Who says rock’n’roll is dead? On Saturday morning MOTORJESUS did their best to refute this all-too-familiar cliché. Without exaggeration, there’s probably never been an opener on the Party Stage to captivate this many people so early in the day. Even though vocalist Chris Birx admitted to be super nervous because of this, their first Summer Breeze appearance ever, no one could even notice their jimjams. No way, the guy is really a first-class entertainer. He almost single-handedly won over the cheering crowd by handing out beers and cheese-and-salami sandwiches, and his vocals were great too. He dedicated “Fist Of The Dragon” to his idols Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris, so during that song he demanded to see the claw of death instead of banging fists and raised horns. As if the fans weren’t already eating out of his hand, the true climax came during the closing “A New War”: right in the middle of the song the band switched into a medley of the SCORPIONS’ “Rock You Like A Hurricane” and AC/DC’s “TNT”, the latter being growled by the audience like the SIX FEET UNDER version on Birx’s demand. An absolutely great start into the Saturday. This band is definitely ready for bigger things!
While the day before TRIGGER THE BLOODSHED and NERVECELL had delivered some brutal death metal early on, on this last festival day it was time for BENIGHTED to follow suit. Their mission: to wake all brutal death metal followers up with their extreme sound. The Frenchmen pounded the numerous fans in such a vehement and aggressive manner it was a real joy to watch. Perfectly rehearsed, BENIGHTED delivered blast beats that were as precise as they were insane, as well as massive grooving mosh bits. Some catchy melodies were thrown in for good measure, and singer Julien Truchan provided some extra dynamics switching between extremely deep growls and high-pitched screams. From the very beginning there were pretty large circle pits going, and a massive wall of death provided additional entertainment. The popularity BENIGHTED enjoy by now was not only documented by the huge crowd at hand, but also by the fact that during every single announcement the song titles were shouted out by thousands of throats, and every single song turned the crowd into a sea of banging heads. Bassist Eric Lombard fired up the audience even more by jumping in the photo pit to rock out enthusiastically, before returning on stage right in time for a short bass solo. Unfortunately the loud calls for an encore couldn’t be fulfilled. The crowd bid farewell to the visibly moved BENIGHTED with a loud rendition of the French national anthem, the “Marseillaise”.
They were wild, they were energetic, but still completely different from the previous band BENIGHTED. California’s TOTAL CHAOS provided the absolute contrast, not only visually with super tight jeans, plenty of studs and spiky mohicans, but also in terms of the sound they delivered. With a lot of enthusiasm and fun, despite the rather sparse crowd, the band spit their uncompromisingly driving hardcore punk from the stage – even after a nightly 8-hour drive from Poland. The crowd were grateful for the band’s fast songs and cheered their heroes on, and slowly but surely TOTAL CHAOS started attracting more and more people to the stage. The band led by raspy-voiced singer Rob Chaos were in top form, delivering the full hardcore treatment with their heavy groove, tight interplay, catchy singalong choruses and dirty punk charm. The highlight of the show was the song “Kill The Nazis”, which they announced as “Du Siehst Scheisse Aus” (“You Look Like Shit”).
ENGEL have struck a perfect balance. The band led by Niclas Engelin, who might ring a bell from his stand-in gig with IN FLAMES or his involvement with other similar sounding bands such as GARDENIAN and PASSENGER, perfectly managed the balancing act between heavily grooving mid-tempo mosh parts and huge choruses with almost pop-like melodies. The mix proved extremely popular, and therefore ENGEL looked down on a respectable crowd, moshpits included, despite the early time, when most festivalgoers would normally only be lighting their barbecues. Under their belts ENGEL had a well-balanced mix of tracks from their two albums, “Absolut Design” and “Threnody”, which cause a lot of pressure in the gut area if played as tight as the band did. Especially singer Magnus “Mangan” Klavborn made a lasting impression. With his exceptional voice he managed to change between shouts, growls and clean vocals effortlessly, and during the melodic songs in particular he convinced with an extraordinary vocal tone. The fans responded with a lot of action and singing along to the songs word by word. Gothenburg metal is simply a class of its own.
