Retrospective 2012

Wednesday, 08/15/2012

Thursday, 08/16/2012

Friday, 08/17/2012

Saturday, 08/18/2012

(MS) = Main Stage (PS) = Pain Stage (PZ) = Party Stage (CS) = Camel Stage

Wednesday, 08/15/2012

Year in, year out, there is one institution that can't be missing from the Summer Breeze inauguration. Conducted by Herr Harich Günther, the local marching band Musikverein Illenschwang once again had the honour to kick off the festival in its 15th installment. It was a question of honour to have a big audience on this extremely hot Wednesday, so Herr Günther had an easy task in getting the people going. Right from the start there were circle pits, which again and again got into position for a wall of death (!). There was also a conga line every once in a while, giving the folksy sideshow an adequate framework. For an hour Musikverein Illenschwang had the audience on their side and even did some requests. In addition to their usual professionalism, this time the band even had merch available. Way to finance the next garden party. Prost!

Under blue skies and 30° centigrade, the Munich death metal combo ARSIRIUS had the honour to open the NEW BLOOD AWARD. While surprisingly many party-hungry metalheads had found their way to the Party Tent to attend this grand opening, ARSIRIUS gave their best to impress both audience and jury. Brutal screams greeted the masses, and the opener “Arcanum” was already full power ahead. The crowd didn't have to be asked twice, starting to mosh straight away and forming the first cicle pit soon enough. Alternating driving mid-tempo mosh parts and riffs that were equally as compact as they were complex, the quintet got a head start, and the 25 minutes of stage time seemed like seconds. At the end there were even calls for an encore, which couldn't be fulfilled out of respect for the other participating bands. All in all it was a great start for this awesome contest.

WITHOUT WORDS were the youngest participants who had made it into the NEW BLOOD AWARD finale this year, but they didn't let it show at any second. From the opening track “Deny Me” they presented professional metalcore a la CALIBAN. Swedish riffs, screams alternating with clean vocals and brutal breaks invited the crowd to mosh. In the meantime the number of metalheads in attendance had grown noticeably, people were jumping, moshing and headbanging, and the melodic trade-offs between the two guitarists were met with approval. In accordance with the band tradition, the song “Circle Of Pain” was accompanied with a huge circle pit, and when the band asked for a wall of death during “Symptoms Of Suffocation”, there were no holds barred. The band was also seen off with calls for an encore after six very strong songs, and the band members took many grateful bows. There is definitely a huge potential in this band, so let's see what the future brings for WITHOUT WORDS.

A 16-hour journey in a broken van and loads of sweat were what the fancy lady and her four cohorts had to endure en route to SUMMER BREEZE before their first song “Vestiez” poured out of the PA at the late afternoon. The following 25 minutes were equally unconventional as sometimes disturbing. Vocalist Zofia had wrapped her arms in bands of white cloth like a mummy and emanated a fascinating, inimitable stage presence. Words can hardly describe the music of OBSCURE SPHINX, ranking somewhere in between hipnotic sound fragments, which Zofia conjured from her sampling machine, ultra heavy, NEUROSIS-style riffs and apocalyptic vocals. Warsaw's OBSCURE SPHINX delved into a dark musical parallel universe, dragging the audience along in spite the glaring sun. Despite – or maybe even because of – the minimalistic sound fragments, the band was present at all times, and it quickly became clear the Poles were strong contenders for the NEW BLOOD AWARD. No wonder there were people calling for an enconre all the way to the back of the crowd after the set, which consisted of only two overlong songs.

17.30 (PZ) AMOEBA
After OBSCURE SPHINX it was time for some contrast. France's AMOEBA went fo it, leaving little doubt about their technical abilities. The sound was brutal and singer Lucas dove into vocal depths that were hard to top in terms of sheer intensity. Their high-level deathcore filled the tent quickly, and the first circle pit was rotating pretty soon. Visibly inspired by the crowd reactions, the singer drove his three bandmates to a top performance. Especially bassist Simon, who after a short warm-up phase started to shred the bass at breakneck speed, formed a massive rhythm wall alongside drummer Louis, which came crashing down on the audience. “In your face” seemed to be the youngsters' motto, but never losing control of their instruments or the audience. Up to the last minute AMOEBA's soundstorm ruled the place, giving the crowd little to no breaks to take a breath. So it was hardly surprising the four-piece left behind an exhausted yet satisfied audience after their 25-minute show. Great gig by a very young band – definitely not their last in front of a big audience.

After AMOEBA packed a brutal death metal punch, playing a STRATOVARIUS CD during changeover came close to grievous bodily harm, but surprise: Romania's GOODBYE TO GRAVITY served an accomplished mix of modern and power metal, so it was an almost endearing transition. From the very first second it was clear the musicians at work were experienced professionals. All of them very tight on their instruments, they moved a lot on stage, and singer Andrei Galut's poses as well as his vocal lines were nothing but perfect. This is the guy who won Romania's casting show Megastar in 2008! Before they closed the show with “Between The Tides” there was a big scrap for the shirts the band threw into the crowd. Seems like people liked what they saw!

This band definitely deserved the prize for the most creative intro of the day. With music in the style of American TV series in the background, a voice proclaimed: “In today's episode, BUFFET OF FATE play the legendary SUMMER BREEZE festival. Let's see if the Party Tent can live up to its name. Find out for yourselves with BUFFET OF FATE!” And then it was too late for regrets, for the Hessians came, saw and conquered. All five musicians were in an extremely good mood and totally motivated, as well as enthusiastic and tight – no other NEW BLOOD AWARD band had a better start. Maybe they overdid it a tad with their assistant in a skimpy attire and their water balloons, but all in all it was a convincing set!

The first band outside of the NEW BLOOD AWARD contest and openers of the Nuclear Blast Label Night had been eagerly awaited by the ever-growing crowd in the tent. Already during the announcement of OBSCURE SPHINX as winners of the NEW BLOOD AWARD people were chanting MUNICIPAL WASTE. Understandable as well, because who would fit better in the Party Tent than a band with the reputation of a hard-partying fun troup? Exactly, nobody. No wonder it was full speed ahead during the following hour. Visibly excited and with a clear, powerful sound, the Americans churned out punk-infused Bay Area thrash that put the tent in constant mosh mode. The crowd didn't need to be asked twice and totally got into the band from the first second. So it happened that a few people lost their shoes in the circle pit, and singer Tony “Guardrail” Foresta could be seen crowdsurfing on a huge airbed. Definitely a nice prelude to the rest of the evening.

Prominence with no reticence. During the quartet's five fulminant sets there were probably quite a few people in the audience rubbing their eyes going “Hang on, isn't that...?” And yes, there were quite a few famous faces on stage, in the first place obviously frontman R.D. Liapakis from MYSTIC PROPHECY. But also beside and behind him there were “name” musicians such as Jörg Michael (ex-STRATOVARIUS) on drums and Jari Kainulainen (ex-STRATOVARIUS) on bass, and from a technical point of view the guitarist was definitely on the same level. So they obviously had a lot going for themselves (how cool was the orange acrylic drum kit please? Bonham anyone?) and the skimpily dressed ladies on their platforms left and right of the stage wouldn't really have been necessary – but they surely didn't annoy anyone! Finest heavy / sleaze rock with various cool cover tunes (see setlist) invited to go on board when the DEVIL'S TRAIN made its next stop!

21.20 (PZ) BULLET
Around 21:00 the tent was pretty full as BULLET, the first classic heavy metal band of the evening, were next on. The five Swedes, who have been a guarantee for party atmosphere on Europe's festival stages for ten years now, played many classics beside the material from their latest album “Highway Pirates”, pleasing everyone in the crowd. They kicked off the set with “Full Pull”, with Meister Hell giving it all from the very first minute. People kept singing along to songs like “Back On The Road”, “Heading For The Top” and the classic “Dusk Till Dawn”, for an hour heads were banging nonstop and – due to the boiling temperatures – there were a few beer showers to be seen.Traditionally dressed in tube jeans and leather jackets, Erik and Hampus traded off their solos shoulder by shoulder, while drummer Gustav gave his best. The raised fists in the crowd were an impressive sight to behold, and obviously everyone ended up demanding an encore. The guys didn't have to be asked twice, ending the set with three more diamonds; “Stay Wild”, “Rebels Return” and “Bite The Bullet”. During the encore Hell wore his obligatory red coat, prancing around the stage until the end. After many bows and thank-yous the show was irrevocably over, even though the crowd were still asking for more. You demanded heavy metal, and BULLET delivered as always. Fantastic show!

22.40 (PZ) RAGE
Herne's RAGE, one of Germany's true metal institutions, are always welcome at SUMMER BREEZE. So it was no wonder the band led by frontman Peavy drew a massive crowd to the Party Tent to rock out to their classic, powerful heavy metal. As always, RAGE were visibly enjoying themselves, in the first place the likeable Peavy, always with a smile on his face, as well as the mighty 6-string virtuoso Victor Smolski. From the first second there was euphoria in the air, the three veterans managed effortlessly to create a fireworks display of power metal, and the fans enjoyed every note to the fullest. The trio played super tight, proving once more that it is possible to have fun playing despite being a pro, and the fun the band were having was transmitted to the motley crowd, makig the tent totally live up to its name. Especially during those moments when the band dug deep in the vaults to play old classics such as “Refuge” the atmosphere both on stage and off was the best. Once again the experienced veterans convinced with their enthusiasm, charm and prefectly executed high-class heavy metal. Until next time!

00.00 (PZ) TANKARD
“This is far too late for us old farts” singer Gerre complained during his very first stage rap. But this didn't keep TANKARD from delivering an enthusiastic set which was entertaining as usual. No wonder there was a lot of action in the tent as the Hessian stage hog and his three sidekicks launched the “Zombie Attack” with their usual professionalism. Although his Weight-Watchers-induced dream body already presented a nice beer spoiler, Gerre impressed the crowd with his energetic stage acting, running around practically nonstop as if stung by a wasp. During the title track of their latest album “A Girl Called Cerveza” the band brought the dancer from the video out on stage as a special gimmick, who only lost the “fight” with the singer when he dragged her away by the (studded) belt. And since one beautiful girl is not enough for TANKARD, during the song “Freibier” thirty-two women were allowed to dance along on stage with a beer in their hands. These little show effects surely contributed to the entertainment factor, but the music would definitely have been enough in itself. TANKARD played an extremely tight show, which ended with the traditional “(Empty) Tankard”, leaving the crowd shouting for an encore, but in vain.

GRAVEWORM had only just parted ways with keyboardist and founding member Sabine Mair earlier in the year. Consequentially, they sounded much straighter and less playful than before. Brutality was the name of the game, and even though the crowd had thinned out a bit due to the late hour, the moshing got even fiercer. Frontman Stefan Fiori's call for a circle pit was pretty much superfluous, as the audience knew exactly what they had to do. Accompanied by a varied set of brilliantly executed black/death metal jewels, the fans gave their all. However, they couldn't silence the man with the mic. During grandiose pieces such as “The World Will Die” and “Abhorrence” Stefan Fiori really screamed his lungs out. And, as usual at a GRAVEWORM gig, the set ended with a brutal cover of a metal hit that is originally much more melodic. This time it was the turn of IRON MAIDEN's “Fear Of The Dark”, which acquired a completely different atmosphere with this process of brutalization.

02.25 (PZ) TASTERS
The last band of the Nuclear Blast Label Night was confronted with a difficult task. While GRAVEWORM had still managed to fill a good portion of the Party Tent, their fellow countrymen TASTERS had to fight with a dwindling crowd from the beginning of their set. Yet the Italians were far from discouraged. After a short intro they packed a powerful punch with “Katherine's Got A Secret”, concentrating mainly on material from their last album “Reckless 'Till The End” throughout their set. The rather depleted crowd was definitely showing signs of exhaustion due to the heat of the first festival day, but frontman Danielle Nelli was still motivated enough to get the remaining punters moving. Admittedly he didn't get the circle pit going for “Fight If Your Heart Is Broken” as he would have liked, but the crowd at least followed his instructions to jump up and down. During the song “Disappear” Nelli went down into the crowd before “Please Destroy This World” wrapped up 35 minutes of metalcore with a clear, powerful sound.

