TORTURIZED from Magdeburg were in charge of kicking things off on the still slightly rainy Wednesday. Unfortunately not too many festivalgoers had found their way to the beginning of the NEW BLOOD AWARD playoffs at the Party Stage, which had been made bigger for this year’s festival. However, more and more people arrived as time passed, which boosted the quintet’s enthusiasm and gave their death metal songs an extra kick. Inspired by the driving sound, the first few heads started rotating, quickly making the Party Tent into a worthy setting for the NEW BLOOD AWARD. Self-confident and aware of their own strengths, the five-piece led the audience through a well-balanced set of old and new songs. Especially the songs “Conquering The Throne” and “Gallery Ov Blood” – from the EP with the same title – sounded convincing and already set the bar high for the following acts. TORTURIZED put on an entertaining show and warmed up the crowd nicely in the early afternoon. Well done!
After TORTURIZED had already made the tent fill up gradually, A.O.D. and their charismatic frontwoman Feben were received with open arms. Halfway into the opening track “Hardline” the initial nerves had already disappeared. Without a breather, the band seamlessly continued with an absolutely tight rendition of “With Fire”. Visibly elated by the lively singer, the crowd started the first and initially timid chants. Unfortunately, Feben’s committed stage acting didn’t transfer to all the rest of the band, yet the audience still celebrated the young band’s performance. There were even a few declarations of love written on cardboard raised up in the audience. Impressed by the pretty busy tent, A.O.D. even stepped up a notch, closing their not-so-silent set with “Times In Silence” and recommendations for all label scouts. The audience acknowledged the show with – now very loud – chanting, sending the band off to a well-deserved rest.
The third NEW BLOOD AWARD candidates approached things in a much more melodic fashion. LEVIATHAN are devoted to melodic death metal with a clear accent on catchy hooks. Drenched in red light, the kids from Bonn delivered their extra-long songs with a clear inspiration from the Saturday headliner. Much to the crowd’s chagrin, however, with growing speed the guitarists started playing less tight. In light of an otherwise solid performance, this can probably be excused with nerves. Over the duration of the set this initial faux pas was quickly forgotten as the five-piece convinced with well thought-out song structures delivered on some apt background keyboards. On top of this, the stage acting was definitely worth watching in its own special way. When the final “When Only Despair Remains” started, one could only assert that the band was able to win over more and more fans during the course of their set, and that some more live experience will definitely make them ready for bigger things.
PARASITE INC. from Aalen were right on time to compete for the NEW BLOOD AWARD. The likeable quartet, who went on stage all dressed in black, were obviously highly motivated. Especially bassist Patrick, who apparently was following a plan to headbang for 20 minutes solid – which he managed, albeit without neglecting his playing, competently done with his fingers. His drumming colleague had to struggle a bit more when at first the snare was completely buried in the sound and later he had to face little problems here and there. By the way, all the bands playing the NEW BLOOD AWARD had apparently agreed on using Flying Vs! The crowd seemed to enjoy the band’s agile performance and their grooving melodic death metal and was willing to participate in some band-crowd interaction. A solid gig and strong final applause.
After a short pre-recorded intro the band vehemently started their set with a style somewhere in between melodic death metal and symphonic black metal. Although the preceding bands were by no means unimpressive, these guys really raised the bar, as they delivered an almost perfect performance. Tight playing, confident stage acting, crowd interaction, lots of enthusiasm and massive power. Visually they were already quite imposing, all five members with long hair and headbanging, black stage clothes and green armbands. The dominant keyboard sound was another thing that set them apart from the competition, and the band knew how to get the crowd to participate. That’s how the drummer got the whole audience to clap before they started their last song. An impressive show.
The four extremely young kids (the drummer is just 17) from the posh town of Spraitbach already scored before the actual show with the very cool mic check of their singer/guitarist Timo. He just walked up to the mic and growled “Summer Breeze!” into the crowd before telling the soundguy “Passt scho!” (“that’s fine!”). Only seconds later he was back at the mic with his guitar, kicking off the band’s set – which was about to become a real triumph – with a part which was slightly reminiscent of Iron Maiden. From the very first note it was a lot of fun watching the guys play – and the fun they were having quickly transferred to the audience. Considering the band’s pretty heavy sound, there were quite a few ladies cheering them on, maybe due to the guitarists’ impressive hair. It almost seemed as if the band members were used to play in such a setting, at least it was a very professional show and an obvious decision for the judges, a decision that was met with frenetic applause when it was announced.
Oh yes, and the guitarist was obviously playing a Flying V!
The newly instituted NEW BLOOD AWARD proved once more what a high level the newcomer bands have reached in 2010. After a pretty much unanimous decision from the jury, BLEEDING RED will be the first band to receive the NEW BLOOD AWARD on Thursday. We’d like to mention the no less than 2,500 entries, for which we would like to thank everybody on behalf of the contest, which was carried out in conjunction with metal.de and Hellfest
Only since last year there is a fourth stage at the festival. It is called Camel Stage and here the bands play three short 20-minute sets each while there is changeover in the Party Tent. This way, the crowd can carry on partying without interruption, a concept that has obviously proved successful. Armed only with a guitar, an accordion and a wooden box for percussion named cajón, the band from North Rhine-Westphalia presented classics from the annals of rock and metal such as “Ace Of Spades”, “Holy Diver” and “Smoke On The Water” in a stripped-down rock’n’roll sound. However, they didn’t fail in delivering what was expected of them, pure party atmosphere. The singalong-friendly audience was more than up for it and loudly accompanied songs like “I Was Made For Loving You” and “Long Live Rock’n’Roll”. All in all it was much more than a stopgap, but the perfect background music for a well-deserved beer break.
