© C. Ehrhardt
Friday, June 4th 2010
Right in time for Castle Rock festival the sky was blue and the sun was shining. Friends and fans of sark sounds were once more invited to come to Mülheim and celebrate 2 days of music at Schloss Broich. The weather forecast was predicting a hot and sunny weekend - and they were right. And so we used 'Daywalker' sun blocker to keep our pallid look before we headed to Mülheim by bus. As usual the train was delayed, Deutsche Bahn claims to be punctual... Well, to make things worse, we got accompanied by a bunch of teenagers who had a ghetto blaster with them, playing the new Atzen CD and singing along loudly. We arrived Schloss Broich 30 minutes late, right in time for doors open at 5 PM.
As in previous years a lot of booths were located near the entrance, selling not just shirts, they also offered drinking horns and accessories. Food and drinks were offered for a reasonable price and after getting stocked with vouchers and meeting some friends we settled near the stage. The backdrop told us that The Flaw would open up Castle Rock.
The gothic metal outfit The Flaw from Dortmund should enter the stage first and it was obvious that they were nobodies to the majority of fans. Powerful guitar riffs and melodic metal passages á la Nightwish they offered and singer Alexandra Leu tried to entertain the people at the inner courtyard. Nowadays female vocals aren't welcomed as much as in the bast and only extraordinary voices can convince the genre fans, unfortunately Alexandra Leu is not among them. During their 40 minute set they played songs like The Gift, On A Windowshelf, Mute and Burning Skies.
Heimatærde were next in line and they visually and musically fit into the historic surrounds very well. Founding member Ashlar von Megalon and his friars were guarded onto stage by their squires. While the intro was played they sanctified the stage with a censer and then they headed in to techno rhythms which they combined with medieval instruments and heavy guitar riffs. Their show was perfect for the atmosphere at the castle and with their medieval dresses and a swordplay - incl. lots of artificial blood - they were taking the audience back in time. Songs like Der Verfall and Heimatærde were the highlights, but were topped by Heuchler where Megaherz frontman Lex joined them.
At 8 PM Zarah Leander's Ich weiß, es wird einmal ein Wunder geschehen intoned and the music lovers gathered in front of the stage waiting for Megaherz. This ironic reference to another bands intro most understood and so the band and fans started to party with Glas und Tränen. The massive sound of Megaherz moved the crowd - and even Megaherz founding member Alexx (Eisbrecher) couldn't resist to watch the show of his former band from upstairs. Hits like Beiss Mich, Fauler Zauber, Ebenbild, Perfekte Droge, 5 März (Staubkind Vers.), Alles Nur Lüge, Heuchler, Kopfschuss, Gott Sein were played, but the absolute highlight was Miststück, a song which is a must. Lex' powerful voice and great performance entertained the fans and his announcement that the band is working on a new album was more then welcomed by the fans.
The quote Veni, vidi, vici describes the show of Eisbrecher best. It was about 9:40 PM when captain Alexx and his crew entered the stage in warm jackets looking like tackling the Arctic area with their ice-breaker. And they announced the next glacial period with Eiszeit - and the crwod went wild! All eyes were on Alexx, the charismatic frontman who was joking all the time. They pulled out of the freezer fancy sonic food like Angst, Bombe, Willkommen im Nichts, Leider, Böse Mädchen and Ohne Dich. After they played Vergissmeinnicht and Schwarze Witwe some bar stools were placed on stage and the ones who saw Eisbrecher quite recently knew what to expect. With acoustic guitars they presented Michael Holm's Tränen lügen nicht, again Alexx changed the words and so build a bridge to Satellite, the song Lena Meyer-Landrut won the Eurovision Song Contest - and made the people laugh. The crew was always in control and hits like Die Engel and Heilig were highlights of their set. The barrels with the Eisbrecher design told the fans that the first encore would be Amok. The fans danced and sang along, the show ended with Miststück. What a show!
Saturday, June 5th 2010
After checking out the second day's running order we had some favorites of ours and so we headed to Mülheim after just a few hours of sleep. This time public transport worked well, no delays and so we arrived in time at Schloss Broich. Another sunny day and so the black dressed fans were looking for a shady place outside the castle. Punctually the gates opened, time to get something to drink and look for a shadowy place at the inner courtyard.
Eden weint im Grab should open up the second day. The ill sneaked upon the stage, pale-faced and with a sound black as night. Excuse this poetic opening, but it just fit E.w.i.G. who are intoning poetic lines. And so this sunny day began with some black metal sounds. Screams and growls included mastermind Alexander Paul Blake had to accept - after playing songs like Krieg im Wunderland and Den Herbstlaubreigen tanzt der Tod - that the majority wasn't into his musical vision.
Seelenzorn, a band from Darmstadt, was offering a mix of electro and gothic metal. They have three singers who harmonize well and delivered a good show. The opener was Töte Alles, songs like Dreh dich um, Schwarz brennt das Licht and Sexzess should follow. To complete the show they chose the balladesque Was du träumst as the closer - first in an acoustic way, then in a danceable version. With their strong performance they could convince more people.