Thursday, 08/16/2012

After Wednesday's heat the big rain came at night, yet none of the festivalgoers seemed seriously disappointed. The Pain Stage was already well attended for the NEW BLOOD AWARD ceremony. The jury in full, as well as obviously the band led by frontwoman Zofia, were all on hand for the award presentation. Visibly nervous due to the growing crowd, the band received the award after a short allocution. After a short changeover it was finally showtime. Poland's OBSCURE SPHINX took to the stage, facing an audience that was still in a good mood from the previous day. With “Nastiez” the band chose the same opener as the day before. Zofia quickly shed her initial reservation, gradually falling into a trance-like state. The charismatic singer moved about the stage with a mixture of ballet-like moves and hypnotic body spasms, accentuating the partly fragile, partly brutal wall of soud with her inimitable voice. Especially as the 8-string guitars came in there were no holds barred in the first rows, and the finale of the 11-minute opener earned loads of applause. Unlike the day before, the band chose to play a different song from their self-produced debut “Anasthetic Inhalation Ritual” second. Even though this track was still completely unknown to the audience, it still managed to light a spark and cause some movement in the crowd. After only 20 minutes this memorable gig was unfortunately over – the Poles had to waste five minutes of stage time, simply because they didn't have any song this “short”. We will definitely hear more from this band in the future!

13.30 (MS) BE’LAKOR
If they were surprised, they managed to hide it well. Because no one could really foresee the whole room in between the stage and the FOH would already be full at this time of the day. And the masses were pretty enthusiastic as well, frenetically applauding the band while they walked on to the sound clip from the movie “Session 9”. Even a few Australian flags were waving in the crowd, so the band caught a great start. Singer George Kosmas was like the incarnation of professionalism, relaxedly chatting to the crowd as if he and his mates from down under played festivals like this every day. Thanks to some smart tempo changes and atmospheric keyboards BE'LAKOR have managed to create their own version of melodic death metal. Even the song “Fraught” from their last album “Of Breath And Bone”, which had only been released in June, managed to keep the energy level – well done, boys!

They were one of the first bands of the pagan metal genre and, even though the big break has been elusive so far, they enjoy a huge popularity in the scene. We are obviously talking about MÅNEGARM, who fortunately managed to gather a respectable crowd at the stage. The Swedes delivered a nicely varied retrospective of their career, convincing the crowd with a gripping mix of brutal metal and well thought-out folk elements, which always remained audible despite the heaviness of the riffs. The great melodic leads were especially prominent, and, together with the massive double kick attacks, the harsh screaming vocals and the clear choruses, represented MÅNEGARM's very own version of pagan metal. The fans chanted and partied to the sometimes danceable rhythms, turning the concert area into a field full of banging heads and dancing bodies. Visibly excited by the enthusiastic crowd, MÅNEGARM were clearly having fun, posing like true champions. To top it all off, the band presented a new track titled “Hordes Of Hel” from their upcoming album; a straight, catchy, melodic mid-tempo song which was very well-received by their loyal fans of 17 years.

After some more black metal oriented sounds on the Pain Stage it was now time for the core input. Surprisingly, the prize for most hairy band so far went to DARKEST HOUR – something somewhat unexpected. But DARKEST HOUR surely know how to bang their heads, having worked the world's stages for around 17 years already with their mix of hardcore, thrash metal and melodic death. You could feel and hear the experience as the band were tight as a gnat's arse. Their choice of songs didn't leave anything to be desired either, as every album was represented with at least one song and even “So Sedated, So Secure” from 2001's “The Sadist Nation” had a place on the setlist – a song that hardly anyone had heard live in the last few years. The audience were grateful, showing up in big numbers in the early afternoon and following singer John Henry's every request to move around (more). Sadly, after the show had reached its climax with “Doosayer (The Beginning Of The End)”, the band didn't use their remaining stage for an encore.

With their roots originally in traditional, orthodox black metal, GLORIOR BELLI have gradually freed themselves from those tight musical shackles in order to dwell in much larger sonic landscapes. The concept worked, the name spread in the scene through word-of-mouth, and there was a respectable crowd in the tent ready to listen to the Frenchmen's freaky sounds. GLORIOR BELLI really succeeded in presenting their mix of southern rock, stoner and black metal with competence and intensity, despite the drums dropping out for a moment. With unleashed energy, psychedelic influences, frequent time changes, bluesy riffs and buzzsaw-like guitars the Frenchmen conveyed the feeling of a dust-dry desert right there in the Party Tent. Many people in attendance got really into the band, and GLORIOR BELLI surely made a few new fans today. It was nothing but a tempting, devilish interplay of extremes, delivered with a lot of charm and on a damn high level. At the end of the show singer J. even jumped into the photo pit to let the fans play (with) his guitar.

At 15:45 sharp, southern specialists EVERY TIME I DIE entered the stage, being the first band on this day who didn't have to fight the nasty cold wind that had the masses freezing since the early morning. Fitting their southern sounds, the sun started shining, which prompted many to gather at the Pain Stage and let the buffalo-like guitars heat them up. Frontman Keith “Balls” Buckley gave his best right from the start to get the crowd going, and besides the new album “Ex Lives” the New Yorkers also had a few classics on their setlist. “No Sun” made for an explosive start, guitarist Jordan (stylishly dressed in a batik shirt and tube jeans) was running from one side of the stage to the other, and the audience enjoyed watching his moves. Two songs into the set, the members of DARKEST HOUR came to the side of the stage, and Keith started joking about some mysterious smoke aroma. This obviously contributed to exhilarate the audience, the first circle pit ensued, and during the classic “Bored Stiff” the place went totally crazy. After twelve songs of pure snottiness the band said goodbye, handing out drum sticks and beer cups, which made the crowd cheer one last time. A great start to the true summer feeling on this day.

This was already the second time AGRYPNIE played the SUMMER BREEZE festival. Their first appearance in Dinkelsbühl 2008 had already been a great success, not only because of the large crowd on hand, but also the reactions to the music on offer. In 2012 the band led by the likeable frontman Torsten were again welcomed with open arms in the Party Tent. The number of fans in attendance was even larger this time, and they got right into it from the very beginning. The avantgarde black metal band, who are going to release a new album later in the year, seemed even tighter, more professional and confident than before, probably due to the numerous shows they had the chance to play in the meantime. Despite it still being early afternoon, their vigorous anthems, delivered in a dynamic fashion, spread a wonderfully dark atmosphere. No wonder considering the fantastic cold riffs, the precise drumming, the charismatic screaming and the emotional lyrics in German language. Displaying an aggressive attitude, AGRYPNIE managed to captivate the audience with their powerful yet utterly melodic hymns.

16.30 (CS) STIER
Most people probably know Hans-Martin Stier from his role in the German comedy show “Hausmeister Krause” or several crime flicks on public television. With his show on the Camel Stage the good lad proved that he's also well-versed in music. Unfortunately he seemed to suffer from chronic crowd absence, because bands like NAPALM DEATH, who were playing at the same time, obviously drew far more people, but he still managed to prove his class. The band – simply named STIER – delivered hard German rock on songs like “Vampire” and “Mein Gott”, with fat guitars and pounding drums, without the lyrics drifting into the ridiculous. Drawing from bands like UNHERZ and maybe even RAMMSTEIN, Mr. Stier never lost his drive to entertain the audience, and towards the end he actually managed to draw some people to the stage. The afternoon entertainment program was herewith complete, and all those who wanted to recover from the crowd rush at the main stages could do so with Stier and his musicians. The guy is definitely more than just a good actor!

16.35 (MS) EPICA
With an intro dominated by timpani hits, EPICA kept their fans in suspense for several minutes. However, as soon as the Dutch took to the stage and fired the first rounds of riffs into the audience, the Main Stage lit up like the sun, which had finally come out from behind a thick veil of clouds. It's goes without saying that vocalist Simone Simons, with her long ginger hair, was the center of attention once more. And the frontlady was not only visually convincing, but acoustically as well. One could obviously be reminded of the unavoidable comparisons to NIGHTWISH, but if you listened closely you could definitely recognize the band's own character. And the audience definitely enjoyed their mix of symphonic keyboard grandiloquence, nicley buzzing guitars and a healthy dose of kitsch and pathos. The beginning of the set was dominated by songs from their last two studio albums, but the climax was only reached with “Cry For The Moon” from their debut album “The Phantom Agony”, which turned out to be catchy as hell, with less bombast and more natural melodies.

Hailing from beautiful Holland, PETER PAN SPEEDROCK had a difficult task ahead, as they were on at the same time as EPICA, who were drawing all the attention on the Main Stage. However, a few fans had gathered in the Party Tent to listen to the trio's dirty rock'n'roll and to start their own party. Not mincing words, the band started at high speed with “Bakkerburg”, singer Peter “Piet” van Elderen shouting into the extra high microphone in best MOTÖRHEAD fashion, and the few people there didn't have to be asked twice to start moving. After the first three songs the band finally greeted the audience, asking them to give it all and take the tent to boiling point. And the crowd obligued with a circle pit and loads of banging heads in the crowd. People seemed to enjoy the sound, and around the middle of the set more and more fans joined the party, so PETER PAN SPEEDROCK kept on playing with no signs of slowing down.

After EPICA had catered to the epic metal crowd in the late afternoon, it was time for a stark contrast on the Pain Stage. Two years ago NAPALM DEATH had already reduced the main stage to ashes, so at least the same was expected of them on the smaller stage. And indeed, from the first sounds of “Cicumspect” it was a brutal bludgeoning for 45 minutes. With a crushing sound the grindcore institution, who have actually been active in the underground for 31 years now, made no prisoners, playing in top form. Even though today NAPALM DEATH didn't appear with their full line-up (a superactive skinhead replacing Shane Embury due to illness) it was business as usual. Frontman Barney Greenway making his half-spastic moves, Mitch Harris burning the air with piercing riffs and Danny Herrera beating the shit out of his kit with a smile on his face, as if it was his last gig. A pity though that the massive crowd didn't reciprocate the high energy level from the beginning. While most were content just standing around, at least the first few rows gradually started moving. From “Protection Racket” on, things went crazy, and during “Analysis Paralysis” two small circle pits melded into one, where the only rule was: all against all. As a consquence, the bouncers had to pull crowdsurfers in tens from behind the barrier. At the end of the show, the mandatory classics made it clear: NAPALM DEATH may very well keep causing global obliteration for another 30 years.

17.50 (PZ) ALCEST
ALCEST had quite a few things in common with GLORIOR BELLI. Both band hail from France, and both were originally at home in the black metal genre. Their further evolution, however, was totally different for ALCEST, as they tended towards post metal. With their quiet, mostly relaxed anthems with lots of melody and emotion, the band led by frontman neige put a spell on the SUMMER BREEZE Party Tent, inviting their numerous fans to dwell in intensive dreamscapes. During the songs people were just listening in awe, compensating the talented musicians with loads of applause after each one. The bittersweet, comforting clear vocals and the expressive melodies created a dense atmosphere, with the discreet light show concentrating on green and blue beams of light. Yet ALCEST didn't deny their past, again and again there were outbursts of black metal, which was when heads in the crowd started to bang. A fascinating, atmospheric show!

ICED EARTH are a band who have already had to deal with their fair share highs and lows throughout their career. Not least due to mastermind Jon Schaffer, who is quite notorious for not being able to keep a steady line-up. The results were some less than spectacular live shows as well as a rather average recording output. However, with their last studio effort the band seem to have got their act together again. New singer, new spirit and a strong new full-length with the title “Dystopia”. Accordingly, the band exuded confidence with their new singer Stu Block in the early evening of the Thursday. And, lo and behold, ICED EARTH are far from old news. Even though the old cliché of denim cutoff wearing metalheads wasn't on the order of the day, it became clear from the cleverly-chosen opener “Dystopia” that ICED EARTH would have an easy game today. What's more, even though Jon Schaffer was still omnipresent on stage, he left the leader role to his singer Stu Block. And it paid off for the whole duration of the show. Block, whose voice was in absolute top form, knew how to lead the audience through the set in a professional manner. So it came as no surprise that the audience loudly sang along to classics such as “I Died For You” and the epic “Watching Over Me”. ICED EARTH delivered an impressive show this evening. Here's hoping Schaffer's confidence in his new singer's abilities will remain intact for a long time to come.

After PETER PAN SPEEDROCK, BORN FROM PAIN were already the second Dutch band on the tent stage today, but they offered a strong contrast: Hardcore of the finest with a lot of metal influences was about to bring the tent to boiling point. As expected, BORN FROM PAIN delivered the most aggressive show of the day so far. “Relentless” kicked off a fireworks display of hardcore, and the numerous fans in attendance were more than ready to make the tent quake. From song one circle pit, wall of death and the wildest mosh became indistinguishable from each other, but one thing is for sure, all hell broke loose. Beer cups and toilet rolls were flying, and frontman Rob Franssen kept firing up the audience at all times. In typical hardcore style there were calls for unity, and even though bodies were literally flying and the bouncers were extremely busy catching crowdsurfers, there was definitely a sense of brotherhood among the fans. Obviously Rob didn't miss the chance to dive into the audience, shouting the choruses into the mic while being carried on his fans' hands. Just as the first signs of exhaustion appeared among the sweaty crowd, the band called for the biggest circle pit of all time. From the stage, what ensued was really a sight to behold. One could tell every second BORN FROM PAIN are still not tired after all these years. The band members' moves were almost as wild as the crowd's, which kept the energy building up more and more. After the grand finale with “Stop At Nothing”, the band bid farewell, drenched in sweat and grateful to the great audience. The calls for an encore, which couldn't be fulfilled due to the tight schedule, were absolutely deafening. Fantastic!

