Without a proper banner on stage, HELRUNAR started their set in a professional manner with “Kollapsar” from their recent double album “Sol”. The sound was surprisingly good. Every instrument could be heard clearly, a lot of energy was freed and the crowd got moving pretty quickly, turning the gig into a small black metal party. The guitar riffs whipped through the air, the drums hammered the beats down and the vocals shrieked and screamed off any shadow of doubt anyone might have had about this band. HELRUNAR transmitted self-confidence and kept the crowd in a tight grip, which became stronger song after song, culminating in the band hit “Älter Als Das Kreuz” from the “Frostnacht” album. And singer Skald Draugir made the crowd sing the line “Älter Als Das Kreuz” every time, which conveyed a feeling of communion between band and audience. A few people were probably flabbergasted when the gig was already over after five songs, but, considering the duration of each song, there just wasn’t time for more. A pity really, since the crowd’s reactions showed they would happily have listened for longer to what is probably the best black metal band in Germany today. A perfect show that left everyone hungry for more HELRUNAR.


After SECRETS OF THE MOON’s rather failed show, it was now up to IMPERIUM DEKADENZ to save the day for the black metal fans. Surprisingly, only a few left the tent, so the head count in front of the stage wasn’t affected in a major way. The last band of the day started their set with “Ocean, Mountain’s Mirror”, a set that focused exclusively on the last two albums, “Procella Vadens” and “Dämmerung Der Szenarien”. The session musicians playing the string instruments celebrated the late hour with synchronic headbanging, and frontman Horaz enriched their atmospheric black metal with vocals that varied between growls and shrieks, and altogether the band seemed very enthusiastic. The highlight of the show was a ten-minute rendition of “A Million Moons”, although towards the end Horaz’ mic cut off, so the song had to be finished as an instrumental. A reconciliatory black closure of the third day at Summer Breeze.

More info about Imperium Dekadenz


It all started with black metal, and so it ended. After the day on the Party Stage had begun with REV 16:8, it was up to SECRETS OF THE MOON to draw all black metallers back into the tent. And, despite the late time, they came in good numbers. However, the band themselves made the fans wait at first. A full 15 minutes behind schedule the Osnabrück band finally hit the stage, seamlessly and unannounced, the silence turned into a gig. And although the band seemed fairly tight, the right atmosphere didn’t quite arise. With a rather muddy sound it took quite long for the crowd to catch on, and due to the initial delay the band had to shorten their set by 15 minutes, meaning they left after a half hour already with only a brief apology.


It’s undeniable that EINHERJER enjoy a certain cult status among scene insiders. It was great to hear they got back together in 2009, and having them at Summer Breeze tonight was even better. It was just past 1am, the power metal fans had all gone to bed, and things were about to get nordic. Although there were no viking helmets in sight, with eyes closed one could almost see the longboats on the horizon. One of them kept drawing closer, manned by fallen warriors. The intro had barely faded and there they were up on stage, without chain armour or similar gadgets, just EINHERJER doing what they do best. After the vocal and guitar levels had been evened out, the band took the audience on a journey through distant worlds, legends and myths. There wasn’t much stage acting, but the band rather focused on the music itself, and their songs were received by a grateful audience. “Norrøn Kraft” and “Balladen Om Bifrost” were first appetizers of the new album “Nørrøn”, which will finally be released in September 2011 after an eight-year (!) wait. The Norwegians managed to captivate the crowd with their songs, with band and fans whipping each other into a frenzy. The announcement of “Ironbound” as their last song was wistfully received, but with the reaffirming knowledge of this being far from EINHERJER’s last show.

