With AGNOSTIC FRONT, Summer Breeze had booked THE legend of New York Hardcore. Mr. Vinnie Stigma and Mr. Roger Miret may have aged visiby, yet on stage they were mobile as always. Especially Stigma is an eye-catcher with his wild poses and gestures. In a professional manner, the old hands – formed in 1981, they were probably one of the oldest bands on the bill – delivered their set to the crowd. Surprisingly, the setlist included many songs from recent albums such as “Another Voice” and “Warriors”, but classics such as “Friend Or Foe”, “Victim In Pain”, “Crucified” and “Gotta Go” were obviously in there too. Especially the latter was loudly sung along by hundreds of voices. The three times Miret demanded a circle pit it unfortunately didn’t work, but the crowd reactions were extremely positive. A surprisingly cool show by a band that might be old, but far from a thing of the past.
Due to the delay caused by The Devil’s Blood, Southern Germany’s funeral doomsters AHAB also went on stage roughly ten minutes later than scheduled. Surprisingly, the room in front of the Party Stage was still nicely filled by a few hundred fans, even as late as it was. Fitting the band’s maritime theme, the stage was drenched in blue light when the dark nocturnal music was introduced with “O Father Sea”. On the one hand, the four-piece’s songs were incredibly heavy and slow, but at the same time quiet and fragile, creating a truly captivating atmosphere, which was rewarded with loud applause from the audience. Singer Daniel Droste intoned the vocal parts with either deep growls or a really good clean voice, while his cohorts made even the densest parts sound powerful. The haunting “The Divinity Of Oceans” turned into a true master class in intense, atmospheric doom, and with “Old Thunder” the band went back to their debut album “The Call Of The Wretched Sea”. AHAB sent the crowd off into the cold night with “Redemption Lost”, the last song of the day, or rather of the night.
Late at night it was time for a band that polarizes the metal scene: THE DEVIL’S BLOOD. For some, the Dutchmen are a sensation, for others they’re just overrated and hyped-up. As always, the truth lies somewhere in between. However, it is fact that the band is able to produce a hypnotic wall of occult rock with their three guitars. And they managed to do it again this evening, although, at the end of the day, the music became somewhat of an accessory. The six-piece took the stage after a 10-minute delay, and it was immediately apparent that the volume level was more bareable than usual. As expected, they started their set with “Come, Reap” and “Rivers Of Gold”, and by the time they played “House Of 10,000 Voices” the magic was right there. “Rake Your Nails Across The Firmament” was presented in an extended version as compared to the album track, and by “The Heavens Cry Out For The Devil’s Blood” they had played themselves into a trance. A look at the clock made it clear that the band would have a hard time cramming their full setlist into the assigned stage time. After the more straight-ahead “Graveyard Shuffle” they still played “Voodoo Dust” in a quiet version, but at that time they were already past their curfew, which the stage manager pointed out more than once. But the band either didn’t get it or just didn’t care and carried on playing, so during “Christ Or Cocaine” the monitors were switched off and then the whole PA. When frontman Selim Lemouchi noticed this he completely lost it, stormed to the side of the stage and attacked members of the stage crew. Furious, he came back on stage while the band kept playing just through the backline. Then the power was cut altogether, and Selim confronted members of security first and his own tour manager next. These were unpleasant and especially unprofessional scenes that overshadowed a good – but not great – show by THE DEVIL’S BLOOD.
Due to some technical problems, NECROPHAGIST took the Party Tent stage quite late, resulting in the band skipping a song on their setlist. But when the four-piece started with “The Stillborn One” from their 2004 album “Epitaph”, it was received with loud cheers by the waiting crowd. And what the musicians created on their instruments could only be described as superhuman. As expected, a master class in technical death metal took its triumphant course. Complex, technical, but always tight and never losing focus on the song, the Karlsruhe band delivered songs like “Only Ash Remains”, “Extreme Unction” and “Fermented Offal Discharge”, a great experience for eyes and ears. At any rate, the crowds jaws went further and further down during the set, and a potential pit was sacrificied in favor of just watching the band play. One thing was clear after the show: NECROPHAGIST are a band you must see at least once in your lifetime.