As soon as the last echoes of ICED EARTH became festival history, the spoken word intro of DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER, who were still hiding behind a black curtain, set in. When the curtain fell with a big bang and Fuchs, energetic as always, came out on stage there were no holds barred in the audience. The accustomed opener “Vom Ende Der Welt” kicked off a sweaty orgy for band and fans. It felt like no artist on the Pain Stage had enjoyed this kind of reactions so far. Reitermania was in full swing as far as the eye could see, and the “flying” had begun. At times there were that many crowdsurfers in action the whole stage security had to intervene to help people land safely. As always, the REITERs also had a few visual gimmicks at hand. Dr. Pest, completely dressed in leather, was sat on an oversized swing, from where he mistreated his keyboards. Another highlight was a confetti cannon deployed during “Revolution”, which covered both stage and fans in red and white shreds of paper. As if this wasn't enough DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER had another surprise up their sleeves. As announced beforehand, they had brought exclusive shirts to hand out to the crowd, even though nobody knew how they were going to do it. The question was answered quickly as a beautiful girl on a rubber boat was sent out into the audience over people's heads. From there, the lady had the honour to distribute the shirts to the crowd. Great fun for all. For the sake of completeness, may we just add the band didn't leave anything to be desired in terms of music either. One thing became clear, despite it being the first day of the festival, the REITERs set the bar astronomically high for all following acts, ending their show with the acclaimed “Die Sonne Scheint”. Gripping and original, DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER remain a force to be reckoned with.

At prime time – to use TV jargon – NORMA JEAN didn't have it easy in the Party Tent. Going on after a demolition commando such as BORN FROM PAIN is obviously tough. Since the band don't tour in Europe that often and consequentially don't enjoy the same status as in their home country (the U.S.A.), it could be expected the tent would be relatively empty, and that's exactly what happened. However, NORMA JEAN didn't let this fact discourage them, delivering an extremely strong set right across their back catalogue. From their debut “Bless The Martyr And Kiss The Child” to their current album “Meridional”, the band dragged the depths of chaotic hardcore without a quiet moment. The band's enthusiasm soon made the spark jump over to the audience, who used the extra room to display varios spin kicks, two-step moves and karate jumps. Both parties left the ring visibly happy and drenched in sweat.

If the denomination “secret headliner” fit one band this weekend, this was definitely BEHEMOTH. No other band was as eagerly awaited as the Poles since they had to cancel their 2010 appearance due to Adam “Nergal” Darski's severe illness. So a long four years had passed since the black death killing machine had crushed the South of Germany, and the crowd rush was accordingly huge as the four protagonists, dressed in martial outfits, walked out on stage. The following was a display of sheer power. Even though BEHEMOTH's live shows have always earned praise, the stage presence Nergal, Inferno, Orion and Seth have built up in the last few years is almost frightening. More than ever, Nergal radiates the aura of a preacher who proclaims his views on God and reality to his disciples, stoically and from the deepest of his heart. Whatever his stage acting has lost in agility, he compensates with a charisma that seems to be even a few shades darker than black. Add to this the fact that Seth and Orion, hatefully barking their backing vocals into their mics, now appear as two monoliths flanking their high priest protectively, making tracks like “Ov Fire And The Void”, “Demigod” and the groovy “Moonspell Rites” (from the old milestone “...And The Forests Dream Eternally”) mutate into true black masses. In the background, the unrelenting hammering of drum android Inferno. The highly professional, meticulously planned show continued into a “best of” selection from the band's more recent recorded output. During “Christians To The Lions”, inverted crosses were set alight at the edge of the stage, while “Alas, Lord Is Upon Me” saw the snake-like mic stands catch fire. And those who weren't hot enough yet got the pyro treatment for the whole duration of the show. The routine yet mandatory “Slaves Shall Serve” and “Chant For Ezkaton 2000 E.V.” blasted through the fields before “Lucifer” marked the end of a comeback that couldn't have possibly been more evil. Welcome back, BEHEMOTH!

All true metallers probably felt quite uneasy as the first rows filled with young girls in student outfits and WE BUTTER THE BREAD WITH BUTTER shirts before the youngsters's show. In the rest of the tent, too, the average age dropped significantly, but it was still quite full. During the intro already, the fans started chanting, and when the band members took to the stage there was no doubt everyone here was here to party. With opener “Der Tag An Dem Die Welt Unterging” the whole audience area turned into one giant moshpit. The band's breakdown-heavy deathcore, with such meaningful titles as “Breekachu” or “Superföhn Bananendate”, which illustrate the Brandenburgers' sense of humour, really hit home with their target audience. The new metal generation doubtlessly know how to party, as circle pits, walls of death and never ending crowdsurfing were a sight to behold. Our dear Grabenschlampen (“ditch whores”) had a hard time maintaining at least some kind of order near the stage. Extremely agile, the band kept pushing the limits. Singer Paul stormed from side to side, calling for different dance moves, while guitarist Kenneth kept jumping from the top of the amps. Halfway through their set and as a short breather, the band played the cover version of the DEICHKIND classic “Remmi Demmi”, which has become quite a fan favourite by now. After this quick break the mosh broke loose again. Towards the end there was even a small pyro show and a confetti cannon, which was obviously celebrated by the fans. Fitting its title, “Extrem” was an insane finale. Even for detractors of modern sounds this was the most explosive show of the day in the tent after BORN FROM PAIN. The loud calls for an encore made frontman Paul come back on stage and thank the fantastic audience with one final bow.

The Ski King is known all over the country as the guy with the great voice in between Elvis A. Presley, Lemmy Kilmister and Johnny Cash. Both as a solo artist or as the singer for BELOVED ENEMY, he attracts all the attention and knows his stuff on stage. His new outfit, SKI'S COUNTRY TRASH, is not as popular yet, but those who witnessed one or maybe even all of their sets at SUMMER BREEZE will be happy to spread the word. Playing fantastically tight, the band delivered gripping versions of country, rockabilly and punk rock classics and – who would have thought – the eye-catcher wasn't master Ski, but the petite lady on the double bass. And she will probably publish the Kamasutra of double bass soon, as there is probably no one else who can play the thing in as many positions as her. Quite a few audience members were surely disappointed when the band had to stop after only 20 minutes as the bands in the Party Tent next door started playing again.

With eight musicians and a variegated display of instrument, the Pain Stage got quite cramped when ELUVEITIE hit the stage. And the audience sector, too, was pretty full with people wanting to listen to the Swiss' multilayered folk metal anthems. The setlist was made up mostly of songs off their latest record “Helvetios”, a concept album about the Gallic Wars, which turned out to be a wise decision based on the quality of the material alone. Instead of a boring history lesson, historic facts were presented in the form of an elaborate mix of death metal and celtic folklore. With “Uis Elveti", "Inis Mona" and "Kingdom Come Undone", at least three classics were added to the set, which fortunately fit in harmonically with the rest of the songs on offer. Frontman Christian “Chringel” Glanzmann's comment “I thought Summer Breeze was a metal festival, but it doesn't look so yet from up here” may not have been the fairest, but succeeded in making the crowd shed their initial reservation and give their all. Countless crowdsurfers and a massive circle pit rewarded the likeable alpha dog. “A Rose For Epona” and “Alesia” were the musical higlights of the show, during which Anna Muprhy's melodic singing made for a nice contrast to Chringel's harsh growls. Besides various wind instruments, the frontman also played some harp, and despite his reserved demeanor it was obvious he was having his fun. He had the crowd eating out of his hand and finally even got a circle pit going. Meanwhile, his cohorts vehemently demonstrated that the claim Swiss people are always a tad slower than other nations' children is nothing but a malicious cliché.

Fancy some high-brow rock? As you please, DIE KASSIERER are at your service! Normally at home at the With Full Force festival (where they alternate with LOKALMATADOREN every other year), it was about time the Bochum slobs came to exhilarate the Summer Breeze audience with their sophisticated creations. Say what you will about them, one thing cannot be denied: wherever they go, fun is guaranteed. When right at the beginning Wofgang “Wölfi” Wendland set “Saufen, Saufen, Jeden Tag Nur Saufen” (“Drink, Drink, Just Drink Every Day”) as an example to follow and already got completely naked for “Mein Schöner Hodensack” (“My Beautiful Scrotum”), presenting his stellar body to the crowd with a lyric sheet in one hand and a can of beer in the other, there was not a dry eye in the house. It's actually surprising the band has managed to gain that much attention for years with always exactly the same set, without becoming boring for a second of their 45-minute show. The crowd soon reached boiling point as they chanted along to “Das Schlimmste Ist, Wenn Das Bier Alle Ist” (“The Worst Is When The Beer Runs Out”), with sweatdrops falling from the ceiling. It's just that sometimes (self-)irony, the right amount of satire, clever crowd interaction (always addressed as “ladies and gentleman” by Wölfi) and obviously the ridiculous lyrics are enough to make the crowd laugh, a crowd that in this case was armed with giant inflatable penises. And with songs such as “Sex Mit Dem Sozialarbeiter” (“Sex With The Social Worker”), “Mein Gehirn, Dein Gehirn” (“My Brain, Your Brain”) and “Grosses Glied” (“Big Penis”) DIE KASSIERER have enough classics up their sleeves to keep playing the same setlist for another 20 years.

It's obvious SUBWAY TO SALLY belong to Germany's best medieval rock bands, so their slot as headliners on the Main Stage was amply justified. And to show potential critics as well, they gave their best from the beginning. Once more, singer Eric Fish was a convincing front-dervish. The minute he wasn't busy delivering his exceptional vocal performance, he was (literally) playing with fire. The numerous pyro effects were great entertainment, but the musical performance was right on a par. Main songwriter Ingo Hampf's excellent riffing, Frau Schmitt's violin and the likeable Michael “Bodenski” Boden's acoustic guitar and hurdy-gurdy parts entwined and added up to a massive sound. A few kitsch moments could be easily excused. A special mention goes to drummer Simon Michael, whose great timing and performance provided a solid rhythm foundation. The main focus of the show lay on material from their latest studio album “Schwarz In Schwarz”, which obviously prevented one or two classics from appearing in the set. And yet it were songs like “Mephisto”, “Kleid Aus Rosen” and “Ohne Liebe” which brought the atmosphere to boiling point and truly gave the musicians on stage a view on a “Schwarzes Meer” (“Black Sea”). While announcing “Besser Du Rennst”, Eric Fish made a complicated demand for several small circle pits. The mandatory “Schrei” could obviously not be missing from the set. Maybe the mood wasn't as chilled out as during DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER, but people throughout the whole audience area clapped, danced and sang along, so SUBWAY TO SALLY could definitely walk away with the certainty of a great performance.

How quick times change. A mere three years ago, GHOST BRIGADE were still an absolute insider's tip and only a handful fans gathered for the band's first SUMMER BREEZE appearance along with a few curious festivalgoers. Three exceptional albums later, the Finns have gained a strong standing in the scene, which today manifested itself in a Party Tent which was over half full. And as expected, their melange of brutal walls of sound, doomy heaviness and a melancholic atmosphere made a massive impact. From the beginning there was a mighty groove in the ultra heavy “Lost In A Loop”. The guitarists were moshing as in a trance, the drums pounding in deep synchronicity with the bass, and the typical Finnish bleakness impregnated the air. Especially the introverted singer Manne Ikonen played a perfect show. His growls sounded intense and his clean vocals felt secure and in tune, something he can't always manage. The anthemic “Into The Black Light” turned out to be the show's highlight and was celebrated with frenetic applause. If there was one point of criticism for GHOST BRIGADE tonight, it was the fact they concentrated on just their last two albums, not playing anything from their debut “Guided By Fire”. Nonetheless it was a great show, which will hopefully be followed by many more at SUMMER BREEZE in the future.

