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Arch Enemy 18Nürburgring, Nürburg, Germany
7th to 9th June 2019
Rock am Ring Day 1 with reviews of Alice in Chains, The Smashing Pumpkins, Tool, Behemoth and Arch Enemy

Where racing cars usually roar, Rock am Ring festival took place during the Whitsun weekend: The legendary music spectacle once again attracted about 85,000 fans to the Nürburgring. Around 80 bands announced their presence on the three stages in the Eifel from 7th to 9th June. The musicians usually perform alternately with the twin festival, Rock im Park in Nuremberg. Before that, many people checked their weather apps on their mobile phones over and over again because there was a notice that a storm would come up. But that definitely didn’t stopped the festival and the good mood.


Alice in Chains

ALICE IN CHAINS is an American Rock band from Seattle, Washington, formed in 1987 by guitarist and vocalist Jerry Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney, who later recruited bassist Mike Starr and lead vocalist Layne Staley. Starr was replaced by Mike Inez in 1993. William DuVall joined the band in 2006 as co-lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, replacing Staley, who died in 2002. Even though the band is known for their Grunge music, they incorporate a lot of Heavy Metal in their songs. They’re known for the distinctive vocal style, which is often harmonized between Staley and Cantrell and later Cantrell and William DuVall.

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The crowd was very excited to see one of the original Grunge bands, ALICE IN CHAINS. Even though there were winds blowing with 80km/h, the atmosphere was great and the audience was full of energy! The band itself delivered a powerful vocal performance which was bursting with energy. And this proved the last doubters very clearly: The Grunge-origin rockers are still indispensable on stage. Vocalist William DuVall interacted a lot with the fans and they were of course loving it. You could tell that the crowd was in a good mood because small cuddly pits could be seen in the audience again and again during the show. // / // Setlist: 1. Them Bones / 2. Dam that River / 3. Again / 4. Check my Brain / 5. Rainier Fog / 6. Down in a Hole / 7. Stone / 8. We die young / 9. Angry Chair / 10. Main in the box / 11. The one you know / 11. Would? / 12. Rooster

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The Smashing Pumpkins

THE SMASHING PUMPKINS are an American Alternative Rock band from Chicago, Illinois. Formed in 1988 by front man Billy Corgan (lead vocals, guitar), D’arcy Wretzky (bass), James Iha (guitar), and Jimmy Chamberlin (drums), the band has undergone many line-up changes. The current line-up features Corgan, Chamberlin, Iha and guitarist Jeff Schroeder. The band stepped calmly on stage and greeted their fans with simple hand-moves and started playing right away. They started with ‘Siva’ which started slowly but became more powerful after some time. The guitar solos were impressive and the singing amazing. It was their most famous song ‘Zero’, which the band played afterwards, that really motivated the crowd to move and dance along. The mood became better and better, the audience started to get louder. You could really feel the festival ambiance during the show and the energy transferred to the band as they became more dynamic and interacted more with the crowd.

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Even though they interacted a bit with the crowd they never really moved a lot or went completely crazy. But their guitar playing was intensified by time and you could notice that on Billy Corgan’s face. It is quite impressive to see such a great band out of the 1980s alternative/grunge scene live and finally experienced their famous songs like ‘Tonight, Tonight’ and feel the lyrics about believing in yourself. // / // Setlist: 1. Siva / 2. Zero / 3. Solara / 4. Knights of Malta / 5. Eye / 6. Bullet with Butterfly wings / 7. Tiberius / 8. G.L.O.W. / 9. Disarm / 10. Superchrist / 11. The Everlasting Gaze / 12. Ava Adore / 13. Cherub Rock / 14. Tonight, Tonight

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TOOL is an American Rock band from Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1990, the group’s line-up includes drummer Danny Carey, guitarist Adam Jones, vocalist Maynard James Keenan and bassist Justin Chancellor. TOOL has won three Grammy Awards, performed worldwide tours, and produced albums topping the charts in several countries. They emerged with a Heavy Metal sound on their first studio album, ‘Undertow’ (1993), and later became a dominant act in the alternative metal movement, with the release of its follow-up album, ‘Ænima’ in 1996. Their efforts to unify musical experimentation, visual arts, and a message of personal evolution continued, with ‘Lateralus’ (2001) and ‘10,000 Days’ (2006), gaining TOOL critical acclaim, and commercial success around the world. The band announced their untitled fifth studio album, their first in thirteen years, will be released on August 30, 2019.

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The long-awaited legendary progressive and art rock band TOOL made they first appearance since an eternity. They started the show with their famous song ‘Ænema’ and the audience was absolutely amazed to see their idols play the brilliant song live. During the show the whole attention was put on the guitarist, bassist and drummer as the vocalist put himself in the back and with no lights on him. While they were playing, there were abstract artistic visuals on both sides of the stage which matched with the sound. The atmosphere was great and kept getting better when they played songs like ‘Forty Six & 2’ and ‘Jambi’. They also played new songs from their upcoming untitled album like ‘Descending and Invincible’, which sounds beautiful and you just can’t wait for August to finally hear the whole album.

