they were greeted by thousands of clapping hands. No matter what song the bards played, the fans were always with them. The bouncers had a lot of work with crowdsurfers flying over the barrier every minute. The crowd sang along loudly to songs like 'Promoetheus', 'Varulfen' and 'Spielmannsschwur', providing the band with the extra kick. At least singer Alea went as far as saying that the audience was much better than the one at Wacken a few weeks earlier – which wasn't really big news. There isn’t really anything more to add to that. Even after SALTATIO MORTIS had left the stage and the first sounds of GRAVEWORM could be heard from the Pain Stage, a lot of medieval metal fans were still standing there, chanting their 'Wohohohoho' for their heroes.


Apophis

16.00 (PT) APOPHIS
On Thursday, proceedings on the tent stage didn't start until 16:00, but when they did it was all the more brutal. Replacing BLOOD RED THRONE, Aalen death metal veterans APOPHIS took the stage. Apparently the band itself were quite surprised about their short-term booking, because they only made it to Summer Breeze with one guitarist instead of two. Although it seemed quite unusual and strange at first, it progressively gained momentum as the situation shed a new light on the existing material. During the solos, the guitar was only accompanied by the bass. The action on stage was mainly provided by frontman Bernd while his cohorts concentrated on playing their parts and headbanging. Stage raps liks 'this next song is like the whole festival, an excess!' proved that it wasn't the band's first time. And the tent also visibly filled up during their set, so that set closer 'The End Of The Path' was played to a proper crowd.


Graveworm

16.10 (PS) GRAVEWORM
Things got a lot darker on the Pain Stage as GRAVEWORM drew all friends of darkness – admittedly under a blazing sun – to celebrate for 45 minutes. Their solid, melodic mix of black and gothic metal with massive riffs and strong keyboard parts was presented in the usual professional fashion. The band – as always in a great mood – just has a knack for captivating, bombastic metal anthems and high speed brutality. So all the ingredients for a great show were there, and with songs like 'Hateful Design', 'Bloodwork', 'The Day I Die' and 'Suicide Code' the band was on to a winner anyway. Just the wall of death seemed a bit out of place, but why not try something new, especially if we're talking about the SUMMER BREEZE crowd.


Drone

17.00 (PT) DRONE
After BORN FROM PAIN had already started their set with the soundtrack from 'Pirates of the Caribbean', Zelle’s DRONE chose exactly the same piece. However, they picked up the intro theme and carried on playing it themselves before blasting their first song into the tent. The band is often dismissed as a German version of Machine Head, but – original or not – at least regarding the stage presence and action, Robb Flynn & Co. could actually learn something from them, because the band really gave their all. The harmony vocals were not always clean, but the overall impression is what counts, and that was definitely two thumbs up, or rather one index finger and one little finger up! Since the band had only just left the studio the day before it wasn’t that surprising that they played a new song, namely 'This Is Africa', which was received very well despite being totally unknown. Introducing one song with the Rocky-anthem 'Eye Of The Tiger' – also played by themselves – was a very cool idea. One of the festivals first major surprises!


Soilwork

17.00 (MS) SOILWORK
SOILWORK’s gig started with a cool intro. A deep, low voice asked “Are you ready?”, which was obviously replied with a loud “YEAH!!!” in unison by the large crowd. Furthermore, the band was ironically introduced as the Vikings from Sweden. And the Vikings immediately kicked off with the opening track from their last album, captivating the audience. Especially frontman Björn Strid whipped up the crowd to the max, reaping a sea of horns, thunderous clapping and eventually a wall of death. The band’s performance was absolutely professional. The guitar work made jaws drop in the first rows and bassist Ola Fink made a few people smile with his – let’s call them “unusual” – contortions. Other than the fact they left out their first two albums, the selection of songs left nothing to be desired. The main focus was on newer material, but all the hit albums were represented.


The Wildhearts

17.55 (PS) THE WILDHEARTS
In the UK, punk’n’rollers THE WILDHEARTS have had chart entries for years and are an established rock act. In Germany, on the contrary, the band is mostly unknown. And it showed with the crowd, which, compared to GRAVEWORM, was much more passive and less numerous. However, those who were there and knew the band were all the more enthusiastic, hanging onto frontman Ginger’s every word. The finest rock’n’roll with a punk rock attitude and lots of creativity was on offer, and one of the Brits even sported the first mohican of the festival. The band was very active and outdid itself in terms of posing. Their material is so catchy that anyone could sing along to it even without knowing it. The Helmet cover “Unsung”, which is featured on the band’s current covers album, was a nice surprise. Anyone who saw the show was either reminded of the good old days or just plainly infected with the rock’n’roll virus. Anyway, at the end of the show, most people in the audience had a big grin on their faces.


Negura Bunget

18.00 (PT) NEGURA BUNGET
Romania’s NEGURA BUNGET are officially a three-piece, but for their SUMMER BREEZE show their line-up was boosted with another three members. In English, the band name means something like “misty forest”, and they were able to fit only four songs into their 30 minutes of stage time. Extremely dark black metal was on offer, which was clearly recognizable as such, but which had also significant differences from the band’s Norwegian peers. For instance, the band redefined the term “drum’n’bass” with the song “Norilor”, when the guitars were just left aside and an additional band member appeared armed with drums and percussion instruments to join them in their macabre overture. With just keyboards, percussion and bass the band created an oppressively dark atmosphere which sent shivers down the spines of the fans in attendance.


Arch Enemy

18.45 (MS) ARCH ENEMY
Many festivalgoers had been anxiously awaiting ARCH ENEMY, and the crowd facing the stage was accordingly pretty big. Frontwoman Angela Gossow greeted the audience with a growled “Hello Summer Breeze!”, which was followed by a best-of selection from their last three albums. Loads of hits such as “We Will Rise”, “Nemesis” and “Revolution Begins” were smashed into the crowd. Angela in her tight black suit was obviously the main eye-catcher. She replied to the numerous stupid shouts of “Ausziehen!” (“strip!”) from the audience by flashing her belly, making it clear that she doesn’t have a beer gut like most in the crowd, and also that she’s no stripper, but the singer in a metal band – touché, Madame! Being from Germany, she visibly enjoyed being able to do her stage raps in her native language again after being away on tour all the time. But the rest of the band was in just as good shape. The Amott brothers’ (Christopher and Michael) fingers raced over the fretboards like possessed, and the rhythm section provided a massive foundation. The crowd showed their appreciation with very enthusiastic reactions.


Kissin Dynamite

19.00 (PT) KISSIN DYNAMITE
Swabia’s KISSIN DYNAMITE are true newcomer rockers, who obviously have known from a very young age how to present themselves on stage. They are probably not even above legal drinking age, but their roots are obviously in 80s hard/sleaze rock. With their puffed-up hair and fitting outfits they went straight for the throat. Theirs are straight-ahead rock songs with huge potential to become hits, not unlike Mötley Crüe or Guns’n Roses. The crowd wasn’t huge, but didn’t stop partying all the way through their set. Especially the girls, who were not much younger than the band members themselves, were hanging on the singer’s every word. There was a special guest appearance by some masked guy dressed like a woman. But the band knew how to pose too, showing the audience the way it’s been done since the 80s – no cliché was left ignored. If these kids keep rocking this way, the tent is going to be much fuller next time around!


Behemoth

19.50 (PS) BEHEMOTH
Without a doubt, Poland’s BEHEMOTH have become one of the most important names in extreme metal within the last few years, which is not only due to some superb albums, but also because of their captivating live performance. And at Summer Breeze the band led by front warrior Nergal, all members wearing eerie make-up, was in top form. With the utmost precision the band blasted songs like “Slaves Shall Serve”, “At The Left Hand Ov God” and “The Apostasy” into the audience in almost majestic fashion. Seriously, by now BEHEMOTH are as powerful as Morbid Angel in their heyday, and that means something! Their multi-faceted anthems, which always change between black and death metal, always had the desired effect. Especially the outstanding drumming of the master Inferno must have made jaws drop throughout the crowd. During “Chant For Eschaton” Nergal put his mask on, further underlining the band’s occult character.


Ahab

20.00 (PT) AHAB
It was already quite dark in the tent when AHAB entered the stage at evening news time, but total darkness seemed to engulf the crowd after the first few chords of their apocalyptic funeral doom. Massive riffs, minimalist, almost imperceptible melodies, powerful drumming and abysmal growls combined with haunting clean vocals formed a sad, depressive, monumental wall of sound impregnated with a fatalist atmosphere. AHAB revelled in every single note of their epically long songs, the sound was as thick as honey, but bitter. The audience reacted in a surprisingly positive way to the rather unusual sounds on offer, with each dirge followed by frenetic applause. Musically, the audience was cast into a deep, dark abyss, only to rise again with a healed soul.


