There was a much different kind of air being inhaled into the lungs of Wacken Open Air. A sudden sadness befell on those present. It was the third and final installment of metal antics of the year. However, this did not deter from filling the final diurnal with action-packed bands preparing to tear all across the gates.
Setting the right tone without wasting a moment into the final day, Finnish outfit Reckless Love delivered sleazy rock and roll chops on their sight to the Headbanger’s Stage. The metal mob was loud and proud giving pleasing tracks Animal Attraction and Hot to whip their quarry into submission. Their final cuts in We Are The Weekend and Night on Fire, the quartet hit the roof on a respectable note for the rest of the weekend.
Icelandic’s trio The Vintage Caravan galloped on the W.E.T. Stage to knock out their terrain with lively tracks Reset and Crazy Horses. This in turn smoothly followed with even more thumping songs such as On The Run, Babylon and finishing the strong catalog with Midnight Mediation. You cannot deny their dynamic personalities dominating their spot, making everyone grabbing with what remaining a strength to explode with a glorious cheer.
For the changes made in their career, Californian’s Of Mice & Men had a lot to prove on the Harder Stage with the departure of Austin Carlisle. Those doubts were quashed as the band hit with a barrage of solid cuts making an instant impression. With the title track of their latest record, Defy followed by Warzone and Unbreakable, the lads sold some potent riffage and Aaron Pauley made their company interested with some decent vocal delivery. When anthems Pain, You Make Me Sick and bringing all from the ground up with The Depths was quite the punch.
The last time the Irish gentlemen played on holy land was over 21 years ago. So, for the assemblage Primordial soaring through the W.E.T. Stage with every inch with depressing history, it did not take long for their large gathering to embrace their strong existence. The atmospheric stories Where Greater Men Have Fallen, Nailed Their Tongues and No Grave Deep Enough provided their kismet in spine-tingling form and concluding with The Coffin Ships and Empire Falls, the echoes inside the tent explains it all.
A band that was licking the lips of Wacken Open Air were Prophets of Rage. The Californian supergroup allowed their audience to dig their combination of rap, rock, and metal on full display. It was exciting to hear their Rage Against The Machine classics such as Testify, Sleep Now In The Fire and Bullet In The Head. It was also rather enjoyable to hear their live mixtape Head On The Pump, Can’t Truss It, Insane In The Brain and Jump Around getting the pastures flattened. With the supergroup ending with their traditional song Killing In The Name, joy was spilling on the stage and it can be shown from pillar to post.
Delivering the drama, atmosphere and overall meatiness on the Headbangers Stage, the chiefs of epic storytelling Septic Flesh lead the charge into Portrait Of A Headless Man that proceeded into Pyramid God got the united minds lost in space. It was clearly shown that their ocean was swamped with passion when Prototype and The Vampire of Nazareth brought all into surrender and tightened the gorges with their finishers Anubis and Dark Art.
You would expect after that grand act, things would have taken down a notch, correct? Well, that was the complete opposite for the Californian’s Lionheart. “Are you ready for some true hardcore?!” exclaimed front-runner Rob Watson while the warzone was already at full force. With the depths getting wider with each passing track and flying bodies, Lionheart made sure who they were to the Germans by the time their impressive set ended.
The team quickly caught a bit of fresh air before it was time to catch Saor creating waves through the grasslands. With their blend of black metal and their signature, Scottish Highland sounds flowing through the waves, the delicate sounds offered at the Wackinger Stage were not only idealistic but histrionic in their desolate nature. Entrancing tracks like Aura, Forgotten Path, Monadh & Tears Of A Nation gave Wacken a unique taste to their Scottish heritage in austere form.
It was a delight to catch Tunisian’s finest hitting the Headbangers Stage. Myrath was ready to show with their traditions close and as the perfect environment to explore their symphony. Equipped with dancers of Art and fire with a stage looking like a traditional shisha bar, Myrath progressed through their collection of theatrical songs such as Born To Survive, Dance and Wicked Dice. Zahar Zogati was quite charming when attempting the German language before bringing all back into another auditory journey of No Holding Back and the popular Believer that had all harmonizing in full effect. Departing with Shehili, the enchanters pleased their punters leading to the warm evening.
Metal Wani managed to briefly catch both German force Powerwolf and Swedish’s wicked circus Avatar bringing their respective main stage frolics to the people. What was witnessed with many classic arrays of songs for all to lose themselves to was unmatched. Both bands were unrivaled by their élan to their metal masses, regardless of size. As the wait of Harder Stage’s main event was due for their introduction, a surge of cheers arose when Matthew Kiichi Heafy of the colossal Trivium brought his improvisations across the fields, leading sparks shooting from his Epiphone signature weapon. This ignited the theme for Wacken Open Air’s 31st edition, making the crowd warm of what was about to come.
