having endured hours of horrible logistics and the pleasure of
setting up camp, the fun commences. Thursday night is a usual
known as ‘A Night to Remember’. This year, Thursday night is
more like a night to be forgotten with triple whammy of
sauerkraut ‘metal’ dinosaurs Victory, Michael Schenker Group
and headliners Scorpions. Elegantly avoiding the main stage all
of Thursday, I seep into the W.E.T. stage tent where Aussie
thrash metallers Mortal
Sin (80/100) finally have showed up on European soil and
play an extremely enjoyable gig full of thrash classics like
Lebanon, I Am Immortal and Mayhemic Destruction. There’s even
a new track on offer (Out Of The Dark) and it doesn’t sound
half bad. A minus is the rather sound on the W.E.T. stage plus
the awful noise from Mr. Schenker on the main stage.
organ phenomenon Mambo
Kurt (50/100) is hilarious the first time you see him. The
second time he’s ok too. But the third time, the waltz version
of Enter Sandman isn’t that funny anymore and you need to be
in the right mood to pick up all the jokes in German.
up today are the new thrash metal hope Legion
of the Damned (69/100). Their Slayer/Kreator inspired debut
album is a hammer, but live they’re not quite as convincing.
They put on a solid performance where most of the debut album is
aired, but it’s in no way extraordinary.
Feet Under (80/100)
are definitely more determined to make an impression today, and
they do succeed; evil and heavy and with a tremendous backing by
the Wacken crowd, SFU leaves us like victims of a thunderstorm
when the last tones of the AC/DC cover TNT rings out.
a markedly better sound than the last time they visited this
(85/100) play a victorious set consisting of thrash metal
pearls like Final Product, Enemies of Reality, and This Godless
Endeavor. During the über-thrasher Born, the crowdsurfers go
absolutely ape-shit. A fun gig, although the Nevermore sound
apparently still is a tough one to handle for the Wacken
to With Full Force one month ago, In
Extremo (80/100) get a massive support from the audience. If
I’m to trust the glimpses on the monitors, the entire festival
is right here in front of the True metal stage. The band
actually seems a little less confident than what I’ve seen
before, but they still put on a fab show with fire and flame.
same backing isn’t quite there for the resurrected steel
(90/100), but still many show up, probably in the vain hope
of getting a Type O Negative tune or two. The hope is not
rewarded and for those of us who are there to hear and see
Carnivore, we experience something that could easily have taken
place in some dodgy venue in Brooklyn in 1985; a somewhat
confused gig with fairly poor sound and a not exactly tight band
(although the line-up has been enforced with Life Of Agony’s
Joey Z, one senses that Mr. Steele can destroy all tightness).
When played back to back, the songs from the eponymously
entitled first album and ‘Retaliation’ are very different
and the whole melting pot becomes even more confused when Peter
Steele and his cohorts launch their own interpretations of Smoke
on the Water (!) and Helter Skelter. Steele looks unhealthier
than ever and takes big swallows from his customary bottle of
red wine. But at the same time, the man looks amused and clearly
enjoys playing classic tracks like Jesus Hitler (I still can’t
believe they play that here in Germany!), Carnivore, Male
Supremacy, World Wars III & IV and Sex & Violence, the
latter accompanied by a host of topless chicks who spray
artificial blood into the audience. A cult experience.
I should put the finger on one thing that went wrong during the Celtic
Frost (90/100) gig at With Full Force one month ago, it
would be the lack of proper response from the audience to an
otherwise perfect performance. The same was apparently the case
at Sweden Rock, where Alice Cooper played at the same time as
the Frosties. Luckily, Wacken pay the appropriate dues to the
Swiss metal music forerunners with a huge and responsive crowd.
Compared to WFF, Celtic Frost stand out a bit more aggressive
– maybe a beneficial result of the Tom Fischer’s surgery.
After the gig, an Italian complains to me backstage, that they
have left out ‘Into the Pandemonium’ entirely from set, but
truth be told, ‘Into the Pandemonium’ or no, Celtic Frost
leave me full and content as long as Circle of the Tyrants is
part of the set.
