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- Waldrock 1998 - June '98 - Burgum (NL) -
- Headbanger's Open-Air '02 - June '02 - Brande-Hörnerkirchen (D) -
- Steel Meets Steel '02 - July '02 - Waltrop (D) -


Steel Meets Steel-Open Air -
- July 20th 2002 - Waltrop, Germany -

Agamendon The Claymore, Destillery, Symbiontic, Angel Dust

The Claymore drummer Hardy Kölzer and Kai Overkamp who's the bassist of Agamendon had a great idea quite awhile ago. Their motto let's do a festival, let's do Steel Meets Steel!
The result was the event on Saturday, July 20th 2002 in Waltrop and to tell you straight, the organization was great. Sunny weather, okay it started raining during Angel Dust's set, the running order / schedule worked out very well, no problems at all. Only that not that much fans showed up was a little sad. While Angel Dust play were about 300 metal fans at the festival site. But little by little....
Due to problems during the sound check of the headliners, they opened the doors a little later.
Won't go into detail... For the death metaller of Symbiontic that meant that they had to go on stage when the doors opened. The quintet from the Rhine-Ruhr area wanted to use their advantage to be from this area and so they heated up the fans from the beginning. I have no idea which tracks they played, but I know that the guitarist are really good and know how to play. So Symbiontic should soon get a deal with the material they offer.
Next on stage the purists of power metal Destillery who are without a deal at the moment. Frontman Florian Reimann soon had to kill the time during the power fall out, afterwards he was walking through the audience while singing. Lot of fun! That's metal, man!!! A great performance of the underrated quintet from Marl!
During the breaks was enough time to get food and / or drinks for a decent prize which was good, coz due to the high temperature everybody was thirsty
Now it was time for Aramendon.... and soon more stage diver were on stage then musicians! Perhaps that's the only thing to criticize, coz it's okay if some stage diver are on stage for a moment, but not during the whole set! The guys from Castrop Rauxel didn't seem to care about and didn't hesitate a second to give their brutal structures songs to the masses.
While they played I was next door at a restaurant with beer garden where I was buying cigarettes when I listen to the following dialogue. The beer garden was packed with citizens who obviously weren't into metal and shake their heads - no headbanging - while Agamendon played their black / death. I heard that a girl, about 8 years old, asked her mother: "This should be music?" And her mother said; "Honey, you have to be more tolerant!" I left the beer garden laughing. But my respect for understanding!
Then it was time for the first highlight of the festival... The Claymore! They had the best sound so far and the fans were shouting for them and so the boys from Waltrop area gave 150% from the first moment. And for the first time on this festival the light show take effect which made their show even better. The Claymore played most of the songs from their self-produced album 2 (Tolerance Denied, Arborlon, Claymore, Time For Glory) as well as 2 new tracks. The Iron Maiden cover Fear Of The Dark was really good and it was like Bruce Dickinson himself was on stage! Yes, Andreas Grundmann is the man! He knew how to sing the songs and it's just a question of time when The Claymore will sign the dotted line. They are like a unpolished gem and are on their way to conquer the premier league of metal. Thumbs up for this performance! The banging mass shouted for more, but due to the curfew they weren't allowed to play more songs.
Next in the running order were Angel Dust. The power metal heads played a good set, but nothing special! Their set was a mixture of tracks from Of Human Bondage and Enlighten The Darkness which was the basic of their set. Finally it starts to rain and I decided to get back to my car for shelter. Actually I'm not a huge fan of Angel Dust and so...
Good night! See you next year!

Volker Raabe
(translation: Claudia Ehrhardt)


Headbanger's Open-Air 2002
- June 21st & 22nd 2002 -
- Brande-Hörnerkirchen, Germany -

Gorgon, Holy Moses, Iron Cross, Lord Weired Slough Fed, Majesty, Ritual Steel, Rival, Shadow Keep, Skylark, Solemnity, Squealer, Twisted Tower Dire, Vortex

