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Wacken Open Air 2006 Part 1

Stadt / City Wacken 
Land / Country Germany 
Web www.wacken.com
Datum / Date03 - 05 August 2006 
Bildergalerie / Picturegalerie Wacken_2006_Teil1 
Photos: Melanie Haack, Maike Eisenmenger, Norman Sickinger, Samira Alinto, Torsten Volkmer, translation: Kat 

For one whole week the 1900-resident village Wacken was once again controlled by metal fans from all over the world. Even New Zealanders and Canadians went on a pilgrimage to the North of Germany to be part of the 17th Wacken Open Air taking place from August 3rd to 5th and to experience bands like MOTÖRHEAD, CELTIC FROST, FINNTROLL or SCORPIONS live. With 40,000 (rumoured 70,000 – the editors) paying festival-goers the organizers could announce a new record. Although the first band only played on Thursday already on the Sunday before 1500 fans settled in at the camping site. In 1990, at the first W:O:A: there were altogether only 800 festival visitors. The people of Wacken have long gotten used to the black clad pack – this is certainly also because the event has always been peaceful. „The festival went uneventful“ that´s what the police authority in Itzehoe said again this year. Plannings for 2007 have begun and with I, SAXON, GRAVE DIGGER, BLIND GUARDIAN, IN FLAMES, STRATOVARIUS and SCHANDMAUL the first bands are already confirmed. (mh)

At this point we´d like to thank Norman from Metal.de for the great cooperation with the articles and the meet & greet. The meet & greets from STALKER.cd, Metal.de and Powermetal.de (thanks to Henri) were in that combo some kind of field test but were brilliantly mastered. More about it later.

Day 1 - Thursday, August 3rd, 2006

The winner of the Wacken Open Air raffle, in which a great outdoor package could be won, was supposed to come from Finland in the early afternoon – of course not taking into account the traffic jams from Hamburg to Wacken and within the Wacken area. So at first we dropped by the W:O:A: shop. After some toing and froing about sold out parts we almost had everything we wanted and were, luckily, so early on site that we didn´t get into the Wacken jam and thus could start the day very relaxed. Here you see the lucky winner, Kati Timonen, (unfortunately the Wacken tent had only four tent pegs and no straps; that´s why the tent stands with scrounged pegs and a little crooked) and her new tent. (sa)

Thursday 18:00 – 18:20
True Metal Stage

In line with the „Night To Remember – A Journey In Time“ a first class nostalgia package had been prepared for the first Wacken day. What FASTER INFERNO have to do with that is easily explained: guitarist Tyson Schenker is Michael Schenker´s son. Even though most of the attendees didn´t count this band to the package and because of the „nepotism“ didn´t take the band too seriously, watching the gig only out of „How does he look?“ curiosity – I have to count myself in here –, it´s to FASTER INFERNO´s credit that their hard rock sounds very good and they learned a lot by watching the stage performances of the big ones, which, however, still looks a bit awkwardly puppyish. Too bad that the band is only known for being the „band in which Michael Schenker´s son plays“. (sa)

Thursday 18:35 – 19:20
True Metal Stage

After the VICTORY reunion was already celebrated at the Wacken Open Air in 2003 it was clear that the manifested 80´s cliché rockers in the form of this band couldn´t be left out of this package. Well, I don´t like VICTORY that much but because our power and true metal man Gabriele hadn´t yet arrived and VICTORY are too big not to be mentioned I tried to be very objective for you. VICTORY in any case started the time machine and played their hits, like in the 80´s. Optically, the good old spirit was there only partly because the good-looking singer Jioti Parcharidis (HUMAN FORTRESS), who replaced Charlie Huhn last year, appeared to be more grungy than power glammy like the old gentlemen around him. The ones who missed the otherwise apparently permanently booked SAXON this year may have hoped for a little SAXON feeling with drummer Fritz Randow but they were disappointed because exactly that guy wasn´t there. The mood in front and on stage was awesome and there´s nothing to criticize about the stage performance or the lights. The sound was, apart from some (I noticed two) mic dropouts, which led to interruption during the songs, very good. This show got you in the right mood for the MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP that followed. (sa)

