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Devilside Festival

- Devilside Festival - June 2009 - Duisburg (D) -
- Devilside: Camous To Hell - July 2010 - Essen (D) -

Devil Side: Campus To Hell 2010
- July 4th 2010 - Essen (D), University -

The campus of Essen's university was rocked on Sunday, the 4th of July. This years instalment of DevilSide festival was called 'Campus To Hell'. The atmosphere was great and the weather was fine - a day ago we had some storms -, but in time for the festival the weather improved and it wasn't as hot as the previous days.

Again they had 2 stages - the hell stage and the devil stage -, so there wasn't time to catch your breath between the bands. Luckily the distance between the stages wasn't as big as last year and so it was a bit easier to follow the bands.
Unfortunately I missed the first 3 bands (The Black Spiders, V8 Wankers, Throwdown) as the festival started at 10 AM and I failed to get up in time. I'm not used to get up that early. I arrived the festival site when The Haunted were almost finished. Quite a few fans had managed to be there early and partied with the Swedish.

Neaera @ Campus To HellDevil Stage: Hurry up to get to the Devil stage to see Neaera. The band opened up last years instalment in Duisburg. The band from Münster released their 4th album last year and they were out to presented Omnicide - Creation Unleashed live.
They combine brutal mosh parts with aggressive blast beats and melodies which invited the fans to open up a circle pit. Singer Benny Hilleke cheered up the stage and got off stage let the fans carrying along the stage, but the security always kept in touch. After 30 minutes they finished their set and it was obvious that Neaera got even stronger within this year.

Sonic Syndicate @ Campus To HellHell Stage: Next in line Sonic Syndicate from Falkenberg, Sweden. The Swedish made friends with their combination of modern rock and metalcore - and more fans gathered in front of the stage. Another plus for Sonic Syndicate is their two singers - Richard Sjunnesson and Nathan James Biggs - which make their sound more diverse. They had a lot to offer - play-wise and visually - and especially bassist Karin Axelsson got a lot attention. For me the first highlight of the day! I'm pretty excited to hear their new album We Rule The Night when it gets into the stores on August 27th. So far they made a step forward with every album.

Devil Driver @ Campus To HellDevil Stage: Quite early - at 12:40 PM - Californians Devil Driver entered the stage. The guys from the Golden State weren't building up a contact to the crowd like Neaera did, but the fans loved them. No surprise if you have a front man like 'Dez' Fafara&xnbsp;in your ranks who get the fans attention without effort. They delivered a good performance, but 30 minutes weren't enough for their fans. And I agree, a band like Devil Driver should at least have 45 minutes on stage. Too soon it was over, hopefully you can catch them at another festival... Btw, Devil Driver just finished their new album right in time for the festival season, but you'll have to wait til spring 2011 for the release via Roadrunner Records.

Smoke Blow @ Campus To HellHell Stage: Back to Hell stage for Smoke Blow from Kiel (Germany). The guys are around for about 10 years and they really convinced every single fan with their live show. Their energetic show make it easy to fall for them. Letten and Koeter, the singers of Smoke Blow are cheering up the fans with a mix of punk, hardcore and metal. Obviously they enjoyed being on stage and kept teasing each other which for the joy of their fans. The mix of sounds let the crowd enjoy their short set, they even played some new songs off their current release The Record which was released earlier this year.

Mr Irish Bastard @ Campus To HellDevil Stage: The Devil stage should offer a different sound now, coz Mr. Irish Bastard play a mix of pink rock and Irish folk. Just 3 months ago their latest album A Fistful Of Dirt was released. The fans started to dance right from the starts and even the Sisters Of Mercy cover Temple Of Love was welcome by the audience. Everybody on and in front of the stage enjoyed the show and the fans were disappointed when the band left the stage after about 30 minutes. I had my doubts about the band, but they convinced me and I was a bit disappointed, too.

Devil Stage: After Mr. Irish Bastard the Hell stage was rocked by Emil Bulls, but I needed a jolt of caffeine to survive the day and so I skipped them. So the next band I saw was Mad Sin at Devil stage. Mad Sin is Germany's psychobilly band No.1, the guys describe their sound as "Stray Cats on speed meeting the Misfits / Samhain and Motörhead partying with a psychotic 50's Elvis!" And that's what they presented on stage. The Berlin band was full of energy and it was pure fun to watch them on stage. Singer Koefte deVille and his mates knew how to hook up the people and it seems that quite a few of people in the audience just came to see them.

