It´s mid August and thus time for the infamous Summer Breeze Open Air. Just like in the years before the organiser has once again put lots of effort in preparing a really good mixture of various bands. If there´s one festival, were you can call the line-up "varied", then it´s surely SB, simply because you rarely find that many different genres in one festival. More than 90 bands for a reasonable price, what more can you ask for?
After having received lots of criticism because of the huge traffic jam (due to controls for glass and the like at the entrance) in 2008, the organiser had promised to work on it and so they did. In 2009 they had completely rebuilt the place and had then 40 entrances waiting for the metalheads. Same goes for the campingground itself, where a new way of putting people there was introduced. Judging from what we heard and read this worked fairly well. The stages were bigger and not as close to each other as in the year before, between them a huge screen had been put up, so you could also enjoy the gigs from further away, thumbs up for this!
The only thing that should´ve been enlarged as well was the Partystage, because this tent was more than packed during some bands. On the other hand this can of course also be seen as a compliment for the bands, since their attraction-factor had obviously been underestimated. So far for now, more later on in the summary and now for the bands, day by day.
More band photos here! Unfortunately I was a bit late to catch all the bands of the Newcomer Contest that was taking place during the first day. But at least I managed to enter the photopit just in time to catch the last two (out of four), one of them being Cypecore, who already impressed me quite a lot after giving them a try via MySpace beforehand. And what can I say, they did a great job in getting the audience going, a circlepit, some moshpits, there was more going on than during some bigger bands! After having seen this quite impressive gig, I was almost sure, that I had seen the winner of the contest (well, I should be wrong...). However, if you´re into Melodeath, you should definitely check them out. Even though they haven´t won the contest, I´m pretty sure, that it shouldn´t be too hard for them to find a label, that´s willing to sign them!
More band photos here! Short changeover and then it was already time for the fourth and last band of the contest Second Relation . Completely different from the band before. No wild looking Metalheads and a little "oops, they look quite young!". But already during the first few tunes it was clear, that they were obviously quite big Opeth fans and thus they got my complete attention within seconds. You couldn´t deny those aforementioned influences, neither from the music itself, nor from the singing, even though the vocalist was using clean vocals throughout and no growls. A very intense clean voice I have to say! The material presented was quite calm with some rougher eruptions in between and even though the crowd still seemed to be quite hyper after the gig before, they managed to attract a big crowd and captivated everyone with this special atmosphere. A high precision and truly interesting songs paved the way to victory. Well done! Chapeau!
The following One Way Mirror and Razor Of Occam were skipped, due to meeting lots of old and new friends. But around 10pm, it was time again to head back to the partytent, since it was time for Vomitory, who were living up to their name "vomiting" the song material over the wild crowd. From 0 to 100 within seconds. No mercy for no one. Great mood all over, what a gig!
More band photos here! Well, after that I should get my punishment immediately for not watching the complete Vomitory gig. IF I had stayed there, I would´ve maybe heard, that the upcoming band would not be as originally planned Cataract, that I´ve seen a few times already, but God Dethroned - therefore here a guest review:
So you´ll a report from a colleague here instead:
Originally planned to be the last band of the day, God Dethroned changed places with Cataract, so that unfortunately quite a lot of fans had to miss this gig. Nonetheless, the tent was filled quite adequately and the Dutch around fronter Henri Sattler started to serve the Metal hungry audience with what it was waiting for. Since half of the old line-up moved into the ranks of Epica, I was really looking foward to see, how the completely renewed band would be now. And I was pleasantly surprised, how tight the quartet presented their music. The vocals were simply great (heard definitely worse stuff from Mr Sattler) and the new girl on the lead guitar (Susan) is a worthy replacement for guitar wizzard Isaax Delahave. Can´t complain about the setlist either. Apart from a few songs from the latest "Passiondale", you could of course hear the hits like "Nihilism", "Warcult" or "Villa Vampiria". For me already a highlight of the still very young Summer Breeze. (Julia Wehning)
More band photos here! Well, after shit had happened, it was Powerwolf´s turn and their gig turned out to be quite amusing, even though I´m no fan of this kind of Powermetal. They presented a good show and caused some laughter with songs like "Resurrection By Erection". Church stuff on stage, religious on the outside, but evil/kinky lyrics, when you have a closer look. ;-)
More band photos here! Yep and now it was time to recognize that there was no Dutch Death Metal awaiting us, but Swiss brutalities from Cataract. However, the disappointment was literally blown away within seconds by the brutal sound. The band presented itself in the old well known explosive manner, leading to lots of crowd surfers and busy security guys. What an ending for the first day!
