On the early Saturday evening, PARADISE LOST had to struggle mainly with three problems: temperature, technology and sound. When the British pros took to the stage just past six o’clock the fireball in the sky was already starting to go down, yet the heat was still hanging in the air like a veil of lead. This didn’t affect the band’s performance, but the numerous fans in attendance definitely felt it. Despite a strong set made up of songs from their new album “Tragic Idol”, as well as mandatory classics such as “Pity The Sadness”, “As I Die” and “The Enemy”, the crowd did hardly move at all, so frontman Nick Holmes had to counter again and again prompting the audience to clap along, sing along, and party along. On top, he had to struggle with his in-ear monitors, which didn’t excatly make him happy either. But maybe a little more powerful guitars would have been enough to make the gig better. Although guitarists Gregor Mackintosh and Aaron Aedy were headbanging furiously, their guitars sounded strangely thin. The evergreen “Say Just Words” ended a good show, which was just lacking a bit of power.
After this lesson in classic death metal it was up to HATESPHERE to close SUMMER BREEZE 2012. A few diehards had made their way to the tent to bring a fantastic festival weekend to an end together with the Danes. The band, who overhauled their full line-up in the last few years, with the exception of mastermind Pepe Lyse Hansen, went for it fromt the beginning, delivering a massive dose of modern thrash metal. With their high/energy thrash HATESPHERE managed to mobilize the crowd’s last energy reserves. The powerful performance captivated the fans, and there was one last cirlce pit. The Danes delivered a top performance with utmost precision and loads of enthusiasm. Especially the likeable frontman Esben stood out in terms of a passionate performance, literally screaming his lungs out and spreading a good atmosphere with his funny in-between-song banter. And so SUMMER BREEZE 2012 ended with the finest thrash assault, leaving no room for potential tiredness in the audience.
Sweden’s ENTRAILS have a biography quite similar to their fellow countrymen EVOCATION and INTERMENT. Formed in the early nineties, it took ENTRAILS 19 years to release their debut album “Tales From The Morgue”. Better late then never, one could argue, as the album delivers some of the finest classic Swedish death metal close to ENTOMBED, GRAVE and DISMEMBER, same as the follow-up “The Tomb Awaits”. So the death metal maniacs gathered in the tent enjoyed a good dose of death metal, which was stylistically limited on purpose, yet honest and powerful. Their mix of aggressive buzzsaw riffs and a few interspersed melodies, energetic drumming and pure enthusiasm was simply fun to watch and listen to. The extremely straight and very fast (compared to the aforementioned bands) songs made the hearts of all lovers of the good old death metal school beat faster. One felt transported to the early nineties, and many fans were headbanging in joy. A solid, gripping show with beautifully nostalgic charm.
When master of ceremonies Doc Insane stepped on stage with his flaming red mohawk, hardly anyone in the tent knew what to expect of the following 45 minutes. But, as soon as he stapled a flyer to his forehead with a staple gun, the general direction became quite clear. Obviously (almost) immune to pain, the Briton mistreated himself in various ways, like driving nails into his nose, then drilling it with an electric screwdriver, getting darts thrown in his face (obviously wearing safety glasses for protection!), putting his fingers in animal traps (the effectiveness of which he demonstrated beforehand with a sausage) and having a stone plate smashed on his groin with a sledgehammer. Furthermore, he chewed on a lightbulb, then held a mic to his mouth so everyone could hear the glass crunching. In between his acts, the poor (?) guy got a few minutes to rest and disinfect his wounds. There were also two more artistic parts of the show. First off, the African Brothers, who jumped around the stage contorting in the most unnatural ways, earning lots of spontaneous applause – soon to be seen on “Germany’s Got Talent!” And then there was a similarly flexible lady juggling with countless hula hoops who managed to make many of them rotate simultaneously around her limbs. The final act was again Doc Insane who emptied a bucket full of shards of glass from 30 bottles on a large towel. Then he put his face in the glass and the mic right next to him, and one of his companions stepped on his head making it splinter and crack. Ouch. Too bad the following knife throwing and chainsawing were cut due to time restrictions. After the show, no one would have been surprised Doc Insane’s act was banned from several TV shows in the UK. DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME!!!
