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Headbangers Open Air - Day 3 @ Brande Hörnerkirchen (GER)

in Saturday, 31 July 2010 at Brande Hörnerkirchen
by Erika Walberg

Saturday started off as nice and sunny as Friday did but it was quite a difference music experience the Headbangers Open Air Festival had to offer this day.
There was quite a buzz about TRENCH HELL in my latitudes prior to the Festival but apart from that this was a new acquaintance for me. Primitive Old School German Thrash from Australia, that’s new. But most Aussie Metal that makes it over here tends to sound good. And I love that MOTÖRHEAD attitude, just move or we’ll run you over kind of deal really suites them. Awesome gig really. It’s actually funny to see that minimal effort in the stage show actually work from time to time. TRENCH HELL kicked ass from start and shock up the still quite drowsy crowd with a solid determination. Energy and attitude is main ingredients in succeeding to win over people and TRENCH HELL really served that.

Then the Festival continued in a little softer mood. NOT FRAGILE wasn’t as convincing as TRENCH HELL but it sure sounded great anyway. Sometimes it’s strange how much a bands way to express them selves on stage can affect the whole experience. Ok, the competition is extremely hard on a Festival filled with all types of Die Hard Metalheads. Then, at times a good sounding set will not be enough. Unfortunately that was the case with NOT FRAGILE for me. Perhaps it’s wrong to say all other bands did a stronger impression on me performance wise but it’s not far from it. But they seemed to have a blast playing which is more than other bands.

“Perfect Sledgehammer”
“Extermination Day”
“Master Machine”
“Hard To Be Alive”
“Battle Eagle”
“Eye Of The Storm”
“Made Of Metal”
“Hell Raiser”

BATTLEAXE’s “Power From The Universe” ended up in my record collection years and years ago after a shopping-spree down-town. It took a while for me to get to listen to it and frankly, I didn’t think much of it at all. Not until years later, the thing is, what’s good with BATTLEAXE is amazing and the rest is maybe a little so and so.
There’s something special about the hibernated bands that looks about the same as they did back in the days, the parts of BATTLEAXE still in the band was absolutely recognizable, just a little more grey and perhaps a few more pounds to carry around. It feels a little freaky but as long as they sound as they did and can delivery with attitude, it is just the way it’s supposed to be. It was really cool to hear the tracks from “Power From The Universe” live too and walk down memory lane a bit.

“Radio Thunder”
“Power From The Universe”
“Shout It Out”
“Ready To Deliver”
“Dirty Rocker”
“Chopper Attack”
“Metal Rock”
“Killer Woman”
“Shake It Loose”
“Burn This Town”

The only thing crossing my mind when DER KAISER entered the stage was WHAT THE HELL??? French bastards!!! Sure, Rockin’ Rolf got away with the Pirate thing and why should the French bands be able to honor Napoleon or some one else of their National Legends. Then that vocalist Claude Thill sounds like a French character from a Monthy Python movie made it all hysteric. I didn’t think much of them at all but when a band manages to keep the balance of a little comedy and still turning over to ridiculous. I have a little hard though with French lyrics in the music but it actually worked quite fine for DER KAISER. This was absolutely one of the gigs that were the most fun to watch of the whole Festival, not one of the best but fun. And also, that I actually enjoyed the song sung in French was really new to me.

“Maitre De L'Univers”
“Saga des Fers”
“Cité Féroce”
“Vision De Cindres”
“Autres Spheres”

Some times it’s hard to look past a rough and raw production so I admit I wasn’t too impressed by BLOOD FEAST before the Festival. On record this is something you really need to have the urge for to melt it, at least that’s the deal for me. Live though it was different. The sound has been great for all bands on this Festival, as always and with this more powerful sound mixed with the really crazy behavior going on on stage. DAMN! It’s always fun when realizing during a concert totally zealous and smiling like crazy and almost forget to work. Not for long though because I wasn’t the only one being enthusiastic about BLOOD FEAST. There was an instant Mosh Pit as soon as the show started. Vocalist Chris Natalini jumps off the stage and join in with the rest, still with the microphone (and cable) in his hand boosting the crowd even more. But what really caught my eye was the beautiful guitar played by John Blicharz and he sure treated his (10-string, BC Rich) Bitch well. BLOOD FEAST was really a pleasant surprise so I guess the records should get another chance.

