Australia’s BE’LAKOR had probably made the longest journey out of all of the bands at the festival this year. And if you’re traveling halfway around the world to play on the SUMMER BREEZE Pain Stage, you might as well bring your family and friends along too. These were all gathered behind the stage enjoying the show, same as hundreds of early risers and fans who were looking foward to seeing BE’LAKOR. Despite the early hour, a few heads were already banging to the quartet’s melodic death metal, which is the best way to shake off a hangover. Fact. The band made great use of their half hour stage time with songs from their current album “Stone’s Reach”, and during the obligatory group photo from the drum riser there were even loud chants of the band name, which put a big smile on the band members’ faces. The long journey definitely paid off for Aussies BE’LAKOR.
Italian goth/doom metallers THE FORESHADOWING on the Main Stage were the second band of this last festival day. The crowd at this time wasn’t very big yet, most people were just strolling towards the stage, and maybe the band’s slow, depressive sound wasn’t exactly the most fitting wake-up call into this hot summer day. However, the band members were in a good mood and gave it their best shot. Perhaps some of the atmosphere they could have created in a club was lost due to the daylight, but the songs still worked well. Especially the title track of their latest album, “Oionos”, turned out to be really catchy. Singer Marco Benevento’s voice was in top form, his musicians really tight, and the crowd slowly realized it was worth to risk an ear, and so the concert area started filling up more and more. THE FORESHADOWING’s half hour set was definitely entertaining.
On the Pain Stage, a band always welcome at SUMMER BREEZE followed: UNDERTOW. With their new album “Don’t Pray To The Ashes”, which had been highly praised by press and fans alike, under their belts, and a back catalogue spanning many years and numerous outstanding songs, the three-piece was in for the win. In his typical likeable manner, singer Joschi led the way through their set, which started with an aggressive “Bitter Taste”, before “Crawler” further raised the energy level. “Threedouble Chime” and “Ashtray Memories” kept it up while the heat was really getting to the crowd. But just at the right time, during the slow, doomy “Smoke Garden”, a big cloud obscured the sun creating the perfect atmosphere. As a grand finale, Björn Goosses, current THE VERY END and former NIGHT IN GALES vocalist, came on stage to end an already strong show by the Southern Germans in style.
For many, a capella heavy metal band VAN CANTO was obviously the first highlight of the day, as the area facing the stage filled up for the first time today. And the sextet’s style is not exactly everyone’s cup of tea. No guitars, no distortion pedals, no giant amp stacks, just pure vocal power and a drummer who hits so hard it’s almost frightening. And the vocalists sing all the parts that would normally be played on instruments. Add to this the distninctive voices of Philip Dennis “Sly” Schunke and his female counterpart Inga Scharf doing the lead vocals. Besides a few original compositions, they also delivered covers of metal classics such as Metallica’s “Master Of Puppets” (in an abbreviated version) and Iron Maiden’s “Fear Of The Dark”. The whole crowd was obviously singing along, while the band members were constantly in motion, probably covering a half marathon each, and were simply overwhelmed by the extremely positive response. VAN CANTO were the first big winners of the day.
There are some bands who have found their own style, bands who don’t need to experiment any more. A few that come into mind are perhaps Bolt Thrower, Bad Religion and AC/DC, and also PSYCHOPUNCH. The Swedes are always great at SUMMER BREEZE and this year JM, Joey & Co. rocked the place once more. In between the metallic offerings on the big stages, their snotty rock’n’roll felt like a shot of liquor in between beers or a good belch during a meal. With catchy tunes such as “Misunderstood”, “Overrated” and the popular ABBA cover “SOS” the punk rockers had the audience on their side and convinced with tons of enthusiasm. The fact that Joey, a walking minibar and Keith Richards’ lost siamese twin, is still able to deliver such cool solos borders on a medical miracle. But also the rest of the band was comfortable with the great crowd response, and they didn’t spare the audience at all, as there was action at the Pain Stage from the first to the last minute.