Shortly after midnight, some very special guests honoured the Party Tent with their presence. ANAAL NATHRAKH have always made it clear they don’t play regular tours. That’s why the band’s few concerts are very special happenings. The fact that their second SUMMER BREEZE appearance coincided with the festival’s 15th anniversary made it even more special. Yet the experience was unfortunatley not untarnished, because after the instrumentalists took to the stage following an atmospheric intro, singer V.I.T.R.I.O.L. hobbled to center stage on crouches. His knee was obviously hurting, and when the music incited him to go for it, it was obvious he was in a lot of pain. Although he didn’t move a lot, he gave his all, same as the rest of the band. Especially during the blast beats, drummer St. Evil delivered a top performance. The many fans who had been waiting – there was actually a girl in the front row during DEEZ NUTS’ set completely indifferent to the band on stage, just there to secure a place right at the stage – got just what they wanted, both visually and in terms of the choice of songs. Their 50 minutes of stage time went by much too quick. After this amazing show one could only hope for a chance to see the band live again soon.
This was their fourth time at the festival, and the fourth time they played at midnight. Without exaggeration it can be said there is a special relationship between KATATONIA and SUMMER BREEZE. Not for nothing the Swedes immortalized their best-ever SUMMER BREEZE appearance on the live CD/DVD “Live Consternation”. As soon as AMON AMARTH finished their show on the Main Stage, tension started to rise exponentially, with people wondering if the band would be able to top the aforementioned 2009 show. The stage looked strangely empty, as besides a drum kit right in front of the backdrop and three mic stands, there were no amps, cabinets or monitors anywhere. Unfortunately there were problems with the technology right away when one of the guitarist’s in-ear system stopped working, but then the intro started, the band went on stage and launched into “Forsaker”. Still apparently the sound wasn’t the best, neither on nor off stage, so quick adjustmentes had to be made after the first song. And slowly but surely it started working, as by the time the band played “My Twin” everything was perfect. Jonas Renske hit every note, even guitarist Anders Nyström’s harmony vocals were spot-on, and Daniel Liljekvist is an exceptional drummer anyways. In the second half of the show the band definitely reached their true brilliance. Nothing but hits followed, and the band even played a promising new song titled “Buildings” from their forthcoming album “Dead End Kings”. The band was visibly touched by the reactions and thanked the crowd profusely, and would probably have played on if they could. For most fans their upcoming tour in the fall together with another one of this year’s SUMMER BREEZE highlights (ALCEST) will be a mandatory date. On 1:00am exactly, just as soon as KATATONIA left the stage, bands and fans were surprised by an amazing fireworks display celebrating the festival’s anniversary.
In the hardcore scene, DEEZ NUTS are a controversial band. Their rather simple hardcore with a metal edge and lyrics with strong rap influences is not everyone’s cup of tea. Especially the lyrics are often labeled as sexist, being the main focus of the criticism. But no matter what your opinion is on the matter, you can’t deny that the band, which features ex-I KILLED THE PROM QUEEN drummer JJ Peters, is a formidable party band. And that’s exactly what the crowd in the tent were up for. From the first song people were banging their fists or sending crowdsurfers on their way, and from the opening “Stay True” the audience showed they knew all the lyrics by heart. As soon as Peters held the mic towards the audience, the fans started singing along. Towards the end, the party atmosphere reached boiling point with “Tonight We Gonna Party” and “I Hustle Everyday”, and the calls for an encore lasted for long after the Australians had already left the stage.