More info about Einherjer


Slowly but surely, the crowd in front of the Party Stage kept getting bigger, and also the changeover took a bit longer (which had more to do with MAD SIN finishing late though). Pyros were set up, cameras rolling, altar and chalice ready: time for POWERWOLF. One look around confirmed that the wolves had once again managed to attract loads of prey, as the tent was filled up to the very back. There were “Attila” signs in the crowd, and there was a big roar when the mass started right at midnight. Attila Dorn himself quickly changed the name of the Party Stage to Ronnie James Dio Stage and blessed it with incense. POWERWOLF are well-known for their catchy songs and choruses, so it’s no wonder everyone, even those not familiar with the band, were singing along at the top of their voices by the second song, “Prayer In The Dark”, at the latest. At one point new drummer Roel van Helden completely demolished his kit, being booed loudly y the audience upon Attila’s prompt. It’s a well-known fact POWERWOLF don’t take themselves too seriously. So once again it was a pleasure to watch the ease and musical chops with which they captured their fans. There was something for everyone, such as “We Drink Your Blood”, and, according to Attila Dorn, some songs for men only, for example, “Resurrection By Erection”. At the end of the day it didn’t really matter which song was for whom, as everyone had a jolly good time. That was nice!


Tonight, the zero hour was going to be special. Because, 20 years ago to this day, a bunch of “fucking retards” (in Maurizio Iacono’s own words) had nothing better to do than forming a band called KATAKLYSM. So what could be better than celebrating their birthday with loads of fans at Summer Breeze? The framework conditions for a special party were all given: the area in front of the Party Stage was cram-full, the air was placid and the audience was loudly calling for the band. And KATAKLYSM had a few aces up their sleeves. For this special occasion they presented a setlist they had never done before, playing at least one song from each album, from their early beginnings with “Feeling The Neverworld” from the “Sorcery” album to the title track of their most recent release, “Push The Venom”. Even though some of the usual standards had to be omitted because of this, and some of the fans didn’t seem quite familiar with the old stuff, the atmosphere stayed heated not only due to the pyro effects, but because KATAKLYSM really managed to set everyone’s arses on fire. And when Iacono called for the security stress test, all hell broke loose. On his command, one crowdsurfer after another swam to the front, providing the security crew with a busy evening. During the closing “Push The Venom”, the backdrop was swapped for a giant 20, which was set alight with white and red sparklers during the final chords. At the end they took a photo in front of thousands of raised horns. Congratulations! And saving the good news for last, the gig was filmed for an upcoming DVD, so this memorable show was properly documented for posterity.


After the circle pit had been declared finished and the masses left the Party Tent, it was time for changeover and the next band. Originally Florida’s ATHEIST were next, but, as they say, the only constant is change, and the band cancelled at short notice. However, their replacement was soon found in the shape of VICIOUS RUMOURS. Stylistically, the US power metallers formed in 1979 might not have necessarily been a compensation for ATHEIST, but they still gave it all to win over as many people as possible. Since HAMMERFALL were playing simultaneously, not a lot of people were on hand at the Party Stage, and a few people seemed surprised about the amount of room there was. But it’s metal to just play on anyway, so Geoff Thorpe and his cohorts started their set with the classic “Digital Dictator”. There was lots of posing, leather and denim on stage, and the guys played stuff from all of their back catalogue, getting the party going. Singer Brian Allen didn’t mind stagediving into the sparse crowd, and the band used their 45 minutes stage time fully.


After the triumph of the BOLT THROWER war machine it was now time to let the hammer fall. Any doubts about the headliner position being taken up by HAMMERFALL instead of the Coventry death metallers were soon forgotten. Even though the sound level was a bit below BOLT THROWER’s, HAMMERFALL had the crowd firmly in their grip from the very first rain of sparks during the opening track “Patient Zero”. The instrumental section led by Oskar Dronjak captivated the fans with their metal poses, HAMMERFALL chants and singalong parts followed, and altogether the Swedes presented a well-balanced cross-section of all their creative periods supported by numerous pyro effects. Joacim Cans, dressed in a saucy denim and leather outfit, not only showed off his vocal abilities, but also proved to be a great tale-teller. Again and again, in between songs he told stories from back in the day, when HAMMERFALL wrote this or that track, and about how he had never dreamed of playing for such a huge audience. The whole deal was obviously drenched in heavy metal cliché, but those who criticize that shouldn’t watch HAMMERFALL in the first place. After close to an hour the first round was already over, before the band returned for the encore with “One More Time”, the singalong hit “Hearts On Fire” and the unavoidable “Let The Hammer Fall”. HAMMERFALL came with the goal to turn the whole place into one big party, and one has to admit their mission was successful!