Despite some heated discussions previous to the festival regarding the South Tyrol band’s brand of Deutschrock, a huge crowd was something to be expected. At the best afternoon time FREI.WILD took the stage under loud applause, being the first in a series of bands whose lyrics were loudly sung along. The whole crowd area was constantly in action, and a few fans had to get back in line after surfing the crowd. Already a few songs into the set the atmosphere reached boiling point and didn’t ever really cool down again. The wild ones provided a mix of party-tested anthems and fresh rock songs, which was literally absorbed by the crowd. At the end of the set, there was one united crowd calling for an encore while FREI.WILD left the stage. On this last festival day, FREI.WILD were like a much-needed dose of energy drink for the partly still aching crowd.
In the tent, Sweden’s FEJD started with a mix of Swedish folk and rock that one would normally only expect at medieval markets. A few interested fans had already found their way into the tent at the start, and there were more and more to follow during the set. What was especially interesting was FEJD’S instrumentation, as besides bass, drums and keyboards they had a moraharpa, which is a mix metween a lute and a fiddle, as well as a bouzouki, which is actually a traditional Greek string instrument. Electric guitars were nowhere to be seen though. The songs were completely sung in Swedish, so not many understood the message on offer. The atmosphere in the tent was quite slow at first, but in the course of the show more and more fans let themselves go and soon there was a lot of clapping and dancing going on.
As if programmed, the sun hid completely just in time for LEAVES’ EYES’ show, so that singer Liv Kristine didn’t need to worry abut her pale skin as she walked on stage in a dress with a two meter long train to join her band mates, who had already started the set. For the brutal shouts, Liv has her husband Alex Krull by her side in this band, who we obviously all know from Atrocity, same as the guitarist. Long-haired Krull also pointed out the “home game” character of this show during one of his stage raps. Liv hit notes in a range rarely heard during these days, delivering a perfect performance and even thanking the crowd for holding out in such extreme temperatures. And the fire hose brought in by security to cool down the crowd gained the biggest applause – not to say that the band didn’t get any, as much the opposite was the case. Alex Krull proved to be a smart entertainer as he called for a competition between the British crowd, where the band had played their last show, and the SUMMER BREEZE audience. The back of the stage was decorated with a huge banner and the missing backline was replaced by some sidedrops next to the drum riser. The last song was “Froyas Theme”, before the outro “Mot Fjorne Land” ended the show.
France’s HACRIDE had the ungrateful task to bring their rather complex sound to the mostly unprepared SUMMER BREEZE crowd under the smoldering midday heat. They delivered modern metal with a very technical side to it and peppered it with dark atmospheric parts on top. The band switched between pumping grooves and deceptive quite parts, only to explode again the next second. The protagonists on bass and guitar kept windmilling, so there was at least a little air in the stuffy tent. Frontman Samuel did his best to build up an atmosphere, but only succeeded partially. Four days of festival were obvioulsy taking their toll on the crowd’s bones and skulls. At least it wasn’t the band’s fault, although their sound wasn’t exactly made for an afternoon exercise routine, but was rather lying heavy in the stomach.
Those who were inclined to hope for a bit of a chill due to the band’s name EISBRECHER (= ICE BREAKER) were soon taught better, because the “Checker” Alexx Wesselsky and his band had nothing better to do than heating up the atmosphere even more. And the premise couldn’t have been better: a perfect entertainer, mega-catchy songs and a crowd that let itself be entertained and proved to have humor too, as evidenced by a sign held up in the crowd that read “I want to have your car!” From the very first song “Eiszeit” the mob was raging, the girls were screaming, countless crowdsurfers were in action and the audience was clapping along up to the very back of the crowd. Besides the show, the crowd was especially elated when the bouncers repeatedly sprayed them with water. Due to the fact that EISBRECHER were playing a metal festival today, they played heavier songs such as “Angst” and “Phosphor” quite early on, going on to score with hits like “Leider”, “Schwarze Witwe” and “Heilig”. For the song “This Is Deutsch” Alexx put on a typical Bavarian hat and a goatee as well as a matching vest to play the new national anthem on a melodica: the nursery rhyme “Alle Meine Entchen”. During “Amok” four of the band members were drumming on tin barrels and before the last song Alexx scored by holding up a Bavarian flag. As usual, the hit “Miststück” of his old band Megaherz was played last, during which the frontman climbed down into the photo pit to hold the mic into the crowd. To sum it all up, EISBRECHER were spot on.
