- <b>WACKEN OPEN AIR 2012. FULL REPORT</b> (4-8-2012) - The MetalList Webzine - metal music zine

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KNEE-DEEP IN MUD BUT BANG YOUR HEAD - this was definitely the main unpronounceable motto of most WACKEN 2012 visitors. I can remember the words of my neighbor in the campsite "Oh! you have bought the boots, I'm sure it won't rain this weekend". Rain or Shine - there were not any force that was able to screw up the great fest, the oceans of loudness and a fabulous frame of mind for almost everyone.

The situation with climate conditions was absolutely incredible and fantastic..oh no!..much more better to say it was dreadful and horrible. It was hard to believe that huge enormous amount of dirt was gathered by the human legs during only 5 days. Web cameras showed different attempts to fight over the oceans of mud all the days but it was impossible. But if you were at WACKEN OPEN AIR at least once you can understand me. Despite very grim weather forecasts there were absolutely unique feelings just in Hamburg when I saw some metalheads with tents. Only 3 hours and small village that has already turned to the biggest metal megalopolis will meet me. Then usual way to Itzehoe. A brunch there and taxi trip to W.O.A. Again!!!

First of all, of course, CAMPING. If you chose a hotel you haven’t been at W.O.A. Camping site provides accommodations for 99% of attendees and is the first area which they get acquainted with. Camping is divided by areas marked A to Z, some areas provide facilities for car parking and camping, some allow camping only, also if you look at the map you may notice that camping has solid street structure and the streets are named after famous metal bands, musicians and song names (Acacia Avenue, Slayer street, In Flames street, Maiden avenue and etc.) Besides common camping for attendees there is a VIP/PRESS camping for accredited journalists and photographers. The VIP/PRESS camp is situated in backstage area and also provides parking and camping facilities.

But camping site is not only a place to build your tent and camp there, it is the area that provides shower camps, breakfast points, garbage bases, info points, supermarkets and etc.

Camping has its unique atmosphere. From any side of it one may see some people making B-B-Q, some are just sitting at their table and boozing, some are decorating their camping place in heavy metal style, almost from every car and stereo system you can hear music playing. Some attendees are so drunk that they aren’t able to do anything but lying on the ground and still continuing drinking. Some people don’t even leave the camp to see the live shows, they look like they came to Wacken for partying with their friends and didn’t need anything more.


Some words about the main festival areas. Wacken Centre is the main festival zone and provides the attendees with metal market, beer garden, food area, soccer field, movie area and also there are entrances to the stage zone. Metal market was the place where one can by CDs and DVDs, vinyl records, t-shirts and other stuff related to heavy metal bands and W.O.A. In beer garden one may drink a couple of beers at the table and have a nice view on the stage area. Beer garden had its small outdoor stage where some small bands and DJs performed their shows (for example W:O:A Firefighters, Mambo Kurt). Food area provides attendees with big variety of food, so one can choose anything he wants and enjoys eating.

Wacken Plaza situated between Wacken Centre and Wackinger Village has an indoor stage called Bullhead City. In Bullhead City one may watch wrestling show or wet t-shirt show and also some bands perform their shows there. Besides the indoor stage Wacken Plaza had food and drinking area, breakfast point, supermarket and an outlet shop.

Wackinger Village was the reconstruction of a Viking village. It was a role player camp representing the medieval spirit with all the inherent features of that time: handicrafts, Viking combats, knight battles, fire shows, and medieval food. Also daily game actions are held in Wackinger village, for example Bruchenball Tournament or Scottish Highland Games which everyone can participate in. Besides medieval entertainment Wackinger village offers an opportunity to watch live shows on Wackinger stage. This year on the stage performed such bands as Russkaja, Saor Patrol, Vogelfrey, Santiano, Torfrock, Panteon Rococo, Eisenherz, Ingrimm, and Diablo Swing Orchestra.

So the festival area offers great variety of entertainment, catering and recreation facilities if you are tired of watching live shows and want to have some rest with a pint of beer.


Now about some changes within Wacken Area. First and the main – W.E.T. stage was moved far from central area to the lateral of Wackinger Village – so it was combined with Circus Area. Of course it has added at least 15 minutes for reaching this place from the main stages, but at the same time it was wider than in previous time and divided into two parts. So this place was arena for Metal Battle, wrestling show and a lot of wonderful shows of some famous bands incl. some unique moments such as MOONSPELL acoustic performance.


SKYLINE set included true rock songs' covers and it was brilliant but generally the program wasn't so unique as in 2011 cause there was only one special guest –incomparable Metal Queen Doro Pesch. One year ago all possible Wacken’s anthems were presented by Doro Pesch, Chris Boltendahl, Tom Angelripper and Udo Dirkschneider.