Of course, AMON AMARTH couldn’t be missing from the SUMMER BREEZE anniversary celebrations. The history of the festival is intimately connected to the Swedes’ success. No matter if they came with a massive viking ship like in 2009, or presented a more stripped-down stage show. On this memorable evening, AMON AMARTH were once again a gift from the nordic gods. The main stage area was bursting at the seams and, wherever you looked, people were wearing the band’s merch. In 2009 AMON AMARTH already set the bar extremely high in terms of crowd reactions, but words can hardly describe what happened this evening. AMON AMARTH were going all the way, and they succeeded completely. No matter which one of their numerous hits they played, the crowd were eating out of Johan Hegg’s hand. There was true magic in the air. It was a joy to see the two guitarists raise their guitars in the air in perfect synchronicity and mosh wildly. Whatever the band saved on stage props, the perfect pyro show more than made up for it. In almost every other song there were columns of fire or explosions to watch. A very special spectacle was a rain of fire which came down from the stage ceiling during “Death In Fire”. AMON AMARTH made it clear once again they can easily put together a 70-minute set of nothing but hits. This fact alone speaks for the band and underlines their current status. This last show on the SUMMER BREEZE Main Stage was, at the same time, the last of a two-year touring cycle for “Surtur Rising”. Johan Hegg used to opportunity to name and thank all the people who supported the band in the last few years. A noble gesture. On this warm summer evening, AMON AMARTH were a highlight that will always be associated with this festival. Great concert with a lot of high points. Horns up!
PARADISE LOST’s Gregor Mackintosh (guitars) and Adrian Erlandsson (drums) performed double duty on Saturday. VALLENFYRE, however, were a lot darker than PARADISE LOST on the main stage earlier on. No wonder, since Mackintosh formed the band as a tribute to his recently deceased father. The resulting album “A Fragile King” was played almost in its entirety tonight, with only “My Black Siberia” missing from the setlist. And boy was it incredibly brutal! The deep-black, morbid atmosphere was perfectly transported to the stage, and the brutal sound made the mix of doom, death metal and crust hit you right in the gut. Without a guitar in his hands, Mackintosh filled the role of singing frontman with surprising self-confidence and the typical British black humour. The significance VALLENFYRE have in his life was made clear with songs such as “Seeds”, which he introduced as “the most miserable song ever played on SUMMER BREEZE”. “Humanity Wept” was the stuff for headbangers, where Erlandsson could show off his class. SUMMER BREEZE probably witnessed a historic gig, as the band’s fifth show might very well have been their last. At the moment there are no more shows planned, and, even though Mackintosh asked potential promoters in the crowd to get in touch, the future remains uncertain.
What a joy to have the undisputed king of the Bontempi organ massacre as part of the festival’s 15th anniversary celebration. Each one of his five sets was a true feast of the godly “organization” of popular metal hits, and even when master MAMBO KURT had to go on at the same time as headliners AMON AMARTH, the Camel Stage was still packed. Be it “South Of Heaven”, “Killing In The Name” or RAMMSTEIN’s “Engel”, the crowd were eating out of the guy’s hand. His merch was already completely sold-out after his second set, and the crowd indulged in everything from a conga line to a wall of death. During his first few sets he also had his organ apprentice Frau Foxy on stage, who practiced free dance and even got to sing songs such as “RemmiDemmi” and “I Just Can’t Get Enough”. Later on, KURT even put the C64 to use, which turned out to be very hiphop-compatible, and he obviously played “Musik Ist Trumpf” as well, the song that made him win a young TALENT contest in the organ category back in 1982 – come on! During his last set probably no one would have complained if he’d just kept going even though ENTRAILS were already starting their set in the tent next door.
