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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.