Metal, beer and bratwurst are the unholy alliance at German metal festivals. Those festivals are those things that every banger has to experiment once in lifetime. Even though festivals are packed by those obvious and quaranteed bands on the bill, but missing the true metal feeling is something. Summer Breeze has grown tremendously and gained the monumental status amongst several other metal festivals in Germany. The main headliner of this year was without any doubts Machine Head. The Summer Breeze festival is the well organized metal festival in Southern Germany. Even though most of bands appeal to the metal public, but some strange German acts such as JBO were on the bill. However, Summer Breeze was a great success, despite the horrible weather. Here is the brief article of the fest.
By Arto Lehtinen and Jani Koskela
Pic by Arto Lehtinen
Summer Breeze 2014 WEDNESDAY
Four days of Summerbreeze 2014 kicked off with a warm-up day, that was set-up around the entrance area of the festival – covering about one third of the actual festival site and two stages. The schedule for wednesday looked quite intense, offering only little time for something else than for watching the bands and surfing between the stages. One could say that it was indeed a proper warm-up day.
We arrived at Summerbreeze at the time when Vintage Caravan was playing. These young Icelanders play Hard Rock with 60-70’ies influences and they do it with rather fresh attitude. Vintage Caravan have managed to put up an album on Nuclear Blast and seem to get chances to appear on bigger festival, so I guess the future looks bright for them.
Next was Carnal Ghoul, who had the pleasure of introducing me the smaller outdoor stage. A quick internet preview had given me the impression that they would deliver rather Swedish influenced old-school death metal. That impression proved to be correct right from the line check, with that muddy Boss HM-2 guitar sound ripping through the PA. You probably won’t hear anyone describing them as being the most original Death Metal band around, but definitely not the worst either. Check their debut EP “The Grotesque Vaul” and see for yourself. They played a cover of Entombed’s Out of Hand. Luckily their own material sounded a lot more dirtier and brutal.
Another band from distant Iceland. Being Finnish, I was aware that Hamferð’s vocalist is also a vocalist for the finnish group called Barren Earth. I was also aware that his own band would play kind of death/doom with Icelandic lyrics, but that’s pretty much all I knew of them. What I heard from the stage was indeed sort of 2nd generation british death/doom. A bit like Swallow the Sun, but with a better singer. They sing in Icelandic, but unfortunately that is the only fresh thing that they have brought with them.
Latest with their 2008 album Iron Will by the Swedish Grand Magus proved to be a heavy hard rock force to reckon with. They have managed to keep their music catchy, yet interesting and heavy. The last time that I saw Grand Magus was in 2007 and since then the band has taken huge steps forward with their stage presence and performance. Perhaps they didn’t manage to be as good live vocalists as I had expected, but I felt that that the gig was very enjoyable..
I had heard good comments about Ereb Altor, but wasn’t that much impressed with the internet samples that I had checked from them. A good band shows their horns sooner or later and when it happens live on stage, there isn’t much to rebel against. If there are viking metal bands that should exist for real, Ereb Altor is one of them. Much of what they do is obviously an homage to Bathory’s Hammerheart and Twilight of the Gods era, but they do it in a credible, good and very solid manner. Their cover of Bathory’s Twilight of the Gods hymn is probably the closest to the real thing, that you can ever experience live.
The old school Swedish death metal uncrowned kings Unleashed is known for putting asskicking shows. The Summer breeze festival wasn’t any exception in that list. The set was kicked with the vicious Blood Of Lies and was followed by a huge amount of the Unleashed classic death metal hymns such as The LongShips Are Coming, If They Had Eyes, Death Metal Victory and was concluded by “Before The Creation Of Time”. As usual the four piece delivered the true uncompromising set with the crystal clear sounds. The frontman Johnny Hedlund still sounds brutal and in general the band hasn’t lost any inch in its death metal roots.
I had quite a lot of expectations set for this band, much due to the energy that they managed to capture on early Pentagram & Criminal recordings. Unfortunately much of it seemed not to be present at Summerbreeze 2014, no matter how old-school the set actually was. They started with Fatal Prediction and finished with Demoniac Possession, yet failed to impress me – I would say that is quite disappointing.