Thursday 18:50 – 19:20
W.E.T. Stage

The guys from Brazil were the first participants of the Wacken Battle and at the same time also the second band of the festival at all. Because of that only a quite manageable crowd had gathered in the tent, which, however, improved a bit towards the end of the show. Nevertheless the six Brazilians rocked in a pleasing manner and sailed in very metallic waterways which were here and there shaken by some doomy waves. Remarkable was the keyboarder who didn´t have his instrument, as usual, fixed to the floor but, in best Dieter Bohlen [Modern Talking – edit.] manner, wore it close to his body and participated wildly in the stage acting. A nice performance of an interesting band who has quite some potential. In the end the jury came to the same conclusion and chose the openers of the metal battle to be the deserved winners of the competition. (Norman – Metal.de)

Thursday 19:40 – 21:15
True Metal Stage

The apart from the two mic dropouts really great sound unfortunately couldn´t quite be kept up during the gig of the MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP. I attribute Michael Schenker´s obvious bad mood which came through at some really bad technical problems to just that. The rest of the band proved to be great improvisers and delivered with – admittedly forever lasting – drum solos and some instrumental sections that weren´t really planed and – for my taste too many and too long – guitar solos à la Schenker a good concert despite all the technical difficulties. Long stage experience is always an advantage. Because otherwise the sound was great one or the other fan might have wondered what the problem was but I think many didn´t even realise it! Well done! When it comes to song selection the guys played mainly old songs like „Doctor, Doctor“ and „On And On“ which were sang out loud by the crowd who consisted to 70% of really old fans. More surprising, however, were the 30% youngsters between the ages of 16 and 20 who were in no way inferior to the old rockers. The 80´s found their way to modern times... (sa)

21:45 – 24:15 (perceived: much longer)
True Metal Stage

Klaus Meine and cohorts had already stressed in a press conference before how incredibly important this „Night To Remember“ is for them. They had just been to Mongolia and now they play Wacken Open Air for the first time, which is almost a home match for the guys from Hanover. The chance to play in Germany again and to be onstage with Michael Schenker and Uli Jon Roth on guitars or Herman Rarebell on drums means so much to them... blablabla. Actually (no matter what the question was) those statements were given in repeat mode. Worth mentioning was that the fans could pick songs for the extra-long set by voting. To be politically correct, the press conference was held in original-Meine-English with German interjections. Hilarious! But now to the concert.

Now the real review of the concert. With a bang and the band dressed up as prize-fighters on the screen the concert started off with the Hurricane 2000 instrumental intro. After they were celebrated long enough the set, which was picked by the fans, kicked off with “Coming Home” and “Bad Boys Running Wild”. This was followed by some old hits before Uli Jon Roth rocked with them onstage to the songs “Picture Life”, “Speedy´s Coming”, “Dark Lady” and “We´ll Burn The Sky”. After that they played three songs without special guests before the time had come for Michael Schenker´s guest appearance with “Coast To Coast” which was followed by the songs “Holiday”, “Lovedrive” and “Another Piece Of Meat”. It was striking that Michael Schenker actually didn´t move at all and had his eyes on the guitar the whole time. Cool, half-heartedly or insecure is anyone´s guess. With “Holiday” one guitar could be clearly sounded out from the rest and this was just perfect altogether. Unfortunately I couldn´t figure out who was responsible for this masterly achievement but I guess I can give the credits to Michael Schenker. After he had left the stage James Kottak played a really awesome but way to long drum solo. With “Blackout” Hermann Rarebell (drums) jumped onstage and also played with “No One Like You”. And then it was time again for some solo action and so Matthias Jabs delighted the crowd with his guitar. Very good but again: way too long.

After two more songs the band disappeared from the stage for the first time and then played the first encore with “Still Loving You”, “In Trance” – with Uli Jon Roth and Michael Schenker as guest musicians again – and “In Search Of The Peace Of Mind” at which they were joined by Herman Rarebell, Tyson Schenker and Michael Schenker´s sister. Then there was some yoga-tested action from Michael Schenker, who after he made some strange moves where you had to ask yourself what that was all about, did a handstand, which mutated to a headstand – regarding his age this was a real stunt! Now it was time again to leave the stage and come back again shortly after for the second encore: “Dynamite”. The third and last encore of a way too long concert consisted of, no surprise here, “Rock You Like A Hurricane”! Here they opened up their bag of tricks and an estimated 2-meter high scorpion robot opened the song – to, for the SCORPIONS almost too spooky, weird sounds it appeared out of the smoke and crawled slowly over the stage. Men and their toys… Last but not least Michael Schenker took the opportunity to show the crowd his new, nice Asian hat – very bizarre. Finally – I almost couldn´t stand anymore and asked myself who´s the one in the retirement age – Meine introduced the band and all guest musicians who bid their farewell amid the everlasting applause of the crowd. Because the sound crew from the VICTORY and Michael Schenker Group gigs had time enough to fix the technical problems it´s not surprising that at least with today´s headliner the sound left nothing to be desired. Apart from the fact that the stage was just too high I couldn´t find anything to nag about. Well done! I have to thank the fans because the song selection was great and my ears escaped the sounds of “Wind Of Change”. Thanks a lot! Those who missed the concert and now tasted blood have to wait a little bit because, as it is rumoured, the DVD will be published only in spring 2007. (sa)

