Wacken Open Air
31.7 - 2.8.2003
Text by Arto Lehtinen and Jani Koskela
Pics by Arto Lehtinen and Ann Kermans
Saturday, August 2, 2003
Holy Moses replacing Sinister and at 11.00
Damnit damnit… Too early
to get up after passing out at 4:00am the night before. Once again the
mandatory ice cold shower to get the eyes open and then a quick run to the
other side of the festival area to catch the legendary Holy Moses.
The ageless, young, and sexy Sabina Classen had pulled the less active
festival crowd to follow the old school thrash-core performance. Apart
from Sabina, the rest of the Holy Moses line up was damn
unknown even though the names of the current guys would have been learned
by heart who they are, but after all it doesn't matter as long as Sabina is
in the band. The band mainly stuck to the older classic material from Queen Of Siam and of course the legendary
Finished With The Dogs. Afterwards, when talking to Sabina she told Rachel from Sinister was
supposed to get on the stage, but never showed up. Because of Sinister's
cancellation, Holy Moses was recruited quickly to handle the empty spot.
Sabina even unveiled the album is being worked on, and hopefully should
see the light of day in Autumn…
The Swedish Viking metallers arrived on stage and the vocalist had
obviously slaughtered a cow in the nearest field as the man was pretty
much covered with blood. Thyrfing's Viking metal worked damn well in
the hot sunshine, even though Viking material truly has and ice cold north
wind feeling. The audience went berserk for the Viking stuff. Thyrfing focused on the recent material from the latest albums.
one has to be mentioned here - when vocalist Thomas asked in Swedish how
many Swedes are here, a lot of hands rose up along with a lot of cheering.
When the same question was asked in Finnish, only a couple of Finns
realized they should respond, were the rest of us passed out?!
Florida's long time death metallers, Malevolent Creation, provided a deadly metal
assault that was definitely one of the most murderous and brutal gigs of Wacken
2003. The band's utter nihilistic and sadistic delivery, without any
doubt, made them stand out from other bands on the Wacken bill...especially
when speaking of their brutality and utter deep growling vocal styles. Despite
the early timing, the old school death metal five piece crushed a
huge crowd with the apx. 60 min set consisting of material from various
albums. The current vocalist, Kyle Symons, fits to the band like a coffin to
Oh boy, a legion of the Norwegian penguins arrived on the stage in the
wake of a massive looking bassist. Anyway, CF's set suffered from lousy
sounds and somehow their gig didn't work out at all. Instead it created amusement
for the audience. The band looked and sounded extremely
tired and boring in every aspect. It was pretty much obvious that the Norwegians
would rather fill their heads with the
mandatory boozing backstage.
Soilwork have increased their success a damn lot during the last few
years. That only proved a massive attendance having gathered to follow
Soilwork's set and stage working. The set was kicked off with "The Flameout" from the excellent
Natural Born Chaos and they
continued to present the
newer material from Figure Number Five.
For example, the title track, "Distortion Sleep", "Light The Torch" and
"Rejection Role". Of course the
material from Natural Born Chaos played a dominant role in the set. The
vocalist, Bjorn Strid, raged all around the stage. When speaking of insane looking raging, the bassist of the band, Ola Flink, definitely took points home, as the man couldn't stand in one
place for not
even a nano second...just jumping and swaying like some maniac on the stage.
As a few other bands, Soilwork had also undergone a line up change since
the former drummer Henry Ranta had thrown his sticks away and had been
replaced by Richard Evensand who did a solid job on his premium gig at
Ancient Rites' first visit to Wacken was an interesting event as it
also marked the return of the old guitar player Bart Vandereycken. I saw
them a month earlier at a Finnish festival where Bart played only couple
of songs and the rest of the set was played without a second guitar
player, so it was nice to see the full band back with a very
powerful line-up. The tent they played in was too small for a band like Ancient Rites.
The area was fully packed and exhaustingly hot. The atmosphere was
great, and the dedicated fans surely made a lot of noise. Ancient Rites has remained
an underground band but they definitely have managed
to gather a very international following. The most exotic Rites fan that I
met at the festival had come all the way from Israel to see the band live
once more. The set consisted mainly of the two latest albums Dim
Carcosa & Fatherland but such old classics as
"Longing for the Ancient Kingdom" & "Blood Of
Christ" were also a natural part of the set.
Rage's Peavey has obtained a new style by totally shaving his head and
he looked quite….cool… and eccentric as well and of course
as massive as at the Swedenrock fest last year. Rage has definitely the
strong and solid following in Germany as the veteran metallers had pulled
a huge crowd indeed. Anyway Rage didn't offer anything unexpected
during the 60min set. They covered the mandatory classic tracks and of
course some newer material. Fr example, the video track called "Down" and of
course the magnificent "From The Cradle To The Grave". Rage is, and has been,
a really strong live act and proved at Wacken that the band will
carry the metal torch for a looong time.
