Posts Tagged ‘Grand Magus’

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Wacken Open Air 2009

August 10, 2009

The following may appear to be a somewhat protracted and ill thought out review, and in many ways it is, but after minutes of deliberation we decided that the best way for you to see if Wacken is for you is to see as many different opinions as possible on it, so here are four peoples seperate reviews of Wacken all mashed into one, and much like peas, whilst seperate reviews are nice on there own, they’re far superior when they’re mushy. I know, my imaginitive literary skills are extraordinary.

Der W

So this was some pretty old German band that me, Harry and Paul caught while harry was trying to get a wacken t shirt and buy me a towel at the official merch stand. Germans seem to know and love them, but if like me you aren’t fortunate enough to have Prussian blood in your veins, they are most likely completely alien to you. Now, I mensioned that they’re old, however they don’t actually sound that dated. Although the start was rather shaky, and there was some pretty obvious last minute level checking going on, once they got going they churned out some pretty damn good rock. Catchy vocals, nice interesting guitar work, energetic performance….these guys would have probably been huge if they were English or American. Plus the decent song writing makes it sound like it could have come from anytime in the past few decades. Solid Stuff. 7/10

Retrospect

I checked this band out because I was in the area, buying a kebab (if there is any reason to go to Wacken, it’s the donner kebabs there. Proper well mixed, good amount of meat and salad, and the thick bread that you can hold the whole thing with and it won’t soak through or break, its good bread and all!). I also feel the need to check out every Asian band I can when I’m at a festival…don’t ask why, I guess I’m a closet weaboo. Anyway, after I finished the kebab, I found the party stage with these feminine Asian guys playing music that was like a heavyer, more hardcore Bullet For My Valentine. They were pretty good to be honest, I’m just glad they were slightly out of the way on the party stage, or some of the more puritanical metalheads present may have bottled them for being so feminine and metalcore or emo or whatever. The singer was proper camp too. They did have some pretty extreme fringes going on. The crowd of people there though loved them, and after their set they even got quite a large chant of “Zu Gabel”, the german encore of the moment. Very tightly played, with some decent instrumental work. The bassist was sick too, and played an awesome 6-string, as well as being the least feminine of the bunch (not saying much I know). 8/10

Walls of Jericho

First hardcore styled band of the festival was always going to be good. From pretty much the get go, Walls was a melee of pits, hardcore dancing and walls of death, and I’m proud to say I was a part of all of these. Until you’ve seen Walls live, you can’t really appreciate what a beast singer Candace Kucsulain really is. With strong arms to put most male frontmen to shame, and a devastating scream, she was probably the best frontperson of the festival. And she started a wicked if not slightly questionable chant of “Fuck!, Fuck!, Fuck!” by the end of which I was pretty much in love with her. The sound was perhaps a little muddy, and quite a lot of subtleties were most likely lost, but at least it worked really well on the breakdowns. And some good breakdowns seemed to be what most people were looking forward to. They played lots of new material too, which all went down a treat. 9/10

Bullet For My Valentine

I was kind of apprehensive about this, as I knew a lot of people were resentful of them being here, them being an “Emo” band or whatever, but watching them you would never have guessed the stigma attached to them. They played a really tight set, with one of the best sounds of the whole festival, and got an incredible reaction, right back to the beer trucks. “Tears don’t fall” was probably the best song, being a guilty pleasure of me and almost everyone I know. It was a weird feeling being there with thousands of people watching a song we all secretly loved but are normally too ashamed to admit, being able to finally let rip. Kind of like a thousand people simultaneously coming out of the closet together. In many ways, seeing Bullet for my Valentine live was the closest I will ever get to participating in a gay pride parade. And having them playing at a festival that’s normally stringently traditionalist only emphasized the feeling. 9/10

Motorhead

For a first time seeing them, it was enjoyable whether or not I will bother next time…still they know how to rock and they know how to roll. A band still worthy of their status. [8/10]

In Flames

Flanked by a stunning light and pyro display the Swedes can always be relied on for a great performance. No great setlist surprises but solid as a rock and tight as a knot. [7/10]

Testament

Testament played a very tight, well eq’ed, energetic set, with all the classics and a nice cross section through their career, and all was good. However, I feel that the biggest point of the set was the curious spectacle of Chuck Billy, now bloated to the size of a full grown bull manatee, sporting for some odd reason half a mic stand, which he clutched like a chubby RPG player would a staff of warding or something. And if the spectacle of a large adult male with long graying hair and a not fully put together mic stand wasn’t odd enough, whenever not singing, he would play said half stand like it was a guitar, with a scary degree of accuracy to the actual guitar. Sometimes you would confuse him with one of the 2 real guitarists. So I spent most of the set curiously squinting at Chuck, or moshing my balls off. 8/10