Agnostic Front @ Campus To HellHell Stage: Time for Agnostic Front, the living hardcore legend from New York to enter Hell stage. They are around for almost 30 years, but they are still alive and kickin'! Vinnie Stigma and Roger Miret are less agile, but classics like Crucified still rocked! Kudos for the stage presence, seems they aren't growing old! The fans loudly sang along and it was obvious that Agnostic Front won't give up soon. Not really my cup of tea, but it was a great show!

Devil Stage: To be honest, I had no idea who are Snapcase and the show of the Buffalo (NY) band was quite simple. Snapcase released their first single Comatose in 1991, so you can't call them newcomers - even if the band was defunct for a couple of years. Unfortunately the number of fans didn't documented their long career. It's a pity, coz their straight-edge hardcore in the vein of Tool or Deftones was pretty cool. At least word of mouth travelled fast and at the end of their set the audience has multiplied. Their set was quite enjoyable and their positive stage acting showed that it was good they did reunite.

Fear Factory @ Campus To HellHell Stage: Metal should reign the Hell stage for quite awhile, the first in line where Fear Factory. The band started back in 1989 as Ulceration and released several albums, the latest one is called Mechanize. The audience celebrated Fear Factory right from the start, coz Bell and Cazares are working together again - something the fans were waiting for. The Californians are used to the sun and so playing sun-in-their-face didn't harm their performance. Songs like Shock and Edgecrusher sounded really good, just Burton C. Bell's clean vocals didn't worked out that well. Perhaps they should consider a guest singer taking over the clean vocal parts... Anyway, the fans didn't care, they loved Fear Factory!

Devil Stage: At the Devil stage it was a different world sound-wise with Zebrahead, one of the most popular crossover bands of the 90's. Singer Matty Lewis hooked up the audience as soon as the band kicked off. It was quite impressive how the audience followed his orders, he asked them to hunker down and jump up on his command. And I was surprise that almost everybody obeyed! The youthful ones enjoyed the band who bounced and used sprechgesang. Well, surely not everybody was into their sound. Time to return to the Hell stage for one of the festival highlights - Overkill!

Overkill @ Campus To HellHell Stage: Merciless the sun was shining at the stage and at Overkill, but band and fans didn't care at all. Overkill delivered a set full of classics incl. neckbreakers like Rotten To The Core, Hello From The Gutter and Coma. It's always a pleasure to see the New Jerseyans on stage - even after all these years. Killer show!

Devil Stage: I was really curious to see Danko Jones as everybody is praising them. First of all, the stage was too big for 3 guys positioning at the far corners of the stage. The guys know how to play, they are professionals and so I absolutely don't get why they wasted 15 minutes with talking at a 45-minutes long set. They asked the crowd for a circle pit! Not really what I expect to go along with their sound... Anyway, the people seemed to like it, coz they did what the band asked for. I would like to see them again, coz their melodic metal isn't bad at all. But well...

Hell Stage: After some real metal - Fear Factory and Overkill - it was time for something different... It was time for New Model Army. The British band of singer Justin Sullivan are still going strong, even after 30 years in the biz. Songs like 51st State, I Love The World and Here Comes The War documented that perfectly. I didn't expect such an energetic show! What a surprise! They really delivered a great set at Hell stage as it gets closer to the end - only Sick Of It All should enter this stage afterwards.

Amon Amarth @ Campus To HellDevil Stage: The next band on the Devil stage was magnetic, Amon Amarth draw the people like no other band. Singer Johan Hegg welcomed the fans in German, nice idea. The Swedish know how to entertain the fans with their death metal tunes like Twilight Of The Thunder God, Guardians Of Asgaard and The Pursuit Of Vikings. It was easy for Amon Amarth to enchant the crowd. Everything was perfect... The sound, the stage acting. The fans were enthusiastically applauding, shouting for more, celebrating their heroes. What a difference compared to Danko Jones!

Hell Stage: Next in line the Hell stage headliner and another living legend, this time from Queens (New York) - Sick Of It All. The New Yorkers are one of the top hardcore bands and they delivered an amazing show! As it slowly got dark the light show finally showed some effect. Craig Ahead, Armand Majidi, Lou and Pete Koller gave 110% on stage and spark off. The guys offered a mix of classics like Scratch The Surface and new tunes like Watch It Burn. A great performance of a worthy headliner!

Airbourne @ Campus To HellDevil Stage: Now everybody was heading for Devil stage, time for the last band of the day - Airbourne. I was curious to see the Aussies, it's been quite awhile since another band got such an advance praise. Hype or are they the real deal? First, it was too loud. The fans in the first rows were steam rolled by the bass drum. Everything was vibrating. No fun at all! Second, what they delivered I have seen before - and better. Songs like Raise The Flag, Hellfire and Runnin Wild were presented, but they couldn't convince the majority. Half-way through the set the campus had emptied, half of the audience had already left! Time will tell if they are a flash in the pan or if they establish. Anyway, I prefer the original, I prefer AC/DC.

