HOA Day 2 @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER)

FATES WARNING / TIERRA SANTA / CIRCLE II CIRCLE / LEVIATHAN / TORCH / GAMA BOMB / PRAYING MANTIS / ALPHA TIGER / EVIL ONE / REZET

'Headbangers Open Air Festival, Day 2'

Date: 29th July, 2011
Venue: Der Garten
Tickets: €45 3-days ($60)
Promoter: n/a
Photos: Erika "Taunting Cameras" Wallberg


REZET were also one of the last additions to the bill taking the place of HATE. It is really great to see that the classic sound lives through these new bands. REZET sounded very much like their predecessors, in the likes of SODOM, KREATOR or DESTRUCTION. So yes, we are talking about German Thrash. What also is very common with these new bands is that they sound really good from the live performance’s perspective. So did REZET and it is common that these bands lack of their own personality. It is always easy to distinguish the influences in the music. I wouldn’t judge too hard on that for such a young band. They have all the time in the world to develop and grow. And they had some really cool songs in their set as well. How can something titled “Toxic Avenger” or “Steamrolling Our Society” be bad? It wasn’t and REZET did a great job opening the second day of the festival.

REZET setlist:

01. “The Terror Strikes Back”
02. “Toxic Avenger”
03. “Full Throttle”
04. “Steamrolling Our Society”
05. “Altar Of Satan”
06. “Have Gun - Will Travel”
07. “Black Convent”
08. “Charity/The Final Breath”
09. “Metal Rite”

REZET

Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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I’m always fascinated with the visitors in festivals like this one and the level of devotion and love for this music. Ok, all records are a lot more accessible in Germany but still, you have to have the time to listen to it all as well. EVIL ONE were completely new to me before the festival. When I checked them out, I got stuck with their Thrash that was a little edgy and odd or maybe it was just French. So, listening to their records they climbed on my list of bands I really wanted to see. Then learning that Alexis Roy-Petit from HURLEMENT had the singing duties it became even more interesting. His performance with HURLEMENT at ‘Up The Hammers’ was one of my favorite of that festival, half due to the music and half because of his way of behaving on stage. EVIL ONE did some digging in the vaults and “Thrashback” from the “Evil Never Dies” record brought on a massive response. A huge part of EVIL ONE’s set was from their latest release “Militia Of Death” where “Baptized By Fire” and “Straight To Hell” are my favorites. It’s quite funny looking at these bands where even if the blueprint behind the music looks the same it sounds so different. REZET play old school Thrash and so do EVIL ONE but they’re still miles apart. Even if Alexis doesn’t sing on the albums and his voice differs quite a lot, it was a great performance. He really nailed all the high-pitched screams and was such a joy to look at. And no matter of the time, some flirtation with the crowd in the end of EVIL ONE’s set, with the TANKARD classic “Empty Tankard” sure went down well.

EVIL ONE setlist:

01. “Militia Of Death”
02. “Wounds Of War”
03. “Thrashback”
04. “Baptized By Fire”
05. “Straight To Hell”
06. “Suicide Fanatics”
07. “Perverse Morality”
08. “Stand Up And Shout”
09. “Evil Never Dies”
10. “Empty Tankard”

EVIL ONE

Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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ALPHA TIGER is the new hot name of the German Metal scene. I think they did good at ‘Keep It True’ but they failed to really impress me. ALPHA TIGER did better this time in ‘Headbangers Open Air’ than the last one. Then, it was just a little too much, a little too posy. It still was, but it just didn’t feel as hysteric, it felt more natural so I guess they will grow in the role of a Metal band quite soon. But surely, it sounded really good. There was no doubt about that, plus Stephan "Heiko" Dietrich has an amazing vocal capacity. Just imagine someone else, apart from him and Geoff Tate (if even him these days) that can pull “Queen Of The Reich” off. And their own material is actually really good, debut album that was released in connection with ‘Keep It True’ “Man Or Machine” sounded very promising, “Against The Time” and “Black Star Pariah” are super songs. So, perhaps it’s just to let ALPHA TIGER grow a little more, get more experience and then even I will see why they are so hot in the Metal scene too.

ALPHA TIGER selist:

01. “Heretic”
02. “Against The Time”
03. “Crimson Desert”
04. “Man Or Machine”
05. “Karma”
06. “Black Star Pariah”
07. “Queen Of The Reich”
08. “Exit:Night”