On Saturday there were hardly any remnants of the previous day’s storm. And if there were any clouds left to be removed, DEADLOCK provided the necessary heat on the Pain Stage. No ice needed breaking between band and crowd, instead, the water coming out of the fire hose quickly evaporated on the bodies of the partying fans. The Schwarzenfeld band had their awesome new album “Bizarro World” under their belts, with its songs clearly dominating today’s setlist. However, right at the beginning the band provided a stark contrast in the form of electronic beats, which is exactly the element they dumped on their latest release. The crowd knew what they were up to, so as soon as their heroes took the stage, the party started in the extreme heat. There was clapping, singing along and crowdsurfing. The bouncers had a lot of work, and generally speaking it was all against all: DEADLOCK delivered hit after hit, the front duo Johannes and Sabine kept firing up the crowd, which returned the boundless energy to the band. The circle pit soon became a circle eight, and the atmosphere was similarly relaxed as with ENGEL just before. One look at the crowd allowed a clear verdict: three days of festival and still no signs of slowing down. Nothing bizarro, everything great!
Stop! It’s hammer time! Just as DEADLOCK had finished rocking the Pain Stage, the Swedish wolves took the Main Stage. Was the festival ready? The air stood still as the grand magicians proceeded to slow down the general pace of the festival. This is primal heavy doom that makes Satan pull in his tail in fear. BATHORY, WITCHFINDER GENERAL, SAINT VITUS and GOATSNAKE, as well as the usual NWOBHM suspects – the Swedes have a little bit of everything in their songs. Their natural sound, which actually should have turned the festival site into a snow-covered winter landscape, quickly infected the metalheads. Despite struggling with the blazing sun, nothing was going to stop them from banging their heads. With such a heavy show it’s OK to let oneself be fried. GRAND MAGUS rewarded the diehards’ “Iron Will” with a medley made out of classics from their whole discography, but then obviously focused on tracks from their latest album “Hammer Of The North”, which is a lot more heavy metal than it is doom rock. Not for nothing the album was highly acclaimed everywhere, and songs like “I, The Jury”, “Ravens Guide Our Way” or the title track enjoyed a great reception. Guitarists Janne and Fox completely avoided any kind of audience banter, but pampered the crowd with some nice solos instead. As experience has often shown on this festival, it doesn’t take more than three musicians to create an awesome sound. And if it’s a cult band like this, all the better.
Without wanting to sound overly dramatic, life is just not fair. If it was, CRIMINAL would enjoy a completely different status and probably play Summer Breeze at a completely different time as well. Originally formed in Chile in the mid-nineties and currently based in England, the band have been tirelessly playing their arses off and releasing consistently strong albums. When they started this year’s Summer Breeze appearance at 15:00 with “21st Century Paranoia” from the 2009 “White Hell” album, there wasn’t really a very big crowd at hand yet. However, the audience received them with loud cheers. In the back of the stage they had a backdrop with the design of their new album “Akelarre”, which probably summed up the band’s lyrical content pretty well. The three biggest criminals on earth were depicted, church, economy and military. Frontman Anton was visibly taken up with the songs as he moved around the stage and barked his lyrics fervently into the mic. Guitarist Olmo Cascallar also gave a passionate performance. To sum it all up, the band was really in top form and would have deserved a much bigger audience.
