Wacken Open Air 2006

October 16th, 2006
by Arto Lehtinen

Wacken Open Air 2006: Saturday

Brat: I had every intention of starting Saturday watching a band who made my No1 CD release for 2005, NOCTURNAL RITES, in my pyjamas adopting “the stance” (see Scorpions comment) except instead of Jägermeister, I’d be holding my army canteen kidney cup filled with a double dose of aromatic German coffee, because I knew if I was to attempt dressing and putting on my war paint first, I’d miss them and it’s been a long time between Wackens for this band. They last appeared in 2002, my first year, but at that stage weren’t on my radar.

The band and crowd early Wacken risers were spared this irreversible damage as NOCTURNAL RITES pulled out the week leading up to the festival and were replaced by METAL CHURCH. As much as I enjoyed METAL CHURCH at the festival warm-up on Tuesday night, I enjoy sleep much more and people appreciate my rested demeanour.

 

FLASHBACK TO METAL CHURCH AT MARKTHALLE

Chewy and Joey de Maio were pretty excited about getting to see METAL CHURCH on such an intimate stage during the marathon of bands at the Wacken Warm Up show in Hamburg. They looked at me as if I had two heads when I didn’t show as much excitement because I’d never had the chance to hear any METAL CHURCH material. So sue me! There’s 100s of CDs in my collection they haven’t heard.

We got a pretty good spot as the main room of Markthalle filled with people wanting to catch this big bonus. Chewy and Joey were still singing the band’s praises hours after the show and helped me out with some of the songs: Metal Church; Watch The Children Play; Gods of Wrath; Mirror Of Lies; A Light In The Dark.

 

METAL CHURCH

Arto: METAL CHURCH visited Wacken last year and obviously the visit this year wasn’t planned as the long time Seattle metallers got recruited to replace the Swedish power metal squad Nocturnal Rites at the very last minute. Therefore, the playing time of midday on the Wet stage was definitely not idealistic for the five piece. It was obvious the set had been re-arranged for the 45 minute set by covering plenty of classic tunes.

Anyway a number of people woke up on time to be able to testify METAL CHURCH kicked with plenty of so called immortal and classic tunes from the legendary second album “The Dark” and of course newer songs from the latest CD “A Light In The Dark” such as “Mirror of Lies”. Even though the playing time sucked, more or less the metal veterans (well actually Kurt Vanderhoof is the only surviving member left from the old days), handled the gig with a routine grip and gave a nice morning wake up to several bangers for sure.


Kurdt Vanderhoof and the staff of the mighty BraveWords Mag

 

ABORTED

Arto: If METAL CHURCH didn’t manage to wake people up, ABORTED from Belgium definitely woke the rest who had crawled to see the band so early. ABORTED’s hyper blast and brutal grindcore with the ultra brutal death metal grunt, obviously influenced by CARCASS, unleashed one hell of a sonic torment on the Black stage. The five piece butchered the crowd with songs especially from the latest effort “The Archaic Abattoir”. Being on the huge stage this early ain’t ay suitable place for a band like ABORTED—this kind of brutal whipping would definitely work much damn better in a club.

 

 

ARCH ENEMY

Jacobo: I was ok with ARCH ENEMY changing their sound from “Burning Bridges” to “Wages Of Sin”. And I was also ok in the bands sound change from “WOS” to the awesome “Anthems Of Rebellion”. However, I found “Doomsday Machine” to be less original than their previous albums. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a kick ass record, but not as persistent as any other release from the band and the sound changed a bit. This being said, I knew that what I was going to experience this early in the day was going to be brutal. ARCH ENEMY is a great live band that has an even better live performance. Angela is a good frontwoman that keeps the crowd going and going. They played “Nemesis”, “Out For Blood”, “Burning Angels” and other stuff from the Angela years. The last song was the incredible “We Will Rise”. After the show I could only conclude one thing, Adrian Erlandsson is one of the best drummers in metal (I hear Daniel’s a wicked drummer as well *clears throat*—Brat).

  

Brat: I was surprised about ARCH ENEMY’s early spot on the festival running order, but then all international bands are equally popular in Australia. I guess some are just less popular in Europe than others—even if you’re fronted by a beautiful woman who’s performing on homeground.
 