Bring Me The Horizon

BMTH always seem to have a terrible live sound, and this gig was no exception. Throughout the whole set you could barely pick out a single riff, just mush, interspersed with breakdowns. The best part of the gig was no doubt the crowd, who kept the spirit high through the whole set, and even engineered a wall of death in the cramped (piss) W.E.T (through) stage. The crowd made this one, the band I have to admit, even though I would call myself a fan, kind of phoned this one in. 6/10

Heaven Shall Burn

Possibly the best intro to a set was heaven shall burn, milking the gentle pre recorded intro before destroying everything. The biggest circle pit of the festival engulfed all. The sound was kind of raw, and they weren’t the tightest band on display, but in terms of raw brutality they gave most a run for their money. 8/10

BFMV

Go against a cloud of doubt and show us all that they truly deserve their mainstage slot. [8/10]

Lacuna Coil

Played an impressive set, mixing old with new and even gave us a taster of some new material. Closing with their always good Depeche Mode cover. Superb. [7/10]

Machine Head

I’m pretty sure everyone agreed that Machine Head was the best band of the festival. Opening with Imperium, possibly one of the best live songs I’ve ever seen, set the bar for the rest of the night. I’m pretty lucky that my New Era cap stayed on through the whole set, and even now it feels slightly sweat drenched. This was however an empty victory, as Jim had earlier dropped it in Ravioli juice. They played an even cross section through their catalogue, and even a few surprises I thought they wouldn’t do live, like the Burning Red, and 9 minute epic Halo from The Blackening. The energy pretty much never abated, and for me, it was a perfect ending to the festival. One of the best live bands I’ve seen. 10/10

Axel Rudi Pell

I was with relief that I saw Axel Rudi Pell take the stage, seeing as they’ve cancelled the last 2 wackens in a row I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see them here, but I did and they were very enjoyable. They were a break from the norm and, whilst playing to a surprisingly low crowd turnout, still got a great reaction. The man himself is a great guitarist and the musicians he’s surrounded himself with are all equally good, especially singer Johnny Gioeli and it was a fun energetic set combining old songs with new (not that there’s ever been any real difference.) 8/10

Heaven and Hell

The stage went red, the band sauntered on with confidence and energy, Dio burst onto the stage with precision and vigour! ‘Mob Rules’ kicked in and from there it was a ‘best of’ Dio’s Sabbath set. Every song from the bands title track all the way to the awesome new ‘Bible Black’ and the exceptionally powerful ‘I’! This band had a presence that only very few bands over the weekend had, it was a well performed set with a basic stage set that suited the band and feel very well, although I couldn’t help but wish the devil beast with multiple tongues would have been made as a stage set rather than just a video. Overall, one of my favs of the weekend – 10/10

Doro

Wow. Superb set, fantastically performed by the Queen of metal. Some amazing tracks, all well preformed and with a brilliant stage set, with ‘Night Of The Warlock’ stealing the show with the amazing moving stage set of the Warlock with its red eyes and huge hands looming over the stage. Doro was obviously happy to be there, the song list was a great mix of old and new material with Herzblut generating great emotion, this was true Doro, much better than she had been at the beginning of the weekend singing the weirdly annoying ‘We Are The Metalheads’ Wacken theme song, she sang ‘We Are’, the real song, they even made a mistake and put the lyrics for ‘We Are The Metalheads’ on the screen, but the crowd didn’t sing it, it was very funny and fitting, We Are is much better! Another of my favourite sets – 9.5/10

Hammerfall

Surprising, I got hammered in a pit, for HF, a real big frigging pit that just burst out during the second song, and again during ‘Glory To The Brave’, No I am not joking, during that quite track, it was amazing, mind bogging and intense… I have been told that from a distance it was not great as sets go, but from up close and in pits and the massive crush at the front it was fantastic, topped the amazing ‘Hearts On Fire’. It was a fantastic experience where I bust my lip, and one that I will not forget in a hurry. I plan to catch them next time they play, just to see if this atmosphere could be rekindled – 8/10

Airbourne

AC/DC can be so easily referenced, but actually I will avoid it. The band played heartily, great stage presence and a fantastic power with a great vocalist and guitarist. The obvious tracks of note were ‘Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast’ and ‘Running Wild’ both of which were fantastic. The crowd were very into their energetic antics, like the guitarist climbing the stage rig and hanging off playing the guitar, it was superb to enjoy the set. – 9/10