ASP were one of the most popular exponents of the gothic scene on the SUMMER BREEZE bill this year. Led by lead vocalist Alexander “Asp” Spreng, the band gained great success even beyond the limits of the scene with their album “Schmetterlingszyklus”, and nowadays high chart entries as well as sold-out shows are standard in the ASP camp. So this evening there were fans gathered at the Pain Stage as far as the eye could see to listen to the band’s dark sounds. After a spooky intro, complete with Gregorain chants and a fascinating light show, which drenched the atmosphere in deepest darkness, ASP stepped on stage all dressed in black, starting their set with the rocking “A Prayer For Sanctuary”. Already during the first track there were impressive pyro effects, which were obviously greeted with loud cheers by the audience. After “Wechselbalg” and “How Far Would You Go” the band finally greeted the audience, asking them not to rest, as the next rocker “Eisige Wirklichkeit” followed straight after. Quieter songs like “Kokon” and “Krabat” (one of the few songs played that was not part of the “Schmetterling” cycle) provided a short break, where the light and colour effects gave many fans the goosebumps. That’s how perfect the show was. The finale, in turn, was a lot heavier again. During “Schwarzes Blut” and “Ich Will Brennen” there were massive pyro effects besides the heavy guitar riffs, and one could only be amazed at how much work must have gone into every effect, all of them perfectly synchronized with the music, enhancing the gloomy atmosphere. ASP delivered an entirely convincing package, technically flawless and grandoise in its atmosphere, where darkness, light and music intertwined perfectly. This way, not only gothic fans got what they deserved.
Those wanting to see ASPHYX today had to be a little patient. Only a full 15 minutes late the band led by charismatic frontman Martin van Drunen started their set with “The Quest Of Absurdity”. Yet the audience was quick and willing to forgive the delay. Even before the band started playing, the crowd had already been celebrating the Dutchmen. And seeing how tight the band played this evening, anything else would have been totally out of place. From the first to the last minute van Drunen, guitarist Paul Baayens and bassist Alwin displayed an exercise in synchronized headbanging. The fans did the rest, moshing and banging as if there was no tomorrow, and hundreds of horns were raised in the air. Van Drunen, who must have run kilometers from side to side of the stage, entertained the crowd with his humorous ways, such as introducing himself as Roland Kaiser. I wonder if Kaiser would have had the same fun? Well, at least ASPHYX had fun and spread fun, ending their sweat-inducing show with the nin-minute cult track “The Rack”.
New York Hardcore wouldn’t be the same without them, and many bands on this year’s SUMMER BREEZE bill probably list them as an inlfuence. We are talking about NYHC pioneers SICK OF IT ALL, who have been playing the festival circuit for years, proving that, after over 26 years of carrer, they still have what it takes to deliver a great show. Under the setting sun, frontman Lou Koller entered the stage in a great mood, greeted his fans loudly and immediately launched into “Take The Night Off”. The crowd, which kept growing and growing over the course of the set, did their best to stay in motion with jumps, wild mosh pits and countless crowdsurfers. As with their last festival appearances, the choice of songs was spot on, as they played selections from the whole band history, making fans young and old party together. Lou’s question “are you ready?” was obviously answered with a loud “yeah!”, and before starting the crushing “Die Alone” he conducted the audience like a choir, prompting everyone to sing along. Besides Lou, his brother Pete provided loads of action on stage, too. Fit as a fiddle, he kept moving throughout the whole set, using every monitor wedge on stage as a spring board at least once. Their set flew by, and the Americans kept churning out tracks like “Good Looking Out”, “Call To Arms” and “Scratch The Surface” with no interruption, which went down a strom in the audience. The bouncers had their hands full pulling crowdsurfers (surprisingly many of which were female) out of the pit. For the grand finale, with Lou asking everyone from the left to the right to join in, the band played the classic “Step Down”. Under loud calls for an encore the band took many a bow and said goodbye. After all these years, SICK OF IT ALL have still got it, as they still overshadow many a younger band with their live qualities. It’s still a mystery though why they didn’t use the remaining 20 minutes of their stage time and didn’t return for an encore.