The swarm of females watching ARCH ENEMY was testament that there are not enough women in metal providing strong role models. By that I mean, who perform on par with the men, not those dolled up nightingales we see in the plethora of Nightwish copy bands, excluding Nightwish of course—at least Tarja’s vocals had balls!

 

I didn’t stay around too long to catch the whole set (thanks Chewy) as ARCH ENEMY are playing in Australia in October as part of Gigantour, so I’ll get a better view there: Nemesis; Dead Eyes See No Future; Burning Angel; I Am Legend; Dead Bury Their Dead; Ravenous (and I was at that stage!); and We Will Rise.

 

FEAR FACTORY

Brat: What a way to spend a birthday than not only being at what some people consider Europe’s biggest metal festival but actually playing at it. Burton had the crowd sing happy birthday to Christian before launching into PANTERA’s “Walk”.

 

The older songs got the best response from the crowd in a set list of: Slave Labour; Demanufacture; Cyberwaste; Archetype; Linchpin; Walk; and Replica.

 

THE DOGMA

Brat: I went to check out new Italian talent THE DOGMA. Being a big fan of bands like Charon and Poisonblack, the band’s press releases interested me, so I made an effort to check them out. I was surprised by how many people were actually in the Wet stage considering they were playing against MORBID ANGEL. They played hard and tight to the joy of their audience and entertained me as well.

 

 

MORBID ANGEL

Arto: Amazing it took seven years to get the legendary Floridian death metal masters to return to Wacken. Well when the band played at in 1999, Steve Tucker used to handle the frontman role and David Vincent was practising his S&M desires in GENITORTURERS (he still is and please don’t ask me how I know—Brat). All right the kings are back and on the right track and when Eric Rutan had been recruited to replace Tony Norman it could be expected to have a real lesson of the Floridian death metal by these death metal mongers.

 

Even though, as usual, there was a huge audience following MORBID ANGEL in action, the bigger ballistic raging moshpits weren’t happening for some reason, only some small moshpits here and there. Instead the intensity was in the massive headbanging which seemed to be more wilder and brutal when classics cut the air.

It was quite funny when Trey Azagthoth demanded more action from the audience, saying “No-one plays the music like this”. Obviously he was able to follow the reaction of the audience, even though he kept spinning his head and hair rather merciless.

Azagthoth’s and Rutan’s double guitar playing worked more than helluva well, both seemed to be aware of each other’s role when it comes to playing solos. Pete Sandoval is a living drum artillery beating the drums without mercy. David Vincent had dressed up to a tight latex shirt.

 

The band relied on the older material recorded during the Vincent era, ignoring, for obvious reasons, the last three album done with Tucker. Yes the set was an amazing flashback of the stuff of the later 80s and early 90s: Chapel Ghouls; Immortal Rites; Pain Divine; God Of Emptiness; Fall From The Grace; Dawn Of Anger. It was rather surprising only one song from “Blessed Are The Sick” had been included in the set list.

The four piece was in a tight and controlled strike thru the whole set. This is what death metal is supposed to be, brutal, tight and extreme!!!! Is there a new album coming out? Hmm who knows…

 

ORPHANED LAND

Jacobo: I am a huge fan of ORPHANED LAND and in my top 10 list you will surely find “El Norra Alilla”, a gem of melodic metal with Eastern influences. This is the second time I was going to see this incredible band from Israel. The first time I saw them was with Kreator and Tristania in Mexico City. They opened the concert and from what I remember they did ok, not the best, but the show was decent. This time things were different, and even if I love the band, it was the first disappointment of the festival. Just as OPETH, ORPHANED LAND make the most incredible music, but I a live setting it just doesn’t work. I tried real hard to get into the set, but after a while I just got frustrated and left. ORPHANED LAND´s music is definitely not powerful enough for a live environment. It is too classy I would say, and lacks the energy to go nuts. The sound was awesome and the musical delivery great. I just feel that the band’s presence and gloominess of their music works way better in a dark room full of candles than in a massive festival like W:O:A.