21.45 (PZ) NEAERA

The award for the most destructive show in the Party Tent on Friday clearly went to melodic death metallers NEAERA. Even before the show started, the huge crowd – the tent was bursting at the seams – was already screaming for their heroes. And when the intro faded and the first sounds of “Heaven’s Descent” started, all hell broke loose. Anywhere you watched there were pits raging and people destroying their neck muscles. The first wall of death didn’t take long to happen either. But the true climax was frontman Benny Hilleke directing a massive circle pit around the wave breakers and the FOH tower. There hasn’t been anything like this at Summer Breeze! The singer’s abilities as an entertainer were pretty impressive anyway. From the first to the last song he had the crowd willingly eating out of his hand – but he also corresponded giving all he got, and even let the crowd carry him on their hands. Towards the end of the set, the crowd was deservedly rewarded with a few band shirts, which were shot into the audience with a compressed air cannon. NEAERA came, saw and conquered, leaving nothing but scorched earth and a devastated party tent behind. Incredible!

More info about Neaera


Despite all the forecasts announcing the opposite, it remained dry this evening, and the concert area filled up to the very back after the fantastic BOLT THROWER gig. In a live situation, AMORPHIS are always guarantee for technically and musically perfect shows. You simply know what you will get. The Finns had a great start and easy game with the audience. They took the crowd on a journey through their extensive back catalogue, pleasing the fans of all their different creative periods, but the focus laid on their acclaimed last release “The Beginning Of Times”. But still it seemed like the fans enjoyed the older songs more. However, this didn’t affect the show at all. Charismatic frontman Tomi Joutsen is just too good to let the atmosphere fade. It was a sight to behold the way he spun his dreadlocks, drawing bizarre shapes in the back light. Only his cohorts seemed a tad too quiet, staying mostly in the background. “Black Winter Day” would have been the ultimate high point of an already grandiose show, but, as so often lately, the band didn’t play it. Still the closing “House Of Sleep” was a great way to finish the set, making the already busy security crew work extra hard. With this show AMORPHIS underlined their greatness once more, especially Tomi Joutsen, who sounded absolutely convincing in every pitch.


It was a tough, almost vital decision – to watch death metal legends BOLT THROWER or Sweden’s new rock sensation? Those who went to the Party Stage certainly didn’t regret their decision, as GRAVEYARD delivered a show which can easily be counted as one of the top ten of the whole festival. Retro hard rock with elements of doom and stoner rock is what the playful Swedes served their audience. Their latest album “Hisingen Blues”, which was just recently re-released by Nuclear Blast, must have found a number of adepts already, because the crowd reactions spoke for themselves. Excited cheers, clapping hands and a big flock in front of the stage, filling almost two thirds of the tent. But the fascinating thing about the band wasn’t just the warm, analogue sound, but the ease with which GRAVEYARD pulled it off. Nothing is planned, anything goes. It was totally awesome the way the musicians wallowed in “The Line”, extending it to a 10-minute long jam. Can you really get mad at them for overrunning the schedule? If it was up to me, they could have played for another two hours!


When the British death metal flagship took the stage after a majestic intro and the first song started, it was immediately clear: BOLT THROWER were going to totally rule. After the opening track “The IVth Crusade” Karl Willets greeted the audience with few but well-chosen words. The crowd responded with a huge ovation after each song. With tracks such as “When Glory Beckons”, “Where Next To Conquer”, the dragging “Silent Demise” and “No Guts, No Glory”, BOLT THROWER knew exactly what they were doing every single second, and the cheering crowd acknowledged this happily. Not even the rather static stage acting of the band members bothered the crowd, but rather made an impression of grandeur. If the band can manage to just stand on the same spot most of the time and still get applauded for it, they must be truly grand. Moreover, the performance never seemed boring, but almost majestic. The whole area in front of the Main Stage was absolutely full, confirming once more the status of the band, who rarely play live at all (especially not on festivals). BOLT THROWER are the kaisers of old-school death metal, no matter if they haven’t released any new material in six years. The closing “When Cannons Fade” finished a perfect show, and one can only hope the cannons won’t fade for good and the band will hopefully release another album sometime soon. Absolutely awesome show by a true cult band.