Summer Breeze, Party Tent and ENDSTILLE? Is that a conflict? It definitely is. When the band – with new singer Zingultus for the first time – took the stage at midnight in the – by then only half-full – tent, the atmosphere was quite contained. Contained wouldn’t be the right desription for the sound though, as this was rather washy. Admittedly dark, yet somewhat powerless, this may have been the ideal sound in ENDSTILLE’s opinion, but could definitely not be described as pleasant or impressive after twelve hours of loud music. However, the four-piece bravely fought their way through a 45-minute set, consisting of a handful of highlights from their already quite extensive discography plus one new song, sounding pretty tight despite minor technical problems. The crowd reactions were appreciative and content, but nothing more. Already during the second song whole groups of people were seen leaving the first rows. During the last song, the title track from their fourth album “Navigator”, Luguburem, who sang on the last ENDSTILLE tour, came on stage to do a duet with Zingultus, before the latter smashed a cross onto an ENDSTILLE logo on black paper to end the show. The meaning of this action remains unknown. So ENDSTILLE left the stage after a not entirely satisfactory performance – without using up their allotted stage time. Despite a solid show, this was probably just too much (or too little) for the tired Summer Breeze crowd.
Sweden’s RAISED FIST arrived quite late at the festival site due to the traffic, and looked pretty tired even shortly before their stage time. However, as soon as the intro stopped, a lot of action started on and in front of the stage. At least nothing of the preceding problems shone through in the show, and the whole band went to work in an energetic fashion, making their show a real recommendation for hardcore starters. Singer Alexander Hagman stood out with some martial arts moves and screamed his soul out as always.With a cross-section of all their creative periods, RAISED FIST delivered a set that was admittedly 20 minutes shorter than originally scheduled, but had a level of intensity that only few bands possess, to a still numerous audience despite a noticeable drop in the temperature. It was also a bit frustrating that the front of house engineer only managed to reach the Swedes’ full sound potential halfway through the set – from then on, the audio coming from the speakers finally matched the action on stage. Despite all the setbacks: RAISED FIST were absolutely convincing.
Chicago’s MACABRE had already played Summer Breeze before. The old-school death metal veterans had also drawn quite a big crowd into the Party Tent. The trio has a humorous take on the many serial killers in history. Frontman Corporate Death, using a headset to growl into again, also had a fitting story to tell when introducing each song. Musically, the band delivered an original mixture of old-school death metal and technically complex passages. The band quite obviously don’t take themselves too seriously, as evidenced in some rather obscure songs combining death metal with snippets of melodic pop/rock. The band plan to release a new album before the end of the year, so they already played a few new songs. After the show, the crowd kept demanding an encore, but their wish couldn’t be fulfilled due to time restraints.
Potsdam folk metallers SUBWAY TO SALLY were headlining the Main Stage and have always been a guarantee for great live shows. This wouldn’t change this evening, as everything about the gig was absolutely perfect. From the uniform red and black outfits (with the exception of Frau Schmitt’s dress) to the literally hot stage show and the instrumentation typical for this genre with violin and hurdy-gurdy to a setlist covered in hits, the band absolutely enthralled the audience. The start alone with “Henkersbraut”, the evergreen “Kleid Aus Rosen” and “Feuerland” was already superb. Especially during the latter there was an impressive display of fireworks and pyro effects. One could almost fear frontman Eric would suddenly catch fire as he danced through the flames, unimpressed. It was also great to see the audience waving their arms during the song’s verses. Naturally, the blond frontman demanded the typical scream again this evening, which he got back from thousands of throats. But there wasn’t only action in the crowd, but also on stage, as the band members interacted according to the title of the song on offer. An ocean of clapping hands accompanied “2000 Meilen Unter dem Meer” before the first break in the form of the quiet “Maria”, which was sung along by the audience. Fitting the title, there was a lot of fire on stage again during “Meine Seele Brennt”, and Fish was swinging a burning stick. His cohorts – no less active than the frontman himself – probably had cold sweat running down their necks. During “Falscher Heiland” the phrase “Genug ist genug!” echoed through the festival site, before the singer invited everybody to the St. Vitus dance, “Veitstanz”. The crowd didn’t have to be asked twice, immediately joining the dance to the hit from the “Herzblut” album. Then the show was over, but SUBAY TO SALLY obviously weren’t let go without an encore, so the band delivered “Sieben” before “Julia Und Die Räuber”, sung along by the audience, formed the blistering finale. This is what a real headliner looks like.