Paradise Lost

20.45 (MS) PARADISE LOST
Now it was time to bring the lost paradise back to SUMMER BREEZE, to celebrate dark melancholy far away from all clichés. Just like during their current tour, the first single off their latest album “In Requiem”, “The Enemy”, opened the show, and the Brits had the audience firmly in their grip. Experienced and confident, PARADISE LOST offered the usual image, which is how the band has been known for ages. Vocalist Nick Holmes underlined the words he was singing with discreet gestures, both guitarists headbanged like crazy while producing those inimitable riffs, and only bassist Edmondson seemed a bit static. Among others, the band played “Never For The Damned”, “No Celebration”, “Erased”, “Pity The Dasness”, “Enchantment”, “Requiem” and “Say Just Words”. Highlight of the show was surely “As I Die”, which was played rather early on in the set, and from then on it was no holds barred. Unfortunately, the excellent show was over way too soon, sadly without a single song from the genre-defining “Gothic” album. With a top-class repertoire, PARADISE LOST underlined once more why they belong to the absolute forerunners and pioneers of the scene.


Diablo Swing Orchester

21.00 (PT) DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA
After AHAB had shrouded the tent in the deepest dark, it was DIABLO SWING ORHCESTRA’s job to lighten things up a bit. The devils were inviting to a dance, and many fans were happy to oblige. From the beginning of their set, the Swedes made for a great atmosphere with their weird mix of rock/metal with soprano vocals that make your glasses crack, a swinging brass section and a cello. There couldn’t have been a starker contrast to the atmosphere just a few moments earlier. The band blended the most disparate influences such as jazz, Mexican music, rock, electronica, classical, metal and opera forming an absolutely crazy mix, with all the songs excellently arranged. During the whole show there was a relaxed atmosphere, on as much as off stage, making the band’s mission accomplished to perfection.


Primordial

21.50 (PS) PRIMORDIAL
The Irish flag draped over the bass rig, the mystical intro and the backdrop depicting an iconic deer head made it clear to everyone that one of the most exceptional bands was about to take the stage. It was pretty clear – and not only due to the huge crowd – that this was one of the day’s first headliners. Highly motivated and dressed in plain black, the band started their set with “Empire Falls”, and from the very first note the crowd was ready to follow every request of the charismatic frontman Alan Nemtheanga. There was loud singing along and clapping from the beginning of the set. Conductor, director and eyecatcher of the show was definitely the frontman, with his head covered with black and white make-up, albeit not the black metal way but more similar to a theatre mime. His gestures further underlined his actions, and his singing was full of passion. He was often seen standing in front of the drum riser, directing his rather stricken drummer. Despite the 50 minutes of stage time, only six songs were played, but it’s no wonder considering the epic/anthemic nature of the songs, and this evening some of them were played in even longer versions. Half of the tracks were from the current album “To The Nameless Dead”, with “As Rome Burns” being the show’s absolute climax. “The Coffin Ships”, from the 2005 album “The Gathering Wilderness”, and “Heathen Tribes” followed, and then it was all over. At the end of the show the frontman said thanks and told the surprised audience that today’s show almost had to be cancelled. Drummer Simon O’Laoghaire had obviously not considered that certain medication should better not be mixed with alcohol, as only thanks to the team of paramedics he was in a good enough condition to play in time for the show.


Onslaught

22.00 (PT) ONSLAUGHT
Stephen King already knew: Sometimes they come back. The flagship of British thrash was formed 25 years ago in Bristol. They are certainly one of the most influential European thrash bands of the 80s, and albums such as “Power From Hell”, “The Force” and especially “In Search Of Sanity” are genre milestones. They disbanded in 1991 and reformed approximately 15 years later, delivering a strong album with “Killing Peace”. Accordingly, their show at SUMMER BREEZE wasn’t exactly peaceful, as they took no prisoners in the tent with their pure, unadulterated thrash. Dressed in black as the style demands it, and despite having gained some weight since their early days, they cruised around the stage energetically and gave the crowd what it demanded: old school thrash metal. Words like “enthusiastim” and “excellent vocals” also have to be mentioned when talking about this band. One of the songs on offer was really “nomen est omen”: “Metal Forces”!


Helloween

22.45 (MS) HELLOWEEN
Close to 11pm the speed metal stalwarts from Hamburg, HELLOWEEN, took off. Despite having been in the business for almost 25 years, the legendary group led by guitarist Michael Weikath and singer/entertainer Andi Deris shows no signs of fatigue. The band more than lived up to their headliner status, thrilling the masses on the packed festival site. And they did it in style, offering quite a few specials as opposed to the more stripped-down Paradise Lost show. In front of the massive backdrop with the design of their current album “Gambling With The devil”, which took up the whole width of the stage, there was a 1.5 meter high bar, in the midst of which Dani Löble’s massive drum set had been placed. Probably not many had ever seen such a huge drum kit before, and the guy hit it like a maniac and sometimes even seemed as if he had more than the standard two arms everyone gets at birth. On the sides of the drum riser there was room for two raised platforms that were used by both guitarists and the bassist to pose every now and then. The show obviously commenced with the classic “Helloween” in its XL version, followed by “March Of Time” from the 1988 album “Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part 2”. After these two tracks, both of which are already over 20 years old, frontman Andi Deris announced the jump back to present times with “As Long As I Fall”, the hit single from their current album. Later Deris got rid of his leather jacket, changing it for a coat with red sequins and the fitting black top hat. Suddenly two additional eye-catchers grew on both sides of the drum kit in the form of massive, about 3 meter high pumpkins lit from the inside, that got a big applause from the audience. After an extensive medley the band left the stage for a moment, soon to return for the grand finale of “Future World” and “I Want Out”. After the show, there were smiling faces all around the audience.


Cephalic Carnage

23.00 (PT) CEPHALIC CARNAGE
Probably hardly anyone wanted to see both Helloween, who played simultaneously on the Main Stage, and CEPHALIC CARNAGE, and so the fans didn’t have a difficult choice to make. Both bands couldn’t have been more different. The Denver clan led by front screamer Lenzig Leal turned the crowd into a raging mob from the very first second. The band’s hyper chaotic yet highly technical grind death metal obviously went over really well, and Leal must have been quite surprised about the great response, as he filmed most of the show with his camera while “singing” at the same time. The band was visibly excited with this reaction and really went for it – not an easy feat considering the extremely intricate parts and the huge amount of breaks. It seemed almost incomprehensible how uninvolved and relaxed drummer John Merryman looked while playing these insane parts on his kit. The singer’s stage raps were in a league of their own (“The next song is about masturbation”, “Everybody headbang”, “We want to Kiffen with you”, etc.), and for the last song the band had thought of something special. After the question “Do you want some real Norwegian black metal? Do you want some real Norwegian black metal from Denver, Colorado?” all the band members came on stage in masks, the singer also with nail wristbands covering his whole forearms, to play an extremely evil track in black metal style before leaving the stage to TÝR.


End of Green

00.00 (metal.de booth) END OF GREEN –CD sale and signing session
In the night between August 14th and 15th there was a special event at the metal.de booth for the release of the new END OF GREEN CD. An hour before the band’s arrival there was already a respectable crowd waiting to purchase one of the packages consisting of the new album, a shirt and a ticket for the release show dubbed Sickfest. The first 100 copies of the vinyl edition strictly limited to 999 copies was also available for the first time. Exactly at midnight the dark rockers END OF GREEN stepped up to the booth to celebrate the release of the new killer album “The Sick’s Sense”. In the meantime the area had filled up even more, so the band was quite busy signing CDs. Only after 90 minutes the waves of fans receded, letting END OF GREEN and the people from metal.de breathe a sigh of relief.


Marduk

00.10 (PS) MARDUK
Fashion time with the black metal legends: If you ever forget your belt, you might as well use a massive chain. That’s not only functional, it also fits the corpsepaint and boots perfectly. MARDUK probably won’t conquer the catwalks of the world dressed like this, but on stage they had quite a dark image. Musically the Swedish black metal veterans weren’t taking any prisoners either, blasting through their set in a merciless, brutal fashion. Due to new vocalist Mortuus, who replaced original frontman Legion a while ago, the vibe of the show was a bit different, but not any less dark. Surprisingly, the band only played very few songs off the new album, concentrating on older material instead, covering almost their entire discography. In between songs, the band kept the grim atmosphere up with samples. The crowd was constantly headbanging as if there was no tomorrow. To crown a nearly perfect show there was a guest appearance by Primordial frontman Alan A. Nemtheanga.


