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Wacken Open Air

- W.O.A. 1999 - Aug. 1999 - Wacken (D) -
- W.O.A. 2000 - Aug. 2000 - Wacken (D) -
- W.O.A. 2002 - Aug. 2002 - Wacken (D) -
- W.O.A. 2004 - Aug. 2004 - Wacken (D) -
- W.O.A. 2011 - Aug. 2011 - Wacken (D) -
- W.O.A. 2012 - Aug. 2012 - Wacken (D) -

Wacken 2012 - August 2nd-4th 2012 - Wacken (D) -

Amaranthe , Amon Amarth, Cradle Of Filth, Diablo Swing Orchestra, Dimmu Borgir, Dio Disciples, Edguy, Endstille, Gamma Ray, Hammercult, Hammerfall, In Extremo, In Flames, Kamelot, Megaherz, Ministry, Oomph!, Opeth, Paradise Lost, Saxon, Scorpions, Warbringer

Thursday 2nd August

Amaranthe (18:20 - 18:55)
Approaching the tent, the wonderful sound of Leave Everything Behind could be heard. Once inside the Bullhead City Circus tent, the beautiful stage presence of the band could be seen, and they went on to play Serendipity. My Transition was after that, followed by Automatic, and the sound was fairly good (considering the acoustics inside BCC aren't usually that good). The rest of their brilliant set consisted of Amaranthine, It's All About Me, Call Out My Name and Hunger. Sometimes the vocals seemed slightly off, but apart from that, there are no real complaints.

Hammercult (19:00 - 19:20)
The sound on the W.E.T stage was pretty awful, but Hammercult still hammered on. They had a small audience, though many of them were lively and supportive, and the quality definitely made up for the quantity. Apart from the slightly dodgy drumming, the band put on a pretty good show.

Saxon (20:45 - 22:15)
Opening with Heavy Metal Thunder, it was obvious that Saxon were going to put on a good show. Hammer Of The Gods, Power And The Glory and 20,000 Ft were the next songs, and the band's performance of them was absolutely outstanding. Some of the member of Saxon may have been in their sixties, but that hardly seemed to stop them from rocking out with enthusiasm, and they put on a fabulous show all through Never Surrender, Dogs Of War, Motorcycle Man, I've Got To Rock and Crusader. Their stage show wasn't exactly OTT, but it was certainly a nice spectacle. Their next song was Rock The Nations, after which Nigel Glockler rocked the festival with a drum solo which was out of this world, which was nicely followed up with Battalions Of Steel. The next few songs were The Eagle Has Landed, Wheels Of Steel, To Hell And Back Again and finally the unforgettable Denim And Leather. However, it was only natural that Saxon would do an encore, and the audience most certainly wanted it. The band boomed back on stage with almost perfect renditions of Strong Arm Of The Law and 747, and they wrapped up a fantastic evening with Princess Of The Night, and it is difficult to imagine Saxon doing any better than they did.

Friday 3rd August

Endstille (11:00 - 12:00)
Endstille - not usually how one would start their day, but they can certainly wake you up. They began their set by playing Dominanz, and immediately the sound was dreadful. The band themselves weren't particularly bad, but the sound quality of their equipment was terrible. Onto Endstilles Reich, and the sound seemed to improve somewhat, but not much. However, this didn't appear to deter Zingultus and the rest of the band. They carried on, playing the likes of Bastard and Frühlingserwachen, and although some of the audience seemed unimpressed, Endstille are a black metal band, so they didn't really care. They wrapped up their early set with Navigator and passed the torch onto the next wave of bands.

Warbringer (12:05 - 12:35)
Rushing over from the Black stage to the W.E.T stage, it was just about possible to catch the end of the first song. Warbringer are always a joy to see live, and they were no exception at Wacken. For a simple thrash metal band, they always seem to impress. Most of the people present were headbanging, and not a single member of the band failed to impress. Everything about the band was good - the atmosphere, the presence, the sound - and they left a lasting impression.

Oomph! (13:30 - 14:30)
The opening performance of Unzerstörbar wasn't particularly good, and it never really got much better from then on in. They played Labyrinth, Mein Schatz, Kleinstadtboy, Träumst Du, Bis Der Spiegel Zerbricht, Mitten ins Herz, Niemand, Gott ist ein Popstar, Mein Herz, Seemannsrose, Sandmann and Augen auf! to a lively audience. They were enjoyable enough to watch, but something about their music and their sound was just off. There were nice little bits of audience interaction, and they seemed friendly enough even if a little unenthusiastic. They cheered everyone up by finishing their set with Always Look On The Bright Side.

Kamelot (14:45 - 15:45)
This was a fantastic opportunity for new vocalist Tommy Karevik to show off what he's made of, and it was brilliant... except for the rain - that torrential, hellish rain of doom that brought the very festival to its knees in some ways. Nevertheless, Kamelot played Rule The World before the rain began, then after Ghost Opera it was obvious that the weather was only going to get worse. Storms aside for a moment, the set was amazing. Containing such masterpieces as Center Of The Universe, The Human Stain and The Great Pandemonium, it could hardly go wrong musically. When they began to play When The Lights Are Down, the crowd seemed to roar with approval, and it was very much the same for the next couple of songs. Still raining, the band decided (wisely) to finish their set with what is arguably their magnum opus; that song was March Of Mephisto. From the front of the audience, it seemed like relatively few people left as a result of the horrendous weather - arguably a sign of how fantastic Kamelot had been. Although still nervous, understandably, Karevik is certainly a welcome edition to the band, and his potential is certainly staggering.

Opeth (18:30 - 19:30)
The Devil's Orchard was how Opeth decided to begin their set, a gloomy song for a gloomy day. Gloomy is far from the main word that one would use to describe Opeth's Wacken performance, however - 'praiseworthy' is much more fitting. The main set consisted of I Feel The Dark, The Lines In My Hand, Heir Apparent, Demon Of The Fall and The Grand Conjuration, and the audience seemed to love every minute of it. Deliverance finished off the music, but the footprint of sheer wonder that Opeth left after their appearance at Wacken was certainly a durable and formidable one.

Hammerfall (19:45 - 20:45)
It was no surprise that Hammerfall gathered a rather large crowd. From Patient Zero to Hearts On Fire, they were certainly a force to be reckoned with. All of their songs are catchy on the recordings, and live? So much better. Something wonderful about their set was that they seemed to be enthusiastic about almost every song that they pumped out, which is sadly rare to see in a band of Hammerfall's stature. Admittedly, Hammerfall weren't much to look at, but the sound was top notch. From beginning to end, it looked like they blew the audience away. Joacim Cans was an excellent frontman as usual, interacting with the crowd as well as singing. Oscar Dronjak and Pontus Norgren certainly wowed with their guitar-playing skills as well. All in all, Hammerfall put on a truly memorable performance.

Dimmu Borgir with a choir and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra [CNSO] (21:00 - 22:30)
This truly was a spectacle. From the darkness of the stage, the sweet sounds of the CNSO playing Xibir could be heard, during which Dimmu Borgir graced the stage with their presence to finally play Born Treacherous. Although the sound wasn't perfect and we relatively short people could only see the majority of the action by watching the screens, the atmosphere of the event made the whole show infinitely more enjoyable. They played the majority of songs from their latest album, Abrahadabra, fully utilizing the skills of the talented choir and orchestra. A purely orchestral version of Eradication Instincts Defined marked the beginning of the move away from the new album, going back to the awesome Death Cult Armageddon. Finally hearing and seeing Dimmu Borgir play some of their finest songs with a full orchestra was absolutely stunning, and Djerv frontwoman Agnete Kjølsrud even made an appearance. The final song featuring the band was Mourning Palance, somewhat unsurprisingly. After that, the set closed with the CNSO playing the Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia track, Perfection Or Vanity, creating an atmosphere that was not to be beaten at the festival.

In Flames (22:45 - 00:15)
It felt as though nothing could follow up Dimmu Borgir, but In Flames were clearly underestimated. Pyrotechnics lit up the stage as the band played Cloud Connected behind a veil upon which cubes were projected. The stage show remained incredible for the entire performance. Most of the band members looked like they'd had a bit to drink, though Anders Fridén was amicable regardless. In Flames were probably one of the nicest bands at Wacken, and they certainly stood out from most of the bands that played on the True Metal stage, but their sound could have been improved slightly.

In Extremo (00:30 - 01:45)
Sterneneisen was how the band decided to start their show, and what a start; for the most part, things only got better. They carried on with Frei zu sein, Zigeunerskat and Herr Mannelig, and the crowd went wild as Das Letzte Einhorn took over the evening with his amazing stage presence. Some more pyrotechnics, and the band wonderfully performed Sängerkrieg, Flaschenpost, Unsichtbar, Zauberspruch No. VII and Spielmannsfluch. From the first song to the last - Villeman Og Magnhild - the band genuinely seemed to give it their all. On pure effort and enthusiasm alone, In Extremo made their set something amazing and different.

Saturday 4th August

Gamma Ray (13:00 - 13:45)
Opening with Dethrone Tyranny, Gamma Ray's set was really on a par with some of the best power metal bands performing today. Although their stage show was nothing particularly special, their musical performance was certainly spectacular. Their set consisted of Heaven Can Wait, Fight, Empathy, To The Metal and a bit of Rebellion In Dreamland, plus they also played fantastic Helloween covers Ride The Sky and I Want Out. The audience was quite big for the time of day, and the band and crowd interacted quite well. Gamma Ray finished their set with Send Me A Sign, and it truly was a fantastic start to an enjoyable day of music.

Paradise Lost (14:00 - 14:45)
It was a tough choice between Napalm Death and Paradise Lost, but there are no regrets for choosing Paradise Lost. With a fantastic set starting off with The Enemy, it felt as though the band deserved much more recognition. The next couple of songs were Honesty In Death and Erased, a good choice. After that they went on to play As I Die, the wonderful Tragic Idol and Forever Failure, each of the songs being done justice with their live performance. The audience were well behaved, though by no means dull, and this in turn seemed to help the band perform better. The rest of the set consisted of One Second, a hauntingly brilliant performance of Fear Of Impending Hell, a rendition of Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us which went down a treat and finally Say Just Words.

Megaherz (17:50 - 18:20)
After being disappointed by NDH band Oomph!, hopes were particularly low. Thankfully, Megaherz were a perfect example of how a live NDH show should be. Playing fantastic songs such as Jagdzeit, Heuchler, Mann im Mond, Miststück and 5. März, their set was one of the best yet smallest at Wacken. The sound quality was surprisingly good, and Megaherz made the most of it.

Cradle Of Filth (18:45 - 19:45)
Cradle Of Filth has long been a band that has divided metal fans. When Humana Inspired To Nightmare began to play, it wasn't immediately obvious why. Then the band started to play Heaven Torn Asunder; it was then that the issue became clear. Dani Filth's vocals were dreadful. Caroline Campbell's? Absolutely fine. Unfortunately, it just seemed to be Dani Filth that let the team down... The next few songs - Honey And Sulphur, Gilded Cunt, Lilith Immaculate, Nymphetamine and Her Ghost In The Fog - had exactly the same problem, though overall, they were well played, and the songs themselves were certainly good, with Paul Allender and James McIlroy seeming to work rather well together on guitars. Ebony Dressed For Sunset had a slight drop in quality from the other songs, though the quality seemed to rise again slightly for The Forest Whispers My Name. After Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids, Cradle Of Filth finished off their set with a decent performance of From The Cradle To Enslave. Generally, Cradle Of Filth weren't too bad, but they certainly left a lot to be desired.

Amon Amarth (20:00 - 21:15)
Out of all of the bands at Wacken, Amon Amarth probably had the most insane crowd. From start to finish - from War Of The Gods to Victorious March - there was crowdsurfing, headbanging and moshing. When it came to Twilight Of The Thunder God and Guardians Of Asgaard, it became almost impossible to breathe, being caught in between three moshpits. As for the band's performance? Spectacular - it was clear as crystal why the audience were so frenzied. Having seen Amon Amarth several times before, it feels justifiable to say that Amon Amarth seem to be the sort of band that only gets better with time. Playing the likes of Live For The Kill and Cry Of The Black Birds, it was a fabulous set. The interaction was excellent, the pyrotechnics were exceptional and the sound was high-grade.

Scorpions (21:30 - 23:00)
This legendary band created a truly legendary concert, one that will no doubt stay in the memories of those present for years to come. They opened with Sting In The Tail from their latest album, although their setlist was comprised of many songs from all throughout their discography. Despite the torrential rain halfway through their set, people understandably stuck around for the entirety. They played the likes of Coast To Coast, Hit Between The Eyes and Big City Nights, and with every song came an amazing spectacle to die for on stage. The band's presence and the pyrotechnics were positively out of this world. Whereas one can drift off or lose attention during a lot of shows, Scorpions made sure that their audience were captivated for the whole performance. They may not have played Wind Of Change, but the recital was so good that it was almost impossible to care.

Diablo Swing Orchestra (22:45 - 23:30)
Unfortunately as Diablo Swing Orchestra started before Scorpions stopped and there was a frantic rush to see Dio Disciples, there was not much of a chance to see their entire set. However, what was seen of them, including VooDoo Mon Amour and Lucy Fears The Morning Star, was excruciatingly brilliant. Perhaps one of the best avant-garde metal bands in the world right now, DSO certainly knew how to put on a special show. It was almost disappointing to see such a small audience, as this band were one of the best at the entire festival; they were one of those bands that were just as amazing - if not more so - live as they were recorded. It was a pleasure to see them in action, and they will doubtless be gracing the German festival scene with their presence for many years to come.

Dio Disciples (23:45 - 00:45)
Stand Up And Shout got the unforgettable show underway. Having never seen Dio Disciples before, it felt as though a simple cover band should be expected, but the band were just so much more than that. As if Tim Owens and Toby Jepson being on the same stage together wasn't awesome enough, their performance was first class and everything. They played such favorites as Holy Diver and Rainbow In The Dark, plus plenty of Rainbow and Black Sabbath songs too. The instrumental talents of Simon Wright and Craig Goldy were the best, par excellence, and a thrill to behold. Mistakes and shortcomings were expected, yet expectations were never met. Indeed, Dio Disciples exceeded all expectations and rose beyond the challenge. Dio would have been proud.

Ministry (00:45 - 01:45)
Too loud. Far too loud. Actually louder than hell. Apart from that small complaint, Ministry were pretty fabulous. They opened with Ghouldiggers and the music and songs only got better. Ministry may have been going for a while, but they certainly still had it. The show was bright and lively, somewhat over the top at times and most certainly in-your-face. Despite the abysmal weather and the ankle-deep mud, the crowd was humungous. Something about Ministry brought out the livelier side of even the most timid people, as people could be seen bouncing around for most of the set. A trip back to 1989 was how Ministry chose to end their set, with a stunning performance of their song Thieves. Ministry may have stuck out like a sore thumb at Wacken, but that thumb most likely got sore being pricked by thorns of awesomeness.