Whoever turned up by mistake at the Pain Stage at midnight probably wondered what kind of freak show he had just encountered. Yet the DEATH STARS' costumes fit their mix of harsh death metal riffs and electronic industrial beats like a glove. It's hard to believe some of the band members once played in such traditional death and black metal bands as DISSECTION and OPHTHALAMIA. Singer Whiplasher Bernadotte enjoyed his role as a quirky master of ceremony and “head teacher” giving his “students” a lesson in “death glam”. His off-key humour made him instantly likeable, so the audience let him rule at will, singing along or shutting their mouths on his command. The intense performance wasn't diminished by the fact the synthesizer effects were all pre-recorded. Guitarists Nightmare Industries and Cat Casino fired one salvo of riffs after the other into the audience, while bassist Skinny Disco threw around his massive dreadlocks and bent his skinny body backward and forward. Despite all electronic harshness, it was the great melodies and driving grooves which kept ringing in one's ear. Be it “Blitzkrieg”, “Cyanide” or the anti-tribute to Swedish girls, “Blood Stains Blondes”, DEATHSTARS have never given a rat's arse about political correctness. Nothing is off-limits as long as it's fun, including playing with traditional gender clichés, which showed in every detail, from the outfits all the way to the lyrics. Music and theatrics, hand in hand, expose their true greatness only once combined.

Shortly after midnight, the tent was crammed full and ready to go mental. The “headliner of hearts”, for whom the organizers apparently have been expanding the tent capacity for years, had invested a lot of hard work into their costumes and stage decoration. Six-foot inflatable palms left and right of the drum kit, various inflatable monkeys and mediterranean-coloured pashminas made for a strong caribbean flair, while the band members outdid each other in bad taste with Bermuda shorts, Hawaiian shirts and other beachwear. Singer Him, with a giraffe swim ring, diving mask, bathing cap and snorkel, was only marginally more ridiculous than drummer Christus, with a daring bikini top and lei. During the crushing “Crack” they fired around 50 exclusive ENTORY GRINDFUCKERS beach balls into the audience, with which the crowd had their good fun for a while afterwards. But the band also had some critical words for their fans: “Say, you guys are so quiet, is this Wacken or what?” When after 45 minutes the band launched the “Final Grinddown” there were free shirts for the front rows, and it was clear the grind freaks' third SUMMER BREEZE appearance was a total triumph! And, generous as they are, they threw the whole tropical decoration into the audience as well.

As their very first action, even before they took any instruments on stage, the Swedes lit loads of incense sticks by the monitor wedges, probably confusing some of the uninitiated regarding their musical direction. The crowd area was obviously only sparsely filled as compared to the EXCREMENTORY GRINDFUCKERS right before, but when the band took to the stage you could tell they were going for broke. As singer Hornper followed right after in full make-up, the band virtually exploded and played as if it meant saving their lives – or maybe getting a major deal. The night-time heavy metal feast was much to the crowd's liking, there was more and more action in the crowd and the band didn't let up either. The only question is what was Mr. Hornper doing with a taxidermised fox around his neck, but that will probably remain his secret. Nice gig, thumbs up!

02.20 (PZ) FARSOT
At this later hour even in the Party Tent the temperature HAD dropped significantly, so it was actually quite cold during FARSOT's gig. Those who had stuck around were dfinitely looking forward to the Thuringians' avantgarde black metal. And also their overlong songs – only three songs plus an intro in a 40-minute set – spread a cold atmosphere that chilled the bones. To dance themselves warm didn't seEm an option, neither for the band nor for the fans. The musicians were totally focused on their instruments, while singer 10.XIXt (sic!) stood by the mic stand headbanging stoically. Even without a big visual show the music made an impression, captivating those in attendance. Loud applause after each song and calls for an encore at the end of the set were a good indicator for the impact FARSOT had.

Those who still managed to stand on their own two feet after FARSOT were definitely knocked out by Britain's horror freaks THE ROTTED, who up to 2005 played under the name GOREROTTED. Eleven times the band swung the gore grind / brutal death metal axe, alternating between straight D-beats, precise double kick salvoes and a British hyperspeed massacre. Especially singer Ben Goreskin was very agile and involved, and even pretty friendly – something quite dissonant with the blood-soaked lyrics and crazy stage acting. He passed a bottle with an undefined purple beverage to the last few party animals and enjoyed the crowd's good response, who, in return, headbanged til oblivion and celebrated the live premiere of a new song called “Rotted Fucking Earth”, even though it was much more punk-influenced than the rest of the band's material.

Friday, 08/17/2012

The weather forecast had already announced it was going to get hot today, a welcome change to yesterday's rain and cold night. Unfortunately not too many festivalgoers had made it to the Pain Stage in time for the Romans' set. And it took quite a while until the front rows filled with people willing to listen to their epic anthems influenced by Candlemass and old Anathema. Still the Italians didn't have an easy game as their slow songs, albeit performed immaculately from a technical point of view, didn't really manage to light a spark in the mid-day heat. Even though the band made their best effort, there was only polite applause from the front rows, a pity considering the strength of the setlist. Even during the closing “Havoc” the reactions stayed quite discreet. Maybe it was just that most people were still suffering from the previous night. Those familiar with THE FORESHADOWING know the Italians are a great club band which is synonimous with a highly emotional listening experience. May we just recommend their third and latest album “Second World”, which works great at home as well.

Just as his Italian neighbours, Austria's Aaron Roterfeld had to struggle with a combination of early hours meets blazing sun, being forced to grin and bear it. At times there were even more people on the Main Stage balcony than before the stage itself, as just at the same time the kids' holiday programme of the city of Dinkelsbühl was paying a visit to the festival site. Quite a pity actually, as their pounding dark rock influenced by HIM and the likes, combines with an energetic stage show, would surely have worked with a bigger audience. But all the poses the “Falco of dark rock” presented couldn't change the situation. Luckily, him and his musicians took it lightly and still had their fun on stage. Technically speaking, everything was top as well, as even the petite keyboard player's backing vocals were perfectly in tune and the kilt-wearing bassist was constantly in motion.

The Glasgow youngsters went full throttle form the beginning, and one couldn't help but notice THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER and AS I LAY DYING influences in their sound. With this, the Scotsmen definitely hit a nerve with the numerous fans in attendance, who immediately got into the band and cheered them on. BLEED FOR WITHIN were really enthusiastic, with frontman Scott Kennedy deserving a special mention as he literally screamed his lungs out while his band mates rotated their heads. At close listen, the band's deathcore style was actually quite varied, with groovy mid-tempo parts alternating with powerful melodic sections, changing again into brutal breakdowns that were simply crushing. The fans went along with it, manifesting their enthusiasm in various circle pits and a wall of death. And playing the first few bars of PANTERA's “5 Minutes Alone” won the band some extra points.

While there were mainly very young fans watching BLEED FROM WITHIN, the average age in the crowd was raised a bit with the following DEW-SCENTED, whose album titles all start with an “I”. It's a simple fact that the band can count on a loyal base of long-time followers. Not any less aggressive and on an even higher quality level, the band led by Leif Jensen was absolutely convincing once again, presenting a brutal thrash wallop of the finest. No time to rest! Fast, loud and raw, the likeable group delivered their superb death/thrash crushers with powerful riffs and fitting melodic sections. In between songs, Leif amused the crowd with some funny banter. Lots of fans were growling along to the songs or moshing in the pit as if there was no tomorrow. If there was one thing the northerners have perfected to a tee, it is to fire up the crowd, which is no wonder considering their gripping, precise performance.

While the sun burnt down from the sky mercilessly, it was finally time for some typical European power metal. MYSTIC PROPHECY have already released seven albums, yet the setlist focused on their last album “Ravenlord”. The band led by Roberto D. Liapakis, their singer of Greek descent, delivered an immaculate performance, which was only mildly disrupted by the in-between banter, which seemed a bit contrived. However, the fans didn't mind this at all. Even though the mid-day heat was making everyone a bit drowsy and only a few had made their way to the stage, the band gained some friendly applause. The song material on display, which was pleasantly serious, could satisfy the more demanding listener as well, being far enough from the traditional power metal cliché to have it's existence justified. Sandwiched in between much darker bands such as DEW-SCENTED and CROWBAR, MYSTIC PROPHECY made for a welcome splash of colour, musically speaking.

14.25 (MS) CROWBAR
In the past, mastermind Kirk Windstein had been forced to cancel his appearance not once, but several time, but how do they say? Brutal things come for those who wait, or something? As soon as the backdrop was placed at the back of the stage, it finally became clear that this time the eagerly-awaited first CROWBAR appearance at SUMMER BREEZE was finally reality. With a beard that almost had ZZ TOP dimensions, Kirk went up to the mic, greeted the audience and then launched a 45-minute master class that impressively underlined why this band has enjoyed an exceptional status within the metal world for years now. This was also made clear by the numerous famous onlookers at the side of the stage. Today everything worked for the band; the sound was perfect, the band played with sleepwalking tightness, and even more complex parts, as in “New Dawn”, unfolded their full power. In between songs – from both very early and more recent albums – Kirk kept demanding stronger reactions form the crowd, who obligued happily. The highlight of their consistently strong set was probably the goosebump-inducing “Plantes Collide”.

15.15 (PS) MONO INC.
The last time they played SUMMER BREEZE they were opening the Main Stage. By now they have already moved up into the afternoon program. And rightfully so, as the largest crowd of the day so far gathered at the Pain Stage to watch them, loudly chanting the band's name. But frontman Martin Engler and his team had obviously worked hard in advance, leaving nothing to chance. Behind the band there was a huge backdrop sporting their logo, and beside drummer Katha's riser there were two big LED walls, which made for great visual effects. During the title track of their new album “After The War”, which was being released on this very day, they also used some impressive fireballs that were shot into the air by two unimpressive machines at the edge of the stage. So it never really got boring during MONO INC.'s show. However, after four songs the whole band left the stage, leaving behind their frontman armed only with an acoustic guitar. Martin then played a few bars of IGGY POP's “Passenger”, trying to get the crowd to sing along the rather difficult chorus (“The lyrics go LALALA!”). He kept mocking the audience until he decided it was loud enough. So you can't really deny the guy's qualities as an entertainer. He had the fans virtually eating out of his hand, who were actually willing to be told exactly when to clap and how. You don't need to be a prophet to be able to predict a bright future for this band, and their next visit will most definitely be closer to the night time.

If there was one band on this year's SUMMER BREEZE bill that split the audience into supprters and detractors, it was definitely ESKIMO CALLBOY. Their debut had already sparked many a controversy in the metal scene, as several online magazines were literally flooded with comments, both positive and negative. FUZE magazine, for example, described their music as extremely misogynistic, but there has to be somehing about this band that's appealing. At the end of the day, record sales and show bookings speak for themselves. So it wasn't surprising that hundreds of people were drawn to the tent stage this afternoon and that the press balcony, too, was crammed full. After a short intro the sextet took to the stage enthusiastically – and sporting adequate outfits – ready to prove their live qualities. From the beginning the band created a great atmosphere by spraying water into the crowd. Electro sounds, which for many were probably most reminiscent of bands like SCOOTER, met massive guitars, along with growls, clean vocals and obviously tons of catchy melodies. Already after the opening track “Is Anyone Up” all doubters had to shut up, as the party was in full swing, which even distracted from the fact frontman Sushi wasn't always hitting the right notes. Everything could be seen, from screaming girls in the front row to brutal mosh pits. The crowd wanted to party, and people got what they demanded. Songs like “Kerosene dance” and “Muffin Pupergurk” brought the atmosphere closer and closer to boiling point, and the bouncers constantly had to look after crowdsurfers. Fitting the last song “California Girls”, which is actually a Katy Perry cover, the band asked a beautiful girl in the audience to come on stage and sing along to the chorus. Their style may be debatable, but there's no question the band gave their all to deliver a good show.

15.55 (PZ) HELHEIM
They were among the pioneers of viking metal. Active for some 20 years already, HELHEIM made a decisive contribution in defining the genre. The tent was pretty full as the chainmail-clad warriors entered the stage to the sound of an intro, ready for battle. The Norwegian vikings vehemently pounded their wild viking black metal into the tent with awesome nordic sounding guitars and harsh screaming vocals. In doing so, HELHEIM kept a high technical level, and not only their folk elements were performed nearly perfectly, but their subtle sense of dynamics, that dominates their records, such as half acoustic parts with clean vocals, were also delivered damn close to perfection. With all musicality, the band's wild stage antics were quite prominent as well. They just have the spirit of true warriors. Some pre-recorded samples also contributed to the warlike atmosphere. The audience were into it, too, and when bassist V'gandr turned up in the middle of the crowd, still playing his instrument, there were no holds barred. A victorious battle!

16.05 (MS) UNEARTH
This was the first-ever SUMMER BREEZE appearance by metalcore veterans UNEARTH. The band's latest album “Darkness In The Light” had gained excellent feedback everywhere, so their slot in the afternoon on the Main Stage was more than justified. UNEARTH do not play in Germany very often anyway, so it was even better to be able to see them play the big stage. And clearly a lot of people shared that opinion, as a huge crowd filled the audience area. Numerous pit maniacs willingly followed singer Trevor Phipps' instructions for intense physical exercises, yet he never had enough and kept demanding more and more circle pits. Considering the brutal heat this would definitely qualify as an extreme sport. But also the guitarists on stage never stood still for a second, probably covering whole kilometers by just running back and forth. The cold water out of the security's firehose was perfect for cooling down at the end of an intense set. This band should definitely come back again!

