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Bang Your Head Festival (Ground Report) @ Messegelande Balingen, Messegelande Balingen (Germany)

in Friday, 27 June 2008 at Messegelande Balingen
by Erika Wallberg

Bang Your Head Festival (Ground Report)

If you want tropical heat, a relaxed atmosphere and a serious doze of nice metal, Bang Your Head should be the festival of your choice. No stressing between stages and having anxiety attacks for which band to choose when your favorite bands are scheduled on the same time, like in the bigger festivals. No waiting in line either still it's enough for people to not feel that they are at a private party or so. The selection of food and drinks at the festival is actually good enough, but if you're still not satisfied the center of the city of Balingen is just a 10 minutes walk away, were a variety of restaurants and some other shopping malls just 5 minutes away to the other direction.

One more benefit with this festival is the area, asphalt is perhaps not the most comfortable to sit down on but it dries fast if there's a rain-shower then the festival is absolute mud-free, at least at the concert area.

The Messegelande in Balingen serves a nice variation of music, anything from melodic WHITE LION to superevil OBITUARY. The lineup is pretty much all in my taste this year. I love that they added a little more thrash this year. And it's so nice that you actually can see the headliners from a third-fourth row without having to work for it all day.

It's actually pretty fascinating that a festival of Bang Your Head's size can hold headliners as JUDAS PRIEST and QUEENSRYCHE together with the second line such as SAXON, ICED EARTH and YNGWIE MALMSTEEN. To me, that's just a little too good to be true even. I mean, JUDAS PRIEST and SAXON can never fail and then, 3 hours of QUEENSRYCHE. Even if I'm not that huge fan of them I always appreciate a special show and perhaps this will be the turnaround for me. Also, ICED EARTH with Matt Barlow. Probable one of the most cheered reunions in the metalworld. I do think it's a little unfortunate since I am a big Ripper-fan, more than a Barlow-fan. But I'm glad I have a second chance to see ICED EARTH with Barlow, because it was good at RockHard Festival and perhaps I'll be a little more open-minded this time.

But of course it's not only the headliners that make a festival. These events are great if you want to discover new music. Take a chance, pick a band that looks interesting, grab a beer, find a nice spot and just relax and listen. That's the great thing about this and it doesn't cost extra. Or why not be nostalgic for a while and check out BREAKER or SECRECY. One of last year's highlights for me was LETHAL, US-power as it's finest. Let's see if BREAKER and SECRECY can beat that!
The only bad thing with this festival is that you have to be a morning person, be really alert long before lunch even if the day before meant a great time at the party tent on the campsite. The concerts start a little too early I think. But perhaps we'll see more bands in their pyjamas like TANKARD a few years back?

Friday, 27 June

CONTRACRASH 09:30-10:05
TYR 10:15-10:55
BREAKER 11:05-11:45
AGENT STEEL 11:55-12:40
FORBIDDEN 12:50-13:35
ENSIFERUM 13:50-14:45
RAGE 15:00-15:55
WHITE LION 16:10 17:10
GREAT WHITE 17:25-18:25
ICED EARTH 18:40-19:40
QUEENSRYCHE 20:10-23:15

Saturday, 28 June

AGE OF EVIL 09:30-10:10
SECRECY 10:20-11:00
ONSLAUGHT 11:10-11:50
KORPIKLAANI 12:00-12:40
LIZZY BORDEN 12:55-13:45
TANKARD 14:00-14:50
OBITUARY 16:10-17:05
GRAVE DIGGER 17:25-18:25
SAXON 20:20-21:35
JUDAS PRIEST 22:05-23:50   

My recommendations for this year are;

TYR, self-willed folk-metal from Faroe Islands. A lot of catchy tunes, nice melodies and heavy riffing. Sweet as sugar they are too, and made all girls working at the Zeppelin-stage at last year's Sweden Rock Festival freak out when they got dressed (or perhaps undressed) for stage.  Not all new to the scene since they're releasing their fourth album 'Land' in May.

AGENT STEEL, one of California's finest metalacts around these days. They have cult-status for albums like 'Mad Locust Rising' and 'Skeptics Apocalypse' as well as having three really strong albums with singer Bruce Hall in the back-pack. I had 'Alienigma' on my Top 10 of 2007.

RAGE. That Victor Smolski can play guitar is no secret but that RAGE would turn everything around again on 'Carved In Stone' and do an album that swept almost anything they've done before of the face of the earth, I sure as hell didn't expect. But they did, and they kept surprising me by throwing off a super-concert in Vasteras earlier this year.

ONSLAUGHT. With 'Killing Peace' they showed that it is possible for reunited bands to exceed themselves. It is a mighty fine thrash-album and with Andy Sneap's production it can't fail. But don't think that is the key to it, hell no, ONSLAUGHT deliver great live shows too! If you're not up for a mosh-pit, make sure to stay out of the way!!!

OBITUARY, if you like Florida-Deathmetal as it used to be this is for you. Perhaps not the most innovative band in the world but who needs that when a band can deliver attitude and songs record after record. An awesome liveact too!

FIREWIND. They're actually not playing on the festival, just at the warm-up party at WOM the day before the festival starts. And frankly, I didn't get this band at all until I saw them open for KAMELOT this spring. Mighty fine pure metal with influences from DIO and ACCEPT. New album 'The Premonition' is absolutely a candidate for this year's top 10 list.
So, see you all in Balingen in June!

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