Edguy (02:00 - 03:00)
Edguy were the (not-really-much-of-a) surprise act, which was really rather nice. Their set did feel painfully short, though they did have roughly an hour. No fancy props or gimmicks for Edguy - these guys were clearly about good old fashioned power metal for the masses. The crowd was fairly small, probably put off by the ever-worsening sludge; however, that didn't stop Tobias Sammet from putting his all into it for the people present. The band really seemed to be having a good time, and they definitely came across as a Wacken favorite. It may have been the early hours of the morning, but it was unbelievable how full of energy they were. Despite the shocking terrain, the weather was finally looking up - not too cold, not too hot, and not raining either, as unbelievable as that may be. In all honesty, Wacken could probably not have ended on a better note.

Stephanie Malin


Wacken 2011 - 3rd-6th - Wacken, Germany -

Ski King, Seven Stiches, Achren, Exquisite Pus,Golem, Frei.Wild, Helloween, Blind Guardian, Ozzy Osbourne, Ensiferum, Van Canto, Sodom, Rhapsody On Fire, Judas Priest, Tryptikon, Apocalyptica, Dir en Grey, Mayhem, Iced Earth, Sepultura, Avantasia, Kreator, Motörhead, Children Of Bodom, Subway To Sally

Wednesday 3rd August

Apart from a few lesser-known and underground artists, this was mostly a day of debauchery. In the Wackinger Village, there were Vikings and Knights, a role-play and Highland games, some rowdy Bruchenball players and a fire show in the evening. Elsewhere in the festival site, there was music over in the beergarden, films being shown on the big screens around the site and wrestling and such in Bullhead City. The W.E.T stage had bands from the Metal Battle.

Ski King
Upon entering Bullhead City, one would expect to see a band on stage. No - this was a man, just a man by himself. He was singing along to pre-recorded songs and country and Western style covers of rock and metal songs. As boring and perhaps talentless as that sounds, Ski King was in fact a fantastic singer. The crowd was considerably large, and the singer was well-received with a lot of applause. He finished his set with a song he had written himself which went down brilliantly. Overall, Ski King's set was definitely better than expected.

Thursday 4th August

Today, the bigger and more well-known bands started playing. There were still bands from the Metal Battle playing on the W.E.T stage, and other things going on here and there. More and more people were entering the festival site, and the atmosphere was certainly changing. The bigger bands didn't play until the evening, but it was quite clear that a lot of people had been waiting for practically the whole day for them to play.

Seven Stitches
This Portuguese band put an awful lot of effort into the short time they had on stage. In their 25 minute set, they sold themselves well, impressing the audience and doubtless accumulating a fair number of fans as they went. The members seemed to be really enjoying themselves, which always makes a show more enjoyable to watch for the audience too. For such a small band, Seven Stitches truly were a brilliant band at a festival with such a brilliant reputation.

Hailing from Glasgow, this band were a fantastic example of up-and-coming British metal to keep an eye out for. The guitar playing in particular was excellently sharp, even if the sound on the W.E.T stage in general wasn't particularly enviable in comparison to the main stages at the festival (obviously). The band members seemed fun enough, and they seemed to have a couple of fans and/or friends at the front.

Exquisite Pus
Spanish band Exquisite Pus were absolutely fantastic live. Juan Antonio's harsh vocals were certainly top-notch for the entirety of the performance, and the rest of the band played their instruments just fine. However, Exquisite Pus seemed slightly louder than the last two bands, and considering that the sound on the W.E.T stage wasn't all that good in the first place, it didn't really help matters. In spite of this, it was still an enjoyable and good performance.

Playing an exquisite brand of melodic death metal, Italian band Golem delivered a simply astounding performance at Wacken. With their awesome mascot gracing the audience with its presence before and during Golem's set, they certainly put on a jolly good show for a fairly small band. The songs were catchy and the band were lively, and Golem certainly deserved the decent-sized audience that they had.

This show was somewhat disappointing when one takes into consideration Frei.Wild's decent reputation, especially nationally in Germany. Although a good chunk of the audience seemed to enjoy the band's performance, they just seemed so mediocre, even in comparison to the smaller bands at the festival. Despite their repetitive nature, it was perhaps the band's good audience interaction that kept the audience interested. Although not the best musicians ever, the band certainly seem like a nice bunch of guys.

Technical difficulties, power cuts - not the best way to open a set at probably one of the biggest metal festivals in the world. However, it is not exactly fair to take this out on Helloween - it was not their choice to have the problems after all. After all of the commotion, they played Eagle Fly Free, and immediately it became obvious that this was going to be a fantastic performance. After Eagle Fly Free, they played March Of Time and Where The Sinners Go, and then Dani Löble had a drum solo. It was near perfection and a true display of his abilities. Afterwards the band played I'm Alive, followed by the wonderful Keeper Of The Seven Keys, perhaps one of Helloween's finest pieces, which they unarguably did justice. Following Keeper Of The Seven Keys was Future World and Dr. Stein, before Helloween went off stage. However, the audience weren't prepared to leave without a 'Zugabe' (encore). The Zugabe was a brilliant rendition of I Want Out, which they milked for as long as they could without it getting ridiculous. The crowd joined in, and it wouldn't be surprising if it was one of the best performances of I Want Out that Helloween have ever done. This was an absolutely marvellous set from Helloween, and was definitely worth watching.

Blind Guardian
This was possibly one of the most stunning performances by any band, ever. As soon as the beginning of Sacred Worlds started playing, it was obvious that Blind Guardian would put on an unforgettable show. Their entire setlist was made up of probably their most loved songs, with Welcome To Dying, Nightfall and Time Stands Still following Sacred Worlds, made all the more spectacular by a brilliant display of pyrotechnics. Traveller In Time and Fly were up next, followed by Tanelorn and Imaginations From The Other Side, showing how, even through slight changes in sound throughout the band's history, Blind Guardian have never faltered in quality. Next up, a slightly gentler and more relaxing song as they beautifully played Lord Of The Rings. Afterwards, they played Wheel Of Time, and the whole eight or so minutes of the song were played to perfection. Valhalla was turned into an extended sing-along before the band went back to where it all began for a performance of Majesty. To no surprise, André whipped out his acoustic guitar, and in the blink of an eye, tens of thousands of people were singing The Bard's Song (In The Forest), perhaps one of the most beautiful sights to behold in the world, before the band finished with a firework-laden Mirror Mirror. This show was absolutely faultless, and one of the best at Wacken 2011 by far.

Ozzy Osbourne
Foam and fun were what Ozzy and his cronies had to offer. I Don't Know was the opening song with an immediately good audience reaction. The next songs were Suicide Solution and a hauntingly honourable Mr. Crowley. Ozzy delved into his Black Sabbath era works with War Pigs before playing Bark At The Moon, Road To Nowhere and Shot In The Dark. The crowd was rowdy for some more Sabbath, so the musicians played Rat Salad and Iron Man, and the audience seemed pleased enough. I Don't Want To Change The World and Crazy Train were played, and Ozzy really didn't want to leave - he got the audience to cheer as much as possible for an encore, and an encore is what they all got! Mama, I'm Coming Home was played before everybody had their faces blown off by a wonderful performance of Paranoid. Ozzy Osbourne can still rock out after four decades or so, and his set was a brilliant way to top the Thursday night bands.

Friday 5th August

More bands today, bigger and better, and quite a good mixture and selection too. With all sorts of metal, from a cappella to thrash, Friday certainly promised to be an exciting day, not to mention the fact that the almighty Judas Priest were playing a show on their Epitaph tour. Bands were also playing from midday until 03:00 the next day, so there were hours and hours of musical mischief and mayhem to be had.

This was an amazing way to start the Wacken day. They opened with From Afar and Twilight Tavern from the From Afar album, before going back to their first album for Battle Song. Tale Of Revenge was the next song, followed by a hard-hitting Blood Is The Price Of Glory. Treacherous Gods and Victory Song were blasted out with the consistent Ensiferum enthusiasm, and they played Stone Cold Metal and Iron to finish up.

Van Canto
After watching live videos of Van Canto, they would not appear to be the best of groups live, but this Wacken show was fabulous! They opened with Lost Forever, and the audience were already energised and hyped up, and a fantastic version of Wishmaster didn't exactly do much to calm them down. One To Ten was the next song, followed by some Grave Digger and Sabaton. Of course, Van Canto did balance out the covers with To Sing A Metal Song, and as if Blind Guardian weren't enough the night before, Van Canto also decided to sing The Bard's Song (In The Forest), before singing Water. Fire. Heaven. Earth. and a fantastic cover of Metallica's Master Of Puppets. No show would be complete with a bit of Manowar, so they sang Kings Of Metal next, and finished their set with Fear Of The Dark. Van Canto were certainly more well-received than expected and were a wonderful sight to behold live. A cappella is the new metal.

Starting out, this was actually quite disappointing. Sure, Sodom are getting on a bit, but that should not really be much of an excuse - just look at Ozzy Osbourne! Overall, their set was not too bad, and the majority of the audience seemed to enjoy their set a lot. Their first song was In War And Pieces, followed by The Vice Of Killing, Outbreak Of Evil and The Saw Is The Law. Then they played I Am The War, M-16, Feigned Death Throes, The Art Of Killing Poetry and, actually performed quite well, Agent Orange! In fact, towards the end of their set, things picked up slightly in general. Blasphemer and City Of God were both played quite well, as was Remember The Fallen, doing brilliant songs the justice they deserved. They finished off with Bombenhagel, and, despite not being up to the standards that Sodom should perhaps have, the show was certainly still worth the wait.

Rhapsody Of Fire
For a band that have had a slightly tumultuous history and a discography with extremely varying receptions, Rhapsody Of Fire and their audience were totally full of life and their performance was breathtakingly superb. They opened with the beginning of their Triumph Or Agony album, which, despite the album having received some harsh criticism, went down extraordinarily well. Next they played Holy Thunderforce, which sounded as magnificent live as it did recorded. Staying with Dawn Of Victory, they played The Village Of Dwarves before moving onto The Frozen Tears Of Angels to play On The Way To Ainor. After their brief look at one of their more recent albums, they went back to playing their older songs, Dawn Of Victory, Lamento Eroico, Unholy Warcry and The March Of The Swordmaster, and because of Rhapsody's shaky history, especially with regard to tours, this was an absolute treat for all fans of the band. Such an energetic and masterful band was truly deserving of an encore, and the audience's enthusiasm was rewarded with the glorious Reign Of Terror and an unbelievably powerful performance of the classic Rhapsody Of Fire. For a relatively small set that had hardly been publicised, Rhapsody put on a stunning performance.

Judas Priest
What an awesome appearance! Starting off with two tracks from the popular British Steel album, Rapid Fire and Metal Gods, Judas Priest immediately drew the crowd in. They played a good selection of songs from their backlog, Heading Out To The Highway, Judas Rising, Starbreaker, Victim Of Changes, Never Satisfied then Joan Baez's Diamonds And Rust. The entire set was crammed with more mainstream favourites and songs for the Priest fanatics, and instrumental solos and of course Rob Halford's spectacularly dazzling voice just totally made this a show to remember. They had two encores, and both were played to what were probably Priest's highest standards possible. The audience remained enthusiastic and interactive for the entirety of Priest's time on stage, and this now god-like band, which has fans from doubtless many countries all around the world, was given a 'send-off' that they truly earned.

After the energy and liveliness of Judas Priest, Triptykon's spectacle was certainly a contrast. An hour of slow, atmospheric doom metal was not for everyone, but the crowd present certainly seemed to appreciate the moody, and dare I say 'grim', ambience of the show. They neither interacted with the audience very much nor played many songs, but the majority of their time on stage appeared to be mostly moping, for lack of a better word. As depressing and dull as this may sound, it was actually incredibly enjoyable, and the band played certainly much better than expected.

This band has certainly come a long way from being those musicians who play Metallica on cellos. Opening with their own wonderful On The Rooftop With Quasimodo and 2010, the group got off to a terrific start, and the crowd seemed to wake up a even more when they got on to Master Of Puppets, which is probably what Apocalyptica are most famous for. They continued to show off their musical abilities even more with Grace, Bring Them To Light and Last Hope, adding beautiful vocals to the mix. Nothing Else Matters, Inquisition Symphony and Seek & Destroy were next on the covers list, and just before their epic finale, they played I Don't Care. For their epic, stunning finale? Hall Of The Mountain King, of course, and what a show! The stage was a platform for cello abuse as they played the classic Grieg song in their own distorted, twisted fashion. Indeed, Apocalyptica were perhaps the icing on Friday's cake.

Saturday 6th August

Being the final day of Wacken, it was buzzing with excitement and high expectations, and oh yes, were those expectations met. With all sorts of fantastic and legendary bands taking the stage and giving it their all, the people of the Wacken Open Air were delivered one hearty slice of awesome cake. With only infuriatingly torrential rain to ruin the later hours of the day/Sunday morning, almost nothing could spoil this blindingly mesmerising conclusion of an experience never to be forgotten.

Dir En Grey
This band were fantastic live, wowing their modestly-sized audience with their fantastic eccentricity from the East. Obviously being a Japanese band, they didn't really interact with the audience at all, perhaps because they don't speak fantastic English, perhaps because they felt it would have been rude not to have spoken to (primarily) Germans in German. Whatever the reason, it didn't matter - all that mattered was that the vocalist was insanely good and that the rest of the band made something of their hour on stage.

Now here was a show that just seemed to drag on forever... The band seemed miserable and tired, as though they didn't particularly want to be there at all. However, each song should be assessed individually! They opened with Pagan Fears, which admittedly they played quite well, and after that was Ancient Skin, which even though not as good as Pagan Fears was still all right. It was by their third song, My Death, that they seemed to just lose it. No amusing get up or an inverted cross on a microphone could get away from the shoddy performance. Cursed In Eternity, View From Nihil, Illuminate Eliminate and Silvester Anfang just seemed to be an indistinguishable wall of noise. By Deathcrush, things started to look up again, and at least one could tell that Anti, Freezing Moon and A Time To Die were different songs. The last two songs were Chainsaw Gutsfuck and Pure Fucking Armageddon, which were played to a better standard than a lot of Mayhem's set.

Iced Earth
The last Iced Earth show with Matt Barlow. Probably ever. No review could ever do the wonders of this presentation justice. The band started their set with the fantastic Burning Times and Declaration Day, both played with energy and intensity. For the next two songs they ventured back to The Dark Saga and played Vengeance Is Mine and Violate, and it was probably from that point onwards that the crowd surfers came, and came in droves they did. Last December was next on the list, and after that an emotional I Died For You. The last five songs, Jack, The Hunter, Prophecy, Birth Of The Wicked and The Coming Curse, were all proof of Iced Earth and Matt Barlow's amazing, undeniable talent. When they got their much deserved encore, Iced Earth was Matt's farewell song to his fans and his band, and what a farewell it was. Witnessing this show, right there, as it happened was truly an honor.

