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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With three open-air stages and a festival tent is was impossible to see all acts perform. You can find some high-lights of WOA day 2 below.
The Black Dahlia Murder In March 2007 Shannon Lucas, former drummer for All That Remains, joined The Black Dahlia Murder. The US metallers opened on the Party Stage with a tight and energetic show. The Black Dahlia Murder demand a lot from their drummer: the drum parts ask for technique, speed, endurance, power, and - not at the least - musicality and creativity. Shannon Lucas showed he has it all.
Napalm Death Long-time running grinders Napalm Death were the first band to classify and define their music as grindcore. The band used the word \'grind\' to connote a certain style of playing and approach to music. Nowadays there are no original members left in the band. Napalm Death started their Wacken show somewhat sloppy and with a bad sound despite Danny Herrera\'s efforts behind the drums to keep structure. Things got only slightly better after a few songs. They are touring the globe with their World Domination Tour, but it was probably too early for the band to dominate Wacken.
Amorphis Finnish band Amorphis, featuring co-founding member Jan Rechberger behind the drum kit, was founded in 1990. Initially, the band was a straightfoward death metal act, but they evolved into playing other genres. Amorphis lead vocalist Tomi Joutsen has definitely one of the most beautiful voices in the metal scene, he delivers clean vocals and deep grunts with the same ease. In 1995 Rechberger was replaced by Pekka Kasari. During April of 2002 Kasari announced his retirement from the band, wishing to spend more time with his family. His replacement was none other than Jan Rechberger, who returned to his old spot behind the kit and stayed there.
Torture Squad The festival tent provided a stage for the international WOA Metal Battle talent competition. Hailing from 16 different countries all over the globe, bands strived to win a record deal and other high quality prizes. Drummer Amílcar Christófaro and his band Torture Squad gave an impressive show in the afternoon and were ultimately proclaimed as winner of the WOA Metal Battle. The Brazilian thrash / death metal outfit have been active for over fifteen years, and have already released four studio albums and a live cd/dvd.
Possessed Early 2007 Possessed bassist/vocalist Jeff Becerra recruited several members of Sadistic Intent, including skinsman Emilio Marquez, and started performing as Possessed again. Becerra, who is paralyzed from the waist down following a shooting incident in 1989, was clearly moved by the Wacken audience\'s response. Marquez played well, though his kick drums might sound too triggered for one\'s taste.
Mennen Dutch hard rockers Mennen, fronted by Joss Mennen and featuring Fon Janssen on the drum throne, recently released their live album \'Freakalive\' via Armageddon Music. But nothing beats the experience of really seeing them perform live on stage. After successes in Portugal, Spain, France and even Japan and the US, their performance on WOA 2007 might be the breakthrough in Germany.
Sturm Und Drang The five 15-year old Finnish tornados called Sturm Und Drang (named after the first youth movement ever) performed on the press tent’s Showcase stage. It was amazing to see drummer Carl Fahllund (born in 1992) and the rest of the young band play live. In May 2007 Sturm Und Drang signed an European deal with Gun Records – the same company that helped fellow Finnish band HIM to the international stardom. The band\'s debut \'Learning To Rock\' will be released in Europe this autumn. And the rest of the world - well, we’ll get back to you with that pretty soon…
Lacuna Coil Italian band Lacuna Coil has it all: atmospheric compositions, smart arrangements, the necessary doses of pressure and energy, and two eye-catching lead vocalists: Andrea Ferro and Christina Scabbia. No wonder drummer Cristiano Mozzati likes his job! The drummer (using Pearl, Ufip and Vic Firth) and the rest of the band definitely delivered.
Sabbat Pagan thrashers Sabbat, featuring vocalist Martin Walkyier of Skyclad repute, suffered from personnel changes during their active period from 1985-1991. Drummer Simon Negus, who plays Mapex drums and Zildjian cymbals, and guitarist Andy Sneap are the only founding members to appear on all releases. Sabbat reunited in late 2006. They performed well at WOA 2007. Too bad that they have denied any long term plan for the reunion. Perhaps the successful show at Wacken has changed their minds.
Dimmu Borgir Dimmu Borgir\'s regular sticksman Hellhammer (real name: Jan Axel Blomberg) suffered from a severe neck prolapse causing his right arm to numb out, and was forced to sit out the band\'s planned festival gigs and European tour. Hellhammer\'s place was taken by Tony Laureano, who also played for Dimmu Borgir during Ozzfest 2004 and festivals in 2005. Laureano has proved to be a reliable session player, and showed the Wacken audience why he is one of the few first-call musicians when an extreme metal band needs a replacement drummer on a short notice.
Blind Guardian Frederik Ehmke joined Blind Guardian in 2005, replacing previous sticksman Thomas \"Thomen\" Stauch. Blind Guardian used loads of LED lights instead of a backdrop on stage, but somehow it looked too much Las Vegas. The group\'s performance was flawless nonetheless. Using his Ice Stix Ehmke hit his Tama drum kit and Meinl cymbals with precision and power. His timing almost exact like an atomic clock.
Sahg Norwegian band Sahg had to look out for a new drummer after Tor Bjarne Bjelland had departed. Sahg\'s debut album, \'Sahg I\', features classic heavy and stoner rock with psychedelic influences. Sahg started recording their second album in February of this year, with Brynjulv Guddal as their co-producer and recording engineer on the album. Being an outstanding drummer, he also played the drums in the absence of a full-time Sahg sticksman. Presumably he also joined Sahg on stage during their show at WOA 2007. One thing\'s for sure: their heavy grooves would make John Bonham proud.
Iced Earth The last band on the True Metal stage this Friday was Iced Earth. In October 2006 drummer Brent Smedley was re-hired for the recording and touring of Iced Earth\'s new albums, replacing Bobby Jarzombek. Smedley, who is also a very well-known drum instructor and teaches in his hometown Jacksonville in Florida, had played with the band before in the periods 1996-1997 and 1998-1999. He added a common element of the band\'s sound with his frequent usage of double-bass drumming. Iced Earth\'s drum work is often highlighted by regular use of drags and flams on the bass drum, mostly complementing band leader Jon Schaffer\'s rhythm guitar.
Mike Terrana drum clinic WOA 2007 offered more than an extensive series of concerts, there was also room for a drum clinic by veteran sticksman Mike Terrana (Rage, Axel Rudi Pell, Masterplan and Razorback among many others). Terrana finished off 2006 with a world wide drum clinic tour, endorsed by Premier drums, Meinl cymbals, Attack drumheads, Vic Firth sticks and Trick bass drum pedals. He gave two drum clinics at Wacken to promote his new dvd \'The Rhythm Beast - In Session\', which he recorded to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of his professional career as a drummer.
In these days, where digital editing, overdubs and ProTools are common, it takes guts to release a dvd on which all tracks were recorded in one complete take like an old school recording session, with no edits and no quantizing. But Terrana gets away with it without any doubt. During his clinic the drummer showed huge amounts of experience, endurance, speed, and coordination skills. Impressive!