Wacken Open Air – Review Part 2

•September 11, 2008 • 1 Comment

Here’s our second part of the Wacken Open Air 2008 Review, featuring live-reviews of Primordial, Cynic and Ensiferum

Primordial: Well, 11:30 is a very unthankful time when you are playing on a festival. Those who aren’t still sleeping are tired, in a bed temper or fighting against their huge headache (probably with more alcohol). But someone needs to start the second day of the festival, and that’s a job for the Irish Folk Black Metal Band Primordial.
In 2007, Primordial released “To the Nameless Dead”, an atmospheric monster album which became very fast one of my favorite CD’s in my collection. The show started on time in front of the small stage (Party Stage…or Wet Stage, I don’t know anymore), and, hell yeah, Nemtheanga (singer), surely knows how to motivate the crowd in front of him. This guy definitely has a lot of charisma and his way to interact with the crowd was the main reason why the crowd woke up so fast that day.
Starting with the great “Empire Falls”, Primordial played a lot of songs from the latest release (“As Rome burns”, Heathen Tribes”). Nemtheanga’s remarkable voice, a good assortment of songs and an interested crowd made this gig an emotional and unforgettable event for me. Definitely one of the best metal acts I’ve ever seen!

Cynic: I’ll make it quick: this gig was not that great. Responsible for my disappointment wasn’t the band but the typically Open-Air-Sound. Cynic, with 2 “Death” members, was one of the most innovative Technical Death Metal bands in the early 90’s, and I really enjoyed “Focus”, but unfortunately their typical sound didn’t work at Wacken. The guitar sound was awful, not differantiated enough and too much in the background (the same for the “clean” electro vocals), the drums too loud and it all sounded a little bit like a robot orgy (exaggeration). I prefer to listen to Cynic on my IPod…or in a concert hall. Good Band, bad gig. Oh yeah by the way some good news: Cynic are recording (after 15 years) a new album).

Ensiferum: To be honest, I was in a very bad mood while that gig. You know, that typical festival-hangover…but I’ll try to be objective: in fact, the sound was, surprise surprise, quite mediocre, espacially if you were standing like me, very far from the stage (too crowded). But Ensiferum did a good job, they played a lot of songs from the new record, unfortunately not that much from Iron (in my eyes their best album). Great are those moments where the crowd sings along with the singer those low notes (you know, those “Whuooooohohoooohooo” parts). Bad mood, good band, nice atmosphere = felicitous gig. I’m looking forward to see them again live!

The third part of our Wacken Review will feature the Opeth gig, and my second personal favorite: Gorgoroth. Furthermore we will arrive to a conclusion if Wacken 2008 was a good festival…or not.

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Nailed – Hatred, Failure & The Extinction of Mankind (2008)

•September 6, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Nailed play brutal Death Metal with slightly Melodic elements. Well I guess I have just lost 90% of my readers by now. Anyway, Nailed is the kind of band which brings nothing new to the genre. Really nothing. Less technical than Nile, less extreme than Cannibal Corpse or Deicide, not as groovy as Grave: Nailed is strongly influenced by the pioneers of the genre but never reach their level. So, during half an hour, your ears will be served some ordinary Death.

A die-hard Death Metal fan will surely, after having given a listen to “Hatred, Failure & The Extinction of Mankind” (Original, isn’t it?), like this alvum, yeah, even love it if he is desperately in need for new stuff for his ears. The songs are straightforward, fairly well-produced (I personnaly had a problem with the way the drums were sounding, though. I would have wished them more at the foreground, and with less emphasis at the cymbals), and the instrumentalists are skilled enough to churn out some good Death Metal riffs. The songs are often held in a fast tempo, with some heavy mid-tempo parts. The growler is really unintersting. He’s just there to growl in an unextraordinary way.

Maybe I am too severe with these guys, but I have already heard lots of Death Metal albums and this one doesn’t stand out from the rest. For fans only.

5/10

Black Wizard

Wacken Open Air 2008 – Review Part 1

•August 23, 2008 • 7 Comments

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

Summer Breeze 2008 Review Part 3

•August 20, 2008 • 1 Comment

Saturday – 16/08/2008

I went to see The Old Dead Tree, a band from France who plays an interesting blend of different genres. The show was not bad, but the singer had some problems to stay on key (probably some issues with the monitor sound setup). Endstille was next and although they are absolutely not my cup of tea, my more black metal inclined friends thought that their show was pretty good. We then waited to see Keep of Kalessin, who I thought rocked. I’ll have to listen to some of their records to form a definite opinion, but for a first time, I liked them. Luckily I missed H-Blockx and Sonic Syndicate, and the next band I saw was Heaven Shall Burn. Originally we had planned to see Novembre, who performed on the Party Stage, but their sound was so awful, that we left after one song. HSB was ok, they had a big following of people, but the whole metalcore thing really starts to bug me. Cradle of Filth had a good sound for once (usually they are dreadful on stage), but if I would have to name one of the singers I hate the most in the world, it would probably be Dany Filth. So no love there from my side. And then it was time for the band I wanted to see for several years now. Anathema came on stage under a partial lunar eclipse and delivered an incredible show. So much emotions and atmosphere are rare at a festival and I will cherish the experience for the rest of my life.