This band have certainly been through some changes, although they are still a pretty good band, as they evidently showed everybody with this performance at Wacken, which was certainly enjoyable for the most part. They played a good selection of songs, all the way through from Morbid Visions to Kairos, and Derrick Green did a brilliant job of fronting the band. The audience was quite small but certainly good, and overall the band was worth seeing and still full of life after almost three decades.

With Tobias Sammet looking to focus on Edguy from now on, this concert felt somewhat more special than perhaps any other Avantasia show. The stage show and everything else was sheer perfection! Plus, as promised, there was a good selection of guess vocalists... The set opened with Twisted Mind, and there was an immediate wave of cheering and singing from the audience. When Jørn Lande joined the stage to sing The Scarecrow and Promised Land, the atmosphere was simply through the roof (or would have been if there was a roof), and Bob Catley joining the stage for The Story Ain't Over was magnificent. Next up was the amazing Michael Kiske, singing Reach Out For The Light and Dying For An Angel, and Avantasia had become so mind-blowingly awesome by this point that the crowd were going wild. The beautiful Death Is Just A Feeling was made even more beautiful by the presence of Kai Hansen, before the band pressed on to Lost In Space. Standing in the crowd, trying to imagine something more admirable and wonderful, Farewell probably helped somewhat. Amanda Somerville graced the song with her voice, and it sounded as though almost everybody joined in for the chorus. The Wicked Symphony with Jørn Lande was absolutely brilliant, and the encore, consisting of Shelter From The Rain', Avantasia, Sign Of The Cross and The Seven Angels, was simply marvellous. Avantasia was most definitely a highlight of this year's Wacken Open Air, and the audience and the musicians were all fantastic - what a way to end an era!

This was actually an amazing thrash show, proving to all that there is more to thrash than angst and genericness. Kreator began their Wacken set with Choir Of The Damned, followed by Hordes Of Chaos, Warcurse and Endless Pain. The crowd had gathered almost to the back of the main festival area, even people right near the back headbanging and throwing the horns. Pleasure To Kill, Destroy What Destroys You, Voices Of The Dead, Enemy Of God and Phobia were the next few songs, and the band's stage show, although not too showy, certainly surpassed average. The band thrashed through Reconquering The Throne and The Patriarch, hitting every note just right, concentration written over their faces. Violent Revolution, Betrayer and Flag Of Hate were played incredibly well, and Tormentor as the final song was just perfect. The audience was certainly diverse, and understandably so - Kreator are certainly more than just one's average thrash metal band.

For the following and reputation that the band has, Motörhead seemed to be quite monotonous and repetitive. Opening with Iron Fist, they rocked their way through the likes of Stay Clean, Get Back In Line, Metropolis, Over The Top and the hilarious Rock Out. Although the music itself and stage show varied little, Lemmy's (most likely drunken) attitude and behaviour on stage towards the audience was definitely amusing for all, and with attacks on politicians which the primarily German audience probably didn't get, it got the Brits involved. They played several songs and were visited by an aeroplane of lighting before disappearing for a while, but not for long, of course. They had an encore of Ace Of Spades and Overkill, which 70,000 people sang along to. Spectacular. Despite how long and monotonous it seemed, the show was still rather pleasing, and a lot of people certainly seemed to have had a good time.

Children Of Bodom
Considering they didn't start off the pace too well, and they did mess up a couple of times along the way, Children Of Bodom's performance was actually quite impressive overall. Not My Funeral was the first song to be played, followed by Bodom Beach Terror. Shovel Knockout and Roundtrip To Hell And Back were all right, although the rain distracted from the performance slightly with how irritating it was. In Your Face, Living Dead Beat, Children Of Bodom, Hate Me! and Blooddrunk, however, were played so fantastically well that they totally took one's mind off the weather! Angels Don't Kill was brilliant, and Alexi Laiho and Janne Warman used the time before Follow The Reaper and Downfall to chill out and talk to the audience some more. The ever-popular Are You Dead Yet? and the anthemic Hate Crew Deathroll finished off Children Of Bodom's set. The show was principally wonderful, and definitely a good way to close off the Black Stage.

Subway To Sally
The final band on the True Metal Stage, Subway To Sally certainly had to put on a good show. What a show! The fireworks, lighting and pyrotechnics, all brilliant, and the music certainly matched up to them. The lights were dazzling and the fog was thick, and from the blur of light covering the stage, Henkersbraut could be heard. Feuerland, Judaskuss and Kleine Schwester were played appropriately well, the rain pouring down, adding to the mood (although yes, it was infuriating). The rest of the setlist was amazing and including a song from their upcoming album Schwarz In Schwarz, which had been advertised on the screens around the site. The encore was Julia Und Die Räuber, and the band was so positively astounding that the majority of the audience, obvious fans and probable casual onlookers, stuck around until the very end, even through the monsoon and developing lake of mud. Subway To Sally turned out to be the perfect end to a perfect festival.

On a personal note, this was my first time at the Wacken Open Air, and after hearing its good reputation, I had understandably high standards. For the most part, I was not disappointed. The bands may make up a large portion of the festival, and they all performed fantastically of their own accord, but a festival really does need to have a good atmosphere to make the experience worthwhile, and the WOA's atmosphere was almost unbeatable. The people were generally friendly, and for a festival with such a high volume of attendees it felt incredibly comfortable and spacious. Like every music festival, it had its ups and downs and there were a few quirky characters, but one can hardly help such things. Wacken is definitely a festival to consider attending regularly and even if you cannot afford to be a regular, at least attempt to make the pilgrimage at some point in your life - you shan't regret it.

Stephanie Malin


Wacken 2004
- 5.-7. August - Wacken, Germany -

Zodiac Mindwarp, Motörhead, Mnemic, Paragon, Dionysus, Cathedral, Arch Enemy, Brainstorm, Satan, Grave Digger, Kotipelto, The Rods / Feinstein, Dio, Destruction, Doro / Warlock, Amon Amarth, Mystic Prophecy, Death Angel, Unleashed, Anthrax, Nevermore, Helloween, Children Of Bodom, Saxon

The weather prognosis for the Wacken weekend was quite good - hot & sunny. This year they celebrate their 15th anniversary and so they invited some of the bands who played here several times very successful like Doro and Saxon. As usual the party started Thursday night, but I couldn't be there before Friday morning and so the Thursday was observed by Jörg Petersen.
The anniversary festival was kicked off by the British Zodiac Mindwarp. The band had a hit - Prime Mover - in the late 80's, then in 2002 they came back. I think many didn't knew the band, I only know this one song, so I can't tell you very much. During the 60 minutes set they played also Feed My Frankenstein - Alice Cooper did that one - and a Thin Lizzy cover - The Rocker. Okay to warm up for the festival, but no big deal, if you missed them.
No. 2 on this Thursday night were other Brits, but much more known - Motörhead. They are legendary. And the trio opened up with We'Are Motörhead. Their 70 min. long set includes almost all their classics like No Class, Bomber, Doctor Rock and new ones like Life's A Bitch from their new album Inferno. I think most metalheads saw them live and so there is no need to tell about the show. And surely they didn't left without playing Ace Of Spades and Overkill.
Headliner of the first day are a band which gets very controversial reactions - Böhse Onkelz. The band announced that they will do one last tour and then it's over after about 20 years. I guess that was the reason why Wacken organizers decided to sell day tickets for Thursday. Many metal fans came to see this band for the last time... Okay, there is a chance to see them on tour later this year, but at Wacken it's always something special. I never been a fan of the band and I'm still not. The band played about 2 ½ hours and presented - as far as I can say - all their classics and also a few new songs. A good show. I know that fans of the band will be more euphoric, but I'm not a fan. And so it was almost midnight when they left the stage and the first day of the 15th WOA was over.
Friday's program started almost too early for me, coz I wanted to see the Danish Mnemic. I already saw them last year on tour with Death Angel. At the same time as Mnemic played on the Party Stage the Dutch Orphanage played on the Black Stage. So I had to choose, I would have like to see Orphanage, but decided to see Mnemic - and even if you watched Mnemic you had to listen to the gothic metal from the Black Stage, coz they were too loud. That problem we all had to face through out the whole weekend. Singer Michael Bogballe looked like he had a major hangover, but did a good job. The Danish woke up the fans with their mixture of thrash, hardcore and industrial metal. In comparison with last year I have to say that at the club show they were better, but perhaps it was just too early for them, too. (JP)
On the True Stage the Hamburg-based band Paragon opened up. Their power metal sounded fresh and their songs are strong enough to let them play later that day, but well... With songs like Across The Wastelands, Palace Of Sin and Thunderstorm they showed their class and singer Andreas Babuschkin proofed that he is a good frontman. You should check them out live, if you haven't seen them this time. (JP)
My first band at the Wacken open-air were the Swedish-German Dionysus. I saw the band last December when they opened up on the Doro / Saxon tour. Musically the band made a step forward with their last album Anima Mundi. And the tour made them sound tighter. Most of the fans in front of the Party Stage seemed not to be familiar with their songs and so only Bringer Of War could make the people clap hands. Especially singer Olaf Hayer - the only German band member - could show that he developed and that last years tour did help them getting better live. Perhaps they could have done better, but this was a decent show. (AP)
Cathedral... I haven't seen the British band of Lee Dorian before, but I know some of their songs. Their mixture of doom and rock is enjoyable, even if you don't know them. I was surprised how many fans came to see the doomsters on the Black Stage. I remember that I first saw their video Hopkins and I think that's - beside Carnival Bizarre - the song most metal fans know. Perhaps a sunny day isn't the best condition for this band. A club seems to be more fitful. (JP)
Many metal fans said that Arch Enemy are a great band, but last years tour had partly been canceled for Arch Enemy due to voice problems of singer Angela Gossow. Well, today Miss Gossow was in best form. If you hear songs like We Will Rise and Silent Wars and you don't know the band you would think that they have a male sings. Angela is grunting and roaring like her male colleagues. The Swedish band with the German singer is presenting power metal which is - at least the guitars are - influenced by Yngwie Malmsteen and Michael Schenker. They are on their way to the top with their 4th album Anthems Of Rebellion. I think that they could attract even more fans, if Angela's vocals wouldn't be so extreme. Musically I really like them, but to be honest I'm not into Miss Gossow's vocal style. But the fans liked it. (JP)
On the True Metal stage it was time for the German power metaller Brainstorm. From album to album, from tour to tour the quintet got better. Many saw them on the tour with Edguy and were hot to see them again - and at their stage time it was almost too hot! Songs like Shiva's Tears, Hollow Hideaway and Highs Without Lows made the fans rock. But you didn't have to move to get sweaty. Years ago the band played at Wacken (Party Stage or W.E.T. stage - I can't remember), that was before Andy B. Franck joined the band and at that time their shows was just okay. With a sympathetic and talented frontman like Andy they have to be on the big stage. It seems that no one can stop them on their way to the top. Definitely one of the best bands so far and they will be part of the festivals top 10! See you on tour next spring! (CE)
Mmhhh... Satan got known with their albums Suspended Tense and Into The Future. That was in the mid- / late 80's, but the band was founded in 1981. The name Satan probably make you believe that they are playing black or death metal, but they were part of the NWoBHM. Later they changed their name, but never made it big. Brian Ross and his pals could rock the 2,000+ fans who came to see them in the heat of the sunny afternoon. After 15 years they are back on stage together and they did a good job. But now I need something to drink! (JP)
True metal on the True Stage with the German true metal legend Grave Digger. Three years ago they recorded their Tunes Of Wacken DVD and so they acted very professional on stage while they got filmed. This time they wanted to party, to have fun. Chris Boltendahl and his band stand in front of ca. 20,000 fans and presented 75 minutes of classics including The Grave Dancer, The Dark Of The Sun and Excalibur. Like on their last tour the quintet didn't left the stage without playing the title track of their first album - Heavy Metal Breakdown. During the set of Grave Digger the security in the pit had to work hard to catch all the crowd surfers and to prevent that anyone got hurt. It's great that not just long-time fans are watching, a lot of young fans are into their music and so it seems that the future of metal is bright. (CE)
Last year I saw Stratovarius on tour, a lot happened since that tour and Stratovarius no longer the same. Singer Timo Kotipelto had released his first solo album Waiting For The Dawn about 2 years ago. Now he is back with Coldness. This is his second time at Wacken open-air - in 2002 he played Thursday night at the True Stage, now he's playing at the Party Stage - and presented mainly the same songs. But he also presented some Coldness tunes and the Stratovarius tune S.O.S.. The blonde singer plays melodic metal and if Stratovarius should be over, then the chances to take over the whole following are very good. Meanwhile he has to write more catchy songs like Reasons. Good show, not as spectacular as Stratovarius with all their effects, but their for it's reduced to the basics - the music. Even if I saw better shows I'll go to see him again, if he should tour. (AP)
David 'The Rods' Feinstein was one of the acts I was really curious about. First, I always liked The Rods and second, on his solo album John West is singing and I like his voice and style. On my way to the stage I met Chris Caffery who came to do a guest appearance during the Doro show - he told me weeks before, so I wasn't surprised - and we were on our way to the Black Stage to watch The Rods / Feinstein. It was the first time ever The Rods played in Germany, so I had no chance to see them before. The cousin of Ronnie James Dio first played with The Rods 3 tracks - Hurricane, Crank It Up and Power Lover, then the trio left the stage. No, it wasn't over, Mr. Feinstein just changed his team to present his current solo album Third Wish. Royal Hunt / Artension singer John West - his last solo album Earth Maker was released in 2002; on the album Chris Caffery played guitars - is a great singer and performer. His bluesy voice fit very well to the Feinstein compositions, especially on Regeneration. A big surprise was that Joey de Maio joined them on stage for a few moments and played Sting Of The Bumblebee intro. My resume: The Rods were good, but short and but hardly could fulfill the expectations. The albums were great and still are. Perhaps the expectations were too high... Feinstein was better, but they hadn't to deal with the expectations. On the other hand most metal fans didn't know the songs and in a situation like that it's hard to convince people. Unfortunately not that many fans came to the Black Stage to watch... I'm glad I decided to see The Rods / Feinstein instead of Kotipelto, coz the chance to see The Rods again isn't quite big. But I hope that Feinstein will return... And what about John West presenting his solo stuff live? (CE)
The it was time for Mr. Ronnie James Dio! And thousands of metal fans came to see the little man with the big voice. During the 90 min. set he presented the highlights of his career. His band - especially bassist Rudy Sarzo - did a great job to support the master. In the setlist were songs from his past with Rainbow (Stargazer, Gates Of Babylon, Long Live Rock'n'Roll), Black Sabbath (The Sign Of The Southern Cross) and from his long solo career like Holy Diver, Rainbow In The Dark, Rock'n'Roll Children and Don't Talk To Strangers. Another highlight was Man On The Silver Mountain. It's unbelievable, this man is almost 60 years old! But he still rocks! Hopefully we'll have the chance to see him on many more tours. Definitely one of the festival highlights! (AP)
Last time the German thrashers Destruction had major sound problems, this time everything worked out. The band of bassist / singer Schmier got a warm welcome from the fans and they thanked them with Curse Of Gods, Life Without Sense, Bestial Invasion, Thrash Til Death. It seems that this is the year of special guests, coz at the end of their set the three thrashers got joined by Holy Moses mistress Sabina Classen, Hypocrisy's Peter Tägtgren and the immortal Abbath. Wow, what a show! (JP)
Okay, Doro wasn't the first who worked with an orchestra, but she did it before and her fans ask for more. Many might say that after Metallica and Scorpions there is no need for more symphonic orchestral projects... Well, I saw Doro in April for the first time with the orchestra and it was great. Perhaps it wasn't the best idea to start with the orchestra part with Iron Maiden's Fear Of The Dark which she sang together with Blaze Bayley - they also did Man On The Edge - , they should have started with a more balladesque tune... As usual Germany's leading metal lady was nervous - perhaps because of the set she would later play with Warlock - and partly it seemed that she didn't felt comfortable... A big surprise for the 30,000 or more fans who watched was when Savatage guitarist Chris Caffery joined her on stage for the ballad Für immer. Interesting was her version of Judas Priest's Breaking The Law. But her focus were songs like Always Live To Win, Let Love Rain On Me, I Rule The Ruins, Metal Tango and All We Are which are on the coming Classic Diamonds album. Soon the first hour of her set was over and the people waited excited for her and Warlock! This reunion - the 1986 line-up, actually Niko Arvanitis already played on the 2nd part of the Hellbound tour in December 1985 - is a one-off show. There won't be more shows of Warlock, this was just for the 15th anniversary of Wacken. Doro had asked the fans to vote for their favorite songs. They started with Out Of Control. I remember the Warlock shows of this line-up quite good and it was great to see them again. Perhaps it wasn't as good as in 1986 when they played Monsters Of Rock or on the tour with Judas Priest or a year later with Dio - but that was with a different line-up, the Dio tour... Guitarists Peter Szegeti and Niko Arvanitis were always in motion and really seemed to enjoy being back on stage. Bassist Frank Rittel and drummer Michael Eurich delivered the basis for them. With songs like Fight For Rock, Midnight In China, Burning The Witches and Hellbound they took us on a travel back in time. Too soon it was over, perhaps not everybody would agree... But I think that more then 30,000 fans can't be wrong, coz they wanted more! (CE)
Last, but not least Amon Amarth entered the Black Stage. The Swedish quintet is the third time at Wacken and the good Crusher and the even better Versus The World made them big. Now they are working on their new album and came out of the studio to take part at the 15th metal party in Wacken. With Victorious March they began their march. Songs like Where Silent Gods Stand Guard and the brand-new Pursuit Of Vikings made time fly and much too soon - they just had 60 minutes - the Swedish had to leave the stage. Day no. 2 is over! (JP)

