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Wacken 2008 Review

WACKEN OPEN AIR 2008
We remember the WOA-edition of 2007 when an endless rain had impeded the festival preparations and had flooded several camp grounds as the festivalsite right before the WOA started. With immense organization abilities the organizers took care about another big success of their festival. A year later the fans reacted with a sold-out in march, as early as it never had been before!

This year the organizers weren’t forced to fight against extreme weather conditions, so they were able to concentrate all their logistic know-how on the WOA 2008 in a regular setting.

The WOA-organization improved the festivalsite by raising the access between the two biggest stages and the Party Stage which had become an extra place last year. It turned out to a very comfortable improvement. Another upgrade got reached by the organizers decision to offer clean restrooms for free. Generally the organization impressed on a high level for another time, so there are just little improvements possible.

This year the WOA offered one of the best billings ever: The Eurovision Grand Prix – winner Lordi, the shooting stars Primordial as Airbourne, the live-reunions of At The Gates, Carcass, Cynic as Headhunter, the live-premier of Avantasia, the live-introcuction of Nightwish’s new singer, the newer so-called Metalcore – bands Hatebreed, Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying as Unearth and of course the biggest Heavy Metal – band of the world: Iron Maiden! To me I completed with the WOA 2008 – edition my first dozen of twelve WOA-participations in a row since the beginning in 1997 rocking for the next WOA-dozen!

At this year’s Wacken Open Air 87 bands (plus the all-evening Mambo Kurt, Rokken (cover-band) and W:O:A Firefighters (Except for Friday) – sessions in the beergarden) appeared on four stages in the three days for about 75000 visitors (Sold out in march!).

Thursday
True Metal Stage
Iron Maiden Wow, what an event! For the first time in the WOA-history the True Metal Stage got opened on Thursday! An honor one of the biggest Metal-bands ever definitely deserved! The festivalsite was completely crowded, nobody wanted to miss them! And it was worth it! The quintet performed their golden ages around the late eighties in front of their legendary “Powerslave” – stage setting. After the intro “Churchill’s Speech” they started with “Aces High” and “2 Minutes To Midnight” into a two hours lasting set. After this singer Bruce Dickinson held an announcement with the demand: “Move the fuckin’ crane!” He meant the camera crane he felt disturbed by. After a short discussion the camera team complied with Bruce’s will. So the show was continued by “Revelations” and “The Trooper” while Bruce performed in a uniform to swing a union jack – flag. The fans started the first Mexican wave before Steve Harris & Co let follow “Wasted Years”, “The Number Of The Beast” assisted by some devil, their probably most commercial hit “Can I Play With Madness?” and “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner” supported by some kind of a potato sack. To the title track of the visually ubiquitous “Powerslave” – album Bruce wore a very strange costume. The band performed the “Somewhere In Time” – track “Heaven Can Wait” with 20 fans on stage for a while of the song. The regular set got completed by the classic “Run To The Hills”, “Fear Of The Dark” sung by the probably loudest choir on earth and the self-titled “Iron Maiden” after which the band left the stage. The six protagonists returned with the encores “Moonchild”, “The Clairvoyant” in which guitarist Janick Gers fought his fight against Future Eddie to finish a memorable gig with the hammer “Hallowed Be Thy Name”. The NWOBHM-legend played a fantastic show the attendant crowd will probably never forget!

Black Stage
Girlschool The oldest rockin’ all-girl-band opened the program on the big stages. Although Kim McAuliffe played classics like “Hit And Run” as material from their forthcoming album, but in my opinion the four actresses had shown more inspiring appearances than this one in their 20 years lasting career.

Lauren Harris The daughter appears at most festival locations where her father and Iron Maiden – band-leader Steve Harris appears. Filling the set with tracks from the debut-output “Calm Before The Storm” she and her band played a boring set. Lauren Harris is cute as sympathic, but she doesn’t have any of her father’s talent yet.