Just before five o’clock it was time for another exotic band on this year’s SUMMER BREEZE bill. Finland’s CALLISTO tried their best to summon up a bit of atmosphere in the tent at such an early hour and with so much (day)light – and they succeeded pretty quick! When the six band members took the stage, it didn’t take them long to change from relative motionlessness at the beginning of the perfectly chosen opener “Insession” to collective headbanging by the end of said track. In between songs, singer Jani Ali-Hukkala was often stood in front of the drum riser with his back to the audience, headbanging until the beginning of his vocal parts. Only after thre songs he addressed the crowd with the words “thank you!”, so it’s safe to assume he’s not a man to mince words. And that’s completely fine, as the show was carried exclusively by the musicians’ interplay and the alternating between quite parts with clean vocals which suddenly exploded, climaxing in shouts and growls. After the song “Providence”, all but the drummer, one of the guitarists and the keyboardist left the stage, and the remaining musicians carried on improvising, providing another unusual moment in this great show. For all fans of the band (of which there’s probably quite a few new ones now), we have some good news and some bad news for last: The bad news first: Unfortunately CALLISTO won’t be playing any headliner shows in Germany in the foreseeable future. The good news: They will soon be taking four months to record their new album!
Finland’s gothic metallers led by ex-Sentenced singer Ville Laihiala had a hard time keeping up the atmosphere when they went on afterwards. When POISONBLACK started, the area in front of the stage was all but full, probably also due to the extreme heat. And even though Finns aren’t exactly fans of summer and sunshine, the band made the best out of it, which also had to do with the fact that the people at the stage were in a great mood and applauded vehemently. The band played nine songs, making it clear that gothic doesn’t equal whining gloom. Their heavy guitars kicked some major ass, making up for the fact that the band is still missing one really big hit in their discography. And it’s always a pleasure listening to Ville’s characteristic voice. The crowd seemed to agree and welcomed songs like “Love Infernal”, “Left Behind”, “Buried Alive” and “Bear The Cross” with open arms.
Iceland’s SOLSTAFIR, who were on next in the Party Tent, were probably one of the more “far-out” bands on this year’s SUMMER BREEZE with their interesting mixture of black metal and depressive psychedelic rock. For 16 years now the band have been treading their very own musical path and can count on a big loyal following. So it wasn’t really surprising that the Party Tent had filled up nicely for this time of the day, when SOLSTAFIR started the show with the title track of their latest album “Köld” after a short intro. Said song and the following, 20-minute long “Ritual Of Fire” were sadly the only two songs they were allowed to play. 35 minutes is just not enough for such an exceptional band, but SOLSTAFIR still provided the audience with an insanely atmospheric, emotional, completely overwhelming listening experience that sent one shiver after another down your spine. The musicians hardly seemed to take notice of the crowd, completely immersed in their music. Despite that fact – or maybe due to it – they were able to totally captivate the fans. SOLSTAFIR are just an experience in their own right!
Obviously there was also something for fans of Teutonic steel at this year’s festival. REBELLION, who were celebrating their tenth anniversary, were about to make the Party Tent crowd raise their fists heroically and sing along for 40 minutes. Although the power metallers were only facing a half-full tent, the fans who had made their way there immediately got into the opener “War” and celebrated REBELLION to the max. The band themselves were oozing enthusiasm, which was transmitted to the audience more and more with each song, while frontman Michael Seifert further ignited the atmosphere, animating the crowd until every last one of them felt compelled to participate. The icing on the cake was Grave Digger’s “Rebellion”, which had the whole crowd cheering and singing along.
An appearance by Brazil’s SEPULTURA at SUMMER BREEZE was long overdue. The band undoubtedly enjoys the status of a living legend, which was further proved by the massive crowd at the stage. After the intro “A-Lex IV” the band led by giant Derrick Green launched into “A-Lex I”, followed by “Moloko Mesto”. The sheer class of drummer Jean Dolabella was immediately made clear, although he will probably have to wear the “new guy” tag for a long time as the replacement for Igor Cavalera. The intensity and precision with which he worked his kit made jaws drop all around. With “Arise” the band played their first classic song pretty early on, and the following “Refuse/Resist” was the first to gain excessive crowd reactions. During the further course of the show SEPULTURA kept intertwining newer songs in their set, but it was obviously dominated by hits such as “Territory”, “Troops Of Doom” and “Inner Self”. Only towards the end of the show there were songs from the “Roots” album. Green provided additional percussion for “Rattamahatta”, but the climax was clearly the über-song “Roots Bloody Roots”. Green said he was happy to finally play here and that he’d heard many times what a fantastic audience there was at SUMMER BREEZE. After this show, SEPULTURA can really congratulate themselves.