TRIPTYKON, the new band led by ex-Celtic Frost frontman and mastermind Tom Gabriel Warrior, were next in the tent and delivered by far the darkest, most atmospheric and powerful performance of the festival so far. And this was already clear when the four musicians, shrouded in thick fog and cold blue light, stepped on stage and started playing the first crushing riffs of “Procreation (Of The Wicked)” after a short intro. The thick, pitch-black walls of sound virtually steamrolled the audience, who were more interested in watching the show as if in a dark spell and let themselves be engulfed by the grim atmosphere, rather than cheering and headbanging. TRYPTIKON’s set was comprised of tracks from their debut album “Eparistera Daimones” as well as further Celtic Frost classics, which seamlessly melded with each other. Only seldom did Tom Warrior utter a few words in between songs. The following 45 minutes just flew by, and when TRIPTYKON finally thanked the audience and left the stage, they received loud, appreciative applause yet strangely no calls for an encore.
This evening DARK TRANQUILLITY demonstrated the importance of having a good frontman. Singer Mikael Stanne jumped, ran, kneeled down, stood up, gesticualted, headbanged, laughed, fired up the audience and enjoyed the reactions coming back from the crowd. His expressive poses underlined the lyrics he intoned with his inimitable voice, gripping the audience from the very first second. But it wasn’t only due to a good show and extensive crowd interaction, but also due to the Swede’s song material. “At The Point Of Ignition” started the melodic death metal masters’ set, which was accompanied by interesting video projections on a big screen behind the drums that fitted each song. As expected, “The Fatalist” and the opening track from their current album, “We Are The Void”, turned out to be great live numbers, and “Focus Shift” further heated up the atmosphere. Three older tracks followed in the shape of “The Wonders At Your Feet”, “Final Resistance” and “Therein”. Guitarists Niklas Sundin and Martin Henriksson and bassist Danel Antonsson formed a musical and visual wall behind their singer and delivered the perfect foundation with a perfect sound. “Germany is the place to be for metal”, he declared, and when he announced the hit “Los To Apathy” the fans went completely mental. And the red-headed frontman capped it all off as he jumped into the photo pit and started hugging the fans in the front row. Funnily enough, one of the security guards mistook him for a fan and pushed him aside, until he noticed and helped the singer back up. Stanne then proceeded to help security to pull crowdsurfers out of the crowd before returning to the stage to sing the catchy “Misery’s Crown”. The thrashy “Punish My Heaven” from the 1995 album “The Gallery” was a little present for the band’s long-time fans, before the atmospheric “Iridium” signalled the beginning of the end of an impressive show, which came to a close with “Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive)”.
Attentive audience members probably wondered what was going on more than once during the Finns’ set. That keyboardist there.. didn’t he look a lot like the one in the preceding Insomnium!? That’s right, today Aleksi Munter had exceptionally filled in for Insomnium, but at least had changed stage sides not to make it all too obvious for the audience. Singer Mikko Kotamäki had purposely changed his shirt after the Barren Earth show in the afternoon and was now sporting a red Type O Negative one. Musically, Barren Earth admittely have quite a similar style as SWALLOW THE SUN, but the latter largely profited from the atmosphere and darkness in the tent. To the sound of a quiet intro the band members stepped forward, strapped on their instruments and stood there like frozen for a while, until they finally started with the first two tracks from their current album “New Moon”. Besides their passionate performance, one thing was really striking: The band members were all extremely skinny! All the more surprising what impressive melodies and screams were produced by such a lank guy as Mikko Kotamäki. During the quiet parts, the five-piece was able to create such a spellbound concentration in the tent, it actually wasn’t even interrupted by some out-of-place bawling. During the heavier parts (with sporadic blast beats even!) the tent crowd let themselves go and even clapped along here and there. In closing, let’s just have a look in the dictionary under “perfect show”… yep, it’s synonimous with SWALLOW THE SUN!
