Party San Festival – Bad Berka Germany
As everything comes to an end, this is once again the last day of Party.San, in the 2010 edition of this extreme festival. Tiredness has now the upper hand, but luckily caffeine still does its job perfectly, and keeps me and many other people still standing. Anyway, even some good drink here and there doesn’t sure hurt, without exaggerating of course!
It seems that the weather could get somehow better, when in the morning and early afternoon we finally get to see the sun for the first time in three days. But it’s only a mere illusion, since even though it looks a little better, those nasty clouds really don’t want to abandon these teutonic fields.The hope that this damn mud could somehow dry up, goes away almost immediately, and it’s actually tougher to walk around, while trailers restlessly work to bring out of this hell the cars of the first fugitives.
This scenario, not quite idyllic for sure, describe our Saturday, but the conditions are still good when on stage we can see the curly singer Abyss, frontman of Under That Spell. The creation of former-Helrunar Dionysos has received some good responses with their debut “Apotheosis”, but no matter how much their music can sound gloomy, aggressive, evil, it’s always traditional Black Metal, so nothing really incredibly original. But still good.
Not bad in fact is how the songs played sound to my ears, but once again, since I don’t know much about the band myself, I should refrain from a quick judgment since their performance is quite short.
A positive surprise is instead represented by the swedish Tribulation. Despite a maybe excessively gaudy attitude, especially from the blond guitarist Jonathan Hultén and his evil grins, in opposition to a more calm and multifaceted Adam Zaars – seen already in action with Enforcer and recently with Repugnant.
It’s a surprise because so far I had heard this band only by its name, and I didn’t give much weight to their Death Metal with Thrash influences, which after a while becomes quite catchy and intriguing, also for the rest of the audience, that slowly begins to occupy its position in front of the stage (after getting rid of the hangover from the day before). “The Horror” seems to be a nice record, or at least so it seems by how it sounds live, tempting me to dedicate more attention to this scandinavian band.
And finally my long waiting has paid off! It’s been since I moved to Finland that I was hoping to see performing Ghost Brigade, in my opinion one of the most talented and original bands of finnish Death metal scene (let’s avoid counting those mainstream bands such as CoB, please…), so it’s quite strange to think that my first time will be instead in Germany (but the second awaits already in three weeks in Helsinki!).For me “Isolation Songs” is a great masterpiece, and the opportunity to hear once and for all those amazing songs live is something I was really looking forward to. The opening song is “Deliberately”, from the debut album, but emotion reach the skies already when it comes to tracks such as “Into The Black Light”, with its magical atmospheres, followed by the more aggressive and gloomy “Lost In A Loop”, and again the instrumental “22:22 – Nihil”. At this point my head and hair have a life of their own. It’s almost funny instead when during the latter, someone from the audience shout “boooring!”. It’s just some isolated voice in a good bunch of fans who follow the show hypnotized by these melodies. “Architect Of New Beginnings” is still another one of my personal highlights, truly awesome. The gig ends then with “A Storm Inside”. Satisfied and fulfilled from the good performance of the finnish band, which had however a few small technical issues regarding microphone volume, I’m now curious to see instead Desaster, the german answer to Destroyer 666.
The teutonic combo seems even more lively and funnier than their australian/dutch collegues, as it’s possible to see from the poses of the large-built guitar player and the bassist sticking repeatedly his tongue out at the audience in a Gene Simmons-like way. The singer arouse the mass continuously, and the latter is fast to return the favour with enthusiasm.
I must say that germans knows without a doubt how to emphasize their own bands, and they are sure proud of them. I have to acknowledge this. And today’s show, makes me also consider that maybe I should have paid more attention to this band in the past, but I still have time to make up for it, no?
It’s now about the middle of the afternoon when it comes to one of the most controversial groups of this festival, the reason being their presumed political tendencies, let’s say, a bit extreme (I just hope it’s not another witch hunt): we are talking of Varg. Wearing animal fur and painted in red-black stripes, they look more like something in between Turisas and a bunch of angry A.C. Milan hooligans to me… Talking instead about music, I must say it’s not that bad, as a good Pagan metal fan, it’s easy to catch me when it’s all about viking heroes and nordic mythology in general.
Thus, songs such as “Viel Feind Viel Ehr” and “Blutaar”, coming from the last full-length of the same name, sounds to my ear quite intriguing, but of course we are far from the level of the “sacred beasts” of the genre. The show ends with the titletrack of the debut album, “Wolfszeit”, and with the audience splitted in two factions: I want to listen/I’m not going to. I did my choice, and it’s about music.
Also the following band is very interesting, and another first time live for me. From Sweden, ladies and gentlemens: Månegarm. I’m surprised though to see Erik Grawsiö in the front playing bass, instead of singing behind the drums, left to the hands of Jacob Hallegren. I’ve been following this Viking/Folk band since their very first steps, and I’ve been always somehow intrigued by their music.Now that I finally have the possibility to see them with my eyes, I can get the most of the atmosphere created by the many viking horns rising towards the sky and the wild headbanging during songs like “Sigrblot”, “Vredens Tid” or the new “Nattväsen”, while the violinist Janne Liljeqvist jumps like an happy grasshopper everywhere on stage, shaking his curly white hair. Honestly until now this Saturday has been full of satisfaction, and Månegarm is not less worthy.