Don’t get me wrong now, there’s no such thing as a bad OMEN gig. It can’t be with that band. Everything is tight and well played and the songs are amazing. George Call continues to impress each time he hits the stage too. He both has a great voice and is a very amusing stage character. No exception there this day either. But, this wasn’t the best I’ve seen from OMEN. George seemed a little off actually, a little detached. Not much at all but when a band do one gig better than the one before things like this will be a turn off. Compared to most other bands OMEN still killed though. How can one not love a guy like Kenny Powell? Sometimes he seems clueless or perhaps affected by a hard life but he sure still can rock and there’s something about him that is so fascinating. I guess admiration for a guy who’s been creating immortal songs as “Die By The Blade”, “In The Arena”, “Battle Cry” and many, many more. Ok, OMEN has been doing this for a few years now so the thrill of the news has kind of past by. Brand new track “Blood On The Water” is a nice addition to the bill and is sending out teases about a promising future.

“Die By The Blade”
“Dragon's Breath”
“Ruby Eyes (Of The Serpent)”
“In The Arena”
“Blood On The Water”
“The Curse”
“Last Rites”
“Don't Fear The Night”
“Death Rider”
“The Axeman”
“Battle Cry”
“Warning Of Danger”

ANVIL CHORUS was one of the bands I was most looking forward to see, first because Thaen Rasmusen impressed me very much with his Guitarplaying in VICIOUS RUMORS then also because at least their new music suites my taste perfectly. I can’t even say how annoyed I was seeing the black clouds gather and the raindrops start to fall prior to the concert. They sure deserved a bigger crowd than they got, there were only a few who defied the rain and enjoyed what ANVIL CHORUS had to offer. Perhaps they didn’t bring on the best show of the Festival, I would have loved to see more of the attitude from the VICIOUS RUMORS shows but this was mainly standing still playing with perfection. Yes, everything sounded perfect, even if it do it’s easy to loose focus after this amount of music to melt. Sure, the weather disturbed a bit too it’s hard to get a boost this time of the Festival. Even if the band is good it needs more than perfect playing to keep the crowds focus.

“Blood Money”
“Red Skies”
“Phase To Phase”
“Blue Flames”
“Solar Flux”
“Death Of A Dream”
“Blondes In Black” / “Guitarmony”
“The Blade”
“Deadly Weapons”

“Man Made Machines”

I guess most in my generation remembers RAVEN from the sale LP-crates, their records sure has been available everywhere but I doubt many has taken the opportunity to really listen to them. Sure, they don’t have the smooth edges many of the NWOBHM bands has and they’re not as raw and punky as MOTÖRHEAD so I can understand that they don’t get stuck. Live it’s completely different though. On stage their rough Heavy music fits like a glow and it takes much out of any band to actually match their stage presence these days. This was my first time seeing them live and it was hard to focus on my job for the first few songs, I was stunned. John and Mark Gallagher torn the stage apart, they were running from side to side headbanging and going on. I really thought they would get tired after a while but the frenzy lasted throughout the show. And frankly, perhaps the greatness in the songs doesn’t really come through on record, I can agree with that but RAVEN do have a whole bunch of nice ones. Live they work perfectly, “All For You”, “Lambs To The Slaughter” and “Faster Than The Speed Of Light” to mention a few. This really came as a very pleasant surprise to me, sure, I’ve read a lot of good things about RAVEN live and I assumed their music should work perfectly on stage. But this was one of the biggest surprises of the Festival, a very pleasant one.

