Wacken Open Air 2006: FRIDAY
Jacobo: MYSTIC CIRCLE had already opened the day’s festivities and now it was time for the WINTERSUN clan to pay their dues to a big audience, despite the early hours of what was to become a long metallic day. As soon as WINTERSUN took to the stage, heads starting waving everywhere. It could clearly be seen that these Finnish boys have gained a lot of interest in the metal community with its BODOM inspired fantasy metal. The sound was really, really good, powerful and extremely clear, a thing that Wacken is known for.
The standout track was without a doubt, and as you may already have guessed ”Beyond The Dark Sun”. This is the best song the band has written in their short history. The only problem I saw with the overall performance is that when the band played the slow and epic ”Sleeping Stars”, the crowd’s energy went down and after that, we were not able reach the level of adrenaline we had in the beginning. All in all, it was a great performance from a young and promising band. A good wake up call of what was to come.
Brat: I was up early, coffeeing and showering and slowly getting into the rhythm of the day in preparation for WINTERSUN.
From the first time I walked into a CD store and heard WINTERSUN playing, I’ve been a big fan of this band and was really looking forward to seeing them live.
They took to the stage in their opposing seasonal blaze with quality performing and a good sound that didn’t differ too much from their CD. I was not disappointed and glad I managed to drag Chewy along with me, who also gave them a big thumbs up.
In their 45 minute set they managed to do almost their entire album in varying order. It’s high time this band released a new one.
LEGION OF THE DAMNED
Brat: LEGION OF THE DAMNED from The Netherlands thrashed the Black Stage as people began to show early signs of becoming crispy bacon while listening to the band do almost their entire album. Expecting rain like last year as per the forecast leading up to Wacken, I didn’t bring my trusty cowboy hat and was forced to buy a Wacken baseball cap from the merchandise stand while watching the band, but it was too hard to choose any T-shirts while I was getting wetter by the second from the heat—coming from Hell, I wasn’t complaining.
LEGION OF THE DAMNED was a nice soundtrack for my shopping adventure as the sound carried enough thrash balls not to be lost in the festival atmosphere.
Jacobo: NEVERMORE have always had a very special place in my dead heart, which dates back to the awesome SANCTUARY days. I remember watching them for the first time in Madrid with OVERKILL and NOCTURNAL RITES and being blown away. Unfortunately, I had not been able to see the band again, up until now, so as you can imagine I was pretty excited.
Filling in for Steve Smyth was Chris Broderick of JAG PANZER fame. He did an incredible job behind the axe. Jeff Loomis was without a doubt the best guitarist of the entire festival. This guy’s playing is unbelievable. Aggressive, technical, and fucking heavy. Warrel Dane was also incredible. I still don’t understand how much pain can come from one man’s voice, he has tears in his mouth. But I have to criticize him though. He was wearing a black hat throughout most of the set. He looked as if he was on a field trip, and no way man. He was in fucking Wacken, a thing that the rest of his band mates knew. (Hey, it’s summer and have you seen how white the guy is? Plus the baseball cap was a much better look than the Farmer Ted drawstring-under-the-chin hat he wore 2 years ago—Brat)
The set list was awesome: Born; Final Product; The River Dragon Has Come; I, Voyager; Engines Of Hate; the awesome Dead Heart In A Dead World; Enemies Of Reality; Narcosynthesis; This Godless Endeavour.
After such a pummeling overdose of adrenalinic depression, I had to continue the same path, and that’s when I found myself in front of OPETH.
Brat: I love NEVERMORE. From the time they toured Australia in 1999, I’ve been a big fan. NEVERMORE’s one of the bands you can rely on playing Wacken every second year. Their sound is phenomenal. I had to escape the festival area halfway through their set to get some sun protection, but as I sat in my tent covering myself in sunscreen, the pure reverbs of Warrel’s voice travelled the kilometre or so and sent me into a hypnotic state. I lay back in comfort, closed my eyes and let the dark tones of NEVERMORE penetrate my every sense. I don’t mind that I didn’t watch them play for most of their set this year as they’re back in Australia this November and I’ll be able to soak them up while sharing them with only about 500 people instead of about 20,000.
