HOA Day 1 @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE)

MORGANA LEFAY / MANILLA ROAD / BLAZON STONE / RAVAGE / SEAX / SPEED QUEEN /SHADOWBANE

'Headbangers Open Air Festival, Day 1'

Date: 26th July, 2018
Venue: The Garden
Tickets: €63/$71 (3-day ticket)
Promoter: Headbangers-Open-Air.de
Photos: Erika Wallberg


So it was that time of the year again to drive out among the corn-fields for 'Headbangers Open Air Festival' and find the nowadays very familiar site. It was actually a restriction on the BBQ options and other sources of open fire to avoid to burn down The Garden for real. This all due to the dry and hot weather, of course. And it sure was a hot year, almost impossible to be without sweating rivers. Luckily it was the same for all.

As last year the ‘Headbangers Open Air Festival’ kicked off with some local boys. Hamburg-based SHADOWBANE did good there to... Well, entertained the crowd present as everybody already was very hot. And just as most German bands, SHADOWBANE's Heavy/Power Metal was delivered flawlessly, and sounded just as it should. “Under The Bleeding Skies” sounded great. And it continued the same way throughout the set. I could have had some more variation between the songs when it comes to expression and dynamics though. It was mainly the darker “Dystopia” that stood out from that perspective. Vocalist Stefan Harder's voice suited the music really well. I liked that there was a melancholy present in the music. But not at all a bad start of the festival.

SHADOWBANE setlist:

01. “Source Of Grief”
02. “Under Bleeding Skies”
03. “Traitor”
04. “Beyond The Winds Of War”
05. “Dystopia”
06. “Tear Down The Wall”

SHADOWBANE

SHADOWBANE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SHADOWBANE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SHADOWBANE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SHADOWBANE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SHADOWBANE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
SHADOWBANE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SHADOWBANE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SHADOWBANE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SHADOWBANE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SHADOWBANE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
SHADOWBANE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SHADOWBANE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SHADOWBANE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SHADOWBANE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SHADOWBANE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

(click to enlarge)


And then, it was a gear-shift upwards. A bit more speed and energy delivered by Belgian SPEED QUEEN. There are so many bands coming up these days it's hard to keep up and frankly, I just checked these guys briefly prior to the festival. Their “King Of The Road” EP from 2017 is a neat listening and the intensity was picked up one notch as the band hit the stage. Luckily, the crowd was more familiar to SPEED QUEEN's music than me and both opening “Kids Of Rock 'N Roll” and catchy “Midnight Murder” which followed got a very good response.

Then I thought ROSE TATTOO's “Nice Boys” worked really well in the set while the UFO classic “Doctor, Doctor” fell a little flat. It's hard to do such an iconic song and do it justice. But it worked out well in the end when the set was wrapped up with speedy “Stay Drunk”, another easy one to sing along to I can't say anything but being very impressed with the performance. A job well done by SPEED QUEEN.

SPEED QUEEN setlist:

01. “Kids Of Rock 'N Roll”
02. “Midnight Murder”
03. “Live Hard”
04. “Speed Queen”
05. “3930”
06. “Nice Boys” (ROSE TATTOO cover)
07. “Fly High”
08. “Doctor Doctor” (UFO cover)
09. “King Of The Road”
10. “Stay Drunk”

SPEED QUEEN

SPEED QUEEN @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SPEED QUEEN @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SPEED QUEEN @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SPEED QUEEN @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SPEED QUEEN @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
SPEED QUEEN @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SPEED QUEEN @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SPEED QUEEN @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SPEED QUEEN @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SPEED QUEEN @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
SPEED QUEEN @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SPEED QUEEN @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SPEED QUEEN @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SPEED QUEEN @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SPEED QUEEN @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

(click to enlarge)


And more of almost the same was to come. At least, when it comes to up-tempo catchy tunes with cool melodies. SEAX though had to travel a lot longer to get to the Festival, all the way over the pond from the USA. And that's the cool thing to see here, even if the style between SPEED QUEEN and SEAX are rather similar on description. It sounds very different in comparison, just as Belgian and US-Metal normally does.

Vocalist Carmine Blades in your face attitude sure worked well and it brought on a frenzy at the front. “Speed Metal Mania” at its best and what a cool way to start a show. Also “Leather and Spikes” went down well. I liked the contrast between the two as the first one was speed-metal chewy riffs and the latter more of a VENOM kind of mash. That always does the trick and keep the show interesting.