Týr

00.15 (PT) TÝR
TÝR hail from the Faroe Islands, somewhere in between Scotland, Iceland and Scandinavia, which gives them a special standing in the pagan metal scene, as they bring influences of Nordic folk into their sound in their very own way. The band is really heavy, but melodic and catchy at the same time. There’s hardly any shrill screams in their songs, and they even smile on stage every now and then, which makes them really likeable. Visually, the guys with their naked bellies are a bit reminiscent of Amon Amarth, or maybe Amon’s younger brothers, because neither the bellies nor the beards really had Viking dimensions. During their set the tent was completely packed, and the audience provided loud chants in perfect stadium volume.


Cult of Luna

01.15 (PT) CULT OF LUNA
After the open air stages were finished for the day, there was another outstanding band to watch in the tent. If you had asked ten people for a description of the bands style after the show, chances are you would have had ten different answers. Diversity is definitely one of their strengths. After the band played the opening song “Following Betulas” – the last track on their current album “Eternal Kingdom” – only as a six-piece, with one of the guitarists in charge of the vocals, they were joined by their frontman for “Leave Me here” from the excellent “Salvation” album. The shouted vocals often offered a stark contrast to the rather quiet parts, and the sound spectrum was further widened by trumpets and synths. During the set the band developed an almost hypnotic power, and the closing “Ghost Trail” escalated to an intense climax, leaving most of the audience behind perplexed. Anyway, the band probably walked away with far more fans than they had before the show – but unfortunately they had no merch on sale.


Despised Icon

02.15 (PT) DESPISED ICON
Late at night, DESPISED ICON closed the Thursday proceedings. But the six-piece from Montreal (Canada) didn’t exactly give the die-hard fans a rest. The band blasted out their songs with an incredible level of energy and brutality. The bad members didn’t stand still for a single second, mistreating the ears of the audience partly with insane speed and crushing brutality. But this must have been what the crowd was waiting for, because mosh and circle pits got going immediately. The band, on the other hand, seemed to absorb this energy, turning it into more power. In the course of the set the show developed an almost frightening level of intensity. Technically the band was treading on highest level anyway. The two singers were growling, screaming and squeaking into the mics in turns and even found the time to get into the crowd and show off their impressive moves. Together with CEPHALIC CARNAGE, their current tour mates, DESPISED ICON were surely the most insane and one of the most brutal bands of the whole festival. Those who went to sleep earlier definitely missed a great show, but it’s their own fault!


Friday 08/15/2008

Dark Age

11.00 (PS) DARK AGE
It was impossible to tell if it was due to their good reputation or because of their enthusiastic performance, but there were a lot of people at the Pain Stage, especially considering it was the first band on at 11am and that it was pouring down with rain. Their modern death/dark metal went over great, and the five band members were visibly motivated and enthusiastic despite the adverse weather conditions. Especially the red-headed keyboardist seemed to be having fun as he threw t-shirts into the crowd. The melodic vocal parts weren’t always perfect, but hey, it was pretty much still at night, and the dedication was definitely there. The gripping mid tempo stomper “Suicide Crew” put an end to a great show, which could easily be described as a triumph for the band.


Heidevolk

11.30 (MS) HEIDEVOLK
The singer in HEIDEVOLK set the pace to the first song “Krijgsvolk” by beating on his raised shield with his sword. The band members were all dressed in loose, antique-looking shirts and equipped with authentic accessories like drinking horns. This is proof that the pagan/folk movement has also reached the Netherlands, where it is attractively interpreted. Neither the band on stage nor the masses of early risers in front of it let the cold, rainy weather spoil the fun they were having with each other. The band had come to SUMMER BREEZE with only one singer, as the second one couldn’t make it, but those unfamiliar with the band shouldn’t have noticed, and if they did, it shouldn’t have bothered them. During one of the songs on offer, the singer blew a horn. Thanks to the wireless systems the band members could move around the stage. For songs such as “Het Gelders Volkslied” the band was joined by violinist Irma, who also happily took part in the synchronized headbanging.


Midnattsol

12.05 (PS) MIDNATTSOL
Now it was time for bombastic, symphonic nordic folk metal. MIDANTTSOL came on stage to fight against the cold and humidity with their heart-warming sound. At least the male part of the audience must have felt the heat at the sight of the two blonde beauties, vocalist Carmen Elise Espenæs and bassist Birgit Öllbrunner. MIDNATTSOL used the services of session guitarist Fabian Pospiech (Respawn Inc./ R:I:P) as they hadn’t yet found a replacement for the departed Christian Hector. The gig started with “En Natt I Nord”, followed by “Open Your Eyes“, “Northern Light“, “Lament“, “River Of Virgin Soil“ and “Skogens Lengsel“, with the focus clearly on the current album “Nordlys”. The necessary punch was provided not only by the massive riffs, but also by an intensive use of the double kickdrums. Folk-tinged melodies were otherwise predominant. Carmen tiptoed over the stage to the sounds of the band, while the rest of the line-up headbanged in unison. One fan even managed to reach the stage, where he knelt down in front of Carmen and kissed her hand. And there’s still people who say metalheads are no gentlemen!


Inches of Blood

12.40 (MS) INCHES OF BLOOD
One of Canada’s hottest metal exports is certainly 3 INCHES OF BLOOD, whose turn it was now to heat up the shivering audience. As expected, the cult band managed to do so easily. The lumberjacks entered the stage waving flags and went straight for it. They offered a powerful mix of Mercyful Fate / King Diamond, Iron Maiden and old Metallica with the attitude of Manowar and a lot of trueness, authenticity and energy. No wonder there was a lot of movement in front of the stage, with fans young and old partying together. But there’s really nothing that can be done wrong with songs like the rocking “Trial Of Champions” or “Forest King”. The extremely heavy songs are crowned by beautiful twin leads, making it all sound fierce and innovative at the same time.


Schelmisch

13.15 (PS) SCHELMISH
SCHELMISH offered a mix of rock and medieval music, with the focus at SUMMER BREEZE clearly lying on the guitar-oriented rock songs. The bards were enthusiastically received by the waiting audience. They described themselves as “fat, ugly and antisocial”, but they’re not really that bad. During songs such as the celebrated “Das Moor” the fans were jumping up and down, and SCHELMISH were also constantly in motion. To general cheerfulness, Luzi das L. did some poledancing dressed only with a thong. The group showed itself in its usual, likeable stage presence. Highlights were the heavy “Wir Werden Sehen”, which was a bit reminiscent of Rammstein, and the Johnny Cash cover “Ring Of Fire”, which was loudly demanded and subsequently sung along by the crowd in a totally cult version.


Mad Sin

13.55 (MS) MAD SIN
With a big jump from medieval to psychobilly, MAD SIN entered the Main Stage and lit a fireworks display of punk rock, hardcore and rockabilly. Formed as far back as 1987, Berlin’s MAD SIN are among the real veterans of the genre, and they obviously had not only the experience, but also the power to captivate their fans and to make at least every second crowd audience member smile. And the fans obviously didn’t need to be asked twice for a dance. Especially contrabass player Valle’s performance was absolutely brilliant, showing that he is a true master in his field. Despite his big stature, the brawny frontman Koefte DeVille jumped around the stage like a young pony. Among the songs played were “Syndicate Deluxe”, “Nothing’s Alright” and “Point Of No Return”.


Megaherz

14.40 (PS) MEGAHERZ
It had been a long, long time since MEGAHERZ had last been seen on stage in this country; almost too long to be present in the heads of the fans. But whoever entertained these thoughts was soon taught otherwise at SUMMER BREEZE. MEGAHERZ are back in a form that probably no one had expected. It seems like the band drew strength from last years’ quarrels rather than break over them. The fans honoured the comeback with pretty effusive reactions and large numbers in attendance. One reason for this is probably the last album, which entered the German charts at number 31, the band’s highest chart entry ever. The new album was also the main focus of the show. Besides “Mann Von Welt”, “Fauler Zauber” and the title track of the new album, “Heuchler”, as many as three songs found their place in the quintet’s setlist and garnered loud applause from the audience. The club hit “Miststück” obviously couldn’t be left out either. MEGAHERZ are more than back, and the frenetic reactions were surely soothing for the band’s tortured souls. MEGAHERZ impressively underlined the fact that they can be counted on in the future, and the upcoming tour will probably see sold-out venues. Welcome back!


