Party San Metal Open Air
09-11-08 2007 Bad Berka Germany
Article and pics by Arto Lehtinen
After big and massive festivals it is more than a welcome choice to pick up the map and travel to other festivals to check out what they have to offer. As all of our readers are supposed to know, Germany is one hell of a paradise for metal maniacs to spend every weekend in metal festivals somewhere in the country. For example Party San located in the middle of the heart of Germany is another good example of what a smaller festival can offer. Party San is such an interesting event as none of bands from the flourishing power metal genre were booked since all the bands on the bill were nothing but extreme ones. Especially, the return of the Dutch death metal legends Asphyx with Martin Van Drunen on the mic was a damn tempting reason to go to Party San.
Unfortunately the gods of weather weren’t thrilled about the blasphemic nihilistic death/black bands. The whole weekend was utterly wet and rainy and of course the camping field became a real battlefield with several muddy and wet tents. However these minor weather conditions didn’t prevent 10000 extreme metal maniacs from enjoying the utter blasting brutality.
In this article I am not going to that deeply analyze each band at the festival. Instead the article’s purpose is to give an impression of this extreme metal festival in case some of our readers want an idea of the feel and taste of a brutal offering a week after Wacken.
Thursday, being the official opening day of the three day extreme metal festival, had some pretty cool and interesting names to check out. The German death metallers Disaster KEW started the day off by offering a brutal lesson in German old school death metal. Disaster KFW have obviously learned their lessons from several classic death metal names as they sound like a mix of the old school Swedish death metal ala Dismember and Bolt Thrower influences can be noticed. The combo delivered good quality, lethal material even though having monotonic grinding riffs. However keep your eyes open for this group.
Wannes Gubbels appeared to be the hardest working metaller at Party. The man hit the stage with his own band Pentacle and then with the reunited Asphyx on the last day. The Dutch trio faced the most bizarre thunder and lighting storm with an insane heavy rain causing a massive exodus of people to look for shelter. The bravest ones decided to stay and keep watching Pentacle.
The Dutch trio can be without any doubts compared to their gods Celtic Frost as the sound world of the Pentacle goes more or less close to the old school metal approach created by the Swiss gods in the past. The trio hammered out during one 45, well more or less, their own classic metal hyms such as “Awaiting The Blast Of Death ‘, ‘ (Storming Through) A Hail OF Steel ‘ etc. However their gig with Sadistic Intent in Hamburg a week earlier was more brutal and worked better, but it gotta be pointed out the maelstorm ruined the 99 % of the whole set.
The US death metal veterans Dying Fetus hit the stage pretty soon after Pentacle. The four piece delivered the brutality of deadly metal to the Party San crowd.
Even though the band faced some line-up changes, Dying Fetus have been quite loyal to the basic roots of gutted death metal style.
Secrets of the Moon
Secrets Of The Moon was a nice acknowledge to get myself familiazed with their occult oriented epic black metal. Having heard numerous good opinions from various sources about them in advance and above all seeing them at Wacken a week earlier definitely convinced that these epic dark metallers have a knowledge of creating epic hymns with the occult grip.
Tremendous pyros made the show of Secrets Of The Moon more attractive, when the occult oriented metal was spread around the Party San area. Secrets Of The Moon definitely works better in the dark enviroment with the outstanding looking pyro stuff than compered to their performance at Wacken in a red hot tent.
The Swedish long time and legendary thrashers Merciless concluded the opening day. The band is known for thier uncompromising brutal whipping old school thrash assault. The four piece thrashed extremely aggressively during the whole 60 minute. It was an utter pleasure to hear these golden jewels from their classic debut album “The Awakening” (released by Euronymous back in 1989 by the way). In general the set covered the stuff picked up from each album. As to songs in general for example “The Awakening”, “Realm Of The Dark”, “Unbound”, “Dying World” got heard at Party San. It has to be admitted the debut album material blew the other stuff away million times. Occasinally it seemed like the vocalist Rogga didn’t know what to do or say between songs when wandering all the stage as kind of lost. But however he and Karlen thrashed like in the old days, banging their heads off. Rogga’s voice was in the real strike sharp indeed sounding as vital and brutal as in the late 80’s. Hopefully the new material will sound as murderous as the older stuff.
When getting up in the morning it was weird to see the sun shining from the sky. It had been raining the whole night resulting the field had turned more muddy and slippery. People haven’t realized the ground’s slippery when wet when desperately trying to park their cars to the field. All kinds of desperately pushing attempts of getting cars out of the muddy could be testified. However the sun occasionally kept showing up between clouds. However
The German metal extravaganza continues. Equillibrium doesn’t stand for the most extreme stuff as Equillibrium presents mostly some kind of melodic death metal with epic folk metal influences. The set mainly consisted of the material off TURIS FRATYR. Frankly the German folk melodic death etc whatevet metallers weren’t special, as a matter of fact quite boring.
