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ennlfrdeitrues
Wacken, Germany
2nd to 4th August 2007
WACKEN OPEN AIR - Day 2: THERION, POSSESSED, DRONE, GRAVE DIGGER, TURBONEGRO, J.B.O., DIMMU BORGIR, BLACK MAJESTY, SCHANDMAUL, SAHG and DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER, AMORPHIS, NAPALM DEATH, LACUNA COIL, BLIND GUARDIAN; Pictures of Chthonic

After a short and cold night, day 2 of the biggest heavy metal festival - the Wacken - had begun and we were ready to see high-class bands such as DIMMU BORGIR, GRAVE DIGGER, SCHANDMAUL or DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER besides several others more.


THERION (Ruth Gräbeldinger)

The Swedish band THERION has been founded in 1987 by Christofer Johnsson. The band has taken on its name in reference to the CELTIC FROST album “To Mega Therion”; the Greek word “therion” means “beast”, especially the one in the Christian Book of Revelation. Originally started as a Death Metal band (‘Of Darkness…’, 1991), as time passed THERION began to integrate more and more orchestral elements like classical instruments or choirs into their compositions.



The experimental Doom Metal record ‘Symphony Masses: Ho Drakon Ho Megas’ (1993) marked a change in the band's style. In the year following they signed a contract with Nuclear Blast, where they remain to the present day; their second album released through this label, ‘Theli’ (1996), already features their well-known Symphonic Metal and is seen by many as the band's best output to date. THERION's latest release is the 2006 double album "Gothic Kabbalah". http://megatherion.com/



Music & Performance
On this year's Wacken Open Air, THERION played their gig in the sunny afternoon, surely not quite the best time of day for this band. But nevertheless they had quite a few fans gathered in front of the stage, and their show was surely worth watching it. The Swedish band's compositions, especially the ones from their latest albums, are very complex and often recorded in cooperation with classical orchestras or singers and various guest musicians using diverse instruments. It is rather difficult to bring such songs on stage adequately, but the band did a very good job; they had four singers, two male and two female ones, and the ordinary instrumentation consisting of guitars, bass, keyboard and drums. Concerning THERION's lyrics, they are mostly written by the Swedish occultist Thomas Karlsson and treating themes like mythology or magic. During their one hour show, you could see how much fun all the band members had on stage, and they were able to enthral their fans with a diversified and very energetic show. 

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 7
Sound: 8
Light: daylight
Total: 7.2




POSSESSED (Ruth Gräbeldinger)

The US American Death-/Thrash Metal band POSSESSED from California has originated in 1983. After their first vocalist Barry Fisk had committed suicide, Jeff Becerra took on his position. In 1985 they signed with Combat Records and released their first album ‘Seven Churches’. In 1987, the band's last regular output appeared, the EP ‘The Eyes of Horror’, featuring more Thrash-like stuff; shortly after the release POSSESSED disbanded. In 1989, Jeff Becerra was paralyzed from the waist down due to a shooting incident. On this year's Wacken Open Air he played a gig together with members of the band SADISTIC INTENT; time will tell if he will be able to add a new chapter to the band history. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Possessed_(band)



Music & Performance
You surely do not have to introduce POSSESSED, at least not to the fans of Death Metal; they are often seen as the first group of this genre, which derives its name from their first demo ‘Death Metal’ (1984). This afternoon at the Wacken Open Air, Jeff Becerra was to appear on stage for the first time since eighteen years. As I was way too young to have experienced them playing live in earlier times, I have no possibilities of comparison.



The band is well-known for their typical style, very fast playing, in part combining Death and Thrash Metal and of course Becerra's special vocals. I liked their show in Wacken, the front man and vocalist, though being forced to appear in a wheelchair, did an energetic show, not with many words, but nevertheless convincing. The stage was appropriately shrouded in dense fog, which created a nice atmosphere in spite of the early daytime.

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: daylight
Total: 7.5




DRONE (Anne Kuhfuß)

Founded 2004 in Celle (Germany), the metal band DRONE released a 6-track-EP entitled ‘Octane’ in January 2006. They won the international final of the “metal battle” contest which was held in August 2006 at the Wacken Open Air. They’ve also performed with the Finnish band KORPIKLAANI and the German band DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER








GRAVE DIGGER (Anne Kuhfuß)

After various appearances at small festivals, the band, comprising Chris Boltendahl, Peter Masson, Willi Lackmann and Albert Eckardt, recorded a song for the compilation album ‘Rock from Hell’ in 1983. A year later, GRAVE DIGGER released their debut album ‘Heavy Metal Breakdown’. In 1996, Stefan Arnold became the band's new drummer. This year also marked the release of the concept album ‘Tunes of War’, which dealt with the early history of Scotland. This album was the first part of the ‘Middle Ages Trilogy’, completed in 1999. The second album, ‘Knights of the Cross’, with Jens Becker as bass guitarist, was completed in 1997 and was about the rise and fall of the Knights Templar. The final part of the trilogy, finished in 1999, ‘Excalibur’ explored the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Shortly after this a world tour with the keyboardist Hans-Peter Katzenburg followed, who later became a permanent band member.

