With slightly more than 1850 inhabitants, Wacken is a small village in the northern part of Germany, located in federal state Schleswig-Holstein. The green environs are very suitable to leave all stress of modern life behind and come to rest. Except every first weekend of August: yearly metalheads from all over the world gather for Europe\'s biggest open air metal festival: Wacken Open Air (WOA).
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Figures The 18th Wacken Open Air took place from August 2-4, 2007. With 5000 sqm fleece, 1500 tons of wooden chips, 600 bales of straw, 350 tons of steel, 48 trucks with sound and light material and 80 power sets (producing the power requirement of a small town), the disastrous weather conditions were battled and from the muddy, sodded area three open-air stages and a festival tent arose for more than 70 bands. Using the creed \'faster, harder, louder\' WOA 2007 attracted over 72,000 visitors. The limit according to the organizers, who have stated to stop further growth.
With three open-air stages and a festival tent is was impossible to see all acts perform. We\'ve selected some high-lights below.
Blitzkrieg New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWBHM) veterans Blitzkrieg had the honor to open WOA 2007. The British heavy metallers have featured many drummers since they started in 1980. After original sticksman Steve Abbey left in 1981, at least ten skinsman followed, with Phil Brewis being the last one on the drum throne since 1991. He bashed the skins and his Sabian cymbals relentlessly.
Rose Tattoo Next on stage was Rose Tattoo, undoubtedly one of the most legendary bands Australia has ever produced. Rose Tattoo are one of the greatest bar-room blues bands ever to draw breath. The band\'s latest album, \'Blood Brothers\', is an homage to slide guitarist Pete Wells and bassist Ian Rilen, who both died in 2006. Paul DeMarco, who has played drums in Rose Tattoo since 1998, and the other Aussies convinced everyone with their energetic rock \'n roll and showed they\'ve overcome the hard year.
Týr From the Faroe Islands came Týr, named after Thor. On the W.E.T. stage drummer Kári Streymoy and the rest of his band kept the Viking spirit alive with songs based on Faroese or Nordic lore, and riveted their position in the folk metal genre.
Sodom In the \'80s Sodom grew out to one of the three figure-heads of German thrash metal (along with Kreator and Destruction). The trio has never stopped playing live on a very frequently basis. The current line-up of Paiste and Sonor artist Bobby Schottkowski on drums, frontman Uncle Tom (Thomas Such) and bassist Bernemann (Bernd Kost) have been together for over ten years, and they are guaranteed to deliver a tight performance. If you want proof, go check out their 2003 live album \'One Night in Bangkok\', or the live material on their 2006 dvd \'Lords Of Depravity (part 1)\'.
Saxon UK group Saxon were founded in 1976. The group was part of the NWBHM, but during the late \'80s the holy fire seemed to diminish. However, with \'Solid Ball of Rock\', they returned in 1991 - stronger than ever. More recently Saxon showed they still have plenty of musical creativity and songwriting skills with their 2007 album \'The Inner Sanctum\'. Saxon sticksman Nigel Glockler initially replaced original drummer Pete Gill in 1982. Glockler left Saxon in 1998 due to persisting injuries. He returned to Saxon in 2005, after Jörg Michael had left in order to rejoin Stratovarius. It was good to see Nigel Glockler back in the sadle during their festival performance, he still keeps that old rockband going like a bunch of young dogs.
All That Remains All That Remains, currently featuring ex-Diecast sticksman Jason Costa on drums, came all the way from the United States to show the Wacken audience their brand of metalcore mixed with melodic death metal. Where most drummers on this festival played Mapex or Tama, Costa sat behind his Spaun kit. He proved to be a very capable drummer, with incredible tight and powerful thrusts on the kick drum. All That Remains recently reached a huge milestone in their career: their third album, \'The Fall of Ideals\', has surpassed the 100,000 mark in US sales alone. Congratulations!
HateSphere In 2005 HateSphere played on Wacken\'s W.E.T. stage (in the tent). This time they played at the bigger Party Stage. Deadly grooves, cutting riffs and sweat-inducing headbanging hymns are all part of HateSphere\'s formula. New drummer Dennis Buhl joined the Danish neo-thrasher early June, replacing Anders Gyldenøhr, and made a good impression. However, though HateSphere delivered a decent set they never topped their previous Wacken show. It might be due to the recent changes in their line-up, or the bigger stage instead of the intimate atmosphere in the tent, but somehow HateSphere did not explode.
Overkill Overkill, featuring veteran skinsman Ron Lipnicki on drums, were featured on the 2005 edition of WOA (just like HateSphere). This time they presented several new songs of their upcoming album \'Immortalis\' (due this fall via Bodog Music), along with several classics. A great way to finish the first day of WOA 2007.
After the official program had finished several more gigs took place at the camping, including a concert by two Dutch bands Cenotaph and Nuestros Derechos.