Under a blazing mid-day sun, BLACK SHERIFF had come to the Camel Stage to entertain people who needed a break from the Main/Pain Stages. Despite the small crowd – who did, however, build a great atmosphere by constantly chanting the band's name – the band totally went for it. With guitar riffs reminiscent of Australia's AIRBORNE, frontman Glen Ravioli's smoky vocals and some driving drums, the band delivered a solid show. When the Camel Stage area filled up a bit more during changeovers on the main stages, there was actually some clapping and singing along to the catchy choruses, which was rewarded with a few beer showers here and there. Especially the song “We Want You” seemed to gain the best reactions, as people stopped to se who the hell it was rocking the stage. Some mid-day entertainment was herewith guaranteed, and BLACK SHERIFF gratefully bid farewell from their fans just in time for sunset.

After MUNICIPAL WASTE's Wednesday evening set, old-school thrash fans had probably highlighted the TOXIC HOLOCAUST show on their running orders as well. The tent may not have been completely full, but anyone who had knowingly chosen the Portland, Oregon-based band instead of UNEARTH and NILE, who were playing at the same time, was definitely a fan. Not only was the band's style pretty puristic, they had also avoided bringing a backdrop or other unnecessary stage props. Let the thrash do the talking! And thrash they did, from the first to the last note. Together with his two cohorts, singer/guitarist Joel Grind delivered his songs with absolute tightness, and especially drummer Nick Bellmore made the most out of his minimal kit. It was a joy to see the band play, and the crowd was soon drenched in sweat.

17.10 (PS) NILE
Time for some exalted sounds. American Egyptologists NILE had come to celebrate their very own version of death metal on the Pain Stage, and thousands of fans expected nothing but another highlight by the death metal machine. Mercilessly powerful and brutal, NILE managed to create a massive wall of sound that was as precise as it was extreme. And yet, with all brutality, the band succeeded in delivering all facets and melodic details with sheer perfection. The show had the atmosphere oy a mythological ceremony, and it was only fitting that drummer extraordinaire George Kollias played his precise, ultra-fast blastbeats with his eyes closed, as if in a trance, making it look like the easiest thing in the world. With almost tangible enthusiasm and destructive, yet highly technical death metal, NILE caused a massive rush in the crowd. Complex, razor-sharp death metal doesn't get any better!

BLACK SUN AEON are synonimous with high-class melancholic metal. Playing SUMMER BREEZE for the second time (they first appeared in 2009), the band took the crowd on an intense journey through ultra heavy riffs and oppressive darkness at the festival's 25th anniversary. With BLACK SUN AEON, Tuomas Saukkonen, whose main band is BEFORE THE DAWN, has created a project that is mandatory for all friends of melancholic, slow and HEAVY metal. And exactly this audience had gathered in the tent on the early evening, eagerly awaiting the show. What could possibly go wrong? Today, certainly nothing, as the potpourri of their past albums had a massive impact in the crowd. Heads were banging all the way to the back. In typical Finnish manner, the banter was kept to a minimum, but songs like “Solitude” and the grandiose “Oblivion” were all the more electrifying. At the mic, Janica Lönn was not only visually convincing, his vocals harmonizing perfectly with the guitarists' growls. BLACK SUN AEON were a goosebump-inducing experience to the very last note. Fantastic show by “conductor” Tuomas Saukkonen's band.

It's not often we get to see a world premiere at SUMMER BREEZE. This year, Jamey Jasta, whose work with HATEBREED, his own JASTA project, plus dozens of collaborations with other bands have made him an irreplaceable icon of the hardcore scene, and Kirk Windstein, member of DOWN and CROWBAR (who had just played the same stage a few hours earlier) joined forces to perform both old classics and new songs. The guys obviously know each other from their previous collaboration in KINGDOM OF SORROW. Just past six o'clock they took to the stage to deliver a great mix of hardcore, metal and doom. It seemed like the hot mid-day sun had worn some people down, because there weren't as many as with UNEARTH just before. However, those who know Jamey Jasta also know the guy always gives it all, and the atmosphere was accordingly great in the first few rows. During the first ten songs, Kirk contributed vocals and guitar, while Jamey kept firing up the audience and calling for a massive circle pit. People were happy to oblige, but things didn't really go crazy until songs from the recent JASTA album and some old HATEBREED classics were played. Mr. Windstein watched the action relaxedly from the side of the stage and provided the audience with countless cans of beer. Generally speaking, the atmosphere on stage was one of fun and friendship, there was a lot of laughter in between songs, and the moshpit freaks willingly joined in on this feeling of unity. However, the crowning finale was the HATEBREED classic “I Will Be Heard”, which the fans loudly sang along to. Despite the not-so-huge crowd in attendance, it was a great hour-long journey through the history of two greats, Jasta and Windstein.

What at first sounded like really bad German, soon turned out to be Dutch. The Netherlands' HEIDEVOLK sang all their lyrics about Germanic history and culture in their mother tongue. The sextet's most distinctive feature, however, were the twin lead vocals of Mark Splintervuyscht and Joris Boghtdrincker. This gave the songs, which in their core were quite similar to FINNTROLL, ENSIFERUM et al, a more original touch. The mixture was very well received in the Party Tent, quickly setting the front half of the audience in motion. With "Een Nieuw Begin" and "De Toekomst Lonkt" HEIDEVOLK played two tracks from their latest album “Batavi”, while the rest of the set consisted of a representative cross-section of the band discography, as well as an entertaining cover of their fellow countrymen NORMAAL's “Vulgaris Magistralis”. It was pretty impressive how the crowd kept singing the super catchy chorus while the band had already stopped playing.

SIX FEET UNDER are still one of the biggest bands in death metal. The numerous fans who witnessed the third SUMMER BREEZE appearance by the Florida insitution can attest to that. Center of attention was obviously Chris Barnes with his huge dreadlocks and probably still one of the greatest growling voices on the planet. With a massive sound, SIX FEET UNDER grooved and grunted everything into the ground, which the merciless setlist with evergreens such as “Human Target” and the cult track “Hammer Smashed face” (CANNIBAL CORPSE cover) definitely contributed to. Once again it was awesome to see how, at his age, Chris managed ultra deep growls as well as pig squeals with total ease while headbanging energetically. Even more awesome, however, were the masses of crowdsurfers who landed in the photo pit by the second, being received by the friendly “ditch whores” (“Grabenschlampen”, the unique SUMMER BREEZE stage security). During the closing AC/DC cover “T.N.T.” the whole festival went completely bonkers.

Even though they have released seven albums in the last seven years, BEFORE THE DAWN still exude a freshness more likely to be found in a young newcomer band. Not only the band members' – especially bassist Pyry Hanski's – youthful appearance, but also their gripping, pleasantly fresh melodic death metal sound contributed to this. Instead of adding industrial or core elements to their music, the Finns prefer to enrich their sound with a melancholic, almost gothic note, which sets them apart from most of their genre colleagues. The recent departure of Lars Eikind turned out not to be such a bad move, because Tuomas Saukkonen's growls were strong enough to prevail on their own, without any clean counterparts. Most of the material on offer was from the band's latest luff-length “Rise Of The Phoenix”, while “Unbreakable” remained the only true classic they played. Even though the back half of the Party Tent stayed empty, the fans in the front really enjoyed the enthusiastic, energetic show. One couldn't help but think there's a bright future ahead of this band.

While critics of the Dutch symphonic metal band keep vilifying them as a NIGHTWISH clone, during “prime time” on the Main Stage WITHIN TEMPTATION proved they chose a different path a long while ago. Almost half of the setlist was comprised of material from their latest album “The Unforgiving”, which is based on a comic book series by Steven O'Connell und Romano Molenaar, with the music exuding a noticeable 80s arena rock flair. WITHIN TEMPTATION used a huge video screen to project professionally produced film clips to accentuate their visual component. Immediately below the screen there was a riser for drummer Mike Coolen and keyboardist Martijn Spierenburg, where they were often joined by the guitarists and their front lady. Strangely enough, band leader Robert Westerholt was nowhere to be seen. It turned out the bald guitarist had left his position to live session musician Stefan Helleblad in order to take care of the three kids he has with singer Sharon den Adel. The new guy did a great job, same as the rest of the band. It was a great, professional show for both the ear and the eye, which wasn't really affected by the fact the male vocal part in “What Have You Done” wasn't preformed live, but as an audio and video “cameo” by Keith Caputo. WITHIN TEMPTATION honoured their very long relatinship with SUMMER BREEZE by performing the acoustic ballad “Neverending Story”, which they hadn't performed live in a long time. The crowning finale was provided by the unavoidable “Mother Earth”, during which the view from the stage was like a neverending sea of waving arms. A total goosebump moment.

Same time, same place? Well, not quite, for INSOMNIUM stepped on the Party Stage an hour later than when they played in 2010. Other than that, it was actually business as usual. Two years ago, INSOMNIUM were also part of a Finnish double whammy (back them together with TRACEDAWN, tonight with BEFORE THE DAWN), and also in terms of performance the band was just as good as the last time. Even before starting the set the crowd were already cheering them on, and the advance praise was definitely justified. Their mix of traditional Finnish death metal, huge melodies and a melancholic feeling enjoyed a great reception this evening. The first higlight was right at the beginning of the show, when DARK TRANQUILLITY frontman Mikael Stanne joined the band before his own band's gig on the Pain Stage to sing “Weather The Storm” as a duet with Niilo Sevänen. And the band kept gaining sympathies; the leads in “The Killjoy” sounded crystal clear and powerful, and during the anthemic “Through The Shadows” hundreds of horns were raised in the air. Fantastic show by a band that deserves a much higher standing.

Melodic death pioneers DARK TRANQUILLITY's highly energetic show on the Pain Stage was an absolute must. Blessed with enormous charisma and a fantastic voice, frontman Mikael Stanne had the audience firmly in his grip, leading his fans through a colourful bouquet of stirring anthems, with the crowd singing along and applauding each one of them. The sparse light show, together with the gloomy projections on a big screen at the back of the stage, created a dense atmosphere which underlined those slightly morbid, psychotic moments present in all of the band's songs. But the material also profited from the tight interplay of buzzing riffs, powerful vocals and some keyboard sprinkles that were never overdone. Those who thought music with synths is always too soft and pompous were taught a good lesson by keyboardist Martin Brändström. In DARK TRANQUILLITY's case, the keys make the songs even heavier rather than the other way round. Captivating, overwhelming, yet always to the point – those who missed this show lost out on one of the definite highlights of the whole festival. Especially the songs from their last two albums, “We Are The Void” and “Fiction”, created a great atmosphere and were accompanied by countless crowdsurfers, but also “ThereIn” (from the “Projector” album) and “Final Resistance” earned great reactions. After an incredibly intense hour of music, the show had its crowning finale with the exceptional “The Fatalist”, leaving nothing but exhausted, yet happy faces behind.

On the Camel Stage, OHRENFEINDT delivered a nice contrast to the tent programme on Friday evening, which was mostly dominated by heavier bands. Their simple, earthy rock'n'roll with a strong AC/DC influence always works when the crowd is willing to party. And with a singer as charismatic as Chris Laut, nothing can go wrong. Chris led the crowd through their different sets with professional entertainment skills. However, songs with titles such as “Rock'n'Roll Sexgott”, “Harley-Luja” and “Motormädchen” didn't really need much of an introduction as they pretty much spoke for themselves. Yet the band didn't only deliver “Vollgasrock” (“Full Throttle Rock”), as they call their style, but also offered some more thoughtful power ballads, which made for a nice contrast with the sounds generally on display in the tent. The St. Pauli bunch were definitely one of the winners on the Camel Stage.

21.55 (PZ) KRISIUN
Up next was some hyperactive death metal, as it was time for Brazil's death squad number one, KRISIUN! There are things that will just never change, and one of them is the brutal, yet very technical music of this infernal trio. The three brothers totally went for it, showing the fans their abilities in terms of massive, intense death metal of the highest quality. Not compromising one bit, the Brazilians crushed all the way throughout their set, with especially the incredibly precise and extremely demanding drum work standing out. Drummer Max Kolesne worked his kit at insane speed, which would leave most of his colleagues gasping for air, making it look like the easiest thing in the world. Despite their technical finesse, KRISIUN managed to sound catchy and powerful. This band really is a force to behold! Their brutal death metal anthems “Hatred Inherit” and “Kings Of Killing” simply destroyed everything. And the crowd in the tent turned into a wildly moshing mob, absolutely willing to respond to the band's precision killing.

