Headbangers Open Air 2010

November 11th, 2010
by Arto Lehtinen

HEADBANGERS OPEN AIR 2010



SATURDAY (and fear of tomorrow)

TRENCH HEL

While on Friday Jameson Raid opened our ears for the day, for Saturday it was Australian Trench Hell blew things open wide. Blackened thrash was mixed to the powder and it turned out to be quite a good explosion. Catchy riffs, good vocals backed up by a hard ‘n’ heavy bass & drum section = no complains. Even a Hellhammer cover was offered to us.

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BATTLEAXE

And then it was proved, a deadly hangover can be cured with apple and a Battleaxe gig. I don’t know what snake offered that apple but judging by the smile of the cured, Battleaxe was in top form. And yeas, I liked it too (not the apple). Way more heavier and furious than on album, Battleaxe rolled their Mad Mex chopper to the stage. Especially one thing that is carved into my memories is the pure powerful energy of their NWOBHM. Most of today’s thrash bands could not match it.

Vocalist Dave King and bass player Brian Smith are the only ones left from the "Burn This Town" lineup but once again that did not matter. Again I was left wondering why, oh why these guys did not break through properly?

DER KAISER

If even Battleaxe is obscure for some, Der Kaiser must be obscure to almost everyone. Two albums (Vautours 1984, La Griffe De l’Empire 1985) on legendary Devil’s Records and a few gigs in the past few years haven’t really made them as "fenriz approved" as some other acts. The line-up was from their second album minus guitarist Béno (and yes, vocalist Claude Thill is bass player of ADX). So how is their music? If you are familiar with French metal from the 80’s, it is just what the doctor, doctor ordered. Insane tempo changes, top notch musicianship, and over the top vocals (even if Pascal from their debut was not on vocals). I have no excuse to say bad things about their gig even if the band was not happy with the results. Me and maybe 40-60 other of the faithful could leave with smiles on our faces and red wine on our mind to wherever we wanted. Except Paris (By Night) as they did not play it. That makes me little bit angry when thinking about it.

Intro,

Maitre De L’Univers,

Saga des Fers,

Obsession,

Cité Féroce,

L’Arène,

Aberdeen,

Vision De Cindres,

Autres Spheres

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BLOODFEAST

Timeout for heavy metal and substitute place for violent thrash! As every team needs someone to do the dirty work and the bone crushing, a dose of NY thrash metal is needed in between classic heavy metal. Brave youngsters faced their fate in quite a rough pit in front of stage as Bloodfeast mercilessly pounded onwards. It was better to stay a little further way from the pit as I did not want to be dropped like a fly. Good thrash gigs are always in demand and my demands were met by Bloodfeast.

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OMEN

Omen…what can you say? They have become a band to play almost every real metal festival over past few years. Their back catalogue is simply magnificent and full of classics. A question is perhaps how much can they still catch your attention, especially when there is no new material? I know some say that they are just a jukebox nowdays but one can’t simply just stop enjoying their gigs to the max. 8 points out of ten for this one! Higly enjoyable live band, hope they can someday release killer new songs.

Die By The Blade,

Dragon’s Breath,

Ruby Eyes (Of The Serpent),

Into The Arena,

Blood On The Water,

Teeth Of The Hydra,

The Curse,

Last Rites,

Don’t Fear The Night,

Battle Cry,

Termination,

Death Rider,

The Axeman,

Warning Of Danger

 

ANVIL CHORUS

Somebands deserve to be called cult bands and Anvil Chorus in one of those. Countless amounts of demos, rehearsals and even one 7" from the 80’s and finally a studio album in 2009. This was maybe the moment I was mostly waiting for in HOA 2010. Wise men have said that they are like Rush mixed with Riot and that is quite good description of Anvil Chorus. Beatiful melodies, rough and fast heavy metal parts, almost AOR’sh choruses and simply jaw dropping twin guitar playing is just small part of what from Anvil Chorus is made of. To put it simple, Aaron Zimpel is one of those frontmen’s who’ll stay in your mind, Thaen Rasmussen is a helluva guitarplayer as is Carlos Hernadez and Phil Bennet a drummer. With these elements in their mix I just simply stood and stared their gig mouth open wide. From Blood Memory to Deadly Weapons, Blodes In Black in between. What a helluva day it had been so far and to top it with simply genious band like Anvil Chorus…

Blood Memory

Red Skies

Phase To Phase

Deadland

Solar Flux

Death Of A Dream

Blondes In Black

Guitarmony

The Blade

Deadly Weapons

 

RAVEN

There was still lots of meat in the soup left as was proved by Raven. Two crazy Gallaghers and one Hasselwander? Can you go wrong? The excellent Take Control from their last album opened up and from that point on (and on), they broke us down, led us to the slaughter and broke our chains in one crash, bang, wallop. If they are ever in town near you, go see them. They also played Speed Of The Reflex, a true forgotten classic in history of real heavy metal.

Take Control,

Live At The Inferno,

All For One,

Breaking You Down,

Lambs To The Slaughter,

Rock Until You Drop,

Speed Of The Reflex,

Run Silent Run Deep,

Mind Over Metal,

Architect Of Fear,

Faster Than The Speed Of Light,

On And On,

For The Future,

Break The Chain (incl. Jam),

Crash Bang Wallop

 

SOLITUDE AETURNUS

After a whole damn day at hot as hell garden I was quite empty when Solitude Aeturnus came on stage. Epic, grandiose and mighty as predicted, Solitude Aeturnus was something truly majestic! A real surprise of the set for me was the decision to cover Secret of Steel. (Oh if only Manowar could still have some of their old magic left.) Hats off to John Perez and please Mr. Lowe, little less Candlemass and more chances for us to see Solitude Aeturnus in action.

It Came Upon One Night;

Haunting The Obscure;

Sightless;

Destiny Falls To Ruin;

Pawns Of Anger;

The 9th Day;

Phantoms;

Tomorrows Dead;

Mental Pictures;

Days Of Prayer;

Waiting For THe Light;

Opaque Divinity;

Secret Of Steel;

Falling

 

VIRGIN STEELE

Another HOA was to be near it’s end as epic heroes came to stage. Virgin Steele from NY is in a way the most epic band ever. They have always been a mystery to me, from hard rocking early 80’s albums to over the top epic journeys of 90’s I really haven’t found the red line in their material. And when they finally played Noble Savage I started to feel comfortable. Fight Tooth & Nail plus We Rule The Night helped also to light up my eyes. As you can be read between the lines, I’m not a fan of their later catalogue. But this gig made me very curious about their more later stuff so mission accomplished Mr. DeFeis.

Now thinking back, HOA 2010 was definitely one of the top HOA’s (speaking from experience of the last five years) for me, as I only saw very good gigs (or then my rock polizei attitude stayed in Finland). Compared to last year, there was basicly no waiting for food and everything was quite cheap as always. Maybe one more place to buy beer by the stage area would be good addition. But otherwise, 10 points for the whole festival!

That’s it, I’m back next summer if gods of metal are willing!

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