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02/08/2007 - 04/08/2007, Wacken Open Air 2007, Part 18 – Wacken – Germany

Saturday 04/08/2007

The third day of the festival starts early for us as the Swedish band Sonic Syndicate are due on the Black Stage at twelve. This young band managed to beat 1500 other bands and landed itself a record deal with Nuclear Blast. A promotional campaign was set up around the band and as a result they will play the Wacken mainstage today and although it is relatively early, plenty of people have found their way here already. Sonic Syndicate have a sound going on that could be described as a mix of In Flames and Killswitch Engage. they have two vocalists who alternate clean singing and brutal screams. The songs played today were, of course, taken from the recently released debut album 'Only Inhuman'. This morning the band seizes the opportunity to demonstrate the fact that they indeed possess quality and they play a very solid set, visibly enjoying all the attention. Although the songs sound a little too familiar now and then (Sonic Syndicate have obviously borrowed a couple of riffs from colleagues), the crowd is into them and they actually sing along to most songs. Sonyc Syndicate left a professional calling card here today and we certainly expect to hear more of this band in the future.


Today´s opening act on True Metal Stage is the American band Sacred Reich who are said to have re-united especially in order to perform at Wacken Open Air. As a warm-up for today´s show the band played three clubshows, one of which at the legendary Dynamo club in Eindhoven. Although they have not been on stage together for over a decade, SR are obviously still greatly appreciated by many a metalhead, judging from the fact that the field is already packed at twelve thirty in the afternoon. When the band enters the stage, a loud clamour rises from the audience, the band opens with the classic "The American Way", the title of the second album released in 1990. After this strong opener the band continues its set with songs such as "One Nation", "Love .. Hate "and" Crimes Against Humanity ". Sacred Reich had announced that the band would only play material from their debut album 'Ignorance' EP 'Surf Nicaragua and successor' The American Way ' on this reunion tour which resulted in an ultimate Sacred Reich classic set which is thoroughly enjoyed by the roaring crowd. We hear the songs "Who's to Blame" and the powerful "Love… Hate". A fine rendition of the Black Sabbath song "War Pigs" brings the crowd close to madness and the mood becomes outrageous, a true celebration in front of the True Metal Stage. The band enjoys all the attention and the sympathetic singer Phil Rind, who has become a big boy over the years, frequently expresses his gratitude to the audience in between songs. The show is then concluded with the songs "Independent", "Death Squad" and public favorite "Surf Nicaragua. Whether or not Sacred Reich will release another album in the near future remains to be seen but it is a fact that they were one of the top acts of today.



Next up are Moonspell who we saw at the Frisian Waldrock festival less than a month ago. Their show coincides with our interview with Overkill bassist DD. Verni and so we can only witness the first twenty minutes of their show. The Portuguese band start their set in the cheerful blazing sunlight so that part of the dark mood in the music is kind of lost, but the band doesn´t seem to care in the least and they provide us with an excellent show. Although singer Fernando Ribeiro doesn´t sound his best, he certainly does attract the attention with his distinct appearance. The setlist consists mainly of a number of classics off the albums 'Wolfheart' and 'Irreligious'. Of course there is also time for some songs off the album 'Memorial' which was released last year: "In Memoriam" and "Memento Mori". The crowd appears mesmerized and after every song they salute the band with loud applause. Unfortunately, we need to leave or we´ll be late for our interview!.



Our interview takes longer than expected and we don´t arrive at the True metal Stage until Stratovarius are already halfway through their set. Despite the blazing sun it is very busy here again and it sounds like Stratovarius are having a good day. They play classics like "Distant Skies" and "Father Time". Then we´re in for an unexpected treat in the shape of the ten year old track ten-year-old track "Visions (Southern Cross)" followed by the new song "The Last Night On Earth". This song will be on their forthcoming album and the fans can rest assured, it has the Stratovarius sound all the way! The show is wrapped up with the up-tempo song "Eagleheart" and the classic "Black Diamond". It is with a feeling of satisfaction that we head off to the backstage area.



Dutch defenders of the Metal Battle honor were the lords of Myhtlorian. As we like to support our fellow countrymen, we make our way to the W.E.T. Stage where they´re set to play. Once they hit the first note it all takes off like a galloping herd of bulls, one song after another is fired at eager, predominantly Dutch audience. Initially, the tent seemed kind of empty, but this was fully compensated by the band´s enthusiasm and the good vibe in the crowd. In a fast tempo the songs "In True Form", "1000 Words", " Land Of The Insane "," Oblivion "and "Cross The Scar" followed one another. Even Mark Bogert´s guitar problem could not dampen the atmosphere. You could read in their faces that they were happy to be here at the Wacken festival and I suspect that they have made a good impression with their melodic death metal here today.