19.40 (PZ) MAD SIN

MAD SIN were probably one of the bands with the longest tradition to play today. After 25 years and with 13 albums under their belts, the band led by singer Köfte proved their professionalism once more. And this professionalism manifested itself in perfectly arranged songs this evening. Carried by Köfte’s characteristic voice, their psychobilly anthems were virtually absorbed by the crowd. From left to right and from front to back, everyone in the tent was dancing and jumping. Stand-up bassist Valle was a real feast for the eyes, twisting and turning his instrument with breathtaking precision, which a simple mortal couldn’t even have achieved with a ukelele, let alone a massive contrabass. After HELRUNAR, MAD SIN were admittedly a stark contrast, but they used this exotic vibe to their advantage. However, they didn’t leave out the typical heavy metal crowd participation games. So towards the end of the set Köfte prompted the crowd to do a proper wall of death, which was accompanied with a cool pyro effect on the bass. Even though they had already exceeded their allotted show time, the billies indulged in an encore with “Psychic Night”, giving the stage crew cold sweat. The audience, however, got the real deal and enjoyed this very special show.


With their cleverly-devised setlist of RAMMSTEIN covers, WEISSGLUT quickly managed to captivate everyone who had either come to the Camel Stage to watch them or who were just passing by. RAMMSTEIN simply moves people, and WEISSGLUT have made an art form out of copying their brothers in spirit. At a festival like Summer Breeze tracks like “Asche Zu Asche”, “Du Riechst So Gut”, “Mein Teil”, “Du Hast”, “Sonne”, “Rammstein” and the hit “Engel” simply work, and so it was easy for WEISSGLUT to have a successful show. Even though the Camel Stage is only small, it was really crowded every time WEISSGLUT played. The crowd obviously sang along too, confirming the rightness of WEISSGLUT’s choice of songs. Very good.

19.15 (PS) TURISAS

It’s just past seven, and a respectable crowd has gathered in front of the Pain Stage. Looking closely, you can even spot a few with red and black warpaint, a clear sign it’s time for TURISAS. After the stage is decorated with a huge backdrop and side banners, the warriors from Finnland don’t waste time. Red and black is the new black, and only the girl with the accordion stays naked – I mean her face! TURISAS get up to a fulminant start with “To Holmgard And Beyond”, quickly followed by “One More”. Singer Mathias “Warlord” Nygård keeps firing up the crowd, seeming slightly reminiscent of TWISTED SISTER’s Dee Snider during his “speeches”. The F word is used quite frequently, but this doesn’t bother the “Herrings”, as Nygård affectionately calls the fans. The band is technically impeccable, even though a second guitar wouldn’t hurt. The band’s math abilities won’t win them any prizes though, as the setlist is much too short. However, the band carries on improvising, true to the motto “live is live”, and everyone walks away satisfied with their performance.


Early in the morning, after the nocturnal thunderstorm, it was up to TRIGGER THE BLOODSHED to blast the hangover out of the rather small crowd of music-hungry fans. And it wasn’t a problem for the English merchants of brutality. With their raging brutal death metal, which was mostly delivered at full speed, and their aggressive stage performance, they managed to draw everyone’s attention on the festival ground. A few mosh pits and even a small circle pit were the first climaxes of the third festival day. Respect! Paired with modern-sounding mosh parts, massive double kick grooves and loads of blast beats, the mighty racket didn’t only sound merciless, but also quite varied. Only the growls tended to become a bit tedious after a while. With their mercilessly precise delivery, TRIGGER THE BLOODSHED kicked the arses of all the morning grouches.

18.05 (MS) J.B.O.

Believe it or not, but this year’s first headliner already hit the stage at 18:00. At least you could call Franconia’s J.B.O. a headliner judging by the crowd reactions. True to the motto of their set opener “I Don’t Like Metal (I Love It!)”, the following 65 minutes were a celebration of our favourite style of music – obviously complete with loads of fun and crazy shenanigans. Starting with the festival’s coolest backdrop, which was completely pink! For the song “Dr. Met” Vito wore a doctor’s overall in pink, for “Glaubensbekenntnis” he played a pink priest accompanied by three crew members dressed as (pink/white) altar boys, and during “Bimber Bumber” a totally weird couple in traditional Bavarian costumes sweeped the stage. There were thousands of little pink flags in the crowd, which the band had handed out for the release of their new “Killeralbum”, and it was sight to behold. The four giant balloons that we thrown to the crowd unfortunately didn’t make it to their assigned target in the middle of the audience due to the wind, but otherwise everything worked perfect for J.B.O.! They may come back any time! Interesting side note: A few rather confused members of BOLT THROWER watched the J.B.O. show from the side of the Main Stage. It was probably the language barrier, and a little too much pink on stage.