Ok to the schedule problems once again. Dark Funeral on the black stage
whereas the Canadian techno deathsters on the Party stage…Arrghh… Now
an emergency plan to make up as both of them have to be seen somehow...Arghh…
Finally Dark Funeral won with the raw and primitive
black metal assault. The line up had by the way undergone changes as the
former guitarist Dominion had been replaced by a new face Chaq Mol and
Lord K (known for the activity in Project Hate) handled the bass duties.
Anyway, Dark Funeral blew their Norwegian black metal cousins away with a savage utter blackish
assault. Vocalist, Emperor Magus Caligula, growled his lungs out with
"My Dark Desire" in the warm sunshine,
actually it had to be damn hot on the stage for them…
Breed 77 was an interesting new group doing more of the
newer style of metal approach by adding some "tribal" things as well as
aggressive parts making the music an interesting combination of
various and weird musical styles and approaches. The band raged through their
set with the intense passion in front of only a handful of people who were
intensely watching them. The singer especially appeared to be an unstoppable
Duracell bunny jumping all around the stage. In general, the
whole band appeared to be a 100% energetic live band having
played and gathered live experiences with several gigs at different places.
I have heard and read lots of positive comments about this band but
never really got a chance to hear them before this show at Wacken. I had
huge expectations for the show and expected original & top quality
death metal. Well, unfortunately the show was total crap to me. The sound
was awful, which might have been due the fact that the air line company
lost all of Nile's gear and as far as I understood the band performed
their show with loaned instruments. Still, I can't blame the air lines about the fact that
the band had 3 different vocalists, whose voices sounded like the same
senseless mumbling to me - from beginning to the boring end. Well, that's
my opinion and I have nothing more to say about this band, however it
seems that they had a pretty good following, even at this show.
Getting Slayer to Wacken was
a pure godsend for the whole
Wacken organization. The four piece thrash legends should have visited
here much earlier, but better now than never. When Slayer kicked the
hellish thrash maelstrom off, the whole field was totally packed with tens
of thousands of metalheads. From the opening riff the chaos and mayhem
took over the audience, causing an utter ballistic reaction in several
pits. Sweaty bodies were literally flying over the security barrier. The poor
security dudes were heavily overworked the rest of the night.
The sound in the early stages of Slayer's set were really awful indeed.
monitors cracked quite often and even somewhere in the set even the second
guitar vanished. But those technical failures and problems seemed not
to bother the audience who instead enjoyed every second of the thrash
legends' nihilistic onslaught. Slayer thrashed thru the mandatory classic
ones, but the most amazing surprise was that the whole REIGN IN BLOOD
unleashed in wake of other tunes for example "Hell Awaits",
"Mandatory Suicide", "Stain Of Mind", etc. Slayer came and conquered, leaving
thrashed metal heads gasping for air…
Polish death metal legends, Vader, were probably THE ONE of the few bands
at the festival who actually could do some kind of impression after a band
like Slayer. Being a follower of the band for over 10 years now, it was
about time to see the band live for the very first time. I expected a
clear and heavy sound, but I didn't know it was also going to be crushing!
In the beginning of the set Peter's lead guitar was a bit down in the mix
and Mauser's raw rhythm guitar was more dominant, but after a couple songs
the balance and overall sound was somewhat perfect for a death metal show.
The only bad thing about Vader's set was the short length of it. During
the intense 45 minutes we got some of their finest songs like "Silent
Empire", "Xeper", "Black to the Blind", but also
missed many old classics. This band would have deserved at least show time
of one hour.
Tom Angelripper and his Onkel Tom group had the
honor to end this
year's Wacken festival. It was already early into the morning, so I didn't have
much energy left to listen to the traditional German drinking songs
performed with a punk rockish attitude. The stage was once again full of
beer drinking people, but after 3 songs I felt that it would be much more
wiser to drink my beer at the camping area. Onkel Tom works all right, but
not at 2 a clock in the morning after three days of beer, sun, metal and
only a little sleep.
Yes, yes....and once again yes it was the triumphant metal blast from the
beginning to the end. It is absolutely amazing to see how metal heads from
different countries got along with each other and in general the whole
feeling was one big family thing indeed.
In 2004 the prestigious Wacken fest will celebrate its 15th anniversary
and it will be a huge metal party indeed…
Until then… Heavy Metal Is The Law…
Staff from imperiumi.net and