Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals
Fueled By Fire
So my summer festival season begins and I start it off with a BANG by attending legendary Metal Fest in Loreley, Germany. I first want to say a big THANK YOU to all the people who donated to my crowd funding campaign to take to this wonderful country and great music festival. Without your help I would not have been able to attend the show and see the beautiful landscape on the river Rhine. I hope I will provide pictures to all my donors that are pleasing and worthy of their money.
Metal Fest 2014 took place in on top of the Loreley Rock along the River Rhine and is a beautiful place to have a metal festival. The land has a rich cultural history and metal music seems to be a perfect fit for the scenery with castles lining the river side. The day started off cool and pleasant and after some initial confusion on where to get my press credentials I was finally set to enter the festival grounds to take photos and listen to some new bands. So With further Adieu, let’s get to the bands!
- WinterStorm (DE)- I had heard of Winterstorm but never really got a chance to hear them out. As I mentioned I had ran into some problems trying to figure out where to get my press credentials and as a result I missed the start of Winterstorm’s set. After I was able to finally get in and listen I was impressed with what Winterstorm had to offer. The band plays a blend of traditional styled metal with a Power/Folk mixtures that lends to song’s catchy choruses and crowd pleasing anthems. While Winterstorm was essentially the opening band for the festival they had a good share of fans already there cheering them on which is great to see. The band was energetic, interactive with the crowd and played some great, fun songs.
- Zodiac (DE) – Next we have the doom/stoner band Zodiac. I have always been a hit or miss guy when it comes to these styled bands. They either REALLY sound good to me or they REALLY put me to sleep. On the plus side Zodiac didn’t put me to sleep but then again thinking back, I can’t really say I was overly impressed with either. I guess it really is matter of taste with these styled bands, or this one at least. The band played well and was good at what they do but unless you are a fan of this genre of music I don’t think they will be the band that will convert you over either.
Fueled By Fire (USA) – Fueled by Fire is a band I have seen before live at a previous Metal fest in
the Czech Republic several years back. When I saw the band then they kind of just reminded me of a standard Death Metal band and was not really impressed. However in those two years the band seems to have really matured in their playing style and musicianship. Here, the band played some great catchy riffs, some great solos and had a different kind of confidence on stage than a few years back and it made a whole difference in how the band came across live. While I am still not a death metal fan as the vocals really are not what I like Fueled By Fire is a band that has developed their talent to the next level and has the potential to go further as well. I wish them success and best of luck
SteelWing (SWE)- A true traditional heavy metal band!!!!! I love those….unfortunately I was having to prepare for my interview with Sabaton and didn’t get to really listen to too much of their show. HOWEVER, I was able to listen to a small portion and the parts I did I really liked the old school feel to their music. Crunchy riffs, high pitched vocals, catchy, pump your fist songs. All ingredients for a great band. They reminded me a bit of Canada’s Skullfist and that alone makes me want to check out more of the band and see what else they have to offer.
Battle Beast (FI) – AH!!! One of my favorite new bands. I think Battle Beast is one the best new bands to come out in some
time. They remind me of some Neo-80’s metal band that if the 80’s were to happen today, (with some cyber punk) Battle Beast would be one of the premiere acts along the lines of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest were in the heyday of the 80’s. Fronted by a banshee screamer Noora Louhimo the band plays some great in your face songs that forgo the soft female voice of many metal bands these days and has Noora reach down your throat and rip your heart out. Noora has a great raspy voice that fits the lyrical subject matter of Battle Beast’s songs perfectly. The songs range from fantasy to sci-fi and along with Anton’s great guitar work and Pyry’s great drumming the band has a perfect mix to be a truly great and successful band. The band as a whole put on a great show and it is rare when you see each member of a band seem to have distinctive personalities on stage and roles they play in terms of delivering a performance. Also I still think Noora possesses what any front man or front woman of any band should. STAGE presence and a certain attitude. Noora knows how to hold herself, pose herself and conduct herself which is always important. Battle Beast, a great band that plays traditional styled metal but with neo-80’s modern touch with a super great talented group of people behind the instruments.
- M.O.D. (Method of Destruction) (USA) – Ok. I never was a big S.O.D or M.O.D. fan..thought I did think A.I.D.S. was a funny as song. But really the hardcore/punk bands never did much for me…and really M.O.D. still doesn’t. I actually was really surprised that the band had the turn out they did as many people were there and cheering them on which is good to see but for me this is not my thing.
- Death DTA (USA) – Death were and are legends of the death metal scene in the United States. Unfortunately when Chuck Schuldiner died from cancer it put an end to Death. Now friends, family and musicians who knew Chuck have put together Death DTA as a tribute to Chuck himself and his music. I actually saw death on what turned out to be their last show before Chuck died in Atlanta when they were touring with Hammerfall of all bands. I remember watching the show and think wow, this guy can really play guitar. While not a death metal guy the man could play some killer stuff. Death now is still a very competent act and it’s nice to see Chuck’s memory being honored in a respectful way. While not my kind of music I respect what Death DTA are doing.
- Saltatio Mortis (DE)- The BIG surprise for me of the day and possibly of the entire festival. Saltatio Mortis plays some
kind of renaissance/folk music with a stage full of guys that play some kind of wind/bag flute things and other assorted folk instruments mixed with metal guitars and a singer who knows the meaning of theater! Again this band knows the meaning of how to put on a show. The singer is a very charismatic front man who actively engages the crowd. He engaged the crowd so much in fact he went out and crowd surfed with them as he sang. THAT is what I call fan participation. Also Saltatio Mortis has songs that are tailored for crowd participation and the crowd responded I think more to this band than any other in terms of chanting and moving to songs. The songs themselves are anthem in nature and provide the perfect way for fans to get involved which leads to Saltatio Mortis being a VERY fun band to see live and hear. Just a pure fun time is to be had by watching this band and I highly recommend you check them out.
Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals (USA) – You know, I guess it’s good to see Phil Anselmo still doing stuff and that he isn’t dead in a ditch somewhere…but I was not buying into this band. They just did not sound good to me and I was not getting what they were playing or trying to play? Maybe some kind of hardcore thing? I Don’t know…also there were supposed to be Pantera Classics played…I never heard Cemetery Gates or Cowboys From Hell…and those are about the most classic you can get. So unless I passed out from boredom and missed those songs…they were not played.
- Sabaton (SWE) – And now we come to the big daddy of the night. The mighty Sabaton. The band that is a heavy metal military history lesson. I have seen Sabaton several times live and the band NEVER disappoints. Again it goes to a band knowing how to engage their audience and the members of Sabaton know the importance of this. Each member knows how to come out, hold themselves on stage and then let their music do the rest. Also it helps that the drum kit is a huge freaking tank with Gatling guns! Now that is a stage set! The band has just released their new album ‘Heroes’ and it has been a great and well deserved success for the band with it charting very high in many countries. Sabaton plays songs that are patriotic and full of anthem styled lyrics and choruses that are suited well for big crowds like at metal fest. They also played ‘Price of a Mile’ which was great to hear. Also Joakim is a great front man and he always makes sure to go out to the crowd and find someone to interact with and especially young kids and this day was no exception. He went out, found a 10 year old kid and brought him onstage with the band which is great to see and I see more bands starting to do these type of things which I feel is important for the metal genre to do as it is a music genre that is for and about the fans. Sabaton again put on a great show and if you get to see them live please do so you won’t be disappointed.
Overall, day 1 of Metal Fest was really fun. Most of the bands were great to see and many were pleasant surprises for me to hear, especially Saltatio Mortis who really blew me away. Once again Battle Beast put on a great show as did Sabaton.