After Sepultura there was quite a contrast on the stage next door. Hard drinking and always true to their monicker KORPIKLAANI (Finnish for “clan of the forest”), the Finns appeared in their usual rustic stage clothes, but also with their usual party mood. Before the show the area facing the stage was already surprisingly full, and it was even going to get better during the set, as the crowd grew so much, even parts of the Main Stage area were covered. The atmosphere was relaxed and the first few rows were brawling, moshing and singing along. The band’s folk metal received a great reception with a lot of alcohol, as it was meant to be. The band themselves obviously didn’t want to be left behind and took a few drinks on stage. Similar to their show two years ago, the band ruled and showed who’s king when it comes to folk metal. A great show by a band that confirmed their status once more, finishing with the highlights “Beer Beer” and “Let’s Drink”.
Although this year it wasn’t properly represented on the big stages, now it was time for the finest German thrash on the Camel Stage – although with a modern touch. Visually, the band led by frontman Björn Goosses stood out in their black clothes in front of the white background, but also their sound stood out – in a positive way. The two guitarists delivered great riffs on an extremely high level, yet never forgetting to move, the bassist with the cool beard laid down a massive foundation, and the varied vocals provided the icing on the cake. Despite the heat, the five-piece had no reason to complain about a lack of attention from the audience, as the people were moshing along in front of the stage. No wonder the band signed a contract with SPV shortly before the festival; however, the fans will have to be patient, as the new album will only drop in early 2011.
When the first chords of “Mina Fäders Hall”, the opener of MANEGARM’s current album “Nattväsen”, started ringing through the PA at 19:40 sharp, there was already a sizeable crowd in front of the stage in the Party Tent waiting for the Swedish viking metallers, who presented a varied retrospective on their discography. Besides the opener, more material from the new album was played as well. The spectators were well into it from the very beginning, singing along to classics like “Havets Vargar”, “Sigrblot” and “I Evig Tid”, but also giving a warm response to the new songs and turning the Party Tent into a sea of banging heads for the whole duration of MANEGARM’s set. The Swedes were visibly having fun on stage, firing up the partying crowd and posing enthusiastically. MANEGARM were just great fun!
Attentive festivalgoers already knew who was the surprise act on the Main Stage after buying a festival shirt, as his name was printed alongside all the other bands’. So it wasn’t really susprising that, minutes before show start, hundreds of voices were shouting “Wir wollen den Türken sehen!” (“We want the Turk!”) and signs were held up in the crowd with inscriptions such as “Der Türke muss schwitzen” (“The Turk must sweat”). Shortly past 20:10 the likeable Mannheim native stormed to the front of the stage and became visibly moved by the number of people waiting for him and cheering. “Ihr seid doch krank im Kopp” (“You guys are sick in the head”) was his very apt comment. The only German comedian with a credible metal background then proceeded to play some of his most popular characters (among other, Turkish greengrocer Aslan and caretaker Mompfred, who had forgotten once again to take is anti-racism pills), improvised a bit here and there and was completely overwhelmed by the crowd’s crazy response, which included several circle pits and calls for a wall of death. Towards the end of his short set he even went crowdsurfing, and the crowd almost didn’t want to let go of him. By the way, the guy now has a new name, so from now on please refer to him as Dinkelsbühlent. And he is bound to come back, at least the audience certainly wouldn’t mind! To think that before his appearance he had serious doubts if the show would work…
It wasn’t the first time the Swabian originals appeared in Dinkelsbühl – they had successfully taken part in the newcomer competition before – so it didn’t come as a surprise that there were more people at the Camel Stage to see BRESCHDLENG than any of the other acts playing there. For days the band and their label had prepared the band’s appearance with several promotional gags and advertising (there were freebies such as balloons with the band logo and a competition to find the most awesome strawberry camel), and when the band finally hit the stage there were no holds barred. With passion and fun – the frontman had even written “Baggana” (the dialect expression for his home town Backnang) on his belly with a black marker – they really went for it. The band combines metal and hardcore in a unique way, putting lyrics in the Swabian dialect on top. There were songs about the strawberry from which the band took their name (“Breschdleng”), overweight men (“Schdeffala”) and mind-expanding meat (“Roschdbrada”), and the fans loved it. During the last part of the show the best strawberry camel collected its award – it was the smallest that won – before the band revisited the song “Schdeffala” and “Seiferts Fritz” closed the show. Fantastic show – there were bands that played the tent to a smaller audience.