Brat: I went past the Party stage while ORPHANDED LAND were playing. The music interested me but somehow I was put off by the vocals. They sounded off-key, but maybe I’m just not used Middle Eastern harmonics. A few Israeli flags were waving through the air in support of the band from their homeland—great to see more national pride.

GAMMA RAY

Brat: What can I write about GAMMA RAY that hasn’t been written oh, let’s see, 1000 times? Well, the members have been around long enough to know how to make the best of what they’ve got, play to show off quality musicianship and really entertain the fans anxiously standing ready to hear the next song. My travelling buddies Johnny Rodd, Mag and Joey de Maio walked away singing the praises of the quality performance. That’s the second power metal band Joey’s praised! Hmmm, not sure if I’m liking the influence Johnny has on Joey. He might turn him soft on me.

 

GAMMA RAY’s set list was: Gardens Of The Sinner; Man On A Mission; New World Order; Blood Religion; Fight; Heavy Metal Universe; Rebellion In Dreamland; I Want Out; Somewhere Out In Space; and Send Me A Sign.
Kai also announced that the next album will be called LAND OF THE FREE PART 2.

 

TOURETTES SYNDROME

Brat: Speaking of strong female metal role models, enter one Michele Maddon, singer of Australian band making their European debut in the string of Wacken shows (warm up, festival and after show) TOURETTES SYNDROME.

 

This band has been putting in a hard slog in Australia for about 7 years (could even be longer) and have earned themselves a reputation for playing in your face, hardcore music. They’re not new to the festival circuit as they made history in 2004 by playing as an unsigned act at Australia’s summer festival Big Day Out.

I got to the Wet stage by the end of their first song—phew—and joined the other Aussies supporting the band, including the ROSE TATTOO guys, to whom Michele dedicated the cover of THE ANGEL’s “Take A Long Line”.
TOURETTES SYNDROME remained in Germany after all the Wacken festivities were over to record their next album to be released by Armageddon Music—the label branch of Wacken Open Air.

 

 

ATHEIST

Arto: The reformed ATHEIST was another interesting combo on the bill as the technical metallers made an amazing impact on the metal genre with three albums in the early 90s. These techno skilled metallers from Florida got together after being on hiatus for a decade and of course were booked for Wacken. The band’s performance was like a syllabus of how to make the technical playing sound catchy as well as interesting. The 60 minute set had been built to cover plenty of songs from the three albums. The material of the classic and high claimed debut album seemed to have a dominating grip when songs such as “On They Slay”, “Piece Of Time” got the prestigious response from the audience. But the material from the latest effort “Elements” naturally belonged in the night’s set, even though they were a little unknown. Of course songs from the second album “Unquestionable Presence”, such as “Mother’s Man” and “Your Life’s Retribution” played an important role and sounded more than brilliant.

 

It was quite hard at first to recognize Tony Choy (who also played on the third PESTILENCE album by the way) as he has changed dramatically, the same with drummer Steve Flynn who wore a hilarious white cap. Anyway, the band got into a jamming session in the middle of the set by bringing their fusion jazz interest to the Wacken audience. Kelly Shaefer was vital and seemed to have an incredible amount of energy to jump all around the stage even though his voice was a little bit hoarse after several interviews. ATHEIST was in a real good strike and played extremely tight. The audience definitely enjoyed seeing these techno metallers on the stage. It is a pity that they won’t continue, but let’s hope this summer festival tour changes their minds.

 

 

WHITESNAKE

Brat: Years of experience and quality musicianship made the WHITESNAKE set a class A show. I was worried that watching the recently released live DVD would take away the interest in seeing them squashed in the second row while 20,000 people pushed me, but it didn’t.

 

The crowd sang along to all the songs. I was in heaven and hell at the same time—watching one of the greatest bands ever to grace my ears and participating in the unofficial World’s Guinness Book of Records attempt at the largest karaoke attempt. Their songs brought back plenty of memories and feelings of joy and sorry and I’m man enough to admit that I cried like a girl during one song, luckily the sun was still shining brightly and extremely large, extremely dark sunglasses were on hand to hide behind until I regained my composure (and no, it wasn’t during “Here I Go Again”).