With their hardcore punk of the dirty kind, SMOKE BLOW were probably one of the more exotic bands at Summer Breeze this year. However, in their 12-year history the Kiel band have been able to gain a few followers in southern Germany too, who appeared in big numbers at the Party Stage under the blazing afternoon sun. Moving around on stage a lot, the northerners went through their whole back catalogue. Always the center of attention were the two vocalists with the characteristic names Letten and MC Straßenköter (MC Street Dog). The two entertainers led the way through the show with a good portion of northern charm and a lot of funny banter. The Billy Idol cover “Rebel Yell” towards the end showed that the band don’t take themselves too seriously and are always up for a good joke. During this song, the two frontmen showed their feelings for each other by dropping their trousers and practicing same-sex love publicly. There can only be true love between (punk) men! In the pit, on the other hand, there wasn’t any room for love. Here good old slam dancing ruled, while the rest of the audience were singing along at the top of their lungs. All in all, this was probably one of the most entertaining parties of the whole weekend.
The Camel Stage is a little bit like a bargain bin, like a shop window full of special offers one turns out to be grateful for, as the “buyer” effect is not to be dismissed. Four separate 20-minute sets are more than just background music to fill the gap, but a great chance for curious festivalgoers to check out interesting bands such as VOGELFREY – live and in the flesh, which works a hundred times better than a multicoloured ad in a magazine. The Hamburg band, who had released a surprisingly strong debut album a year before, belong to those medieval bands who favour a more traditional rock instrumentation. Quickly they proved their music does not only work on record. The sextet played with contagious enthusiasm, the band members were in a great mood during all of their four sets, and frontman Jannik showed his abilities as an entertainer as well as playing several different instruments. His dramatic tale-telling was as gripping on stage as it is on record. VOGELFREY mix traditional and modern sounds in such a convincing manner one should really remember their name. Four times in a row they showed they don’t need to fear comparison with any of their better-known counterparts. Great job!
With ADEPT the crowd in the tent grew a bit more. Especially the front half participated from the very beginning, getting into the Swedes’ powerful mix of melodic death metal and hardcore. In a brilliant mood, the musicians showed a lot of enthusiasm, charisma and energy, especially singer Robert Ljung, who drew everyone’s attention with his incredible stage presence, taking the fans firmly into his grip. The crowd started some decent mosh pits and were also encouraged to jump up and down and form a massive circle pit. Obviously this was also due to the great music with awesome double kick attacks, powerful breakdowns and the typical Gothenburg melodies. All in all, the show was more than worthwhile with really heavy music and a lot of fun, both on and off the stage!
Welcome to the farm 2011! After the band had virtually disbanded and almost three years had passed since their last show, the Swabians’ appearance was a pretty exclusive deal. So, despite the relentlessly burning star in the sky, a big crowd had gathered in anticipation of what the guys were still capable of. The band was greeted with loud applause and started fittingly with “When Pigs Fly”, as for a long time a FARMER BOYS show or even a new album seemed as likely as the event described in the title. The third song on offer was “Like Jesus Wept”, one of the many smashers from the “The Other Side” album. Singer Matze announced the track as one from their current album, and when he realized what he’d just said he couldn’t help but laughing – as no less then seven years have passed since the album’s release. The crowd in the front were happy about the firehose being used again as it was a welcome refreshment for all the sweaty movement. With the exception of a rather absent looking keyboardist, all of the musicians were visibly having fun on stage, and this fun was turned into energy and transmitted directly to the audience. It was basically all like in the old days, a fantastic band with their very own style and a singer with a tendency for emotionalism, both in his melodies and gestures. And also with a tendency to talking bollocks… what was that again about living on the dark side of the moon? It didn’t matter anyway. The front rows kept chanting “Neues Album! Neues Album!” (new album). Where can I click “Like” please?
Next up were DEMONICAL with a considerably more traditional sound, unfortunately with a smaller audience than ADEPT had had just before them. In return, the people in attendance got an especially good show. DEMONICAL are a force to be reckoned with, not only on their albums, but especially at the live front. Few bands manage to celebrate pure old-school Swedish death metal like they do. The band members were as chilled out as always, only frontman Sverker Widgren had a pretty manic look in his eyes, and his ultra evil growls sounded nice and powerful. DEMONICAL took no prisoners with their driving groove and those deep, simple, awesomely creaking riffs. The Swedes vehemently battered their way through their set with deadly precision. Together with their fans, the band were headbanging to oblivion, further adding to their raw, likeable stage presence. One death metal hit followed the next, and the norsemen’s show was loudly celebrated by their fans!