It's hard to believe, but IMMORTAL have only played SUMMER BREEZE once, back in 2001, when the festival still took place in Abtsgmünd, and before Abbath, Demonaz and Horgh decided to put the black metal institution on ice (!) for a while. So a long eleven years had to pass before IMMORTAL found their way back – and it became a triumphant return. The area facing the Main Stage was completely packed as the headliners launched into “Withstand The Fall Of Time” under glaring white and blue light and pyro effects, beginning their tales from the Kingdom of Blashyrkh. A lot of crowd interaction was not to be expected, as the Norwegians are infamous for playing entire shows without addressing the audience once. However, Abbath spoke a few words to the audience here and there, but still leaving his ice-cold riffs and Horgh's precise drumwork to do most of the talking. This way there was more time to concentrate on the essentials: a best-of set spanning from “At The Heart Of Winter” to “All Shall Fall” (with a strong focus on “Sons Of Northern Darkness”) and Abbath's extensive stage acting, including crab walk and wild gesticulation. The frontman used every chance not to take himself too seriously and to entertain the crowd with his whacky antics. The highlight of the over an hour long show was “Tyrants”, complete with spark fountains and Abbath's best poses, as seen in the “At The Heart Of Winter” booklet. At the end of the set there was a nod to the old school with “The Sun No Longer Rises”, before IMMORTAL left the stage, handing over the sovereignty of the main concert area to CORVUS CORAX.

23:00 (PZ) TERROR
After KRISIUN's excellent set, the audience changed completely. Long hair and denim cutoffs out, short hair and baseball caps in. A clear indication that things were going hardcore again. TERROR are one of the most hard-working and popular bands of the scene, so the Party Tent was quite full. Add to this that it was singer Scott Vogel's 34th birthday. So he took a few sips out of the bottle of whisky they had on stage before handing it over to the audience. As emphatic as ever, and in a great mood, Vogel demanded the audience to give their all, constantly calling for more and more crowdsurfers and throwing the mic into the audience, who in his opinion were far much too far away due to the photo pit. But he also lent the mic to some friends of the band, such as Rob from BORN FROM PAIN, who got to sing “Stick Tight”. TERROR can count on a pretty big pool of hits by now anyway, so their 45 minutes of stage time went by far too quick. The only complaint was they didn't play “Lowest Of The Low” from the first album, but the show was still totally destructive.

The self-proclaimed “kings of gleemen” were the last band on the Pain Stage on Friday evening. And, as a true medieval band, they had lots of bagpipes, timbals and funny banter. The appearance of the Düsseldorf taiko group WADOKYO at the begining and at the end of the set was especially impressive, as the deep drone of the Japanese drums made people's teeth rattle. All in all, the songs on offer were more fit for quiet listening than for wild dancing, but the audience still had their fun. Besides a lot of songs from their latest album “Sverker”, which are mostly about the Swedish king Sverker II, the band also played inevitable classics such as "Mille Anni Passi Sunt", "Venus Vina Musica" and "In Taberna". Respect also goes to CORVUS CORAX for staying true to medieval instruments even on the main stage, resisting the temptation to incorporate electric guitars and other modern rock elements, and hereby winning in authenticity over other medieval rock bands such as IN EXTREMO and SUBWAY TO SALLY. But this wasn't really the point, it was all about enjoying the music, with entertaining songs in between traditional folk music and typical funny medieval market doodling. The lovingly made costumes and traditional instruments gave the show a big plus in terms of atmosphere, and when half a dozen drummers hit their taikos simultaneously during the closing “Na Lame Se”, getting louder and louder and finishing with a massive pyro explosion, many audience members couldn't avoid the goosebumps.

00.05 (PZ) MORGOTH
As master of horror Stephen King already knew, “sometimes they return”. The German death metal heroes led by veteran vocalist Marc Grewe are definitely among the more successful in a long list of band reunions. Behind the band, the traditional logo was shining forth, and before them, a mob was raging savagely as the band launched into a fine selection of tunes from their albums just after witching hour. Unfortunately they avoided material from their later album “Feel Sorry For The Fanatic”, but that's a controversial one anyway. Mr. Grewe, stylishly dressed in a denim cutoff and beanie hat, directed the metalheads (who fled from CORVUS CORAX?) at will and didn't mind uttering some beer-induced banter such as “Are you feeling as good as I am? Do you have enough beer?” “Suffer Life” was poliely dedicated to one of the promoters, and after 50 minutes and the closing “Under The Surface” the old-school death metal party was history.

In 2010 the Party Tent, which was still much smaller at that time, was already crammed full during EISREGEN's appearance. And this year again the “Thuringian death” drew a large crowd. This year they didn't have such debatable show elements as crucified women on stage, but this didn't stop the crowd from celebrating the band good and proper. People sang along loudly to every one of the eight songs performed, and each one of them was met with loud cheers and chants of the band name. With such a devoted audience, it was easy for singer Michael “Blutkehle” Roth to fire up the crowd even more using subtle requests and gestures. Both setlist and sound didn't leave anything to be desired, and the ultimate party song “Elektrohexe” – if it is even fitting to speak of a party in this context – was the perfect ending for the set. All in all and without exaggerating, the Thuringians' show was nothing short of a total triumph.

02.20 (PZ) MENHIR
After she had only just triumphed with EISREGEN, keyboardist Franziska had to perform again with MENHIR. But that was really all the two Thuringian bands had in common. Although far from a phantom gig, the pagan black metal band would really have deserved a more enthusiastic crowd. Those in attendance had quite a reserved attitude, and the band didn't get more than a few raised fists and polite, yet far from overwhelming applause. Quite a pity, as the medieval-clad bards from Breitungen really made the effort. It was actually quite surreal to see a half-full venue, but no action at all. But maybe it was due to the rather overdriven guitars that MENHIR gradually lost interest in trying to make more out of this late-night slot. It should have been much more for them.

03.20 (PZ) AHAB
AHAB are slowly but surely turning into SUMMER BREEZE regulars. This was already the third time their nautic funeral doom crushed the Party Tent, which was still respectably full at this late hour. And it's no wonder, as in a live situation the mariners led by frontman Daniel Droste keep what they promise on their three albums. With waves and seagulls sounding in the background, the band quietly launched into the opening “Old Thunder”, which soon turned into a thundering storm of overwhelming force. AHAB profited from a powerful, yet crystal-clear sound unmatched today, without which the nautical-themed songs probably wouldn't have worked anyway. The brutally massive “Deliverance (Shouting At The Dead)” followed, with the green and blue stage light contributing visually to an already impressive atmosphere. In “The Hunt” AHAB alternated between quiet, yet menacing sound waves and a thunderous, stormy sea engulfing everything and everyone around it. And for those who didn't know yet: Droste has one of the most voluminous and menacing voices in the underground, and he knows how to use it to full effect. With “Antarctica The Polymorphess” from their latest album “The Giant” AHAB said goodbye until the next time they proclaim: doomwards let us row! A perfect ending to the day in the Party Tent!

Saturday, 08/18/2012

On the last festival day the lads from “Steel City” Sheffield had the honour to open the Pain Stage, and that's what they did – in a totally uncompromising way. Right after the intro the band immediately hit hard with “Dead Behind The Eyes”, leaving the crowd no time to nurse their hangovers. Singer Lawrence Taylor went for it from the first minute, engaging in jumping and running competitions with bassist Aaran McKenzie. Judging by the initial crowd reactions, no one really knew who the Brits were, but this quickly changed after the metalcore crusher “Hearts”. By now, few people could escape the band's intensity. WHILE SHE SLEEPS were in top form, destroying everything, and they didn't have to wait long for the first circle pit, which turned out really respectable in size for the time of the day. “This Is The Six” and “Trophies” followed, before the vocalist started dividing the audience with the typical gesture. What followed with “Crows” was the amazing highlight of this exciting gig. We will definitely hear more from this band in the future!

NIGHT IN GALES are true veterans in the history of SUMMER BREEZE, as the band from North Rhine-Westphalia already played the festival in 1999 and 2002. After a long hiatus they are now finally back with a superb new full-length album titled “Five Scars”. Unfortunately the audience area was only half full throughout their set, but this was more due to the extreme heat than due to the band's qualities. However, the guys took it is easy and played an enthusiastic set. Especially singer Björn Goosses and bassist Tobias Bruchmann seemed to really feel at home back on the stage. Driven by the clockwork-like drumming of Adriano Ricci, the band delivered hit after hit. Even though they would have certainly deserved better crowd reactions, it was a strong, convincing show. Here's hoping the band will stay active and deliver some new material and exciting live shows soon.

Rheinberg's BETONTOD were greeted by the mid-day sun on the Pain Stage, ready to adrenalize the crowd with a good portion of German-sung punk rock. Their loyal fans of 20 years bravely filled the front rows, while most people were less keen on joining the wild pogo party. But this didn't affect BETONTOD's good mood. At ten past twelve sharp and after a short intro frontman Meister and his bandmates took to the stage to greet the audience, diving right into “Schwarzes Blut”. The gravelly voice, the classic punk riffs and the catchy choruses gained good reactions, and the band played both classics such as “Viva Punk” and new tracks from their latest album “Antirockstars”. Slowly but surely, the audience area started to fill up, and by the second half of the set there was a great party going on. When the firehose was finally taken into operation, people were more than happy to follow the band's demand for more action. Guitarist Eule got soaked in sweat from all the running around. The band members were alternating between both sides of the stage to fire up the audience. During “Glück Auf”, Meister even climbed up the rigs, conducting the audience like a choir, and everyone sang along to “Wir Müssen Aufhör'n Weniger Zu Trinken” (“We have to stop drinking less”) as loud as they could. After a solid show the band bid goodbye with “Auf Eine Gute Zeit”, which was again accompanied by loud singalongs.

THE UNGUIDED were formed by ex-members of SONIC SYNDICATE, which is pretty much all the information you need to describe the band's musical style. Everything, from the outfits to the hair styles to the music, screamed “modern”, so it was a relatively young crowd in attendance who gave the songs from THE UNGUIDED's first and only album a pretty good reception. The mixture of catchy melodies, melodic death metal riffing and an extre portion of metalcore attitude made it clear that “commercial” doesn't necessarily have to be a swear word. The band kept a high level of energy and delivered a tight performance without any rough edges. It goes without saying they didn't attract any old-school metalheads with this style. However, the band did a good job with respectable success.

13.35 (PS) TANZWUT
Amazing, what kind of thoughts some people think first thing in the morning. TANZWUT fromtman Teufel, for example, proclaimed: “I woke up this morning thinking, today I want to go crazy like a volcano!”, herewith setting the pace for an exciting medieval rock show at the early afternoon. Under scorching heat the numerous fans in attendance boosted their sweat production even more by jumping and clapping. And, as the SUMMER BREEZE audience is basically up for anything silly enough, there was a huge conga line moving through the crowd throughout several songs. The security guys in the pit provided some refreshment, which prompted Teufel to ask for “applause for the men with the big hose!” But besides suggestive banter, the Berlin-based group also had something to offer musically. Their combination of bagpipes, electric guitars and synth sounds was definitely original, getting a great reception from the Pain Stage crowd.

14.00 (CS) BEMBERS
The likeable Franconian was the exception to the rule among the Camel Stage acts. Not only was he the only one who presented a pure comedy show, but he was also the only one to appear just once for 45 minutes, instead of the usual five 20-minute sets. And he really made good use of the allotted time. The intro already summed it up perfectly: “BEMBERS burns like hell, laut, hart, dringend, schnell!” (“loud, hard, urgent, fast!”). With a bone dry opening line (“I am Jesus Christ and I am opening a nail salon in Dinkelsbühl soon!”) he earned the first few laughs, which would keep increasing throughout the set. No matter what he talked about, like being recognized by pubescent teenages while shopping for French soft cheese or doing a dolphin butterfly stroke on a rail station platform after his anger management session in Jamaica, people were laughing their arses off. And when he started his popular YouTube joke about the black guy called Kain Schwarzer (phonetically equal to “no black guy”) the crowd actually spoke along to every key line. The master himself was visibly impressed. The more fecal parts about shitting as an art form, Angela Merkel in a swinger club or certain penis enlargement devices wouldn't even have been necessary, which doesn't mean they enjoyed an equally great reception in the crowd.