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It was just incredible to finally see such titans live on stage and experience their show with all their visuals that fitted perfectly their songs, the fans were head-banging and dancing to every single song. All in all the show was incredible, the sound was crispy clear, the bass was strong and the visuals were breath-taking. // / // Setlist: 1. Ænema /2. The Pot / 3. Parabola / 4. Descending / 5. Schism / 6. Invincible / 7. Part of me / 8. Jambi / 9. Forty Six & 2 / 10. Sweat / 11. Stinkfist

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“It doesn’t get more blasphemous than this.” That’s BEHEMOTH mastermind Nergal talking about the title of the band’s 11th and latest album, ‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’. While it certainly seems an unlikely title for a black metal band - especially one that called their last album ‘The Satanist’ its origin might surprise you even more than the words themselves. “It’s a verse from the Bible,” Nergal reveals. “It’s actually a quote from Jesus Christ himself. For BEHEMOTH to use it as the basis of our record, it’s sacrilege to the extreme.” Nergal and his bandmates, Orion (bass) and Inferno (drums) have channelled that passion into ‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’. A crushing salvo of Black Metal majesty replete with hellish riffs, thundering drum cannonades and soaring liturgical choirs reminiscent of classic horror cinema, the album is also bejewelled with nimble-fingered Rock guitar solos on songs like ‘God=Dog’, ‘Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica’ and ‘Sabbath Mater.’

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It’s midnight, when BEHEMOTH started to play at the Alternastage. But the fans didn’t mind of the time of day because they knew that the blackened death metal band would organize an unforgettable show that includes a pyro-show to warm up the cold night. They started with ‘Wolves ov Siberia’ and during that song they wore skull masks and immediately set the dark mood. The black mass just had started! Vocalist Nergal interacted a lot with the crowd and motivated them to sing along to their songs, which most of them did with a lot of heart. Then they disappeared for a short moment to take off their mask and finally move around freely while playing ‘Diamonds’.

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The pyro-show for this concert was perfectly timed and simply matched perfectly to the lyrics of the songs. Even if you’re not a fan of Black Death Metal, you would still stay there to see the show! The lighting, the sound, the show, the whole atmosphere was absolutely unique and special that you wouldn’t want to miss that out. // // / // Setlist: 1. Wolves ov Siberia / 2. Diamonds / 3.Ora Pro Nobis / 4. Ov Fire and the Void / 5. God=Dog / 6. Conquer All / 7. Sabbath Mater / 8. Blow your Trumpets Gabriel / 9. Chant for Ezkaton / 10. Coaglva

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Arch Enemy

Time passes, the world changes, but some things remain constant and unassailable. Heavy Metal has endured for more than four decades because its spirit is eternal, and few bands embody the intensity, integrity and lofty artistic ambitions of the genre with more dazzling aplomb than ARCH ENEMY. Formed in Sweden in the mid-90s by former CARCASS/ CARNAGE guitarist Michael Amott, this most explosive and proficient of Modern Metal bands have spent the last 20 years propagating an unerring creed of technical excellence, songwriting genius and thunderous, irresistible live performance, accruing a huge global fan base along the way. And in 2017 ARCH ENEMY were ready to rise again and climb ever further up the ladder toward pure metal supremacy.

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Day 1 at Rock am Ring went closer to the end but not before ARCH ENEMY could close of the day with the most energetic concert I’ve seen so far! They started strong and intense with their song ‘The world is yours’, which the fans loved and for consequence they sang along the whole song! Vocalist Alissa White-Gluz was one of the most motivated and engaging singers I’ve seen that day. She smiled a lot, danced and always interacted with her audience while asking to sing along or dance along. The energy was at his highest peak even if it was nearly 2 am in the morning. Noticeable was that the crowd wasn’t fatigued after their filled day of great music.

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It didn’t surprised me to see many crowd-surfing and moshpits during the show at songs like ‘War Eternal’ and ‘ First Day in Hell’. The guitar solos of every song sounded really marvellous and the sound in general was really good because you could hear clearly every musician on stage. // / // Setlist: 1. The World is yours /2. Ravenous stolen Life / 3. War eternal - my Apocalyspe / 4. You will know my name / 5. Dead eyes see no future / 6. The eagle flies alone / 7. First day in Hell / 8. As the pages burn / 9. No Gods No Masters / 10. We will rise / 11. Nemesis/Fields

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The first day of Rock am Ring was filled with many great acts and some were surprising in both ways. Admittedly some of the big names at the festival didn’t impressed me and you could tell that they felt like they didn’t need to put that much effort into doing an extravagant show because people know them and came to their show just to hear them, while smaller bands gave their all for their gig and the people that came to watch them. Even if they announced a storm for that day and the wind really did blew strong the whole time, the spirit of the festival was very present and every visitor made sure to make the best out of the weather condition.

All Pictures by Elena Arens

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