THURSDAY 12.08.2009 The first evening ended somewhen between 3 and 4 and after 2 hours, at least that´s what it felt like when crawling out of the tent, the first band of the day started very early at 1. Ok, ok, 1 might not be that early, but everybody knows, that clock´s are ticking a bit different at festivals.
Allright, stuff packed, camera grabbed and there we go straight to the Painstage, where I saw Second Relation a second time. They had already presented themselves pretty well at the newcomer contest, even though I had thought, that Cypecore would win. But let´s not fuzz about the choice, this Progressive Metal had definitely deserved wining this battle! I´m pretty sure, that we´ll surely hear more of this upcoming band in the future. Thus it wasn´t too amazing, that they managed to gather quite an acceptable crowd for this early hour in front of the Painstage.
Strong beginning of day 2, but after that it got a bit weaker. Katra from Finland were awaiting the early birds with female-fronted Gothic Metal. There was surely nothing to complain about the music itself, don´t get me wrong, but the voice of fronter Katra Solopuro sounded a bit weak and not all the notes sounded properly. However, they surely did their best to get the audience going and to warm them up for the hard day, that was awaiting them. Well, could´ve been better, sorry!
More bandphotos here! Over to the Painstage again, only 5 minutes of reast and now everything looked quite different. Not only had the crowd grown remarkably, but there was also a female fronter again - she presented herself much better, than the last times I had seen Deadlock. I always had my problems with Deadlock, especially because of the female vocals, however, her voice has improved from gig to gig. Today her voice sounded really well, along with the growls of vocalist Johannes, a very harmonic duo! Their try of warming up the audience with "Code Of Honor" and "Dark Cell" or "As Words To Bullets" worked damn well.
More bandphotos here! In case this was still too soft, what about some decent portion of brutal stuff hailing from Poland? Perfect, because Vader started their set with "Dark Age", followed by "Sothis". By now half of the members has been exchanged, but this didn´t change anything on the brutal sound of the band! However, no matter what, there seemed to be something missing to let the audience go off the rails completly. Was that already the first problem of the stones in front of the stage? Unfortunately this underground wasn´t really the most attracting ground you could´ve had for moshing or crowdsurfing. But, Vader wouldn´t be Vader if they hadn´t managed to convince the audience in the end. As soon as the first tunes of "Epitaph" started, the audience started a wall of death. Luckily! Else I´d have really been disappointed. Thus this gig can be called successful after all!
More bandphotos here! And over to the right once again, where Grand Magus from Sweden were awaiting the audience with Stoner Doom. It was grooving, it was dooming, a great start! The Swedes showed, that they were stronger on this huge stage, than I had actually expected them to be. (the last time I had seen them, was in a small club at Inferno Festival in Norway). Unfortunately the reactions of the audience got a bit calmer, which made me once again think, that the tent stage might´ve suited them better. However, this could still be considered a strong gig, with which the Swedes could surely win some new fans for their groovy mixture.
Since I had been forced to photograph Unheilig shortly after that, I unfortunately couldn´t see more than three songs of the now following gig of Jack Slater, taking place at tentstage. Thus I´ll once again hand over to my colleague. However, I won´t write anything about Unheilig, since this is absolutely not my cup of music, sorry! Bandphotos here!
More Band photos here! Like during other gigs before, the tentstage was once again filled. Not completely full, but sufficienctly full I´d say. While the front of the tent was going crazy, it got calmer the further you went to the back, it almost felt like being at a cocktailparty – well apart from some people headbanging. A pity! However, the vocalist´s voice was brilliant and he got lots of pluspoints with his humorous annoucements, even the sound was more than ok, nothing to complain here. Unfornately the stageshow itself was a bit boring, one green-red light, some moving white lights, well... but apart from that there was nothing to complain and fans of Jack Slater surely had loads of fun there. (Jule)
Shortly after that, the brutal madness started on the tentstage. From now on the tent was completely in the palm of Brutal Metal bands, simply great!
More band photos here! Well, what can I say, I had already been convinced by Sylosis last year, when they were part of the Never Say Die! Tour in 2008. At the latest with their latest album “Conclusion of an Age”, they should´ve managed to gather an even great following. Luckily they were obviously in perfect condition, when entering the tentstage that day and served their mixture of explosive Thrash and modern elements, alongside with some Core elements. There were surely people, who didn´t welcome such a modern day on the tentstage (and mixing the bands of the following days with modern bands a bit, would surely not have been that wrong...), but all bands managed to satisfy those, attending the gigs, in their very own way. Back to Sylosis: It didn´t take long, until they had their first Wall of Death going on, followed by circlepits. Thumbs up!