Greek thrashers SUICIDAL ANGELS opened the label night on the Party Stage. The tent was pretty full at prime time and the crowd was more than up for the four-piece’s old-school sound, so they went time traveling together to the glorious 80s. The band’s tight jeans and high-top sneakers gave their outfit the classic thrash look. And of course the sound couldn’t be any less old-school, so it was a real joy watching them shred through their set. More than once one was reminded of thrash legends like Kreator and Slayer, but the band was much more than a mere copycat. Two new tracks from the upcoming album (“Bleeding Holocaust” and “Dead Again”) melded into the setlist seamlessly, which provided some friendly action with thrash diamonds such as “Bloodthirsty”, “Vomit On The Cross” and “Inquisition”. Circle pits, wall of death, crowdsurfers, raised fists and banging heads were the outcome of the Greeks’ more than entertaining show.
In a live setting SUFFOCATION are a force to be reckoned with. This gig impressively cemented their status as legends of US death metal once more. Without much fuss the five-piece fired “Thrones Of Blood” and “Liege Of Inveracity” into the packed tent. As soon as singer Frank Mullen raised his hand to make the famous sharkfin, the audience – already warmed up by Greek thrashers Suicidal Angels – went collectively bonkers. Also two of the first walls of death of the festival didn’t take long to happen. The only short breathers were during Frank’s cool stage raps. Other than that, the well-oiled and arse-tight death metal machine just crushed everything and everyone in sight. At the end of the set “Infecting The Crypts” took the intensity level to vertiginous heights again, before the 45-minute demonstration of the old – but not tired in the least – guard of death metal was finished.
On paper, the Teutonic metal institution from Herne might have been the day’s softest band, but made up for this supposed disadvantage with a more modern, heavier set than usual. And they also proved that you don’t need three guitarists on stage in order to generate a thick wall of sound. Guitar wizard Victor Smolski can easily be considered one of the masters of his craft, and this evening he provided impressive proof of his abilities once more. At the side of band leader Peavey – who drew people’s attention with his distinct gesture and unusual vocal technique – the Belorussian played the riffs and solos from songs like “Soundchaser”, “Hunter And Prey” or “Drop Dead!” with surprising ease. The show’s highlight was obviously the classic “Higher Than The Sky”, which raised the temperature in the already tropically hot tent even more. “Down”, “Set The World On Fire” and the closing “Carved In Stone” weren’t received any less enthusiastically. Superb sound, a perfect choice of songs and crisp heaviness – like this, RAGE can easily stand their ground in between all the thrash and death metal.
When Swedish death metal veterans UNLEASHED took the tent stage just past half eleven the audience became a little less active, but was still willing to have a good time. The area facing the Party Stage was still quite full anyway. Johnny Hedlund and his cohorts launched a brutal set, which featured material from almost every decade in the band’s existance, with “Winterland”. The group was very active on stage, and especially guitarists Tomas and Fredrik were headbanging permanently. The crowd raised their fists to songs like “Shadows In The Deep” and “Hammer Battalion” and was prompted by Hedlund to scream along to “Wir Kapitulieren Niemals”, the hit off their latest album “As Yggdrasil Trembles”. With “Into Glory Ride” from the 1991 album “Where No Life Dwells” the band paid their tribute to the late Pete Steele and Ronnie James Dio, obviously hoping to see them again in Valhalla. “Legal Rapes” was dedicated to their mates from Suffocation, and the band went into the home stretch with the mid-tempo stomper “The Longships Are Coming” and the pragmatically titled “Death Metal Victory”.
When EQUILIBRIUM stepped on stage at 01:00am sharp to the sounds of the intro “In Heiligen Hallen“ the party tent was absolutely packed, countless fists were raised and the crowd cheered the band on. The Munich band presented themselves in professional and enthusiastic form, every note was perfect and also the new frontman Robse has perfectly adapted to the band, prompting the crowd to participate and even calling for a wall of death during “Unter Der Eiche”. The band played songs from all of their three albums, and singalong greats such as “Met” and “Snuffel” were obviously received with open arms. But also tracks from their current album “Rekreatur”, for example “Die Affeninsel”, enjoyed a great reception, so much so that at the end of the show people didn’t want to let the band go, drowning them in calls for an encore. EQUILIBRIUM didn’t need to be asked twice, firing the crowning “Unbesiegt” into the partying crowd.
Well past witching hour, ANNOTATIONS OF AN AUTOPSY took the tent stage and made a clear statement right at the beginning: “We want some fucking violence!” And the Britons’ breakdown-heavy death metal was perfectly suited for just that. From the first second, fists and other body parts went flying through the pit, which was still extremely busy even at this late hour. The five-piece seemed to be quite popular with the hoody and new-era-type cap wearing audience. No wonder, since ANNOTATIONS OF AN AUTOPSY made quite a mark in the scene with their last album “The Reign Of Darkness”. Visibly impressed by the good reactions, the band delivered songs like “Born Dead” and “Bone Crown” in an agile, tight fashion. An exceptional live show from these young Brits!
MILKING THE GOATMACHINE had the honorable task to close the first festival day. Despite the late hour, surprisingly many fans made their way to the Party Tent, and when the musicians – obviously wearing their stylish goat masks – entered the stage, greeting the audience with a rain of mud while firing their grind salvoes into the audience, there was a great atmosphere one last time on this day. It was especially impressive seeing drummer Goatleeb Udder in charge of the vocals as well, although being more than busy with the kit. And, even though the figure of a vocalist was missing on stage, there was not a boring moment at all, as the rest of the goat herd performed in an impressively dynamic and varied fashion, constantly animating the audience, who in turn celebrated the band euphorically. A fitting closure for today’s proceedings!