A real death metal legend had been booked for Summer Breeze with OBITUARY. The band led by the Tardy brothers showed how it’s done. With guitars downtuned to Z and the typical OBITUARY killer groove, the band destroyed everything in their path. To replace Frank Watkins, who had defected to Gorgoroth, they brought Six Feet Under bassist Terry Butler on board, who provided the rhythm foundation alongside drummer Donald Tardy. As always, frontman John Tardy shone with his animal-like grunts, hiding behind his hair as usual, and sometimes leaving the stage for the longer instrumental parts. At least when he wasn’t busy supporting his drummer with additional percussion. The band was visibly enjoying the show, and if you looked closely, now and then you could see the band members smiling mischievously. The setlist didn’t leave anything to be desired, as, besides a few new songs, it consisted mostly of classics. After the closing “Slowly We Rot” the band handed out a few plectrums and thanked the audience profusely.
JOHNNY & THE HOT RODS had also been booked for the Camel Stage to play three 20-minute sets during changeover in the tent. The Neuss band couldn’t really draw a massive audience for any of their three apearances, but their rockabilly/country versions of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Soundgarden and Judas Priest songs provided for the optimal variety and entertainment in between the shows next door. JOHNNY & THE HOT RODS were far more than a stopgap though, as the four cool blokes led by the outstanding frontman Johnny Yuma really excelled at their respective instruments and knew exactly how to win over the metal crowd and how to keep it interested. This way they had no problem in creating a great atmosphere, delivering a professional, well-rounded, successful show.
Fitting the impending nightfall, it was time for the second Finnish band in a row. INSOMNIUM attracted the headbangers like a magnet and filled the tent to capacity even before playing a single note – which probably no one had expected beforehand. When the band finally launched into the superb “Equivalence”, they immediately had the crowd firmly in their grip. Perfectly rehearsed, the Finns virtually celebrated their show. The crowd soaked each of the songs up like a sponge. Aided by a powerful sound, it was a potpourri of razor-sharp guitar riffs, dream-like melodies and metallic rhythm parts. Vocalist Niilo Sevänens stage banter – again in German – was especially cool. The clean vocal parts also worked perfectly, giving listeners the goosebumps again and again. Even though the songs on offer were mostly from the last two albums, “Across The Dark” and “Above The Weeping World”, there was hardly anything to criticise this evening. At the end of the set, INSOMNIUM had conquered the hearts of their fans and surely made a few new ones. Already an absolute highlight of the festival and a mark by which all following bands would be measured.
Shortly before the show there was a little ceremony to honor the winners of the NEW BLOOD AWARD. Jury member Marcus Schleutermann (Rockinvasion / Rock Hard) was in charge of presenting the award and also to wake up the rather tired audience. SUMMER BREEZE organizers Achim Ostertag and Michael Trengert, Norman Sickinger (jury member / metal.de) and Andreas Schulz (jury member / Legacy / Musikreviews.de) each handed over one of the impressive (and heavy!) awards to the smiling musicians. BLEEDING RED didn’t laugh for long though, as Manuel Waible’s guitar dropped out right during the first song, which they had begun playing enthusiastically. The guys bridged the forced gap professionally though, simply bringing forward the thank-you speech for their supporters, until the problem was solved and they could go back to work. In contrast to the previous day, the sound was much clearer today, which meant an additional win for the band. At the start, the room between the stage and the sound desk wasn’t exactly packed, but during the course of their set more and more people arrived, most of whom got into the band’s melodic death metal sound. Singer Timo Joos once again appeared as a cool and liekable frontman, asking the same question again while introducing “Calling For Your Downfall“: “Do you want some high speed?” – he might as well have asked if the Pope was catholic… Anyway, BLEEDING RED can see their appearance at the festival as a complete success, will probably be watching Children Of Bodom with a big smile on their faces on Saturday, and will hopefully – and deservedly – leave behind their current status as a demo band.