Airbourne It was time for the shooting stars of Rock ‘n’ Roll from Australia in the tradition of the mighty AC/DC when Rose Tattoo’s (another Australian legend) “Bad Boy For Love” started as their intro. The guys rocked definitely by “Fat City”, “Runnin’ Wild” or “Hellfire as by their performance. Its highlight: While “Girls In Black” singer and guitar-weirdo Joel O’ Keefe climbed up the stage on top of the lights letting himself hang down with his head ahead to play the solo totally unsecured. Crazy!

Avenged Sevenfold The Glam-Rockers from L.A. also showed how to rock. If “The Beast And The Harlot” and “Trashed And Scattered” from their “City Of Evil” – breakthrough or “Scream”, “Gunslinger” and “Afterlife” from their current self-titled album, this band was worth each of the 60 minutes they appeared. And for another time singer M. Shadows and lead guitarist Synyster Gates impressed by their huge talent.

Hellfest Stage / Party Stage
Mustasch Note this Swedish band and keep it in mind! Always heard about the name, never really watched and after this gig caught by one of the greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll – bands of nowadays. Lead by their sympathic as charismatic fronter Ralf Gyllenhammer who even showed some of his German lesson experiences from school the quartet rocked by “Bring Me Everyone” and their hit “Double Nature” from their “The Latest Version Of The Truth”-album as by their classics “Black City” and “Dogwash”. Cool!

Nashville Pussy This band just tried to rock like the praised Swedes before had done. Besides their visual show there was nothing special in this appearance of an over-estimated combo. They didn’t convince more than the parallel acting Lauren Harris.

Sturm & Drang Watching the shooting stars in Melodic Metal lead to one result about the question why they were hyped that much: Just because of their very young age and because of nothing else! Their music as their stage-acting turned out to be averaged ones. The Finnish teenies played two cover-versions by Judas Priest’s “Breaking The Law” and Iron Maiden’s “Fear Of The Dark” just about four hours it should have been played by its creators’. But anyway this young band wasn’t worth to appear in Wacken, maybe some day they will be.

Leaves’ Eyes Backed by a gigantic stage setting with a Viking boat which had required much logistic know-how to get transported to Wacken the Gothic Metal – band around Liv Kristine and her husband as Atrocity-fronter Alex Krull began by “Farewell Proud Men”. But besides their stage setting their show didn’t inspire the crowd that much. Even their fans in the first rows needed some time to create something like atmosphere. So the gig didn’t impress me that much despite tracks like their probably most well-known one “Elegy”, but in the end the show earned more and more applause. But please renounce those Viking-actors just being rediculous!

W.E.T. Stage
Voodoo Kungfu (Metal Battle China) It just took a few seconds to find out that this group won’t win the Metal Battle – final! Lead by a fronter looking like a mixture between a hippie, a chief, Dracula himself and something they performed tracks like “Bruce Lee” in a very psychic as ridiculous way. Sounding like an average crossover between Nu Metal and Visual Kei the combo presented itself totally untalented as displaced on this venue. It felt like they acted in service of the Chinese regime to torture us by this performance. Hopefully the Chinese scene has more to offer than that.

Negura Bunget I was very curious about the show of the innovative Ambient/Black Metal – band from Romania. So did the whole crowd in the pretty filled up tent shouting Negura-chants several minutes before the band entered the stage. First of all the five men and one woman had to fight with a dirty sound including a too low voice. They impressed by songs from their current “Om”-album “Tesarul De Lumini” as by older compositions like “Worldless Knowledge” enhanced by different Romanian Folk-instruments turning this performance out to something really special as the wooden knock-wall getting beaten by an also wooden hammer while the mentioned “Worldless Knowledge”. Outstanding!

Friday
True Metal Stage
Mortal Sin The Australian Thrash Metal – icon opened with “Blood Death Hatred” from their “Mayhemic Destruction” – debut released in 1986 to let follow by “Deadman Walking” a track from the “An Absence Of Faith” – return. While there weren’t that many fans supporting the band the musicians brought a respectable show containing Thrash-classics being published throughout their career like “I Am Immortal”, “Lebanon” and the title-track of their mentioned debut-record.