Jugglers, bards and gleemen, that was CORVUS CORAX’s totally un-metal motto. There were no guitars or traditional (metal) instruments, but medieval sounds – mostly festive and boozy, but sometimes also dragging and heavy. It was a bit of a risk to try and succeed with this kind of music in between all those bands trying to outdo each other in terms of speed and heaviness. However, despite all prophecies of doom, the band captivated their audience with their very first (damn loud) sounds, spreading a fantastic atmosphere many other bands could only wish for. There were people dancing, “schunkeling” and going crazy, many of them dressed in goth or other obscure outfits. The band created a very special atmosphere with their announcements in medieval language, and it lasted for the whole show. Seldom has such a stark contrast to all the metal stuff worked as well as the music of CORVUS CORAX. It was absolutely fantastic the way they built an atmosphere with their bagpipes, shawms, drums and tymbals. Surprisingly, many metallers enjoyed the band’s music, which goes to show metal people are anything but narrow-minded. And with great music such as this you really shouldn’t be.
Suddenly, the denim cutoff count went up, more and more fans in the traditional metal uniform came to the stage, the intro was playing, and WOLF were up on stage tuning their instruments. However, the number of fans wasn’t overwhelming, which is a shame considering the band delivered a perfect set of Swedish heavy metal. Despite the Party Stage being in the shade, the drummer chose to leave his sunglasses on. WOLF refer to Germany as “Metal Country”, and the crowd celebrated each song in return, from “The Bite” to the brand-new “Skull Crusher”. Bassist Anders “Tornado” Modd lived up to his nickname as he ran around the stage, before going into the photo pit to play “Hail Caesar” in close proximity to his fans. The Swedes delivered a great show, which unfortunately ended much too soon.
Up next there was a metalcore double whammy. AS I LAY DYING took the Main Stage first, before CALIBAN followed on the Pain Stage straight afterwards. Shoulder to shoulder with KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, AS I LAY DYING belong to the forefront of this subgenre, which still enjoys a lot of popularity. And the massive crowd underlined this fact impressively. The band had a brutal start with “Within Destruction”, quickly followed by “Upside Down Kingdom”, the opening track from their latest album “The Powerless Rise”. The band was in total control at all times. Just maybe their hair was burnt here and there by the pyros, as the wind kept changing direction sometimes blowing the fire dangerously towards the band. Totally on fire, singer Tim Lambesis is an impressive phenomenon. Tall, tattooed and with such anger in his voice it actually made you afraid. You can tell he lives through his songs and lyrics. He jumped around, banged his head like crazy and sometimes threw his arms around him, without losing a single bit of power. In a professional manner he directed one of the biggest walls of death at SUMMER BREEZE 2011, whipping up the crowd again and again, to the point of exhaustion. So it’s not surprising some fans had to leave the battlefield early in order to get taken care of in the first aid tent. However, there weren’t any serious injuries. At the end of the show, AS I LAY DYING stepped things up a notch with three of their biggest hits: “Forever”, “Confined” and obviously the one song that can’t be missing from their set, “94 Hours”. A perfect closure for a fantastic show, it was going to be a difficult task for CALIBAN to top this. The only complaint would be that the band wasted 10 minutes of show time that were still left after “94 Hours”.
