Every year when it´s finally time for the Summer Breeze Open Air, some Metalheads for sure pack their cars and backpack with melancholy, because, once it´s time for this festival, it also means, that the festival season is pretty much over. Apart from that, there´s for sure no reason to be sad! Summer Breeze as always celebrated one big party with a great mix of bands and even the weather gods were nice – well, apart from this really big thunderstorm on Thursday night.
Since it´s somehow impossible to really avoid all traffic jams, we of course encountered one a few kilometers outside Dinkelsbühl. We really weren´t in the mood to be grilled in the sun,so we tried to find a way around, and it was pretty weird – I can tell you, at times we for sure saw more cows than people and we weren´t that sure, whether this was still the right way. Anyways, after our arrival, we started to check out the camping and festival area for alterations/improvements. It has become pretty big, that´s obvious, but the biggest improvement in the truest sense of the word could easily be spotted from afar: the new Partystage. It was easily three times as big as the tent the years before and in addition that, they had put solid wodden floor to avoid mud fights in case of heavy rains. Both thumbs up for that! This was definitely big enough to provide shelter from rain/sun for a lot of metalheads and the fear of a horibly packed small tent was gone – for now.
Due to our late arrival, we didn´t see any bands of the New Blood Award, but we can at least tell you, that Steve from England won!
The programme began finally with a real tidbit : Melechesh, who had their highly acclaimed new album „The Epigenesis“ with them and were able to show which great compositions they had written there. The tent was really paked and fans were eaglerly waiting for them. Thus it was clear, that Ashmedi and his band had them on the toast pretty fast with killer songs like „Sacred Geometry“ and „Ghouls of Nineveh“. A bit of exotic flair as start for this year´s Summer Breeze was definitely perfect. Perfect was also the clear and powerful sound, that made the melodies come into their own. The audience thanked them with first little moshpits and crowdsurfers. For a while, the tent was not at the Summer Breeze, but somewhere in the Middle East, to bad, that this trip was over after 50 minutes, most people wouldn´t have minded to hear some more songs![Cornelia]
Scar Symmetrywere maybe the best band of the whole festival. They showed all Death-Metalheads that it is possible to play tight, ccomplex, groovy and heavy without abusing the songs therewith. It is impossible to describe, how smooth the guys acted, playing one killer-riff after another, getting the audience straight into the almost destructed party-tent. Don't ask me for songs – a new one was played – but the whole set has been awesome. Hugh! [Markus Seibel]
I think this is a proof, how opinions can differ. I for my part was pretty disappointed by the Swedes, especially since I know that they can do so much better. There was no disappointmend in terms of the show as such, since that was really entertaining and everyone had a lot of fun, on and off stage. However, when it comes to the vocals, it got pretty disappointing, when it was time for older material. Maybe I´m used too much to Mr. Christian “I can sing growls and clean vocals with ease” Älvestam, their former vocalist, maybe Lars Palmqvist simply had a bad day, I don´t know. But it´s a fact, that he obviously had his problems with the high pitched parts of cult songs like “Illusionist”or “Retaliator”. He altered the higher parts of the songs to a lower tone, after he had tried to sing them higher and that was not, what fans expected with those songs. The growls however compensated for that in a way, since they were solid and fitted perfectly. All in all still a good gig that was fun, apart from the aforementioned problems.[Cornelia]
Vader turned the tent inside out after Destruction and kicked off their gig with the Imperal March Intro, in fron of a tent that was almost bursting at the seams. So it might be bigger, but not big enough for most bands playing here today. Songs like „Rise of the Undead“, „This is war“ or „Crucified Ones“ turned this packed tent into a Polish Blackened Death massacre warfield. Thumbs up!
After that, I had to declare this party to be over for me at least and for this day. Even though my head was willing to continue, my legs simply stopped worked and denied to stand here for one more minute. It´s really a shame to miss Hell and Sylosis who played after 1 and 2 o´clock, but judging from what I heard the other morning, both bands managed to convince the masses and even people, who didn´t like Sylosis so far, for example, really enjoyed their gig. Actually not that amazing, in case someone remembers their gig from two years ago. However, it is amazing to see them play that late again in the tent. Like pretty much all other bands from this day, they should´ve played one of the open air stages at a better time, really!
Thursday started rather late at around 2pm. The sounds of the gig of The Sorrow reached us from afar and it seems as if they were doing their best, to kick the last sleepy asses with their Metalcaore. Furthermore it seems as if they were pretty successful with that, judging from the nicely sized crowd that was present already, to listen to „Elegy“ and „My Immortal Guardian“. It didn´t take long until you could spot the first Wall of Death, which was answered by the security guys with a fontain of water to cool down everyone.
The first band, where we were really physically present and in the photopit were the Germans from
Cripper with their female vocalist fronter Britta, who was screaming and growling in a competent way till the end. They started with „I Am The Pit“ and despite the saunalike temperatures in the tent, you could see lots of people headbanging as much as the band did on stage. 35 minutes of playing time are not much and thus you have to make sure to exhaust everyone within the shortest time possible. „Life is deadly“ and „General Routine“ among others, for sure helped with that undertaking. For the last Thrash grenade, they had a guest on stage, vocalist Lucie. Cool gig, lots of energy!