We move back to the Black Stage to take a look at Dir En Grey who, at this point, are still an enigma to us. We are informed that they are from Japan, which explains why their lyrics are in English and Japanese! They are immensely popular in their home country. After a long techno intro they start to play and we find ourselves wondering what an emo band like this is doing at Wacken. During one of the first song singer Kyo bites on a blood capsule, he then proceeds to smear the fake blood all over his body which will surely look great on the pictures. As the music Dir En Grey just didn´t do it for us, we decide to go get a bit to eat. Judging from the endless queues, we weren´t the only one´s that didn´t quite get this band..



I Don´t know much about the following German band, but according to the many stories I´ve heard about them they are more than worth a listen. Apparently many people shared this opinion, the tent is almost loaded to it´s max. Secrets of the Moon are a black metal band that make lengthy songs with long, drawn-out spherical parts alongside brutal shredwork. All high quality. And they are showing it today. When the last song "Lucifer Speaks" comes to an end, the crowd screams for more but there is simply no time for one more song. I am left with a feeling of curiosity as to what this band will sound like on CD!

Ages before the German band Rage are scheduled there is a large crowd bustling before the True Metal Stage. Today, Rage will be joined on stage by the Lingua Mortis Orchestra which calls for the necessary preparations. The spectacle begins with the song "From The Cradle To The Grave" with puts everyone in the right mood straight away, this is a show that will remain carved in the minds of many a fan. The band goes on to play "Sent By The Devil", "Turn The Page", "Alive But Dead" and "Lingua Mortis Orchester Medley". The band and especially frontman Peavy look like they are having a blast. The orchestra gives each song a fuller sound, they really make a difference. The audience is pleased and when the conductor turns around to instruct the crowd many people burst into song. With "Higher Than The Sky" this decent show come to an end, well done guys.


Destruction really need no further introduction. The German thrash-machine has already proven itself more than once. In recent years they frequently appeared on various stages at home and abroad and last July they filled in WASP at the Frisian Waldrock festival. Somehow, bands always seem to think of something special to do at the Wacken festival and today Destruction treats us to a an array of special guests: Communic frontman Oddleif, Peavy (Rage) and Bobby Blitz (Overkill) earlier this year, the band re-recorded a number of their classic tracks and today the setlist consisted mainly of classics, too: "The Butcher Strikes Back", "The Curse of God", "Nailed To The Cross" and "Mad Butcher". Bobby "Blitz" (Overkill), Peavey (Rage) and Oddleif Stensland (Communic) join this party and contribute to the song "The Alliance Of Hellhoundz" along with singer Schmier and late on they are even joined by Tom Angelripper from Sodom. All this to the great pleasure of the outrageous crowd. The party is finally complete when former drummers Oliver "Olly" Kaiser and Thomas Sandmann take part in the song "The Antichrist" alongside current drummer Marc Reign. On numerous occasions, the Mad Butcher hops on to the stage to spread a little blood and fireworks and torches add to the crazy atmosphere. The German thrashers know how to get a party going and they have the massive crowd completely in their grasp. Schmier plays the song "Total Disaster" with a little help from ex-drummer Sven Vormann after which we get hear more excellent versions of, amongst others, "Thrash Till Death", "Life Without Sense", "Eternal Ban" and "Bestial Invasion". Destruction has delivered a passionate, entertaining and memorable set here tonight.



As we head for the tent to watch Turisas play, it soon becomes evident that this band should have been scheduled on the main stage. The tent was filled to the point of bursting and had become impossible to enter. Naturally, the new Turisas album entitled ´The Varangian Way´ was promoted here today and so we heard songs such as "To Holmgard And Beyond". It´s no use standing outside the tent in order to try to listen to them perform because the music that´s coming from the Black Stage is too loud.