Unearth When the Metal-machine from Boston entered the stage the rain started and stayed for some time getting pretty intense. But not nearly as intense as this show was supposed to become. The real metalheads didn’t care about the weather creating several moshpits and circle-pits to a set mainly consisting of songs from their latest masterpiece “III: In The Eyes Of Fire” as “This Glorious Nightmare” causing a big circle-pit or “Giles” and smashers from their former hit-album like “Zombie Autopilot” with hundreds of crowdsurfers, the directly following “This Lying World” and the two finishing hymns “The Great Dividers” and “Black Hearts Now Reign”! Besides that the fivepiece introduced by “My Will Be Done” a song from their forthcoming album to the crowd. The band performed very hard and agile, took care about the fans on the festival ground stayed crowded by animated fans going wild to an overwhelming show. Meanwhile my cell phone got damaged that much by the rain which cost some money, but it was worth every cent! Best festival-appearance! Bring ‘em back!

Kamelot In front of an astonishing crowd the Melodic Metal – band began supported by massive pyros with the intro “Solitaire”, “Rule The World” (both tracks from their latest album “Ghost Opera”) and “When The Lights Are Down” got celebrated for each track. The band from Florida had become a very international band. Besides the charismatic singer Roy Khan coming from Norway they got support from Germany by a keyboarder and a beautiful female backing singer who switched her dresses (Unfortunately not on stage!) in her breaks and got mixed much too low. Anyway the sixpiece earned much applause for the also newer “Ghost Opera” – songs “The Human Stain” and “Eden Echo”, “Center Of The Universe”, their hymn “The Haunting”, “Ghost Opera” itself, the ballad “Forever” and the final “March Of Mephisto” which got co-fronted by Atrocity-/Leaves’ Eyes-fronter Alex Krull intoning the darker grunt vocals. Melodic Metal at its best!

Sonata Arctica Melodic Metal at its best is a label you can also use for the guys from Finland. Right now much more successful than their former inspiration Stratovarius the band with new sixstringer Elias Viljanen played a wonderful best of – setlist starting with “Paid In Full” and “Kingdom For A Heart”. Their numerous fans were motivated as vocalist Tony Kakko & Co celebrating “Black Sheep”, “The Cage”, the hit-ballad “Replica” sung by thousands of metalheads and the usual final “Vodka”. Supported by a pyro show it was pure fun to watch the band for another time in Wacken!

Children Of Bodom For the first time the formation around mainman Alexi Laiho acted as the day’s headliner of the biggest stage in Wacken. And the guys from the Bodom lake performed by “Hellhounds On My Trail”, “Banned From Heaven”, “One Day You Will Cry” and the title track four songs from their new “Blooddrunk” – release. But of course the Finns got the most support for their classics like the opener “Sixpounder”, “Silent Night, Bodom Night”, “Follow The Reaper”, “Needled 24/7”, the “Mask Of Sanity” / “Deadnight Warrior” – medley, “Hate Me!”, “Angels Don’t Kill” and “Hatecrew Deathroll”. They mobilized masses supporting them, to me it was the same procedure as every time. Nothing special, but entertaining!

Avantasia After the third album the Metal – opera – solo-project of Edguy-vocalist Tobi Sammet it was the first live-appearance for this sumptuous project involving many different well-known metal-voices of the scene. For Wacken Tobi found a way providing several of those singers and to transport the sound from the record on stage. Cooperating with Jorn Lande (“Serpents In Paradise”), Bob Catley (“The Story Ain’t Over”), André Matos (“Reach Out For The Light”), Amanda Somerville (“Farewell”) or Uli Jon Roth on guitar showed an excellent team. But to me this appearance didn’t convey any real band-feeling and the musical material didn’t convince me as for example Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Ayreon does. Tobi Sammet and his numerous vocalists as musicians reached their fans by the new video-single “Lost In Space” or by the final medley “Sign Of The Cross” / “The Seven Angels”.