“Nuclear Overdose” was another favorite in the set and I realized I tended to be more attracted to the songs with the speedy riffs rather than others. Again a very good performance and even if I've listened more to SEAX than SPEED QUEEN I realized I still had more to explore when it comes to this band.

SEAX setlist:

01. “Speed Metal Mania”
02. “Leather And Spikes”
03. “Need For Speed”
04. “Maniac”
05. “K.B.S”
06. “Fall To The Hammer”
07. “Nuclear Overdose”
08. “Blade Of The Seax”
09. “Speed Forever”
10. “Forged By Metal”

SEAX

SEAX @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SEAX @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SEAX @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SEAX @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SEAX @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
SEAX @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SEAX @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SEAX @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SEAX @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SEAX @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
SEAX @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SEAX @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SEAX @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SEAX @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) SEAX @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

(click to enlarge)


Another US Metal band up next; RAVAGE had a connection to SEAX as guitarist Eli Firicano stayed on stage for this show as well. Speaking of hard working bands and musicians. Set-opener as well as opening track from most recent release “Return Of The Spectral Rider”, intro “Dies Irae” and “Spectral Rider” set a good mood right from start. A bit more cleaned up and compared to the predecessors on stage but still, high energy and a whole lot of fines. Guitarist Nick Izzo impressed right from start. It's very cool when there's an instant reaction like that on something going on on stage. This time it was some immaculate guitar-work.

The downside though, was that the crowd didn't seem as charged with RAVAGE as the other bands. Ok, Speed Metal is big and it was perhaps time for a dinner break at this time. I still think people missed out on something really good. The IRON MAIDEN feel and same type of drive “Turn the Screw” has sounded fantastic. And the chorus is very catchy. Again it sounded fantastic. And if the case was that RAVAGE wasn't up-tempo enough, people should have stayed for “The Shredder” at least. I can agree that “Grapes of Wrath” which ended RAVAGE's set felt a little odd. But it still is a very good song and worked well in the overheated garden.

RAVAGE setlist:

01. “Dies Irae”
02. “Spectral Rider”
03. “Turn The Screw”
04. “The Wicked Way”
05. “Freedom Fighter”
06. “Till Heaven Cries”
07. “Ravage Part 1: Damage”
08. “The King Forgotten”
09. “The Shredder”
10. “Grapes Of Wrath”

RAVAGE

RAVAGE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) RAVAGE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) RAVAGE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) RAVAGE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) RAVAGE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
RAVAGE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) RAVAGE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) RAVAGE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) RAVAGE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) RAVAGE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
RAVAGE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) RAVAGE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) RAVAGE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) RAVAGE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) RAVAGE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

(click to enlarge)


What worked better was Sweden's reproduction of RUNNING WILD. I mean, BLAZON STONE is not a rip-off of the German giants. But the parallel can't be voided with a name like that and the style of music BLAZON STONE presents. It was long since I last saw them and remembered it to be a little awkward. That sure wasn't the case here. “Down In The Dark” set the mood directly and sounded very good and looked the part too. “Soldier Blue” lighted things up a bit but again the intensity and drive was there. And to have catchy choruses filled with choirs like BLAZON STONE has sure works well in a live situation.

Another track that stood out was “Hanged, Drawn, And Quartered”, fists were waving and the crowd was on. Even of the bands on prior to BLAZON STONE did great shows and really neat performances this was another level up. From the planning of the set, to have the variation and dynamics to the ease of the performance and how good it all sounded. It was definitely impressive and landed high over my expectations. But it wasn't over there. Another highlight came in massive “War Of Roses” towards the end of the set with all its cool melodies and catchy beat. So yes, the first day of 'Headbangers Open Air Festival' was definitely on overdrive at this point and it wasn't over yet.

BLAZON STONE setlist:

01. “Intro (The Galleon's Departure)” (taped)
02. “Down In The Dark”
03. “Soldier Blue”
04. “A Traitor Among Us”
05. “Hanged, Drawn, And Quartered”
06. “Black Dawn Of The Crossbones”
07. “Eagle Warriors”
08. “Stand Your Line”
09. “War Of Roses”
10. “Born To Be Wild”

BLAZON STONE

BLAZON STONE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) BLAZON STONE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) BLAZON STONE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) BLAZON STONE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) BLAZON STONE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
BLAZON STONE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) BLAZON STONE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) BLAZON STONE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) BLAZON STONE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) BLAZON STONE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
BLAZON STONE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) BLAZON STONE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) BLAZON STONE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) BLAZON STONE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) BLAZON STONE @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

(click to enlarge)


It's always great to see MANILLA ROAD play, it really doesn't matter how many times they show up and it doesn't matter if the set is the same. It's always a true pleasure and a great party. And as the sun started setting and the garden cooled off somewhat it also became a pleasant moment as it was possible to breathe again. “Divine Victim” was the first to make the crowd go nuts and it was just upwards from there. Mark Shelton's frantic guitar-sound cut through the massive amounts of smoke coming out from stage and the crowd responded to every single detail in the music. It's great to see a band like MANILLA ROAD play for a crowd like this, die-hard fans who knows their music inside out and takes on everything served.