SEPULTURA set was interesting in itself. Usually bands don’t perform at Wacken two years in a row. Exceptions to this rule were very rare and usually caused some extraordinary format of forthcoming shows. So what happened with the Brazil extreme legend. Oh! You ought to be there and see it. SEPULTURA’s musicians were strongly supported by one of the most unusual European group. It consisted of 17 men (14 of them are drummers) and called LES TAMBOURS DU BRONX. They started the show and soon helpedSEPULTURA to perform 7 songs (incl such hits as Territory, Refuse/Resist, Arise, Roots Bloody Roots) as well as PRODIGY’s cover Firestarter.

So let’s go to the farthest stage. AMARANTHE is definitelyone of the most unique breakthroughs of the latest years in Metal. They combine elements of Power metal and Modern Metal, create short energetic hits and do enchanting unforgettable performances. It was totally unexpected to see the Circus area full of people. I guess there were not less than 5 thousand people there. Maybe it was an absolute record of the recent Wacken Open Air. Beautiful and emotional show.

It wasn’t only 5th U.D.O. presentation at Wacken (previous were in 1997, 1999, 2002, 2010, also there was show of reunited with Udo Dirkschneider ACCEPT). It was an Anniversary show. Even twice: 25 years of the band U.D.O. and 60 years from Udo Dirkschneider’s birth. For performing some songs from U.D.O. first three albums (Animal House, Mean Machine and Faceless World) Udo Dirkschneider invited to the stage musicians who were members of the band during those years: Mathias Dieth (guitars), Andy Susemihl (guitars) and Thomas "Bodo" Smuszynski (bass). The most logical variant was the presence of Stefan Schwarzmann as a drummer but as soon as he was a current drummer for renewed ACCEPT his place was occupied by Udo’s son Sven. Big-big surprise was duet with Mister Lordi during performing Break the Rules. With the current band members Udo sang some songs from U.D.O.’s albums since 2002 as well as classic ACCEPT songs Screaming for a Love-Bite, Head Over Heels and of course three main hits: Princess of the Dawn, Balls to the Wall andMetal Heart. But the most unexpected moment was a special duet with Doro Pesch. The song Dancing with an Angel was recorded in 2002 and has never been performed till this W.O.A. Nobody knows, maybe it was the first and the last time for this brilliant ballade alive.

SAXON – it was the seventh time for NWOBHM veterans at Wacken. Shortly they performed all greatest hits of whole their richest metal luggage. It was hard to believe that songs from “Wheels of still” and “Strong Arm of the Law” were elder than a significant part of the audience. 20,000 Ft, Heavy Metal Thunder, Strong Arm of the Law, To Hell and Back Again, 747 (Strangers in the Night), Motorcycle Man, Wheels of Steel – all these songs were created in 1980. To be honest we should admit that SAXON is primarily the band from eighties. Only one song were played from nineties as well as three songs from the latest three albums. SAXON were always active both in the studio and on stage. But a lot of people enjoy their music just for their songs of early eighties. Unfair but true.

CIRCLE II CIRCLE performed on the same stage as AMARANTHE. But surely there were less than 1500 people. That time was already dark and the terms of movement on slippery mud were awful. Maybe it was additional reason for such a small number of people.

VOLBEAT – incredible success of this band in Europe is the reason of misunderstanding and envy. But even the consistent opponent of the band have to admit the inability to find fault in this band. It is impossible. The unique mix of groove and hard rock with one of the best rock vocals of modernity. Yes, they gathered people, they brought the crowd, they proved their status. 20 songs (but all perceived as one song), Mille Petrozza (KREATOR), Michael Denner (MERCYFUL FATE) and Barney Greenway (NAPALM DEATH) as special guests and tons of energy. Simply VOLBEAT, Headliners of the first day.

The second day. The ground has been already the kind of ugly mess. OOMPH! Neue Deutsche Härte founders at Party stage. Not so many people but absolutely awesome set, not too long but excellent. It was pure best of. Dero Goi with strange makeup that was a cross between Pennywise and McDonald’s clown was completely inimitable.

KAMELOT. Quite good and especially professional performance. One of the best live acts for progressive power metal. This band is powerful in studio as well as on stage. Not even being a big fan of the band, it cannot be denied.

OVERKILL. It’s difficult or even impossible to find the band that has had a greater impact on crowd to the rest of the day. Why? Because they changed Wacken land to area of one-hundred percent thrash metal. Vocal of Blitz was like a whistle rocket. But the main foundation for madness was the very last song of the setlist. Too simple, too stupid, too funny and too FUCKING right. Only two words: FUCK YOU. Next 3 hours thousands metalheads greeted each other with the slogan “We don’t care what you say… Fuck You!” It was like a pandemic.

