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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.