Korpiklaani

15.20 (MS) KORPIKLAANI
The flying has begun. KORPIKLAANI are something like heroes of the current metal scene, completely packing the area in front of the Main Stage pretty early on. Already during changeover there were some quiet KORPIKLAANI chants that slowly but surely built up to an awesome speaking choir to welcome the band. Visibly impressed by the formidable crowd, the Finns started with their mix of traditional folk and Finnish folk metal, playing classics as well as new songs, which were all equally applauded by the audience. In the course of the set more and more crowdsurfers went into the pit. The crowd was partying, dancing and loudly singing along, and after only a few songs there was already an atmosphere of merry drunkenness. KORPIKLAANI easily managed to leave their mark early in the afternoon, leaving behind an ecstatic crowd.


Enemy of the Sun

16.00 (PT) ENEMY OF THE SUN
ENEMY OF THE SUN is the new brainchild of Waldemar Sorychta (ex-Despair, Grip Inc., Voodoocult, etc.). Although lately Sorychta has mainly made a name for himself as a producer, ENEMY OF THE SUN is proof that he hasn’t forgotten a damn thing about playing music. The band’s riffs are razor sharp, and the stylistic direction leaves nothing to be desired. Deeply rooted in traditional thrash metal, yet enriched with modern, melodic elements, the songs sound varied and fresh. The Finnish singer, Joules Näveri, is also a great asset, his vocal spectrum covering everything from clean melodies to brutal shouts. Surprisingly, halfway through the set ex-Grip Inc. frontman Gus Chambers stepped on stage to perform the Grip Inc. tracks “Ostracized” and “Hostage To Heaven”. Not only because of this surprise the show was a great success, but it certainly helped.


Pro-Pain

16.10 (PS) PRO-PAIN
Their band name alone is obviously reason enough to place PRO-PAIN on the Pain Stage. And pain is literally what the New York band delivered, as many an attempted crowd surfing went painfully wrong. Even after 16 years of band history the band led by Gary Meskil hasn’t lost any of its intensity, driving the audience crazy. The group delivered an explosive mix of new songs and classics from the early days. Even a brand new, pretty melodic song titled “No End In Sight” from the upcoming album was played. PRO-PAIN proved that sometimes less is more as they presented their songs with full power despite the usual minimalist stage acting. “All For King George” was the show’s climax, and towards the end of the show there was even a short guest appearance by Grip Inc.’s Gus Chambers. Great show by this likeable band, another Friday highlight. It couldn’t even be noticed that long-time guitarist Eric Klinger had been replaced by Marshall Stephens. The PRO-PAIN machine chugged along as usual, proving that the band is a real authority in a live situation.


Exodus

17.00 (MS) EXODUS
Along with Destruction and Onslaught, Exodus formed the thrash triumvirate of the festival. And the veterans more than lived up to their reputation. From the first to the last minute, the Bay Area thrashers were firing on all cylinders, which shouldn’t really be surprising considering the amount of hits in their back catalogue. The setlist on offer was a well-balanced mix of old classics and new songs. One neckbreaker followed the next. The band played the songs in an experienced fashion and especially front animal Rob Dukes was raging like a berserker and demanding circle pit after circle pit from the crowd – who were happy to obligue. Other than that, he kept the stage raps short, as if saying “less talk, more rock!” The highlight of the show was definitely “Bonded By Blood”, which was euphorically received by the audience. Fans will probably be happy that the legendary “Bonded By Blood” album will be re-recorded and re-released. This show was a bit of a preview of the killer album we can expect!


XIV Dark Centuries

17.00 (PT) XIV DARK CENTURIES
14 centuries have passed since the Christianization of Thuringia, the band’s home state. In the eyes of the band, that’s when the dark centuries began, as it meant the end of the Germanic religions, which provide their thematic backdrop. Accordingly, the band appeared at SUMMER BREEZE in medieval linen clothing, complete with authentic little sacks and cutting tools. Musically, it was Germanic folklore wrapped in a pagan/black metal costume. The sound was altogether very epic, yet rough and dark, and it even provided for enough space for a flutist’s participation here and there. The crowd’s reaction was very positive as it even provided some backing choirs. All in all it was a successful show.


Eluveitie

17.55 (PS) ELUVEITIE
The wild bunch had already played SUMMER BREEZE last year to great reactions and was welcome into the label’s prominent roster only weeks later – just a coincidence? The band is dedicated to celtic folk combined with death and black metal, using all kinds of unusual instruments such as a mandola, a hurdy-gurdy, violins and different types of flutes. Especially the dreadlocked frontman Christian “Chrigel” Glanzmann showed a good command of the different instruments, constantly changing between them. His singing was equally varied, ranging from malevolent screams to brutal growls to clear singing. Some of the lyrics are written in Helvetic Gaelic, a dead language, and deal with subjects that were probably important to the old Celts. One of them, for example, translates into something like “Woman, bring me a beer!” Unlike most of their peers, ELUVEITIE’s (which in Gaelic means “I am a Helvetic”) image doesn’t seem contrived or excessively dark. Quite the contrary, as the band visibly had fun with the show. Violinist Meri and flutist Päde even went on stage barefoot, dancing frolicsomely, which came over well and had the band enjoy headliner treatment. No wonder, as the songs sounded absolutely modern despite the medieval touch, and had a high degree of catchiness.


Beloved Enemy

18.00 (PT) BELOVED ENEMY
Formed as recently as 2006, the band can already boast a few achievements. Essentially a gothic metal band, they always incorporate a few other things, such as a big dose of rock, and, judging by the crowd reactions, it is a good choice. Former FIDDLERS GREEN guitarist Peter Pathos was feeling visibly comfortable with his musical sidekick and frontman Ski-Ring. The latter is not only tattooed up to his hair, he also knows how to move the masses. The Germans, who many consider to be a better version of THE 69 EYES, had it easy with fans going off in front of the stage. Songs like “Fuck Me Back To Life” and “The Other Side” became highlights of the show. It looks like their debut album “Enemy Mine” was only the beginning. We will definitely hear fromt hem again!


As i lay dying

18.45 (MS) AS I LAY DYING
AS I LAY DYING were probably the only explicitly Christian band of the festival, but apparently their religious views were not a problem for the festival audience – and why should they have been? Anyway, the area facing the stage was already full long before the show started and the crowd was definitely hungry for the things to come. Early in the set the crowd started demanding a wall of death, but frontman Tim Lambesis made them wait until later, demanding circle pits in return. The crowd was raging incessantly. The band itself didn't stand still for a second either, but still played with the precision of a Swiss clock. They have a power that his hard to put into words, and the choice of songs didn't leave anything to be desired either. There were songs from all the periods of the band history, and pretty early in the set the band presented the über-hit “Forever”. But tracks like “Confined”, “Through Struggle” and “Nothing Left” weren't missing obviously. Later on the audience's wish was finally granted, with an impressive wall of death that could easily rival the one SOILWORK had a day earlier. A great show!


Sworn

19.00 (PT) SWORN
Norway's SWORN released their debut album “The Allevation“ last year, their style being what made the country infamous in the early 90s: frost-cold black metal. In the case of SWORN it was the rather melodic kind with a touch of folk, comparable to MÖRKER, WINDIR, LANDVAETTIR or MYRKGRAV. It was pretty dark in the tent anyway by the time the band started to spread its musical darkness on the audience. Their harsh, driving, yet still melodic sounds, the buzzsaw guitars, the changes between raging speed and stomping mid-tempo and the raspy screams made for the perfect atmosphere, and there were quite a few heads rotating in the audience. The closing, very varied and epic “The Beauty Of My Funeral” offered the whole spectrum of the band's style one last time. Horns up for a successful, entertaining trip to hell!


End of Green

19.50 (PS) END OF GREEN
About eight hours after the official release of their new smasher “The Sick's Sense” the band led by front icon Michelle Darkness had the honor to present it to a truly big audience. What could already be sensed the night before during the album sale and autograph session was multiplied on the big stage. Last year END OF GREEN had surprisingly replaced CREMATORY on the bill, which led to the area in front of the stage only filling up slowly. This year, on the other hand, it was packed way before show start, the fans eagerly awaiting the new material. In the dusk, the initial nerves were quickly shed. END OF GREEN were in absolute top form. The last few weeks with their stressful promotional activities were soon forgotten. END OF GREEN over SUMMER BREEZE – probably the best way to describe Michalle Darkness and his cohorts' appearance. And during the first few notes it already became clear that the band would have it easy. New songs like “Dead City Lights” and “Die Lover Die” were skillfully intertwined with the band's classics, being received with the same enthusiasm by the crowd. A highlight of the show was the fantastic “I Hate”. With this new album and show END OF GREEN have set another career milestone.