Pictures of Saturday can be found here.

All in all the Summer Breeze of 2008 was a huge success. There were of course the stupid problems with the traffic jam, but other than that it was amazing. The fans were friendly, the staff was ok, the food was incredible for a festival (finally not only cheap hotdogs and nasty kebabs). The only things that sucked were the drinks. The beer was terrible and the Met was way too sweet. Lucky we had brought enough and could take 0.5l PET bottles inside. Thanks to everybody who came along and made this such a great festival for me!

Summer Breeze 2008 Review Part 2

•August 19, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Friday – 15/08/2008

Friday was my “I couldn’t care less” day, as I didn’t really like any of the bands that much. Not that there weren’t any good acts performing that day, I just didn’t care for them. But it’s a festival, so you hang around the festival grounds most of the time anyway. We caught a glimpse of Heidevolk, while munching a Dresdner Handbrot (which are delicious by the way). Next we listened to Exodus. You can’t go wrong with some old school thrash metal, but their extreme pro-US propaganda was a bit much. I took a little break to have a few drinks with my mates and the next band I saw was Eluveitie, a pagan metal act from Switzerland. They actually surprised me and I will probably check out their music again soon.

Dresdner Handbrot

The main problem I have with festivals at the moment is that more and more extremely modern and new bands perform there and most of those bands are not really worth mentioning anymore. They appear, release one or two ok albums and disappear again. I would agree that it is pretty much impossible to create something so new that it has never been done before, but that’s not necessary. A few experiments or deviations from the cliché would suffice. But I’m getting sidetracked.

As I Lay Dying was next and although I have listened to a few of their albums and wanted to see them, I was bored pretty quickly. My friends took me to see Six Feet Under, which I’m not a fan of and that didn’t change that day either. I just can’t warm up to Chris Barnes’ voice. Apparently their show was quite good though. Kataklysm was next, they delivered a decent death metal show, but I was too power-out (or maybe drunk) to truly enjoy it.

Pictures of Friday’s acts, here.

Summer Breeze 2008 Review Part 1

•August 18, 2008 • 3 Comments

“Ich will euch ja nicht die Hoffnung rauben, aber es sieht verdammt beschissen aus!”

This quote was uttered by a guy on his phone, who we passed by, after seven hours of sitting around in a traffic jam, on our way to the festival grounds. Two hours later we had finally arrived. The car jam was huge, no it was actually insane. We were moving at around one kilometer an hour, only due to the no-glass rule bestowed on the visitors by the promoters. There is nothing like wasting half a day in your car, to raise the mood. Having missed all of the bands that performed in the party tent that day, we decided to put up our tents and call it a night.

Thursday – 14/08/2008

The first band I saw part of that day was Emil Bulls. First off all let me say: WTF are they doing at a festival like this? To tough it out they played Symphony of Destruction by Megadeth. Too bad they totally butchered it. Aborted were next and the quartet from Belgium delivered a clean cut show. An awesome Death Metal concert that made the crowd go insane. Now from this moment onwards everything is a bit fuzzy. I remember that AHAB had a horrible mushy sound and so the next band I really enjoyed was Helloween. I have to admit that I consider them one of my “guilty pleasure” bands. They are one of the first metal bands I ever listened to and so I couldn’t resist to catch their show from midfield. And it was awesome. Maybe nostalgic feelings are clouding my judgment, but I really enjoyed myself. They played a cool medley of their old songs and that was probably the main reason why I liked the show, as I’m not really acquainted with their newer stuff. To sober up, we had a few pieces of Flammkuchen, which had an excellent price to quality ratio and then it was time for Cult of Luna. The indie-doom combo from Scandinavia managed to envelop the crowd with their gloomy sound and during the whole show I felt like in a trance. This was one of the most powerful shows I have ever seen on a festival.

I decided to post this review in three parts (one for each day) so that it won’t be too long. So stay tuned!

Pictures of the event are already online on the official Summer Breeze website.

Ereb Altor – By Honour (2008)

•August 17, 2008 • 2 Comments

Some pretend that there exist as many Metal Genres as Metal bands. Well, that might not be true, but fact is that there are always new sub-genres being invented by audacious musicians bringing fresh wind to the scene.

Ereb Altor, for their part, propose us Viking Doom Metal. These guys created a blend of later Bathory and Candlemass, and the result is incredibly epic and majestic. The heavy guitars riffs crawl throughout the album like a drakkar navigating with effort in northern seas. The clean, epic, vocals, fit perfectly to the music. The whole can clearly be compared to Nordland I & II from Bathory, but By Honour is by no means a simple copycat of those Viking Metal classics.

The Doom Metal is omnipresent in this release. The riffs are much slower, more viscous, than any other Viking Metal album I have heard so far, and that makes the music of Ereb Altor so unique. Thus, both fans of Viking and Doom Metal are likely to love this album. For my part, being into both genres, I can only warmly recommend you this band. To convince you, just have a look at the band’s myspace page and listen to the song “Awakening”.

9/10

Black Wizard