Next in line The Vision Bleak! Their concept is to create a dark, threatening atmosphere and like so many other gothic metal bands they use elements of horror stories, passages of the morbid tales of Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft. It seemed that some metal heads just came to see TVB... And so the band offered songs like The Night Of The Living Dead and Wolfmoon. Again the audience reaction wasn't overwhelming, most watched them from the distance sceptically. Their look showed similarities to corpse paints of black metal bands like Satyricon.
Ulf Theodor Schwadorf and Allen B. Konstanz - The Vision Bleak - were setting Sail To Mystery. They choose Descend Into Maelstrom of their current album to kick off. They just been on tour to promote Set Sail To Mystery and played crowded clubs. Obviously some fans came to see the masters of horror one more time - before they hit the road again in October. For Castle Rock they cut down the set a bit, but songs like Carpathian and Kutulu! are a must, their fans wouldn't forgive them, if they would scrub these tunes. New tracks like I Dined With The Swans (about serial killer Peter Kürten) and A Romance With The Grave (inspired by a poem of Heinrich Heine) were welcome - even if I have to state that in a club the songs work much better. In the darkness of a club they can create this creepy atmosphere which matches their music perfectly. Anyway, a good performance of The Vision Bleak! (CE)
The folks should get a large variety of sounds today, next on stage were Krypteria who offered symphonic metal. Singer Ji-In Cho entered the stage in a white bridal dress which she took off during the song with a little help of another Krypterian - and showed a black leather dress beneath. They delivered a professional and well arranged show, but most of the audience were waiting for today's headliners it seemed. Songs like Ignition, Somebody Save Me, Never Say Die, For You I'll Bring The Devil Down were played and with My Fatal Kiss they finished their set.
Krypteria kicked off with Shoot Me and Ji-In Cho was dressed in wedding gown. But Krypteria aren't another female-fronted symphonic metal band! The German-Korean outfit adds some NDH riffs and at the end of Shoot Me Ji-In get rid off the dress and shows tight black leather pants and a black corsage - way better the rock the stage. They were out to promote My Fatal Kiss, but they also had some songs off their 2007 release Bloodangel's Cry on the set list - e.g. Scream. Drummer S.C. Kuschnerus (also backing vocals) and bassist Frank Sturmvoll forced delivered the beat for the Krypteria tunes. After touring with Doro they were well-rehearsed - but obviously not tired to rock the stage. After Never Say Die Ji-In told the audience that they visualized the next song - For You I'll Bring The Devil Down -, time for one more... My Fatal Kiss. Highlights of the set were Shoot Me, the catchy Ignition and My Fatal Kiss. (CE)
A quarter to 6 PM Mono Inc. should start their set and as it was one of the highlights, the fans of their dark, romantic sounds gathered in front of the stage. Mono Inc. opened up with This Is The Day and like a conductor singer Martin made the fans raise their hands. After Temple Of The Torn they played Comedown which will be on their upcoming EP. After Gothic Queen a short speech should follow where they thanked Martin Bohnes, the 'Godfather Of Castle Rock' who started the festival in 2000 to give young bands the chance to present themselves at a nice and intimate festival - and the fans love this festival. And so Michael Bohnes who watched this from an upper window got 'standing' ovations. Time to pick up the acoustic guitar, time for The Passenger. And the fans sang along enthusiastically this Mono Inc. classic. In quick succession they delivered In My Heart, If I Fail, Bloodmoon, Voices Of Doom and My-Sick-Mind-TV - and then Katha Mia played a short drum solo and animated the fans to clap their hands. The atmosphere was fantastic and the courtyard celebrated the Hamburg quartet - especially their last tunes Sleeping My Day Away and Get Some Sleep.
During the change over it became clear that electro / gothic masters Diary Of Dreams deserved the co-headliner status. An indication for their degree of popularity was the oversized backdrop which was too big for the stage and only showed half of the bands name. Live Diary Of Dreams concentrate on the music and it don't need a huge show to put a spell on the audience - and this supports the profound lyrics. Connoisseur know that you either love Diary Of Dreams or you can't adapt to their performance. The opener was The Wedding and it seemed that there were some technical problems... But the excellent crew soon solved the problem with Adrian's mike. Some were already dancing while others watched them sceptically, but with songs like Chemicals, Soul Stripper and Kindrom they hooked up more and more people. The highlight was Traumtänzer which almost everybody sang along - and songs like King Of Nowhere and The Curse made this concert special.
With their latest release Schuldig (guilty) Letzte Instanz are guilty of elating music lovers. With their upcoming 10th studio album Heilig (holy) they canonize themselves. The headliner of day 2 offered a kind of best-of set to Castle Rock's demanding audience. Singer and frontman Holly and B. Cellini were the eyecatcher, Cellini mainly due to his unusual cello and his enthusiastic performance. Letzte Instanz offered a bombastic show and delivered songs like Flucht ins Glück and Dein Licht and enchanted the audience with Wann. Everybody in the inner courtyard celebrated the songs Letzte Instanz offered and reached it's height with Der Garten, Das Stimmlein and Rapunzel. Additionally the had some pyros and a fire-breather part in their set and B. Cellini's stage dive on top of it.
A perfect finish for the festival! Fantastic weather, a great line-up, a skilled crew supporting a very friendly organizer... fair ticket price as well as reasonable priced food and drinks. The friendly atmosphere and the great location made this festival special. We are looking forward to Castle Rock 2011 which will take place July 1./2. 2011!