Brat: I protested when Arto gave me the job of covering OPETH. “You do realise I walked out of their Sydney show a couple of months ago, don’t you?” I relented thinking that at the festival they’ll at least pick up the speed and not send people off for a siesta.
With a 40 minute set consisting of only five songs, I was heading for snoozeville: The Grand Conjuration; The Amen Corner; The Leper Affinity; Closure; Deliverance. I love listening to OPETH CDs. In fact, I only bought my first OPETH CD after their first tour in Australia, but I don’t understand their decision to play some of their more arty-farty songs at a festival. It seems as I wasn’t the only one with this view. A lot of diehard fans also didn’t like they set list choices. Put it this way, if I want to watch live (any type of) progressive music, then I’d make sure the venue had lounges to relax in.
Brat: Every now and then I’d get a hint of liking SOILWORK as their CDs were played between bands at gigs in Sydney. It wasn’t until they supported ANTHRAX here and completely blew them off stage did they get my undivided attention. Playing on the Party stage this year the undivided attention they received spilled out from the boundary of the Party stage area while they played for about an hour doing a lot of songs from the only album I have, including: The Bringer; Follow The Hollow; As We Speak; and Nerve.
Brat: IN EXTREMO managed to get one of the biggest crowds assembled in front of the True Stage. German folk metal seems extremely popular (well, derr we’re in Germany) as people crowd surfed during their set not just near the front of the audience but all the way through to under the mixing tower. I’ve always loved the sound of bagpipes and it’s this genre’s use of tradition pipes that really has me interested in this music. My German still a little rusty, I missed the banter and announcement of songs. The set list included the radio friendly Küss Mich; Mein Rasend Herz; Vollmond; and Erdbeermund.
After IN EXTREMO finished I was moving between the True and Party Stages to get something to eat. The swarm of people moving across to the Party Stage for Finnish band KORPIKLAANI swept me sideways—like a strong surf rip, there was no way out and all I could do was moving slowly along with it diverging slightly from its path rather than trying to move completely against it. I was getting nowhere fast so I gave up and retreated.
Brat: I tried to get to KORPIKLAANI, but the crowd watching this Finnish “polka” folk metal band was spilling far from the area of the Party stage much like Finntroll last year, so I wasn’t able to see properly (this is becoming a habit for a lot of bands performing on the Party stage) and well if I can’t see the band, I might as well be listening to my CD at home, so I went to get that food I tried to get earlier. Seeing a piano accordionist on stage made me think “I really should get that piano accordion I inherited 20 years ago out for a tinkle….nah!”
Arto: Carnivore enjoys the cult status in the old school hardcore genre. Obviously Peter Steele has realized that as well when putting his old band back together by recruiting Joey Z, Paul Bento and Steve Tobin. The four piece band had dressed in red clothes and Petrus himself had a red sweatband around his head and hair in the ponytail. The man looked like he’s got some extra weight and of course the red wine seemed to taste more than pleasant for Steele as he kept drinking it through the show.
The NY hardcore metallers definitely have a weird sense of humour as entering the stage they made a few second stint by making a little bit noise, thanked the audience and left. The audience was left with jaws open, wondering what this was supposed to mean. After returning to the stage, the set kicked off and offered a great deal of songs picked up from the both Carnivore albums.
The approximate 60 minute set of raging nuclear war hardcore metallic onslaught was concluded with “Sex And Violence” by having some extra eye food for the audience when a couple of gorgeous topless chicks entered the stage to shoot with so called water pistols. As for the other tracks played, they included: .Jesus Hitler; Worlds War III & IV; Angry Necrotic Catholics for. Of course seeing Carnivore on the big stage was a great for several people, instead of seeing them on some smaller club stage.