On this year’s SUMMER BREEZE bill, SHINING were the band that, on the one hand, probably stood out the most and, on the other, was focused mainly on its frontman, Niclas Kvarforth. Coming on stage a bit late, the Halmstad-based band started with the characteristic opening riff of “Lat Oss Ta Allt Fran Varandra“. Mastermind Kvarforth came on stage with a dark hoodie on, exuding a haunting, somewhat sinister, fucked-up aura. The sound was clear and thunderous, inviting people to bang their heads, until more quiet passages, partly enriched by samples, worked on the darker, more self-destructive atmosphere. The individual songs were drawn out to suspicious lengths, while Kvarforth worked on his image by spitting into the crowd or mauling his guitarists. Then he crouched over, looking at the front row with a demented glance, whispering, completely absorbed in his stage persona. This further enhanced the impact of the slow, dark music, forming an effective whole. At the end, the aforementioned extra length of the songs could have turned into a problem, because according to schedule the show should have ended after “Ohm”. However, after a brief deliberation with one of the guitarists, Kvarforth continued with “Submit To Self-Destruction“ and the closing “Förtvivlan, Min Arvedel“.
At 19:10 sharp and with their typical ship siren it was time for “cast off!” and “full speed ahead!” on the Pain Stage, and the seven members of OOMPH!, all dressed as seamen, launched into “Unzerstörbar”. The stage was decorated with all sorts of maritime-themed props. During the following hour, singer Dero, with Joker make-up on, played the likeable entertainer and crowd conductor. From the beginning of the show it was crammed full already, but more and more people kept joining the party. All critics who had labeled the band as out of place before the show were definitely taught better, as the band proved to be a valuable addition to the bill. Especially Dero’s banter was always good for a laugh, whether he dedicated “Bis Der Spiegel Zerbricht” to “Justin Bieber and all casting idiots of the world”, thanked Rob Halford and BRONSKI BEAT for “Kleinstadtboy” or dedicated “Sandmann” to “Germany’s nect top moppel Angy Merkel”. He always had the crowd on his side, who rewarded him by jumping and partying all the way to the back of the FOH tower. “Seemannsrose”, complete with schunkel-sound and accordeon, may have been a bit too much, but all in all it was a clear victory for the band. Even though they were already over their allotted stage time, Dero didn’t miss the opportunity to give the crowd a chorus to sing along. This time it was Monthy Python’s “Always look On The Bright Side Of Life”.
Now it was time for one of Sweden’s most cult-like acts to heat up the atmosphere in the Party Tent. Dressed in leather, spikes and 80s-black-metal-style make-up, the diabolical pack stepped on stage to raise the flag of old-school black/thrash metal. From the beginning, the underground stalwarts went for it, firing their simple yet effective songs into the crowd of avid metalheads, with razor-sharp riffs, wild drums, and a lot of rawness and charm. Those familiar with the rumbling horde led by two former NECROPHOBIC guitarists know that, besides the brutal delivery of speed metal infernos such as “Infernal Flame Of Destruction” and “War Of Doom”, another important feature is the right poses. So, besides some pretty destructive metal fo the ears, there was some nice old-school stage acting as well. The veterans delivered a great show full of a dark atmosphere and lots of trueness.
On the last festival day the lads from “Steel City” Sheffield had the honour to open the Pain Stage, and that’s what they did – in a totally uncompromising way. Right after the intro the band immediately hit hard with “Dead Behind The Eyes”, leaving the crowd no time to nurse their hangovers. Singer Lawrence Taylor went for it from the first minute, engaging in jumping and running competitions with bassist Aaran McKenzie. Judging by the initial crowd reactions, no one really knew who the Brits were, but this quickly changed after the metalcore crusher “Hearts”. By now, few people could escape the band’s intensity. WHILE SHE SLEEPS were in top form, destroying everything, and they didn’t have to wait long for the first circle pit, which turned out really respectable in size for the time of the day. “This Is The Six” and “Trophies” followed, before the vocalist started dividing the audience with the typical gesture. What followed with “Crows” was the amazing highlight of this exciting gig. We will definitely hear more from this band in the future!