Does anybody know Brande-Hörnerkirchen? No? I have to confess I didn't know it as well until June, 21st 2002, but then I was there to take part of the H.O.A. which is located in this small town 25 km far from Itzehoe. After a five hrs. long drive we arrived at the hotel which we had booked awhile ago. After we watched the soccer game Germany vs. USA we took a cab to the festival area. "Wow, great!" was my first thought when I arrived with 3 friends of mine, all are real metal heads, at the festival area. As a underground journalist I brought my ticket, coz I think that what the people of Headbanger's Ballroom from Hamburg are doing here for years is worth to support. Just to mention it, I haven't seen any journalist from one of the big magazines. When we entered the festival area just in time to see the Judas Priest cover band Electric Eye it started raining and our faces fell. Actually the next day the weather wasn't much better, more about later!
Unfortunately we missed Skull Harvest and the Judas Priest cover band wasn't a revelation. Afterwards The Barrocks came on stage who offered cover version of several metal heroes and did quite well.
The first highlight of today came on stage at 9 p.m., it was the obscure American band Lord Weired Slough Feg who offered an unusual mixture of Manilla Road and Omen. Many parts were very complicated and complex, but never really crossed the boarder to chaos. The performance of mastermind Mike Scalzi and his mates played brilliant U.S. metal. Songs like Marauder or Heavy Metal Monk did quite well. They had a good sound and so the trip to Brande-Hörnerkirchen was worth doing!
But that wasn't the highlight, coz next were the American band Twisted Tower Dire on stage to present underground metal to their fans. In with the first note they played, I had goose-bumps. Singer Tony Taylor, a sympathetic frontman with a brilliant voice, and his mates offered U.S. underground metal at it's best. Fucking Hell, what a performance! Most of the songs the band played are from their latest release The Isle Of Hydra, but the limited time didn't allowed to show more. So they finished their set with The Witch's Eyes and it was the fucking best show I saw this year! Long live the king, long live Twisted Tower Dire!
Then it was time for Holy Moses who presented their new album at the H.O.A. I never was a fan of Sabrina's voice and so their show wasn't really motivating for me. But I have to confess that I really liked the killer guitar riffs of Holy Moses, if only the croaking vocals wouldn't be added... That ruined everything for me and also the song. So, the fire Twisted Tower Dire started, was gone and I preferred to chit-chat with Bruder Cle and some of the Paragon members.
I was very curious to see the British metal band Shadow Keep. There album Corruption Within which was released in 2000 and speeded up my heartbeat. The band was impressing, especially shouter Rough M. (remind me of Martin Walkyier and wasn't pretty tall as well) with his high vocal range enchanted the fans around midnight and was excellent. Even if the contrast bet­ween the short shouter and the gigantic guitarist Nicki Robson looked quite funny (rumors say that they have a relation...) the performance of the British power / prog metal band was more then decent which the song Dark Tower proofed again and was also the end of their set.
Last, but not least the German band Solemnity of frontman Sven 'The Axe' and his mates know how to impress the fans, even if it was long after midnight. They presented their new album Reign In Hell. Metal at it's best! Let's see what tomorrow holds for us! Want to head a funny anecdote? While Stefan W. (who I share the room with) and I took the chance to get a lift to the hotel from Ritual Steel singer Sascha Maurer (thanks again, man!), our companions decided to stay a little longer and have a few more beers. They haven't thought about the way home, coz even if the distance to the hotel should just be 1,2 km (air distance) was almost 6 km away. Hahahaha, the blisters at your feet will remind you, guys!!!
And so they were not that happy when I entered their room around noon to be back in time on the festival. This time we took the car, so that they don't have to walk again by night. Meanwhile I learnt that some people from town have been very nice and prevent them from a long and rainy walk to the hotel, so the taxi driver they called, told them that he won't get up again for a 2 km drive. Thanks man, that's service!!!
Whatever, Ritual Steel were waiting for us and it was worth to be there in time! When frontman Sascha Maurer entered the stage armed with two plastic swords for kids - I first thought this was a late joke for Fools day - the most obscure music of a German band followed. Cool, Ritual Steel are different, can't be compared with any other German act! No lalala metal, they were playing epic power metal which sounds due to Sascha's unnatural vocals very unique. Next month their debut will be released and I guess it'll give them some headlines in the genre magazines. Musically Ritual Steel left no doubt about their abilities, but this childish sword swinging was ridiculous.