I would have loved to hear Judgement Day live, but as it’s an epic song and their set time was short, I forgive them for not including it. Unlike Scorpions, the guitar solos were short, sweet and interesting and I had reflected on why Scorpions would have wasted so much time on ego stroking when their recording history provided such a rich library of songs from which to compile a great performance. The more I thought about it, the more I was angry with Scorpions and the more WHITESNAKE dominated my happy place while they played a set of: Deep Purple’s Burn/Stormbringer; Fool For Your Loving; Love Ain’t No Stranger; Read An Willing; Is This Love; Ready To Rock; Crying In The Rain with drum solo; Give Me All Your Love; Here I Go Again; Still Of The Night; Bad Boys.

 

The energy flowing from the crowd fuelled the guys further and further with each song sounding better. David Coverdale moved around all manly with his hair flowing in the wind, shirt open to show off his chest displaying his baton twirling talents with his microphone stand. The man looks better with age. I’m sure he looked old when he was 10 and maybe like a Sharpei, has just finally grown into his skin.

Surprisingly, I had a great view of Tommy Aldrich pounding the skins and an added bonus of Reb Beach on guitar whose playing I’m more familiar with because of WINGER.

 

This was the only band I didn’t wear earplugs for and I walked away deaf, hoarse in desperate need for a post-coital cigarette. I ran away quickly to a secluded area so I could basque in my afterglow all by myself. It’s been 10 years since I last saw WHITESNAKE live but the long wait is forgiven. The sun was setting during their show but so pumped was I that I didn’t need warm attire for a few hours.

 

 

EMPEROR

Jacobo: This reunion thing is starting to get on my nerves. Everybody is doing it and to tell you the truth, I am only happy with a few of them. The rest mostly suck. EMPEROR is one of the few exceptions, but at the same time it sucks. I mean, it is great to see them live, but what about recording something new, instead of doing live appearances for a quick buck without knowing the bands future (thank the metalgod! Someone else who thinks all these reformations and reunions are being done just to cash in on the European festivals! Didn’t they break up for a reason!—Brat). And next year IMMORTAL, c´mon, now even black metal loves soap operas.

Ok, so after waiting the whole day for the main course, it was finally time to decide if it had all the ingredients to be devastating (or even worthy?—Brat). The show started with a pretty dirty sound, and add to that black metal and you can imagine the shitty sound. Luckily as time went by, it got better.

 

There was fire all-over the stage. They had this huge fire blaster that spat fire pretty high and from a distance it looked pretty damn cool. Trym, was in my opinion, the best drummer of the entire festival. This man seems to have more arms than an octopus and he plays like an adrenaline junkie. Ihsahn´s voice was very powerful and Samoth’s guitar playing very tight. The band seemed to be enjoying the response from the crowd.

Anthems like “Curse You All Men”; “Wrath of the Tyrant”; “Loss And Curse Of Reverance”, a standout of the night; the incredible “Into The Wordless Chamber” had my bones chilling with the train horns; and Emperor’s best “I Am The Black Wizards” devastated every one of us.

It was good to see the mighty EMPEROR, as they did a good show—not their best, but they surely delivered some great nostalgic tunes. But, if I know that they are playing near without releasing anything new, I will spend my money on something else. They don’t deserve it anymore.

 

 

MOTÖRHEAD

Jacobo: When MOTÖRHEAD took to the stage, you could see that everyone had a big grin on their faces. From all the bands during the 3-day armageddon, this was the most packed. I remember turning around to look at the entrance to the festival grounds, and it was packed. Everybody had congregated to listen to the rock’n´roll machine. The sound was incredible and I remember going nuts over the entire show. I can´t remember most of the songs, cause to tell you the truth I had been drinking for a long time and at this late hour of the night, I was somewhere else jejejeje. But I do remember the last two songs—the incredible “Overkill” and “Ace of Spades”. Oh, and I also remember Mikkey Dee’s awesome drum solo, this guy is goooood, I remember listening to him for the first time with King Diamond, and as it seems, he just gets better with time.

Lemmy and crew annihilated the energy that was left in most of us and left us exhausted for the next 2 weeks. They were very powerful and delivered all the goods to prove why they are metallic gods. Now, it was time to go to the karaoke, which I can’t remember, but I can assure you I had a great time in there too.