Rotten Sound

20.00 (PT) ROTTEN SOUND
Finland's ROTTEN SOUND were the first pure grindcore band to hit the festival stage. The band played their songs at an incredible speed, but always interspersed with dark slow-motion grooves. These dynamics are probably what makes this band so ultra brutal. The guitars were extremely tuned down, reminiscing of Swedish old-school death metal such as Entombed and Dismember. Besides a few classics, the band mainly concentrated on new material. Frontman Keijo Niinimaa delivered short explanations of the songs' lyrical content, which mostly dealt with several grievances and difficulties of daily life and society in general. Due to the short songs the setlist was rather long. The pretty full tent was testimony to the fact that the band is quite popular, and not only in their home country, where after all they reached position 22 in the charts. Over here ROTTEN SOUND are a hot underground insider's tip too.


Six feet under

20.45 (MS) SIX FEET UNDER
Florida's grand masters of death metal were doing the honor at SUMMER BREEZE for the second time already. The area in front of the stage was pretty full, and Chris Barnes, whose dreadlocks have already reached humungous proportions, greeted the audience with a friendly “Scream motherfuckers!”, and the crowd was happy to oblige. The band delivered a merciless best-of selection of their career, with surprisingly many songs from the first album on offer. The sound was massive as a wall and the groove spread implacably over the festival site. Barnes' voice is always something special. With surprising ease he delivered ultra deep growls, pig squeals and evil screams. The band was pretty motionless as usual. The band members almost didn't leave their spots and limited themselves to headbanging, which was a sight to behold in the case of Barnes. However, it looks a bit painful with that amount of hair. Early in the set the crowd started demanding the AC/DC cover “TNT”, but it was only played last. By that time the crowd went completely nuts, and their “hey, hey” shouts were even louder than the band itself.


Manegram

21.00 MÅNEGARM
MÅNEGARM were up next with their wild and original mix of death, black and pagan metal. The tent was completely packed and the audience went insane within minutes, even a metaller dressed as a sumo wrestler was seen headbanging. The Swedes had an easy game with their driving, heavy, yet always happy folk-tinged sounds. The powerful hymns sung in their native tongue with massive riffs, folk parts, a prominent violin, gravelly vocals and small acoustic intermezzi were gratefully received, and the band had true bursts of applause after each song. On stage, the band gave it all, moving around and posing a hell of a lot. Both their music and their performance made MÅNEGARM an absolute winner.


Kataklysm

21.50 (PS) KATAKLYSM
It is always fascinating to witness the magic the Canadians led by front giant Maurizio spread. As soon as they stepped on stage they had the Pain Stage firmly in the sweatbox of their extreme death metal hymns. And this although their airline had lost all their equipment including backdrop. With help from their colleagues in ELUVEITIE and ABORTED they could still play their show on schedule, and growler Maurizio had some energy built up that he discharged on the audience in the form of brutal growls. With their usual impressive stage presence the band ruled over the crowd. This evening's setlist was like a sweeping blow through the band's creative history, with a few suprises here and there. “Chronicles Of The Damned” from the hit album “Shadows And Dust” had actually never been played live before. One smasher followed the next, barely giving the crowd enough time to gasp for air. Again, the clear favorite was “Shadows And Dust”. KATAKLYSM absolutely laid waste to the festival and proved their live qualities, leaving an exhausted but exhilarated audience behind.


Shadow Reichenstein

22.00 (PT) SHADOW REICHENSTEIN
Horror punk is a rather underrepresented genre at SUMMER BREEZE, which has the positive effect that the few bands of this style that play the festival get a lot of attention. Part of the genre is the visual aspect, and these Texans obviously know that, judging by their martial uniforms including armbands. As a warm-up for their fulminant gig at SUMMER BREEZE, which included a gas mask, a spiked helmet and other props, the band had played a short UK tour, so they were quite relaxed when presenting the crowd with their take on horror punk, which they flavor with some extra elements from rock, hardcore and 80s new wave. It was nice to see that there is room for band like this at the festival and that the crowd is open-minded enough to accept them.


Subway to Sally

22.45 (MS) SUBWAY TO SALLY
Before even the first note was played, the crowd already had a massive party going, warming up their vocal cords. Most people were probably at the festival to see SUBWAY TO SALLY, and the simple logo backdrop was actually unnecessary – everyone must have known who were on next. Three of the protagonists entered the stage to huge applause, launching an a capella version of “Canticum Satanae”. Singer Eric Fish cut right to the chase with the rhetoric question: “We are hot for you – are you hot for us?” Besides the backdrop and the lower risers for the guitarist and bassist at each side of the drum kit the band largely let the music do the talking, only using a few visuals like pyro effects here and there. During one song, Fish was waving a pair of torches, using them as drumsticks and then sticking them to his mic stand. In addition to the many different instruments in use, it was the musicians' arduous stage acting that provided the entertainment. The singer could have taken it real easy, as the crowd was permanently singing along. During the last few songs like “Sag Dem Teufel” and “Sieben” the band gave their all. As expected, the show was the highlight of the day, and the band was absolutely convincing.


Textures

23.00 (PT) TEXTURES
Formed in 2003, TEXTURES had made it all the way from Holland to present their musical vision at SUMMER BREEZE, which is nothing but polyrhythmic metal madness. What is meant is extreme metal between death and thrash combined with pathos, ambient, exhilarating song structures and complex rhythms, the way Meshuggah also do it, albeit in a slightly different form. The basis for it all consists of massive riff walls and melodies in between harmony and dissonance. The intricate rhythms alternate with incidental blast beats and vocals which vary between shouts and wailing clear singing, yet the songs always retain a certain hit potential. TEXTURES delivered their brutal audio assaults and spherical soundscapes not only with high technical competence, but also with passion and full physical exertion. An amazing feat considering the level of technicality, even though not too many people had made their way into the tent, probably due to the high profile bands on the other stages. The setlist was comprised of “One Eye For A Thousand“, “Swandive“, “Storm Warning“, “Polars“, “Transgression“, “Stream Of Consciousness“, “The Sun's Architect“ and “Regenesis“.


ASP

00.10 (PS) ASP
Late in the evening ASP called for a dance at SUMMER BREEZE. Their electro-metal with strong gothic touch was ideal for this enterprise, and the area facing the stage was accordingly quite full. At the beginning the fans seemed a bit tired and reserved. The charismatic and energetic front giant, singer, songwriter and namesake ASP (Alexander Spreng) was highly motivated and mastered the dramatic performance with big gestures and penetrating vocals as he jumped up and down the stage and eventually captivated the audience with his wild appearance. A huge backdrop and a massive pyro show covered the visual aspect. At the end everyone was dancing and singing to the Anglo-German classics and club hits such as “Sing Child”, “Und Wir Tanzten” and “Ich Will Brennen”. A successful show by a band that convinced in all departments.


Hollenthon

00.15 (PT) HOLLENTHON
After their second album “With Vilest Of Worms To Dwell” (2001) it had been relatively silent in the HOLLENTHON camp. Late last year it finally transpired that the band was working on a new album titled “Opus Magnum”, which was released in May. The band's live appearances had therefore been rather seldom, which was possibly the reason why the tent was absolutely packed. Their classic/epic/death/black metal, a symbiosis between dark, powerful metal and classical elements, wa warmly received, as one could expect. Gloomy riffs, impressive choirs and opulent keyboard sounds delivered a threataening, mystical atmosphere the crowd was all too happy to dive into. Highlights of this energetic performance were the driving – you could almost call it a hit – “Once We Were Kings” and “Fire Upon The Blade”.


The vision bleak

01.15 (PT) THE VISION BLEAK
After Empyrium, mastermind Markus Stock started the band THE VISION BLEAK.They have already released three albums, this was their second appearance at SUMMER BREEZE; and they obviously enjoy a big popularity judging by the huge crowd in the tent. The stage decoration with it two sidedrops made a big impression. The core of the band appeared in elegant suits and ghostly make-up, while the rest of the band were dressed in everyday clothes. After a gloomy intro the band started with its dark rock, a mix between Fields Of the Nephilim and Type O Negative, and soon had the audience firmly in their grip. The powerful riffs were accompanied with eerie sound collages. Frontman Markus Stock's appearance was grand and somewhat reminiscent of Rammstein singer Till Lindemann. The audience, especially the front rows, showed a positive reaction, and the fact that most people knew the lyrics proved that they were real fans.