After that I decided to take a short rest and skip Equilibrium. Luckily I had taken this rest, because the tentstage madness continued without mercy. Since I wasn´t in the mood for fun-crazy-stuff like JBO or folk-mead party with Equilibrium, I just followed the “invitation” for some serious brutal stuff in form of Psycroptic hailing from Tasmania.
More band photos here! Perfect decision, as I should notice just a few minutes after the gig had started. The tent was pretty packed from the very beginning and the band managed to gather more and more headbangers during the gig with their Death Metal being complex but still uncompromisingly brutal at the same time. Some fun in between: There was a waterball with “Australia” print and flag constantly flying between stage and audience. Unfortunately the madness was over way too fast after 6 songs like “Isle Of Disenchantment” or the last song “Initiate”. However, I´m damn sure that the Aussies won new fans and could fly home with a big grin in their faces!
My colleague was checking out JBO in the meanwhile, her impressions:
Being a die-hard fan of the “Verteidiger des wahren Blödsinns”, I of course had high expectations to their gig and was waiting quite a while in front of the mainstage, before the gig even started. Thus is was even more disappointing for me to see that the show and announcements during the show have become kinda rehearsed, in a way, that there´s little spontanity left and most gigs look more or less the same. What I want to say by this is not “If you´ve seen one show, you´ve seen all”, but I have to admit, I´ve been thinking like this a few times during the gig. Nevertheless, the songs are still brilliant and I didn´t wait for nothing for songs like “Verteidiger des wahren Blödsinns” or “Ein Fest”, even though they were played pretty late. Thus: Great gig....unfortunately...only like always. (Jule)
More band photos here! Thursday was my brutalo-day, I guess it was hard to catch me without a big grin on my face, since one good band after the other was playing on the tentstage. Brutal as hell and lots of fun. This shouldn´t change during the gig of the Canadians Beneath The Massacre. Technical Brutal Death at it´s best. In case you were looking for some rest during this speed-massacre, you were definitely in the wrong place, since they played killer songs like “Reign Of Terror” or “No Future”. Above the massacre you had the mighty growling of fronter Elliot. Great!
Nearly at the same time, it was also time for some brutal power on the Painstage. Walls of Jericho with female shouter Candance, attracted quite a reasonable amount of fans. What a brutal voice this girl has, she´d definitely win against lots of her male colleagues with easy. Not only with her voice, but also with her energetic stage acting. Thus it wasn´t amazing to see, that she got the audience going with ease from the first tunes on. Lots of energy on stage was followed by crazy circlepits, sometimes even more than one at the same time. Well, it was pretty to stand still, when songs like “Feeding Frenzy” or “A Little Piece of Me” were being played.
Mehr Bandfotos hier! Power fronter, power band, power gig!
After that it would´ve been time for Kreator and Hackneyed but we couldn´t resist taking place in the Jägermeister skybar. Those who don´t know what it is: Just imagine a bar, seats round it, that look like those on a rollercoaster, thanks to the three safety belts. When everybody is secured and hopefully not afraid of heights, a crane is lifting the whole construction to a height of about 40 meters. Once you´re up, you have a fantastic view over the whole festival area. From the stages, to the camping places – there you can realize how big the whole festival really is. Something you don´t recognize like this when being on the ground. Actually it was pretty cool to see a band like Kreator from a different perspective. This view made us almost forget to drink the Jägermeister shots that had been handed over to us by the bartenders.
Thus a Kreator report from the ground-base: Kreator entered stage with a slight delay, but from then on, they thrashed the masses. Mille and his bandmates definitely looked, like they were enjoying being on stage a lot and thus the audience was in a great mood as well from the first second on. The only thing, that was slightly disturbing were Milles strange annoucements, but as soon as “Pleasure To Kill” was being played, nobody really cared about this anymore. Same goes for the intro of “Violent Revolution”, that caused some goosebumps for a few moments. Thus: Thumbs and horns up for this gig! (Javed)
More band photos here! In the meanwhile the skybar had arrived back on the festivalground. Still being kind of “hyper” and happy because of this great experience I rushed over to the Partystage once again to catch The Red Chord from Massachusetts. Like all the other bands before, there was no time for taking a rest, it was all about torturing your neck! With this mixture of Death, Grind and Hardcore surely no problem! Blasting, breaks, growling, madness! After a short while TRC also had their audience on the palm. Party all over on the Partystage today, no wonder with such quality bands playing there!