Black Stage
Grave At 11 a.m. the Death Metal – institution from Stockholm opened the day while pretty hot temperatures. As you may reason from these facts nobody would have taken a notice about this gig you’re totally wrong. The festival area was filled with thousands of Death Metal – maniacs celebrating Ola Lindgren & Co playing “Burn” and “You’ll Never See”.

Job For A Cowboy The Metalcore-related but Death Metal-interpreting fivepiece convinced for another time by their live qualities animating the crowd to a wall of death, circle-pits and crowdsurfing-action. Their setlist consisted of their debut-record “Genesis” and it left outpowered supporters.

Ensiferum The Pagan Folk Metal of the Finns is still en vogue. Sad but true. So the sixpack entertained basically younger supporters by “One More Magic Potion” and the finisher “Iron” celebrating and singing the verses, and I got bored for another time.

Soilwork Helsingborg’s finest had become steady guests in Wacken. With their mixture of great Swedish Melodic Death Metal meets live-power no wonder. Also this time Björn “Speed” Strid who had become even more the main identification after the two guitarists had quit the band and his five comrades offered a setlist full of hits like “As We Speak”, “Bastard Chain”, “Figure Number Five” with a wall of death, “Rejection Role” including a circle-pit on the festival ground and “The Pittsburgh Syndrome” and “As The Sleeper Awakes” from the current “Sworn To A Great Divide” – album. This was another good appearance, but not as good as they are known for. I missed the special vibe. Somehow Peter Wichers was missed.

Opeth The gods of Prog Death Metal started with the usual finisher “Demon Of The Fall” into their set. Mikael Akerfeldt and his bandmates had to play against a bad sound even handicapped by the wind. They continued with “Beneath The Mire”, Master’s Apprentices” and the only new played “Watershed”-track “Heir Apparent”. Between the compositions Mikael entertained with mad comments referring to conjunctions between a played song and sexual practices. With “Wreath” and “The Drapery Falls” the five geniuses said farewell and left the stage with another astonishing performance, but without any proper sound.

Corvus Corax The Gothic Folk – ensemble was supposed to perform the second part of their “Cantus Buranus” – opera. And they organized much spectacle and show elements on stage. But after a few songs it turned out to get boring. The musical ideas weren’t as interesting as the show elements, and those repeated themselves.

Gorgoroth The Norwegian Black Metal – combo started with the probably most ridiculous stage setting I’ve ever seen: Four crosses got placed on stage with two completely naked masked men and women bound to it. How evil! Gaahl, King & Co should better have concentrated on their music. Their live-performance failed as their show did. Of course there were enough Blackies supporting “Incipit Satan” or “Unchain My Heart”. To me this show completely sucked!

Party Stage
Primordial The Irish shooting stars mainly concentrated on material from their new breakthrough – album “To The Nameless Dead”. So they began by the two openers of this album “Empire Falls” and “Gallows Pole” before performing the “Spirit The Earth Aflame” – classic “Gods To The Godless” to continue with the new smasher “As Rome Burns”, “The Gathering Wilderness” – hit “The Coffin Ships” and to finish by the also new “As Heathen Tribes”. Alan A. Nemtheanga animated the crowd with his typical “Are you with us?” – shouts and the crowd waving with several Ireland-flags definitely was. A good performance, but I had seen them even better as much more energetic before.

Cynic Wow, my long-awaited reunion of the Progressive Death Metal – gods happened. And the quartet opened with their absolute “Focus” – classic “Veil Of Maya” to continue with “Evolutionary Sleeper” which is a song from the forthcoming album “Traced In Air”. The band fascinated by the other song played from this album was “Integral Birth” as by “Focus” – classic “How Could I?” Paul Masvidal and his colleges completely acting with headless guitars / bass didn’t run around which would have disturbed the art created on stage. With loud jubilations the band left the venue after a fascinating gig.