Jesus on Extasy

02.15 (PT) JESUS ON EXTASY
Despite the late hour, the BREEZE community still didn't have enough, which could be easily noticed with one look into the tent. JESUS ON EXTASY had a full house and enjoyed the crowd's undivided attention, which may have been due to the two charming ladies on stage. Yes, besides the two main men Dorian Devereaux and Chai Trippen, ex-Pain guitarist Alicia Vayne and Leandra's Ophelia Dax on keyboards were part of the show. Especially the latter was a real eyecatcher with her lascivious dancing and headbanging, but the band's gothic/industrial rock seemed like made for that kind of movements. Not uncommon with bands with a large electronic input, the bass was sequenced so there wasn't anyone on stage playing the four strings. It was quite surprising that, despite the favorable conditions, there was hardly any enthusiasm in the crowd. The front rows were obviously full of fans, but towards the back there was less and less movement when the band played their most popular songs such as “My Beloved Enemy”. Later on, the cute singer, who almost looked under age, announced an old-school track, which proved to have an even stronger electronic influence, and the crowd seemed to have been waiting for this, because things finally started moving a little more. But soon it was all over and a DJ stayed in charge for the following hour.

 


Saturday 08/16/2008

Debauchery

11.00 (PS) DEBAUCHERY
For Stuttgart's DEBAUCHERY, an appearance at SUMMER BREEZE is almost like a home match, which could easily be noticed by the respectably-sized crowd that had already gathered in front of the stage at such an early hour. The area between the stage and the sound desk was full of people, who looked surprisingly fit considering it was day four of the festival. Those who were still suffering from the consequences of last night's partying were definitely woken up by DEBAUCHERY with their brutally grooving death metal. Their low-tuned killer riffs and sadistic growls were quite reminiscent of the previosu day's Six Feet Under show. In the front rows there were many banging heads, and towards the back they were nodding in approval. Visually the bands red-stained faces and torsos were also a sight to behold. Unfortunately this time the popular strip dancer was missing.


Japanische Kampfhörspiele

11.30 (MS) JAPANISCHE KAMPFHÖRSPIELE
For ten years Krefeld's JAPANISCHE KAMPFHÖRSPIELE have been terrorizing the European grindcore scene. Their good underground reputation was also a plus at SUMMER BREEZE, as all fans who had been watching DEBAUCHERY moved to the Main Stage, and there was even further affluence of public. JAKA didn't need to be asked twice and delivered a grindcore massacre of the first degree. Ultra fast blast beats alternated with grueling grooves. At times it was highly technical and complex, at others direct and in your face. The eyecatcher was definitely the shouter with his pink-dyed hair and beard, who growled, spit and squealed the German lyrics into the mic. The fans in the front rows went completely mad and were even able to complete the frontman's announcements. A great show by a very special band, who thanked the audience nicely after it was over.


The old dead tree

12.05 (PS) THE OLD DEAD TREE
THE OLD DEAD TREE is a band that certainly captivates through its musical diversity and high quality. The Frenchmen's sound is somewhere in between melodic doom/death/gothic and progressive metal, with which they have created their very own niche in the metal universe. The band had no problem in replicating their very complex and highly emotional songs in a live situation under a bright sun. These wonderful, bitter-sweet melodies were a nice contrast to the preceding bands, Debauchery and Japanische Kampfhörspiele. The melancholic component of the dynamic songs was excellently transported by the band, which, together with singer Manuel's heart-rending voice, provided for many a goosebump moment despite the warm temperatures. Among others, the songs “Dive” from their current album, “The Water Fields”, “It Can't Be” and – the absolute über-song – “We Cry As One” were passionately interpreted.


Autumn

12.40 (MS) AUTUMN
Holland's AUTUMN had recently had to cope with a fundamental line-up change. Unfortunately, singer Nienke de Jong had to leave the band for health reasons, being replaced by Marjan Welman. However, Marjan's standing with the band is so strong it seems she had always been part of it. Her powerful voice was absoultely convincing and her stageacting was secure and likeable. The band's take on gothic rock clearly differs from their peers', sounding much more fresh and straight. Here and there it was even reminiscent of “Mandylion”-era The Gathering. The instrumentalists mostly rocked straight ahead with striking riffs. As any good host would do, guitarist Jens van der Valk got rid of his tie towards the middle of the set, which means that his guests would have to do the same – at least there were no ties to be seen in the audience afterwards. Compared to JaKa, the crowd had visibly dwindled to a pretty small group of people. Most people were probably warming up the obligatory cans of ravioli for breakfast.


Hackneyed

13.15 (PS) HACKNEYED
Probably the youngest band of the festival, HACKNEYED had an easy time convincing the mostly older members of the audience. Despite the early hour, a huge crowd of people had gathered at the Pain Stage to welcome Germany's next generation of death metal upstarts. The band made use of this opportunity and fired the first warning shot into the audience in the form of “Axe Splatter”. When “Gut Candy” hit next, all doubters must have realized that the band's success is not only due to their young age. The boys played in such a professional and secure manner that it was made absolutely clear there was a serious death metal contender on stage, who will still make much noise in the future. Besides a selection of songs from their current album “Death Prevails”, HACKNEYED already had two new songs “Symphony Of The Damned” and “Finger On The Trigger”, ready for the SUMMER BREEZE audience. In the end, the band was rewarded with long-lasting chants of “HACKNEYED!”


Endstille

13.55 (MS) ENDSTILLE
Despite it being early afternoon, somehow the sky suddenly turned darker. ENDSTILLE had gathered a huge crowd in front of the Main Stage to shroud them in a dark vesture of black metal. The band led by frontman Iblis was frenetically welcomed as he started the show with a grim face, claiming the day's black metal throne from the very beginning. The following 40 minutes were a musical thunderstorm, which probably shook even the town of Dinkelsbühl a few kilometers away. Besides “The One I Hate” and the mandatory “Endstilles Reich”, the bulldozing “Navigator” marked the higlight of the set. The intensity with which ENDSTILLE' attacked Dinkelsbühl could be felt to the last man. A professional show which more than lived up to the status the band has reached.


Keep of Kalessin

14.40 (PS) KEEP OF KALESSIN
One of the hottest bands of the hour are probably Norway's KEEP OF KALESSIN, whose Nuclear Blast debut “Kolossus” made a huge impact on the scene and was widely praised in the press. At SUMMER BREEZE these hopefuls proved that they absolutely live up to the expectations. During the intro “Origin”, which was played from tape, band leader, songwriter and guitarist Obsidian C. joined in live, playing along to the soulful melody. Just like on record, the track gave way to “A New Empire's Birth”. The epic/monumental, diverse and powerful melodic black metal actually worked pretty well by daylight. Complex tracks such as “Crown Of The Kings”, “Many Are We” and “Come Damnation” (from the “Reclaim” EP) were delivered in a precise and sovereign manner. Obsidian C. slightly changed a few riffs and leads, spontaneously adorning them with small technical details of his virtuoso guitar work. Who needs a second guitarist?


Dismember

15.20 (MS) DISMEMBER
Swedish death pioneers DISMEMBER are always a true phenomenon. After a four-year hiatus and a twenty-year band history, the band led by Matti Kärki is again, or rather still, omnipresent, making the hearts of death metal fans everywhere beat faster in excitement. The same happened on this sunny festival afternoon. The well chosen songs came sounding rough and crisp through the PA. Technically flawless, the gentlemen on stage melded older songs such as “Sickening Art” from their debut “Like An Ever Flowing Stream” with current tracks like “Combat Fatigue” into an explosive concoction. Absolutely no one could escape the Swedes' spell, which slowly but surely reached every single mosher on the ground. After about 45 minutes it was all over, giving the security a breather after the insane numbers of bodies they pulled out of the crowd. Grandiose!


Agrypnie

16.00 (PT) AGRYPNIE
Probably quite a few festivalgoers had to struggle with the sleep disorder that this band chose for a monicker... A few days ago “Exit”, the sophomore album by avantgarde black metal band AGRYPNIE, had been released. What could possibly be better than presenting the brand new tracks to such a huge crowd? The tent was over half full when the first sounds of the intro started and Torsten “der Unhold” and his live crew entered the stage. The set started with “Und Führet Mich Nicht In Versuchung” from the debut album “F51.4”, which had been recorded still as a solo project. Compared to their first live shows, AGRYPNIE now sound tighter and more professional. The cold riffs combined with the charismatic screams and the intelligent, expressive German lyrics immediately created a great atmosphere with goosebumps included. The band was highly motivated and also the crowd was immediately into it, singing along verse by verse. Off “Exit”, the band played the tracks “Mauern” and the extra-long, incrdibly varied “Fenster Zum Hof”, which both enjoyed a great reception by the fans. Unfortunately, the band had to leave without an encore due to the time.