Well, as great as this gig was, I had to run again after a few songs to catch Backyard Babies over at the painstage about half an hour later. It´s time for Rock´n´Roooooll! Posing like mad, they were doing their best to fulfil as many clichés as possible – but in a positive way. Just like the second song title already said “Everybody ready” and everybody was ready! One guitarist was jumping around on stage like Angust Young, while having a cigarette in mouth looking all cool.
More band photos here! Something that was a bit strange though, was the comparably small number of people in front of the stage, especially for this time. Not interested? Too much party already? Well, whatever it was, those who had been there definitely had fun and party - audience and band!
Shortly after that it was time for a little premiere: Anal Natraakh (yes, strange name somehow) were playing the very first gig in Germany. While some people obviously had their problems with the mixture of Black Metal and some Death Growls those guys were presenting, the fans surely had their fun! However, the vocalist was really torturing his voice with various styles. The band was polarizing, but I definitely have to say, after one or two songs, I got into this music the guys were presenting.
Shortly after that the “obligatory” medieval band was on stage: Cantus Buranus. Not my cup of tea, since I´m not really a fan of all this medieval stuff, but I have to admit, that this show was clearly something that would deserve the description: bombastic or epic. An orchester with 30 musicians, huge drums, timbals, epic costumes, lots of fire and a vocalist that could easily keep up with all the musicians and stage setup around him. This wasn´t the usual medieval-fun stuff, this was bombast at it´s best. Yes, even though I don´t like the music that much, this was impressing. Impressing like the huge crowd that had gathered in front of the stage, thus they clearly deserved the headliner position.
However, after about half of the gig I headed back to “my” tentstage, since it was time for the American Death/Grinders Misery Index.
More band photos here! I´ve seen them countless times, but still totally enjoy the gigs. Grooving like mad as soon as the songs start getting a bit slower and kicking in some tight riffs, just great. No wonder, that the heads were rotating in the audience, lots of flying hair, circlepits -a crowd gone mad, the best sign, that they had done everything right once again. Great job from the guys from Baltimore once again. Death/Grind at it´s best.
And back to the painstage one last time, at least for today and time for yet another Swedish band: Katatonia! They were headlining the smaller one of the two mainstages and presented some completely different music, when thinking of Cantus Buranus just a few minutes before. After a somewhat halting beginning with “Consternation” and the great “Soil´s Song”, audience and band slowly got more into the right mood. Vocalist Jonas Renkse seemed less shy than nomrmal, since he wasn´t constantly hiding his face behind his hair, like he normally used to. But not only the pretty communicative vocalist, also the rest of the band was obviously highly motivated and played “Ghost Of The Sun”, “My Twin” and “July”.The setlist was well mixed, but still there was something missing, something that really got the audience connected to the band. The last song “Murder” was one of the nicest surprises for me. Thus a gig, with not such an enthusiastic audience as one might´ve expected it, but that I still don´t want to entitle with “just ok, but nothing more”, ended. Thus it´s no wonder, that I stayed there for the whole gig and decided to skip Hate Eternal on the tentstage, sorry!
More band photos here! After that the fun on the tentstage continued in form of Suffocation. While some of my colleagues weren´t that happy with the music, I enjoyed the gig once again, since it´s not only brutal, but in fact pretty entertaing. Let alone the “waving” of the hand, that the vocalist is doing when the blast parts start. It´s almost some kind of running gig, since you could see the same move in the audience. Instead of horns, you saw people waving their hands, just like the vocalist did and that along made it very entertaining to have a look at from the side. However you could hear lots of fans, that were telling each other to have seen the best gig of the festival.
Luckily there was no more running between three stages after Suffoctation, since I was slowly getting a bit tired and still wanted to see Carnifex, that were about to enter stage at 2:20 in the night...or morning, however you´d like to see it. Allright, those guys managed to gather quite a solid following within a short time and thus it wasn´t actually that amazing to see a still well filled tent at this late/early hour. Fronter Scott Lewis and his bandmates offered a fat portion of Deathcore as day 2 of the festival was slowly coming to an end. Lots of energy, a good sound and songs like “Slit Wrist Saviour” or “Lie To My Face” made it easy for the audience to get moving. Some might´ve disliked the constant Breakdown stuff, but the biggest part of the audience, that was singing along most of the time clearly showed, that constant touring and fun on stage pays off.
There would´ve still one band left at around 3 o´clock, but my body wasn´t willing to move anymore at that time. Over and out – we survived day 1 and 2 so far, time for some relaxing, a short sleep and then onwards to new ventures on Friday!