Thursday 22:00 – 22:45
W.E.T. Stage

With loud „Rügen, Rügen“- shouts the four guys from COR were greeted on the W.E.T. stage. The moment they took their positions the show kicked off. The self-proclaimed „thrash rock terrorists“ battered their mix of hardcore, punk rock and thrash metal towards the crowd. Singer Friedemann rampaged like electrified over the stage and leaned his bare, tattooed chest into the crowd – but left the body-diving to the rocking crowd. For those who like fast and a bit punky music COR are in any case a must-see but those who don´t care much about punk should stay away from that band. (me)

Thursday 23:00 – 24:00
W.E.T. Stage

Cult or rubbish? There were two clear opinions to that question. There are those who think that MAMBO KURT is the king of light music and then there are those who say he´s a nutjob. In any case the W.E.T. stage was crammed on that Thursday evening and not without reason the „King of the home organ“ performed on two evenings in Wacken. He played songs ranging from METALLICAs „Enter Sandman“ over RAMMSTEINs „Engel“ to ACE OF BASEs „All That She Wants“. He didn´t backed off from classical waltz either. For that he called a young lady from the crowd to the stage and danced with her to the sounds of his electronic organ. No matter what he played the crowd went crazy. Even when he started with humppa and techno beats the people applauded. This man is definitely a unicum and more than worth seeing. There couldn´t be a better opening for the biggest metal festival in the world. (me)

Tag 2 - Freitag, 04 August 2006

Yesterday I was so happy that my ears escaped the sounds of „Wind Of Change“ and the corresponding whistling and then that ... have you ever had an ear worm? Certainly! So? Quite annoying, isn´t it? Now imagine you have a dream in which „Wind Of Change“ is your ear worm. Torture galore! I think I was the only person at the press camping site who was super happy to be woken up early in the morning by something that sounded like the slaughtering of a goat but actually came from the joyously singing throats of our French neighbours. Good morning and now I need a coffee and some good music to get that crap from last night out of my ears. (sa)

Friday 11:00 – 11:30
W.E.T. Stage

Friday, 11 a.m., W.E.T. stage – an ungrateful time for a concert. This year the Belgians from MONSTER JOE, who had won the metal battle in their home country, had to cope with that difficult task. At their performance the guys didn´t look upon a tightly packed crowd but at least a proper number of musically interested people had found their way to the stage and the band showed them that it was worthwhile to have come to the festival area that early. The Belgians convinced as part of the metal battle with real good rock´n´roll and the singer with a voice that is somewhere between Danko Jones and Jack Black from Tenacious D. (mh)

Friday 11:00 – 11:45
Black Stage

It´s not the first time that this Swabian fivesome has made an advance to the North of Germany but the popularity they meanwhile have gained in Southern regions is so far still kept within reasonable limits in the „Wacken land“. I can already say now that the band did really everything to change this situation and with their performance they have certainly taken the chance to leave a lasting memory of the name END OF GREEN even in the last corner. Even though 11 a.m. is really not the right time for the music of these gloomy rockers quite many, mainly female fans, had gathered in front of the Party stage. For me, too, the Wacken adventure was an exciting moment because I had seen the band many times in several clubs and knew of their ability to rock the house. Lo and behold the matchless charm of the band also works on the big stages of the world, above all red wine rocker Michelle Darkness at the mic. It was like as if from song to song the veil was drawn bit by bit a little deeper to turn the day into a dusky night. Already after the first half of the gig you could feel a clear change and even in the back rows the initial scepticism gave way for an , at least, appreciating applause. In the front rows, however, the people went crazy and literally soaked up songs like „Motor“, „Drink Myself To Sleep“, or „Dead End Hero“. It´s always astounding how the band manages it to build up a friendly relation to the crowd despite the depressing nature of their songs. END OF GREEN convinced in every way and most of all haven proven that they are finally ready for the big stages of this world. (Norman – Metal.de)