There is nothing better than old school. Oh, NO! What a senile grumbling. I should stop it immediately. But there was not another description for CORONER show. There were a lot of anxious expectations. Too many reunions, too many disappointments of fans and also frustration inside the band as well. But not that time. CORONER could confirm their right to be considered as one of the main thrash metal acts of Europe. Simply, quickly, skillfully and accurately, I cannot add anything.

OPETH performed together with CORONER set. I doubt they gathered more people than Swiss even though they were at on the man stages just as CORONER performed at the Party stage. I can only say that OPETH presented their great show but their festival appearance couldn’t be compared with their any club show. Atmosphere of their enchanted music was hurt by the bright sun and open stage

HAMMERFALL conversely was the band that was rather better during open air. In clubs their performances often seem ridiculous but big stages alfresco allow them reveal the maximum. And the final impression leads to the understanding of the fact this band revived from the ashes the corpse of power metal 15 years ago and gave it the second life.

DIMMU BORGIR repeated their set with orchestra which was presented in Norway last year. I have seen usual set of DIMMU BORGIR just some months before, It seemed they were different bands. The Wacken show of DIMMU BORGIR was one the best sets I have ever seen (of more the 650 sets). Choir, orchestra and Shagrath created incredible atmosphere. Bravo!

IN FLAMES. I have seen them many times in clubs. The difference between clubs and open air for this band was huge. They literally blew crowd and made it be positive in spite of unbearable weather conditions.

Bagpipes, harp, flute, dead languages. What was it? Maybe itinerant orchestra, minstrels, medieval legends and something similar. No it was IN EXTREMO, kings of folk metal from Germany, last big act for the second day at the main stages. One and a half hours of positive atmosphere, dances, fires, German language and wonderful charisma of Michael, the band frontman.

The third day was opened by GAMMA RAY. It wasn’t good unfortunately. Kai Hansen have to do something with his vocal. Every year it gets worse. It is doubly insulting because Kai is one of the best frontmen in metal, his charisma has always been the reason for envy of any singer.

If you see the great shape of long-haired man with a half of a microphone stand (as Freddy Mercury preferred) you should be sure - TESTAMENT and Chuck Billy are on the stage. You also can be calm because nothing depends on you. They will burn everything that you see in a couple minutes. It was incredible performance. There was impression it was one long song that destroyed everything. Power and pressure of this band were incredible.

PARADISE LOST were Wacken guests for the very first time. Strange but true. At the same time NAPALM DEATH performed at the Black Stage. Nick Holmes even joked: Barney, you are tired, let's keep it down. But it seemed that Barney wasn’t going to, so expressive his style of performing on the stage is. The band mostly performed their new material , but the old numbers like ‘Suffer the Children’ or a 2-second ‘You Suffer’ were not forgotten also. An exciting show of ageless grindcore fathers.

SIX FEET UNDER began with Chris Barnes walking towards the public and shouting: “Time to die, motherfuckers!” The first song was a Cannibal Corpse cover ‘Stripped, Raped and Strangled’. That was the beginning of one hour death metal set blasting your brain out of your head! They played the songs from the latest album ‘Undead’ and the old songs as well and finished with two more unexpected covers: Cannibal Corpse’s ‘Hammer Smashed Face’ and AC/DC’s ‘T.N.T.’

If You were at Wacken in 2012 and preferred to go for the show of CRADLE OF FILTH or DARK FUNERAL you have done a great mistake. Cause you will always have a chance to see them but acoustic set of MOONSPELL was the unique event. Nobody knows whether it would be repeated. Only seven best songs: Wolfshade (A Werewolf Masquerade), Opium, Awake, The Southern Deathstyle, Scorpion Flower, Alma Mater, Full Moon Madness. Cellos, female back vocals, acoustic guitars, minimum of extreme voice. Fairy tale…

Who in his right mind actually believes that THE SCORPIONS are going to split up their music activity. Their farewell tour started almost 4 years ago. In Russia, for instance they have performed 4 or 5 “very last’ shows during that period. During their performance dirt under the feet began to freeze, and it was difficult even to move, on top it was getting colder. Their performance was too different with their solo program. Not because of setlist but sound was true heavy. THE SCORPIONS confirmed their status rock legends.

DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA were the guests of W ackinger village. Opera Vocal, swing and jazz sound. Oh, fantastic band.

MACHINE HEAD, MINISTRY and EDGUY were the latest acts for this W.O.A. Not many people were able to see them cause rain, mud, and fatigue began to prevail after all.

The main question: what about the next year after this natural disaster. OF COURSE WE WILL SEE EACH OTHER AGAIN AT WACKEN OPEN AIR! RAIN OR SHINE!

We would like to express a deep gratitude to the organizers of the festival and personally Britta Kock and Fine Wolff for granted accreditations


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