More info about J.B.O.


Even though it was FACEBREAKER’s first-ever appearance at Summer Breeze, it was by no means strangers up on stage at a quarter to six. Especially frontman Roberth “Robban” Karlsson had already earned his stripes with SCAR SYMMETRY and EDGE OF SANITY, among others. Yet there was only a small crowd at hand when the sounds of “Cannibalistic” and “Torn To Shreds” started making the Party Tent quake. But there was a lot to offer for fans of guttural death metal: a well-rehearsed band, a brutal sound, songs that destroyed everything in their path and, above it all, Robban’s mean growls. Guitarist Mika Lagrén was also in the mood and convinced with his brilliant solos. A good gig by a good band. Should they come back in the years to come, one can only wish them a bigger audience.


It seemed a bit like playing with fire, because ENSLAVED’s music is best listened to at dusk or even at night, so the atmosphere it conveys can truly unfold. But after the first song it was already clear that ENSLAVED work by sunlight as well, even though the music doesn’t have the same magic effect and seems more fit to lay back and listen. Singer/bassist Grutle had the crowd completely on his side, as they followed each of his demands to clap and participate, supporting the Norwegians very vocally. It was especially the long-winded, playful, slightly psychedelic, even progressive parts that captivated the crowd, the ones you could really revel in. There were pretty big puddles of mud that had formed due to the rain a few hours earlier, and the die-hard ENSLAVED fans wallowed in them to their hearts’ content. Due to the bright sunlight, the light show didn’t really come across very well, but this didn’t affect the perfect flow of the set. ENSLAVED also made a point out of playing “Allfádr Odinn“, a track from their 1993 debut EP “Hordanes Land”. A successful balancing act between modernity and nostalgia. A total triumph for ENSLAVED.

More info about Enslaved


If INTERMENT had played for a little bit longer, the metal (paint) would have started chipping off of STAHLMANN, a relatively young star on the German rock firmament. Wearing elegant clothes with black ties and silver paint on their skin they took the stage, where a sizeable crowd was already waiting. The Göttingen-based band started with the song “Willkommen”. Drawing from bands like EISBRECHER, UNHEILIG, MEGAHERZ and obviously RAMMSTEIN, the band focuses on refreshingly straight-forward rock songs with a distinct industrial influence. Their stomping beats, driving rhythms and heavy riffs proved to be contagious to the crowd. Singer Mart turned out to be a real entertainer and animator, proving a good knowledge of crowd interaction. No generic stage raps, but real interaction – and it worked perfectly. The crowd clapped their hands and jumped up and down to the rhythm in excitement. And the band managed to fit in a couple of slower, ballad-like songs (“Göttin” and “Herzschlag”), followed by Mart asking laughingly if the crowd wanted some faster stuff afterwards. They wanted it, they got it! A very entertaining show by a band which has their audience firmly in their grip.


For the fourth time at Summer Breeze and always welcome guests were the bards from SALTATIO MORTIS. No wonder, as the gleemen always make for a great atmosphere on and off the stage. And again today the chart breakers drew a massive crowd, a considerable feat considering the early hour of the day. The warm welcome of thousands of clapping heads was gigantic, and no matter what SALTATIO MORTIS played, their contagious energy had the fans eating out of the musicans’ hands. Happiness and celebration everywhere, and the bouncers had lots of work receiving the great flood of crowd surfers. Their medieval rock is still hugely popular so that songs like “Uns Gehört Die Welt” were sung by hundreds of throats. One climax followed the next, and the seven-piece band seemed as motivated as ever, especially freshly married singer Alea der Bescheidene (Alea the Humble), whose wedding ceremony had just been filmed by the Pro7 TV channel. Alea ran around the stage like a Tasmanian Devil, his energy seemed almost limitless. Of course he didn’t waste the chance to go crowd sufring himself during “Falsche Freunde”, and the crowd carried him on their hands for the whole song. “Spielmannsschwur” closed another true higlight of this year’s Summer Breeze.