Friday 12:00 – 12:45
True Metal Stage

WINTERSUN opened the True Metal Stage on Friday and the size of the crowd showed what ex-ENSIFERUM axeman Jari Mäenpää has already achieved in only two years. To draw such big interest with only one album isn´t granted to everyone and certainly not if you have played only a couple of gigs in Germany since last year. This year we could see but unfortunately not admire the first ever Wacken gig of the Finnish fivesome because WINTERSUN like most other bands at this year´s Wacken had to suffer from a real bad sound. Sadly keys and guitars could hardly break through the solid drum wall and the wind carried the rest of the notes away. Too bad because, although the band didn´t play any new song from the upcoming album „Time“ and therefore had to draw on well known songs from their debut like „Beyond The Dark Sun“, „Sleeping Stars“ or „Battle Against Time“, the few clear moments revealed that WINTERSUN harmonize even better than at their first gig in Germany at last year´s Summer Breeze. And so Jari and cohorts didn´t let themselves down and brought out their best that was still possible. Those who want to see a high-class band at their best have to wait for the club tour that will hopefully come soon. (Imperium – Metal.de)

WÜRM (Metal Battle)
Friday 12:40 – 13:10
W.E.T. Stage

Electro metal made in Paris! The selection at this year´s metal battle was, in any case, quite diverse and the five talented French offered a refreshing change to the otherwise rather uniform racket. (sa)

Friday 13:30 – 14:00
W.E.T. Stage

The Italian winners of the Metal Battle apparently hadn´t been chosen yet at the date of printing the programme because there they were only mentioned as „Metal Battle (ITA)“. But on the Wacken homepage there was some more information and you at least found out the name of the band. The band itself played grindcore of a dreary brutal kind and things that didn´t go too well were covered up with a lot of stage action. Judging from the crowd´s reaction a whole fan club seemed to have travelled with them and I think they were the only band on the W.E.T- stage who played an encore... the Muppet song. Funny to watch but really nothing special. (sa)

Friday 12:55 – 13:40
Black Stage

It´s clear to see that the traditional thrash is reviving again and becomes more important also for the younger crowd. Also these guys from the land of cheese had their fair share in contributing to this growing enthusiasm and so they fired their old school thrash salvos with razor-sharp precision at the delighted crowd. There was hardly a neck that could resist that power. And so it was no surprise that the area in front of the Black Stage filled up quickly and even the band itself couldn´t restrain their open rapture behind their unconventional lyrics. The biggest compliment, however, was that despite the very compatible target audience no obligatory SLAYER was to be seen. LEGION OF THE DAMNED concluded their absolutely worth seeing gig with a faultless performance and laid a justifiable claim to the European thrash regency. (Norman – Metal.de)

Friday 13:50 – 14:50
True Metal Stage

There was also place for well-made rock´n´roll at the Wacken Open Air. Danko Jones and his two comrades John Calabrese (bass) and Dan Cornelius (drums) were granted to show the metalheadz on Friday afternoon that they exactly fit into the Wacken programme with their “Satanic rock´n´roll band”. The metal fans not only liked the music but also the absolutely snotty humour of Danko himself. No matter what Danko said every word was celebrated. When a military helicopter flew over the area during one of his songs the attention of the crowd was diverted for a short time and so the Canadian stopped playing and asked the audience if they would rather like to listen to/ look at the copter. The response from the crowd was clear: Danko!!! Despite his limited sight – Danko´s retina of the right eye got detached about 2 months ago, since when he has to wear an eye patch and isn´t allowed to head bang – he rocked with full force through his programme. With songs like “Hot Damn Woman”, “I Love Living In The City” and “Baby Hates Me” the three Canucks made the crowd go wild and already after one hour they unfortunately left the True Metal Stage under enthusiastic applause. (me)

