HEADBANGERS OPEN AIR 2005
Written by Thrash Attack & BlackGoat
Review and Photos by Thrash Attack & BlackGoat
Again the worlds biggest garden party for Metal was at hand! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this is one of the greatest Metal events EVER! And in case you are wondering: the other is Keep It True. It had been a dry spell for concerts, so I was brimming with excitement when it finally came time to head towards the Hamburg area. After recalling how exhausted we both were last year, having made the approximately 7 hour drive up there and THEN going to the warm-up show, this year we opted to leave a day early to rest up from the tedious road trip. This proved to be a great idea and will be repeated when we go to next years H:O:A. When we arrived and packed away our stuff, we headed into Itzehoe to visit Hellion Records and make our first (but not last) CD haul of the weekend. It was a successful trip as both of us found some cool stuff, which was later blasted in our hotel room (quite possibly to the dismay of other guests) to get into the mood for the next day’s warm-up.
Warm-up, Thursday, July 7th
I woke up feeling very refreshed and ready for an evening with THEE PLAGUE OF GENTLEMEN, AVENGER, IRONSWORD and PRIMORDIAL. We spent the day being mostly lazy and I got my long run out of the way since I knew after a night of drinking and headbanging I would not want to run my required 17 kilometers.
After a short nap we got ready to head to the warm-up show venue called The Cantina. This was a much nicer, roomier place than the old theater house were the warm-up was held last year so I hope they stick to using this place in the future (not to mention when you get hungry they served some great food!). I had forgotten to charge the batteries for my camera in time so there won’ t be any band photos for the warm up. That was a disappointment but as they say, “shit happens”. Following a few beers in the parking lot and some meet and greets with fellow Metalheads, it was time to experience the extremely heavy, Doom Metal sounds of Belgium’s THEE PLAGUE OF GENTLEMEN. I had heard of this band from a fellow Dutch maniac but this would be the first time I actually hear (and see) them. They were extremely loud with a rough, very passionate and aggressive vocalist. I was impressed by them, especially the heavy tone of the guitars which totally pounded the hell out of one´s head. They were perfect for stretching the neck muscles which haven’t done much headbanging in the past months. [BlackGoat: I had not heard TPOG previous to this show but ended up buying their CD and their demo from them right after the show. That should give you an idea, hehe.]
While TPOG were finishing up their last song we headed back to the car for another cold beer to bridge the gap before AVENGER took the stage. We got back inside just as they were finished setting up. Previous to this I was not familiar with them and only knew from my encyclopaedic partner in crime that they were part of the NWOBHM movement and featured SATAN vocalist Ian Swift. This was enough info for me to be interested in seeing them! These guys had an immense amount of energy and enthusiasm, moving around a lot on stage and Ian looked like he was having the time of his life! I was very happy with their performance and sound. Heads were banging and hair was flying the whole time. I liked the upbeat, rocking kind of atmosphere they displayed. At some point during their performance we ran out to the car to put away some CDs and when we returned, the security was leading some old man holding a rocking horse off the stage. I don’t know what that was all about but it was very strange. [BlackGoat: AVENGER was the highlight of the night to me, great NWOBHM sound with a lot of fun and beer. I had not really expected much but the AVANGER guys (esp. their vocalist Ian) were totally infections. One could tell it was their first show in a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time and they were very happy. Well, so was I.]
IRONSWORD ended up cancelling which was a great disappointment but to fill the gap we got a nice surprise with RAVENSTHORN from the USA, who were scheduled to play the next day. After being blown away by their latest album, “Hauntings And Possessions”, I was very pleased to see them not once but twice in one weekend! More on them tomorrow. [BlackGoat: I already knew IRONSWORD cancelled because of some fuckup regarding the booking of their flights and I wasn’t really too fond of hearing RAVENSTHORN was gonna play instead. That changed about halfway through the first song however. These guys and their theatric yet totally Metal show and their MERCYFUL FATE having sex with CELTIC FROST songs rule. A most pleasant surprise for me.]
To finish up the night was Ireland’s PRIMORDIAL, offering excellent epic blackend Heavy Metal. They blew me away just as they had at the Summer Breeze festival last year ! This time vocalist Alan wasn’t covered in as much blood as he had been then but they were again vicious yet passionate, powerful and to put it simple: astounding. Alan is a truly spectacular and somewhat insane frontman who really makes seeing this band worth it because of the amount of energy and the whole aura they give off. Their songs are brilliant on CD but when they play them live, it’s like taking them up to the next level and one can get totally lost in the music and atmosphere. Words can’t do justice to this band in the live setting, you just have to see them yourself. I hold PRIMORDIAL responsible for most of the soreness of my neck the next day. A great end to the warm-up show that I enjoyed a lot. The next day´s activities weren’t starting until 15:00 but nevertheless it was time to head out, get some sleep and dream evil. [BlackGoat: As Thrash Attack wrote, PRIMORDIAL live is a phenomenon. When listening to the CDs you can’t quite imagine that mood in a live situation but somehow they pull it off anyways.]