Music & Performance
When people told me, GRAVE DIGGER were going to perform at this year’s Wacken Open Air, I didn’t know what to think about it. Usually, that kind of music isn’t really my thing but I thought to myself “come on, just listen to them. If they sound like crap, just go some place else”. And I’m happy I did listen to them because they really caught my eye with their awesome lightshow on stage. Their performance was just absolutely great! Even though I normally do not like that kind of music, I have to say, GRAVE DIGGER really convinced me that afternoon as they played on the true metal stage. The guitars just worked out fine and his voice was really great. They really proved to me that it’s always good to listen to a band you’ve never heard before!

Rating
Performance: 9
Music: 9
Sound: 9
Lights: 9 (though still daylight)
Total: 9


TURBONEGRO (Ruth Gräbeldinger)

The Norwegian Deathpunk - as they like to call their musical style - band TURBONEGRO has been founded in 1988 in Oslo, Norway; as founding member Thomas Seltzer once said, "A turbonegro is a large, well-equipped, armed black male in a fast car, out for vengeance. We are his prophets". Their first releases, with the original line-up, were the single ‘Route Zero’ (1989) and the EP ‘Turboloid’ from 1990. In the following of their disastrous US tour in autumn of the year 1990, the band broke up. Just a few months later it was reformed, and in next year's summer their first album ‘Hot Cars and Spent Contraceptives’ appeared. Following Punk veteran Harald Fossberg, Hank von Helvete took on the vocalist position in 1993.



In the late 90's the band began to get more and more attention, doing less Metal and more Rock'n'Roll / Glam and 70's Punk and eccentric stage performances; especially their 1997 release ‘Apocalypse Dudes’ was a huge success and got very good critics. On the height of their success, TURBONEGRO broke up, mainly due to Hank's drug addiction, in December 1998. Four years later they have luckily reunited after playing the Norwegian Quart Festival. This year, their latest album ‘Retox’ appeared via the band's own label Scandinavian Leather Recordings; it is their third album after the reunion. http://www.turbonegro.com



Music & Performance
What the band from Oslo calls Deathpunk is a mixture of Heavy Metal, (Glam/Arena) Rock and Punk, mostly very groovy and fast, suitable for making a real good party, but not lacking some depths also. The Norwegians are famous for their live performances, so I was very curious to see and of course hear them in Wacken. And they really blew me away! I very much like their musical style as well as their politically incorrect lyrics and their funny, strange and at the same time very cool appearance on stage. Singer Hank von Helvete showed up in front of the audience in Stars and Stripes clothing, and of course neither their typical denim nor Happy Tom's sailor hat were missing. The numerous fans in front of the Black Stage were making a good party, and the musicians on stage did the same. The bright afternoon sunbeams lit up the fog billowing abundantly over the stage, and wonderfully added to the fantastic concert atmosphere. As I unfortunately could not watch the whole set, I cannot tell if Hank still does his assrockets, but these guys for sure are offering a fantastic show.

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: daylight
Total: 8.8




J.B.O. (Anne Kuhfuß)

They started playing music in 1995. Since that day, people dressed in pink love their music. Starting out with mostly cover songs and fun rock/pop, they developed their own style of music: unique, crazy, exiting. Their lyrics are marked by funny themes and sentences you can remember right after the first time you hear them. Their show is an event you have to see to believe it. Grown-up guys (at least by age) jumping around, dressed in all pink. The temper they deliver through their music is something that makes people dance, doesn’t matter if they want to or not.

Music & Performance
Everybody who has seen that band perform live knows how they just party on stage. They were jumping around, flying their guitars around their bodies and just teasing their other band mates. It is always fun to watch them perform live! Playing songs of their current album ‘Rock Muzik’ and classics like ‘Tag zum Sterben’ (day to die), they showed a big variety of their music. The guitars were strong, the drums well coordinated. The whole setting was really nice and so, you had a good quality of their sound. Some solos of the guitar just perfected the sound of that night. Some songs which marked the maximums of the concert were songs such as ‘Ich sag J.B.O’ (I say J.B.O.), and ‘Hose runter’ (pants down). The audience was in a good mood and so the music was even better with them singing the songs together with the band.

Rating
Performance: 9
Music: 8
Sound: 9
Lights: daylight
Total: 8.7


BLACK MAJESTY (Anne Kuhfuß)

BLACK MAJESTY is a power metal band from Australia. The band formed in Melbourne in 2001 under the name KYMERA and with various members already well known on the local metal and heavy rock scene. During a brief flirtation with the name ARKAYA, the band began recording material but Betts left and the group renamed itself BLACK MAJESTY. Black Majesty's third album ‘Tomorrowland’ was released on 1st June 2007.