In the early evening, self-appointed animal rights activists CATTLE DECAPITATION started the massacre on the tent stage, making the fans – exhausted as they were from the heat – sweat even more with their brutal deathgrind. Without any intro bullshit the band launched into a storm of blastbeats with the opening “Carbon”. Frontman Travis kept pushing his growls to the best of his abilities in order to give the numerous headbangers in attandance a good show. Drummer David McGraw delivered an impressive performance as always, and guitarist Josh laid his grind riffs on top. The band scored some extra points talking about how great the festival was and thanking the crowd profusely, and they were rewarded with a small mosh pit. There were even a few fans in the front row who had learned the hardly intelligible lyrics, singing along. Even clapping along was allowed, and during the most melodic song in the set, “Forced”, the crowd really started moving. Both band and audience made the best out of the show in the super hot tent, and after ten brutal songs CATTLE DECAPITATION left under loud applause, although not without taking a picture with the fans in the background first.
After a lengthy absence from the stages, LACUNA COIL are now more present than ever. In the past, the band not only relied on the looks of their front star Cristina Scabbia, but mainly on a combination of heavy riffs and the good lady’s flexible voice. With a new album under their belts and loads of enthusiasm on stage, the band made you forget the fact Miss Scabbia had aged a bit since their last visit to the festival. Despite the lengthy hiatus, the band were again a SUMMER BREEZE highlight, especially as both band and festival were celebrating 15 years of existence today. As communicative as usual and with a lot of commitment, Scabbia already reached operating temperature during the first song, animating the fabulous crowd at the Pain Stage. From a vocal point of view as well, everything was just perfect, as the duo Scabbia/Ferro made the stage quake. In many ways, the show felt like an act of liberation, designed to make critics shut up for good. Today LACUNA COIL were a big surprise as they had absolutely no fillers. Besides a big back drop, they just let the music do the talking. The band is back and will hopefully stick around for a while. For those who thought the show was over much too soon, the band will tour in November, so take note!
INCANTATION set out to do the same with their predecessors. With their musical direction and back catalogue it wasn’t a problem at all. Even though the US death metal legend hadn’t released a new full-length album in the last few years, this didn’t hinder their enthusiasm and brutality on stage. With a handful of diehard fans and a few curious festivalgoers in attendance, the four-piece were able to focus on the old classics, delivering their set in a merciless manner. Legs apart, head down and go! Death metal can be so simple. Between lightning-fast death metal and sinister excursions into more swampy, doomy grounds, the band still found time to pay tribute to another American death metal legend. As a special treat, the band played “Mortician” from the New York band of the same name, where INCANTATION’s live drummer Sam Inzerra also plays. Killer gig by a killer band, and a successful SUMMER BREEZE debut.
When looking at NITROGODS singer Claus “Oimel” Larcher with his CROWBAR tribute beard, one would rather expect slow, heavy doom than straight-ahead, MOTÖRHEAD-influenced rock’n’roll. But when you get to listen to the band, which features in their ranks ex-PRIMAL FEAR guitarist Henny Wolter and FREEDOM CALL drummer Klaus Sperling, you can’t help but bang your head. Even though the band had to struggle with some minor technical problems, they managed to bridge them with a cool, professional attitude. Soon the drive was back and the band’s enthusiasm kept drawing more people for a proper metal show. Although most people obviously didn’t know NITROGODS – their self-titled debut had only just been released – it seemed like they enjoyed the band’s distinctive, raw sound. NITROGODS definitely won over some new fans.
Just like during SEPULTURA’s SUMMER BREEZE debut in 2012, the sun was again burning down with full force. One could almost believe the band led by front giant Derrick Green had brought the great weather along from sunny Brazil. Yet what they brought along was new drummer Eloy Casagrande. The young drum talent had taken over the kit from Jean Dolabella and didn’t fall short in terms of precision and power. Maybe he even added an extra portion of virtuosity. In any case, he always kept the band on track, starting the one hour show after the intro with two absolute classics. “Beneath The Remains” and the grandiose “Refuse/Resist” immediately set the bar enormously high for the rest of the set. However, the band managed to keep the energy level equally high with newer songs such as “Convicted” and “Choke”. A triple whammy consisting of “Arise”, “Rattamahatta” and obviously the crowning finale “Roots Bloody Roots” ended another awesome SEPULTURA show. The fans totally deserved the following refreshment out of the fire hose, as they went for it for the entire duration of the set.