My first chance to see Mystic Prophecy meant to get up early - what is early in Wacken? Everything before 12.00 o'clock - to see them, coz they opened up the 3rd day at the Party Stage. Greek guitarist Gus G. (Dream Evil) seems to be a workoholic, otherwise I can't explain it. The quartet started in 2001 with their debut album Vengeance to conquer the power metal world. Last year they toured with Death Angel, but I missed that tour. Singer R.D. Liapakis is known for his work with Valley's Eve and the rhythm sections aren't nobodies, too. Beside the highlights of their 2 releases they even presented with Burning Bridges a track from their coming album Never Ending. A decent show. The quartet is no doubt very talented, but the special something I miss... (AP)
On the True Stage Death Angel were the first to play on this sunny Saturday. Mark Osegueda and his companions opened up with the intro of The Ultra-Violence followed by Seemingly Endless Time. I saw them last fall on their headlining tour and compared with that show the Wacken one wasn't a very good one... But everybody can have a dog's day. The guys enjoyed playing and frontman Mark Osegueda thanked the organization for giving them the chance to be part of the party and the fans for coming out to see them at that early hour. During their 45 minutes they tried to play their classics as well as new songs like Thrown To The Wolves and Thicker Than Blood from their current album The Art Of Dying. Okay, not their best show, but I'll give them another chance when they come back to play clubs this fall. (JP)
Deicide canceled their Wacken show and so Unleashed got the chance. It seemed that the band hasn't much stage experience, but perhaps I'm wrong... I'm not that much into the traditional Swedish death metal, but I thought I give them a try. With Winterland they presented a new track and the highlight of their set was Evil Dead from Death which they dedicated to Chuck Schuldinger and Quorthon. (JP)
One more thrash band... Anthrax come to tear down the place. The quintet were one of the highlights of the day. They played old songs like Got In A Mosh, I Am The Law, Got The Time, the Trust cover Anti-Social and the new tunes like Safe Home. But the absolute highlight was Indians. Singer John Bush, guitarist Scott Ian and the rest of the bunch were always in motion and delivered their thrash hymns to the masses. Great. (JP)
Seattle's Nevermore come over Wacken one more time. Singer Warrel Dane and guitarist Jeff Loomis are the mainmen of the Seattle quintet. A year ago they did a successfully headliner tour through out Europe to promote Enemies Of Reality. Today fronter Warrel Dane didn't hit the high notes as good as usual, the deeper notes came out much better. Anyway, old songs like The Heart Collector, Next In Line and the new I Voyager still sounded great. Unfortunately it seems that they forgot their past, coz not a single song from Sanctuary made it into the setlist. Not their best show, but good as usual. (CE)
With Helloween the only German band entered the True Stage on this hot summer day. Well, I'm still more into the old albums with Michael Kiske, but Helloween still have a lot of fans and many of their fans were waiting for their heroes in front of the stage. They started with Starlight and Keeper Of The Seven Keys, that's what I want to hear... But I would prefer Michael Kiske sing them. But okay, Andy Deris is a good frontman and within minutes he controlled the audience. The Hanseatic played a kind of best-of set incl. Eagle Fly Free, Hey Lord! and If I Could Fly. After Dr. Stein which everybody sang along, the absolute highlight was when Helloween founder Kai Hansen joined them for How Many Tears and Future World. This was what I hoped for, I heard rumors that Kai Hansen will play with them at Wacken. I never had the chance to see Helloween with Kai Hansen, but I saw him with Gamma Ray. It was a great moment... Legendary. (AP)
A highlight was the show of the Finnish Children Of Bodom. I'm not that much into death metal, but Alexi Laiho and his mates are one of the bands I really like. I saw them last year on their headlining tour and it was just great. This was the first time I saw them with new guitarist Roope Latvala who replaced Alexander. The Finnish started with Hate Me! followed by songs like Silent Night Bodom Night, Bodom After Midnight and Sixpounder from their last album. It's still amazing how Alexi Laiho handles his guitar and the vocals. It was really fun to watch them and the security in the pit worked hard to catch all the crowd surfers and stage divers. These days it's more death'n'roll then typical Scandinavian death metal and so this is a band which is interesting not just for death metal fans. Hopefully we don't have to wait too long to see them again on stage! (CE)
While WOA celebrated their 15th anniversary the next band is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year - Saxon! The British NWoBHM legend played very successfully at Wacken before. This time they wanted to party and presented 2 hours of Saxonian metal. Biff Byford and the rest of the bunch came to rock the house with their classics. It's amazing how these 'old' men rock. They opened with Heavy Metal Thunder the fireworks of songs included e.g. Dogs Of War, Solid Ball Of Rock, Princess Of The Night and The Eagle Has Landed. Saxon was another band who announced guests and the biggest surprise was probably that organizer Thomas Jensen joined them on bass for Strong Arm Of The Law. Former drummer Nigel Glockler took over the sticks for 747 and new drummer Jörg Michael took over another song - Crusader. During Wheels Of Steel the legendary steel eagle came down a little more and lightened up the stage. New guests entered the stage for Denim & Leather - Destruction bassist Schmier and Savatage guitarist Chris Caffery. Because they were running out of time the band stayed on stage and played Forever Free and Dallas 1 pm - the encores - immediately. What a party! Okay, Saxon play a lot live, but it's always fun to watch them and this was a special one. Thanks for 25 years of metal. (CE)
The last bands on the stages didn't attract anyone of us and after a weekend full of metal we all decided to slow down a little and have a drink.
Resume: The organization learnt from the complains of fans after the last years festivals. Not everything worked out 100%, but they improved. The big screens made it possible to get a closer look, even if you stand more in the back. Also to cut down the number of bands was a good idea, coz so every band has more time to play. But we still faced the same old problem that the bands on the Black Stage were too loud and so bands on the Party Stage had to suffer from this fact - or more correctly the fans. At least there were a few minutes between the bands to change from one stage to another. In the past you often had to choose between 2 bands who played at the same time, this year only Kotipelto and Feinstein / The Rods played at the same time and are interesting mainly for the same fans. Beside that it worked out good.
I still think that Wacken got too big, but on the other hand there are many metal fans who never have been there and who enjoy this festival. I remember the days when they started, even if my first visit to Wacken was in 1995, and it was a more familiar atmosphere. The first 4 years I attended the festival were the best in my opinion, then it got to big for my taste. But that's just my opinion. Perhaps I won't go there again every year, but there will be reviews of coming festivals from other stuff members.

Claudia Ehrhardt (CE)
Jörg Petersen (JP)
Anika Peterson (AP)

Wacken 2002
- 1.-3. August - Wacken, Germany -

Kotipelto, Blaze, Doro, Rose Tattoo, Vomitory, Rebellion, Iron Savior, Wolf, Vicious Rumors, Angra, Nocturnal Rites, Dying Fetus, Pretty Maids, Borknagar, Savatage, Destruction, Bruce Dickinson, Children Of Bodom, Candlemass, My Dying Bride, JBO, Warlord, Criminal, Rottweiller, Amon Amarth, Evergrey, Macabre, Shakra, Nuclear Assault, Falconer, Sinergy, Exodus, Immortal, Vanden Plas, Heathen, Mezarkabul, Cannibal Corpse, Unleashed, Hypocrisy, Blind Guardian, Kreator

Thursday, August 1st 2002

The philosophy of a festival is it takes place if rain or shine... And on Thursday evening it was rain! The heavy rain was more then the ground could soak up and so soon we all had to sink in the mud. Cars stuck and soon the metal fans looked like coming from mud wrestling... Should the 13th anniversary of the festival be held under an unlucky star? It looked quiet promising, coz this time the tickets were limited to 30,000 and the festival was sold-out days before the event started. On our way through the village we saw several fans searching for tickets.
When we arrived at the festival site it hasn't began to rain, but a rough wind was blowing and so I had to face the first time bad news at Wacken this year! Due to a storm warning the photo pit was closed for security reasons. (AD)
Unfortunately I haven't seen Stratovarius yet, even if I always liked them. Now I had to see at least their singer Timo Kotipelto with his solo band. The weather got worse and so they had pulled open the screens at the back of the stage to let the wind blow through. During the set heavy rain started falling, a thunderstorm came over us. The storm rattled at the light riggs. They kept playing - mainly songs of his solo album. During the songs Timo talked to the fans and joked about bad karma - "When I played here 2 years ago with Stratovarius I burnt my hand, now we have a thunderstorm. Next year Stratovarius will burn the whole place down." Actually I hoped that Kotipelto would play more then one Stratovarius song - Eternity. The storm got stronger during the set. A cover version was the last track Mr. Kotipelto offered and he chose Queensrÿche's I Don't Believe In Love. We all hoped for better weather, coz a festival isn't much fun under this conditions. (AP)
And because of the weather conditions it seemed that the show of Blaze had to be canceled. But the God of weather wanted to see the band and the fans at Wacken happy and so the storm calms down and with one hour delay the British could enter the stage. The quintet of former Iron Maiden singer had 45 minutes to blow the metal fans away. And due to the amount of live shows the five-piece was well experienced and showed a tight performance. Songs like Silicon Messiah (title track of their debut), Stare At The Sun and the title track of their latest release Tenth Dimension started the party and the fans easily were convinced by the British. And so the fans didn't mind, when during Born As A Stranger the microphone dropped out and the fans sang instead. To heat up the fans a little more they also played the Iron Maiden track Man On The Edge. Soon after the set the weather conditions got worse. (AD)
When the German metal queen and her band entered the stage it was still raining, but the fans didn't seem to care. It wasn't the first time Doro were playing at Wacken and it was known that especially at festivals she's playing a sort of best-of show. As usual they started with I Rule The Ruins. The set list offered songs like Metal Tango, All We Are, Für immer and - as far as I remember - East Meets West. The band did their best, but under this conditions it was quite hard, but they didn't disappoint their fans. Anyway, while watching the show we all got wet to the bone and so I decided to leave a little early to change from soaked clothes to dry ones. And to be back in time for Australia's Rose Tattoo. (JP)
Still raining. Rose Tattoo entered the stage and for many it was a surprise that Pete Wells wasn't with the band - he suffered from a leg injury and had to stay home. His replacement was okay, but I have no clue who it was and I haven't understood when he got introduced. A set list full of classics including One Of The Boy's, Astra Wally, Rock'n'Roll Outlaw and not to forget Nice Boy's. But they also played a few new tracks from Pain. My personal highlights were Union Man and One More Drink With The Boy's. The Australians ended their set with Suicide City. We all survived the first day of Wacken 2002. Not as much fun as I had expected, but just because of the bad weather. But like in the saying "what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger"... Well, I'm not sure. (JP)