Can you do anything wrong playing old-school death metal on this festival? Obviously not. The only thing a band can do wrong is to play music for years without producing an album. Luckily, the Swedes got it all together in the end, finally completing their debut album “Into The Crypts Of Blasphemy” after 20 years. The effect of such an extremely long wait showed during the band’s set. As if time had just stood still for 20 years, the band destroyed everything in their path. Unfortunately the crowd wasn’t really warmed up yet, and it was only maybe a hundred people in the Party Tent at first. However, the drone of the bass and the powerful drum sound seemed to attract a few more metalheads. “Morbid Death” was one of the new songs the band played. And quite a few people must have realized by then it was one of the oldest bands from up north right there on stage, playing a formidable set.


The trio led by charismatic frontman August Paulsen a.k.a. Paul presented some Danish-style rock’n’roll to the crowd (which was rather small during the first block) at the Camel Stage. The year before the guys had participated in the New Blood Award contest and, even though they didn’t make the first place, by now they can look back on the signing of a record deal and the release of their debut CD “In Dynamite We Trust”. Furthermore, they will soon be supporting the Emil Bulls on an extensive tour, so they got quite a lot going for themselves. On the Camel Stage the guys really went for it. The mic stands were adorned with a US flag and a Union Jack, and the frontman probably made an old dream come true with his “Summer Breeze” stage rap. The sound was a bit rough at first due to the recent line-up changes (today was the bassist’s second gig with the band), but in the course of the set things started to pick up for GUNS OF MOROPOLIS. Even though they were not allowed to hang up their backdrop due to a fire hazard, it must still have been quite hot for a few people in front of the stage.


Talk about bad timing. Since BOLT THROWER had set the beginning of their merch sale (as usual in a separate tent) for 14:00 and actually started selling about a half hour late, HAIL OF BULLETS had to start playing to a smaller number of fans one would have expected. So, while the battle for the coveted souvenirs began at the merch stand, HAIL OF BULLETS started their own war – albeit with slightly decimated troops – with “Operation Z”. And what a bitter struggle it was! Although the strong winds interfered slightly with the massive down-tuned old-school death metal sound, songs like “Red Wolves Of Stalin”, “Guadalcanal” and “On Coral Shores” (a song they hardly ever play live) hit the crowd like a sledgehammer. Heads were banging in the front row, and frontman Martin van Drunen was in a great mood and kept explaining the historical background to the different songs in between them. Drunen even dedicated “Tokyo Napalm Holocaust” to their “rivals” BOLT THROWER. HAIL OF BULLETS said goodbye with “Ordered Eastward” to their thirst Summer Breeze appearance, which surely gained them quite a few new recruits.

15.00 (PZ) REV 16:8

There’s always got to be a first time. Today Swedish black metallers REV 16:8 had the task to open proceedings in the Party Tent. Grim black metal under a blazing sun and with tropical temperatures? Not an easy task, but it was an exciting opportunity for the band, as this appearance at Summer Breeze was their first festival show whatsoever. And somehow it must have made the rounds that REV 16:8 recently released a really hot slab of metal, as a pretty big crowd – especially considering the time of day – had gathered in front of the Party Stage. The setlist was made up mostly of songs from the new album “Ashlands”. Singer Talon stood in a priest-like pose at the mic, which was adorned with spikes, but at first his distinctive raspy vocals couldn’t quite compete with the string instruments. During the show there were a few short breaks, although they didn’t really affect the flow. On the contrary, the combination of typically Swedish black metal, catchy melodies and furious blasts was quickly taken in by the audience. And what already had worked on record was also applied on stage – atmospheric intermezzi, a short break before REV 16:8 charged ahead at full speed. Nice touch they also played “Flame Salvation” from the debut album, as the song really has the potential to become an all-time live favourite. After 35 minutes it became clear the band had endured their baptism in fire. More of this please!