Headhunter Thrash Metal – fans know Destruction’s mainman Marcel Schirmer alias Schmier founded another band in the early 90’s. After a lot of fans’ wishes to reanimate this one those got fulfilled in Wacken. Songs like “Read My Lips”, “Silverskull”, the title track of their debut record “Parody Of Life” or “Signs Of Insanity” showed a much more variable sound than Schmier’s main band which I preferred much more. To my surprise Schmier performed the clean vocal parts pretty confident. I hope they continue with this band!

Sabaton The Swedes play some kind of True Metal I usually don’t appreciate. But in contrast to other acts of this genre they don’t take themselves that serious and take care about partying with the audience. So they did this time and the crowd celebrated “Rise Of Evil”, “Panzer Battalion”, “Attero Dominatus”, “Primo Victoria” and “The Art Of War”. The band, completely suited in military clothes, as fans had fun.

Massacre In the early evening it was time for old school – Death Metal from Florida. The band around mainman Kam Lee mainly concentrated on material from their “From Beyond” – classic like its title track, “Biohazard”, “Defeat Remains”, “Provoked Accurser” and “Corpsegrinder”. Tracks that usually should guarantee a great show, but they didn’t. Kam Lee, suited in a skeleton outfit, just did one stupid announcement after another, his bandmates seemed to be pretty unmotivated and the sound didn’t rule at all. So this gig turned out to a long awaited as disappointing one.

The Haunted The fivepiece from Helsingborg opened by the video-single “The Flood” from their latest album “The Dead Eye” in a smashing set. This contained with “Moronic Colossus” a new song from the next release. The rest turned out to a best of – show considering all phases of The Haunted by another track from the current album “The Failure”, “Shadow World”, “Hollow Ground”, “All Against All” and the final double-shot “Dark Intensions” / “Bury Your Dead”. What a setlist! By the way: To those who thought this The Haunted – slot would just happen as a warm-up for the next day’s At The Gates – reunion got proved wrong. The complete band including the Björler – brothers performed an intense show.

Crematory The German Gothic Metal – band had become a steady guest in Wacken after all these years. And even deep in the night they filled up the festival ground in front of the Party Stage. Fronter Felix & Co played all their hits and reached much applause for those. I felt bored while the numerous of fans celebrated their darlings.

W.E.T. Stage
Bloodwork (Metal Battle Germany) After I had experienced these hopefuls from Paderborn in their first Metal Battle West Germany – round they also won the German final. So I was curious about how they would be able to transform these club – successes on a festival including being part of the international final. And the five guys rocked! They performed by “Demonic”, their hit “Silent Revolution”, “Hellbound”, “Deadlock” and “Insufficient” Melodic Death Metal – songs with catchy choruses which caught the attraction as sympathy of the people attending in the tent who celebrated this professional performance.

Autumn I discovered this Dutch Gothic Metal – band for the first time as a newcomer opening the Dynamo Open Air 2002 on its Tent Stage. Last year they signed at Metal Blade releasing by “My New Time” a wonderful new album. On material from this the musicians put their main focus playing “Closest Friends Conspire”, “Angel Of Desire”, “Satellites”, “Blue Wine”, the title track and “State Of Mind”. By the way the band introduced their very new singer Marjan Welman known from Ayreon. She had a great voice as life-presence sometimes reminding of ex – The Gathering – voice Anneke van Giersbergen. The band also presented a new song written with her for the next album. With the title track of their second output “Summer’s End” they finished a very good show in front of a small, but completely entertained crowd.

Excrementory Grindfuckers Astonishing! The Grind Party – band filled up the tent deep in the night. With funny own songs like greetings to the fronter of the Japanische Kampfhörspiele by “Hey Boni” and grinding interpretations of well-known Pop- and Schlager-hits like “Ein Bisschen Grind Muss Sein”, “Fata Morgana” and the final “Nationalgrind Nr. 1” the quintet with two frontiers spread fun and took care of one big party. What a cool final act closing the Wacken – Friday!

Saturday
True Metal Stage
Sweet Savage After the cancelation of the The Darkness – successors Stone Gods Exodus switched on their position playing two hours later and Sweet Savage replaced their slot after they had played on the Wednesday’s warm-up. But most of the fans went to the stage to see Bay Area Thrash instead of the Rock ‘n’ Roll of the Irish band and departed. So Sweet Savage didn’t win that much support.