ALPHA TIGER

Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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It is never fun when good bands have to cancel their gigs at events. Especially when it was as serious as it was for JAGUAR, with a member seriously ill. But apart from that, I was really happy with their replacement PRAYING MANTIS. First of all, because I’ve seen JAGUAR three times this year already and I’ve never seen PRAYING MANTIS. They were scheduled to play in Sweden but had to cancel some days before the show. And I’ve been listening quite a lot to them lately. I just love all the melodies and little tricks the Troy brothers create together plus the rest of the band is fantastic. And I like the thrill when it is the first time to see a band I like, will they manage to deliver? So it was with great excitement that I entered the garden for PRAYING MANTIS. The first thing that really struck me was how damn good a singer Mike Freeland is. Charismatic, powerful and charming and everything looked so damn easy for him. “Panic In The Streets” rocked, “Can’t See The Angels” worked perfect live, great melody and a little bit rougher than on record which only was a benefit. Beautiful “Dream On” cut off the set a little bit, but not in a bad way. After all Mike’s vocal capacity really showed. Amazing really! Then PRAYING MANTIS caught up the drive again with “Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark” and “Rise Up”. Of course, it was the really old school songs like “Panic In The Streets” and the closure of the set “Captured City” which drew the most sing-a-long and response from the crowd. That’s a little unfortunate because PRAYING MANTIS did a great performance, everything sounded perfect and still being an old school band, it didn’t feel tired at all! It was an amazing first time and I hope I get more opportunities to see them again soon.

PRAYING MANTIS setlist:

01. “Children Of The Earth”
02. “Panic In The Streets”
03. “Can’t See The Angels”
04. “Lovers Of The Grave”
05. “Dream On”
06. “Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark”
07. “Rise Up Again”
08. “Turn The Tables”
09. “Captured City”

PRAYING MANTIS

Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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I don’t think there has been such a messy line up ever at ‘Headbangers Open Air’, due to the many last minute cancellations. Irish GAMA BOMB replaced WHITE WIZZARD. To choose from the two, I would say WHITE WIZZARD just because I haven’t seen them live yet and their albums are really good. GAMA BOMB on the other hand is one of the craziest live acts I’ve ever seen so they’re absolutely not a bad replacement. I must say though that GAMA BOMB have impressed more on previous occasions with more energy then. But still, they’re fun to watch and there is still some onstage craziness going on. But their kind of funny Thrash benefited from the additional energy. Especially this kind of music requires some thought. I count GAMA BOMB in the same genre as F.K.Ü and compared to them, nah... F.K.Ü. wins that fight. But I really enjoyed GAMA BOMB’s “Citizen Brain” and both “Hammer Slammer” and “Final Fight” worked fine live. No one can deny GAMA BOMB sound good though. They’re extremely tight, they’ve always been but they’ve grown over the years and have become a really well oiled live machine. I guess it can be me that needs to get used to the new a little more dynamic band. And I’m sure I would have appreciated GAMA BOMB a lot more on an event where I didn’t want to see all bands on the bill.

GAMA BOMB setlist:

01. “Zombie Blood Nightmare”
02. “Final Fight”
03. “Slam Anthem”
04. “New Eliminators Of Atlantis B.C”
05. “Three Witches”
06. “In The Court Of General ZOD”
07. “Hammer Slammer”
08.OCP”
09. “Evil Voices”
10. “Thrashoholic”
11. “Mummy Invasion”
12. “Hell Trucker”
13. “Bullet Belt”
14. “Zombie Brew”

GAMA BOMB

Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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It’s always nice with a Swedish feature on the billing. And especially when it is something with such a cult factor as TORCH. Dan Dark really is a true rockstar, behaving like he plays in front of something like a sold out Wembley Arena. Ok, the crowd at ‘Headbangers Open Air’ is one of the greatest around but Dan Dark’s moves were even bigger than that. And there’s such a fine line between getting away with it and being pathetic and excessive. But in this case it worked fine, in fact it was a real boost. It’s great to see a lot of people really digging to TORCH. I must say I haven’t seen TORCH that charged before; they were extremely tight and had a lot better drive than GAMA BOMB. Songs like “Battle Axe”, “Dark Sinner” and “Fire Raiser” really hold up to this day. Especially the last one really kicked ass. That high grade can have something to do with the people around me going absolutely crazy though, but it’s still a good song. TORCH have been riding the wave of revivals for a while now so it will be interesting to see if they can come up with something new in the same class as their classic self titled record (and EP). I expected TORCH to be good like they have been all the times I’ve seen them but still they managed to surprise me. If TORCH can recreate this energy on an album in the future, it’s bound to be very good.

TORCH

01. “Beyond Threshold Of Pain”
02. “Electrikiss”
03. “Battle Axe”
04. “Dark Sinner”
05. “Gladiator”
06. “Sinister Eyes”
07. “Fire Raiser”
08. “Watcher Of The Night”
09. “Beauty And The Beast”

TORCH

Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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On paper LEVIATHAN should be right in my taste. I picked up “At Long Last, Progress Stopped to Follow” a few months before the festival and my first impression was that it was a little bit too complex. After a while, the songs started to crystallize and this album really became a pleasant journey through different musical landscapes. And the thing with these bands is that you never know if they will kick ass or behave like they’ve hardly been out from the rehearse room. After TORCH’s performance, LEVIATHAN felt the latter. Everything sounded perfect; my god, what a voice Jeff Ward possesses! And there’s nothing but perfection that came from stage while LEVIATHAN was on it. It was really something when they played the mighty “Distention Of Time”. But when it came to the visual aspect of LEVIATHAN’s performance, I realized I was focusing on things going on around me rather than what happened on stage. And also, it does a lot for the whole sound when a band has only one guitar player. Even if LEVIATHAN have a rather sparse production, it still felt a little weak. So yes, I was a little disappointed with LEVIATHAN this time, I did expect more. But no matter what, “At Long Last, Progress Stopped to Follow” is an amazing album.