Each time the Munich band gets confirmed for the festival, complaints start to run rampant on the forum about them supposedly not fitting on a metal festival and so on – but already with the intro, MANOWAR’s “The Crown And The Ring”, they removed all doubt. Immediately during opener “Here Comes The Fire” the first circle pit kicked off, and – nomen est omen – the temperature rose by a few degrees in the audience. Leader of the pack was obviously the man with the rough yet tender voice, singer Christ. He proved to be an agile frontman, moving up and down the stage incessantly and bustling around his little riser at the front of the stage. Even himself hadn’t probably expected such euphoric reactions. The band concentrated on their more recent albums and it became clear that they have become quite a bit heavier lately – without neglecting their most important asset: the great, catchy melodies! The band didn’t play anything from their upcoming album, which is due in October, but it was still game, set, match for the EMIL BULLS!

13.35 (PS) KALMAH

After a haunting intro, KALMAH clearly had easy game, as a great atmosphere immediately spread in the audience. This motivated the band visibly, spurring its members on to great performances. Even though the keyboards used to bridge the gap in between songs didn’t always fit the soundscape on offer, they are still an important part of KALMAH’s music. Most people in the crowd didn’t mind when not all of the notes were perfectly in tune and kept cheering the band on. The pit in front of the stage was raging, giving singer Pekko Kokko additional confidence, which in turn led him to some cool stage raps that fired up the crowd even more. Especially during the fast parts the crowd was virtually boiling. Heads were banging, the sound was powerful and the choice of songs was also smart and totally convincing. The sound was nice and clear and, putting aside the petty criticism of the keyboard sound, their show was a successful piece in the festival’s jigsaw puzzle.


The second band on the Main Stage today were SKELETONWITCH, four yankees from Ohio dedicated with their hearts and souls to blackened thrash metal. The guys had been at the festival for days already – in a more or less sober state – until their time had come to darken the early afternoon with “Upon Wings Of Black”. Wind, clouds and banging heads everywhere, both on and off the stage. During the first few seconds the microphone wasn’t working properly, but the problem was soon fixed and SKELETONWITCH could dive right into their 40-minute set. Although the band members had been around for a while (or maybe because of this fact), they gave their all from the very first minute. Led by charismatic frontman Chance Garnett, whose brother plays one of the guitars, the band faced a respectable crowd, which received songs like “Beyond The Permafrost” enthusiastically. The question addressed at the audience if they wanted another two songs was merely rhetoric, as Chance admitted they would have played them anyway. Just to illustrate the sense of humour of this likeable bunch, despite their musical grimness.


YOUR DEMISE were another highlight for the numerous hardcore fans at the festival. The Britons virtually forced themselves into a slot on the Pain Stage, steadily climbing positions on the many tours they have played and therefore widening their fan base more and more. And the fans lived up to the situation and cheered on their heroes despite the early hour (just after high noon). There was one circle pit after another, a respectable wall of death and loads of wild moshing – often using virtually all body parts. This is proper early morning exercise! The mix of catchy melodies and “look-at-me-with-my-wide-stance-and-extra-tough-looks” mosh parts was just perfect for it too. (Not so) new singer Ed McRae didn’t need to mince words in order to get people going. The set was obviously closed with “Burnt Tongues”, the massive hit from their debut album “Ignorance Never Dies”. One look at the faces in the crowd made it clear: Great show by YOUR DEMISE!


Hailing from the United Arab Emirates, NERVECELL had the challenge to fire up the ever-growing audience after TRIGGER THE BLOODSHED and beat the residual fatigue out of their bones. And the transition was pretty smooth as the band delivered technically challenging, uncompromising old school death metal. Sometimes brutally blasting ahead without frills, then again annihilating with tight complexity, and always enriched by wonderful melodies, and with massive growls on top. NERVECELL were helped out by BENIGHTED skinsman Kikou, who, as usual, mistreated his kit with the utmost perfection and unrelenting energy. A nice appetizer for the following day, when he was due to play with his full-time band. The awesome musical performance of this powerful death metal machine gained very positive reactions in the audience, and the number of headbangers in the tent kept growing song after song. With this impeccable show NERVECEEL proved they have a lot of potential and that they are probably the most important death metal export from their country.