Saxon

Despite a rather disappointing appearance at Hammerfest these brits celebrate their 30th anniversary in style. Seeming genuinely stunned Biff accepts an award and the band even throw a rarely heard ‘Crusader’ for good measure.[8/10]

Running Wild

You’d think when its your ‘Last Show Forever’ you’d throw a few quid at it surely…a largely inaccessible show to the non-fans and even those who know the music felt let down. A somewhat mediocre end.[5/10]

GWAR

With music that is almost unbearable to listen to outside of the show GWAR do what they do best, mock politicians and celebrities, shoot various body fluids everywhere and are just downright funny.[7/10]

Cathedral

Quite why Cathedral are billed at half 3 in the afternoon on the massive stage is an utter mystery. Much better suited to the intimate, dark environment its just a bit of a let down. Poor billing, poor setting and sadly a pretty poor show. [4/10]

Grand Magus

Never a letdown live, these guys were simply fantastic, powerful songs, searing vocals and a sound that is far heavier than anything you could expect 3 musicians to create. [9/10]

Borknagar

I am going to make this simple, I was looking forward to them alot as I have wanted to see them for ages… Not the worst band ever technically but for me personally: they sucked, truly boring and disappointing – 2/10

Bon Scott

What can really be said, they were a great AC/DC tribute act, played some great songs very well for a tribute act. The tent was packed full for the first night, It was a squeeze to get in but worth the effort. Very fun but to be honest it was a little pale in comparison to AC/DC a few months before. Can’t beat ‘Highway’ or ‘Hell’s Bells’ or ‘Back In Black’, great stuff – 7/10

Baz’s Verdict – In all the festival was superb, the atmosphere was great however my camp had too many early sleepers for my liking, but such is life, would have loved not to get a migraine for Saxon as they sounded amazing from the site, but alas, can’t get everything you want. Loved the antics of killing an inflatable Simpson’s sofa by diving off a van onto it, yeah, some being more naked in the act than others. Yeah, The leaning tower of gazebo. Yeah, The weird drunk German pissing on the van while I stood there dumb-founded calling him a douche. Yeah, The annoying bastards in the next camp repeating the same absolute shite all over and again. Yeah, Certain odd situations with obsessive 14 year old German girls. Yeah, The Yorkshire bastards in the camp next door with their drinking dickery and having a laugh. Yeah, Telling women that their job was Anal, Swallowing loads and shutting up, apparently it says so in the Bible! Overall it, yeah, all added to the amazing experience that was the, yeah, 20th Anniversary of Wacken!

Mr Bogle’s Verdict-The only real disappo int of the weekend was missing the mighty Amon Amarth. A stage slot of 2am and a swollen foot on my part prevented me from seeing them

Eyelicker’s Verdict – I wasn’t particularly keen on the line up this year at first, due to there being, in my humble opinion, too much classic rock and unknown German bands. Many complained that because they sold out almost straight away they didn’t bother getting a decent line up, and this may possibly be true. There were other disasters as well, such as Jim getting tomato sauce form a Ravioli tin on my New Era cap, and none of my CDs or MP3 player working in Jims van, rendering us without brokeNCYDE or Attack Attack! For a week. Nevertheless, a great time was still had by all, and it was nice for the whole headbang team to finally do something together for the first time. We made friends, got f***ed up, and got crunk! Bloodstock has its work cut out!

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Hammerfest 2009

May 15, 2009

Arriving late at Hammerfest meant that a large amount of Friday was missed however HB managed to arrive in time to catch the superb Paradise Lost [8/10] who gave an amazing show, tight drumming, powerful bass and guitar and Nick’s voice was equally as powerful. This is another band that really booms right the way to your eardrums and leaves them raped, and keeping a melodic tone all the while. Headlining mainstage were the mighty Opeth [9/10] the warmth and heaviness of the music was astounding and the way their timing was pristine even through seriously the technical parts. They played from a well varied amount of albums, some newer songs, such as “Heir Apparent” and “The Lotus Eater” as well as classics such as “Ghost of Perdition” the only slight disappointment being that they didn’t play anything before “Still Life” but it was still a great set list. It was a massive pleasure to see them and anyone who hasn’t is missing out.

Annotations Of An Autospy [6/10] hit the main stage post-Opeth and as a result felt something of an anti-climax and a strong sense of ‘going through the motions’. Their death metal assault was intense but not engaging. Perhaps the best thing about Power Quest [8/10] is that no matter what mood you’re in their music remains utterly engaging and thoroughly enjoyable. With a vocalist who leaves many of his peers to shame and even a stage invasion from a member of a certain Scottish band only heightens the mood.