It might seem like an anachronism, but nowadays seeing a pirate on stage with a camera in his hand is totally possible. Especially when talking about SWASHBUCKLE, and those who know the US band were expecting a great mix of thrash and loads of fun. An intro with a Nintendo sound had the band members dancing on stage, announcing what was in store for the tent audience. Admiral Nobeard declared fervently he loved every single person in front of him. The first few circle pits formed spontaneously, but it was obviously his desire to make them bigger and bigger, so to give the security crew some work to do. As a small intermezzo, the band played the beginning of “Black No. 1” by the legendary TYPE O NEGATIVE, which was received enthusiastically, much like all the rest of the set. During “Cruise Ship Terror” a few friends (from the band DEADLOCK) came on stage dressed as a parrot, a crab and a shark, making the crowd lose it completely. Crowdsurfers everywhere, moshpits here, circle pits there, the pirates achieved their goal: thrash and fun to the max!
The band was actually in the studio, but they were probably happy to halt the recordings for a bit in order to play SUMMER BREEZE. It was clear from the beginning this was going to be awesome. The stage boasted an impressive decoration, there were two big sidedrops covering the backline, and four massive backdrops covering the whole extension behind the stage with the letters C,L,B and N. This way people could spend the changeover time guessing vowels! After the opening track “Love Song” they already pulled the first ace from their sleeves with an impressive wall of smoke at the front of the stage. The band members were visibly enjoying themselves, although maybe not so much Andy, who tripped over something, hitting his head and injuring an ankle. So for the rest of the show he had to play a metal flamingo, jumping around the stage on one foot and sporting a bag of ice instead of a shoe on the other. The next gag was to send Manuel from Augsburg, a brave contest winner, right into the pit with a helmetcam. It was obvious the camera wasn’t going to survive the ensuing wall of death, but Manuel survived it unscathed. Respect! Respect also goes to CALIBAN’s FOH engineer, as there probably hadn’t been a better sound all these days. After COMEBACK KID had already set the bar high in terms of unconventional crowd participation, during “Helter Skelter” (the BEATLES don’t deserve this!) from the new CALIBAN cover EP most of the fans sat down and showed their appreciation for the band by raising their arms. Never seen anything like this either. Standards such as walls of death and crowd surfing don’t really need to be mentioned. During one of Andy’s announcements the people in the front weren’t really paying much attention as a scantily dressed lady was sitting on someone’s shoulders drawing all attention towards her. Andy decided to take the surprised girl up on stage so at least everyone was looking in the same direction again. Towards the end, the band pulled all the stops. There was a rain of sparks before the RAMMSTEIN cover “Sonne”, then it was the turn of the wall of smoke again, and after the closing “It’s Our Burden To Bleed” three cannons shot red, white and green confetti in the air. Everything was very impressive, the fans went totally apeshit, and the band didn’t seem dissatisfied either. A few hours earlier DEADLOCK had had a similar success without any of this stuff though.
With a name like this there wasn’t much guessing as to what to expect from the band in their five show blocks. And it’s actually strange no one has had the idea before to mix metal with traditional drinking music, as it could become really popular. Because heavy metal fans, beer and a big singalong factor obviously work together perfectly. The band’s dressing room was also a motley mix of costumes and metal shirts and accessories. In terms of instruments, the tuba and squeezebox were probably the most exotic in the context of a normal rock line-up. The band ruled the Camel Stage, and the singer was so involved he kept getting more and more hoarse with every show block. The covers they played throughout the set of Hubert von Goisern, STS and the EAV were cool too. As if all of this wasn’t good enough, a couple in traditional costumes were handing out beers and pretzels to the front rows. One, two, bottoms up!
Obscure, obscurer, OBSCURA! This was an abrupt change of styles, from wild pirate thrash to technical death metal with black metal overtones. Ironically, singer Steffen Kummerer was surprised about the crowd reactions himself, as he certainly didn’t expect such a big audience. And this was an added incentive for the band to try and make their technically demanding sound better than ever. The crowd was on their side from the get-go, headbanging til oblivion to the heavy sounds and super precise solos. The way the positive feedback motivated the band to give their best could really be felt. MORBID ANGEL fans got their money’s worth as much as fans of more blackened sounds. Steffen invited everyone to meet up for a beer after the show.