LEVIATHAN setlist:

01. “Speed Kills”
02. “Confidence Not Arrogance”
03. “Pages Of Time”
04. “Distention Of Time”
05. “Census Of Stars”
06. “Forsaken”
07. “Payin The Toll” / “Sanctuary” / “Run Forever” / “The Falling Snow” (medley)
08. “Degenerating”
09. “Leviathan”

LEVIATHAN

Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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Zak Stevens and CIRCLE II CIRCLE announced they would play a special SAVATAGE set for ‘Headbangers Open Air’ and that sure sounded interesting. It’s no secret that SAVATAGE is one of my absolute favorite bands; I really like everything they’ve done including the Zak era. So, this surely was something to look forward to. Apart from that, Zak is an amazing singer and he does all these songs so effortless. Still I miss some of the presence in his performance, he always feel rather distant, just as he tries to look past the crowd. I have to take back some of that last statement after this gig though. Zak showed off a different side, more of what he was doing on the SAVATAGE Japan Live '94” video. I guess the selection of songs was rather predictable since CIRCLE II CIRCLE have done a few of them over their years. “Complaint In The System” that closed the set was perhaps the surprise when it comes to the selection of SAVATAGE songs. Even if I think this was an absolute great set, it’s a bit unfortunate that only three originals were featured in. One cool thing though was that “Watching In Silence” got the same strong response as the SAVATAGE songs. One thing I was really looking forward to see was Andy Lee show off in the guitar again. Unfortunately he was replaced by Rollie Feldman, also a very good guitarist. I guess it takes a while for me to adjust to changes. I missed Andy. I’m still amazed though how damn good Zak is, his voice is still phenomenal. His tone and his ability to sing are amazing. No matter what, it was a very nice feature in the evening of the festival 's second day. The SAVATAGE classics “He Carves His Stone”, “Lights Out”, “Handful Of Rain” and “Conversation Piece” really stand strong towards the test of time. They’re still amazing and CIRCLE II CIRCLE really did them justice.

CIRCLE II CIRCLE setlist:

01. “Welcome”
02. “Edge Of Thorns”
03. “Taunting Cobras”
04. “He Carves His Stone”
05. “Lights Out”
06. “Dead Winter Dead”
07. “Damien”
08. “Handful Of Rain”
09. “Watching In Silence”
10. “Take Back Yesterday”
11. “Consequence Of Power”
12. “Conversation Piece”
13. “Complaint In The System”

CIRCLE II CIRCLE

Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Der Garten @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (GER) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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I might as well admit it right away, I’ve completely missed TIERRA SANTA and I tried to dig into their music before the festival but it really didn’t appeal to me at all. I had a quite hard time to see why they ended up this high up on the bill but apparently I was one of few with that mindset. The garden was packed, again all the Spanish people in the front to support their landsmen. But of course that wasn’t all. I have to say TIERRA SANTA really impressed me when they started to play. The records I listened did not hold the same dynamic and clarity as the live sound. TIERRA SANTA showed off mighty fine Hard Rock / Heavy Metal with great guitar and vocal melodies. This wasn’t at all what I remembered from what I heard trying to get into their music. So, I suppose I need to give TIERRA SANTA another chance and maybe their impressive performance at the festival can help me out with that.

TIERRA SANTA setlist:

01. Caminos De Fuego”
02. La Sombra De La Bestia”
03. Apocalipsis”
04. Sangre De Reyes”
05. Indomable”
06. Otelo”
07. Pegaso”
08. Reina De Egipto”
09. Alas De Fuego”
10. Libre”
11. Tierras De Leyenda”
12. Legendario”
13. Una Juventud Perdida”
14. La Canción Del Pirata”


I really hate to admit it but TIERRA SANTA was the last band I saw that night. FATES WARNING was one of the bands I was looking forward to watch but all my energy was drained after CIRCLE II CIRCLE in a combination with all other great performances from bands earlier on the bill. It surely was a long day. From what I heard FATES WARNING did an excellent performance and looking at the setlist, it sure looks like it too! But it was a great day, so many good performances with PRAYING MANTIS and TORCH together with CIRCLE II CIRCLE as the favorites, so a lesson learned for next year is better planning.

FATES WARNING setlist:

01. “One”
02. “Life In Still Water”
03. “Another Perfec Day”
04. “A Pleasant Shade Of Gray, Part III”
05. “A Pleasant Shade Of Gray, Part IV”
06. “The Eleventh Hour”
07. “Point Of View”
08. “Still Remains”
09. “Through Different Eyes”
10. “A Pleasant Shade Of Gray, Part XI”
11. “Monument”
12. “The Ivory Gate Of Dreams”