 

FINNTROLL

Arto: FINTROLL played at Wacken last year, but with another vocalist; however, this time the TROLLS kicked off in the middle of the night on the Black stage after EMPEROR, which wasn’t the best time for the Finns, known to be real party animals.

 

The new vocalist, Vreth, needs to be trained more in doing speeches between songs, and finding the right words. Occasionally the guy looked a little bit lost. But if these minor aspects are not paid attention to, the guy handled losing his Wacken virginity more than extremely well vocal wise. They played a pretty aggressive and fiery set consisting of a plenty of songs all their albums including the obligatory “Trollhammern”. The whole set was tight as hell and typical trollism maelstrom.

 

 

ROSE TATTOO

Brat: Veteran Aussie rockers ROSE TATTOO were closing the Party stage for the festival with songs like “Rock’n’roll Outlaw”, “Remedy” and “Bad Boy For Love” to a crowd trying to sit on top of each other to get a spot where they could see the band. I tried to get in there, but I really wasn’t in the mood to be body slammed. What is it about these guys that the metal Germans love so much? I mean we love them back home, but they’re ours.

It seemed there was another birthday boy performing at Wacken this year—frontman, Angry Anderson was celebrating his …(secret is safe with me)th birthday. As much as I tried I couldn’t get anywhere near them to get some decent shots, so as they were billed as the headliner for the Wacken warm up show, I’ll share those photos instead.


Epilogue:

Brat: Another Wacken over and no tears of sadness over its ending. In all honestly, this was a pretty boring year for me and if it wasn’t for having so many Aussie metal-brothers and –sisters on stage and to share the festivities, I probably would have been bored out of my brain. As Jacobo mentioned, there were just too many reformations/reunions cashing in on the festival crowds and in my opinion, a lot of those slots should have been filled with bands out there working their butts of touring and releasing material instead of a bunch of has-beens living off past glories.

The camping area grows every year with a reported 40,000 attendees this year, officially selling out for the first time since 2002. Wacken Open Air keeps on growing at this rate, well be camping as far as Itzehoe soon (the town closest to Wacken with railway station).

On Sunday Johnny Rodd, Mag, Joey de Maio and I broke camp quite early and were out of there by 1100 after saying goodbye to our fellow campers and seemingly beating the mass exodus peak period.

MEMORABLE MOMENTS :

Arto :

Favourite performer: Morbid Angel, Ministry, Mortal Sin.
Highlight: Seeing Uli Jon Roth in Scorpions. Seeing Morbid Angel finally.
Biggest disappointment: There could have been more death metal and rare and obscure classic old school metal bands as well. Too many typical names every year.
Last comment: Metal und Bier!!

Jacobo :

Favourite performer: Atheist.
Highlight: Drinking all day and hanging out with friends.
Biggest disappointment: Opeth and Orphaned Land.
Most interesting/valuable item purchased: My 1 liter beer glass and 15 different normal glasses which are standing here in my office.
Last comment: It was a great year at Wacken. It´s always great to be surrounded by metalheads everywhere. It was a lot of fun watching bands all day, as well as meeting people and drinking for 3 days non-stop. I definitely want to go back next year. It is an all round experience.

Brat :

Favourite performer: Whitesnake.
Best discovery: Ministry—strangely, this band has escaped my radar over the years.
Highlight: Sharing Wacken with special people from home, watching my Aussie metal-brothers and sister on stage—Mortal Sin, Tourettes Syndrome, and of course the Tatts!
Biggest disappointment: Peter Steele. The Wacken 2006 DVD—I got so excited when I saw the DVD being previewed in the press centre and when I got it home, put it in to the player to see THEY CUT THE EDGUY SONG!!!!! My favourite bands never seem to get included in the yearly DVD. And I missed out on eating in the Biergarten this year.
Most interesting/valuable item purchased: A really old design of a Nightwish T-shirt which my best friend has always wanted in the Metal Markt. I finally went inside.
Last comment: Thanks, Chewy.

More Killer Wacken Pics:
The official site of ElDiablo 

The Official Wacken Site:
www.wacken.com

 

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