Brat: Being a TYPE O NEGATIVE fan for a while, I was looking forward to seeing Peter Steele on stage even if it was with CARNIVORE. After all, some tunes written for CARNIVORE made it on Type O releases. That man is one sexy devil and listening to his ultra deep voice as it seeped through my bones was something I was looking forward to since CARNIVORE were announced for this year. I got a decent spot for the start of the set and was fired up only to feel like l’d been doused with a bucket of ice water. The sultry, black-haired, green-eyed Adonis walked on stage in something that looked like tracksuit pants and a homemade red T-shirt, his hair pulled back and a red headband hiding his circumcision scar—my jaw dropped. Where was he? Where was that sexy man that stared back at me from the printed pages? So shattered was I that I couldn’t appreciate his vocal talents or even absorb the music of Carnivore. I had to go and cry on Chewy’s shoulder while drowning my sorrows.
CHILDREN OF BODOM
Jacobo: I didn´t really know what to expect of CHILDREN OF BODOM´s performance at this year’s W:O:A. I had already seen them twice in the States after the release of the somewhat mediocre Are You Dead Yet?, but what I really wanted to see, was the reaction of the European crowd, especially after all the mallcore Americanisms that the band injected into their music. Fortunately, things went smoothly and the concert turned out to be your typical high speed BODOM infected one. The band as always delivered energy to every corner person in the audience, and once again proved that they are one of the best live bands of the scene. One song that caught me by surprise was ”Deadnight Warrior”. I had never heard it live, and I just remember my head spinning at 10,000 rpm. Now, let’s just hope that the next release from the hate crew leaves the trends behind.
Brat: I was also watching the Finnish delicacy—another of the bands who can be counted upon to play at Wacken every second year.
As amazing as it is when I get to see bands of this calibre on a small stage in an intimate venue in Australia, nothing compares to seeing the full-blown show that increases the energy of CHILDREN OF BODOM—cars, an amazing lighting show coupled with flame throwers just made me gape as it complimented CHILDREM OF BODOM at their best: Silent Night Bodom Night; Hate Crew Deathroll; Living Dead Beat; Sixpounder; Angels Don’t Kill; Towards Dead End; Hate Me; Needled 24/7; Deadnight Warriors; Are You Dead Yet?; Everytime I Die; Follow The Reaper; In Your Face; Downfall.
Playing at the same time on the Wet stage, or so I thought, was a band I’d seen on some New Year’s German concert on television at home—KRYPTERIA, a female fronted symphonic proggish band that would stretch the imagination to relate them to anything metal were taking other than having a big sound. As I walked into the area I wasn’t greeted with the sounds I’d expected. I’d misread my timetable and instead got to see a song or two of the cowboy gear clad band DESPERADOZ.
Arto: The legendary Swiss avantgardish metallers CELTIC FROST had been booked to every goddamn European metal festival of this summer as the demand seemed so huge all around with the comeback release of “Monotheist” got pretty wild and mixed reviews. Before the four piece got on the Black stage as one of the important headliners of the Black stage, there was a press conference earlier in the day where all kinds of hilarious questions were asked.
As for the gig, well even though they would have had 1 hour and 15 minutes to mesmerize the huge Wacken audience, the Swissmen played for less than one hour skipping the whole “Into The Pandemonium” album from the set. Of course they had announced earlier in the press they were forced to drop several songs. But after witnessing CELTIC FROST twice before Wacken, somehow it felt some things didn’t click in the right places and managed to create the magic of the vision immortality of the morbid tales on the Black stage (I’m guessing this is all Celtic Frost language I’m not understanding here—Brat), something was kind of missing from their visual aggression. However the set consisted of plenty of immortal CF tunes such as: The Usurper; Circle Of The Tyrants; and Necromantical Screams pleasing the huge audience for sure as most of the people have never witnessed this influential metal before.
Thomas Gabriel Fischer
After finishing “Synagoga Satanae” TG Warrior marched around the stage, kicking a few microphone stands down, cheered on the audience and left the stage whereas Ain spent a little bit longer on the stage saluting the huge audience as did Franco Seca.
Brat: When CELTIC FROST took to the stage, I wanted to see what all the hype over the past 20 years was about. I was introduced to their CDs about 10 years ago when I started to get into European metal and well, I didn’t hear anything special, but as I’m the first person to tell you CDs never do a band justice, I couldn’t wait to catch them live. The dark undertones of the lighting almost made the band invisible on stage from where I was standing, which wasn’t very close due to the people who seemed to have lined up half the night to see a band that hasn’t toured for so long.