After Agnostic front on Thursday, on Saturday SICK OF IT ALL were the second New York hardcore legend to grace the SUMMER BREEZE stage, and many fans had come to celebrate their faves. Without hesitation, the boys launched into the killer “Death Or Jail”, which opens their latest album “Based On A True Story”. The band led by the Koller brothers swept the stage as if there was no tomorrow. Especially guitarist Pete Koller jumped and ran around on stage as if to save his life, and the band didn’t give the crowd – or themselves – a time for rest. Several circle pits formed very soon, and later frontman Lou Koller directed the biggest wall of death of this year’s festival. The choice of songs appealed to both younger and older fans. New smashers such as “A Month Of Sundays”, “The Divide” and “Take The Night Off” were mixed with hits such as “Step Down”, “Built To Last” (which they dedicated to their friends of Sepultura) and “Busted”, and really old classics like “Injustice System” and “My Life”. For “Busted” bassist Craig took care of some of the vocals using a megaphone. With such an extensive back catalog it was obviously impossible to please everybody, and especially “Just Look Around” was missed by many. Wearing a neat black shirt, Lou Koller proved to be a great frontman and all-around cool guy, and he soon had the crowd eating out of his hand. With this show SICK OF IT ALL have cemented their position as leaders of the hardcore scene and proved that they perfectly fit on a bill like this.
On Saturday evening it was time to summon up the last energy reserves, and what would be more fitting for this than a dose of old school thrash? This was provided on the Party Tent stage courtesy of California’s WARBRINGER. Led by singer John Kevill, who looked a little like a young Gerre (Tankard) and proved his old-school credentials by wearing a “Crystal Logic“ shirt, the youngsters battered their way through a set consisting mainly of high-speed thrash grenades. Each second you could tell they were highly motivated and hungry, and this obviously translated to the audience, who were headbanging and starting circle pits and a wall of death. Meanwhile on stage, the agile frontman went wild, jumping on the monitor wedges and firing up the audience. His hearty “Prost!” was obviously answered by hundreds of throats. Among all the fast songs, it was especially the mid-tempo “Prey For Death” that stood out, but it has to be said that they have already developed their own sound, despite the Bay Area thrash influences. Who needs Red Bull when there’s WARBRINGER?
It was a historic time for fans of Swedish black metallers DARK FUNERAL at 21:35, because vocalist Emperor Magus Caligula, the only founding member left in the band besides guitarist Lord Ahriman, had announced previous to the festival that he was leaving the band due to personal reasons and that the band’s SUMMER BREEZE show would be his last after 15 years in the band. This gave reason to expect a huge attendance at their show, but that wasn’t the case. Their show only had a regular crowd response, and there seems to be no good reason for this, as DARK FUNERAL celebrated their last show in this line-up and delivered a sensational show. Not only the perfectly chosen setlist, which equalled a complete tour of their discography, didn’t leave anything to be desired, also the stage show, complete with several pyro effects, was simply amazing. Musically DARK FUNERAL were also in top form and played incredibly tight, and you could really tell how much they wanted to play this show (as much as the corpsepaint allowed, of course). The audience at the stage let themselves go and honored the band’s enthusiasm, but it was sad to see that towards the back the crowd was rather scattered and passive. Fortunately more fans were drawn towards the stage during the show, so at least for the second half of their set DARK FUNERAL played to an audience that was fit for a gig like this. Insane show and definitely one of the weekend’s highlights!