14.25 (MS) NAGLFAR
For a long time it had been awfully quiet in the NAGLFAR camp, one of Sweden's main black metal bands, who this year finally released “Téras”, the follow-up to 2007's “Harvest”. But it was worth the wait, as the album is classic NAGLFAR melodic black metal on the one hand, yet fresh-sounding and with lots of new ideas on the other. With this great new album under their collective belt, the Umeå wolves took to the stage to prove impressively that, besides WATAIN, they are the only true heirs of the mighty DISSECTION. Who else but them can play such amazingly intense nordic metal, combining the best of raw black metal and melodic death? Charismatic frontman Kristoffer Olivius was definitely the eye-catcher, always staring at the crowd with a menacing look, rolling his eyes, throwing evil poses and generally playing the bad guy. Right at this time, some non-metal photographers from Dinkelsbühl were led through the photo pit, many of whom watched the stage acting with a mix of curiosity and awe. NAGLFAR were in top form, played tightly, and especially the frosty, grating, majestic harmonies really got the job done. On stage, the band was completed by live session musicians Efraim Juntunen (PERSUADER, GUILLOTINE) on drums and bassist Alexander “Impaler“ Friberg (NECROPHOBIC). The show's highlights were the lightning-fast, nordic sounding “Pale Horse”, as well as the classic “I Am Vengeance”.

On the last festival day AUDREY HORNE opened proceedings on the Party Stage, and we just can't say it often enough: This band is criminally underrated! Tropical temperatures or not, these Norwegians, who feature in their ranks ENSLAVED guitarist Arve Isdal, deserve a lot more attention then the few fans in attendance would make you think. Why? Becuase they play their classic rock with such passion, attitude and perfection, probably even the genre dinosaurs weren't as good in their heyday. Each song was like a small anthem in its own right, complete with perfect dual guitar leads, and it was just fun watching and listening. The crowd, who were watching from a distance at first, got into it pretty quick, so at the end of the set pretty much everyone was throwing the horns in appreciation. Much respect for such a great peformance of a band that would really deserve to go beyond the “press darlings” status. Did we already mention they are criminally underrated?

There are bands who are simply reliable. UNLEASHED are one of them, as they do not only keep releasing amazing albums full of classic death metal, but they are also constant guarantee for great live shows. So, naturally, a massive crowd gathered at the Pain Stage to celebrate their heroes. Once again, the vikings led by front giant Johnny Hedlund appeared as a perfectly tight unit, performing classics such as “The Longships Are Coming” and “To Asgaard We Fly” with deadly precision and sleepwalking confidence. UNLEASHED easily managed to get the audience to boiling point, and one can only respect the fact the death metal warriors headbanged like crazy and didn't let up for the entire length of their set, despite the scorching heat. Once again, the Swedish death metal pioneers delivered a damn strong show, only unfortunately the set list was missing far too many more classics.

With a 20-year history to back them, one could only expect a professional show of DESASTER. And indeed, they delivered their blackened thrash songs with great tightness and perfect timing. Without grandiose show elements, the Koblenz-based band concentrated on what should be the focus of any good rock show, which is the music. The band kept it quite raw, but always showing a knack for good melodies. The band led by voluminous frontman Guido “Sataniac” Wissmann professionally covered the fact guitarist and founding member Markus “Infernal” Kuschke kept struggling with persistent technical problems which even made his instrument practically inaudible for several minutes, so the good atmosphere in the crowd didn't wane. The Party Tent didn't get really crowded, although in the back there were a few people who were obviously just looking for shelter from the burning sun outside.

Just like during SEPULTURA's SUMMER BREEZE debut in 2012, the sun was again burning down with full force. One could almost believe the band led by front giant Derrick Green had brought the great weather along from sunny Brazil. Yet what they brought along was new drummer Eloy Casagrande. The young drum talent had taken over the kit from Jean Dolabella and didn't fall short in terms of precision and power. Maybe he even added an extra portion of virtuosity. In any case, he always kept the band on track, starting the one hour show after the intro with two absolute classics. “Beneath The Remains” and the grandiose “Refuse/Resist” immediately set the bar enormously high for the rest of the set. However, the band managed to keep the energy level equally high with newer songs such as “Convicted” and “Choke”. A triple whammy consisting of “Arise”, “Rattamahatta” and obviously the crowning finale “Roots Bloody Roots” ended another awesome SEPULTURA show. The fans totally deserved the following refreshment out of the fire hose, as they went for it for the entire duration of the set.

When looking at NITROGODS singer Claus “Oimel” Larcher with his CROWBAR tribute beard, one would rather expect slow, heavy doom than straight-ahead, MOTÖRHEAD-influenced rock'n'roll. But when you get to listen to the band, which features in their ranks ex-PRIMAL FEAR guitarist Henny Wolter and FREEDOM CALL drummer Klaus Sperling, you can't help but bang your head. Even though the band had to struggle with some minor technical problems, they managed to bridge them with a cool, professional attitude. Soon the drive was back and the band's enthusiasm kept drawing more people for a proper metal show. Although most people obviously didn't know NITROGODS – their self-titled debut had only just been released – it seemed like they enjoyed the band's distinctive, raw sound. NITROGODS definitely won over some new fans.

INCANTATION set out to do the same with their predecessors. With their musical direction and back catalogue it wasn't a problem at all. Even though the US death metal legend hadn't released a new full-length album in the last few years, this didn't hinder their enthusiasm and brutality on stage. With a handful of diehard fans and a few curious festivalgoers in attendance, the four-piece were able to focus on the old classics, delivering their set in a merciless manner. Legs apart, head down and go! Death metal can be so simple. Between lightning-fast death metal and sinister excursions into more swampy, doomy grounds, the band still found time to pay tribute to another American death metal legend. As a special treat, the band played “Mortician” from the New York band of the same name, where INCANTATION's live drummer Sam Inzerra also plays. Killer gig by a killer band, and a successful SUMMER BREEZE debut.

After a lengthy absence from the stages, LACUNA COIL are now more present than ever. In the past, the band not only relied on the looks of their front star Cristina Scabbia, but mainly on a combination of heavy riffs and the good lady's flexible voice. With a new album under their belts and loads of enthusiasm on stage, the band made you forget the fact Miss Scabbia had aged a bit since their last visit to the festival. Despite the lengthy hiatus, the band were again a SUMMER BREEZE highlight, especially as both band and festival were celebrating 15 years of existence today. As communicative as usual and with a lot of commitment, Scabbia already reached operating temperature during the first song, animating the fabulous crowd at the Pain Stage. From a vocal point of view as well, everything was just perfect, as the duo Scabbia/Ferro made the stage quake. In many ways, the show felt like an act of liberation, designed to make critics shut up for good. Today LACUNA COIL were a big surprise as they had absolutely no fillers. Besides a big back drop, they just let the music do the talking. The band is back and will hopefully stick around for a while. For those who thought the show was over much too soon, the band will tour in November, so take note!

In the early evening, self-appointed animal rights activists CATTLE DECAPITATION started the massacre on the tent stage, making the fans – exhausted as they were from the heat – sweat even more with their brutal deathgrind. Without any intro bullshit the band launched into a storm of blastbeats with the opening “Carbon”. Frontman Travis kept pushing his growls to the best of his abilities in order to give the numerous headbangers in attandance a good show. Drummer David McGraw delivered an impressive performance as always, and guitarist Josh laid his grind riffs on top. The band scored some extra points talking about how great the festival was and thanking the crowd profusely, and they were rewarded with a small mosh pit. There were even a few fans in the front row who had learned the hardly intelligible lyrics, singing along. Even clapping along was allowed, and during the most melodic song in the set, “Forced”, the crowd really started moving. Both band and audience made the best out of the show in the super hot tent, and after ten brutal songs CATTLE DECAPITATION left under loud applause, although not without taking a picture with the fans in the background first.

On the early Saturday evening, PARADISE LOST had to struggle mainly with three problems: temperature, technology and sound. When the British pros took to the stage just past six o'clock the fireball in the sky was already starting to go down, yet the heat was still hanging in the air like a veil of lead. This didn't affect the band's performance, but the numerous fans in attendance definitely felt it. Despite a strong set made up of songs from their new album “Tragic Idol”, as well as mandatory classics such as “Pity The Sadness”, “As I Die” and “The Enemy”, the crowd did hardly move at all, so frontman Nick Holmes had to counter again and again prompting the audience to clap along, sing along, and party along. On top, he had to struggle with his in-ear monitors, which didn't excatly make him happy either. But maybe a little more powerful guitars would have been enough to make the gig better. Although guitarists Gregor Mackintosh and Aaron Aedy were headbanging furiously, their guitars sounded strangely thin. The evergreen “Say Just Words” ended a good show, which was just lacking a bit of power.

Now it was time for one of Sweden's most cult-like acts to heat up the atmosphere in the Party Tent. Dressed in leather, spikes and 80s-black-metal-style make-up, the diabolical pack stepped on stage to raise the flag of old-school black/thrash metal. From the beginning, the underground stalwarts went for it, firing their simple yet effective songs into the crowd of avid metalheads, with razor-sharp riffs, wild drums, and a lot of rawness and charm. Those familiar with the rumbling horde led by two former NECROPHOBIC guitarists know that, besides the brutal delivery of speed metal infernos such as “Infernal Flame Of Destruction” and “War Of Doom”, another important feature is the right poses. So, besides some pretty destructive metal fo the ears, there was some nice old-school stage acting as well. The veterans delivered a great show full of a dark atmosphere and lots of trueness.

19.10. (PS) OOMPH!
At 19:10 sharp and with their typical ship siren it was time for “cast off!” and “full speed ahead!” on the Pain Stage, and the seven members of OOMPH!, all dressed as seamen, launched into “Unzerstörbar”. The stage was decorated with all sorts of maritime-themed props. During the following hour, singer Dero, with Joker make-up on, played the likeable entertainer and crowd conductor. From the beginning of the show it was crammed full already, but more and more people kept joining the party. All critics who had labeled the band as out of place before the show were definitely taught better, as the band proved to be a valuable addition to the bill. Especially Dero's banter was always good for a laugh, whether he dedicated “Bis Der Spiegel Zerbricht” to “Justin Bieber and all casting idiots of the world”, thanked Rob Halford and BRONSKI BEAT for “Kleinstadtboy” or dedicated “Sandmann” to “Germany's nect top moppel Angy Merkel”. He always had the crowd on his side, who rewarded him by jumping and partying all the way to the back of the FOH tower. “Seemannsrose”, complete with schunkel-sound and accordeon, may have been a bit too much, but all in all it was a clear victory for the band. Even though they were already over their allotted stage time, Dero didn't miss the opportunity to give the crowd a chorus to sing along. This time it was Monthy Python's “Always look On The Bright Side Of Life”.

19.50 (PZ) SHINING
On this year's SUMMER BREEZE bill, SHINING were the band that, on the one hand, probably stood out the most and, on the other, was focused mainly on its frontman, Niclas Kvarforth. Coming on stage a bit late, the Halmstad-based band started with the characteristic opening riff of “Lat Oss Ta Allt Fran Varandra“. Mastermind Kvarforth came on stage with a dark hoodie on, exuding a haunting, somewhat sinister, fucked-up aura. The sound was clear and thunderous, inviting people to bang their heads, until more quiet passages, partly enriched by samples, worked on the darker, more self-destructive atmosphere. The individual songs were drawn out to suspicious lengths, while Kvarforth worked on his image by spitting into the crowd or mauling his guitarists. Then he crouched over, looking at the front row with a demented glance, whispering, completely absorbed in his stage persona. This further enhanced the impact of the slow, dark music, forming an effective whole. At the end, the aforementioned extra length of the songs could have turned into a problem, because according to schedule the show should have ended after “Ohm”. However, after a brief deliberation with one of the guitarists, Kvarforth continued with “Submit To Self-Destruction“ and the closing “Förtvivlan, Min Arvedel“.

New York Hardcore wouldn't be the same without them, and many bands on this year's SUMMER BREEZE bill probably list them as an inlfuence. We are talking about NYHC pioneers SICK OF IT ALL, who have been playing the festival circuit for years, proving that, after over 26 years of carrer, they still have what it takes to deliver a great show. Under the setting sun, frontman Lou Koller entered the stage in a great mood, greeted his fans loudly and immediately launched into “Take The Night Off”. The crowd, which kept growing and growing over the course of the set, did their best to stay in motion with jumps, wild mosh pits and countless crowdsurfers. As with their last festival appearances, the choice of songs was spot on, as they played selections from the whole band history, making fans young and old party together. Lou's question “are you ready?” was obviously answered with a loud “yeah!”, and before starting the crushing “Die Alone” he conducted the audience like a choir, prompting everyone to sing along. Besides Lou, his brother Pete provided loads of action on stage, too. Fit as a fiddle, he kept moving throughout the whole set, using every monitor wedge on stage as a spring board at least once. Their set flew by, and the Americans kept churning out tracks like "Good Looking Out", "Call To Arms" and "Scratch The Surface" with no interruption, which went down a strom in the audience. The bouncers had their hands full pulling crowdsurfers (surprisingly many of which were female) out of the pit. For the grand finale, with Lou asking everyone from the left to the right to join in, the band played the classic “Step Down”. Under loud calls for an encore the band took many a bow and said goodbye. After all these years, SICK OF IT ALL have still got it, as they still overshadow many a younger band with their live qualities. It's still a mystery though why they didn't use the remaining 20 minutes of their stage time and didn't return for an encore.