Outside it was still warm and the Hardcore gig from Death Before Dishonour did for sure not help to cool people at least a bit. Even when not really being familiar with the material, it didn´t matter at all here it seems. They knew how to captivate people and the die-hard fans in the audience seemed to know every single bit of lyrics. [Cornelia]
Always a surprise: although the hot sun molt everyone The Haunted filled the place with people. That most of the people didn't like Peter Dolving everyone enjoyed the show. Together with the ones who really like him they made party along to the thrash-hits. At least, there was cold water shot into the audience, as well as beer right from the stage. Awesome! [Markus Seibel]
The well visited gig of Der Weg Einer Freiheit showed an almost overenthusiastic audience. Long before the beginning they screamed for the band. A mood which lasted until the end without being destructed by the bad view you got because of the landscape. Musically there was no highlight, but surely no one expected one...but at least it was a good performance and the audience as well as the band enjoyed it. [Markus Seibel]
It was time for Kvelertak at shortly before 7pm and those guys enjoy a good reputation of delivering pretty crazy and destructive live gigs. The Norwegians celebrate a rather headstrong mix of Black Metal meets Punk meets snotty Rock´n´Roll Elements. And this mix was making an impact for sure. Their debut album was highly acclaimed and even though those guys have been playing pretty much everywhere since then, they seemed fresh and energetic as hell when kicking off with „Sjøhyenar (Havets Herrer)“. It´s worth mentioning, since it wouldn´t have been the first time to see a band, that´s used to touring heavily and then just delivering a halfhearted performance, since they´re simply tired. The tent was really packed you could tell that they were really having fun playing music together. „Fossegrim“ and „Offernat“ pushed the audience to go more crazy and the vocalist was running all over the stage from left to right and back, with visits in the photopit and at the barriers from time to time. Simply wonderful and so much fun! Make sure to catch them, when they return with their next tour!
More Nordic flair on this stage came with Kampfar, even though this was totally different music, those guys were also hailing from Norway, serving some quality Pagan Black Metal. It began with „Mare“ and fronter Dolk was really in his element, when making the audience to go off the rails, while being pretty photogenic at the same time. This worked fairly well and the Norwegians had the whole tent under their control with „Infero“, „Troll, Død Og Trolldom“ and more. Dolk showed once more, that he´s the master of posing and a great gig ended with „Ravenheart“. I´m sure there was nothing left to be desired, except for the wish, that this gig as well could´ve lasted longer.
Arch Enemy entered the mainstage shortly after that, where they had already delivered a great gig three years ago. As expected, the place in front of the stage was of course totally packed and after the „Khaos Ouvertüre“, the gig started with a boom in the truest sense of the word. Like other bands this year, Arch Enemy had obviously teamed up with a pyrotechnician who was crazy about firing off not only loves to fire off tons of pillars of fire, but also a lot of thick smoke. Just in case some was feeling a bit cold, he got warmed up a lot during that gig. They continued with
„Yesterday Is Dead And Gone“ and went totally beserk at the latest when „Ravenous“ and „Dead Eyes See No Future“ were being played.
Fronter Angela Gossow didn´t really let on about her wisdom teeth operation and was giving her best. The crowd thanked the band with lots of circlepits that were rotating eagerly. With „Nemesis“ and „Fields of Desolation“ a sold gig ended and the Swedes managed to make some amends for their rather static gigs in June/July (Metalcamp) with a more lively perfomance at Summer Breeze. Most metalheads could simply move slightly to the left to the Painstage. in case they wanted to hear some more Metal made in Sweden.
Sonic Syndicate however didn´t suit me down to the ground, so the tentstage seemed to be the perfect alternative, where Decapitated were already waiting to start a perfect Polish Death Metal massacre and to show everyone, how damn strong they are again, after the tragic accident some years ago. „Day 69“ opened the „battle“ and from there on everything went swimmingly. With high precision, riff after riff was fired into the audience, the drummer worked like a clockwork and it was great to see, that the fans were totally into it. „Carnival is Forever“ and „Revelation of Existence“ ended the gig in a fulminant way. One can only hope, that the guys will get a slot on the mainstage, when they return the next time! They´re big enough for that for sure!
After all the brutal music, it was time to please fans of calmer but no less entertaining Medieval Metal/Rock and who could´ve been more suitable to do so than In Extremo who were already waiting on the mainstage. They played a potpourri of hits, that were welcomed with open arms, such as „Sternenreisen“, „Flaschenpost“ or „Spielmannsfluch“. In addition to that, the pyrotechnicians were highly active during that band again. The audience was singing along to every song and „Omnia Sol Temperat“ ended a pretty captivating gig, with which the Germans proved their headliner qualities to the fullest. [Cornelia]
Another stylistic change happened with the next band. The sound grew darker and harder as the Swedish band Marduk played. Of cause the first Circle-Pits started. The band sould have felt envy because of the shower: they have been sweating twice. Once form the gig and once from the make-up. [Markus Seibel]
The Belgian band Aborted placed at the best slot. Right in front of the stage the die-hard-fans were found getting their asses kicked by the heavy sound. Straight, ass-kicking and rough. The always diversified songs are the proof that Aborted are a really good band. [Markus Seibel]