The opening slot has been awarded to German band Gorilla Monsoon. The outfit with the odd name play a doom-stoner sludge of sorts and it has some appeal as it stomps along. They are, however, un-tight as hell and never move beyond the role as warm-up for hopefully greater things to come (35).
We head over to the Hardbowl tent where Neaera manage to get a bunch of folk moving with their metalcore. Their performance is energetic as is often the case in this genre, but we’re in doubt whether the drummer has been granted any monitor at all because this lot is even more un-tight than Gorilla Monsoon (35).
The problem with festivals is that some bands have to play during daytime even though their style is not at all fitting for daylight. Swallow the Sun from Finland is one such band. Their doom metal and laidback, sombre and melodic style impresses a lot, but it would in truth have been much more appropriate in the Hardbowl tent at midnight (64).
Should Max Cavalera and the rest of Soulfly crash with a plane tomorrow, then Hungarian Ektomorph would be standing in the wings, ready to take over the throne of ethno-jump metal. Although the rain has now begun to show its ugly teeth, Ektomorph have a blast of an evening. The WFF crowd loves the Hungarians. They are a clone band by all means, but they do it well and manage to have a ball at the same time (69).
The ball continues when the Mexican (?) druglords (?) Brujeria enter the main stage. They unleash chaos with old faves like Pito Wilson and La Migra. The two singers, Juan and Fantasma run about constantly, whereas the guitarist (who looks an awful lot like Shane Embury trying to hide behind a scarf) and the bassist (who looks an awful lot like ex-Carcass fronter Jeff Walker behind a scarf) are more stationary as they rip through the set (74).
The Germans love Cannibal Corpse. I’m not really that infatuated with the death metal veterans. They are very, very old school, and as many qualities as they might have, Corpsegrinder and his crew don’t really convince on this rainy evening, although they end the session with Hammersmashed Face (I thought it had been banned in Germany?!) (69).
Jonathan Davies and Korn deliver a blistering and entertaining performance. With only a couple of fillers (two of the encores), Davies’ sideshow circus holds the crowd in the palm of their hands and lead us through a set of hits plus cool snippets of Metallica’s One and Primus’ Too Many Puppies. A hammer gig to end the evening (80).
The two-in-the-afternoon-gigs are usually a lukewarm affair at most festivals because of the doubtful combination of sunlight and deadly hang-overs. The openers on this fine Saturday, Danish Elvis-metallers Volbeat, prove to be an exception to the rule. Volbeat have gained immense popularity in Germany and the size of the audience is a proof of this. With a choice selection of songs from their two releases, Volbeat create a fantastic party atmosphere, Michael Poulsen as a good-humoured centre of events, and new guitarist, Thomas Bredal as the guy who does all the running. As Poulsen announces that the band that should’ve played after them have been forced to cancel and that Volbeat consequently will have an extra 20 minutes, the audience goes ballistic. What a ball! This concert is unsurpassed in terms of neither quality nor atmosphere today! (90)
Time for old school death metal. Benediction never quite made it into the Champions League of death metal back in the day. But we’re in a time of reunions, so why not let the Brits have their go at it as well? It’s nice to hear a round of death metal, but let’s face it, a lot of Benediction’s material is not the crème de la crème of song writing, and when in addition the sound is less then perfect, you’re left with a sort of flat feeling. And you wonder if a new album from the Birmingham quintet really is that essential although the new track aired sounds quite promising (55).
Lamb of God impress vastly with their Slayer (read Reign in Blood) inspired riff-o-rama. They look and act like an experienced and tightly knit unit. Intense set from the Americans, very impressive indeed although I don’t know their music at all (80).
Without being overly familiar with their material apart from the near-classic track Pursuit of Vikings, I have a feeling that Amon Amarth’s performance this evening will be one of the great experiences of WFF 2007. And the scene is set from the beginning, when two Viking warriors engage in duel on stage. After the dramatic duel, Amon Amarth drummer Fredrik takes over. Literally. Throughout the first song, practically nothing can be heard save the thunder of the drums, and, sadly, the situation only improves slightly during the set. A shame, really, because of being the anticipated feast for both eyes and ears it turns into an anticlimax of proportions (40).