Resume: Last years shortcomings (long queues for food and drink) were resolved. Another plus there were enough Port-a-Potties. The headliners were too loud, especially Airbourne. If they get a good billing for 2011, many will be back at the Essen campus!

Gisela Schmitz
(translation: Claudia Ehrhardt)


Devilside 2009 - June 28th - Duisburg, Germany

Motörhead, Soulfly, Clawfinger, Sepultura, The Bones, Misfits, Discipline, Sodom, Cro-Mags, Hammerhead, Disco Ensemble, Millencolin, Elvis Jackson, All Shall Perish, Peter Pan Speedrock, Carburetors, Anthrax, Hatesphere

With Devilside Festival a new festival is added to the summer's festival schedule. The festival area is sited in a park with some industrial buildings around, perfect for the hard side of metal. It was cloudy, but with a high humidity - even if later the sun came out for a bit. Doors open was scheduled for 10 AM and the first band Kamikaze Queens were announced, but they should enter at 10:10 AM - and so I missed them while queuing at the press box office.
Hatesphere @ DevilsideSo the first band I saw was Hatesphere at the Devil Stage. The Danish fivesome released their latest album To The Nines late March and so it was time to play live again. "Guten Morgen! Danke for coming out that early" shouter Jonathan Albrechtsen welcomes the fans before they headed into The Coming Of Chaos. And with the tune from Sickness Within they pleased their long time fans. "Well, it's very early for a metal show! Frühstück with Hatesphere!" 'Joller' said and thanked the fans for coming out that early to Devilside. And then they presented a song from Ballet Of Brute - Deathtrip! With their thrash'n'death they really gave a wake-up call to the audience. It was obvious that the Danish enjoyed being on stage, even if it was early morning. But they not just played old tunes, from their last album To The Nines they offered The Writings On The Wall. Hatesphere had only 30 min. and they didn't waste time! Good show!
Next in line Anthrax at Hellstage! And their show was the reason for many metalheads to be there early. Everybody was curious to see Scott 'Not' Ian and his mates. They entered the stage in white bathrobes and started with Madhouse! As soon as they played the first notes the fans went crazy! Anthrax @ DevilsideNew singer Dan Nelson showed that he can keep up with his predecessors! The Trust cover Anti-Social was next - and more fans started headbanging. "You f**king rule! We'll play a new song for you!" shouted Dan Nelson, but I didn't get the song title... After playing a new track and testing the waters Scott Ian took over the microphone for a moment "Guten Morgen, Frühstück with Anthrax! Thanks for coming! The next one is your wake-up call!" And everybody was Caught In A Mosh! Time to take off the bathrobes... and thrash the place! Got The Time... But actually they had not much time. So They finished their set with I'm The Law. And nobody cared that Anthrax let them wait for 30 minutes.
On the Devilstage The Carburetors were next. I'm not familiar with the Norwegians, their music is more a modern version of rock'n'roll with a dash rockabilly... But it was fun to watch them - they looked like coming straight from the 60's - and posed a lot. The music was fun and with songs like Rock'n'Roll Forever and Terrified made it easy to have a good time.
The Dutch trio Peter Pan Speedrock came over from Eindhoven to present their Motörhead-ish rock. Fast songs based in galloping riffs and / or a fast drum beat made the people up front move. "Yesterday we had a huge wall of death. Can You do that?" guitarist and singer Peter van Elderen asked. And he got a circle pit. Their 30 minutes were over soon and so they said goodbye with Resurrection and Rock City. I think it wasn't the last time the Dutch came over to rock...
All Shall Perish @ DevilsideOn the devilish stage it was time for the melodic death metal band Neaera - and for me time to look for a coffee! I skipped them.
On the Hellish side technical deathcore outfit All Shall Perish were next. The guys from Oakland released their 3rd album Awaken The Dreamers and songs like When Life Meant More... and Never...Again they took the fans on a roller coaster ride. Complex parts, fast riffing and doom passages - they had all. Singer Hernan Hermida switched between mean grunts and screams. But they also presented some older tunes like Wages Slaves. Not really my cup of tea, but they offered a powerful set - and surely made some new friends.
On the Devil stage the Slovenian band Elvis Jackson surprised the audience with a their ska punk. Their music is enriched with metallic riffs and even reggae sounds. Some were fascinated by the colorful sound, others just wanted them to stop. Some were making party, others were standing around bored. I'm not sure what to think about them... It wasn't a waste of time, but on the other hand I wouldn't miss them. If I want some colorful music I prefer Kulturshock... But that's a matter of taste.