Crossed half of today’s running order, it’s time for Necrophagist. I would have never thought that the german band, surely not so productive in terms of releases during its long career, could have impressed me in such a positive way, but their show was indeed quite good, not only from their leader Muhammed Suiçmez, but the whole performance in general has been really enjoyable from the other band members as well, showing a good shape.“Only Ash Remains”, “Epitaph”, “Stabwound”, are only a few of the songs offered today, while still the Sun can be seen, partly covered from the clouds which are regrouping once again over the area. When the applause of the audience follows the final “Fermented Offal Discharge”, we can be certain that the fans have surely appreciated the show of this 4-piece, as well as their technique.
But we come now back to Scandinavia with the norwegian Aura Noir, somehow a cult band since includes the current Immortal bass player (and ex-Gorgoroth), as well as former members of other outstanding groups such as Ulver, Satyricon, Mayhem (the guitarist Blasphemer).Most of the setlist comes from the last – and good – “Hades Rise”, released two years ago, while the band appears powerful and full of energy, with the two guitarists entertaining the audience using their abilities. Very evocative are the light effects, background of a really convincing show, at least for me, but it seems for most of the crowd as well. A band that surely goes in my “to-watch-again-soon” list!
English Napalm Death always grab the spotlight for their speed and frantic moves during their live performances, making them resemble more like as if they had Parkinson’s disease. To the point that it would be almost surprising to see them standing still for just one moment. Barney is the same as usual, and launch anti-nazi messages (maybe opposing Varg’s “controversy”?), receiving also applauses from some fans for this. But again, instead of politics, we talk about music here. Even though the gig is fast and intense as always, the guys from Birmingham fail to convince me completely this time. Maybe it comes just hard tonight for the show to get off, or maybe it’s just my personal impression, since anyway the four on stage are sweating like pigs.
After about thirty minutes though, the show becomes pretty repetitive, and somehow also for the tiredness and hunger that are catching me, I have to retreat towards the food stands…
Absolutely more involving is the gig offered by Suffocation. It’s really funny to see all those freaky expressions of the muscular Frank Mullen while inciting his fans. In the last few years I’ve quite lost sight of what this band was doing, but the boys show great determination. Also Derek Boyer stands out with his poses, seeming really wild tonight.
In short, forty-five minutes of technical Brutal Death, played as it should be! And let’s praise the american band for that. Much more productive in the post-reunion period, it’s though still the classics that people want to hear and get wild on. An example is of course “Pierced From Within”. On a personal level, I can be satisfied of the show, but I’m sure that also the band on stage and the audience enjoyed it at least as much as me!
It’s instead a bit weird to me that Lock Up is so high in the running order, even over Napalm Death, and of this the bass player Shane Embury can surely be proud.
After all this band doesn’t have such a long “live experience”, and this position right before the headliner is a really good opportunity, all thing considered, above everything else the fact that the level of the musicians involved is without a doubt noteworthy. I’ve never been a great fan of the english band though, and today’s show won’t make me change my mind. On the other hand, it seems like the mud-covered, quite drunk and exhausted metalheads of Party.San are really interested into this and can maybe appreciate it more than I do.
For me instead is a unique opportunity to recover some precious energies before the grand finale with Mr. Corpsegrinder and his Cannibal Corpse. Luckily the waiting is not too long, since it’s always very annoying to wait for the last band of the last day to start!
Since the first notes of “Scalding Hail”, the audience explodes in an impetus of joy and starts a violent mosh-pit, when it’s not headbanging till extreme dizziness. Obviously I didn’t expect any less, even if lately it seems quite easy to find yourself in front of a CC live show. Once again nearly flawless, the show goes on with the singer that jokes with his fans like this: “You can try to headbang like me! You will fail, but you can always try!”. Follows immediately “I Cum Blood”, and I must say that George Fisher seems quite enthralled and in a very good mood today, kind of like a big happy bear instead of the image of a huge evil dude that usually should come to your mind.
From here we get into the second part of this show, which now offers a jewel after another: “Evisceration Plague”, “Make Them Suffer”, “Priests Of Sodom”, succeed one another frantically as the audience is euphoric while pressing in the first rows. The cannibal corpse hit straight to the spot once again, and the concert ends as always with the amazing “Hammer Smashed Face”. Can the conclusion be any better for a festival like this?
All in all then today, on top of the chart we find surely Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, Aura Noir, but my personal winner list includes also Ghost Brigade and Tribulation, as well as Månegarm and Necrophagist. A great day filled with great music, to say the least, despite the cold, tiredness, and clothes completely covered in mud. There’s still who has enough energy to throw himself into the final party – the usual metal disco – but personally I prefer for once to drink a few beers quietly with friends and collapse to sleep in my tent, waiting to leave the morning after.
During this edition, which passed without any major issue, and saw an unprecedented confluence of metalheads, it’s a must to praise who worked restlessly all the weekend to maintain the area in decent conditions, allowing the many (too many) cars stuck there in the mud to flow back and forth as best as possible. This year I didn’t go to MetalCamp, which usually is one of the “wettest” festivals of the summer. Might this be my punishment?