DIMMU BORGIR (Ruth Gräbeldinger)

'Dimmu Borgir' is the Icelandic term for "dark fortress" and is also the name of an impressing lava formation on Iceland. In 1993, the three Norwegians Shagrath, Silenoz and Kenneth 'Tjodalv' Akesson have founded a band of the same name. Their first sign of life was the 7" EP ‘Inn I Evighetens Morke’ (= ‘Into the Eternity of Darkness’) via Necromantic Gallery Productions in 1994. Developing their style from Black Metal on the first two albums ‘For All Tid’ (No Colour Records, 1994) and ‘Stormblast’ to bombastic, complex Melodic Metal compositions on the following ones, DIMMU BORGIR managed to become quite successful and could locate some of their newer recordings in the charts in different countries. But this evolution also brought them the label of playing ‘Black-Metal-Pop’, especially in the underground. While they had still used the Norwegian language on their first two full length albums, they took up the English tongue to reach a broader audience with their lyrics.



Line-up: Shagrath (Stian Tomt Thoresen - vocals), Erkekjetter Silenoz (Sven Atle Kopperud - guitars), Mustis (Oyvind Mustaparta - keyboards), ICS Vortex (Simen Hestnaes - bass, vocals), Galder (Thomas Rune Andersen - guitars) and Hellhammer (Jan Axel Blomberg - drums). http://www.dimmu-borgir.com

Music & Performance
DIMMU BORGIR are currently on their extended Invaluable Darkness Tour, also to promote their latest release ‘In Sorte Diaboli’, which has appeared this year. And luckily this included a show at the Wacken Open Air also. One guy was unfortunately missing on stage: Hellhammer - he could not play due to health problems, and was replaced by Tony Laureano (NILE). But the rest of the line-up was complete and good-humoured, prepared for casting darkness and despair over their excited fans. Luckily the sun had already set when they started to play, as the gloomy stage lighting very much added to the atmosphere of their songs. I was happy that they played quite a lot of songs from their earlier releases, like ‘Mourning Palace’ and ‘Spellbound (By The Devil)’ from their fantastic 1997 album ‘Enthrone Darkness Triumphant’, but of course also new stuff from their latest output.



All in all their setlist was a good selection of their work to date. As always, the Norwegians also offered their audience a fine show, especially Shagrath was posing a lot and talking to their fans from time to time, but also the rest of the band was obviously having fun while playing their set. I really enjoyed the concert, their sound was good, the fans' mood as well, and so it was once again a memorable DIMMU BORGIR performance.

Rating
Music: 10
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: 8
Total: 9.3




SCHANDMAUL (Anne Kuhfuß)

SCHANDMAUL is a German Folk Rock / Medieval Rock group from Munich. The band often includes instruments typically used in medieval folk songs such as the bagpipes and shawms that make up their folk-rock sound. The name “Schandmaul” translates roughly as “malicious tongue”, and is linked to their mascot of a grinning jester. Bands similar to SCHANDMAUL include SUBWAY TO SALLY, IN EXTREMO, SALTATIO MORTIS, REGICIDE, and LETZTE INSTANZ.

Music & Performance
From the start of the concert there was a great atmosphere in the audience. They were very willing to clap along with the band or even make an ocean of hands which was needed for the dramaturgy of the song ‘Das Seemannsgrab’ according to Thomas. He announced almost every song with a little story, which was fun for the audience to hear. He also made sure to talk about the so called “Spiderschwein” from the current The Simpsons movie. The audience was just thrilled about that! They seem to have fun on stage.

SCHANDMAUL played a lot of new songs but also older songs which were immediately sung along to by the audience such as ‘Walpurgisnacht’ or ‘Herren der Winde’. They started out with an instrumental intro, full of energy and enthusiasm. It is amazing to see how they can still play violin and flute while jumping and skipping across the stage. Birgit also proved to have a great talent of sparing her breath, the same second she stopped singing she continued on the flute. Thomas (main vocals) has a warm singing voice. During ‘Die Tür In Mir’ he also showed us the more raw side of his voice, a great sound I might add. Their mixture of folk and rock is a great success. They mix the cheerfulness and warmth of folk music with the intense sound of rock.

Rating
Performance: 10
Music: 10
Sound: 9
Lights: 9
Total: 9.7


SAHG (Anne Kuhfuß)

SAHG is a four-piece Norwegian metal band formed in the summer of 2004. After years of involvement on different ends of the Norwegian rock and metal scene, four hard rock devotees teamed up under the name SAHG. The band consists of King on bass, Olav on lead vocals and guitar, Thomas on guitar and Tor on drums. In mid-April 2006, the band's debut album 'Sahg 1' was released across Europe, with numerous positive reviews on the album.