Millencolin @ DevilsideI was really curious to see Millencolin again, coz when I saw them in April in Düsseldorf they hadn't a good sound.... The Swedish SoCal rock band was entering the stage and started their own party! Singer and bassist Nikola Sarcevic hadn't much chance to move, but the others did their best to use every inch of the stage. These days they are a bit more mainstream, so to speak. And with Machine 15 they toured successfully, so they worked on stage like a well-oiled machine. With songs like Twenty Two and Broken World they soon convinced the audience. The band used different backdrops like the Kingwood one. It was great to hear tracks like Ray or Black Gold which has a reminiscence to The Beatles Eight Days A Week... Just great!
Back to the Devil Stage for Disco Ensemble... Actually I got stopped somewhere half way between the stages from some friends and so just listened to the Finnish from the distance. The post hardcore or punk rock band played many big festivals incl. Roskilde festival and so they were used to bigger festivals. And probably they were used to a better responding audience, but it was simply too hot. But songs like We Might Fall Apart and Headphones almost did the trick. Perhaps if they would have had more then 35 minutes they could have set the house on fire...
Back to the hellish side for Hammerhead. The German hardcore / punk band had a strong fanbase, but with their provoking lyrics and weird humor they couldn't get everybody and some were already turning their backs to the stage when shouter Tobias Scheiße welcomed the fans with "Hello assholes!". The music was fast, hard-hitting and guitar-driven. The German lyrics didn't help much, but at least the words weren't easy to catch due to the singing style of Hammerhead fronter Tobias. Actually here the 35 minutes seemed very long... And so quite a few already moved over to the opposite side and waited for New York hardcore outfit Cro-Mags.
Cro-Mags @ DevilsideThe Godfathers of hardcore started in the early 80's, but they got more popular in the mid-80's when they toured with Megadeth and Motörhead in the US. Many fans were waiting for them to enter the stage and when the intro started you could feel the tension rising. They kicked off with World Peace. Singer John Joseph was always in motion and passing from one side of the stage to the other within seconds. They played a lot old stuff, but also new songs within their 40 minutes on stage. Just after a few moments in the set a huge mosh pit opened up in front of the stage and crowd surfers kept the security busy. Songs from their debut The Age Of Quarrel were what the fans wanted and what they got! After Street Justice they offered Seekers Of The Truth and Signs Of The Time. A few more tunes and they finished off with Hard Times. The bands and fans were exhausted - and so some of the fans skipped Sodom and waited in front of the Devilstage for the Discipline.
Back to Hell Stage... Time for German thrashers Sodom and as they are coming form a town nearby they had a lot of fans and friends there. Tom Angelripper and his pals seem to carry on forever... Already a dozen albums under their belt they have a lot songs to choose from.... And soon they had convinced the fans. And they didn't disappoint their followers! The highlight for the Sodom-ized was Ausgebombt. Not really a surprise, coz it's a Sodom classic.
The Dutch Discipline call their music Street Rock'n'Roll. And that is best live - and so they played a lot live incl. tours with bands like Agnostic Front and Sick Of It All. As they just released a Best Of-CD called Anthology it was pretty clear that they do a best-of set. The four piece presented energetic hardcore punk with a lot of enthusiasm. Singer Joost de Graaf and his mates kicked off with Now Or Never. I don't know the band well, so I can't really tell you much more... The fans were going wild and as it was hot the security used water-jets to cool down the people. Fans welcomed this refreshment. But when they played the Twisted Sister cover We're Not Gonna Take It the crows went wild!
Misfits @ DevilsideOn the Hell Stage it was time for some horror punk! The New Jersey cult band Misfits should present their horror show. They started in the late 70's and been influential for many punk and metal bands. Their logo of Crimson Ghost can be seen on shirts a lot - not only by the band fans, the fiends. Jerry Only and his two friends kicked off with Halloween. The Misfits were legendary with Glen Danzig singing, these days Jerry Only is only original member - and for fans of their early days, he shouldn't continue to use the name. Anyway, the songs are mainly at the same speed, but their horror show was a kind of Spinal Tap. And if you don't take them too serious, you can enjoy their show incl. tracks like Hybrid Moments, Teenagers From Mars, Some Kind Of Hate and Astro Zombies. The Black Flag cover Thirsty & Miserable was welcome - as the water guns later in the set -, but the highlight was Die Die Darling. Many were singing along, even if some younger people were wondering why they did cover Metallica... Well, the youngsters should be a bit more interested then, coz it were Metallica who did cover the Misfits. A little lesson in history here. ;)
Back to the Devil Stage... Time for some punk'n'roll from Karlskrona... Time for The Bones! The foursome present a mix of Social Distortion and the Backyard Babies - to give you an idea about the Swedish. Their latest album is called Burnout Boulevard from 2007, but they played live a lot. Even if the sound wasn't as good as before the guys simply rocked the stage! It's pure fun to watch them on stage and due to two singers they can vary a bit more then others. They were joking and enjoying being on stage, so they introduced one songs like this... "Now We are going to play a love song. It's called She Hates Me!"