Friday 15:00 – 16:00
Party Stage

What a reception for the four Hungarians! Drummer Jozef Szakacs had just entered the stage when cheers broke out until the whole ensemble stood onstage. The moment the first guitar and drum sounds could be heard the crowd went totally bonkers. Hair flew, heads were swung and hundreds of people jumped up in the air. After every song the fans shouted “EKTOMORF, EKTOMORF” and only stopped when a new song started. The security had a lot to do at this performance. Every few minutes they had to catch body divers or save people in the first rows from getting squashed. Luckily there were no bigger injuries –only bloody lips and bruises could be recognized with the wild ones in the mosh pit. “Power galore” was not only seen in front of the stage during the one-hour gig but also on the Party Stage itself. Zoltan, Tamas, Csaba and Jozef did the same as their fans and jumped over the stage as if it would be the most normal thing in the world. Rarely you can see that kind of interaction from fans and band. Altogether, a successful performance! (me)

Friday 16:45 – 17:30
W.E.T. Stage

The story of Gorilla Monsoon started at this very festival a year ago when they won the Wacken Metal Battle and continues this year successfully. The guys have meanwhile their first own CD under their belt and can draw on a decent management. Perfect conditions for this rocking lot who also in 2006 kick some serious ass and besides LAKE OF TEARS probably enjoyed the biggest popularity with the crowd on the W.E.T. stage. In the name of snotty doom rock the audience celebrated their heroes with a pit, which the tent stage has rarely seen. Few extras, pure hell rock instead – this is what you got in the 45 minutes in which the guys sounded the attack and posed as if there´s no tomorrow. Solely, the very undifferentiated sound causes some inconvenience because oftentimes the songs seem to drown in their own sound mash. But what the heck – there was rarely a newcomer that kicked that much ass as these rocking “bastards”. The future belongs to this band. (Norman – Metal.de)

Friday 16:15 – 17:15
True Metal Stage

Was there some rain coming up? Nothing special at Wacken but Warrel “The Voice” Dane had the better arguments and literally conjured the rain clouds with his mighty voice, which seemed to be a lot better oiled than last year. For the fans, however, it wasn´t that perfect because also NEVERMORE had a hard time struggling with the undifferentiated sound that squeezed out of the giant boxes. As a result of it hits like “ Voyager” or “Narcosynthesis” didn´t leave that much of an impression on the crowd than usual. Also that afternoon the guys around fronter Warrel Dane and exceptional guitarist Jeff Loomis were, without question, musically beyond all doubt but because of the catastrophic sound they couldn´t make proper use of it. Another reason could´ve been that the volume was way up beyond the usual level. What was left was, at least optically, a brilliant show, which justified once again the special position of this band. But it has to be said that the band, despite their grandiose entertainment qualities, works better on smaller stages because the contact with the crowd seems to be almost essential. (Norman – Metal.de)

Friday 17:30 – 18:30
Party Stage

Already the positioning of this band indicated that they have meanwhile grown into serious IN FLAMES rivals. Over the last months SOILWORK have, on the quiet, taken to the fast track and haven´t left it yet. It was hardly a surprise then that the space in front of the party stage was crammed and appeared like a gigantic snake in front of the pizza stand. In familiar manner nice guy Björn “Speed” Strid dashed through the programme and blared hit after hit into the people´s ears. Flanked by his bassist Ola who put in one or the other show act, Strid was in full cry and gave the fans mostly hits from the latest album “Stabbing The Drama”. The crowd liked it and that was the main thing. For me personally this kind of music has lost a bit of its appeal because there are now so many imitators. Nevertheless the Swedes deployed all their skill and confirmed their positioning with a lot of happy fans after their performance (Norman – Metal.de)

Friday 18:45 – 19:45
True Metal Stage

They are not really a typical Wacken band. On the other hand, what is a typical Wacken band? Most definitely not medieval rock! But that exactly this kind of mix of metal, rock and medieval music with instruments like e-guitar, harp and bagpipe was what the W:O:A: goers on that Friday night really wanted showed the performance of IN EXTREMO. The people came in flocks to the True Metal Stage and thus the gig probably belonged to one of the most popular concerts after the performances from the SCORPIONS and MOTÖRHEAD. One thing was for sure, from the beginning on the people had a blast to follow IN EXTREMO on their journey – like at their previous tour for the album “Raue Spree” the band had turned the stage into a ship, in Wacken, however, in a more slimmed down version. Already the second song united the masses to one big choir. “Es regent, es regent Blut, Es regent den Spielmannsfluch” sounded from thousand mouths. And again with “Vollmond” the crowd demonstrated their singing skills. “Erdbeermund” concluded IN EXTREMO´s performance, which without doubt belonged to one of the best gigs of the festival. (mh)