Nordhausen’s MAROON have already provided a few highlights in the SUMMER BREEZE history. So in 2010 they were out to defend their good name, starting off with a slight Slayer reminiscence into the aptly-titled “Stay Brutal”. The tent was absolutely packed, and the band had the audience in their grip in no time. Their uncompromising metalcore beat any traces of tiredness out of the crowd, and frontman Andre directed the audience in a professional and entertaining fashion. The end result was one climax after another. At times the whole tent was jumping up and down, then there was a massive wall of death, a circle pit around the FOH tower or people were just kicking the shit out of each other. Andre gave exact instructions on what to do: “Firstly, nod your heads, then break everything”. And he obviously had to go into the crowd as well. In terms of craziness he obviously didn’t hold back either, and his trousers fell victim to his on-stage antics. “Schatten” ended another triumphant SUMMER BREEZE gig for MAROON.
Mannheim’s “Dinkelsbühlent” Ceylan had obviously left quite an impression, as there were thousands of people doing frenetic “Mompfred” chants during the changeover on the Main Stage. Yet the grand finale on this stage was delivered by the kids from Lake Bodom. And it was absolutely justified too, judging by the endless masses of people facing the stage. CHILDREN OF BODOM avoided all kinds of visual effects, which is a bit disappointing for a headliner, but their show was far from boring. Frontman and guitar wizard Alexi Laiho alone was worth watching, and it was quite impressive how he and especially keyboardist Janne Wirman played their parts with such ease and casualness. “Follow The Reaper” kicked of a best-of set which included songs from almost all their albums, except – as has become usual – the debut “Something Wild”. The atmosphere in the audience was fantastic from the very beginning, and one could hardly tell already the fourth festival day was coming to a close. The bouncers obviously had a lot of work as one crowdsurfer after another landed in the photo pit. “Every Time I Die” and “Living Dead Beat” received a fanatic response, and after the gloomy “Angels Don’t Kill” the band started with their usual joking around as Janne Wirman started playing Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro”. Alexi made a foul-mouthed comment about the pop queen, but let’s not go there. It was also business as usual that both musicians had an argument in which Wirman stated he was just too drunk to play “Kissing The Shadows” – which was obviously not true. “Hate Me” – again with a great crowd reception – was the last song of the regular set, but the band obviously came back for encores. The quick “Silent Night, Bodom Night” was first, and the band spontaneously added “Needled 24/7” to the setlist as a thank you to the audience for their great support. A second round of nonsense, which included Van Halen’s “Jump” and Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean”, gave way for “Downfall”, which closed a good gig, although the band seemed to be going through the motions a bit. At least Alexi used his favorite word “fuck” a little less than usual.
True veterans of European death metal, ASPHYX were on next in the tent. The band’s early albums were a big influence on the genre, but unfortunately they split up and reunited a few too many times already. With their current line-up they released a great new album and 2010 was their first time at SUMMER BREEZE, so many die-hard fans had come to give them a warm welcome by windmilling to their riffs. The classic “Vermin“ started the set, followed by “The Rack“ and the new song “Scorbutics“. No matter if old or new, every track crushed like a steamroller. Frontman Martin van Drunen, who had already been on stage with Hail of Bullets a day earlier, gave an impressive performance which can be described as a celebration of all things death metal, and drummer Bob Bagchus was actually celebrating his birthday. So, in the middle of the set, van Drunen prompted the crowd to scream a “happy birthday!” for his band mate. With ASPHYX, the festival could tick off one more death metal legend.
It has almost become a tradition that bands such as Katatonia or the huge MY DYING BRIDE close SUMMER BREEZE. In 2010 it was the Yorkshire doomsters’ turn again, coinciding with the band celebrating their 20th anniversary. Right at the beginnig of the set, singer Aaron Stainthorpe delivered not-so-good news, as drummer Dan Mullins had broken his foot and couldn’t make the anniversary show. As a stand-in, the band had recruited David Gray from Akercocke. However, in no way did this diminish MY DYING BRIDE’s greatest performance in years, and the brilliant opener “Fall With Me” from their latest album “For Lies I Sire” was also the first highlight of the set. Almost no other band on the festival had managed so far to create such an oppressive, gloomy atmosphere which covered the audience like an apocalyptic Urkraft. In the front rows you could see fans staring at the stage as if in a trance, watching Aaron Stainthorpe suffer. Une of the night’s greatest moments was journey to the darkest depths of the band’s history. Following “Turn Loose The Swans”, the band played the first song they ever wrote, “Vast Choirs” from their debut album “As The Flower Withers”. The nightmarish “She Is The Dark” may have been a bit more recent, but not any less intense. This time travel was honored by the audience with loud applause and chanting. When during “My Body A Funeral” the clock came dangerously close to striking one, what many had feared became reality: “The Cry Of Mankind” – pretty much a mandatory part of the setlist – had to be left out of the set due to the time. So it was quite understandable that the audience was left a tad irritated and that the calls for an encore lasted for a while. On this warm Saturday evening MY DYIG BRIDE presented themselves in top form, closing a fantastic SUMMER BREEZE on the Pain Stage.