Friday, August 2nd 2002

And the rain was still falling Friday morning. Will we ever get shine? We got, but later more about the weather conditions.
On the Black Metal Stage the sound was the whole day really bad and the first I saw who had to battle the sound problems were Vomitory. During the opening track Chaos Fury the guitars joined in while the drums were too loud. It was impossible to catch the melodies or song details, the Swedish death metal heads act professional and kept going on. But they should work on their stage acting, coz for the big stage it wasn't good enough... Anyway the rain got less and so more and more fans showed up in front of the Black Metal stage. It seems that the fans didn't care of the poor stage show. (JD)
The first band to see on Friday was Rebellion. Again there were technical problems and so they entered the stage a little later. The band enjoyed playing live and used the big stage for their show. Annihilator drummer Randy Black and the other Rebellions gave everything to entertain the crowd which wasn't that big on early Friday. But songs like The Prophecy heat up the fans. (AD)
It was a muddy walk to the True Metal stage. Here and there a few straw islands and metalheads who threw straw at each other... Finally I arrived at the stage to see Iron Savior who were already on stage for a few minutes. Band introduction through mainman Piet Sielck, but why was Helloween's Uli Kusch playing? Drummer Thomas Nack was suffering an injury and so the Helloween drummer jumped in. With Condition Red - the title track of their current release - and songs like Coming Home and Iron Savior they convinced not just their fans also the other metalheads who battled their way through the mud. But also the band had to face problems, Piet's guitar dropped out during Warrior. Due to the fact that Piet is singing and playing guitar the stage acting is a little static. But this time they tried to do a little better, especially when Piet's guitar dropped out. (JP)
The traditional metal of Wolf was what came next on Party Stage. Meanwhile the weather conditions got a little better and so it was more enjoyable to stay in front of the stage. Songs like Moonlight sounded pretty good and around 2 pm the sky turned into blue and the sun won the fight against the clouds. Soon fork lift trucks brought bales of straw to fight the mud and to make walking on the festival ground a little easier and safer. (AD)
Mmhh... Actually I don't know what to expect. I saw the American band Vicious Rumors at the Savatage tour, but their they didn't convince me. I decided to give them a second chance today, but if they fail again, then it was my last VR show. Same songs as on the tour. Why haven't they changed the set list? Okay, most seemed to be happy with this songs? I agree that songs like March Or Die, Digital Dictator and Abandoned are classics, but I missed songs from Word Of Mouth for example. But well... Not that bad. If they play on a festival or open up on concert I go to, I'll probably watch them. But when I remember that I saw them in fall 1994 on the last tour with Carl Albert, then it's a shame what become of the band. Sure, it's hard to replace such a charismatic singer, but other bands had to do that before... And they cope better with it. (JP)
At the time the Brazilian band Angra entered the stage the sky was as blue as on their backdrop and no more clouds have been seen. The atmosphere was very good and the Brazilian quintet got a warm welcome from the fans. And again sound problems was what they had to fight with like any other band. In the beginning to sound was awful, but got better during the set. Highlights were Angels Cry, Nothing To Say and Carry On which was the last one in the set. The fans celebrated Angra, but unfortunately the percussion part in the middle of the set where all band members played percussion was screwed up by the sound problems. Even due the sound problems the band made it with their melodic metal. (AD)
At 4 pm it was time to enter the stage for the Swedish Nocturnal Rites. The youngsters from Sweden were always in motion and presented a decent stage acting, especially bassist Nils Eriksson kneeled down several times. The response was overwhelming for the band and so their singer stated that this is better than sex and that he won't need Viagra tonight! The highlights of their set were Wake Up Dead and Change The World. (AD)
And for death metal and grind fans the billing presented the Americans Dying Fetus on the Black Metal stage. Usually the quartet is live very good, but I wasn't sure, if they can make it on the big stage in front of thousands of fans. They started with Destroy The Opposition, but the volume was too low, but powerful. The set list wasn't satisfying for me, coz they played just one track from the killer album Killing On Adrenaline. Anyway, a so-so show and it was obvious that not every grind / death head was happy with the set list and the performance of the American foursome. (JD)
The Danish dynamite Pretty Maids returned to Wacken stage and this time they had more luck, coz it wasn't raining! Last time they played here it was raining cats and dogs, that was in 1999. Ronnie Atkins and his pals were in a good mood and as usual they enjoyed playing live. Earlier this year the Copenhagen-based band toured in Germany and so they more or less cut down the set list, but managed to play the best of their current album Planet Panic and their classics. A decent show, but too short! (CE)
Back at the Black Metal stage to see Borknagar from Norway, a band I really like. I was curious to see how singer Vintersorg fit into the band of Øystein G. Brun live. Opening with the fist track of Empiricism it soon was obvious that Vintersorg fit into the band and with his charismatic voice he did very well, even if he can't stand the comparison with Simen. The sextet played songs like Gods Of My World, Ocean Rise and The Ruins Of Future. A surprise was that Borknagar's masterpiece Colossus sound pretty good with Vintersorg! Personally the band surprised me, coz I didn't expect that they would do well. I would like to see them again in a small club to make up my mind finally. (JD)
For the second time the American band Savatage was playing in Wacken. It's been 4 years they been here and a lot happened since. And even since the Poet & Madmen tour in January / February changes took place. Guitarist Jack Frost is out, Al Pitrelli is back, but not for this shows and so guitarist Chris Caffery asked a friend of the band to jump in. And he was right to bring Jeff Waters (Annihilator mastermind) to replace Al Pitrelli for the shows in Europe. They kicked of the set as on tour with Commissar. Actually most of the songs they also played on tour, but it was totally different! It seems that the Canadian guest gave them a special kick. During their 75 min. long set the sextet played songs like Sirens, Dead Winter Dead, Edge Of Thorns, Morphine Child – the best song on P&M – and the classic song Chance. After more then a year singer Damond Jiniya was able to convince everybody, even the metal fans who said that he was the weakest part of the band on the last tour. But also mainman Jon Oliva was in a better shape then on the last tour. Vocally he's better then ever! Unnecessary to talk about skills of the band members, every metal fan know that the Americans are technically brilliant. But maybe I should mention that it seems that having Jeff Waters on stage gave Chris Caffery some extra kick. This line-up was the best of the newest history of the band and I would wish it would last. Perhaps they will surprise us again... Anyway, I guess they made some new fans, for me the first real highlight of Wacken 2002! Thanks again! (CE)
This year many German bands were on the billing and so next were the thrash kings Destruction. They are not known for complex song writing, but they have a cult status in the German metal scene. And so songs like Nail To The Cross, The Butcher Strikes Back, Curse Of Gods, Mad Butcher and Eternal Ban were a must, but it seemed that the stage was much too big for the band, even if Schmier and mates were always in action. The only thing which was irritating was to hear Schmier talking English, coz I'm not used to, but it was very thoughtful from him, coz many fans come from every corner of this planet. Not everybody thought about that and so most of the German bands addressed their words in German which is IMO a little impolite... (JD)
The next highlight on main stage was Bruce Dickinson who was again presented his solo material. He showed that even if he's back with Iron Maiden, he is still a solo artist. And so he started with several songs from his solo albums before he played tracks like Revelations which he announced as songs of the other band in his life. The response of the crowd was good and even the people behind the sound & light tower responded to songs like Accident Of Birth and Tears Of A Dragon. The last mentioned track is perhaps the most famous song of his solo career and so thousands of hands seems to reach for the sky and thousands of voice sang the words. (AD)
Friday nights 'headliner' on the Black Metal stage were the Finish melodic death metal band Children Of Bodom. From the first second the band of singer and guitarist Alexi Laiho put the audience under a spell. The quintet was always in motion, especially Mr. Laiho seemed to be unstoppable. The Finish five-piece presented their highlights and also some new material. And I guess that the fans appreciate the chosen songs as Deadnight Warrior, Bodom After Midnight, Towards Dead End and Lake Of Bodom. Again the band showed that they are a good live act and so the fans stayed until the last note faded. (JP)
And then one of the highlights at Wacken 2002 – Candlemass! The Swedish doomsters were a lot better than at the BYH. Front man Messiah Marcolin and his mates offered Dark Reflections, Samarithan, At The Gallows, The Well Of Souls and Solitude as well as the masterpiece Bewitched and Dark Are The Veils Of Death. The mighty Messiah was stomping over the stage and heat up the audience and the fans were singing along. And the last words of Messiah to the masses were: "See you next year!" And it was over! (JD)
Later on the Party Stage it was the British band My Dying Bride played. An orchestral intro lead into the 45 minute long show of the dark metal heads from the U.K. After the amazing set of Candlemass it wasn’t easy to keep the fans awake, but the band of Aaron Stainthorpe did it their way. Without any words addressed to the audience the quintet played their set which two tracks form their 2001 album The Dreadful Hours as well as old ones as Turn Loose The Swans – a doom classic – and the hypnotic The Cry Of Mankind. And last, but not least the five-piece played an extended version of The Dreadful Hours. (JD)
While on main stage the German band JBO presented their new CD live. The band is known for covering well known metal tracks which they add funny German lyrics to the music. Actually this is just funny, if you understand the lyrics. And so I think that a band like JBO is an act which shouldn't be presented at a festival with fans from all over the world at the main stage, coz there are quiet a few fans who don't understand this. It would be just fair to give another band the possibility to play at that slot. (CE)
Another cult band entered the stage, this time the American US epic metal heroes of Warlord came to entertain the visitors. And even if it was almost 2 am many fans waited to see the band which was joined by Hammerfall singer Joacim Cans. It was a pleasure to listen to the old cult tracks and William J. Tsamis was amazing! Songs like Enemy Mind, War In Heaven, Sons Of Dreams, Battle Of The Living Dead, Deliver Us From Evil and Luzifer's Hammer made it worth staying until the end of Friday's event! (JD)

Saturday, August 3rd 2002

It was interesting that Saturday the sound on the Black Metal stage was a lot better, more powerful and clear. Good for the Chilean-English band Criminal who were the first had a good sound! The groovy death trash of band leader Anton Reiseneger and who joined in from other bands did a wake up call in their own way. A highlight of the set was the cover version Demonic Possession of the Chilean Pentagram. (JD)
For me the Saturday started with the band Rottweiller who made it onto stage before 11 am and so about 250 fans watched them at that early time. Songs like No Escape and Where Am I from the Seattle-based band entertained the small crowd well. (AD)
When Amon Amarth entered the Black Stage to present their viking death metal more fans gathered in front of them. Singer John Hegg and his fellows served killer tracks like Masters Of War, Last Will Pagan Blood, Annihilation Of Hammerfest and Victorious March. Nothing can show the value of the band better then to describe then scene when John was standing at the edge of the stage and raised his fists towards the sky and the fans cheer loudly!?! This band rules! They get better and better and became an essential part of the metal scene. (JD)
I just made it in time on the festival site to see, or more exactly hear Evergrey. The Swedish guys had to fight with technical problems, but professional as they are, they kept going on and presented tracks from their last album In Search Of The Truth. Tom Englund and his mates also played old ones, but priority had the new material. Okay, it's not new, coz the band is almost heading into the studio to record the follow-up, but... Anyway, I was glad to hear some tracks again and it seems that other fans appreciate that the Swedish came to play at Wacken for their first time. (CE)
Another interesting act on the Black Metal stage, the American serial killers of Macabre! They are sick! And they are doing a mean and very original death / thrash core with lyrics where they are talking about serial killers. Introducing the songs with some words about the deeds of the serial killers. The Chicago-based band impressed the viewers tracks like Zodiac, Albert Was Worth Than Any Fish, Hitchhiker, Nightstalker and Vampire Of Düsseldorf. They also played some new killer songs from Murder Metal. The crowd went crazy! It was just amazing! (CE)
Early afternoon, sunny and hot, that's how it was when the Swiss hard rockers of Shakra entered the stage. Their song The Sun Will Shine fit to the weather conditions now and the security was busy to cool down the audience with water from a hose. The songs from their latest release like Stronger varies from hard rock to melodic metal and the fans appreciate this good time music. Only the performance of front man Mark Fox was a little weak, but the rest showed a decent performance. (AD)
I'm still not sure what I should think about Nuclear Assault... The performance of guitarist / singer John Conelly was good and he had a lot of fun, was banging and joking, bassist Dan Lilker was torturing his bass and seemed to enjoy it, too. They played a lot of their classic songs like Sin, Critical Mass, Survive! and Trail Of Tears. Whatever was the reason, I didn't really get into it... Perhaps it was the weak sound which didn't get better during the set... Or that between killer songs they have weak ones, I don't really know. (JD)
Later that day the Swedish band Falconer entered the stage. Singer Mathias Blad acted like an insurance agent or bank assistant, but still the band got a good response from the viewers. The Swedish trio offered power metal with melody and a touch of medieval, but all just average. Aren't there enough other bands around? Anyway, the set list incl. songs like Decadence Of Dignity, Enter The Glade, The Clarion Call, For Life And Liberty and Upon The Grave Of Guilt. (AD)
The Finish band Sinergy came next. The band of the American singer Kimberly Goss presented songs from their new album Suicide By My Side, for example Return To The 4th World. Miss Goss is not very tall, but like a whirlwind she was acting on stage. Highlights were Beware The Heavens and Sintrade. The ones who saw that set know what to expect when the Finnish-American cooperation will hit the road again! (CE)
It was about 5:30 pm when some clouds darkened the sky and everybody was afraid that the rain has returned, but the sun won! Time for Exodus to present their heavy trash metal and so songs like The Toxic Waltz and Corruption came over the on-lookers like a blast. For the fans of thrash this was another highlight beside Nuclear Assault and Heathen. The True Metal stage was shaken by the tempest the American started. The cult band did well, even if Singer Steve Souza had to carry their heir of Paul Baloff who died earlier this year much too early. That Sen. Souza had a hard time and that he can never really replace Paul Baloff was obvious, but he did more then a decent job! They played some thrash masterpieces like A Lesson In Violence, And The There Were None and Fabulous Disaster. Now it's all wait and see, coz we have to wait 'til next year for a new album of Exodus. (JD)
Then the sons of Northern darkness had to enter the stage during the hot afternoon hours. But who cares? Immortal had to play at that time, even if I don't understand why! But Abbath & co. did their best. Now Immortal are the most popular black metal band beside Cradle Of Filth and Dimmu Borgir which was documented by the amount of fans who came to see the sons of darkness. In the beginning the guitar sound wasn't pretty good and the drums were to loud, but it got more leveled during the set. It seemed that the guys weren't really sober and so the leather and rivet outfit not mean, just funny. Perhaps because Abbath tried to find out which side of the stage was louder and so he was jumping around and looked like a kind of clown! Musically there was nothing to laugh about, they were pretty cool. They focused on the songs for the last two albums which included killer tracks like One By One and Tyrants. The first 5 releases been presented by only 2 songs, but as a surprise they played Unsilent Storms In The North Abyss! (JD)
Early evening it was time to play some progressive metal and so the German progsters of Vanden Plas entered the Party stage. This year there wasn't many bands on the billing which were interesting for fans of progressive metal, but with Vanden Plas they got one of the best German bands of this genre. The sound was very good which is essential for this kind of music and so the listener got a performance which included songs like I Can See, Into The Sun and Cold Wind from their latest release Beyond Daylight. The quintet knows how to act on a big stage and is well experienced, so it was a pleasure to see them there. At the end of the set they played one of the longer tracks and singer Andy Kuntz introduced the title and hoped that the weather God won't follow their demand with playing Rainmaker. Everybody was happy about the show and that it hasn't started raining again. (CE)
A good reason to travel to Wacken this year – and there are always good reasons – was the reunion show of Heathen. After several years of absence the American band of mastermind Lee Altus returned to the stages and on the second guitar Vicious Rumors Ira Black helped out. Many fans waited impatiently to see this cult band. It was funny to watch their bass player who seemed to be slightly drunk, but he finished the set without any problems. They had some classics to play, but their set list included beside Open The Grave, Death By Hanging, Pray For Death also the Thin Lizzy classic Holy War from the Thunder And Lightning album. (AD)
I was very curious to see the Turkish power metal band Mezarkabul, coz when they released in 1997 the album Anatolia (at that time they still were Pentagram) I really liked them. Last fall they returned as Mezarkabul with the album Unspoken. Even if I preferred Anatolia, I really liked the album and I wanted to use the chance... The band of singer Murat Ilkan was re-scheduled several times and I think that quiet a few people missed the power metal quintet. They presented most of the material from Unspoken, their current album, but also played some tracks from Anatolia, coz fans requested these ones. The three guys on the strings as well as their vocalist were always in motion and tried to head up the fans. Actually they are well experienced, coz they play a lot live in their home country where they are stars. Songs like In Esir Like An Eagle, Unspoken and Lions In A Cage did very well. Hope that the Turkish will return to the stages of Europe and that I have the chance to see them again (CE)
I'm a real Cannibal Corpse maniac and so I decided not to see Heathen, even if it was a pity that they played at the same time! Actually the Americans weren't allowed to play songs from their first 3 albums because of the censorship here in Germany. I was curios to see how songs from their latest release Gore Obsessed will do live, coz I think it's the weakest album in the history of the band. They started with Savage Butchery and showed that they are in an excellent form. Corpsegrinder showed again that he is one of the best death metal front man and that they are the Godz of brutal music! (JD)
If there is a death metal cult band who made it to bring the power of the early 90's to the new millennium, then it's Unleashed! It was amazing how tight they sounded and that Johnny Hedlund & co banged synchronically! New songs like Hell's Unleashed and Don't Want To Be Born fit into the collection of old ones. The fans frenetically cheered the Swedish and so it was a triumph for the guys. The fan reaction was overwhelming and even minutes after the end of the show they returned to thank the fans! This is death metal victory! (JD)
I was really looking forward to see Hypocrisy, coz I haven't seen them for 2 years. But soon they pull me off my cloud no. 7, coz the sound was really bad when they opened with Roswell 47. The vocals weren't loud enough and so the genius of songs like Pleasure Of Molestation was killed. The set list was amazing, but I show the Swedish in a better shape. Fan reaction wasn't very good, perhaps due to the bad sound and stage acting. It was strange that the sound was slightly better when I was about 100 m far away from the stage... (JD)
The festival headliners for almost everybody were the German bards of Blind Guardian. And so the band of singer Hansi Kürsch brought a expensive stage show with back drops and the huge light show was crowned by the fireworks at the end of the set. The Krefeld-based band in front of the masses and it seemed that every visitor of the festival was gathered in front of the main stage... They played songs from the whole variety of their releases including the balladesque Lord Of The Rings, Valhalla, Journey Through The Dark, Born In A Mourning Hall and the faster Majesty. At least when Hansi announced that they record the performance for some live release the crowd went crazy. The fans sang along and celebrated their heroes, not just during Into Glory Ride, but there they were really loud! For many this was the last band to see, even if there were some bands playing afterwards.... (CE)
The German thrashers of Kreator were in an excellent shape and played one of their best shows. They started with the title track of their last album Violent Revolution. The sound was pretty powerful and the light show gave them a mystic atmosphere. The band presented songs from all parts of their history and the atmosphere can be compared with Children Of Bodom the night before. The band of mastermind Mille finished their set with Tormentor and much too soon their time was over. Next time please let them play longer!!!!! (JD)