Something which can't be said about the punk metal heads of Erosion. They played two doomy mid-tempo songs which I liked, but the rest was not my cup of tea. Just a matter of taste...
But Majesty from Lauda are really what I like! The band is aware of the popularity their self-produced album Keep It True got them and many bangers in front of the stage seemed to agree. And so Germany's Manowar gave the banging fans what they were looking for... True heavy metal!!! Metal to the metal heads!!! I'm really looking forward to see them live in October!
I missed Dark Age coz I had some interviews and some business talk to do, but what I heard afterwards the band showed a performance which lacks highlights....
Then the Japanese Gorgon. Hahaha, only watching the Asians on stage was a lot of fun. Musically the offered tracks with a lot of cliché and 80's metal which made the crowd happy. Even if the Japanese wasn't musically perfect, it's real metal to work a whole year just to play one show in Germany! That's enthusiasm! That's something many bands these days lack...
Not Fragile was also not my cup of tea... Not bad, but for Saturday a band like Paragon would have been better, coz today's billing had one or the other band which wasn't musically satisfying or fitting.
The Dutch band Vortex fit into the billing. They had a lot of fun on stage and so do the fans in front of the stage. They also had a lot of fun the day before in the camping area. The band who's getting slightly old proofed during the 2 days that they can drink and that they are really funny guys.
I should mention that 3 bands had to cancel their show at the H.O.A. before the event which is really sad, coz this 3 bands where the reason to go to Brande-Hörnerkirchen for me. The bands who cancelled were the American band Premonition, the Dutch Angus and the German-Finnish band Wizzard. Anyway..... It was about 8 p.m. when the German band Mob Rules enter the stage. The band of Hammer editor Matthias Mineur offered melodic songs, but haven't be the top of today's billing...
But the Italian band Skylark were one of the highlights. Rumors said that the Italians of Skylark were the only band which got paid rooms.... Musically they are playing in the vain of Stratovarius and Rhapsody. That kind of music and their set wasn't inspiring for the audience. The only thing which was thrilling was their short-haired singer with the sunglasses who's high-pitched vocals reached the highest di­mensions. And so I welcome the end of their show. My ears felt like they were bleeding... This clowns seems to be on the wrong event, we don't need them on H.O.A.! It seems that the group of mid-40's who were slightly drunken and had Nuclear Blast plastic bags on their heads had the same opinion, coz during the whole set they sand funny stuff while the band was doing the chorus. And their funny vocal lines always fit to the music of the Italians. Resume, Italian noodles are eatable, but Skylark weren't pleasurable.
Squealer who were next were much better. The band of AFM label boss Henner played a decent set and the fact that the drummer was using a click-track made me think that he is new in the band.... The quintet offered only their hyper-fast songs.
Now a highlight of this rainy Saturday: Rival! Wow, that's metal! Technically complex U.S. metal with a lot of breaks and tempi changes. The band of singer and bassist John Johnson (Wrestler, or what?) seemed to be very surprised about the euphoric reactions of the audience. They were so impressed by the fan reaction that it caused a slip of the tongue during the song introduction. They didn't expect this enthusiastic reactions. Seems that they didn't know this kind of reaction from their American shows... Anyway, Modern World, Death Stalker or Evil Within are gems of versed U.S. metal and the guys of Rival seems to enjoy the show. I think that their trip to Europe was rewarding for them.
I guess it was the same for the epic and slightly obscure Iron Cross who were the last band to play at H.O.A. 2002. Even if most of the fans were on their way back home or lying drunken in their tent or somewhere on the festival ground, the guys of Iron Cross called for the last battle. The fans who were still their had a very good time and so the rainy festival ended. A small, but excellent metal meeting for fans of traditional metal which I can just recommend to include in your festival schedule 2003!
At least I have to praise the sound engineers who gave their best and tried to do a decent sound for every band. Also the people from Headbanger's Ballroom I have to praise, coz the enthusiasm they have should be the basis for more events. They support the underground which is as important, perhaps more important than organizing commercial events like Bang-Your-Head, Wacken Open-Air and With Full Force. If the guys shall be able to book a similar billing next year, I guess I have to go again to Brande-Hörnerkirchen next summer. Last, but not least... Raise the metal fist!