Neaera

16.10 (PS) NEAERA
Those who have seen this band live already know about the five-piece's superb live qualities and were able to mentally prepare for the impending wall of death. The destructive start came with “Spearheading The Spawn”, which was also a statement of intent – full power ahead, live without a net. Vocalist Benny Hilleke walked up and down the stage as usual and would probably have become a millionaire had he got kilometer allowance for this memorable gig. What followed was the biggest wall of death this festival had ever seen. During “Armamentarium” the frontman divided the horde into halves and the first tones were the starting shot. But that wasn't all. After “Let The Tempest Come” the band actually managed to create a circle pit that moved around the sound tower! NEAERA really made the audience move and accompanyed the proceedings with brutal salvos of metalcore. There's no way around this band nowadays.


Ensiferum

17.00 (MS) ENSIFERUM
Finland's ENSIFERUM had no problem in drawing a massive crowd to the Main Stage in the early evening. Dressed with kilts, with naked torsos and warpaint in their faces, the band started a boozy party with their folk-tinged melodies and pagan rhythms. No surprise then that besides loads of drinking horns there were also many crowdsurfers above the crowd's heads. At least the bouncers had a lot of work. The band proved that the wall of death is not exclusively for hardcore/metalcore concerts, as they initiated two during their set. The atmosphere was great, and the band was technically flawless. ENSIFERUM played the pagan metal hymns “Token Of Time”, “Lai Lai Hei”, “Battle Song” and many more. At the end the band even played a part of Iron Maiden's “The Trooper”. What was the title of the last ENSIFERUM album again? “Victory Songs”, which could also be used to describe their show.


NME.Mine

17.00 (PT) NME.MINE
NME.MINE are a rather exotic band for a pure metal festival like SUMMER BREEZE. The energetic show by the band from Biberach was top notch though, so it became a real success. After a quick soundcheck the boys started their thirty-minute set with a brand new song. Unfortunately the tent wasn't really full, but the band carried on unimpressed and played their arses off as if they were the headliners of the main stage. Again the eyecatcher was the colossal frontman Patrick, who earned a few smiles in the audience with his smart but not-too-serious stage raps and kept the crowd permanently motivated. Pretty soon a small pit formed, and the faces in the front row were like spellbound. The extremely agile frontman also displayed a great voice as he delivered brutal shouts with the same confidence as the more melodic parts. The eight songs forming the set were drawn in equal parts from older material from their last Roadrunner album “Life Without Water” and brand new tracks. A bold move, but it worked for the band, as the new songs captivated the audience just like the better known material. NME.MINE were definitely one of the festival's insider's tips, too bad most people didn't realize this.


Primal Fear

17.55 (PS) PRIMAL FEAR
Following was a concentrated power metal attack, and it was about time, as this style was quite underrepresented at this year's BREEZE. So it was just the right stuff for the hungry fans. The five-piece led by Mat Sinner and Ralf Scheepers came, saw and conquered. This power metal intermezzo was a welcome change from the dominant modern and death metal sounds. Mr. Scheepers used all the usual heavy metal clichés, often forming his guitar army around him for collective posing. An especially memorable moment was the great power ballad “Fighting The Darkness”, with almost the entire crowd singing along, providing for a real goosebump moment. Not less spectacular were classics such as “Nuclear Fire”, which provided a massive wall of sound. There was only one thing to observe about “Mr. Drum Himself”, Randy Black: Even though his kit looked like a castle, it was awesome to watch him brilliantly work this monster with a smile on his face and visibly loads of fun. The closing “Metal Is Forever” went straight ahead again, finishing the set in a great mood for all those involved.


Hacride

18.00 (PT) HACRIDE
Looking back in time, the last few years it was often French bands who unexpectedly caused the most excitement and dropped jaws. Just think of Gojira or Dagoba. From now on, HACRIDE can be added to that list. They presented an interesting and absolutely powerful mix of spherical and complex/brutal parts, which inevitably draw comparisons to Meshuggah, Strapping Young Lad and also Gojira. Added to the brilliant material on offer was an equally brilliant performance. Completely dressed in black, the band members sometime couldn't even be noticed in front of the backdrop of the same color, but they were extremely committed to their show. The most active member was the short-haired frontman Samuel, barking and shouting in front of his backing colleagues with one bass and (only) one guitar. In the course of their set they captivated more and more fans, and the show can be described as a total success. Among the exceptionally talented musicians it was especially drummer Olivier who mastered his intricate patterns with surprising ease and on top was responsible for triggering different sounds.


H-Blockx

18.45 (MS) H-BLOCKX
No one knew how the band led by frontman Henning would go over among all the metal bands. To cut right to the chase, it worked great! In a tornado of straw and saw dust the H-BLOCKX created a sound wall of old and new party smashers, which were thankfully received as a welcome relaxation for the ears. Even though it had been quiet in the Münster band's camp for a while, they hadn't forgotten a damn thing, knowing how to react in every situation. Thanks to their professionalism, even rather unknown songs from their current album “Open Letter To A Friend” went over great. As expected, it was the classic “Move” that got the masses really moving. All the way to the sound desk there was nothing but dancing. To keep the wave going, the band finished this rather unusual gig with two further hits, “Revolution” and “Risin' High” from their debut album. Considering the not-so-favorable circumstances it was a great show!


Misery Speaks

19.00 (PT) MISERY SPEAKS
Also hailing from Münster were MISERY SPEAKS, who delivered a total metalcore attack in the tent during the early evening. However, the “core” component can almost not be made out in their sound any more. The band has mutated into a pure death metal band, skillfully combining elements from the Scandinavian and American schools of this sound. Right after the first song the band had to sttruggle with some technical problems, so the bassist just grabbed a mic and grunted some backing vocals during the following song, while his techs solved the problem on his instrument. Soon enough the bass was back on, and the band was able to carry on with its full capacity. Over the rest of the set they moshed everything into the ground. By that time, the tent had filled up nicely and there was a good-sized circle pit going. The frontman kept firing up the audience so that, by the end of the set, everyone in the tent had headbanged at least once. Summing it up, the band could be really satisfied with their appearance.


Sonic Syndicate

19.50 (PS) SONIC SYNDICATE
Probably no other modern metal band has had such a steep rise as Sweden's sonic syndicate in the last few years. Out of nowhere, their Nuclear Blast debut made it to number 64 in the German album charts, and the soon-to-be-released successor “Love And Other Disasters” should be able to top that easily. Interest in the band could be sensed by the masses of fans impatiently waiting for show start at the Pain Stage. For the young band, these masses were morethan welcome, because their gig – as their frontman unnecessarily pointed out – was being filmed for a DVD release. The singer had the crowd firmly in his grip fro the get-go, effortlessly getting them to participate in the required “DVD” chants and to wave their arms. But it would have been hard not to fall for the band's energetic show; even though the Pain Stage was almost too small for the number of musicians, they happily delivered their choreographed show, which included switching sides and jumping in synchronicity. Even the cute bassist Karin took part in the intense headbanging along with her male colleagues. The advance single “Jack Of Diamonds” granted a neak peak into the new material, getting an equally euphoric reception as the rest of the songs. What looked quite bizarre was the throwing of straw bushels within the audience, which seemed like a lot of fun.


Misanthrope

20.00 (PT) MISANTHROPE
Formed as early as 1988, France's MISANTHROPE are a real insider's tip in the scene, which may have to do with the fact that this was their first gig in Germany ever. Their original mix of progressive melodic death metal and a strong hard rock influnce, which also included hints of jazz and especially classical, gained an almost shocked reception at times. The multi-layerd, almost too diverse music with its hundreds of breaks also included melodic, “widdly” leads and sequenced keyboards. MISANTHROPE played their intricate songs with technical precision and were one of the festival's loudest bands – at least in the tent. The Frenchmen were always moving, seemed very motivated and created a rather bizarre, very special atmosphere.