Exodus Wow, what a beginning! The Bay Area Thrash Metal – institution did this by their hymn “Bonded By Blood” followed by the classics “A Lesson In Violence”. The crowd reacted with a wild moshpit and this appearance could have become a great one. But the voice of new fronter Rob Dukes turned out to a sucking one on stage in contrast to his achievement on the new “The Atrocity Exhibition Exhibit A” – release. But this got undercut by his stageacting: Looking with his star-spangled shorts ridiculous enough Rob Dukes did an anti-Islam announcement. Idiot, it’s time for Another Lesson In Intelligence!

As I Lay Dying San Diego’s finest offered Melodic Death Metal and found thousands of willing supporters who seemed just awaiting this hour in the late afternoon. From the beginning with the intro (“Separation”) and the opener (“Nothing Left”) of the current hammer-album “An Ocean Between Us” the quintet ruled the festival area. Each song of the tracklist consisting of their latest three albums got celebrated: “Confined”, “Forever”, “Within Destruction” with a huge circle-pit, “Forsaken”, “The Darkest Nights”, “Distance Is Darkness”, “Meaning In Tragedy”, the title track of their new mentioned masterpiece, the rare played classic “Elegy”, “The Sound Of Truth” supported by Neaera-shouter Benny from the middle of the song and the a wall of death creating “94 Hours”, band as fans were still in action celebrating an overwhelming show. With “Through Struggle” the band bid farewell to an outpowered, but happy crowd. Like I already wrote: Overwhelming!

Killswitch Engage Another band celebrating their appearance becoming a triumphant march was the Melodic Death Metal – band from Massachusetts. Starting with the current album-opener and title track “Daylight Dies” the quintet fascinated the masses. Those raged throughout “The Arms Of Sorrow”, “Breathe Life”, “Rose Of Sharyn” with a huge wall of death, “My Curse”, “A Bid Farewell” and “Life To Lifeless”. Howard Jones impressed by his very variable voice combining all shouts, grunts as wonderful sung clean vocals and guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz entertained by running miles on stage, making grimaces and his announcements like his Emo-Pussy-comment. Those guys live their music and love to perform this live. So the band finished a much supported and celebrated appearance by “This Is Absolution” causing another big circle-pit, the classic semi-balad “My Last Serenade” and the Dio-cover “Holy Diver”. Outstanding!

Nightwish The Finish band returned after several WOA-participations introducing their new singer Anette Olzon. She rocked, acted and sang convincing. Although she probably didn’t win any Tarja Turunen – die-hard-fan most fans accepted and celebrated her performance. But in contrast to the acts before the fivepiece had several sound problems throughout their showcase containing new “Dark Passion Play” – material (“Amaranth”, “Bye Bye Beautiful”) and classics (“Nemo”, “Wishmaster”) . So this one didn’t become a real new breakthrough. Just the immense light show and the pyro – show effects completely worked well these 90 minutes. Sad but true!

Lordi It was on to the Finish sensation to finish this year’s Wacken after they had canceled last year’s appearance. And the masked band entertained by all their gimmicks and special effects like the chainsaw and lots of pyros throughout their show considering the opener “Bringing Back The Balls To Rock”, “The Kids Who Wanna Play With The Dead”, “Rock The Hell Outta You” with an axe throwing out sparks, “Lose Your Daddy”, “Who’s Your Daddy?”, “It Snows In Hell” and “Blood Red Sandman”. With “Would You Love A Monsterman?” and the Grand Prix d’Eurovision – victory – hit “Hard Rock Hallelujah” including many special effects Mr. Lordi and his monsters finished a spectacular show as the Wacken Open Air!