The Austrian black/death metallers had performed a week earlier at Wacken on the small tent stage, doing Belphegor present what a death metal band is supposed to, brutality, aggression and blasphemic hymns. The Austrian four piece delivered an uncompromising set by giving a plenty of the utter blasphemic hyms such as ‘ Lucifer Incestus ‘, ‘ Belphegor – Hells Amassador ‘ or ‘ Swarm OF of advice ‘ etc at Party. But but, when following the performance of the austrian extreme tornados, it seemed like the band was willing to play the 45 minute gig rapidly to get the taste of the drinks in the backstage area. Obviously the passionate Wacken audience drove them to give more of them there, whereas a little bit calmed and peaceful crowd at Party didn’t cause as the intensive reception as it could have been expected. However Belphegor is a pure extreme from the beginning to the end.
The Polish death metal tornado is known for being the extreme furious live act for sure. Even though the Polish quartet keeps gigging a helluva lot around the globe, but their gigs are usually pure extreme aggression from the beginning to the end. At Party San, Vader literally declared the war on the stage by giving one hell of a set consisting “God Is Dead”, Lead Us etc. Both Nony and Mauser kept banging their heads with the incredible passion. Vader is like a well oiler warmachine destroying, annihilating and destroying everything being in front of them. The whole Polish four piece is an amazing live band with the driving force making them to give everything at each show.
The Swedish retro thrashers was quite funny to be honest. Somehow figuring out the meaning of these kinds of so called retro thrashers is quite difficult, cos the whole thrash metal phenomenon seems to be raging all around and besides these classic thrash bands are still in the tight condition. Anyway the Swedes did an amusing set of the thrashing delivery with some punkish elements added though.
Immolation recently toured Europe with Grave, Krisiun and Dawn Of Azazel causing the havoc in several European cities. But Immolation’s appearances at European festival have been quite rare. Bob Vigna told before getting on the stage Immolation hasn’t done any festival dates for a few years until now. The long time New York death metallers had been to Summer Breeze, Hole In The Sky, Brutal Assault and then Party San during this summer.
The long time death metal veteran unleashed one hell of one hour of brutal death metal assault. The whole sky was coming down when Ross Dolan growled the songs picked up from the whole catalogue of Immolation. For obvious reasons the material off the new excellent SHADOWS IN THE LIGHT got mostly space on the setlist. Of course the older material belonged to the hour death metal assault such “Despondent Souls”. Dolan turned to be an extreme humble person thanking the audience between every track. The guitarist team Taylor and Vigna raged in their own spots on the track. In general Immolation is and sounds extreme brutal and tight which is expected from a long time so called school death metal combo.
If the Swedish Merciless concluced the first date, the second day was concluded by the their forefathers and leaders of the thrash metal genre Kreator. The stage construction had been designed to symbolize the art of the ENEMY OF GOD cover. But even though the stage looked pretty cool and arrangements were more than fine, but everything didn’t go as planned. Mille’s voice didn’t sound as harsh and brutal as people are used to hearing.
Kreator have been on the road for years without keeping a big break for a while. Therefore the setlist has basically remained the same without any radical changes. To be honest changing the setlist at least a little bit would be an obvious choice at the moment. Playing the same songs gig after gig and festival after festival is becoming quite deadly boring. Besides the band’s catalogue of songs is so incredible for sure. However the German thrash legends concluded the second day.
If the sun visited warming the wet festival audience and drying the muddy ground on Friday, but Saturday was completely opposite. Heavy rains rampaged the ground and cold winds kept blowing. Getting cars out of the field become more difficult. Tractors were overworked pulling cars away to the road. Parking a car on the main road caused some extra headache for both the security and polices. Who would have driven a car to the muddy fields anymore..Anyway time to check out bands..
But some rain and wind didn’t prevent the audience from seeing the amazing last day with killer bands. The line-up of the last day offered a punch of utter asskicking bands.
The Swedish old school death metallers Interment unleashed the old school sounding Swedish death metal in the vein of Nihilist/Entombed and Dismember. The stuff presented the true old school metal approach. Interment could have been more than vicious if the sounds had been better. The sounds of drums had been mixed too front leaving the guitars behind. Starting the final day with the Swedish death metal was more than a good choice.
Black Dahlia Murder
Seeing the new wave of the American bands at Party is pretty unreal as well as rare sight indeed. Assuming bands standing for the latest US trend would be ignored and despised amongst the pure old school freaks. Instead there was a hilarious looking pit going nearby the frontline as most of kids were covered by the mud. However Black Dahlia Murder’s At The Gates and above all Slaughter Of The Souls influenced metallic core delivery sounded quite confusing and frankly didn’t work in the live environment at all. The band may sound bearable on albums, but as to being on the stage and sounding good, it was quite boring. After all someone remembered to throw a mudshit at the band in the end of the set.