Claudia Ehrhardt (CE)
Amir Djawadi (AD)
Anika Peterson (AP)
Jörg Petersen (JP)
Jörn D. (JD)

Wacken 2000
- 4. & 5. August - Wacken, Germany -

Angel Witch, Armored Saint, Artillery, Black Label Society, Blaze, Company Of Snakes, Dark Funeral, Demon, Desperados, Doro, Freedom Call, Grim Reaper, Hades, Heir Appartent, Hypocrisy, Iced Earth, Immortal, Jacob's Dream, Knorkator, Krokus, Labyrinth, Liege Lord, Lizzy Border, Molly Hatchet, Morbid Angel, Onkel Tom, Pain, Pink Cream 69, Praying Mantis, Rhapsody, Rose Tattoo, Royal Hunt, Samson, Savage, Sentenced, Six Feet Under, Dee Snider, Stratovarius, Twisted Tower Dire, Umbra et Imago, Vader

Like in the last years many fans and most of the media people arrived on Thursday and were there to watch the soccer game which became a tradition. When the game started there were a little confusion.... First some of the RockHard team started a kinda warming up and without any break or something like that the game started.... RockHard did a good pick to kinda recruit DieHard promoter Tim Lynge as the goal keeper, coz it seems that this is his second profession! A little later more of the band team arrived who in the beginning got kinda replaced by some fans. Jörg Michael was in the bands team like he's been in the past. None of us is a soccer fan and so we left early and used the time to relax before the metal storm broke loose...
Btw, it is impossible to cover all the bands, so there are a few missing... Anyway, we gave our best!

Last year WOA organisers Holger Hübner and Thomas Jensen had on Thursday night a few 'small' acts in the Headbanger's Ballroom tend, this year they had 3 bands on the main, the True Metal Stage! Thursday night was time for hard rock!

The opening spot of the festival took over the Krokus from Switzerland. Like at the Bang-Your-Head the Swiss a powerful stage show and a bunch of old classics. A perfect opening band, coz even to the youngsters who may not know the songs, they feel like long-time friends. All the classics they played at BYH been played and a few added. Again they played Heya of their latest release at the end of the set... Again a great show!

The Southern rockers of Molly Hatchet returned to Germany. The Southern rockers came to record a live album and so the set been a travel to the history of them! To name just a few tracks... Down From the Mountain, Saddle Tramp, Dreams I'll Never See and The Journey. Now we all have to wait for the live album, unfortunately it won't be a video or DVD...... But Bobby Ingram and his mates will return to the European stages later this year. A must for every rocker!

Personally I always loved Whitesnake with Mickey Moody and Bernie Marsden, so the Company Of Snakes presented the Whitesnake stuff I always loved! Gary Barden (MSG) jumped in to replace Robert Hart (ex-Bad Company) who couldn't be at Wacken... The reason? I have no idea. But the songs..... Walking In The Shadows Of The Blues, Ready An' Willing, Don't Break My Heart Again, Ain't Gonna Cry No More (acoustic), Is This Love, Since You Been Gone, Fool For Your Loving and Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City! Only one thing...... Why this wasn't recorded for a live album? This was like a travel back in time..... A travel you wanna make again and again.....

True Metal Stage

When Paul Samson founded the band in 1977, nobody ex­pected what happened later. Samson always recruited very talented musicians and so soon these got offers to join other bands... Like Clive Burr and Bruce Bruce who joined Iron Maiden... But that's their history! For a few years now they release once in a while an album and now they returned to the stage! Paul Samson could convince Nicky Moore to sing again and masked drummer 'Thunderstick' is back, too. A reason to check them out! And they are back, even if the band may look old, but they don't sound like old man! They opened up Friday at the True Metal Stage and many fans came to see them! The set incl. songs from their classic releases Shock Tactics and Don't Get Mad – Get Even! I hope that Paul can keep Samson together and that we'll see them again on stages all over Europe!

Fans waited for Royal Hunt, coz due to canceled shows a lot of fans were curious to see the new line-up live. The band kicked-off the show with the title track of their latest release Fear. John West and Royal Hunt played a few shows, but this is the first time at a huge open-air festival. They offered a high musical standard as usual. After the show at Pratteln's Z7 'Metal Dayz' festival, I thought that the live performance was pretty good, but they showed that they can do better! Some of you may saw John at American Rock Live and will be surprised about his stage acting, but there is a difference bet­ween club shows and the big stages. Personally I think that even old Royal Hunt tracks like Day In, Day Out and Message To God sound great when John is singing them. Cold City Nights and Voices been highlights of their show, too. Not necessary to mention that Steen, Jakob and André did a perfect job. Soon the set was over and the fans weren't disappointed. Come on guys, don't let us wait too long until you come back on tour!

The British band seemed a little lost on the big stage and due to the lack of label support for some effects the band could just catch the interest with their NWoBHM hymns. It was cool to hear songs like White Witch, Confused and Angel Of Death again. Not one of the best shows at Wacken....

On tour quitee a few fans were disappointed, coz a lot of sounds came from tape. That haven't changed, but due to the touring the band was tighter and it worked out pretty good. Still not per­fect and personally I would prefer material which they can play live without using tapes.....

For most of the fans this will be the last time to see Stratovarius live before they will take a break. The consolidation of the Finnish, Swedish and German are on tour for most of this year and won't be done before Christmas time! The tour was / is very successful and so the band members did a routine job. But even if it is routine, it doesn't mean that they play without heart and soul! In comparison with their road show there was a difference, but hey, this is a festival and not a headlining tour. Surely they promoted their latest release Infinity and played songs like Kiss Of Judas, Black Diamond and the title track of their current album Infinity. I think with this show they make new fans and convinced some who were disappointed after their last Wacken show! Something which most fans didn't recognize during the set was that Timo Kotipelto got injured during the set! The singers hand got burned by a pyro technical effect, but as a real rocker Timo continued and finished the set! Unbelievable and outstanding! After the show he immediately been brought to hospital... Details you'll find at the official homepage of Stratovarius!

Most will call Jon Schaffer crazy, coz he came over to play Wacken even if the doctors told him not to do after the operation of the cerebral vertebrae! He did it on his own risk! The new line-up (drummer Richard Christy just came in) presented a great show incl. songs like The Coming Curse, I Die For You, Night Of The Stormrider and Watching Over Me. Matt Barlow showed that he can sing Iron Maiden's The Trooper as good as Bruce Dickinson! This was a very important show for Iced Earth, perhaps the most important so far... And they took their chances, even if technical problems handicapped the band. Especially band leader Jon Schaffer who is a perfectionist could just be convinced by the response of the audience and make him smile. Well done, but why do we have to wait another year until you'll come back?

Again Gamma Ray play at Wacken. Their show support the current release Blast From The Past and so the band made a musical trip through their past. Starting with Lust For Life and Heaven Can Wait to travel into these days and end the regular set with Somewhere Out In Space. Obviously Kai and his mates enjoyed being on stage and passing their history. Many fans waited for the Hamburg-based band and so the crowd went crazy. Due to the fact that this was a festival the band had to cut down the set a little. Before they left stage they played Send Me A Sign, but unfortunately the Helloween tracks been cut down... Hopefully they return to the stage with this set.

Black Metal Stage

The Polish band proofed that they are the same class like Morbid Angel and Death. To start at the Black Metal Stage with one of the best bands of this genre was risky, coz how would the fans react afterwards? Anyway, Vader showed a perfect gig which ended with Silent Empire!

The Nordic showed a tight set with a lot of power. Their highlights were the slower songs which made them known. In my eyes the hymn to German alcohol at the beginning of the set was not necessary, they would better decide to play another song instead!

Not my cup of tea and a good time for a coffee break. Frontman 'Mozart' and his female dancers (almost naked) showed the usual show (as I heard).... Perhaps it would have been better to split the time Umbra Et Imago played and give them to other bands.....

Not the right place for the black metal heroes to play in the sunshine without all the smoke and effects they usually use.... Anyway, the trio gave their best and took the audience by storm! Abbath and his pales topped their set with Damned In Black and Blashyrkh! Immortal proofed that they are the uncrowned kings of black metal!

In a few words, not their best show, but in their own top 10!

A band a lot of fans waited for and only the sound and the limited time disappointed the fans! Anthrax frontman John Bush and the other Armored Saint's presented a set of highlights of the past incl. Can U Deliver, Madhouse, March Of The Saint and many more. From the current release Revelation the quintet offered the best tracks IMO with Pay Dirt, After Me The Flood and Creepy Feelings. They came to conquer and the march of the Armored Saint took Wacken by storm!

Peter Tägtgren work with different bands and today it was time for the death metal quartet Hypocrisy. And it is the right decision, Tägtgren presented powerful and brutal death metal. No compromises! After 35 min. the Hypocrisy thunderstorm was over...

The War Is Coming and Six Feet Under started a blitzkrieg at Wacken. The charismatic fronter Chris Barnes growls and the inferno came over the audience with songs like Human Target and Feasting On The Blood Of The Insane. No one expected the AC/DC classic TNT, but even in a death metal way this track rocks!

Party Stage

Tom Angelripper's side project is more a metallic country & western band... On CD is might not work at all, but live at Wacken it was a decent show. Tom and his mates came in western outfit to have fun and fans & band had fun!

Time for the German-American union Pink Cream 69. Welcome The Night opened up the set. After touring with Axxis the band is now playing a few festivals. These days they aren't playing that much and so they sound fresh and powerful, keen on playing live. The set incl. some old stuff as well as songs from Sonic Dynamite. After songs like Keep Your Eye On The Twisted and Seas Of Madness I expected some more... But the fans really appreciate that Pink Cream 69 play also songs from the Deris era like Twisted. The quartet showed a good performance. At Z7 'Metal Dayz' the band was in a better shape and I hope that next time they will show again why they called a good live act....

At the True Metal Stage Iced Earth were playing when the Danish trashers entered the stage. Not the easiest way for the legend to return, but the Copenhagen based thrash metal band showed that DieHard Records where right to bring them back! Trash metal killers like Khomaniac and Terror Squad and new ones like Final Show convinced the fans! No one in front of the Party Stage regretted to see the Danish Dynamite instead of the Americans. They are BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some may wonder why Annihilator did cancel and why Joe Comeau is playing with Liege Lord. The answer is pretty simple: "At the moment Annihilator is doing the mix and it's not necessary for me to be there, coz I'm not involved in the mix." Joe commented the situation when I talked to him before the show. They are another legendary band which returned to the stage! When the band released their legendary albums between 1983 and 1988 they soon be known in the underground. They broke up in 1988 at a time where it seems that they can make it big... In the late 90's Metal Blade Records re-released the stuff and so they are back live and soon there will be a new release out! Unfortunately the speedsters started at the same time Gamma Ray started at the True Metal Stage. Okay, a lot of fans came to see Joe & co. Live, but I guess they would have had more people listen to their speed metal attacks. Songs like Fear Itself and Eye Of The Storm gave a good example why they became a legend. The cover version Kill The King sound like a Liege Lord track! It was obvious that Joe and his mates enjoyed playing live, especially Joe Comeau seemed the be relieved. He enjoys singing and fronting the band, it seems that he doesn't miss his guitar. Unbelievable that the band rehearsed just twice and that the rhythm section just jumped in! The last band for tonight, but definitely a highlight of the first Wacken 2000 day!

WET Stage

The NWoBHM legend Savage were dis­appointing! That's it in a nut­shell!

The next NWoBHM legend..... Grim Reaper! From the original line-up just vocalist Steve Grimmet is still around. With a new band he returned and offered the old classics! Yes! Okay, a few been disappointed, but personally I enjoyed it! Songs like See You In Hell, Rock You To Hell and Fear No Evil been on the three masterpieces which been released in the mid-80's. I hope that the Grim Reaper returns to the stages!

It seems that Holger and Thomas tried to recruit all the NWoBHM legends.... Good that they succeeded on Praying Mantis! Not another reunion, Praying Mantis been around with different line-ups. Interesting not just for old fans, but members like former Iron Maiden guitarist Dennis Stratton and ex-Wildfire axeman Tino Troy showed a certain class. Youngsters, watch them and learn! The set incl. Children Of The Earth as well as Can't See The Angels and tracks form their latest Japanese album Nowhere To Hide. Great!