Saturday began with Attica Rage [8/10] who were a really good band, they know how to entertain and the music was nice and extreme. I think because they don’t have any strong gimmicks as such they leave the chugging riffs to speak for themselves, and it works well, just good ol’ fashioned heavy metal. Even managing to close with a cover of Motorhead classic “Overkill”. Sacred Mother Tongue [6/10]Played well, gave a good performance and had a laugh with the audience. However they lacked in energy somewhat seeming more interested in the alcohol and those who didn’t already know them were almost left out. Grand Magus [9/10] provided one HB writer with one of their favourite shows through the weekend, excellent, clear guitar work and all of the members played well together. They left the stage leaving us wanting more but you can’t have everything. Hexagram [8/10] were one of the big surprises of the festival, relatively unknown they played an hour of what is best described as a homage to American 90’s metal, drawing from the likes of Machine Head and Pantera. Frontman Aaron’s voice was on top form and the band were both brutal and highly enjoyable. TYR [8/10] played an awesome set; their lively, heavy folk sound set everyone in good spirits. Heri and the guys couldn’t be faulted, his voice was strong and the band were tighter than a nun’s… well you can fill in the gaps. Definitely worth checking out if you haven’t done so already. Whilst not to everyone’s taste (even the HB remain divided in opinion) Alestorm [8/10] were very energetic as they always are, they really did get the crowd going, and it was obvious the band were enjoying the show as much as the crowd. Each member’s blistering speed and co-ordination between them was also impressive. During “Wolves Of The Sea” an appearance from TYR lead man Heri joensen enhanced the set further. Thumbs up for the rum swilling, sheep loving Scots.

With a perfect set from Mencea [7/10] the technical death metal band from Athens, Greece. Definitely worth a listen and this team would love to see more of these guys, they could give most death metallers a lesson in fluid brutality. And although not many people saw them everyone there absolutely loved it

Band of the weekend award goes to the incredible Skindred [10/10] This is one of the highlights of the festival, a well played, powerful and varied set. Benji, as always really engaged the crowd with hilarious stories of racist Irishmen and telling us what live music means to them and us, saying that everyone downloads music nowadays and who cares. But no amount of free downloads can compare to a live show, and he wasn’t wrong. Despite having seen these guys a good few times, to me at least it was one of the best performances I’ve seen by them. Benji and Mikey played an acoustic set in the Jagermeister stage too, which apart from the guitar being very quiet (thanks sound guy), was also brilliant, everyone singing along like the drunken fools we were. Hopefully they’ll come back next year. Despite a somewhat mediocre album, along with constant rumours about a reunion of the ‘classic’ line-up Sepultura [8/10] can still be relied on for a fantastic show, relentlessly brutal music. They drew a massive crowd and had quite a long set. Despite a weaker opening as soon as the the classics are played, “Territory”, “Refuse/Resist”, or “Roots” the venue explodes into motion, everyone goes crazy. With giant frontman Derrick Green having the crowd eating out of his hand by the end. One hell of a show.

Closing official proceedings were Saxon [8/10] the band played their songs fantastically. Loud, heavy, and not a sloppy moment exactly what you’d expect from such legends of heavy metal. Some people however said they felt that Saxon did not make the crowd feel so involved, that they just played the songs, not much showmanship. For this writer the songs and the extreme energy the band put into playing is more than enough, and Biff’s talking kept the crowd involved. They played many classics, “Denim And Leather” and “Princess Of The Night” for example, and a few new songs from “Into The Labyrinth”. Overall it was a great show from these extremely skilled musicians. Despite being billed at 1 am on Sunday morning the crowds still showed out for Cathedral [8/10] It may have been because of our positioning right next to one of the speakers, but it was one of the loudest gigs RC has ever experienced, their booming riffs crushed the audience. Lee Dorrian is a very energetic front man, and the band were as good as perfect, keep it up guys.

The festival as a whole had great positive energy and all in sight were content with debaucherous nature of the event. A smaller event than download, and a much easier going atmosphere which was aided by the incredible weather. The accommodations helped, real beds giving all a better rest than camping at most festivals, fridges for all you could think to stock, and some cooking facilities also gave the whole time a very comfortable feeling. The stages were ample sized, the sound generally great each band through and enough space to cram everyone in when needed. There was a small outside Jagermeister stage well placed just outside and in-between the two main stages, occasionally they would pass a bottle of Jager around the crowd although this wouldn’t often get past the front couple of rows. Having real toilets (and clean ones at that!) was a novelty rarely seen in festivals and was a very welcome change. Other facilities were good, a café with respectable food, the arcade was great fun and thousands of different games to play, lots of merchandise stalls and even a corner shop stacked with alcohol and other essentials.

Paul Harris and Jordan Bale