Wacken Open Air 2006
Wacken, Germany
Date: August 3rd - August 5th 2006

Three days of metal, metal and metal. Sounds like a dream, eh? Well, dream becomes reality for circa 40.000 metal fans every year at the Wacken Open Air near Hamburg in Germany.  

The following gives you two accounts of this year’s festival, Powermetal.dk’s very own editor in chief, Kenn Jensen, and hag Thomas Nielsen.

The Editor’s Account:  

Wacken 2006 turned out to be mostly a social event for me, mainly because I found the line-up quite boring with way, way too much focus on the black and death metal scene.

Driving off around 13:30 in the afternoon Wednesday, we thought we were in pretty good time to get into Area L where we had a pass for. But things turned sour when we with less than 5 km to go were stuck… More than 4 hours on, we finally got the tent up and were ready for Wacken 2006.  

Thursday was spent getting over a hang-over and getting ready for “An Evening to Remember”. As it turned out not much was worth remembering from that evening… I actually went down to watch Victory (25) open the event, and the German crowd seemed to love their fellow countrymen. All I saw was a very mediocre melodic metal band fronted by a very bad Sebastian Bach wanna-be.

Mortal Sin (80), on the other hand, turned the clock back more than 15 years and played a great show even though some the old songs did sound a bit dated - but the energy and vibe was cool. Main attraction of the evening was Scorpions – and much to our distress the sound was awful, actually so bad that we decided to leave after 5 songs – went back to the tent for a few brewskies before we turned in…  

Friday was all about kicking back and enjoying the event, so all the music we saw and listened to was from the Beer Garden . We enjoyed Nevermore, Opeth and In Extremo but to pass judgement on them from a distance would be unfair… but the beer sure tasted great and we had a cool time!  

Saturday started off with what turned out to be the best band I saw: Metal Church (85) came, saw and conquered! Playing an awesome set of cool old tunes nicely blended with the highlights from their new album. Then we passed the time checking out the Metal Marked before Gamma Ray (65) hit the stage – their performance turned out to be very professional and somewhat static, no energy and power. Not that they sucked, but I felt it could have been so much better. Headliner Whitesnake (80) was actually a very special and funny show to watch, for the first time this year the sound decided be outstanding – big, thick and in-your-face – you could actually “feel the sound”. David Coverdale had trouble remembering the lyrics, but people didn’t mind and screamed their lungs out… COOL – and I caught myself singing along on almost all the songs… Never realised how many Whitesnake songs I actually know! And with this pleasant experience in mind I called it a day at Wacken 2006.  

Wacken 2006 turned out to be one of my favorite Wacken festivals ever! Not because of the music, but because of the atmosphere, the people and everything surrounding this cool event. I will surely be back next year, and hopefully there’ll be a bit more music for my taste… If not, then I’ll be there for the social part of such an event.

Thomas’ account:  


After 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.

German 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.  


First 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.  

Six 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.  

With a markedly better sound than the last time they visited this festival, Nevermore (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 festival.  

Compared 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.  

The same backing isn’t quite there for the resurrected steel warriors Carnivore (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.  

If 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.  


Saturday opens with a dose of old-school metal from veterans Metal Church (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 Wayne’s style.  

Angela 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.  

Sporting 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…?  

On the Black stage, Tampa ’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.  

One of the most anticipated reunions this year is death metal avant-gardes Atheist (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. Unbelievable.  

When 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.  

The 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.  

Trying 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.  

As 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.


Pictures from Wacken 2006 can be seen here.

The photos have been kindly provided by Mrs. Mustaine (www.metalholocaust.com).

Attending: Thomas, Jørgen & Kenn