What followed was the triple Finnish treat. Probably not many in the audience were familiar with the band’s material, but this didn’t turn out to be a handicap. Always expect the unexpected, as they say, and that applied totally to the band led by founding member Tuomas Yli-Jaskari. Fresh, melodic death metal with typical Finnish keyboard accompaniment blared through the tent, striking a nerve with the audience after the thrashy Dew-Scented. On a high technical level, the youngsters presented a fireworks display of music to the poisitively surprised audience. With an extremely likeable frontman who was always good for a joke, the rest of the band seemed to be on kilometre allowance. Add to this the equally fantastic sound, which further underlined the perfectly tight performance. The audience got some extra applause from the band for a proper circle pit. It was really a pleasure to watch these young savages this evening. The end of their captivating set was marked by the guitarist jumping into the crowd to enjoy the fans’ admiration first-hand. Great show by a young band who will make some jaws drop in the future.
If there was one band deserving the title “secret headliner” today, it was DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER. It was absolutely packed in front of the Main Stage, and the security staff were faced with a real tide of crowdsurfers, which didn’t let up until the end of the show. The rest of the audience was slamming, jumping, banging and bouncing to the band’s catchy songs, and the band also had quite a few surprises in the visual department. At the beginning of the set, for instance, a giant black balloon had been placed on stage, from which suddenly emergend vocalist Fuchs. During “Wir Sind Das Licht”, the bare-chested frontman lit an atmospheric Bengal firework, and keyboardist Dr. Pest kept slipping down a slide which had been set up on stage especially for him. Sometimes he jumped around on stage dressed only in his pants and a leather mask cracking a whip, while guitarist Ady and bassist Volk-Man headbanged furiously. The first part of the set gladly consisted of heavier songs such as “Revolution”, “Unter Der Asche” and “Friede Sei Mit Dir”, and after the singalong in “Es Wird Schlimmer”, the band presented a brand new song titled “Boten Einer Neuen Zeit”. After “Adrenalin” things quieted down a bit for “Nach Der Ebbe”, before going into the final spurt with “Der Adler” and “We Will Never Die”. And, as usual at a REITER show, during the closing “Seemann” singer Fuchs jumped in a rubber boat to be carried over the audience. This was just perfect festival entertainment.
After the colorful and opulent GRAILKNIGHTS show it was time for a contrast – visually and musically – as Northerners DEW-SCENTED, led by frontman Leif Jensen, took the stage. From the opening notes of “Arise And Decay” it was clear that DEW-SCENTED would have a firm grip on the audience. The likeable shouter and his cohorts were as fit as a fiddle from the get-go and got the crowd going. DEW-SCENTED crashed around like a wrecking ball to the delight of the packed tent, up to the very last rows. Tight as hell, the thrashers delivered one hit after another to the raging crowd. With some fitting melodies added, the guys grooved through their perfect choice of a setlist. With the new album “Invocation” under their belts, this evening DEW-SCENTED celebrated a triumph like they hadn’t seen in quite some time. Those familiar with the band’s live qualities know that this is meant as a total compliment. If the band stay in form, the other bands on their upcoming November tour will have to work hard to rival them. Once more, DEW-SCENTED were great and got people in the right mood for the rest of the evening.