Last year the infamous ensemble Carnivore hit the Wacken mainstage, this year Peter Steel has returned with Type O Negative to crush the crowd. A band like Type O somehow always manages to cause some kind of stir with their controversial lyrics and provocative remarks. Today, however, Peter Steel soes not seem interested in kicking up a fuss as the band launches into an extremely un-inspired rendition of "We Hate Everyone". Peter Steel is clearly hammered and he wrestles his way through the setlist with a clownish slowness. We hear "Anesthesia" and "The Profits Of Doom", the latter of which you will find on this year´s release ´Dead Again´. Despite this performance, the crowd is roused by the classics "Christian Woman" and "Love You To Death" and many people join Peter Steel in his feeble vocals. The show is ended ten minutes prematurely with the song "Black No.1" and Peter Steel proceeds to rip the strings off his bass with his teeth, after which he just kind of falls about all over the stage. This is the que for the rest of the band to clear the stage. If you are able to appreciate Steel´s black humor, I suppose the show was ok. The band did what they had to do but it was Peter Steel´s total lack of interest and passion that left us with mixed feelings.


For me personally, Immortal was one of this year’s major attractions. This band has released some fantastic albums and I could hardly wait to see them live . Sadly, I found them a little disappointing, although it was thrilling to hear live accounts of splendid songs like “"At The Heart Of Winter", "Sons Of Northern Darkness" and "Battles In The North", something just seemed to be missing. Maybe it was the lack of a second guitar player which kind of took away the edge that those songs have on CD. Nevertheless, I banged my head like there would be no Wacken 2008. In retrospective it was actually a decent show, a fine excerpt of the Immortal oeuvre. The band played a lot of oldies, the crowd went mad (just like they did with Emperor last year) and the impressive pyro and professional light show topped it off nicely. Immortal are back! A worthy last band for the Black stage.



In Flames never was really my thing, Still I stuck around to see their show. In past days it used to be easy to get to the front when this band was on stage but now it was hardly possible to even make it halfway across the field. I believe practically all of Wacken’s visitors had come out to see the Swedes perform. Before they started to play, vocalist Anders Friden vowed this show would be remembered as their best performance ever, and they did their damndest to ,make this happen. In flames ripped it up with songs such as Crawl Through Knives", "Dead Alone" and "The Quiet Place", fireworks thundered across the sky and a large video screen backdrop screamed “In Flames” in shameless neon colors. During the song “Come Clarity” thousands of lighters and mobile phones were held in the air which was an amazing sight. Fans of the older In Flames material were served with songs like ”Graveland” off the ‘Jester Race‘ album. The band continued to play splendid renditions of the songs "Only For The Weak" and "My Sweet Shadow". Our sore and tired legs are the reason why we leave this feast before it comes to an end. Although the show came across somewhat static now and then, it was a major event and a big party for all those who joined it!!



Three days filled with beer and bands totally wore us out and so we are forced to miss a couple of acts such as Cannibal Corpse and Subway To Sally. Unfortunately we did not attend many shows on the Party Stage either this day. This had nothing to do with the bands, there was just too little time to see them all.

Once again the Wacken organization can look back on a fantastic festival. Despite the troubles with the weather just days before the party kicked off, they managed to offer us a clean and almost dry field. Even though some of us couldn’t bring our cars, nothing could spoil the magical atmosphere. Practically every band showed up to entertain the crowd as promised (in fact, I believe Vital Remains were the only band to cancel). The 2007 edition of W.O.A. was even busier than the predeceasing years which resulted in longer lines at the food and drinks stalls and toilets on the field. The camping’s, however, were equipped with plenty of toilets which were cleaned several times a day. Major kudo’s to the diversity and quality of the festival food! Whether you grave a humongous meat shaslick, pancakes, a pizza, a hotdog, fish or just a sandwich, it was all there and we can’t even begin to mention the joy that the beergarten brought us…



As the Wacken festival get busier ever year, so does the traffic around the site. Hours before the festival opened its doors, major traffic jams had taken shape and some people had to wait up to six hours to get a spot on the camping site. The new arrangement of the festival terrain was itself a good idea, especially because this way stages were further apart so there was no sound interference from other bands playing. The only problem to get to the Party Sateg was that the entrance / exit was too small for all the people passing in and out and apparently the bands on that stage were so popular that the Party Stage area just wasn’t big enough from time to time!!. We were quite luckily with the weather; after a drizzly week we ended up spending the entire festival in the sun!

The Wacken organization certainly has the heavy task of maintaining a tradition and even before the 2007 edition of Wacken has come to an end, some bands for the 2008 edition have been announced!! Next year we can bang our heads to Iron Maiden (only show in Germany in 2008), Avantasia, Children Of Bodom, Kreator and Sonata Artica.

And of course, we’ll be there to cover it all! Rain or Shine, see you at Wacken 2008.


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Thursday 02/08/2007
Friday 03/08/2007