True Metal Stage

The German melodic speedsters Freedom Call entered the true metal stage as the first band at day no. 2! It was obvious that they had a lot of fun and enjoyed playing live. A good reason to get up early! Guys, hurry up recording and come back with new material soon!

Last year the Italians had to cancel, but perhaps it was their luck..... A year later they have more routine and so they offered a mixture of their releases and a brand-new and coming album Sons Of Thunder. In comparison with their fellow-countrymen Rhapsody the Labyrinth men won!

Blaze Bayley..... A great shouter in Winters Bane (if you don't know them, check out the Century Media re-release of Heart Of A Killer), then joined Iron Maiden and lost! Now he presented his debut album Silicon Messiah which is a great debut! The quintet enjoyed playing their songs like Ghost In The Machine and Identity. The 2 Maiden tracks they played been the weakest songs in the setlist, but with a follow-up they will have enough material to do headlining club shows..... So, get back to the studio, and return to the stages for a headlining tour!

One of my personal highlights! The Master Of Disguise came to conquer! The 80's tracks Me Against The World, Psychopath and Rod Of Iron brought us back to the glorious time of the murderess metal. Only negative point of the show, the sound, but that's not the bands fault! Please come on tour to give us the axe! Deal With The Devil will be in the stores in fall, so this was a kind of appetizer. Unfortunately the guys of Entombed wasn't so fair to wait one more minute with the start of their set until Lizzy Borden was done.....

The Finnish gave their best, but the sound problems ruined their set! Go and see them on tour!

German's metal queen came and within seconds she enchanted the audience. Like a conductor she moved the masses with Bad Blood, All We Are, I Rule The Ruins and Terrorvision! For four-stringer Nick Douglas it was the celebration of 10 years being a member of the band. It was like Doro wanted to thank the fans for their loyalty and played a fireworks of her history for them. For almost every other band it would be risky to play to unreleased tracks as encores, but not for Germany's leading metal lady! It seems that the coming release Calling The Wild will bring her back to the olymp of metal!

When Thin Lizzy cancelled it wasn't easy to replace them, but with Dee Snider they found a great substitute! Again Dee started with AC/DC's It's A Long Way To The Top as intro before the band entered the stage and started with What You Don't Know. That was just the beginning of a travel through the Twisted Sister history. None of the bands highlights were missing, or almost every hit been played..... Anyway, we had to wait a year for Mr. Snider, but it was worth it!!!!!!!!!!!!

After midnight is was the time for one of the best guitarists in metal today... Zakk Wylde! Unfortunately too many were tired and left, but for the ones who stayed got a killer show! Black Label Society are very heavy and powerful. Songs from both albums been presented and on the top a superb cover version of Black Sabbath War Pigs, okay in a different version as on the Japanese Pride & Glory album, but excellent! My last high­light of Wacken 2000!

"Same procedure as every year"... But not Dinner For One...... Or is Onkel Tom Wacken's Miss Sophie? Anyway, almost the same as last year..... Good night!

Black Metal Stage

It was not that late, but not early enough to catch the Finnish before their first drinks! The girls in the front row idolized singer Ville and ignored that the alcohol brought him down to the boards... But did anyone ever saw them sober? Focused on the latest release Crimson the Finnish offered a decent set and can expect many fans on the coming tour.

Death metal at it's best! Thanks!

The rock'n'roll outlaws from down under started with Out Of This Place. Pete Wells and Angry Anderson offered a powerful, energetic and aggressive set. Nice Boys, All The Lessons, Remedy, Suicide City and The Butcher And Fast Eddy been just a few... And quite a few musicians were there to see the Australian rock sensation. Unfortunately another band played at the same time and so some fans missed the Australians or the band on the other stage.... That's not fair!

Not the expected big show, but a tight set of their classics like Black Metal, Die Hard, Countess Bathory and Bloodlus. The trio is still living from their 80's stardom, even if the new stuff is on a certain level... But to be honest, if there would be another band, I probably would have watched them.....

Party Stage

Peter Tägtgren the 3rd time..... He already played with Hypocrisy and Lock-Up, but now it was time the Pain! A mixture of metal and techno which got a lot attention and so quite a few fans waited for the Evil-like Peter Tägtgren. A decent set which featured the songs of Rebirth and ended with On Your Knees.

They came, they saw and the Demon conquered! Dave Hill and his pales played a best-of-set incl. Night Of The Demon, Don't Break The Circle and No More Hell On Earth. But they missed Taking The World By Strom! A living legend... Will they return and bring more demoniac stuff? Let's pray for!

On of Seattle's finest who been al­ways in a kind of competition with Queensrÿche... No doubt who won that competition, but music business ain’t fair, so a great band broke up..... Luckily they recorded to high class albums and did a few excellent shows before going separate ways! Only singer Paul Davidson didn't joined them for the re-union show.... A pity, but Michael Flatters did a great job! The set con¢rates on songs of the debut Graceful Inheritance which is my favorite, so I was happy to hear Another Candle, Tear Down The Walls and Master Of Invasion. Terry Gorle and his mates also played a new track... It felt like being back on one of their shows in 1986, just that we all are 14 years older and that Paul Davidson wasn't there..... But who knows, perhaps he'll return......

Just about hundred fans been left over to see Joey Vera and Ray Alder with Engine! Shame on me, I missed them and so I can just say what I heard..... It must have been a great show..... Give me the chance to see the band, please!

WET Stage

The band fro the North of Germany came with a lot of fans and friends and so the first rows been filled with their fol­lowing. The limited time allowed them just to play 6 tracks and so the band decided to play 3 songs of Savage Land and 3 new ones.

Squealer surprised the audience with a great show, which I haven't expect after the last show of them I saw... Singer Andy Henner is a great enter­tainer and the band built a perfect playground for him. It seems that in Bochum they had their dog's day, this was 250% better! Congratulations!

Almost the original line-up, only the drum­mer had to be replaced! Singer Alan Tecchio and guitarist Dan Lorenzo offered the Hades classics and so it was worth spending time to see the Americans!

Musically the US sextet is top, but a decent stage acting is missing. That's something the boys have to learn! But the songs are the more important thing and they know how to write songs! And so Alan Tecchio came on stage to join the band for one song! See you with Armored Saint!

A band which you love or hate! He masters of humour and bad taste! They parodied bands like AC/DC and Rammstein. They destroyed polystyrene keyboards and through mashed vegetables.... Any questions?

The youngsters from Virginia introduced them­selves to the waiting 300 fans with a great mixture of fast and slower tracks. They ended their show and the festival with a Mercyful Fate cover, with A Dangerous Meeting. RockHard boss Götz was very enthusiastic and so the band might have a bright future.... Not that Götz can see into future, but has a very good flair for newcomers.... So, let's wait and see.

And so Wacken 2000 was over and like someone said the first day after Wacken is the first day before Wacken! Don't blame me, I know that originally it's after the game is before the game, but Wacken is something different! Anyway, we will (hopefully) see great bands, perhaps not such an overkill...... But Overkill could come back to Wacken, right? Okay, there are a few bands in Wacken history which came back and a few which shall come back.... Holger & Thomas, please don't keep us hanging for too long!

Claudia Ehrhardt(pics & words)
Claus and Lidiane Lohmar (words)

Wacken 1999
- 6. & 7. August - Wacken, Germany -

Agent Steel, Angra, Brainstorm, D.A.D., Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, Dimmu Borgir, Dokken, Edguy, Freedom Call, Girlschool, Roland Grapow, Hammerfall, In Extremo, In Flames, Jag Panzer, Jaguar, Leatherwolf, Lefay, Mercy­ful Fate, Metal Church, Metalium, Never­more, Paragon, Axel Rudi Pell, Power­god, Pretty Maids, Primal Fear, Rage, Saxon, Sinner, Tankard, The Gathering, Therion, The Sygnet, Threshold, Tygers Of Pan Tang, U.D.O.

Like the last year the event started on Thurs­day with a soccer game between RockHard editors and a band. This time Hammerfall and friends played against the RockHard crew. On the 10th anniversary the organizer offered 4 stages which are too much in my opinion and to many bands....
The billing was unbelievable! So many great bands incl. Saxon, Dokken, Pretty Maids, Hammerfall, Edguy, Mayhem, Lefay, Nevermore, In Flames, Mercyful Fate, etc. It was impossible to see all bands, so we splitted up, but still couldn't cover all the live performances! We tried to see all the bands who appeared at the True Metal Stage and most of the Party Stage and the Black Stage. A few others we got also! This a short round-up... Enjoy it!

The first metalheads arrived on Wednesday and enjoyed the metal disco at the Headbangers Ballroom tent. On Thursday the first event took place with the soccer game. Later again party at the HBB tent and the first live performances.
There was a party in the tent and the first live performance. One of them was Tankard. It was fucking hot in the tent of the History Stage. Tankard were big fun and played all their live smashers from Zombie Attack to Aliens. The Frankfurt trashers made a big party out of the live performance and made it a sensational start of the festival. The following days it wasn't very difficult to find Tankard frontman Gerre in the backstage area. The Tankard shouter took the opportunity and drank alcohol 24 hours a day and make him going mad. (JD)
The History Stage was outside the festival area and so many fans stayed and the bands on the HS had to cope with this disadvantage. There were very few people at the Freedom Call concert. The band had to start a little earlier, to bad for the people who missed them. Freedom Call delivered one of the best performances on Friday and 2 prominent figures of the German metal scene didn't miss a second... Kai Hansen was in the front row, supporting his friends while signing autographs. Henjo Richter was sitting quitely on a bench a little behind. So the whole Gamma Ray team was there, half on stage, half in the audience which was a promise of quality and fun. They started with We are One, a song full of energy. Singer and guitarist Chris Bay was in excellent shape. Then followed Tears Falling with it's heavy break where headbangers can fully indulge in their favorite sport! Guitarist Sascha Gerstner was also in a great mood. He seemed to have somehow overcome the stagefright that gave him a tense look during his very first appearances with Freedom Call. Just like his leader he kept smiling while playing his parts very well. All this smiling is always contagious: a philosophy of Gamma Ray: positive energy! Almost all the songs from the bands debut Stairway To Fairyland were played. Dan Zimmermann, the master of drums, and bassist Ilker Ersin build the rhythm base for the changes of atmosphere during the 8 songs of the debut. Only Dirk Schlächter, who support the band only on stage, not in the studio, seemed a little bit absent-minded. We were used to more enthusiasm from his part when playing with Gamma Ray or at previous Freedom Call shows. Nonetheless, this did not alter at all the quality of his playing and of his excellent back-up vocals. The set ended at a slower pace with Hymn To The Brave, a song which they don't play as a support. We can hope that Freedom Call will play in better conditions in Wacken when they've released their 2nd album and that soon a bigger label will notice the potential of this young band. Meanwhile, don't miss them when they're supporting Saxon! (LV)
Edguy, the German youngsters opened up the True Metal Stage. The quintet showed a 45 min. round-up of their career incl. Vain Glory Opera and Walk On Fighting. Personally I like the stories singer Tobi tells and so I enjoyed his comments and stories, but I know that many metal fans don't like it. Perhaps Tobi is pushing it a little too far sometimes. I guess it's not necessary to tell more about the band, every power metal fan saw them while they supported Hammerfall and Gamma Ray. The touring of the last months helped the band to survive on the big stage. Hopefully the band got the chance to sign with a bigger label which can support them a little more. They deserve it! (CC)
One of the bands I was curious to see was Leatherwolf! I saw the band about 10 years ago when they supported Zed Yago and in my opinion they been the better band. I remember that their drummer had to play one day with a broken hand! The band kicked ass like every other day. I'm still impressed. When Iron Maiden announced that they'll play with 3 guitarists, everyone was curious what to expect. Leatherwolf always played with 3 guitars! Nothing new for them... It was amazing! It was like in the 80's, just the haircuts been different. Pure energy on stage! The wolf pack started with Spiter and the Californian musicians presented 45 minutes of melodic power metal. It's a pity that they just had 45 minutes. If I had the power, I would vote for just 3 stages and less bands. Then there would be the possibility that bands like Leatherwolf could play a little longer! The voice of Michael Oliveri caught the fans and lead them through songs like Gypsies And Thieves, Wicked Ways and Spirits In The Wind. After all those years they came back to Europe and they made it! In 45 minutes they couldn't play all their classics, but instead of The Doors cover version Break On Through they could have played a classical! (CE)
Next on the True Metal Stage was Dokken! The band of band leader Don Dokken were part of the melodic metal scene of the US in the early 80's. Still the sound was a disaster, especially the drums sound! Don and the band opened with the title track of their latest release Erase The Slate and presented songs like Breaking The Chains, Kiss Of Death and In My Dreams. Bassist Jeff Pilson and new guitarist Reb Beach (ex-Winger) were posing and showed that they enjoy been on stage again. Singer and frontman Don seems to lost a his ability singing the high tones, perhaps it was just a temporary low. I hope so, 'cause the new album is as good as the old stuff. Hopefully the next tour will proof that Don Dokken had just a personal low of his voice.... The set was tight and I hope to see them again and that they'll have the time to play songs from all their albums! (CE)
Udo Dirkschneider and U.D.O. played more or less a set of classical tunes. After all this years Udo knows how to satisfy the audience. He played old Accept classics like Fast As A Shark and Princess Of The Dawn beside U.D.O. material like No Limits and Animal House! Obviously the band had a lot fun and the cover version of Judas Priest's Metal Gods made this to one of the best shows on Friday! (CL)
The Swedish power metal heroes Hammerfall presented themselves much more professional than 2 years ago. When Hammerfall played at Wacken in 1997 they started the true metal revival and got a lot promotion. With Glory To The Brave the Swedish got hyped and played a more or less lame show in 1997. For most of the metal heads it wasn't the first time that they see the band live. The constantly touring made them look more professional, but also the fans get a little tired of the Göteborg quintet. Joacim Cans and his mates presented songs from their debut and the follow-up Legacy Of The Kings. In my opinion the band needs a break to re-fresh. Please give us a break, too! (CC)
A new line-up... Rage again as a trio... Peavy's new partners in crime are drum legend Mike Terrana and Mind Odyssee guitarist Victor Smolski. What to expect? The three-piece proofed that they are able to present even songs which originally written for 2 guitars... After solving technical problems the band of mastermind Peavy offered a mixture of old tunes like Don't Fear The Winter and Immortal Sin and new stuff from the up-coming release Ghosts with Back In Time. More about Rage and the line-up changes, the new album and the future soon.
Saxon... The headliner on Friday at the True Metal Stage and at the end the ultimate headliners of the festival! Twisted Sister had legal problems and couldn't play at Wacken. The substitute D.A.D. hadn't the same class. And so Saxon kinda take over this spot! The British are around for 20 years and still sound fresh. Opening with Dogs Of War Biff Byford and band started a fireworks of their classicals incl. Power & Glory, 747 (Strangers In The Night), Denim & Leather, Crusader and at the end of the set a foretaste of Metalheads. At the end the NWoBHM heroes were the winners of the festival! Good sound, great light show, fantastic performance and a fucking good frontman! (CE)
Tygers Of Pan Tang.... Another band I wanted to see, but... Too late at night and I had my doubts, should I wait for them? I decided not to wait for them. From the original line-up just singer Jess Cox and guitarist Rob Weir are in the re-united band. The voices I heard told me different stories... Many liked the show which incl. Don't Touch Me There and Euthanasia, but missed songs from Spellbound or Crazy Nights. Others told me that Tygers Of Pan Tang didn't convinced them. Perhaps they missed guitarist Jon Sykes who was for them an important member of the band...... What should I say? Perhaps I'll have the chance to see them in future to make up my own opinion! (CL)
The first highlight on the Black Stage were the German thrash metal bands Destruction! Destruction are Gods! How did I miss the vocals of Schmier for the last 13 years. Now this unique voice is back. You should have seen the crow going nuts during the set. They really kicked ass. Curse The Gods, Bestial Invasion and other old songs beside brand-new trashers like The Butcher Strikes Back which totally fits into the old Destruction stuff made the crowd screaming for more. Just great!!! (JD)
Next Mayhem! The next 45 minutes were pure fucking armageddon! The set of Mayhem included new songs like A View From Nihil, Carnage and Ancient Skin. This band ruled the masses! Some fans missed that vocalist Maniac didn't cut himself wounds, but he wasn't allowed to do that because of the very young fans which are not age 18. That was the only bad thing to mention of this show. (JD)
For the ones who saw Mercyful Fate at the Dynamo, forget about it! This band has to play in the dark! The light show and the special effects made this show to a highlight on the Black Stage. The band of his royal highness 'King Diamond' played a perfect show incl. old anthems like Melissa and The Oath! Unfortunately the show of the Danish in Hamburg a few days after the Dynamo was cancelt and so we had to be satisfied with this 60 minute long set. Okay, not everybody can deal with the royal voice, but love it or hate it.... This was the royal show! (CL)
The next big thing was In Extremo. Their mixture of medieval sounds and metal is still unbelievable. To take a look at the crowd was interesting too, all kinds of metal fans partied to­gehter... Hard rock fans next to death metal and black metal fans beside power metalheads. Medieval metal is more getting more and more popular and In Extremo is together with Subway To Sally a prototype for this kind of music. They are special and definitely one of the best bands of the billing. (JD)
Powergod been the opener for the Party Stage. It was the first show for the German newcomers and it was obvious that they have no live experience. Songs like No Brain, No Pain and Salvation rocked the power metal fans. Guitarist Riff Randall better known as Andy Brings (ex-Sodom) caught the interest. Give them a little time and more live experience and they can probably be the followers of Edguy and Brainstorm. (CC)
Helloween guitarist Roland Grapow and his solo project incl. Mike Vescera (voc, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen), Mike Terrana (dr, Rage, Axel Rudi Pell, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, ex-Metalium), Ferdie Dornberg (key, Rough Silk, Axel Rudi Pell, etc.) and Jens Becker (bs, Grave Digger, ex-Running Wild)... A kind of 'All-Star-Project'... No, this excellent musicians play together to have fun! They enjoy it and the audience had fun to see Rolands team. The music is a mixture of rock and Helloween-like metal. Roland mixed the songs of the debut and the latest release Kaleidoscope and topped them with Helloween's Dr. Stein and The Chance. Good performance, enjoyable! (CC)
Sinner... The band of Mat Sinner is at the moment No. 2 in Mat's life. Mat and Tom Naumann spend more time with Primal Fear these days and Alex Beyrodt plays with The Sygnet... The oldsters presented hard rock in the Sinner's style. For them it was more a fun thing to play at Wacken and so the band been joined by former drummer Fritz Randow (now Saxon) and later Primal Fear shouter Ralf Scheepers joined for Used To The Truth also. On drums the band got a helping hand from Klaus Sperling (Primal Fear) and so some questioned which band is playing!!! They finished the show with Billy Idol's Rebel Yell. They had fun and the audience had fun, what more to expect? (CL)
Another band which is around for 2 decades... Girlschool! The female four-piece been welcome by fans shouting for them. The British girls rocked them! Not just old songs been played, they mixed them up with a few actual tracks. Nice to see them again. A quite good show, nothing new, but good! (CE)
What to say about the Germany power metal band Paragon? The band presented a good and solid show. Unfortunately they had to start with doors open! So many fans didn't got the chance to see them! The 4 headbangers in front of drummer 'Big M.' seemed not to care about and rocked the house! Really cool! It was a little strange that singer Burschi communicated with the audience in English... Probably a tribute to the fans from other countries. Hmmm! (JD)
For guitarist Alex Beyrodt it was the first show today with The Sygnet. The Sinner guitarist used the time while band mates Mat Sinner and Tom Naumann are working with Primal Fear for a side-project or his second band. A few of you might have seen The Sygnet as supporting act of Doro last December. Singer Michael Bormann and his band played their mixture of melodic metal, hard rock and great hooks. (CE)
Last year the German youngsters Brainstorm opened up for Iced Earth and made a lot of new friends. Earlier this year singer Henne Basse decided to take part of Metalium. Initially he put priority on working with Brainstorm, soon he left the band and the disaster for the sympathetic Brainstorms began. The band was looking for a new singer and presented a candidate for the job at Wacken. Dirk Baron showed a solid performance. His style is a little rougher than Markus' or Hennes. Thorsten and his mates had fun and it seemed that they found a successor to record the follow up of Unholy. Good luck boys! (CC)
The American power metallers Jag Panzer played an unbelievable show incl. Shadow Thief, Chains Of Command, Black, but I missed songs from the debut Ample Destruction. Anyway, the Colorado boys played a divine set! 'The Tyrant' was better than ever and I can't wait to hear new material and see them on tour again!!!! Amen!!!! (CC)
Too many bans on too many stages.... I didn't had the chance to see the whole of Germans extreme metal outfit Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, but what I've seen was really fun! You'll never seen a black metal vocalist on drums and a cool death metal frontman on guitar. The crowd was really going crazy! Unbelievable! (JD)