With a 20-year history to back them, one could only expect a professional show of DESASTER. And indeed, they delivered their blackened thrash songs with great tightness and perfect timing. Without grandiose show elements, the Koblenz-based band concentrated on what should be the focus of any good rock show, which is the music. The band kept it quite raw, but always showing a knack for good melodies. The band led by voluminous frontman Guido “Sataniac” Wissmann professionally covered the fact guitarist and founding member Markus “Infernal” Kuschke kept struggling with persistent technical problems which even made his instrument practically inaudible for several minutes, so the good atmosphere in the crowd didn’t wane. The Party Tent didn’t get really crowded, although in the back there were a few people who were obviously just looking for shelter from the burning sun outside.
There are bands who are simply reliable. UNLEASHED are one of them, as they do not only keep releasing amazing albums full of classic death metal, but they are also constant guarantee for great live shows. So, naturally, a massive crowd gathered at the Pain Stage to celebrate their heroes. Once again, the vikings led by front giant Johnny Hedlund appeared as a perfectly tight unit, performing classics such as “The Longships Are Coming” and “To Asgaard We Fly” with deadly precision and sleepwalking confidence. UNLEASHED easily managed to get the audience to boiling point, and one can only respect the fact the death metal warriors headbanged like crazy and didn’t let up for the entire length of their set, despite the scorching heat. Once again, the Swedish death metal pioneers delivered a damn strong show, only unfortunately the set list was missing far too many more classics.
On the last festival day AUDREY HORNE opened proceedings on the Party Stage, and we just can’t say it often enough: This band is criminally underrated! Tropical temperatures or not, these Norwegians, who feature in their ranks ENSLAVED guitarist Arve Isdal, deserve a lot more attention then the few fans in attendance would make you think. Why? Becuase they play their classic rock with such passion, attitude and perfection, probably even the genre dinosaurs weren’t as good in their heyday. Each song was like a small anthem in its own right, complete with perfect dual guitar leads, and it was just fun watching and listening. The crowd, who were watching from a distance at first, got into it pretty quick, so at the end of the set pretty much everyone was throwing the horns in appreciation. Much respect for such a great peformance of a band that would really deserve to go beyond the “press darlings” status. Did we already mention they are criminally underrated?
For a long time it had been awfully quiet in the NAGLFAR camp, one of Sweden’s main black metal bands, who this year finally released “Téras”, the follow-up to 2007’s “Harvest”. But it was worth the wait, as the album is classic NAGLFAR melodic black metal on the one hand, yet fresh-sounding and with lots of new ideas on the other. With this great new album under their collective belt, the Umeå wolves took to the stage to prove impressively that, besides WATAIN, they are the only true heirs of the mighty DISSECTION. Who else but them can play such amazingly intense nordic metal, combining the best of raw black metal and melodic death? Charismatic frontman Kristoffer Olivius was definitely the eye-catcher, always staring at the crowd with a menacing look, rolling his eyes, throwing evil poses and generally playing the bad guy. Right at this time, some non-metal photographers from Dinkelsbühl were led through the photo pit, many of whom watched the stage acting with a mix of curiosity and awe. NAGLFAR were in top form, played tightly, and especially the frosty, grating, majestic harmonies really got the job done. On stage, the band was completed by live session musicians Efraim Juntunen (PERSUADER, GUILLOTINE) on drums and bassist Alexander “Impaler“ Friberg (NECROPHOBIC). The show’s highlights were the lightning-fast, nordic sounding “Pale Horse”, as well as the classic “I Am Vengeance”.