There's no denying that the massive section with “Masque Of The Red Death”, “Death By The Hammer”, “Hammer Of The Witches” and “Witches Brew” is a favorite part of the set and as always it sounded amazing this night. Then, “In The Wake” and “Mystification” landed as favorites as well. I love the combination of Mark's raspy voice and Bryan Patrick's more melodic tone. It matches perfect and Bryan really should have a lot more cred for his vocal abilities than he gets.

At 'Headbangers Open Air' songs like “Necropolis” and “Crystal Logic” are supposed to make a mess of the whole place. Which they did, the place was boiling with energy and as the show was wrapped up with “Heavy Metal To The World” which came as the encore people were nodding approvingly. This was the best MANILLA ROAD show in some time. The band was on fire and the crowd supercharged, just a perfect match.

MANILLA ROAD setlist:

01. “Road Of Kings”
02. “Open The Gates
03. “Divine Victim”
04. “Astronomica”
05. “Masque Of The Red Death”
06. “Death By The Hammer”
07. “Hammer Of The Witches”
08. “Witches Brew”
09. “In The Wake”
10. “Mystification”
11. “Flaming Metal Systems”
12. “The Ram”
13. “Necropolis”
14. “Crystal Logic”
15. “Heavy Metal To The World”

MANILLA ROAD

MANILLA ROAD @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MANILLA ROAD @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MANILLA ROAD @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MANILLA ROAD @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MANILLA ROAD @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
MANILLA ROAD @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MANILLA ROAD @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MANILLA ROAD @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MANILLA ROAD @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MANILLA ROAD @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
MANILLA ROAD @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MANILLA ROAD @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MANILLA ROAD @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MANILLA ROAD @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MANILLA ROAD @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

(click to enlarge)


Bollnäs-Metal became a term there in the 90's. I'm not sure it made it much further south in Sweden than Gävle/Uppsala (Bollnäs is about 85km north) though as people looked like question marks when I brought that term up at the festival. Anyway, MORGANA LEFAY were a big part of my music scene growing up and it has always been a pleasure to see them. And especially in Germany, they did a fantastic show at 'Bang Your Head Festival' a few years back and this one was bound to live up to that one.

“To Isengard” brought on some fist banging and vocalist Chulle has his expressions since the early days and they sure work now too. Actually, the whole bands expression differs from most others. There's another type of dynamics, moves and attitude with MORGANA LEFAY that I really like.

“Master Of The Masquerade” is another favorite which sounded amazing this night and the great tracks just kept coming. “Rooms Of Sleep”, “Source Of Pain” and “Hollow” all worked perfectly and brought back memories from old days. I unfortunately don't see MORGANA LEFAY play as often these days. it's a shame because it's always a great party. The best part came with the encores though. “Symphony Of The Damned”, title track from the absolute collectors gem is another favorite. And that record has spun a lot over the years. It holds today as well and this track alone marked the absolute highlight of the show. Then both “S.O.S” and “Maleficium” are great too and wrapped up MORGANA LEFAY's set as well as the first day of the Festival in a grand way.

MORGANA LEFAY setlist:

01. “Intro”
02. “Angel's Deceit”
03. “To Isengard”
04. “Time Is God”
05. “Master Of The Masquerade”
06. “Sculptures”
07. “Rooms Of Sleep”
08. “In The Court Of...”
09. “Source Of Pain”
10. “Hollow”
11. “Face Of Fear”
12. “Symphony Of The Damned”
13. “S.O.S”
14. “Maleficium”

MORGANA LEFAY

MORGANA LEFAY @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MORGANA LEFAY @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MORGANA LEFAY @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MORGANA LEFAY @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MORGANA LEFAY @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
MORGANA LEFAY @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MORGANA LEFAY @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MORGANA LEFAY @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MORGANA LEFAY @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MORGANA LEFAY @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
MORGANA LEFAY @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MORGANA LEFAY @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MORGANA LEFAY @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MORGANA LEFAY @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) MORGANA LEFAY @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

(click to enlarge)