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 Caliban, Overkill, WASP, Soulfly, Unleashed, Lock Up, Cannibal Corpse, Immortal, Fear Factory, Delain, Candlemass and Tiamat.
Below's a review of some of the highlights of WOA day 3.
The last day of the festival featured plenty of sunshine and even more metal. Wacken Open Air consolidated its status as the Mecca for metalheads, a pilgrimage for fans of "faster, harder, louder" from all over the globe.
Degradead Degradead at the headbangers ballroom stage was the first band drummerszone checked out. Drummer Kenneth Helgesson played along with a tape on his set of Mapex drums, Gibraltar hardware and a mixture of Sabian and Bosphorus cymbals. Although early on the day, Degradead's melodic death metal songs, spiced up with a bit of thrash, got a well-deserved enthusiastic response from the audience.
Unleashed Swedish death metal band Unleashed was loud. very loud. Anders Schultz, who has occupied the drum throne since they started in 1989, pounded his Pearl drums and Sabian cymbals vigorously for stomping tracks like Hammer Batallion.
Overkill Next it was time for Overkill. A huge crowd had gathered for the legendary old school thrashers and they weren't going to be dissapointed. The band was in shape and in good spirits. Ron Lipnicki's Yamaha drums plus Sabian and Paiste cymbals sounded awesome. The sound was crisp and clear although his triggered toms were too loud. Ron showed he's still a great player who can give a metal band like Overkill the right dosis of energy. The Wrecking Crew came, saw and destroyed.
Lock Up What does one get when Nick Barker (Benediction, Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir among many others) teams up with Tomas Lindberg (At The Gates), Shane Embury (Napalm Death) and Anton Reisenegger (Criminal)? Indeed, death/grindcore supergroup Lock Up. Almost hidden behind his Pearl drums and Paiste cymbals, Nick delivered his trademark fast double bass drumming and accurate blast beats with precise dynamic accuracy. One of the most brutal acts of this year's festival.
Cannibal Corpse Just as brutal and heavy as Lock Up was Cannibal Corpse. Their gave one of the best shows of this year's Wacken, plus Paul Mazurkiewicz and his Tama had best drum sound on this festival so far.
Immortal Norwegian black metallers Immortal, featuring the amazing drumworks of Reidar "Horgh" Horghagen, disbanded in 2003 but officially reformed in 2007 and played a magical reunion show at WOA that year. This year's performance was excellent as well. Frontman Abbath even made a few announcements that - unlike 2007 - didn't end on "Motherfuckaaaaas".
Soulfly Next up were Max Cavalera and his Soulfly crew, featuring Joe Nunez on Premier drums and Sabian cymbals. Soulfly's show was spiced up with a drumsolo, some percussion, a few Sepultura classics plus a guest appearance by Max' son Zyon on drums, who lost a drumstick but boldly continued playing until the end.
Fear Factory Master drummer Gene Hoglan (Pearl, Sabian, Pro-Mark) and Fear Factory were headlining this last day of Wacken 2010. After masterminds Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares reunited, they recorded a new industrial masterpice: 'Mechanize'. After original sticksman Raymond Herrera departed in 2008, it was up to Gene Hoglan to deliver the machine-like grooves. And despite the fact that Gene's distinct swing and feel shine trough whatever he plays, so does his impeccable timing and precision, and his drumming suits the band very well. What a joy to hear songs like Martyr, Demanufacture, Zero Signal and Self Bias Resistor played out loud.
Wrapping up Overall Wacken Open Air 2010 was a great festival edition with a friendly international crowd and great weather. With more than 120 bands playing on six stages, you would be too ambitious to try and see all bands you'd like to see. So you just had to pick wisely and hope for the best. Of course, that's a luxury problem.
With Avantasia, Blind Guardian and Suicidal Tendencies already confirmed for the next edition, we expect WOA 2011 to become an excellent festival again next year.