The likeable Franconian was the exception to the rule among the Camel Stage acts. Not only was he the only one who presented a pure comedy show, but he was also the only one to appear just once for 45 minutes, instead of the usual five 20-minute sets. And he really made good use of the allotted time. The intro already summed it up perfectly: “BEMBERS burns like hell, laut, hart, dringend, schnell!” (“loud, hard, urgent, fast!”). With a bone dry opening line (“I am Jesus Christ and I am opening a nail salon in Dinkelsbühl soon!”) he earned the first few laughs, which would keep increasing throughout the set. No matter what he talked about, like being recognized by pubescent teenages while shopping for French soft cheese or doing a dolphin butterfly stroke on a rail station platform after his anger management session in Jamaica, people were laughing their arses off. And when he started his popular YouTube joke about the black guy called Kain Schwarzer (phonetically equal to “no black guy”) the crowd actually spoke along to every key line. The master himself was visibly impressed. The more fecal parts about shitting as an art form, Angela Merkel in a swinger club or certain penis enlargement devices wouldn’t even have been necessary, which doesn’t mean they enjoyed an equally great reception in the crowd.
Amazing, what kind of thoughts some people think first thing in the morning. TANZWUT fromtman Teufel, for example, proclaimed: “I woke up this morning thinking, today I want to go crazy like a volcano!”, herewith setting the pace for an exciting medieval rock show at the early afternoon. Under scorching heat the numerous fans in attendance boosted their sweat production even more by jumping and clapping. And, as the SUMMER BREEZE audience is basically up for anything silly enough, there was a huge conga line moving through the crowd throughout several songs. The security guys in the pit provided some refreshment, which prompted Teufel to ask for “applause for the men with the big hose!” But besides suggestive banter, the Berlin-based group also had something to offer musically. Their combination of bagpipes, electric guitars and synth sounds was definitely original, getting a great reception from the Pain Stage crowd.
THE UNGUIDED were formed by ex-members of SONIC SYNDICATE, which is pretty much all the information you need to describe the band’s musical style. Everything, from the outfits to the hair styles to the music, screamed “modern”, so it was a relatively young crowd in attendance who gave the songs from THE UNGUIDED’s first and only album a pretty good reception. The mixture of catchy melodies, melodic death metal riffing and an extre portion of metalcore attitude made it clear that “commercial” doesn’t necessarily have to be a swear word. The band kept a high level of energy and delivered a tight performance without any rough edges. It goes without saying they didn’t attract any old-school metalheads with this style. However, the band did a good job with respectable success.
Rheinberg’s BETONTOD were greeted by the mid-day sun on the Pain Stage, ready to adrenalize the crowd with a good portion of German-sung punk rock. Their loyal fans of 20 years bravely filled the front rows, while most people were less keen on joining the wild pogo party. But this didn’t affect BETONTOD’s good mood. At ten past twelve sharp and after a short intro frontman Meister and his bandmates took to the stage to greet the audience, diving right into “Schwarzes Blut”. The gravelly voice, the classic punk riffs and the catchy choruses gained good reactions, and the band played both classics such as “Viva Punk” and new tracks from their latest album “Antirockstars”. Slowly but surely, the audience area started to fill up, and by the second half of the set there was a great party going on. When the firehose was finally taken into operation, people were more than happy to follow the band’s demand for more action. Guitarist Eule got soaked in sweat from all the running around. The band members were alternating between both sides of the stage to fire up the audience. During “Glück Auf”, Meister even climbed up the rigs, conducting the audience like a choir, and everyone sang along to “Wir Müssen Aufhör’n Weniger Zu Trinken” (“We have to stop drinking less”) as loud as they could. After a solid show the band bid goodbye with “Auf Eine Gute Zeit”, which was again accompanied by loud singalongs.
NIGHT IN GALES are true veterans in the history of SUMMER BREEZE, as the band from North Rhine-Westphalia already played the festival in 1999 and 2002. After a long hiatus they are now finally back with a superb new full-length album titled “Five Scars”. Unfortunately the audience area was only half full throughout their set, but this was more due to the extreme heat than due to the band’s qualities. However, the guys took it is easy and played an enthusiastic set. Especially singer Björn Goosses and bassist Tobias Bruchmann seemed to really feel at home back on the stage. Driven by the clockwork-like drumming of Adriano Ricci, the band delivered hit after hit. Even though they would have certainly deserved better crowd reactions, it was a strong, convincing show. Here’s hoping the band will stay active and deliver some new material and exciting live shows soon.