20.50 (PZ) ASPHYX
Those wanting to see ASPHYX today had to be a little patient. Only a full 15 minutes late the band led by charismatic frontman Martin van Drunen started their set with “The Quest Of Absurdity”. Yet the audience was quick and willing to forgive the delay. Even before the band started playing, the crowd had already been celebrating the Dutchmen. And seeing how tight the band played this evening, anything else would have been totally out of place. From the first to the last minute van Drunen, guitarist Paul Baayens and bassist Alwin displayed an exercise in synchronized headbanging. The fans did the rest, moshing and banging as if there was no tomorrow, and hundreds of horns were raised in the air. Van Drunen, who must have run kilometers from side to side of the stage, entertained the crowd with his humorous ways, such as introducing himself as Roland Kaiser. I wonder if Kaiser would have had the same fun? Well, at least ASPHYX had fun and spread fun, ending their sweat-inducing show with the nin-minute cult track “The Rack”.

21.35 (PS) ASP
ASP were one of the most popular exponents of the gothic scene on the SUMMER BREEZE bill this year. Led by lead vocalist Alexander “Asp” Spreng, the band gained great success even beyond the limits of the scene with their album “Schmetterlingszyklus”, and nowadays high chart entries as well as sold-out shows are standard in the ASP camp. So this evening there were fans gathered at the Pain Stage as far as the eye could see to listen to the band's dark sounds. After a spooky intro, complete with Gregorain chants and a fascinating light show, which drenched the atmosphere in deepest darkness, ASP stepped on stage all dressed in black, starting their set with the rocking “A Prayer For Sanctuary”. Already during the first track there were impressive pyro effects, which were obviously greeted with loud cheers by the audience. After “Wechselbalg” and “How Far Would You Go” the band finally greeted the audience, asking them not to rest, as the next rocker “Eisige Wirklichkeit” followed straight after. Quieter songs like “Kokon” and “Krabat” (one of the few songs played that was not part of the “Schmetterling” cycle) provided a short break, where the light and colour effects gave many fans the goosebumps. That's how perfect the show was. The finale, in turn, was a lot heavier again. During “Schwarzes Blut” and “Ich Will Brennen” there were massive pyro effects besides the heavy guitar riffs, and one could only be amazed at how much work must have gone into every effect, all of them perfectly synchronized with the music, enhancing the gloomy atmosphere. ASP delivered an entirely convincing package, technically flawless and grandoise in its atmosphere, where darkness, light and music intertwined perfectly. This way, not only gothic fans got what they deserved.

What a joy to have the undisputed king of the Bontempi organ massacre as part of the festival's 15th anniversary celebration. Each one of his five sets was a true feast of the godly “organization” of popular metal hits, and even when master MAMBO KURT had to go on at the same time as headliners AMON AMARTH, the Camel Stage was still packed. Be it “South Of Heaven”, “Killing In The Name” or RAMMSTEIN's “Engel”, the crowd were eating out of the guy's hand. His merch was already completely sold-out after his second set, and the crowd indulged in everything from a conga line to a wall of death. During his first few sets he also had his organ apprentice Frau Foxy on stage, who practiced free dance and even got to sing songs such as “RemmiDemmi” and “I Just Can't Get Enough”. Later on, KURT even put the C64 to use, which turned out to be very hiphop-compatible, and he obviously played “Musik Ist Trumpf” as well, the song that made him win a young TALENT contest in the organ category back in 1982 – come on! During his last set probably no one would have complained if he'd just kept going even though ENTRAILS were already starting their set in the tent next door.

PARADISE LOST's Gregor Mackintosh (guitars) and Adrian Erlandsson (drums) performed double duty on Saturday. VALLENFYRE, however, were a lot darker than PARADISE LOST on the main stage earlier on. No wonder, since Mackintosh formed the band as a tribute to his recently deceased father. The resulting album “A Fragile King” was played almost in its entirety tonight, with only “My Black Siberia” missing from the setlist. And boy was it incredibly brutal! The deep-black, morbid atmosphere was perfectly transported to the stage, and the brutal sound made the mix of doom, death metal and crust hit you right in the gut. Without a guitar in his hands, Mackintosh filled the role of singing frontman with surprising self-confidence and the typical British black humour. The significance VALLENFYRE have in his life was made clear with songs such as “Seeds”, which he introduced as “the most miserable song ever played on SUMMER BREEZE”. “Humanity Wept” was the stuff for headbangers, where Erlandsson could show off his class. SUMMER BREEZE probably witnessed a historic gig, as the band's fifth show might very well have been their last. At the moment there are no more shows planned, and, even though Mackintosh asked potential promoters in the crowd to get in touch, the future remains uncertain.

Of course, AMON AMARTH couldn't be missing from the SUMMER BREEZE anniversary celebrations. The history of the festival is intimately connected to the Swedes' success. No matter if they came with a massive viking ship like in 2009, or presented a more stripped-down stage show. On this memorable evening, AMON AMARTH were once again a gift from the nordic gods. The main stage area was bursting at the seams and, wherever you looked, people were wearing the band's merch. In 2009 AMON AMARTH already set the bar extremely high in terms of crowd reactions, but words can hardly describe what happened this evening. AMON AMARTH were going all the way, and they succeeded completely. No matter which one of their numerous hits they played, the crowd were eating out of Johan Hegg's hand. There was true magic in the air. It was a joy to see the two guitarists raise their guitars in the air in perfect synchronicity and mosh wildly. Whatever the band saved on stage props, the perfect pyro show more than made up for it. In almost every other song there were columns of fire or explosions to watch. A very special spectacle was a rain of fire which came down from the stage ceiling during “Death In Fire”. AMON AMARTH made it clear once again they can easily put together a 70-minute set of nothing but hits. This fact alone speaks for the band and underlines their current status. This last show on the SUMMER BREEZE Main Stage was, at the same time, the last of a two-year touring cycle for “Surtur Rising”. Johan Hegg used to opportunity to name and thank all the people who supported the band in the last few years. A noble gesture. On this warm summer evening, AMON AMARTH were a highlight that will always be associated with this festival. Great concert with a lot of high points. Horns up!

23:00 (PZ) DEEZ NUTS
In the hardcore scene, DEEZ NUTS are a controversial band. Their rather simple hardcore with a metal edge and lyrics with strong rap influences is not everyone's cup of tea. Especially the lyrics are often labeled as sexist, being the main focus of the criticism. But no matter what your opinion is on the matter, you can't deny that the band, which features ex-I KILLED THE PROM QUEEN drummer JJ Peters, is a formidable party band. And that's exactly what the crowd in the tent were up for. From the first song people were banging their fists or sending crowdsurfers on their way, and from the opening “Stay True” the audience showed they knew all the lyrics by heart. As soon as Peters held the mic towards the audience, the fans started singing along. Towards the end, the party atmosphere reached boiling point with “Tonight We Gonna Party” and “I Hustle Everyday”, and the calls for an encore lasted for long after the Australians had already left the stage.

This was their fourth time at the festival, and the fourth time they played at midnight. Without exaggeration it can be said there is a special relationship between KATATONIA and SUMMER BREEZE. Not for nothing the Swedes immortalized their best-ever SUMMER BREEZE appearance on the live CD/DVD “Live Consternation”. As soon as AMON AMARTH finished their show on the Main Stage, tension started to rise exponentially, with people wondering if the band would be able to top the aforementioned 2009 show. The stage looked strangely empty, as besides a drum kit right in front of the backdrop and three mic stands, there were no amps, cabinets or monitors anywhere. Unfortunately there were problems with the technology right away when one of the guitarist's in-ear system stopped working, but then the intro started, the band went on stage and launched into “Forsaker”. Still apparently the sound wasn't the best, neither on nor off stage, so quick adjustmentes had to be made after the first song. And slowly but surely it started working, as by the time the band played “My Twin” everything was perfect. Jonas Renske hit every note, even guitarist Anders Nyström's harmony vocals were spot-on, and Daniel Liljekvist is an exceptional drummer anyways. In the second half of the show the band definitely reached their true brilliance. Nothing but hits followed, and the band even played a promising new song titled “Buildings” from their forthcoming album “Dead End Kings”. The band was visibly touched by the reactions and thanked the crowd profusely, and would probably have played on if they could. For most fans their upcoming tour in the fall together with another one of this year's SUMMER BREEZE highlights (ALCEST) will be a mandatory date. On 1:00am exactly, just as soon as KATATONIA left the stage, bands and fans were surprised by an amazing fireworks display celebrating the festival's anniversary.

Shortly after midnight, some very special guests honoured the Party Tent with their presence. ANAAL NATHRAKH have always made it clear they don't play regular tours. That's why the band's few concerts are very special happenings. The fact that their second SUMMER BREEZE appearance coincided with the festival's 15th anniversary made it even more special. Yet the experience was unfortunatley not untarnished, because after the instrumentalists took to the stage following an atmospheric intro, singer V.I.T.R.I.O.L. hobbled to center stage on crouches. His knee was obviously hurting, and when the music incited him to go for it, it was obvious he was in a lot of pain. Although he didn't move a lot, he gave his all, same as the rest of the band. Especially during the blast beats, drummer St. Evil delivered a top performance. The many fans who had been waiting – there was actually a girl in the front row during DEEZ NUTS' set completely indifferent to the band on stage, just there to secure a place right at the stage – got just what they wanted, both visually and in terms of the choice of songs. Their 50 minutes of stage time went by much too quick. After this amazing show one could only hope for a chance to see the band live again soon.

When master of ceremonies Doc Insane stepped on stage with his flaming red mohawk, hardly anyone in the tent knew what to expect of the following 45 minutes. But, as soon as he stapled a flyer to his forehead with a staple gun, the general direction became quite clear. Obviously (almost) immune to pain, the Briton mistreated himself in various ways, like driving nails into his nose, then drilling it with an electric screwdriver, getting darts thrown in his face (obviously wearing safety glasses for protection!), putting his fingers in animal traps (the effectiveness of which he demonstrated beforehand with a sausage) and having a stone plate smashed on his groin with a sledgehammer. Furthermore, he chewed on a lightbulb, then held a mic to his mouth so everyone could hear the glass crunching. In between his acts, the poor (?) guy got a few minutes to rest and disinfect his wounds. There were also two more artistic parts of the show. First off, the African Brothers, who jumped around the stage contorting in the most unnatural ways, earning lots of spontaneous applause – soon to be seen on “Germany's Got Talent!” And then there was a similarly flexible lady juggling with countless hula hoops who managed to make many of them rotate simultaneously around her limbs. The final act was again Doc Insane who emptied a bucket full of shards of glass from 30 bottles on a large towel. Then he put his face in the glass and the mic right next to him, and one of his companions stepped on his head making it splinter and crack. Ouch. Too bad the following knife throwing and chainsawing were cut due to time restrictions. After the show, no one would have been surprised Doc Insane's act was banned from several TV shows in the UK. DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME!!!

Sweden's ENTRAILS have a biography quite similar to their fellow countrymen EVOCATION and INTERMENT. Formed in the early nineties, it took ENTRAILS 19 years to release their debut album “Tales From The Morgue”. Better late then never, one could argue, as the album delivers some of the finest classic Swedish death metal close to ENTOMBED, GRAVE and DISMEMBER, same as the follow-up “The Tomb Awaits”. So the death metal maniacs gathered in the tent enjoyed a good dose of death metal, which was stylistically limited on purpose, yet honest and powerful. Their mix of aggressive buzzsaw riffs and a few interspersed melodies, energetic drumming and pure enthusiasm was simply fun to watch and listen to. The extremely straight and very fast (compared to the aforementioned bands) songs made the hearts of all lovers of the good old death metal school beat faster. One felt transported to the early nineties, and many fans were headbanging in joy. A solid, gripping show with beautifully nostalgic charm.

After this lesson in classic death metal it was up to HATESPHERE to close SUMMER BREEZE 2012. A few diehards had made their way to the tent to bring a fantastic festival weekend to an end together with the Danes. The band, who overhauled their full line-up in the last few years, with the exception of mastermind Pepe Lyse Hansen, went for it fromt the beginning, delivering a massive dose of modern thrash metal. With their high/energy thrash HATESPHERE managed to mobilize the crowd's last energy reserves. The powerful performance captivated the fans, and there was one last cirlce pit. The Danes delivered a top performance with utmost precision and loads of enthusiasm. Especially the likeable frontman Esben stood out in terms of a passionate performance, literally screaming his lungs out and spreading a good atmosphere with his funny in-between-song banter. And so SUMMER BREEZE 2012 ended with the finest thrash assault, leaving no room for potential tiredness in the audience.