Saturday, July 9th
We awoke, had breakfast and then headed out to refill the beer stock and snack items. The first problem of the weekend arose when there was only warm beer available to purchase and I don’t know about any of you but warm beer is NOT something I want to drink. Luckily while shopping we met up with Thomas (the owner of the garden and organizer) and he gave us a tip of a store that carried ice. It’s not normal in Germany or Europe for that matter to be able to buy ice in a store so we were shocked but also very relieved that we weren’t doomed to drinking piss warm beer all day. Anyway, after getting all the necessary supplies we headed straight to the festival grounds to find our friends who we had met up with the day before faithfully “guarding” our parking spot. It was partly sunny and rather hot so I had somewhat regretted wearing long pants and looked enviously at BlackGoat who had smartly worn shorts. [BlackGoat: I’m a smart goat and after roasting in my leather I wasn’t exactly looking forward to doing the same in weather that was announced to be even hotter.]
- Carpediem -
The first band to start things up were a German band called CARPEDIEM who played somewhat progressive Heavy Metal with some Power Metal influences (keyboards, melodies, etc) but what made these guys stand out were the vocals. They were rough and rather aggressive which I thought was unusual for the kind of music they played. I had heard this band formerly had RITUAL STEEL vocalist Sascha on the mic. I thought they were ok but nothing that really made me start headbanging in appreciation. However, the headbanging in appreciation did start when French band MYSTERY BLUE hit the stage. I had heard of this band when running my website and had always been interested in checking them out but as it always happens I never got around to it. They provided a high energy performance that captured the spirit and sound of 80s Heavy Metal with a charismatic and enthusiastic female vocalist who was really enjoying being there. They even treated the crowd to a rendition of ‘Metal Daze’ from MANOWAR. I don’t usually comment on fashion but I thought the vocalist picked the perfect shirt to wear as you can see in the photo.
- Mystery Blue -
Next up to bang some heads were Germans GUN BARREL, another band I wasn’t familiar with. This year’s festival was surely giving me some introductions to cool or interesting bands and GUN BARREL fell right in that category. They had fun on stage and played songs that were catchy. After watching a few songs I headed back to the car because I was out of beer. While hanging out there the clouds that had thickly gathered over us decided to start pissing on us, not just lightly but a downpour that made all 4 of us find shelter in the cars.
- Gun Barrel -
- Mirror of Deception -
It was still raining when I heard the faint rumbling of German Doom Metal band MIRROR OF DECEPTION starting their first song. It was pouring hard but I really wanted to see this band so I grabbed my camera and trekked through the puddles and mud to the stage area. Luckily they had put a tarp up so there was a place to stand without getting completely soaked (which of course already happened on the walk from the car but oh well, rain happens). The passion filled performance of these guys reminded me a lot of last year’s performance of TYR and I had even written in a review for the new MOD album that the two bands have some parallels to each other. Their drummer was not able to make it to this show so they had Mathias from SACRED STEEL filling in, doing a decent job too. As quickly as the rain started it stopped again and the sun was soon shining, which I thought was a good thing since I was very damp. After MIRROR OF DECEPTION came an unfamiliar to me NWOBHM band called GASKIN who were pretty good. They reminded me of WEAPON and had the same kind of stage presence. I liked them.
- Gaskin -
While BlackGoat and Michaela stayed at the car, I went with Tom, who is also a Thrash fiend to check out Chilean band UNDERCROFT. They’re yet another band I had never heard before and ended up sounding a lot like older SEPULTURA but I wouldn’t call them a clone or anything. They were the second most extreme band next to NECRODEATH and proved to be quite decent for headbanging with thick, chugging kind of riffs and plenty of adrenalized vocals. I noticed between headbanging that the crowd had thinned out which was unfortunate for UNDERCROFT but fortunate for those few nuts in the front row headbanging like maniacs. They were enjoyable, aggressive and heavy.
- Undercroft -
- All Souls Day -
I had returned back to the car to rest up during ALL SOULS DAY from Italy so I haven’t got anything to say about them. German legends WARRANT were coming on afterwards so I had to save all my energy! By now I was fairly drunk but quite happy at how the day had gone so far and now finally I had the chance to see the almighty WARRANT!! Their set was total Speed Metal mayhem!! ‘Torture In The Tower’, ‘Nuns Have No Fun’ or ‘The Enforcer’ had the crowd (myself included) moving in a frenzy and so many people were shouting along. Great to see this band finally.
- Warrant -
I’ve seen WIZARD from Germany a lot of times now and they did what they do best: play true Heavy Metal with power. There was a little kid in the front headbanging and giving the horns a lot which I thought was cute. It is good to see kids this young into Metal! His parents must be proud.
- Wizard -
Soon after WIZARD had cleared the stage, the brilliant vocals of Bobby Mitchell blared out the soundsystem, it was time to call on the ATTACKER!!! As expected and following in the tradition of their performance at Keep It True, the “Lords Of Thunder” gave an impressive, energy packed performance with many of the great songs like ‘The Hermit’ (HELL YEAH !!), ‘Disciple’, ‘(Call On) The Attacker’ and ‘Slayers Blade’ keeping the crowd moving and singing along. I actually liked this performance a bit better than KIT because of the intimate nature of it and even though the stage is small, Bobby moved around like a wildcat, at one point bending over so far backwards that I thought he was going to fall over ! Excellent, excellent performance !! [BlackGoat: ATTACKER came, had a few beers (each) and conquered. Great set from a great band.]
- Attacker -
After ATTACKER I was nearly dead from tiredness and beer overdose. It had started getting dark and the guys from DAMIEN THORN were still doing some preparing so in order to light things up for them BlackGoat ran back to the car to get a torch which helped get some light in the backstage area. The beer was flowing, bands were getting ready and then TYRANT’S REIGN exploded onto the stage to give a set of mind blasting Heavy Metal ! [BlackGoat: After KIT I already knew what to expect from TYRANT’S REIGN and they did certainly not disappoint me or anyone else. Fast and aggressive they plowed through the songs of their album and also gave us a new song and now I’m looking forward to a new album even more. Great band !]
BlackGoat: I’ve been a fan of DAMIEN THORNE since 1987 and I finally got to see them… Compared to 1987 only the guitarist remained and I was especially curious of the new vocalist. New vocals can break a band for me. Well, this guy didn’t. He sang his way very well through older songs like “Siren” or “Sign Of The Jackal” and on stage there wasn’t really that much difference between the old vocalist and him. Judging from the crowd reaction everyone else of those who remained until 2 am to see DAMIEN THORNE was as happy as me. I was quite surprised when at home I played the new DAMIEN THORNE CD and the band sounded a lot like the first FORBIDDEN album (instead like EXCITER than before ). Either way, they were very good that night and had a lot of fun as well. They liberally threw promo CDs of their new album in the crowd between songs as well, luckily the people in the audience were too tired to throw anything back. Seeing the amount of trash lying around at the end of a long day that might’ve not turned out so well…
To close out the looooong day, DAMIEN THORNE played what seemed like a very long but very good set of Traditional styled Heavy Metal. There were a lot of people still there, despite being tired and drunk. All in all, another fantastic festival experience that I would recommend to anyone. See you at next years Headbangers Open Air!
- Damien Thorne -