Heaven shall burn

20.45 (MS) HEAVEN SHALL BURN
It was HEAVEN SHALL BURN's third time at SUMMER BREEZE already, with their position in the bill moving up from year to year. Now they were actually co-headliners on the main stage. The band's development over the last few years has been just amazing. For the first time they had an impressive, slightly more elaborate stage set which included four illuminated posts and a huge backdrop. Uniformed in scarlet shirts and black trousers, the band entered the stage and started right away with the opener of their current album “Endzeit”. The crowd, covering the whole area in front of the stage, started raging from the very first note. Marcus Bischoff, HSB's likeable frontman, fired up the audience even more when he announced that the show was being filmed for a DVD. Early on the crowd started to demand a wall of death, and Bischoff didn't have to be asked twice. What ensued was the largest wall of death this festival has ever seen... and it wasn't the only one! The crowd blindly followed Bischoff's instructions. The festival site quaked when the whole crowd started jumping up and down, and later Bischoff changed the rules of the wall of death, instructing the audience to go back right after the first wall and form another one. The game was carried out throughout the whole song “Voice Of The Voiceless”. In a humble manner and visibly impressed, Bischoff thanked the audience, telling them this show was a dream come true for him. The regular set ended with the Edge Of sanity cover “Black Tears”, but the band obviously returned for an encore. Of the whole festival, this was definitely the highlight in terms of audience reactions. Those who missed it should definitely watch out for the Thuringians' upcoming DVD.


Novembre

21.00 (PT) NOVEMBRE
After MISANTHROPE things got a lot more straight-forward with Italy's dark metallers NOVEMBRE. The band is guarantee for an ambitious, highly atmospheric, dynamic and progressive mix of dark, doom and gothic metal, which they demonstrated on their last album “The Blue”, which enjoyed a great reception from press and fans. In the tent, NOVEMBRE presented themselves as true grand masters of their genre, delivering a musical and emotional rollercoster ride. From loud, raging outbursts to quiet, depressive abysses, they covered the whole spectrum of the dark side of existence. The diverse, highly melodic yet extremely heavy compositions were euphorically received by the audience. In the front rows it was headbanging galore, and each song gained lots of applause. Especially singer Carmelo Orlando's varied, emotional vocals, which alternated between a clean wail and dark growl, were extremely captivating and really touched the soul. A bitter-sweet trip in a still young and definitely eventful night.


Destruction

21.50 (PS) DESTRUCTION
After the main stage had its first headliner of the day, the Pain Stage followed suit. And the German thrash institution DESTRUCTION really pulled all the stops to live up to this status, from the stage set (huge backdrop and sidedrops with matching design) to various pyro effects (explosions, columns of fire, rain of sparks, etc.). But cult icon Schmier and his cohorts also lit a musical fireworks display and a tour de force through all the highlights of their 25-year career. After “Nailed To The Cross” there was a further climax when the Mad Butcher came on stage in the flesh. Obviously well-known from several of their album covers, the character wasn't on his own, as he dragged three lightly (or rather hardly) dressed female victims on stage. Two of them were in chains and the other he effortlessly carried over his shoulder. That's when the thrash maniacs in the audience really went insane, although the crowd reactions were obviously no match for the preceding HEAVEN SHALL BURN on the main stage. Also very cool was the singer's statement against sectarianism in metal, which was followed accordingly by “United By Hatred”.


Mustasch

22.00 (PT) MUSTASCH
The rough heavy rockers were one of the festival's many susprises. Not really groundbreaking in musical terms, they managed to convince due to a passionate performance and especially their super cool singer Ralf Gyllenhammar, who obviously knew how to rock a crowd. He charmingly flirted with the audience using his rudimentary German, almost reaching the level of the current king of stage raps, the vocalist in CEPHALIC CARNAGE. Highlights were sentences like “Alles gut? Alles klar? AUTOBAHN!” and “Supperrock aus Schweden! MUSTASCH! Wir lieben Dir!”. The crowd completely surrendered to the band, and in retrospect it's not surprising at all that in their home country they are regularly at the top of the charts. Even age-old crowd participation games like the repeating of a “Lalala”-melody sung by the frontman worked great. He really pushed the audience to the limit, but demanded even more enthusiasm with the words “Sehr gut, aber Sie kannst Du ja besser!” A total triumph which will probably repeat itself on their forthcoming tour in the fall.


Cradle of Flith

22.45 (MS) CRADLE OF FILTH
After HEAVEN SHALL BURN's fulminant show it was obviously going to be hard for the actual headliners to top it. To go straight to the point: they didn't. However, the band put an honorable and headliner-worthy end to the proceedings on the Main Stage. Besides the massive backdrop it was especially noticeable that there weren't any amps on stage. These had been placed at the sides of the stages to allow more room. At both sides of the drums there were risers which were used by the female keyboardist / backing singer during her sporadic appearances. After a mystic intro, Dani Filth and his cohorts entered the stage, dressed in black leather and wearing pale make-up.”Dringe Inferno” was the fulminant set opener. What followed was a diverse best-of set covering the whole band history. Both newer material such as “Nymphetamine” and stuff like “The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh” from the debut album were played. In between, songs like “Dusk And Her Embrace”, “Her Ghost In The Fog”, “Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids” and “From The Cradle To Enslave”. The sound was absolutely flawless, and so were the band's technical abilities and Dani's nearly inhuman voice. After the regular set had finished the band came back for a couple fo encores. Then the show was over, but the band could actually have played for another 10 minutes according to schedule. A pity considering many fans would probably have liked to celebrate their heroes for a bit longer.


Jack Frost

23.00 (PT) JACK FROST
A snowman (which is what the band name means) on a summer festival? Not only in the band name department the guys from Linz are an exception to the rule. Austria's doom rockers got up on stage during the best part of the partial moon eclipse, delivering an eerily beautiful melancholic metal attack. Shrouded in thick fog, they grooved through their set, unimpressed by sporadic technical problems in the form of a broken snare. They presented a well-balanced mix of well-known, older hits such as “Mother Mary Sleeps With Me” and a few tracks from their soon-to-be-released “My Own Private Hell” album. In a week from now they are going to be back in the area, namely at the Sickfest, End Of Green's record release party. That's why frontman Phred Phinster said goodbye to the fans with the imperative “See you next week!”


Anathema

00.10 (PS) ANATHEMA
Over the last few years, the last band band to play the Pain Stage was usually of the more quiet and melancholic kind – remember the unforgettable shows by My Dying Bride and Katatonia – and the UK's ANATHEMA followed the same pattern. ANATHEMA is a band that had been on the festival's wish list for years, and so they delivered a memorable show, but maybe not exactly what the fans had expected. The band led by the Cavanagh brothers presented their more relaxed/funny side, constantly joking with each other to the point of imitating fart sounds! Their shows didn't seem to be well thought-through either, as there didn't seem to be a defined setlist, with the band deciding in between songs what to play next. The most intense song on offer was “A Natural Disaster”, where the band was joined by a female singer who caused waves of goosebumps with her voice. There were also a few sympathetic remarks made towards the crowd, who had had to endure four days of camping, and generally speaking hardly anything was the way one would have expected from this band. But this didn't stem only from the band, as the bouncers played their part as well. Obviously underchallenged during the quiet moments, some of the guys with the red shirts went into the crowd and started crowdsurfing to be pulled back behind the barrier by their colleagues. And after Danny Cavanagh's invitation to clap along didn't quite work out, the bouncers were suddenly standing on the barrier forming a commanding clapping front, which was actually obeyed all the way back to the FOH. Visibly impressed, frontman Vincent had obviously never seen anything like it and made a point of thanking the security crew after the show. Then, during the last song, the Pink Floyd cover “Comfortably Numb”, the most bizarre meeting of the festival happened. Destruction's Mad Butcher came back on stage wielding his axe and had a dance duell with the Anathema singer. They moved around as if in a well-choreographed swordplay scene, Cavanagh did some high kicks and pranced around the Butcher, who in turn delivered an accomplished robot breakdance – completely UNBELIEVABLE! Only at SUMMER BREEZE!!!


Dark Fortress

00.15 (PT) DARK FORTRESS
The night had got quite cold in the meantime, there was at least a partial moon eclipse, and it was well past the witching hour. Ideal conditions for grim black metal! With a slight delay DARK FORTRESS stepped in front of the anxiously awaiting fans to close the tent stage. Precise like a Swiss clock and with an incredible energy the band from Landshut hammered their ice-cold, captivating songs into the crowd. Their varied, anthemic songs alternated between total speed and driving mid-tempo. Despite all heaviness and brutality, however, there was always enough room for loads of chilling melodies, yet the songs didn't lose any of their power. New singer Morean has a strong, dark, charismatic voice. Along with the rest of the band he delivered an energetic performance, making his predecessor Azathoth forgotten all too soon. Lots of fog and only green, blue and white light further underlined the cold, grim, nightmarish atmosphere. The use of recorded intermezzi in between song kept the tension up at all times. Definitely a worthy closure!


haut de page