Gus Chambers (former Grip Inc) and Allen Jourgensen
Arto: I managed to come across the MINISTRY guitarist who also plays in the legendary RIGOR MORTIS before the show and he told MINISTRY is about to deliver an unforgettable ass kicking set with the most fast and furious songs of MINISTRY. That sounded good indeed. And yes indeed the industrial metal pioneers truly focused on doing a number of the most aggressive as well as brutal songs. The whole sound capacity for the MINISTRY show had been turned to the maximum level that wearing any kind of earplugs became more or less pointless. Frankly, it was quite amazing one band was allowed to play so damn loud (I’m glad it wasn’t my imagination—Brat) whereas other bands had to be satisfied with the mellower sound levels.
The visual side on the stage in the dark German landscape worked perfectly as various figures were spotted on the background screen and several borrowed speeches of Bush were played giving an impression of how utterly the frontman, Al Jourgensen, detests the president of the United States.
Oh yeah guess who was behind the drum kit, Joey Jordison from SLIPKNOT…
Brat: MINISTRY put on an awesome show, full of energy and primal industrial beats. A song announced as being from The Land Of Rape And Honey (could have even been the title track) stood out amongst the set list. I know industrial music is primarily bottom end, but I’ve never heard the sound at Wacken so bad/intense. The rhythms beat so strongly my bones vibrated in the rumble to the point of being unbearable. I had to move away. I was really disappointed because the songs were sounding so good. Their set list included (in no particular order); Fear; NWO; Thieves; Great Satan; Psalm 69.
Brat: Another band you can expect to see every second year is AMON AMARTH. Since watching the Wrath Of The Norsemen DVD I was really looking forward to seeing the metal Vikings live. During their press conference they said they brought the entourage of medieval fighters that appeared on the DVD to make the most of having such a big stage.
The press conference
Viking Camp at Wacken
The Vikings provided plenty of their own entertainment during the festival setting up their unique camp, practising sword fighting and living a Viking life. Seeing their ‘lifestyle’ brought make all my fantasies of living the life of a bygone era and had me craving to don a corset and long velvets to frolic through the fields.
By the time AMON AMARTH got on stage it was past 2 am and after a full day of metalling I was struggling to stay awake. The physical effort of trying to watch the band was too much and my girly emotions finally told me it was time to go to sleep.
Jacobo: AMON AMARTH is a band that has really progressed in a live setting. They used to be pretty shitty on stage, but luckily things have changed. They can surely handle bigger crowds now even if the task has to be at 2 am when everybody is dead tired. Amon Amarth played mostly songs from their newest albums like “Death In Fire” and the great “The Pursuit Of Vikings”, but the real standout was the long and epic “Victorious March” from their debut Metal Blade release, “Once Sent From the Golden Hall”.
I never thought they would throw this one in the set and it fucking killed. A fun part of this concert was that in the middle of one of the songs, can’t remember the name, too much beer I guess (it was during the end of An Ancient Sign Of Coming Storm—Brat), 25—30 people came on to the stage with swords and shields and started fighting while the crowd was going crazy. I saw these fighters in the VIP camping area, and it was really cool, because most of the day if you passed by, they would be drinking and fighting. So it was entertaining to have them around. AMON AMARTH was a killer band to close the day and I can surely see them playing in a more important time next time they come (I hope because I’m sure their last 3 appearances at Wacken, yes they’re a constant here, have been during the graveyard shift from what I remember—Brat). After this Viking annihilation, it was time to go to the tent and grab another beer. Damn, now it is 5. Time to go to bed.
Brat: On the way to my tent I caught a song or two of PRIMAL FEAR who powered the other graveyard shift on the Party stage. Even at this time, PRIMAL FEAR played to a crowd that spilled from the perimeter of the Party stage. My travel buddies Johnny Rodd and Mag were enjoying the set, and even dedicated death and thrash head, Joey de Maio sang the band’s praises after their performance, which included: the anthem Metal Is Forever; Jawbreaker; Nuclear Fire; Seven Seals; and Diabolus.