Just before half five, the female fraction in the crowd had grown rapidly. The reason why hails from Finland and is called THE 69 EYES. And the girls greeted the charismatic frontman Jyrki 69 and his band with enthusiastic screams. The band enjoyed the female praise and thanked the girls with a show well worth watching. In blackened glam outfits, the group presented their songs with professional rockstar poses and especially Jyrki 69 impressed with his expressive gesticulation, stage action and a dark voice. The sinister performance started with “Back In Blood”, and during the following “Never Say Die” the atmosphere got even hotter. The ladies danced devotedly to the darks sounds in between sleaze and gothic rock. When “Devils” was played, horns were raised on command, and also the new single “Kiss Me Undead” was well-received. The melancholic “Wasting The Dawn” was a dark highlight, and the audience clapped along in delight to “Framed In Blood”. The energetic rocker “Dead Girls Are Easy” led the way into the closing part of the show, and the following hit “Brandon Lee” was introduced with a quote from the cult film “The Crow”: “The weather is always good when we play because it can’t rain all the time”. Since the late afternoon was firmly in female hands there were only girl crowdsurfers too. With the second big hit “Lost Boys” things started drawing to a close, but not before Jyrki 69 shook his arse lasciviously one more time, standing on the drum riser. As a thank you, he whispered “You guys rock – ohne Scheiss!” into the mic, leaving many a broken heart behind.
In the meantime, something got in directly from Stuttgart without stops: TIEFLADER. Three times, twenty minutes each. Not only did the band led by (ex-?)Farmer Boys guitarist Alexander Scholpp convince the fans that were there anyway with their mix of German-sung, catchy lyrics and massive, meaty neo thrash riffs a la Pantera, they surely made a lot of new fans with a very impressive performance. At least song titles like “Hier Kommt Der Hammer” (“Here Comes The Hammer”), “Lauter” (“Louder”), “Durch Die Wand” (“Through The Wall”) and “Strom” (“Electricity”) reflected exactly what was happening on stage: Full power until blowing the fuses! Singer Patrick Schneider was especially convincing with his smoky voice. All in all, a pretty heavy affair what the Stuttgart band served the listeners. There will definitely be a lot of talk about TIEFLADER in the future.
Already during changeover the masses came back to the Party Tent, not to miss the following band by any means. Styled as super heroes, the four-piece from Lower Saxony had no problem in getting the crowd on their side with their cool attitude, their jokes and poses in between songs, and especially with their incredibly catchy songs. During the following 35 minutes it was an easy feat for them not only to hold the good atmosphere, but to step things up more and more. The four GRAILKNIGHTS led by Sir Optimus Prime had the battle choir firmly in their grip, as every one of their singalong anthems had exactly the desired effect. Fitting with their band name, the GRAILKNIGHTS obviously based their stage show on the quest for the Holy Grail, and its find, representing the triumph of good over evil, was the grand finale of a show that went much too fast. A GRAILKNIGHTS show is and will always be a great experience!
Following on the Main Stage, PARKWAY DRIVE even managed to top it, drawing the masses of moshing fans with their powerful, breakdown-heavy metalcoe. The Aussie surfer boys are simply popular, and those who’ve heard their new album “Deep Blue” know the reason why. Guitarist Luke Kilpatrick had an injury on his right foot and could hardly walk, but the rest of the sunnyboys more than made up for it – the drummer even playing barefoot! The first highlight of the setlist was undoubtedly “Romance Is Dead”. The middle section with the infamous line “So cry me a fucking river, bitch!” was sung so loud by the willing crowd, probably Hans the baker in nearby Dinkelsbühl could even hear it. As if that wasn’t enough yet, the band delivered one hit after another from then on, the grand finale with “Carrion” and “Boneyards” deserving special mention. Cool, agile, simply good: PARKWAY DRIVE at the afternoon under bright sunshine!
Next on were death thrash metallers SIDEBLAST. Unfortunately the tent emptied abruptly during the changeover, so there were only a few people in front of the stage when the band started. Unimpressed, SIDEBLAST played an absolutely tight and professional 35-minute set, presenting the audience songs from their current album “Flight Of A Moth” as well as a few new ones. The Frenchmen were extremely agile and energetic on stage, quickly winning over the – admittedly few – people in attendance. Unfortunately, at the end of the set, SIDEBLAST didn’t get more than polite applause. A shame really, as the four-piece tried hard and would have deserved a bigger audience.