Slowly the air started cooling down and there was an impressive sunset to admire. Ideal conditions for a show by Finnland’s golden voice. And the precious metal would play a main role later on in the set. But let’s save that for later. The first thing to stand out was the all-star formation’s unusual stage set-up. Mike Terrana’s massive white drum kit was placed on the right side of the stage while the cello player was on Tarja’s left side. In the back, and impressive collection of keyboards had been set up behind the guitarists. The show started with full power, and during the opener “Dark Star” it already became evident Tarja was in a great mood. Dressed with a discreet black outfit, she let the music take the spotlight. Tarja delivered a collection of hits that made the huge audience go crazy. Again and again, the crowd started chanting the singer’s name, which she seemed quite pleased about. It was obvious Mike Terrana wasn’t going to miss the chance to play a solo here and there. However, this evening’s show was more than ever tailored towards the charismatic frontwoman. Those waiting for NIGHTWISH songs were satisified at least to an extent with the cover version “Over The Hills And Far Away”, which the lady had often sung with her former employers. Cello player Max Lilja (ex-APOCALYPTICA, HEVEIN) stayed pretty much out of the spotlight. The reason became obvious when the show was interrupted for a special ceremony. The band’s long-time friend and confident Gunnar Sauermann presented Tarja Turunen with a gold record for her latest album “My Winter Storm”. Visibly moved, Tarja addressed the fans and subsequently played the closing “Until My Last Breath” a s thank-you to them. One can only hope that Tarja and her cohorts keep it up for a long time so we can enjoy many more shows like this.
There are shows where the crowd goes absolutely wild, and then there’s shows like THE OCEAN’s, where the musicians do their best to absolutely destroy the stage. What a crazy show! The German-Swiss collective celebrated their gig like a battle, with the guitarists wielding their instruments like axes. Anyone who has already witnessed this band knows that they don’t only give your ears a good battering with their experimental/progressive/extreme metal. The five-piece is also a feast for the eye. As if stung by a Summer Breeze wasp, as if their bodies were electrified instead of their instruments, they spun tirelessly around the stage, using the monitors as trampolines and the rigs as a climbing frame – and all of this while playing technically demanding songs. They even outdid their fans as bassist Louis surfed the crowd and singer Loïc dove right into the first row to get in close contact with the fans, who in turn were partying as if there was no tomorrow. Even before the show had started you could cut the atmosphere with knife, but when the intro came blasting through the PA it seemed as if they were struck by lightning. The final climax came during the epic “The Origin Of The Species” and “The Origin Of God”. These are the two tracks that round up the “Heliocentric” album, and a sea of raised hands and loud cheers made it clear that we were witnessing something big. Incredible, what energy and passion! One of the very big highlights of Summer Breeze 2011. Those who missed it will at least be able to watch it on DVD at home – however, not until the autumn 2012 at the earliest.
The Summer Breeze congregation obviously didn’t want to miss the show of thrash veterans SODOM, so a huge crowd gathered in front of the Pain Stage covering the whole ground all the way to the back. After the powerful start with “The Vice Of Killing” from the “Code Red” album it was already clear SODOM weren’t going to take it easy today, and the crowd reacted with loud cheers. Classics like “Outbreak Of Evil”, “The Saw Is The Law”, “Agent Orange” (played extremely fast and heavy) and “Blasphemer” (from their debut EP “In The Sign Of Evil”) followed, the latter being dedicated by Onkel Tom to his late friend, ex-SODOM drummer Chris Witchhunter. At this point of the placid evening it was already clear that SODOM are not only immensely popular, but that they wouldn’t let anyone take away this real triumph from them. The band completely fucked up the end of “Ausgebombt”, which made them look all the more likeable and human. However, this song and the following “Remember The Fallen” and “Bombenhagel” (played at almost blastbeat speed, but without the part with the German national anthem), were just the confirmation that this superb old-school thrash band deserved every single bit of applause after all the long years of hard work. The Ruhrpott legends proved “old farts” can still rock. SODOM simply delivered, not only celebrating the good old German thrash metal, but also delivering a perfect version of a MOTÖRHEAD rock’n’roll classic.
