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With Full Force Festival 2018

PARKWAY DRIVE, JUDAS PRIEST, BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, BODY COUNT, HATEBREED, SOULFLY, CALIBAN, APOCALYPTICA, CRADLE OF FILTH, 8 KIDS, ABBATH, ASKING ALEXANDRIA, BELPHEGOR, BENEDICTION, BEING AS AN OCEAN, BOOZE & GLORY, DAGOBA, DED, DOOL, DRITTE WAHL, DRUNKEN SWALLOWS, EKTOMORF, EMMURE, EMPLOYED TO SERVE, ENTOMBED A.D., ESKIMO CALLBOY, FIRST BLOOD, FOR I AM KING, GOD DETHRONED, H2O, IN THIS MOMENT, JOHNNY DEATHSHADOW, KANZLER & SÖHNE, KATAKLYSM, KNOCKED LOOSE, LIFE OF AGONY, LIONHEART, MADBALL, MANOS, MAMBO KURT, MARDUK, MEGAHERZ, MISS MAY I, MOSCOW DEATH BRIGADE, NECROPHOBIC, NOTHING MORE, OCEANS ATE ALASKA, PERKELE, POWERFLO, PRO-PAIN, PSYCHOSTICK, RISE OF THE NORTHSTAR, SEPTICFLESH, STICK TO YOUR GUNS, STRAY FROM THE PATH, TANKARD, TENDENCIA, THE HIRSCH EFFEKT, THY ART IS MURDER, TOXPACK, UNLEASHED, VALLENFYRE, WE BUTTER THE BREAD WITH BUTTER, WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM, ZE GRAN ZEFT
in Thursday, 14 June 2018 at Ferropolis
by Erika Kuenstler and Sarunas Dreseris



 

Regular festival-goers in Germany know that few festivals are as hyped as WITH FULL FORCE festival, one of the largest Metal festivals in Germany. With a slew of warm-up parties happening all across Germany months in advance of the festival, this is one of the most anticipated festivals of the summer festival season. Taking place from the 14th to the 16th of June, this year saw a very special occasion taking place, namely the 25th anniversary of the festival, and Metal Temple had the pleasure of catching this momentous occasion.
 


 

This was the first time that I got to see WITH FULL FORCE at its new home in Ferropolis. Gone were the days of the scorching tarmac runways of the previous location, along with the rather uninspiring views of cornfields. Instead, WITH FULL FORCE is now located in a very scenic spot nearby, which seems absolutely perfectly tailored to hosting such a bustling Metal festival. What could be more suitable than a location called Ferropolis, which roughly translates to “city of iron”? Whilst Ferropolis is a museum for much of the year, for one magical week in the summer it transforms into the stunning setting for the WITH FULL FORCE festival. Massive old industrial machinery, which can be up to 120 meters long and 30 meters high, paints a stunning backdrop, whilst an amphitheatre-like structure creates the perfect place for going crazy in the crowd or simply chilling on the stairs whilst watching some top calibre bands. And to top it all off, there is a stunning lake surrounding both the campsite and the festival area, with several sandy alcoves that can be used to reach the water and cool down from the scorching sun. But none of these can compare to the beach in the main festival area with many chill-out spots, a stall selling fruit punch, and lets not forget the lake itself. What more could you wish for on a nice summer day while waiting for another band to come on stage?
 


 

While talking about refreshing your body it is also important to talk about the possibilities of refreshing your mind, and no it is not beer. It is rather the opposite and quite a childish subject but the games and relaxation corner at the festival was one of or event THE Best that I have ever seen. Located on the side of the main stage, and guarded by gargantuan machinery, it provided all kinds of activities. Starting with what seems the most popular attraction - the Jungle Jim. It had most versatile use both for physical activities or just relaxing on its multiple levels. Close to it was the sandbox where anyone could have embraced their inner skills of structural engineer while excavating holes and trenches on miniature diggers. If that was not enough there was also a bouncy-castle type volleyball field, which allow you to spend all of unnecessary energy fast, that is if you have a good team that does not get distracted by the bounciness alone. But if none of that tickled your fancy you could always join The Jagermeister tent where you would be taken back to memories of your high school dance or maybe even further back (experiences might vary depending on your mileage), with famous anthems played all day long. Hit me baby one more time!
 


 

Despite the fact that beer is called liquid bread it is not always strong enough to sustain a body that has experienced that much Metal and hot sun. This is where we have to talk about non-liquid food and boy there was a choice of that. It could safely be said that there were more food places in this festival than you would get beer places in others. Ranging from classics like kebabs and sandwiches to something fancier as Italian pasta and pizza also including vegetarian and vegan choices, there was surely something for everyone. Portions were the biggest problem, as you might get just a few bites in some places and entire meals in others, but this is a festival, so that is a normal thing to expected. There was however an exceptional place that served massive burgers with enough fries to feed a starving family, tip my hat to them, as it was my place of choice to keep my hunger meter from going down. And as for the frosty ice-cream place; that was just a small slice of heaven in the warm summer sun.