Black Stage
3 Inches Of Blood True Metal which had got promoted as Metalcore in the past appearing on the Black Stage is not an ordinary phenomenon. While the grunts of guitarist Justin Hugberg sounded pretty okay to my ears the high pitched vocals of Cam Pipes cut them nearly off. So many curious metalheads went away after a few tracks. Just a few stayed to support new “Fire Up The Blades” – material (“Forest King”) as tracks from the both longplayers before (“Ride Darkhorse Ride”, “Deadly Sinners”). To me it was horrible!

Holy Moses The German Thrash – icon around Sabina Classen followed. Their setlist considered tracks from their new “Agony Of Death” – output like “World in Darkness” and “Bloodbound Of The Damned” as many old classics like “Earth Destroyer” or the finishing “Strength, Power, Will, Passion” – song “End Of Time”. The group was motivated offering a good show, but to me they’re still pretty average musically!

Hatebreed The nowadays most popular Hardcore – band appearing in Wacken: A few years ago this idea would have been unimaginable. But the WOA evolved as the whole metal-community and that’s good this way! The festival area turned out to a huge mosh-pit and even the band was pretty astonished causing such reactions on unknown territory. Fronter Jamey Jasta emphasized for several times how much that means to the band, and it looked as felt authentic. With their smashers “Live For This”, “To The Threshold” or “I Will Be Heard” they kept thousands of fans in motion.

Carcass The Death Metal – legend is back! So long all of their numerous fans as me had been waiting for this happening. Jeff Walker, Bill Steer, Michael Amott and Daniel Erlandsson opened their show with “Inpropagation”, “Buried Dreams” and “Corporal Jigsore Company”. After this strong beginning added by “Carnal Forge” the Swedes got assisted by Arch Enemy – vocalist Angela Gossow during “Incarnate Solvent Abuse” which was pretty unnecessary. “No Love Lost” brought the performance back to the high level. The highlight of the show happened when the original drummer Ken Owen who supported his comrades for a short while. He wasn’t able to play a full show because of sanitary reasons. Their set considered different phases from their career. So by classics like “Keep On Rotting In A free World”, “Exume To Consume” and the final “Heartwork” they took care of their headbanging fan-crowd.

At The Gates The next long awaited reunion was that one of the Melodic Death Metal – Gothenburg – sound – founders. And this one turned out to remain as a very special stirring one! Their setlist contained songs of all their releases with the main focus on their “Slaughter Of The Soul” – masterpiece. With its title track they began the show followed by “Raped by The Light Of Christ” and “Under A Serpent Sun”. The motivated band including the next Erlandsson (Adrian) on drums performed a rare show with a setlist that should have fulfilled most whishes supported by a great sound. So they earned massive support by many thousands of fans for “The Red In The Sky Is Ours”, “World Of Lies”, “Burning Darkness”, “Nausea”, “The Beautiful Wound”, “All Life Ends” from their debut – EP “Gardens Of Grief” and “Need” before the band left the stage. They returned for the much celebrated encores “Blinded By Fear”, “Suicide Nation” and “Kingdom Gone” to close an excellent performance lead by a very strong as sympathic frontman Thomas ‘Tompa’ Lindberg and the two Björler – brothers. What an overwhelming show! I hope they will return as soon as possible!

Kreator The Thrash – icon from Essen performed a stirring show in the deep night in front of a pretty huge crowd. After beginning with “Violent Revolution”, “Pleasure To Kill”, “Enemy Of God” and “People Of The Lie” fronter Mille showed for another time he’s belonging to the thinking heads of the Metal scene doing a clear anti-racism-announcement: “Metal and racism don’t work together!” After getting jubilated loudly for this the quartet continued their best-of-set consisting of “Terror Zone”, “Extreme Aggressions”, “Phobia” and “Betrayer” before they left stage. Mille & Co entered it again for performing the encores “Reconquering The Throne” and “Flag Of Hate” / “Tormentor”. Supported by a cool light show and some pyros the fourpiece succeeded. Especially the pyro effect after the last played tone showed all fans between stage and sound tower how hot hell must be. Just Mille’s long announcement before “Flag Of Hate” became a little bit too cheesy. Anyway: Strong show!