“Take Control”
“Live At The Inferno”
“All For One”
“Breaking You Down”
“Lambs To The Slaughter”
“Rock Until You Drop”
“Speed Of The Reflex”
“Run Silent Run Deep”
“Mind Over Metal”
“Architect Of Fear”
“Faster Than The Speed Of Light”
“On And On”
“For The Future”
“Break The Chain”
“Crash Bang Wallop”

And then it finally was time for SOLITUDE AETURNUS, a band that hasn’t played at this side of the pond very much. I’ve only had the chance to see then once before, at Wacken Open Air a few years back. Then, in broad daylight I and few others bothered to go to that Festivals smallest stage and the band seemed dulled out. Not the best live introduction. But it was bound to be better here. The darkness was falling and the place absolutely packed. John Perez, what can I say, what a guitarplayer… Everything looked so easy and his appearance was amazing, really cool. Robert Love, since he joined Swedish Doom-gods CANDLEMASS I’ve seen him quite a lot on stage and his spectacular moves and faces suites the music perfectly. The thing though, I still have a little hard to decide if it is annoying or determines his personality more that he behaves the same no matter what band he’s in. Well, he’s fun to watch at least. But the other two in the front line, what were they up to? As bored as they looked it’s really hard to find on a stage. But SOLITUDE AETURNUS sounded amazing and it was great to see them having fun (oh well) on stage. It was truly amazing to hear all these songs live, Rob’s voice is still perfect. Even if he was the perfect replacement to Messiah in CANDLEMASS it is songs as “Destiny Falls To Ruin”, “The 9th Day” and “Falling” which do his voice full justice.

“It Came Upon One Night”
“Haunting The Obscure”
“Destiny Falls To Ruin”
“Pawns Of Anger”
“The 9th Day”
“Tomorrows Dead”
“Mental Pictures”
“Days Of Prayer”
“Waiting For The Light”
“Opaque Divinity”
“Secret Of Steel”

The end came after an extremely tiresome soundcheck, I admit being dead tired even before SOLITUDE AETURNUS started playing and then waiting in the Photo Pit for almost an hour. The thing is, I don’t think it was much delayed before VIRGIN STEELE was about to play. A few minutes maybe but have the crowd wait for an hour at this time of the Festival is ridiculous. A lot of people actually gave up and went home, I thought about giving up more than once too but in the end I’m glad I forced the last ounce of energy out of me and stayed. Because when VIRGIN STEELE finally hit the stage it all became fun again. Dave DeFeis ability to sing and play never ceases to surprise me. All the time’s I’ve seen VIRGIN STEELE it has been absolutely great. But what I don’t get, a band with such a nice catalogue and still an amazing ability to write songs why they can’t have a full band line-up live. It’s not the same with keyboards, bass and more on tape. All those backtracks really draws down the impression of the experience. But apart from that, what a setlist! It really is a shame I wasn’t really fit for this one. Both old and new material with the absolute highlights in “Crown of Glory (Unscarred)” and “The Burning of Rome”

“Immortal I Stand (The Birth Of Adam)”
“Black Mass Blues”
“The Wine Of Violence”
“Through Blood And Fire”
“Crown Of Glory (Unscarred)”
“A Symphony Of Steele”
“Noble Savage”
“Kingdom Of The Fearless”
“Guitar Solo” / “Vow Of Honour” / “Defiance”
“Don't Say Goodbye (Tonight)”
“Drum Solo” / “Guitar Solo” / “Vocals Solo”
“On The Wings Of The Night”
“The Burning Of Rome”
“Thy Kingdom come” (theme riff)

“Fight Tooth and Nail”
“Thy Kingdom Come” (whole song)
“The Angel Of Light”
“We Rule The Night”

“Veni, Vidi, Vici”

So way, way, way passed bed-time the 2010 edition of Headbangers Open Air ended and I can only say it was another absolutely amazing Festival. So many good bands and the atmosphere is unbeatable. It’s fun how the whole body can ache out of being so tired it’s hard to stand straight but it’s still fun to stay up and watch yet another great band play. SHOK PARIS did the strongest impression on me and their gig is doubtless the best of the Festival but there was so many other cool bands on (as usual), it must have been since I watched all with the exception of CULPRIT. And that is my biggest disappointment but that has all to do with me.

Photos by Erika Walberg

Ticket Price: 48€


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Edited 24 September 2020

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