Latin metallers ILL NINO took the Pain Stage after NAPALM DEATH’s all-destroying performance next door, to prove that new metal is far from dead and that they could definitely hold their own next to the long-established grindcore masters. With them they brought a setlist full of hits, half of which consisted of songs from their first album “Revolution: Revolución”. Those who didn’t tap their foot, sing along or join the pit to tracks like “I Am Loco”, “God Save Us” and “What Comes Around”, was almost forced to do so (verbally) by singer Christian Machado – with excessive use of the evil F-word. And the energy actually translated from the six-piece to the audience as one wall of death followed another. The mostly dreadlocked group from New Jersey hadn’t lost one bit of their sweeping power, and the percussion section and sporadic use of acoustic guitars provided some welcome variation. Another positive surprise!
At 3pm the action started in the Party Tent: First on for a little over half an hour were gleemen FEUERSCHWANZ, who had made it their goal to give the audience some fun. With a colorful mix of tracks from their discography the sextet didn’t have a problem doing so. Despite the early hour, many festivalgoers had already made their way into the Party Tent, so FEUERSCHWANZ played in front of a sizable crowd that followed the band’s every command, be it the traditional conga line, which was led by Prinz Hodenherz himself, or the so-called “health dance” to introduce the song “Hurra, Hurra, Die Pest Ist Da!” The 35 minutes of stage time just flew by, and the party-hungry mob didn’t want to let the band go.
At early afternoon NAPALM DEATH stepped on the Main Stage. Without much hesitation, the British gods of grind sent one blast beat after the next into the ever growing audience. After “Strong Arm” from their current album “Time Waits For No Slave”, the older fans got their money’s worth with “Unchallenged Hate” and “Suffer The Children”. The band presented a perfectly balanced best-of set, consisting of new material and classics, which went down a storm with the audience. Frontman Barney’s on-stage antics (running around in circles, twitching like a spastic and looking like a psycho) was hilarious and awesome at the same time. In between songs he kept explaining the socially-conscious lyrics to their songs, gaining the crowd’s approval. Actually, the fan reactions at such an early hour was pretty impressive, with several mosh and circle pits. The obligatory “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” obviously couldn’t have been left out, rounding up a successful performance.
After Rage the previous evening, there was another bite for the hungry power metal fans in the form of DREAM EVIL. Think what you will of their sound, at least the guys really know how to entertain an audience. In front of a massive backdrop, which they claimed they hadn’t been able to use for the past six years as it was just too big for the stages they played, they really went for it. The singer was a real god of stage raps and vocals, and actually asked the audience to raise their lighters during a ballad-like intro – under bright sunshine and strong winds! He kept going with his funny stage banter, even stuff out of (homoerotic) porn magazines! In their song titles and lyrics they really had every imaginable true/power metal cliché, including the slaying of dragons! Summing things up, a very cartoonish affair, but combined with the extremely tight performance it was an entertaining performance well worth watching. And who knows who out of this band we may find on bigger stages with a more prominent band in the future, as ex-guitarist Gus G. is now employed by Ozzy himself!
This band’s position on the billing alone was proof of what a high standard the festival had this year, up to the opening bands, because the prominent line-up was really something special. (Ex-)members of Kreator, Waltari, Moonsorrow, Amorphis and Swallow The Sun were on hand to do the honors. However, the band didn’t have a rockstar attitude at all, as they went to work in a down-to-earth, sometimes almost reserved fashion. Just one of the guitarists seemed more extroverted with his unbuttoned shirt, naked chest and sunglasses. They chose a rather slow, atmospheric start for their show, captivating the aucience from the get-go. BARREN EARTH managed to perform their rather complex material perfectly, convinced with triple harmony vocals, and managed to set a completely different tone with their almost psychedelic keyboard sounds. The stage acting was quite standard, yet the drummer impressed with perfect and creative drumming and top-notch backing vocals. The intense, moody sound didn’t exactly fit the bright sunshine, but the Finns made the best out of the situation and surely won over many fans with their dark metal sound, which was somewhere in between the members’ other bands.