Sepultura @ DevilsideThe Hell Stage was the place to be for Sepultura. The fans could expect a best-of set from the Brazilians who simply walked on stage - and thrashed the place with Chaos A.D.! Not much action on stage, but frontman Derrick Green had the attention right away. Later guitarist Andreas Kisser took over the microphone... "The next song is dedicated to all of you for the last 25 years!" And they presented Troops Of Doom. The charismatic shouter partly played a stand tom and joined in with drummer Jean Dolabella. Highlights of the Sepultura set surely been Territory, Arise and the closer Roots Bloody Roots. The powerful clear sound helped the Brazilian groove force to move the people. So Sepultura had a head start in the competition with Soulfly, the band of former Sepultura member Max Cavalera who should later play at the Devil Stage.
On the devilish stage it was time for Bloodhound Gang, a band I skipped, coz I know about their partly disgusting show - and I didn't want to attend it. Even if it was obvious that they had more then just a few fans who came to see them who came dressed like e.g. a monkey - reference to one of their hits. Anyway, not my cup of tea. I stayed at the hellish side - and waited for Clawfinger! I haven't seen Clawfinger for more then 10 years and I was curious to see them again. A variation of the James Bond Goldfinger title track announced that Zak Tell and his gang will kick off soon.Clawfinger @ Devilside They first offered Prisoner and the fans in front of the stage went crazy. Zak Tell was always in action or tried to get close to the audience. After all the dark dressed bands he was sticking out with his light colored pants and the green shirt saying 'Rehab is for quiters'. After the first song he asked the fans "You enjoy the beer? You enjoy the bands?" And it looked like he was satisfied by the response... Nothing Goin' On was next. It was party time! The groove of the crossover songs made the people jump. The crossover pioneers didn't disappoint their fans, coz they had songs like Rosegrove, The Price We Pay, Do What I Say and Nigger on the set list. The Swedish not just had a great sound, they also had a cool light show - and they were the first band who could take advantage of the lights. But the band used every inch of the stage and keyboarder Jocke Skog joined in for the vocals and was running around on stage, teaming up with the others. Later Zak Tell climbed up the rigging system and started a little game with the audience. Great performance! Hope to see them again live with a little more stage time!
Now it was time to for Soulfly on the Devil Stage to compete with Sepultura. Max Cavalera and his band played a decent set, but the show was a bit static... They opened up with Blood, Fire, War, Hate. The fans didn't care, they had a good time. Caveral & co. made Unleash a special moment, coz almost everybody in the band was hitting drums or percussions and he was singing together with his son. I like Cavalera's way to break genre limitations, to create a heavy metal version of world music, but compared with Sepultura, Sepultura were todays winners.
The last band of Devilside Festival were the British veterans Motörhead! They enjoy playing live which is proofed by various live albums. Due to delay Motörhead were on stage about an hour later as scheduled. By now the place in front of the stage was packed. Lemmy & co. played again a set full of classics, but also Rock On from their last album Motörizer and Be My Baby off Kiss Of Death. There isn't much to tell about the show... It was a typical powerful Motörhead show. No big surprises, no disappointments. Everybody who saw Motörhead the last couple of years know what to expect - and exactly that's what the veterans delivered. As I couldn't see much I decided to catch my train, so I missed the end of the show...
Resume: It was the first installment of Devilside and it went well. But as usual there are a few things to improve.... Please open the doors a bit earlier, so that the first band really has a chance to play in front of more fans. And cut down the number of bands and so grant the bands a bit more stage time. But the most annoying thing to the majority was that there wasn't enough beverage booths, people partly queued for 45 minutes in the heat to get something to drink! At other festivals you also have people carrying a keg selling beer all over the place, would be good idea for next year.
The running order differed from other festival which made it more interesting and the ticket price was really fair. The security was doing a good job and always been very friendly. So that's something to stick with!
If you wonder why there aren't photos of the headliners, the photo passes for the pit were limited and at the end it was almost impossible to do photos from the audience resp. the results wouldn't have been pleasing. Perhaps next time...

Claudia Ehrhardt


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