FESTIVAL REVIEW: ROCKHARZ OPEN AIR 2019 Live at Ballenstedt, Germany – Day 3 (Friday)
The last day of the Rockharz festival started to see the last bands. For me personally, there wasn’t so much, but the amount of significantly higher numbers of day visitors showed that there was a lot of interest to enjoy this day with the campers together.
My first schedule of the day were the guys of the Swedish death metal band Grave. This band has been around for more than two decades and they still delight everyone in front of the stage. The old-school death metal-inspired young and old. The flying hairs on the festival grounds spoke for themselves. That was fun!
The next death metal bulldozer announced entered the stage and is called Legion of the Damned. The guys released their newest album ‘Slaves of the Shadow Realm’ this year and perform some of this album. In my opinion, these tracks are great to perform live, especially because the guitar sound was very good and similar to the one of the record. Generally was the mood in front of the stage pure madness. Apparently, after Grave the need for death metal was awakened, which could explain the even bigger amount of headbangers. Also, the guys on stage had a lot of fun, at the latest playing the old classic self-titled track “Legion of the Damned”. That was a classic death metal performance without any frills and just right in the face, awesome!
Since I had heard a lot about the next band but didn’t really know them yet, so I wanted to convince myself. The dark rocker Mono Inc. stepped on stage while a big bunch of people was already waiting for them. The audience screamed loudly as they started to play. Catchy songs written with catchy lyrics to sing along with, that‘s the concept. Together with the light show and their outfits, like old-fashioned coats or pestilence masks, made a harmonious overall picture. Frontman Martin Engler knew how to move around the whole stages (yes, I mean the plural) and animate the people to sing along, which was very well received by the audience. Only for the last song they pulled the outro with the refrain a bit long… as a new listener, I would have wished for one more song instead. But that’s my personal taste and the rest of the performance was a positive surprise for me!
After the darker atmosphere, a little good mood was appropriate again. Korpiklaani provided from the first second on for good mood. The mix of metal and Finnish folk was well received by the people in front of the stage as usual. You could clearly see that the festival days had dragged on the energy reserves of the visitors, but there were occasional groups dancing to the music. Also, the guys on stage radiated positive energy and good mood. Songs like “Vodka” or “Beer Beer” also made the audience sing along loudly, which the sympathetic frontman Jonne Järvelä also honored with praise. The fact that the sun slowly set created a beautiful atmosphere, which together with the light of the stage worked perfectly. Very nice!
Last item on my festival day list: The headliners of the day Children of Bodom. The start song “Are You Dead Yet?” made the crowd cheer just from the beginning! Also, the sound was really good again, which was good and bad: Good for the setting, but bad for at least one of the guitarists, because you can hear some mistakes here and there during the concert, which was nothing bad in general of course. In the middle of the concert, it started to rain more heavily and get cold quickly so that only the non-fans fled, but it didn’t deter a lot of real fans. Also, tracks from the latest album ‘Hexed’ brought a good momentum to the stage and were very well received by the crowd. I liked it that they played a nice mix of their songs until the year 2000, so one could enjoy the whole palette of the band‘s history. The light show was also always fitting to the music so that the mood was heated up even more here. It was a pleasure to see Children of Bodom after a long time and as I observed it, I was not alone with the opinion!
Since the weather was getting worse and worse, but I didn’t want to miss the final act of the festival, I stayed for a moment. It was Apocalypse Orchestra, a maybe doom metal like the version of the numerous medieval bands that exist around the world. They delighted with a really powerful sound, sluggish and heavy riffs as well as harmonic voices, and thrilled the handful of people who stayed in the apocalyptic weather. It was definitely a show worth seeing and I hope that next time the guys will have a bit more luck concerning the weather and can inspire more people.
Finally, a quick statement about the sound of the day: Also on that day, some bands had the same problems like at the first day: Drums were too loud, vocals too quiet and generally a bit unclear. Too bad actually!
All in all, it was a relaxed but very eventful last day of the festival for me. You could clearly see that the visitors gathered all their energy again to pay homage to the awesome bands of the day. All the artists were excellent and the atmosphere at the festival was great. As always, my favorite sentence comes at this point: It‘s been a pleasure and see you again next year!