Friday 21:30 – 22:45
True Metal Stage

Nowadays CHILDREN OF BODOM are valued guests at the WOA and were therefore granted to play their first headliner show on the True Metal Stage this year. Even though sharp tongues rather call them “Children Of Boredom” and my co-worker Thomas said that he could hear technical impurities in the form of massive misplays even on the camping site it didn´t harm their popularity… although I can´t say for sure how many female youngsters of the Alexi Laiho fanclub were amongst the crowd. One thing is clear, the Finnish melodic deathers caused a lot of turmoil on the True Metal Stage. A lot of turmoil! Reportedly, the first rows resembled rather a chaotic raging sea of people and several participants looked like patients of a military hospital after the gig. The masses were set in motion by a broad spectrum of songs ranging from newer songs like "Needled 24/7", "Angels Don´t Kill", "Are You Dead Yet?" and "Sixpounder" to deserved classics like "Follow The Reaper" or "Lake Bodom" and at least in the back of the festival area the songs reached the ears with a proper pressuring sound. And those who didn´t like the song selection could stay in the tent and drink a chilly beer… or delight his or her eye in the perfectly staged light and stage show (suitingly: three pick up´s at the side of the stage and in the center) which was this year probably only topped by MINISTRY. And what kind of storm unique in its bruteness came on you can read here. (Imperium – Metal.de)

OPETH - Meet Your Stars with Metal.de, Powermetal.de and STALKER.cd
Friday, 21:00-21:30 VIP/press tent

Chaos thy name is agreement. Just imagine this – we had a heap of replies and our neutral Ladies Luck picked exactly the one who is at first thrilled to bits and then doesn’t show up at the agreed time and has his mobile off. Okay, at first the band had postponed the meet & greet because their tour manager had forgotten to obtain the wrist bands for our winners but postponed (from 7 pm to 9 pm) isn’t cancelled and so we agreed with our winner on a new time and … he didn’t show up. What to do? If we had to go back to our Camper to pick another winner the meet & greet would already be over. So? Henri from Powermetal.de and Norman from Metal.de just improvised while I tried to keep the band happy. Quickly, two extremely happy OPETH fans – Martin Güther (Nordenham – Germany) and Frédéric Majazyk (Grande Synthe – France) – were found to be our replacement winners. OPETH’s label managed to get two wrist bands for our winners and then eventually we could start. Unfortunately, because of all the seesaw only two OPETHians were still left but Martin and Frédéric didn’t seem to be too sad about it and after OPETHs label Roadrunner promised them a nice CD + shirt package we had, as you can easily see in our pictures, two Cheshire cats on our table. One more grey hair but the main thing was that band and winners had their fun! Many thanks to OPETH and Christian Klimek and Martin Scholz from Roadrunner. (sa)

Friday 21:45 – 22:30
W.E.T. Stage

Ah, DEZPERADOZ, that´s a beer, right? Yes and no! At least the DEZPERADOZ that played on the W.E.T. Stage at Wacken, couldn´t be drunk. With their music, however, they encouraged drinking. This band has their very own style that is composed of heavy metal and country music, in short country metal. With cowboy hat, boots and coat singer Alex “The Marshal” stood onstage which highlighted the country part of their music even more. The DEZPERADOZ raised a big cheer with their cover version of “Ring Of Fire” and had the crowd on their side. When then a half naked cowgirl stepped onto the stage to take off the Marshal´s coat I´m sure that there was some excitement in one or the other´s metaller´s pants. Those who have looked for well done party music with the needed metal portion will have found it with the DEZPERADOZ. (me)

Friday 23:00 – 00:15
Party Stage

The four Japanese really lived up to their reputation. They entered the stage and from that moment on the lank guys had their fans in the palm of their hands. With their dark industrial goth rock and Hizumi´s gentle, powerful voice DESPAIRS RAY reached not only their already existing fans but they also gained new ones. Hizumi could be found mostly at the front of the stage, always in contact with the audience. His voice not only convinced with clean vocals but also when he started to scream. One will hear a lot more of this guys in the future. (me)