As for the music, WITH FULL FORCE has always had a reputation for bringing out the big guns; whilst the festival has a strong bias towards the Core subgenres, they nonetheless have a diverse lineup which is guaranteed to have something for everyone. This year was certainly no exception, featuring the likes of bands such as JUDAS PRIEST, PARKWAY DRIVE, BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, BODY COUNT, HATEBREED, SOULFLY, CALIBAN, APOCALYPTICA, and CRADLE OF FILTH. What is great about this festival is that the organisers put a whole lot of effort into the lineup, rather than just having a rotation of bands that gets switched around every few years, like several other big festivals seem to do. But starting it all off early on Wednesday night was the official Metal Hammer warm-up party, with olden goldies being played until the small hours of the morning at a small stage located just outside the festival grounds. This stage was also the location of the after-parties for the following days, with the music starting up after the last headliner had finished their set. Here, people could party the night away, in a dedicated party area that went on all night.

But coming back to the bands, the lineup this year was particularly juicy. One of my personal highlights was the very first band up on the main stage on Friday: PSYCHOSTICK, an American comedy rock band. WITH FULL FORCE festival was their very first time playing in Germany, and the band had fans showing up in droves, despite their early time-slot. With just over half an hour on stage, their set seemed to fly by, but what a glorious half an hour that was. Another outstanding performance was delivered courtesy of THY ART IS MURDER, who probably had one of the most insane and wild crowds of the entire festival. They certainly put the security through the good old stress test, with one crowd surfer after the next being washed into the pit.

 


 

Also a first was the double “Knüppelnacht”, which roughly translates to “bludgeon night”. These infamous nights are a chance for heavier and darker music to take over WITH FULL FORCE festival. Running from midnight to approximately 4 AM, this is the time in which genres like Black Metal and Death Metal come to the fore. Whilst there has traditionally only been one Knüppelnacht per year, this year saw the advent of two Knüppelnachts in a row. Here fans were treated to the likes of BELPHEGOR, UNLEASHED, NECROPHOBIC, ABBATH, CRADLE OF FILTH, SEPTICFLESH, BENEDICTION, and MARDUK. The Saturday night special was a fitting one: BEATSTEAKS, a German Punk-Rock band who had also performed at the very first instance of WITH FULL FORCE festival.
 






 

Headlining the first day was none other than BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, who put on an electrifying show which had the amphitheatre area jam packed. Another big-gun was JUDAS PRIEST, who headlined Friday night. Although several people were complaining that the entire show was playback, it was nothing short of brilliant, and well worth waiting almost an hour for technical issues to be resolved before the band could play. However, aside from this one technical glitch, the sound in general was very good for a festival, and the light shows were spectacular for the most part. This allowed the selection of excellent bands to really shine through, making the festival a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
 






 

And the cherry on the cake: headliners of the festival PARKWAY DRIVE. This Australian leviathan of a band gave a fiery performance that really set the crowd alight. Complete with everything from a rotating drum-rise to dazzling pyrotechnics, and from massive energy all the way to a stunning performance, everything about PARKWAY DRIVE’s performance was bombastic. With the release of their album “Reverence” just last month, PARKWAY DRIVE’s setlist hit the perfect balance between old crowd favourites and fresh new songs, resulting in a monstrous party. After this stunning performance, cello masters APOCALYPTICA provided an unsurpassable close to the festival. As a special celebration of 25 years of WITH FULL FORCE festival, these Finns also dug into back catalogue, playing their some of their earliest material, including their 1996 debut “Apocalyptica plays Metallica by Four Cellos”. The perfect end to a perfect weekend.
 






 

Over-all, WITH FULL FORCE scores highly. Sure, the festival grounds are pretty spread out, and it can take over half an hour to walk from the campsites to the festival area, but there were shuttle buses that would ferry you between the two - for a small fee of course. But that aside, the location itself more than makes up for the long distances. It is pretty much perfect for a festival of that size, and offers a tonne of activities aside from watching the bands. The dedication of the organisers to pack as much diversity into the festival as possible - be it food, bands, activities, you name it - also leads to a really pleasurable festival experience. There’s actually more to do than either stay in your campsite and drink, or watch the bands. Kudos to the festival organisers!
 


 

As the saying goes, after the festival is before the festival, and the organisers of WITH FULL FORCE festival are undoubtedly already cooking up a treat for 2019. If you’re up for an incredible party in an even more amazing location, be sure to get your tickets soon. Metal Temple looks forward to seeing you at Ferropolis next year!
 




 

For more photos, check out Valkyrian Photography.

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