The thing about Children of Bodom is that they have a handful of truly amazing songs and the Finns are capable of delivering them with technical prowess and be tight as fuck. Songs like Sixpounder and Hate Crew Death Roll are absolutely killer banger tunes. One thing speaks against Children of Bodom live, though: front poseur Alexi Laiho. The guy is practically insufferable. I’ve rarely heard as many fuck, fucking and motherfuckers in between songs. I mean…shut the fuck up, Alexi, and do what you do best instead (COB: 80/Alexi between songs: 1).
Saturday also offers a real surprise: German Knorkator. It’s hard to define exactly what they are in terms of style, but everything is sung in German, and the music incorporates elements from opera, thrash, Rammstein, Schlager music and, well, I don’t know what to say. Knorkator apparently took part in the Eurovision Song Contest, too… One of the two singers is in truth a sight for sore eyes, bald, sporting a gigantic tattoo and wearing nothing more than panties. The finalé is a ballad where the two singers are dressed in cardboard boxes to illustrate the Twin Towers, and the guitarist wearing a model plane on his head. Weird, very popular among the Germans and well, I like it too (80).
I’ve forgotten all about checking my watch because of the lovely lake next to the festival, and therefore I miss most of Danish hardcore combo Barcode’s gig in the early afternoon in the Hardbowl tent. What I get to see is a kick-arse performance with the kind of balls I’d expect from the listening to their latest album. It’s fun to see HateSphere’s fronter, Jacob, in the role as guitarist too. Good show (77).
First gig I want to check out on the main stage is Swedish Sonic Syndicate. The promising reviews I’ve read here and there are to some extent fulfilled. The band’s song writing is decent, their sound ok, and the likeness to Linkin Park plus In Flames is not bad. Sonic Syndicate don’t manage to keep my attention for that long, though, and I can’t help being left with the feeling that they won’t last more than the proverbial 15 minutes (70).
Different with US metalheads Chimaira. Their roots go further back than those of the Swedes, and they thrash big time in front of an enthusiastic crowd. They deliver a hammer gig – short and efficient. Way too short (85).
After a recommendation from our German neighbours in the camp, we head over to see Die Kassieren in the Hardbowl tent. ‘Don’t go for the music’ is always an alluring message for people like Benny and me, so bring it on, German brethren. After ten minutes or so we leave. The music is horrendous and delivered by four guys who could have been our dads (and since we’re no spring chicks anymore that means quite old…). The oldest guy, the singer, also happens to be the one who does a reverse striptease as he enters the stage stark naked and then gets dressed during the first ‘song’. Right, been there, done that… A big thanks to our German neighbours... (15)
Ill Nino on the main stage is a whole different and much more convincing ballgame. The groovy and extremely jump-friendly bongo thrash metal causes many smiles in the crowd. A professional as hell gig by an experienced band. Cool! (82)
A not quite as tight yet no less positive experience are Bostonian Dropkick Murphys. Their folk punk metal with bagpipes, flutes and mandolins is a welcome addition to the variation of the festival programme. This is a band I have no knowledge of before coming here, but I’ll surely look into their back catalogue after this! (80)
The big one for us this evening, nay, on this festival, is Slayer. They’re going to be the grand finale for us before we head north in the middle of the night, so it better be good. And the gruesome four do not disappoint. They come, they see, they rule as if there were no other metal kings ever. God Hates Us All, Mandatory Suicide, Dead Skin Mask, Seasons in the Abyss, Angel of Death, Rain in Blood, War Ensemble, Die By the Sword, South of Heaven, Bloodline, there is so much good music there, the sound is excellent and it’s damned hard to believe when it ends after little over an hour of joyful banging, moshing and a good round of the wall of death. Slayer, Slayer, Slayeeeeeeeeeeeeeer! (92)
> See our gallery of images from the festival here!
Attending: Thomas & Benny
Gorilla Monsoon -
Swallow the Sun -
could've been placed at a
better time of day
in popular demand at WFF
Does this man look like a Mexican druglord?
I think not...
Volbeat = one big party
Dave Hunt and Benediction -
Intense gig from Lamb of God
Barcode rip it up
Sonic Syndicate -
alright songs, lovely bass
player - but will they last?
Chimaira - convincing set
The naked truth:
Strong and intense - Ill Nino
Great variation from the rest of the bill - Dropkick Murphys
The kings of thrash: SLAYEEEEER!