'Sahg 1' entered the Norwegian charts at no. 31, and the record sales continued to be much better than anticipated. The album's positive reception resulted in SAHG shifting their focus into live performances. The band did some live appearances in Scandinavia and Germany throughout the summer, such as the Hole in the Sky Festival in Bergen, Norway. In September 2006, SAHG headed out on a three weeks tour of USA and Canada, supporting CELTIC FROST. Returning from North-America, the band started working on their second album, set for an October 2007 release.




DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER (Anne Kuhfuß)

DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER is a Weimar, Germany based heavy metal band signed to the Nuclear Blast label. Their name translates to “Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. Their original style (featured on their releases up to and including ‘Allegro Barbaro’) consists of death / thrash metal blended with melodic compositions establishing a more epic mood than usual in traditional death metal. In later albums, the death metal influence has declined, resulting in less chaotic composition (often centred around a verse and chorus with a bridge and solo), more constant tempo, longer songs and clean vocals (although not exclusively), resulting in a more polished and accessible sound. They use lyrics in both English and German with a shift from mainly English songs to more German ones on recent albums.

Music & Performance
It was the last band I saw that day. They played at 2am in the night and I was already a little tired because the night before, I didn’t really sleep well. I thought a lot about going to see them or not and I decided, I had to go and see them which was a good decision because their show was really good. The five people on stage really showed how metal has to be performed! What can I say? They played all kinds of different songs of their past and current albums. For somebody who has never heard of them, this concert was the best way to get to know them! The variety was just awesome and the sound really good!

Rating
Performance: 9
Music: 9
Sound: 9
Lights: 9
Total: 9


AMORPHIS (Anne Kuhfuß)

Music & Performance
Since I was standing in one of the last rows, I couldn’t really see how they were performing except of the things I could see played on the huge screen they had put up for the festival. I saw some things and that what I saw, looked pretty good. His long dreadlocks were basically “flying” among the stage and the other band members just completely lost control by playing their instruments. It almost looked like they were being in trance or something.



The sound wasn’t too bad, not really good, but ok. His voice was great just like it was at this years WGT. It was a pleasure listening to those nice guitars, heavy drums and his growling. I hope to see them again soon!

Rating
Performance 9
Music 9
Lights - (daylight)
Sound 7
Total 8.7







NAPALM DEATH (Anne Kuhfuß)

Music & Performance
When I think of NAPALM DEATH, one thing comes to my mind: heavy guitars mixed with a heavy voice. And that’s basically how you could describe their performance. It was heavy, not all that special but actually pretty ok. I couldn’t see much of the guys in particular but I saw that they were really into their music. It looked to me like it was something really special for them to play at the Wacken.



The sound was way better this time and so, the whole concert just sounded better. And actually, the band sounds better when they perform live. So maybe, I’m gonna go and see them again.

Rating
Performance 7
Music 8
Lights - (daylight)
Sound 9
Total 7.7




LACUNA COIL (Anne Kuhfuß)

Music & Performance
It was about two years ago when a friend of mine introduced me to the band LACUNA COIL. I pretty much liked them from the beginning and so, I was really anxious to see them at the Wacken. Cristina’s voice was amazing and she always flirted with the audience. The band was in a good shape, so the concert really made a nice impression.



Especially when they covered ‘Enjoy the silence’ which is originally sung by DEPECHE MODE you could see that the audience really felt their performance in every moment the band stood on stage. The whole concert was just a pleasure for my ears and actually, really something special among all of those evil heavy metal guys.

Rating
Performance 9
Music 9
Lights - (daylight)
Sound 9
Total 9






BLIND GUARDIAN (Anne Kuhfuß)

Music & Performance
BLIND GUARDIAN were definitely one of the big headliners this years and since my boyfriend is a huge fan of that band, I wanted to see them, too. We were standing pretty much in the farer half which was absolutely ok because the rows close to the stage just pushed as hard as they could to be closer to the front. I already knew a couple of songs which was good because some of them, they played at the concert, too. Especially when they played ‘The bard song’, the crowd just completely freaked out which was just amazing.



After playing for about 40 minutes they told us that the song coming up would be the last one they’re gonna play. My boyfriend told me, that’s the way they always do it and that they would come up again to play for another 4 0minutes. And eventually, that’s what they did and so, the concert continued. After all, although they are not a really band I wanna listen to every day, the concert was good and their performance, too. And what’s most important: the fans liked it and that’s why musicians perform.

Rating
Performance 9
Music 9
Lights 9
Sound 9
Total 9






There were of course several more bands playing on that day in Wacken and we just want to show you some pictures of CHTONIK now.


Chthonic












Written by Anne Kuhfuß & Ruth Gräbeldinger
All pics by Ruth Gräbeldinger
{jos_sb_discuss:18}
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