The 21st installment of Wacken Open Air (WOA), probably the biggest open air metal festival in the world, took place from August 5-7, 2010 at Wacken, Germany.
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Once again, the small village (less than 1,900 inhabitants) turned into the Mecca of metal as 80,000 headbangers from all around the globe gathered for acts like Dew-Scented, Amorphis, Ill Niño, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, Endstille, Arch Enemy, Slayer, 1349, Corvus Corax and Atrocity. Below's a review of WOA day 2.
Dew Scented German thrashers Dew Scented opened the second day. Drummer Marc-Andrée "Mücke" Dieken, heavily grooving behind his Tama set, plus his band managed to create the first circle pit of the day with their relentless thrash metal. An excellent start.
Amorphis Finnish band Amorphis, featuring co-founding member Jan Rechberger behind a Pearl drum kit and Sabian cymbals, started their set with the opening song of their latest album. The bands has evoluated away from pure death metal and Jan's four-to-the-floor grooves have become more machine-like.
Suicidal Angels Drummer Orpheas Tzortzopoulos and his fellow thrashers of Suicidal Angels played at the headbangers ballroom, powered by Mapex drums. The tent was fully packed and the band got more than half of the audience 'showing their horns'. Suicidal Angels go for speed and sometimes stumble in their aspirations to play ultrafast. They weren't as tight as Dew-Scented e.g. but made up for it with their huge enthusiasm.
Job For A Cowboy Drummer Jon "The Charn" Rice (Tama drums, Meinl cymbals) and the rest of Arizona based death metallers Job For A Cowboy saw their show being terminated before it was ended. This year the festival organization banned circle-pitting and walls of death. Apperently the band called for a wall of death. The organizers therefore interrupted the show and made an announcement to stop. However, the audience reacted with a new wall of death, which resulted in the remainer of Job For A Cowboy's show being canceled completely.
Ill Niño The heydays of nu metal are several years behind us but Ill Niño is still going strong. Drummer Dave Chavarri (Yamaha drums, Zildjian cymbals) and percussionist Daniel Couto (who replaced Roger Vasquez in 2003) form a close rhythm tandem. Plus Roger's tribal percussive parts do help the band stand out from the usual line-ups.
Die Apokalyptischen Reiter Die Apokalyptischen Reiter have shifted from mainly English songs to German lyrics on recent albums. Although they have retained the essence of heavy metal, they've incorporated other styles of music such as folk and jazz. Drummer Georg Lenhardt, better known as Sir G., is sometimes backed up by keyboardist Mark Szakul (alias Dr. Pest, dressed in a gimp outfit) on percussion. Remarkable: they shot merch items into the audience with a small cannon.
The Boss Hoss Seven Germans from Berlin who pretend to be Dixie Americans and play rockabilly-style country folk covering hit songs, with a spectrum from Britney Spears and Outcast to Beastie Boys and Ministry. Indeed, the Boss Hoss are anything but metal but their set excited most of the crowd. The group, featuring Ansgar Freyberg aka Sir Frank Doe on drums and Tobias Fischer aka Ernesto Escobar de Tijuana on percussion, made a lot of people dance and sing along. Their Bo Diddley grooves were a nice change for those who aren't exclusively into extreme metal.
Endstille Speaking of extreme metal: Endstille, packed with unrelenting, bludgeoning blast beats by drummer Timm "Mayhemic Destructor", delivered a set with their brand of "ugly, aggressive black metal with the fire-speed of a MG42 and the power of heavy ship-artillery". After former singer Iblis departed, Endstille recruited Zingultus of Nagelfar, who did a great job as Iblis' successor. Lugubrem from Mexican band Mordskog joined Zingultus as guest vocalist during the last two songs. Performing black metal in broad daylight feels a bit peculiar, but Endstille's performance was quite convincing although the sound of the snare drum was way too shrill.
Evile Drummer Ben Carter and Evile played at the headbangers ball tent. Their furious thrash created such a huge pit in the crowd that the the British thrashers completely vanished by the dust clouds. Only one guitar was audible, which didn't any good to their songs but the benefit was that Ben's precise drumming was underlined.
Tarja Turunen Finnish singer Tarja Turunen, who rose to fame as lead vocalist for Nightwish, has made a career as solo artist with her own backing band since late 2005. Her drummer is Mike Terrana, who played behind a beautiful white set of new Drumcraft drums and Meinl cymbals. Mike is a veteran powerhouse drummer with plenty of skills and attention to showmanship. Always a pleasure to attend.
Slayer Thrash metal icons Slayer, been around since 1981, have become one of the most influential metal bands ever. Dave Lombardo's speed, aggression and distinct grooves add heavily to the group's unique sound. Anno 2010 Slayer still manages to sound surprisingly vital. Their WOA show focused on much of their older stuff, including classics such as Hell Awaits. Dave, currently endorsing Ddrum and Paiste cymbals, drummed as tight as a duck's arse and energetic like a Duracell bunny on pills. No wonder Dave has been such an influence on many rock and heavy metal drummers.
Anvil The roots of Canadian group Anvil began in April 1973 in Toronto, when high school friends Robb Reiner (drums) and Steve "Lips" Kudlow (lead vocals, guitar) began playing music together. In the early 1980s, the heavy metal pioneers were influential on numerous acts and close to breaking through. But where some of their fans such as Lars Ulrich succeeded with their own bands, Anvil labored mostly in obscurity and only gained a small cult-level following. The band's history, documented in the 2009 docu 'Anvil! The Story of Anvil', brought them finally on the rise again. It even brought them a headlining slot on Wacken Open Air, one of the biggest metal festivals of the world.
The show itself was solid (it even included a drum solo with glowing green drum sticks!) and Anvil seemed truly grateful for the opportunity they'd been given. But at this time of the day (well after midnight) they seemed a bit lost with a small audience left on the huge festival compound.