Wacken Open Air (WOA), probably the biggest metal festival in the world, celebrated its 20th anniversary from July 30 - August 1, 2009.
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WOA featured a ‘best-of’ line-up including of at least one band from each of the past festival editions plus it branched out from the usual additional festival activities such as a metal market and big screens with a complete medieval market annex village. Below\'s a review of WOA day 3.
Einherjer Accidentally we missed out this day\'s opening show by drummer Gerhard Storesund and his band Einherjer.
Rage Although Rage\'s former drummer Mike Terrana performed on WOA 2009 later that day (with Axel Rudi Pell), it was André Hilgers who sat behind the drums with Rage. André, who has been the band\'s regular sticksman since 2007, played with Zildjian cymbals and Pearl drums. Although an extra touch was added by guest vocalists Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), Schmier (Destruction), and Eric Fish (Subway to Sally), the group ultimately made full impact just by the pure power of their songs.
Cathedral British doom legends Cathedral suffered a bit from the lack of energy and presence on stage, probably due to the fairly sparse crowd. Skinsman Brian Dixon, featured on Sabian symbals and Yamaha drums, skillfully plowed on the group\'s down-tempo tunes. All in all it was a decent performance, but not memorable. They could have done better.
Testament Have Testament ever given a disappointing live show? We can\'t remember any. Charismatic frontman Chuck Billy played his usual air guitar, extra guitar virtuoso Alex Scolnick added his brilliance to the string department, and last but not least, Paul Bostaph showcased his magnificent drumming on his DW drums and Paiste cymbals. Testament seemed on fire, kicking out their songs on full strength. It made them the perfect band for a festival such as Wacken.
Borknagar We missed most of progressive black metal band Borknagar, who had come all the way from Bergen, Norway. American drummer David Kinkade joined the group in 2008 and relocated to Europe. Dave did not drum on his usual Pearl Masters series, but on a Tama kit. He did use his Sabian cymbals though. David is best known as a death metal drummer, but today he showed that he handles Borknagar\'s sometimes nuanced and quite technical parts equally well.
Heaven Shall Burn Germany\'s most successful metalcore outfit Heaven Shall Burn drew a lot of people. Matthias Voigt on his Mapex drums and Sabian cymbals and his fellow members delivered a very energetic and tight set, just the way metalcore was meant to be. The audience responded well with chaotic outbursts and huge pits.
Axel Rudi Pell German guitar wizard Axel Rudi Pell has built on his solo career since 1989. He has always recruited master drummers such as Jörg Michael and Mike Terrana. The latter joined Axel\'s band in 1998 and is still their regular skinsman. Mike, who recently switched to DrumCraft drums, and also endorses Meinl cymbals, is a fabulous timekeeper. The medley of Tales of the Crown and Casbah culminated in a massive drum solo. Wicked!
In Extremo Blending ancient music with rock and metal In Extremo create their own distinct style. Their originality does not lie in the fact that they play rock music with a medieval attitude; instead, drummer annex percussionist Rainer Morgenstern and his fellow bands members play medieval music using rock instruments and idioms. Rainer drummed on a Spaun set and Paiste cymbals that fitted well with the other instruments, often odd and self-made.
Volbeat Danish music collective Volbeat is relatively new in the scene, but their unique sound, fusing rock(abilly) \'n\' roll with heavy metal has given them great acclaim. Jon Larsen, drumming with a maple Pearl Masters Premium series and Anatolian cymbals, really stood out with his swinging style between all the double bass rolls and blastbeats galore on this festival.
Machine Head Both the band and the audience were in for some good clean violent fun. The sparks were definitely flying in both directions. The band was clearly not used to such huge circle pits in the vast crowd and frontman Rob Flynn\'s broad grin was stuck on his face during the whole show. Drummer Dave McClain, playing on Yamaha drums plus Zildjian cymbals and sticks, was just phenomenal combining experience with passion and craftsmanship. It was a bone-shattering exercise in musical brutality and the best metal show we had witnessed in a long, long time. Definitely one of the highlights of WOA 200.
Gwar The two-time Grammy Award-nominated raunchy show/shock rockers called Gwar hardly need an introduction. Their sci-fi/horror film inspired costumes and graphic stage performances are as famous as notorious. Brad Roberts, better known as Jizmak Da Gusha, is the group\'s drummer. He used GMS drums with Evans heads and Paiste cymbals on stage. They gave a hilarious show that wasn\'t very special musically but that has never been the heart of Gwar\'s attraction, has it?