For everyone who hadn't enough music the metal disco at the HBB tent continued until the early morning!

Marshall Law and Wardog played to early for me at this Saturday morning! But I don't mind, Marshall Law will tour with Metal Church this fall and I'll see them on tour!

A lot of fans waited in front of the True Metal Stage curious to see Metalium. Do you got what they were waiting for? In my opinion the German section of the band fucked up the show! Only guitarist Matthias Lange showed a solid work. Metalium master mind Lars Ratz's performance was so overdo that it looked ridiculous. The American section tried to save the set. John 'Ozzy' Osbourne (dr, Doctor Butcher) took over Mike Terrana's job (Rage, Axel Rudi Pell, Roland Grapow, ex-Yngwie Malm­steen) place. They German-American quintet opened with Fight and played most of the songs from the debut album Millennium Metal Chapter One. Only Savatage axe wiz Chris Caffery showed a perfect set and his guitar sounded even more aggressive than usually. Perhaps he was pissed off of the unprofessionalism of a few band members... The tour will show, if this will ever be a band or will still scratched project! (CC)
The next big thing on the TMS was Primal Fear and also the next highlight. The band of Mat Sinner and Ralf Scheepers played a strong and powerful set, a mixture of their self-titled debut and their latest release Jaws Of Death. The fans shouted and the band rocked them. It was a pleasure to see the quintet on stage, they had fun and so the fans. The five musicians convinced even the ones who had doubts in the beginning. They played like they want to conquer the world and everyone followed them. The coming tour will be a major success for the powerful pals. They will try to shake the true metal throne! (CE)
I always liked the music of Axel Rudi Pell, but often the too long guitar solos bored me. At Wacken with a limited time to play the blonde guitarist put priority on the songs. Singer Joey Gioeli (ex-Hardline) enchant the audience while singing Casbah or Fool, Fool. Drummer Mike Terrana and bassist Volker Krawczak (ex-Steeler) built a solid playground for Axel. Ferdy Doernberg assisted on the keyboards. The set was too short to play all the hits of the Germanys little brother of Richie Blackmore, but time enough to quote a few classicals like Burn and Stargazer. As a reminiscence of his former band Steeler he played Call Her Princess. Unfortunately the five-piece had to leave the stage 5 min. earlier. And the rain began to fall like God was pissed off that the German guitar hero had to stop... (CL)
Next Danish dynamite! The Pretty Maids rocked! After all those years in metal Ronnie Atkins and his band had the experience to rock the masses even if the rain falls. Songs like Back To Back, Rodeo and Red, Hot And Heavy been part of the tour setlist and also been played on other festivals. Still a great set and they did it right, but the heavy rain made many fans looking for shelter. The ones who stayed in the rain, partied like hell! Hopefully the next time Pretty Maids will play at an open-air the God of weather will be in a better mood and let the Sun shine. (CL)
Metal Church are back! But will they be able to keep their cult status? Drummer Kirk Arington had to be replaced by a friend, because he had a dia­betic attack and wasn't able to play. Hopefully he will be recovered for the tour! But where was Duke Erickson? The four-stringer was finally replaced by Vanderhoofs Dave Hawkes. Kurt Vanderhoof and David Wayne tried their best to raise the flag of Metal Church. Songs like Ton Of Brick, Beyond The Black and Start The Fire made the few fans who still standing in the rain, sing along. Highlight of the set was Watch The Children Pray and the encore Highway Star. If the Seattle power metalheads won't loose their cult status, they had to work it out and show a better performance on the coming tour. (CC)
For the headliners the crowd came back to the TMS and waited in the rain for Twisted Sister or Dee Snider's Twisted Sister, anyway. The whole weekend their were rumors that Twisted Sister won't play... Contractual problems, Dee Snider and his pals would have found themselves in front of a court when they would have played at Wacken! When D:A:D entered the stage most of the fans were disappointed and left to look for shelter. The Danish fun metallers tried to convince the fans with songs like Sleeping My Day Away. The few who stayed partied until the Danish (with a temporarily drummer) played a few softer songs and afterwards they been un­able to pull the fans out of the blues.
Last, but not least Therion and orchestra! I missed them at the Dynamo and now it's raining and the whole festival site was like a huge arena for mud wrestling.... The curfew forced the organizers to stop the show after a few songs and unfortunately they had just the chance to play songs from Vovin. I hope that I'll get a chance to see a full show once. (CL)

The first band which was interesting on the Black Stage were In Flames in my opinion. The Swedish put priority on the latest release Colony and mixed them up with songs like Episode 666 and Jotun. The Gothenborg based band played a solid set, only singer Anders wasn't in top form. (JD)
Only a few Dutch bands have international success. The Gathering is one of them! The band around Anneke van Giersbergen haven't lost their magic, but their sad, melancholic sound was unable to charm the audience. Sunshine and blue melodies won't fit together. (CL)
Late at night the rain stopped falling and the Norwegian black metal Gods Dimmu Borgir entered the stage. The perfect timing of Nicolas Barker (dr, ex-Cradle Of Filth) gave the Norwegian the ability to present their black metal anthems live, even on a festival! The fantastic light show creates a great atmosphere. Not as good as on tour, but a highlight at the BMS! (CL)
The progressive metal band Threshold played a tight gig. Former Sargant Fury shouter Mac was a stroke of luck for the band. The band showed their talents and played a perfect set, but without Mac the band would be colourless. Most songs were from their latest release Clone which was recorded with Mac. (CC)
My Brazilian friends Angra were my personal highlight at the party stage! Unfortunately the Brazilian had sound problems. The quintet presented a fireworks of songs from their 3 albums incl. Metal Icarus and Angels Cry. André Matos played a piano passage called Ode an die Freude. Angra played several times on festivals and this was the second time at Wacken. This time the sun was shining and the band seemed to feel pretty comfortable at the Party Stage. I hope the German fans will get the possibility to see a headlining show of the progressive power metal quintet! (CC)
Another legend... Jaguar! What to expect? Many legends failed... The wild cat is still showing it's claws. Songs like The Fox, Axe Crazy and Run For Your Life proofed everybody with doubts wrong! Okay, just Jeff Cox and Gary Peppard are from the original line-up, but who cares? The British had to battle with sound problems and the sound got worse from song to song, a pity! Sure, they had a few problems, but what a set! Hope the wild cats will be back soon! The Jaguar is still kicking ass! (CL)
A power metal band from 'Emerald City' Seattle, Nevermore showed up at the Party Stage at 10:20 p.m. Unfortunately I missed the very beginning. However, I got to the Party Stage when they played the 1st track Beyond Within which is on their new and entire album Dreaming Neon Black. Parts of the crowd were head banging. The sound was very good. However, it seemed Nevermore could hardly catch their own sound on stage, especially drummer Van Williams. In The Death Of Passion they made an unusual mistake (for them) with the rhythm section in the beginning... But who cares? The rest was completely amazing. I don't remember the setlist exactly... Dreaming Neon Black they played without a female voice. This live version sounded rather heavy than dark. In Deconstruction singer Warrel Dane let the audience sing the chorus. However, the highlights at this show were The Learning (from The Politics Of Ecstasy) and Battle Angels (from Sanctuary album Refuge Denied). Battle Angels was what long-time Sanctuary / Nevermore fans desired to hear that night. I saw many fans going crazy. The last song was the one they always played at the end of the set during their current tour, this is called Seven Tongues Of God. Guitar riffs from Jeff Loomis and Tim Calvert were razor sharp, bassist Jim Sheppard's bassline were really heavy and Van's complicate drum rhythm was real tight. Needless to say that Warrel's voice was intense. Warrel has a very charismatic voice... They received a great reaction from the fans when they left the stage. Nevermore succeeded! (HI)

On the WET Stage Swedish power metal at it's best...Lefay! Unbelievable that the Swedish sounded so fresh and powerful. With songs like Maleficium or The Boon He Gets the band around singer Charles Rytkönen enjoyed themselves and the performance at the Wacken festival. For the fans who missed the Swedish dynamite on tour with Nevermore, this was a more powerful version of Morgana Lefay. I hope that the band will get the chance to play next year on a bigger stage, they deserve it!!! In my opinion they are better than Hammerfall and they got their second time on the big stage! Give them a chance and they will succeed! (CC)
After more than 10 years it was the first show for Agent Steel! And it was an incredible one! Forget John Cyriis... Bruce Duncan is the man! The band of guitarist Juan Garcia was presenting songs like Rager, Traveler, Bleed For The Gods and other classical stuff. The Unstoppable Force played also a new track... Know Your Master. This was another moment which made me hate the tight running order. I had to leave... Please, please come back coon!!!!!!!!!!!!! (CC)

Now it's over and we all are tired and dirty. Next year we'll be back and hopefully we won't get more stages... So please excuse that some photos were made at other festivals or on tour. It was impossible to cover all the bands, but it was fun... Almost... CU next year!

IV crew: CE = Claudia Ehrhardt
JD = Jörn Dutkowski
LV = Laurence Vuillemont
CC = Christina Cy
CL = Claus Lohmar
HI = Hitomi Iwai



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