As the TÝR show was drawing closer, the tent was bursting at the seams. The band from the Faroe Islands were warmly received by a huge crowd as they took the stage. Focused, yet gripping, TÝR presented their very own take on the pagan/viking metal genre with elements of nordic folk, with trademarks being their distinctive guitar harmonies and some traces of classic heavy metal. Thousand of voices sang along to their catchy anthems, especially the classic “Hail To The Hammer”, which everybody seemed to know by heart. Each one of their songs enjoyed a great reception, and the numerous crowdsurfers provided lots of work to the bouncers in the photo pit. Led by Heri Joensen, who offered a toast to the audience after every song, the band were dedicated and in top form. The likeable musicians proved that TÝR are an excellent live band, spreading loads of happiness and fun in the Party Tent.
After almost four days of excessive partying, in which the fans were battered by the bands and also destroyed themselves, there was an extremely tough nut to crack at the Main Stage closing the Saturday proceedings. HATEBREED were inviting to a pit and everybody came. It was their first Summer Breeze appearance, and the poster boys of hardcore even had the honour to headline the Main Stage. Led by energy bundle Jamey Jasta, the band responded with a perfect set. After a short pack of three songs from their recent self-titled album (“Everyone Bleeds Now”, “Hands Of A Dying Man” and “Merciless Tide”), a real fireworks display of hits from all of the band’s creative periods followed. The band played at least two songs from each of their albums, and it was possibly the ones off “Perseverance” that got the best response. The crowd used up their last energy reserves, obeying MC Jasta’s every word. The guy is so professional and experienced he knows exactly what to do in order to get the desired reaction. As soon as the fans were on the ropes like a badly beaten-up fighter, he immediately got them back on their feet with all kinds of singalong parts and jumping games. Fancy an example? Jasta: “Let me hear you scream: Hate!”, crowd: “Breed!” Accompanied by an excessive display of pyro effects, the band did what they do best: take no prisoners. However, the band never forgets who they owe all this to, so they thanked all of those present, as well as the festival itself and all the other bands, over and over again. And with his tribute to SODOM Jasta also proved he is a real fan of the German thrash heroes. After “This Is Now” HATEBREED left the stage, but didn’t need to be asked long before coming back for seconds. The encore obviously finished with “Destroy Everything”, a singalong song par excellence. Two words that made everybody scream their lungs out, and a groove that wouldn’t let anyone stand still. A more than worthy ending for Summer Breeze 2011. At least on the Main Stage, as PRIMORDIAL were gearing up for the grand finale on the Pain Stage next door…
GOD DETHRONED couldn’t have wished for a better venue than the Party Tent. After a haunting intro the Dutch commando started blasting away in such a brutal manner one could have thought they were playing faster on purpose in order to be able to fit more songs into their set. The band delivered tracks like “Boiling Blood”, “Storm Of Steel” and “Under The Sign Of The Iron Cross” at breakneck speed, ruling the tent in a superior way. The crowd reacted to the energy unleashed by the band, responding with loud applause. GOD DETHRONED had made a great choice with the songs they played, interspersing the set with various slower songs. And it was the heavier parts that allowed the fans to take a breather before the next blastbeat attack. However, there was little time to breathe, as the band showed and enthusiasm many wouldn’t have believed them to be capable of, as their last few albums all included some rather mid-tempo heavy songs. But this could only be noticed marginally. The band levelled the Party Tent like a deadly steamroller, sweeping away any shadow of doubt about the fact they are going to leave a big gaping hole when they step aside to make room for the new blood in the near future.