Life is full of surprises, as they say, and so it was a bit of a surprise that the tent was absolutely packed at midnight to witness EISREGEN. And the show by Thuringia’s masters of the macabre became an absolute triumph. Already after song numbr one the crowd was loudly chanting the band name and proceeded to sing along to almost all of the ten songs on offer. The only complaint would be that, without a bass (there were only guitar, drums, keyboards and vocals), the sound was a bit thin, and the brutal sound level couldn’t make up for it either. The audience was eating out of Michael “Blutkehle” Roth’s hand nonetheless, clapping and slamming and singing along to “1000 Tote Nutten” while a Thuringian flag was permanently waved. The band’s lyrics and quite simple form of dark metal may not be everyone’s cup of tea, same as the rather tasteless banners with the caption “Jesus stinkt” (“Jesus stinks”) as well as a crucified woman, but altogether EISREGEN can consider this show a full success.
THE CROWN were probably the band who enjoyed the best sound in the tent. Their engineer provided them with a clear, yet brutal sound, which came surprisingly close to their records. The band – which used to feature One Man Army And The Undead Quartet singer Johan Lindstrand in their ranks – had a smooth start and can count on a perfect replacement since 2009 in Jonas Stålhammar. THE CROWN were in top form and really up for it. Ten all-destroying death metal smashers found their way onto the setlist, actually ignoring the first two albums completely, leaving out killer songs such as “Angels Die” and “Godless”. In turn, the band played the title track from their soon-to-be-released new album “Doomsday King”, which fit into the biger picture really well and got everyone’s hopes up. These Swedes have been in this business so long they simply know how to write a catchy tune and how to perform it live. Those who weren’t there sure missed something.
The black metal fans in attendance had to wait long until their faves finally took the stage. But initially there were just techs on stage at the announced show time, getting everything ready for the band’s performance. Eleven minutes late, two dark creatures came on stage to spit fire and then made way for 1349. By the time the all-star ensemble comprised of members of Satyricon, Gorgoroth, Pantheon I and Keep Of Kalessin, among others, finally launched into “Riders Of The Apocalypse” it was really late, but it didn’t diminish the effect of their show. At the back of the stage there was a simple but huge banner with the band logo, large sidedrops with inverted crosses covered the speaker cabs and the musicians were wearing the corpsepaint typical for this style of music. The bassist even came on stage in a black robe and didn’t take off the hood for the whole show. At the beginning the playing wasn’t exactly tight, but from the second song “Nathicana” on the band members were in their element, which in turn was received rather coldly by the audience. Of course arms were raised here and there and there was also headbanging in the front rows, but it wasn’t exactly a euphoric reaction – maybe the people were just tired of partying for days. Due to the delay at the beginning the band couldn’t play “Chasing Dragons”, and so they finished their set with “Atomic Chapel”.
In 2010, doom legends COUNT RAVEN had the honour to close the festival. A few hundred strong and tireless fans gathered in the tent shortly past three to party one last time with the Swedes. Their pretty quick brand of doom metal may not have been easy to digest, but Dan “Fodde” Fondelius’ – who looked like one of the crazy pirates from Swashbuckle with his bandana – voice was in great form and the band were really enthusiastic despite the late hour. The trio produced an incredible groove with a lot of power thanks to drummer Patrick Lundin’s merciless way to treat his kit. Besides a few classics, the band also played two tracks from their current album “Mammons War”, which fit the flow of the gig perfectly. COUNT RAVEN celebrated their doomworks with an impressive tightness, which made the show extremely captivating and almost magic. A more than worthy finale for the festival.