A communal apprehension was sensed whilst filling in almost all of the field. Some would say it was a controversial booking for Wacken’s 30th birthday. However, everybody was equipped with what was to come from Byron Bay’s Parkway Drive. The crowd was their jury for the night.
Transmission complete filled the titantrons of the Harder Stage before it panned on their waltz through famished territory with hooded guards holding fire torches. Resembling The Undertaker’s wrestling entrance, a rapturous thunder had reservations wiped from the face of the earth. As their leader Winston McCall snarled “Nothing’s gonna stop me until I’m done…” Wishing Wells attacked the nerves allowing for Prey and Carrion to show the Aussies are praiseworthy headline material. The mad Aussies granted cries in Vice Grip to be heard, then accelerated into the vicious Karma, bringing tranquilly with Cemetery Bloom.
The buzz from the guitars punched the air with The Void causing fire and sparks along with Idols And Anchors, Dedicated and Absolute Power approving all’s previous uncertainties. Introducing their set with a string quartet allowed their classical cuts to weave with the emotive duo Writings On The Wall and Shadow Boxing. A small paused was introduced before a clear clout with Wild Eyes had the crowd in harmony before everyone came under the spell with their timely epic Chronos giving the opportunity for all to witness their musicianship in their glory.
Gripped the hearts with fire was the clobbering Crushed that some mistaken their surroundings suddenly became a Rammstein concert. See what was done there? The curtain call Bottom Feeder gave one more detonation of throats being ripped, the field being set ablaze with wide eyes. For Parkway Drive to be given the opportunity to headline Wacken Open Air was their mission to put their name on the metal map. It was, by a long mile and it will go down as one the most memorable sets to hit German soil and the best of Parkway Drive’s sixteen-year career.
During the course of the weekend, there were a lot of German regulars to create the buzz. Metal Wani were recommended to watch this particular band as the act only get to tour European territory, nowhere else. After a quick check on the pulse, it was time to see the German industrial force, known as Eisbrecher. Each song was a log of hard-hitting metal delight. Hammering with fifteen years of material including Verrückt, Antikörper and Fehler Machen Leute offering a great introduction to their distinctive noise. While intriguingly listening on, recognizable songs such as Amok, Prototyp and This Is Deutsch got many bodies swaying. Gorges were ripped with grand closers Was Ist Hier Los and their Megaherz cover Miststück displaying Eisbrecher were electric.
Into the early hours of the morning, the sound of a motorcycle roared throughout the stage when Motorcycle Man kicked up a notch for England’s Saxon. Then, hitting with Battering Ram along with Wheels Of Steel, Backs To The Wall and The Eagle Has Landed as being most identifiable on their setlist. The crowd was loving the strength Saxon was throwing at them with a touching tribute to Mötörhead as they executed They Played Rock And Roll. For nearly forty years, the heavy metal thunder was still resilient as ever when To Hell And Back Again, Crusader and Princess Of The Night rang through the skies ending their successful stage show.
It has indeed been a while since the electric Swedes Deathstars hit the stage, at least from the fans point of view. Starting the proceeds on the Headbangers Stage were the industrial metal classics Night Electric Night, Metal and Death Dies Hard. Their set was a barrel load of enjoyable times with their onslaught of Tongues, The Perfect Cult, which lead to concluding their trademark duo Cyanide and Blitzkreig.
Smiles were instantly wide when many metal interpretations of classic television, pop and rock tracks were blasted through the amplifiers for Norwegian powerhouse Frog Leap on the W.E.T Stage. With multi-instrumentalist Youtube sensation Leo Moracchioli along with his cohorts, it couldn’t be helped to not take this band too seriously. Whether if it was the Ghostbusters theme tune, Survivor’s The Eye Of The Tiger or Toto’s Africa, it’s all about the party! Nice little surprises came from LMFAO’s Part Rock Anthem, the Pokémon theme tune, Adele’s Hello and ending the epic night with Pantera’s A New Level, carrying the celebratory bash into a full circle.
And so, our coverage of this year’s Wacken Open Air Festival has come to a victorious close. From what Metal Wani has witnessed on the metal mecca’s 30th birthday; many bands were on superb form and countless of crazy individuals from across the globe fed back their delights whether seeing acts for the first time, traveling afar to be a part of the chaos or as regulars. It was, and still is, a challenge to translate what sights were observed throughout the course of three days into words. With their 31st edition now sold out, we’re already counting down the days until next year’s festivities. Wacken, you were absolutely spectacular, and it was an honor to be a part of the family. Same time again next year?