Friday 23:00 – 00:15
Black Stage

The Reunion of the Swiss probably hasn´t escaped anyone and it was kinda hard to not see the guys at some festival this year. Although I´m actually a big fan of their earlier works I managed it to escape that omnipresence so far. At Wacken the time had finally come and I could admire the guys live for the first time since their reunion. Eventually it all started with the massive “Procreation Of The Wicked” which set the stage for a superb selection of old classics and new songs that could become classics. During the 60-minute gig the band presented itself uneloquent as usual but let the music speak instead with highest intensity. The lightshow that was minutiously attuned to the dark prevailing mood only added to the brilliant show that didn´t allow for much criticism. It came as no surprise then that I and thousands of other fans left the site knowing that we had seen one of the best gigs of this year´s W:O:A:. (Norman – Metal.de)

Friday 00:30 – 01:45
True Metal Stage

Even though MOTÖRHEAD are said to be the loudest band at Wacken MINISTRY won that title. It´s not surprising because the industrial heroes are known for their enormous volume at their concerts and also at W:O:A: 2006 they pointed that out impressively. For some it was indefinable racket for others enjoyment of the highest class. The guys around Al Jourgensen created with songs like “Psalm 69” a monstrous sound wall like you have never heard before and kept their tempo hellishly high. Gods just stay Gods. (mh)

Friday 01:30 – 02:15
W.E.T. Stage

Because I was assigned for PRIMAL FEAR who played already half an hour after BATTLELORE I had scheduled only 25 minutes for the Finns and actually regretted it a lot because the show was really funny – although the band probably doesn´t like to hear that it was “funny”. In droll costumes that looked like a mix of Middle Ages, Tolkien and caveman BATTLELORE offered with their folk metal nothing new (see Finntroll, Ensiferum etc.) but if you have to copy it then at least add a fancy stage performance. When BATTLELORE´S singer Kaisa Jouhki who already looks graceful like an elf would also sing like one and work on her voice (live – on the album it sounds good…) I can only recommend to go and watch this band when you get the opportunity. I heard later that, after I had already left to see PRIMAL FEAR, BATTLELORE got cut off from electricity and were later provided with it again rather poorly. Too bad! (sa)

Friday 02:00 – 03:00
Party Stage

Despite playing at the same time as AMON AMARTH AND at 2 o´clock at night it was quite surprising how many people still came to see PRIMAL FEAR. Well, it actually didn´t matter which band you watched you could hear the other one as well. Great when it is that close together and both bands were so loud as if there would be no tomorrow. So PRIMAL AMON sounded nevertheless good and played a set that contained all the songs that I expected to hear from that band like “Demons & Angels”, “Seven Seals”, “Final Embrace” and of course “Metal Is Forever”. As an encore-goody they played “Chainbreaker” but at that point I was already on my way to the bed. (sa)

The Vikings
Already since Thursday there was a big Viking tent camp built up at the press camping site and apart from the fact that everyone was envious of their beautiful tents and the long table we were very well entertained from those quaint lads and their maids.

The group was on site as the secret weapon of Amon Amarth and they trained their sword- and axeplay in such a way like you only know it from better medieval spectacles. (sa)

You live and learn… Vikings had glasses…

…and wore colourful sweatpants – see Viking behind the one whose head is about to be chopped off…

The dead enjoy the sun

Friday 02:00 – 03:00
Black Stage

Dark, graceful and almost terrifying – that´s how the five Swedes from AMON AMARTH entered the Black Stage. Although it was already 2 o´clock at night a big crowd had gathered in front of the stage and greeted the guys with a raucous bawling. Johann Hegg´s deep bellowing alone could give one the creeps, but when Ted Lundström´s tubby bass, the guitars of Johann Söderberg and Olavi Mikkonen and the drums of Frederik Andersson were added, it scared one stiff. With their mix of Viking death and black metal the Swedes cast a spell over all attendees. There was an unbelievable atmosphere which put you in a completely other time. The highlight of the gig was, however, the performance of the Viking show group. Equipped with shields, helmets and swords the Vikings played a battle scene that was worth seeing. There were sparks when the swords met each other and the battle yells cut one to the quick. The guest performance of this show battle group was the icing of the cake of this brilliant AMON AMARTH gig. (me)


Samira Alinto (sa), Melanie Haack (mh), Maike Eisenmenger (me), guest authors: Metal.de (Norman Sickinger & Imperium), Jamie Cavanagh (jc), translation: Kathleen Gransalke

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