Last time PRIMORDIAL had played the festival they had a memorable show, but in a rather negative sense, as the drummer wasn’t in the best shape. But the guy has obviously learnt his lesson, as this time he was absolutely focused, same as the rest of the band, paving the way for singer Alan’s stage performance. The latter appeared with a bloodstained face and torn clothes again, spreading the charisma of a perfect master of ceremony. The dramatic song material was almost frighteningly fitting for the last slot on the Pain Stage. The dim lightshow held mostly in red and the beginning works to dismantle the Main Stage provided an eerie experience with PRIMORDIAL as its soundtrack. Despite all the heat, sweat and heavy partying of the last few days, the Irishmen managed to summon up the audience’s last energy reserves, infecting them with their sound up to the FOH tower. Before playing “Bloodied Yet Unbowed”, Alan mentioned the band’s 20th anniversary and dedicated the song to their friends in ROTTING CHRIST who were going to play in the Party Tent after them. Thank you PRIMORDIAL!
Swedish death metal for dinner – before starting their carnage in the tent, guitarist Urban wanted to make sure the blood-thirsty crowd was in the appropriate state: “Are you still drunk?” Without question, the audience was still in a great mood on this Saturday evening, and what better than the Swedish chainsaw inferno to refresh the tired brain cells? The band started with “Regorge In The Morgue” off of their new album “Opus Mortis VIII”, but with a few problems. First it was the sound, then the guitars. However, after the initial trouble had been bridged, the rest of the set was perfect. In a professional manner VOMITORY played mostly songs from their new album, but also older stuff like “Terrorize Brutalize Sodomize” and “Under Clouds Of Blood”. Razor-sharp high-speed tracks alternated with slower attacks, so Urban asked the crowd: “Do you want it fast or faster?” In short, a perfect set, brutal and crunchy. Shame there wasn’t time at the end for the encore “Chaos Fury”.
Finnland’s MOONSORROW couldn’t have asked for a better time to play than the middle of the night. Their atmospheric take on black metal meets folk meets pagan was perfect for this time, and the fans were more than grateful for it. A nocturnal atmosphere unfolded, with some people swaying from side to side, others shaking their heads with their eyes closed, and others enjoying a good crowdsurfing. The band kept the banter to a minimum but still could “only” play four songs, however, all of them extra long and in-depth. Even though at times the keyboard sound bordered on kitsch, the band still managed to create and maintain a nice atmosphere, which they kept infusing with heaviness and speed. The band played two songs from their new album and two older ones, making all MOONSORROW fans walk away satisfied. A good beginning to the end of the festival.
Despite the late hour and some serious symptoms of tiredness in most festivalgoers, ROTTING CHRIST could still look down on a respectably-sized crowd. Well, the Greeks have been in the business for a good while, being able to look back on a strong back catalogue which has garnered them a big fanbase. Therefore the band blasted out one song after another without major interruptions. This is what you call optimum time management. The band was in an excellent mood and even had a few funny stage raps, which seemed all the more charming with that Greek accent of theirs. Visibly moved by the good reactions, ROTTING CHRIST played themselves into a trance, constantly headbanging and soon drenched in sweat. The show was fittingly ended with “Noctis Era”, and ROTTING CHRIST got a well-deserved ovation.
For the last few insatiable metallers out there, Kassel’s melodic death metal heroes BURDEN OF GRIEF were the very last band of the festival to plow through the tent. Despite their position in the bill, BURDEN OF GRIEF were in a good mood and went straight for it with the title track of their latest album, “Follow The Flames”. The remaining crowd activated the head rotors one last time and enjoyed the set to the full. And the band gave it their all. “Swallow The Sun”, “Burn In Fire” and “Nightmare” all kept the same aggressive level, without ever losing any of their melodies and catchiness. The IRON MAIDEN cover “Aces High” really got the crowd going, before “Rise Like A Phoenix” marked the end of the set with one of the biggest riffs ever. Certainly a worthy closure for the Summer Breeze festival!