Wacken Open Air 2008 – Review Part 1

The Wacken Open Air 2008 festival took place three weeks ago (N.B.: W:O:A 2009 X-Mas tickets are already sold out!) and the village of Wacken has returned to everyday life again. Here on MFG it’s time to write down a review of what we have witnessed during those 3 days of pure northern Heavy Metal.

Today we will start with Iron Maiden, Obituary, Carcass and At the Gates. Part 2 will contain Primordial, Gorgoroth and Ensiferum.  The final part will be about organization, food, camping-grounds and maybe a photo gallery.

Please note that there have been nearly 100 bands playing at Wacken, so we haven’t been able to attend every single one of them. Especially since the MFG crew likes to drink and party hard! 🙂

Iron Maiden… Well, I have bittersweet feelings about this gig. Needless to say, the concert itself was superb! (as all Iron Maiden concerts I suppose) They’re gods on stage. Bruce Dickinson is still in perfect shape, singing, running and jumping around like a young lad in his twenties. Doubting the skill of any band member would be simply out of place. They played mostly hits from their eighties period: “The Number Of The Beast” (of course), “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, “Two Minutes To Midnight”, “The Trooper”, “Aces High”, the 13-minute long “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner” (!) but also“Fear Of The Dark”. These classic tunes still sound fresh, although fans of their recent works may have been slightly disappointed since they didn’t play any songs from their new albums.

The BIG disappointment however, was not Iron Maiden but the HUGE CROWD. We were lucky to find a place not too far away from the stage but a lot of people couldn’t even enter the festival area! The result was that we didn’t have a chance to catch even a glimpse of what was happening on stage and had to content ourselves with the large screens to get an idea of the visual aspect…

Obituary played a consistent but not all too original gig. “Find The Arise”, “Slowly We Rot”, “Threatening Skies” and more of their classic songs could convince the fans, but for someone who listens to them only occasionally (like me), the songs got pretty repetitive after a while. Still, I’m glad to have seen one of the Death Metal pioneers at least once in my life.

Carcass played a legendary concert. I couldn’t identify all the songs of their play list though, since I’m not perfectly familiar with their complete works. But “Incarnated Solvent Abuse” was definitely on that list, with Angela Gossow suddenly showing up and taking over vocal duties during that song. Jeff Walker, Carcass’ frontman, spoke a lot between each song and didn’t hesitate to put some extra layers of fine English humor (“In fact, we still hate Arch Enemy” after Angela had returned backstage)

After Iron Maiden, At The Gates was the band I was most looking forward to. And I was not disappointed. I think they played the whole “Slaughter Of The Soul” album, plus some older classics like “Terminal Spirit Disease” and “Kingdom Come”. An audio-orgasm for anyone who claims to be a melodic death metal fan.

(End of Part 1)

Black Wizard & SvArt


~ by SvArt on August 23, 2008.

7 Responses to “Wacken Open Air 2008 – Review Part 1”

  1. Carcass and Maiden would have been the only two reasons for me to attend the Wacken festival this year and after what you said about the huge crowd, I’m happy I didn’t go. Last year there were already too many people and Wacken is slowly going the way of the Dinamo festival. Too many people will ultimately ruin the experience and the fans will slowly start to migrate to other events in order to still be able to enjoy the show instead of having a “Rock am Ring” feeling.

  2. I definitely agree. Last year I saw Maiden at Graspop Metal Meeting. The crowd was definitely huge, but far not as huge as in Wacken… It really ruins a part of the experience

  3. Hey!!

    I was there to!

    For me, i went to wacken to see Carcass and for the second time At The Gates, and well, another band, Stam1na.
    I really enjoyed the festival, and i think that one of the best shows was Exodus, without despising Carcass or At The Gates, for sure hehe.

    Stay metal!

  4. That is a weak review of the Carcass performance in my opinion. No offence (of course). If you were present, how is it that you didn’t mention the short unique and emotionally loaded drum solo by Ken Owen, former drummer, who was in a coma for several months? There was a considerable emotional aspect of this live performance that you fail to mention at all.

    In my opinion.

  5. When wil the other parts be posted? Some friends and I are planning a trip from Vancouver, Canada in 2010. Would love to see the reviews of the other parts of the festival and tips on what to expect, things to bring and things you can get there. Keep me posted pls. Thanks Metal heads from Canada

  6. i made the pilgrimage to Wacken from Vancouver. holy shit, well worth it. it was incredible. Before I went, I was concerned I might get crushed to death by 100,000 massive german metalheads, but it was RAD. Maiden was the crowd at its worst, but there was still 3 stages, 1 tent, and 3 days of meat, drinking beer out of horns, and getting friendly with an international metal army there to worship the greatest show on earth.

  7. I’m finally biting the bullet and going in ’10. I too am going from Vancouver…just from the reviews that I’ve seen it sounds awesome. The only thing that I’m concerned about, as mentioned previously, is the crowds. It’ll kind of suck if I’m not going to be able to actually see my favourites. Oh well, fuck it. I’ll just watch the screens if I have to. I’m bloody stoked already, just from going through a bunch of past Wacken performances on Youtube.

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