Volker Raabe
(translation: Claudia Ehrhardt)


Waldrock Open-Air 1998
- June 1998 - Burgum, Netherlands -

Pro Pain, Iced Earth, Dimmu Borgir, Obituary, Two, Soulfly, Paradise Lost, Dream Theater

This year the organizer of Waldrock got together a great billing and did a fantastic job!!! Sadly I missed the opening act, the Dutch band Blaar.
Next one been the New York hardcore heroes Pro-Pain. The band of Gary Meskil presented their 4th album. It was one of the first shows after Rob Moschetti left. Gary presented the new Pro-Painer Eric Klinger who fits perfect in the hardcore house of pain. The four-piece played a mixture of old and new songs. For me one of the highlights was the song Don't Kill Yourself To Live. The powerful hardcore sound pushed up the fans and the first started to dive into the pit. The stage was too high and too far way so the crazy fans dive into the arms of the security. The boys in the pit had a lot of fun to catch the divers. To make it safe for the divers the organization was smart enough to scatter lots of straw in the pit. After 50 minutes of hardcore power everyone was convinced by the new line-up. And I guess everyone who saw this set won't miss the band in future.
Next Coal Chamber's time was come. My colleague stuck in the heavy traffic and I had to do an interview, so no review about this band. Sorry!
After a break the former Florida based power metal heroes Iced Earth entered the stage. Iced Earth replaced Savatage which had to cancel, because Al Pitrelli broke his arm. The new release Something Wicked This Way Comes was just out, but it seems that the fans know it and sing along. Jon Schaffer and the band with new guitarist Larry Tarnowski played a powerful set which includes their classics like Dark Saga, Hunter, Violate, Stormrider and Iced Earth beside new tunes like Disciples Of The Lie and My Own Saviour. The quintet played a strong set, but everyone who saw the band in the past didn't expect something else. Personally I'm looking forward to see more of them in fall. During the Iced Earth show it began to rain and at the end of the show it rains 2 track promo tapes from Iced Earth for the front rows. More about the now Indiana-based quintet in an interview with Jon Schaffer.
The time for the black metal fans was come - Dimmu Borgir. The Norwegians seems to be everybody's darling on the festivals to present the dark side of metal. The rain got heavier and the corpse paint of fans and later the band was washed away. The black metaller celebrate their time in a Godless Savage Garden. The rest watched the show relaxed and waited for the next highlight. In the meantime Samson tabacco and Aardschok magazine sold out their rain ponchos. The dominating colours been mud brown and the blue of the rain coats. On the Samson coats stand: "Where I stand the rain never stops!" While the fans sink deeper and deeper into the mud, the atmosphere got heated up.
Death metal from sunny Florida tries to bring some warm moments while Obituary enters the stage. The death metal heads can't stop the rain, but gave the crew in the pit a hard time. The fans dive like it was a club show and enjoyed themselves. Obituary presented their last studio release Back From The Dead and their live output Dead. These guys are not dead, they are banging, rocking and playing for their lives. One of the best death metal acts in my opinion, but I'm not a death metaller.
Initially Two, Rob Halford's new band was scheduled to play after Dimmu Borgir, but stuck somewhere in the traffic. Luckily the band arrived and could enter the stage just a little later. The Dutch audience welcome the former Judas Priest singer very friendly. A few of the crowd seemed to wish that the master of NWoBHM won't change his musical style, for others the industrial sound seemed to be the greatest sound. Halford is still a fantastic performer and knows how to make the fans going crazy. The grand master celebrated his own industrial party.
It still rains when the Brazilians of Soulfly entered the stage. Soon the band of former Sepultura mastermind Max Cavalera made the crowd freaking out. The Soulfly tribe enjoyed themselves on stage and Max made this festival something special. Just the Sun wasn't party with the us, but nobody cared about.
For the British gothic metal heads from Paradise Lost rain isn't something new, it seems that the weather God believes that only rain fits to their music. With One Second the band of Nick Holmes finally left their death metal roots. The former death metal band developed from album to album and with Draconian Times they become part of the gothic metal scene. The set list includes songs from Icon to One Second and presented all the highlights. The band had a lot of fun while they played their dark, sometimes depressive music. Only Nick Holmes seems to be unhappy, but the show been a killer anyway.
The last break, everyone waited for the uncrowned kings of progressive metal - Dream Theater. The New Yorker masters of prog celebrated their own fireworks of hits and the rain stopped! A play list of their own hits including the highlights of their entire career. After travelling through Europe twice with their latest release Falling Into Infinity the band now playing a few festivals. Tonight as a headliner the band could play their whole set including solo parts of each member. Singer James LaBrie is a charismatic frontman and a well-throated on. Time was flying and after 80 minutes the show was over. The New York progsters crowned this festival. At the end of day everyone was satisfied and the festival ended peacefully.
A few last words about the organization of the festival at the end of this review. Immie Jonkman and her crew did an incredible job! Their aim was to make this day something special to everyone - the bands, the fans and even us, the reporters. Every staff member was willing to help and friendly to everybody and that even if they worked for free! We all should say thank you to them for giving us a great time. For me this was the highlight of this summers festivals. If Waldrock will take place next year, I'll be there, definitely!
Thank you to Immie Jonkman and every member of the crew!

IV crew



           ©2008-2010 by Claudia Ehrhardt • E-Mail:  contact@ice-vajal.com

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