The Spanish grind core act next. The Spanish four piece has borrowed maybe a little bit from the legendary Carcass to their own stuff and approach for sure. However the obvious sense of humour was at the present when the vocalist was entirely covered by the blood looklike liquid and ate plastic arms and legs by trying to be some sort of cannibal freak. The guitarist had dressed up to the green dress of the surgery and had covered his mouth as well. Frankly Haemorrhage’s grinding core sounded extremely and surprising good to be honest. The obvious Carcass influences popped up more than once.
The Israeli metal combo having relocated to Holland was another interesting band to be checked out at Party. These Mesopotamian occult black metallers have managed to create a recognizable sound to their material. Basically the whole bands is culminated on the core of Ashmedi and Moloch whose way of expressing the occultism views thru Melechesh. Even though the running time of most of songs are kind of long, all the catchy hooks in the sonds make their songs sound interesting. As for being on the stage, well quite normal playing and standing overall.
The Irish Primordial had been recruited in the last minute to replace one of those cancelled bands. Booking Primordial was basically a good shot as the Irish pagan folk combo fitted to the concept more than well. The front man was dressed up to the grim looking masks and acted like a maniac on the stage. Primordial’s long and unique pagan hymns would sound better in the dark indoor club than an outdoor festival indeed. Getting into the celtic mythology by Primordial was kind of impossible because of the short playing time. Looking forward to their next album indeed.
Grave is a pure institution of Swedish death metal since the demodays of the 80s and have remained extreme loyal to the deadly roots of brutal death metal. Their loyalties to the old roots of death metal got heard in the specially planned setlist. The 10.000 people got quite an unique set of the old classic Grave songs from the first three albums.
Even though Jorgen Sandstorm used to growl his lungs out on those albums, however Ola Lindgren didn’t leave that far. It has to be admitted those older songs definitely sounds as great and asskicking as back in the day.
Hellyeah, of course one Finnish band always has to be in some German metal festival. Korpiklaani was a weird and on the other hand welcomed alternative amongst all kinds of extreme metal bands. Well at least the Germans have lost their heart to these Finnish forest clans as the whole area was well crowded. Even though the playing time was quite short, the Finns did a fine job after all.
Finally goddamn the ressurrection of the mighty Asphyx had been awaited for a while. Their triumphant comeback at Party San was welcomed by the huge crowd shouting Asphyx. The true recognizable death metal voice of the Dutch death metal Martin Ain Drunen had returned back to the limelight with the brutal vengeance and violence. “Vermin” started the whole 60 minute of pure raw nihilistic death metal onslaught. The Dutch four piece slaughtered and mauled the audience by offering the track off the albums where Mr Drunen used to growl in the early 90’s. The man hasn’t lost any inch in his voice during these sabbath years. Instead his ripping tormenting growling sounded something incredible and even more brutal than before.
After Asphyx’s raw death metal maelstorm, Gorgoroth’s black metal chaos didn’t appear to sound the most obnoxious brutal and vicious. Even though Gaahl is definitely the root of all evil with the corpsepaint and spikes and in general the whole band was entirely armed to the teeth with corpsepaints etc as usual. The Norwegian controversial outfit literally unleashed the pure hell with their utter maelstorm and uncompromising assault of the unholy black metal. The whole unholy black kings sounded nothing utter raw and brutal to the bone. No symphonic or other gimmicks, just pure extreme and tight black metal in the Gorgoroth way.
Originally Deicide was supposed to headline the last third day of Party San, but as usual the band or actually Glen Benton had pulled out and have cancelled these festival dates and gigs. Therefore another long time death metal band out of Florida had been recruited to headline the last day. Malevolent’s gig at Party San featured the comeback of the original vocalist Brett Hoffman who had been absent from the band sorting out his personal matters.
Brett Hoffman turned out to be a real wild relentless frontman, encouraging the audience to cause some action in the pit. The set had been built to cover the stuff off the latest output DoomsDay X and surprisingly the old material taken from the debut album The Ten Commandment. Even though the line-up of MC usually undergoes changes, but Phil Fasciana’s grip to guide the band thru the darkest period is amazing. The five piece is still vital and brutal, even a little bit more, like twenty years ago.
As seen all the bands in the line up of the Party San fest presented the extreme metal in a way or another. Therefore it is quite worthless for traditional metal fans to start taking a glance to see if some overhyped power metal bands are booked. Party San has and will be the fest for extreme bands as well as fans.
Even though the location of the fest is situated in the middle of nothing, somewhere in Central Germany but travelling to see bands is definitely a worth of every cent. Especially Wacken visitors should make good plans in order to attend the festival.
The purpose on the article was to give an impression of what other festivals in Europe can offer. Frankly if you are and still adore the death and extreme metal, Party San is an obvious choice for sure. Before concluding the article, it would more than reasonable to thank the mighty MIASMA MAG for helping with the passes… Kiitokset !!
The official Party San site :