Al Jourgensen’s freak show, Ministry
(93/100), give us a
hammer of a gig. The material from the brilliant latest effort
‘Rio Grande Blood’ works perfectly along side unrelenting
classics like Thieves and Psalm 69. Ministry are the kings of
Friday night at Wacken.
opens with a dose of old-school metal from veterans
(78/100). The sound
is decent and the band comes across great with classic tunes
like Ton of Bricks, Metal Church, Watch the Children Pray and
newie Mirror of Lies. I wonder how a band that has existed since
1984, when given the extra time, is not able to play an encore
that we haven’t heard before today as Mirror of Lies is aired
twice – new drummer or no. Ronny Munroe does an impeccable job
behind the mike I have to say, paying a lot of credit to David
Gossow and Arch Enemy (80/100) deliver a very solid set with some of their most
headbanger friendly tunes, most notably my favourite track, My
Apocalypse. The Enemy has turned into a true festival force and
is clearly enjoyed by the German audience.
their premier gig at Wacken here in the scourging afternoon sun,
Fear Factory (80/100)
are met by a massive turnout. The reward is a choice collection
of classics like Scapegoat, Shock, Edgecrusher, Replica and
Linchpin as well as newer songs like Cyberwaste and Archetype.
The crowd response is a warm birthday present for Christian Olde
Wolberts. The downside of the gig is the fact that Burton
Bell’s voice again isn’t quite up to it, just like the last
time I saw them. Hope this is not a tendency. The man’s voice
is breaking even when he speaks between songs, and makes you
think that a throat doc might come in handy…?
the Black stage,
’s proud sons Morbid Angel (95/100) unleash their death metal fury upon the
melting masses. Marred at first by bad sound, the band goes
through a crushing set that contains some of the best death
metal that has been written, including Immortal Rites, Sworn to
the Black, Lord of all Fevers and Plagues, God of Emptiness and
the monster groover Where the Slime Live. Much to the plastic
clad Dave Vincent’s dismay, there isn’t much movement going
on in the crowd, but this is simply not possible due to the
heat, and most of us have to assort to banging our heads and
take in the sweet tunes of death.
of the most anticipated reunions this year is death metal
(80/100). For me, it was always the first album, ‘Piece of
Time’ that was the big hit due to the freshness it represented
when it came out, but some of the material from
‘Unquestionable Presence’ and ‘Elements’ also had a
certain effect, of course. Today the sunburnt crowd is presented
to a collection from all three albums, most notably Motherman
and On They Slay do it for me plus the sheer virtuosity of the
band, especially bass wonder Tony Choy, one of the few bassists
you’d allow to waste precious festival time on a bass solo.
the first ‘’ere’s a song for ya!’ from David Coverdale
rings over the True metal stage, there isn’t exactly a huge
crowd there. But the ones who have showed up are in for a real
treat from Whitesnake
(90/100). No nonsense, just rock, mainly focused around the
album ‘1987’ and then the customary hands-only drum solo
from Tommy Aldridge. Despite reports of Coverdale’s failing
voice, this is not true of tonight’s performance; the man
sounds like an unstoppable force.
Norsemen from Emperor (88/100) have returned and with a vengeance I might add.
Expectations are high from the crowd and they are rewarded with
a perfect concert consisting of tunes from all Emperor albums
plus an Ihsahn who’s clearly impressed by the massive response.
Apart from the failing sound on the vocals throughout the first
song (!), the gig is all in all dark and majestic. A triumphant
return of the black metal kings.
to escape the bore of seeing Motörhead for the umpteenth time,
I head to the W.E.T. stage to see some Cannibal Corpse style
death metal from Obscenity
(76/100). Putting on a good, solid performance, the German
outfit groove their way through material from their six albums.
the conclusion of this year’s festival, German Medieval
rockers Subway To Sally
(89/100) take the True metal stage with their show. At the
same time stomping and spell-binding, the band focuses on
material from their fantastic latest release, ‘Nord Nord
Ost’ in a set that is much too short.