Party Stage
Machine Men The Finish Melodic Metal – band opened the last day of this year’s WOA in front of a pretty rare filled festival area. Another band from Suomi belonging to this sub-genre? Yes, but they weren’t similar to Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica. Instead of that the quintet sounded pretty Iron Maiden – influenced. They promoted their current “Circus Of Fools” – album by its title track “The Shadow Gallery”, “Talk To The Seasons” and “No Talk Without The Giant”. Those as songs from their first two longplayers like “Falling” or “Apathy” entertained these few spectators well which spent applause.

Mercenary The next Melodic Metal – act magnetized numerous fans in front of their stage. Of course, the Danish band already had their breakthrough. Lead by the clean vocals of Mikkel Sandager, the guitar riffs as solos by Martin Buus and the grunts of second sixstringer Rene Pedersen the band performed their “The Hours That Remain”- (“Redefine Me”, “Lost Reality”, “My Secret Window”) and “11 Dreams”- (the title track, “Firesoul”) based set very well, but just the sound didn’t work well at all. The variable band also introduced with “Execution Style” a brandnew song from their forthcoming album.

Obituary Florida’s Death Metal – legend appeared in the late afternoon. So not the worst position in the billing you might think. But the band acted pretty unmotivated and John Tardy didn’t really communicate with the fans. So those just chose the left option to headbang to “Turned Inside Out”, “Cause Of Death”, “Evil Ways” and the Celtic Frost – cover “Dethroned Emperor”. Anyway this was disappointing, but we know usually they can do much better!

Krypteria What followed was one of the worst Gothic Rock/Metal – appearances ever. The fourpiece let miss any originality and bored on stage. Their singer Ji-In Cho showed a pretty thin voice and stuck on my nerves with her gothic-somewhat-stageacting. That’s probably why the German fourpeace didn’t achieve any louder reactions for their debut-tracks like “The Promise”, “All Systems Go”, “Lost” and “Somebody Save Me”.

Girugämesh After Mucc, Despair’s Ray and Dir En Grey over the latest three WOA-editions this time Girugämesh appeared in Wacken playing music from their new release “Music” like “Alive” or “Freaks”. As the last mentioned title the bandmembers looked like. Playing a style between Melodic Punk Rock, Emo and Gothic the Japanese band just interested the first few rows.

Axxis To its 20th anniversary the German Hardrock – institution played a best-of-show interesting many people in front of the stage. Besides the title track of the current “Doom Of Destiny” – record singer Bernhard Weiß & Co performed classics like “Living In A World”, “Brother Moon”, “Touch The Rainbow” and “Kingdom Of The Night”. Their fans took part in the rocking party which entertained very well!

W.E.T. Stage
Torture Squad I was curious about the Brasilian WOA – Metal Battle 2007 – winner. Presenting their brandnew release “Hellbound” the fourpiece convinced by their high motivation, but their music sounded much too old-school-forced and fatuous. A bunch of guys banged their heads, but most people seemed to share my opinion. Anyway they turned out to be a sympathic band because of their ambition, but this isn’t quite enough to convince at all.

Conclusion:
As I mentioned in the introduction the organization worked very well still achieving improvements for the visitors like raising the access to the Party Stage – area a lot!

This years WOA-billing was probably the best ever combining top bands of all different sub-genres, successful Metal-giants as hopeful newcomers in each of them! And after having with Iron Maiden the biggest Metal-band so far in Wacken rumors mention names like AC/DC, Metallica and Ramstein! We’ll see what happens and keep you informed about for sure!

The prices for food and beverages stayed the same as the years before (e.g. 3,00 € for a o,4 l beer or softdrink).

We enjoyed our first dozen of Wacken-participations and are looking forward to our 13th one! See you in Wacken 2009 – rain or shine!
Special thanks go out to Britta Kock, Sheree Hesse and the WOA-team!!!!!

At the Wacken Open Air rocked, drank and partied Tobi Wan Kenobi, Sebi Sebericks, Dumbo and Nic!!!!!