Black Label Society
Ok final day of the festival. I have to admit at this point I was pretty exhausted after the previous two long days. These days also marked a rise in temperatures and with no rain in Germany much the past month it was also very dry and dusty which makes for uncomfortable situations. However, a metal trooper must march on and there seemed to be fun to be had for all!!! So let’s get to it!
Bleeding Red (DE) – I didn’t catch much of Bleeding Red’s set but what I heard they sounded to me to be a death metal style band which was in stark contrast to the other opening bands of the previous day. I can really comment on whether to recommend Bleeding Red as I arrived after their set started but if you are a death metal fan they might be for you.
Blue Pills (SWE) – Ok…ANOTHER blues/stoner/rock outfit with a female singer this time. This band has a strong following I know but I am also not a hippie. But the band did have some metal heads here cheering them on but for me they kind of put me to sleep. If you are into the 60’s style psychedelic type of music Blue Pills probably will give you a boner but as for me. No.
Brainstorm (DE) – This a power metal outfit that seem to have a lot fans and hype about them. I sat in the crowd to watch the band and they seem energetic, fun and the singer has a good vocal range. The songs are standard power metal fare however and I never really heard anything that just drew me in. That being said, the band is good at what they do and they perform very well live and it can be seen why they have a fan base. So if you like Power metal they might be what you need or they might leave you little flat. It will just depend on the listener.
Tankard (DE) – I have just recently discovered Tankard and I’m glad I have. I don’t think I have seen a band make a 30 year career basing songs on drinking. So congrats!!! The band just released their new album R.I.B. (Rest in Beer) and other than the first few songs really enjoyed what I heard. Live, the band puts on one hell of a great show. Very energetic and funny too. The crowd loved them and the bands material went over really well such as the song ‘Stay Thirsty’ which seemed very popular. Also lead singer Gerre brings a new definition to the term, ‘Sexy hot mess.’ on stage. Actually I thought maybe he might have been retarded.
Grand Magus (SWE) – I know I have been down on the doom/stoner/psychedelic bands in the festival. And yes, it is true I am not generally a big fan…Grand Magus however is the exception! Grand Magus blends in lyrics you could find on a Manowar album and puts them with music you would find more from a doom band. At Metal Fest the band put on a great show and lead singers’ JB’s vocals fits the songs and lyrics so well as the band weaves stories about Norse mythology and Vikings. They also blend in catchy riffs and hard rocking guitars to also make the band have a sound that draws in a listener to a catchy song. Their latest album ‘Triumph and Power’ is a album all metal heads should stand behind and I think most metal heads of any genre would enjoy it as they would a live show from this band.
- Kataklysm (USA) – I did not get to catch Kataklysm’s set. I know many people were looking forward to them but I finally had to take a break and rest. Sorry. Death Metal stuff I think.
Ensiferum (FI) – Hailing from Finland, Ensiferum is all about the folk, the metal and going crazy on stage…or at least the bass
player. They have a large fan base and I can see the appeal but I have tried to listen to Enisferum a few times and maybe I was just getting some bad songs but I never could get drawn in. As I write this though, I am listening to ‘Stone Cold Metal’ and it sounds pretty good so maybe I misjudged. Anyway, the band live at this point puts on a great energetic show and the crowd seemed to really love the band. The vocals are really gravely but the music is melodic and the band is fun live. If you like folk music and a high energy band Ensiferum may be a band you will want to listen to.
Steel Panther (USA) – THE MIGHTY STEEL PANTHER! Ha-ha the glam/spoof band from California has gained quite the following and reputation the past several years. Steel Panther embodies everything that made the late 80’s Sunset Strip bands both great and horrible all at the same time. Composed of four members who have been heavily involved in the metal genre for many years it is obvious the band knows all the clichés, stereotypes and tongue in cheekiness of the music they are portraying. Not just because they looked back and tried to mimic the lifestyle but also because in some way at some point in time they were also a part of it. With songs like ‘Death to All But Metal’, ‘Community Property’ and ‘Party Like Tomorrow Is the End of the World’ the band is a genius at exploiting material that was vilified in the 90’s and now looked at like it is nostalgic gold. Each member have their own character and role and are hilarious. It also should be noted that the band KNOWS the meaning of stage presence to the point they could right a bible about it. Everything they do on stage is a pose, throwing shapes and presenting an outward image that conveys what Steel Panther is trying to put
out. Of ALL the bands I have ever seen live, Steel Panther understands completely the meaning what a stage performance is and the importance of it live. Also I find it funny that in the 90’s such bands were mocked and females thought girls who showed their tits on stage were awful and so on and now how easy it is to get girls to still do things for bands if they are showed a little attention by certain people…Get those titties out girls (because you know secretly you want to)…Steel Panther is coming to town.
Black Label Society (USA) – Zakk Wylde and his brand of biker roughhouse music has come to town. I remember when BLS first
came out as Zakk’s solo project outside of Ozzy and when I heard it those many years ago it was more of a Southern Rock thing or something? Regardless, I didn’t like it back then and Zakk’s behavior and loud mouthed antics kind of turned me off. I understand you have to have attitude and stuff to be in a metal band but some of stuff I think was over the line. Anyway, this marked the first time for me to get to see the band live and hear some new material. I am really glad I did. What I heard on this day was far different from that early stuff. It was hard hitting, catchy and had the right kind of attitude this time. I really enjoyed what I got to hear of BLS but I had to skip out for an interview with Kreator…that didn’t happen.
Kreator (DE) – One of the Big 4 of the German Thrash Bands from the 80’s, Kreator has been moving along for many years. Their new album, ‘Phantom Anti-Christ’ has been a big success for the band and me, who was not a Kreator fan before, enjoyed the album. Tonight they headlined the final day of Metal Fest and the band pulled out all the stops for this show. They had a grand stage show with a drum kit that looked fantastic and a part of their album cover and lights that would give you a epileptic seizure. The band also displayed some great smoke effects and pyros and it was truly a sight to see…even though it made it hard to take photos. The only down side it seemed the over indulgence in the stage show seemed to remove the fans from the band a little too much as it was a lot of strobes and very dark and red and made it hard to really see the band themselves. Otherwise Kreator put on a great show and you can see why they have had a long career in the metal genre.
So that pretty much wraps up the 3 day Metal Fest 2014 in Loreley, Germany. I had a great time in the land of the Teutons and the Rhine River truly is a beautiful place to see and travel. The festival is also a good one to check out. Wacken is usually the name you hear when you think of huge metal festivals but I also hear Wacken has turned into something that is not about metal anymore which is unfortunate. Metal Fest, while not as big as Wacken is still a big festival and has a great metal crowd who attends and likes the music. If you ever get the opportunity, do yourself a favor and come watch this festival and take a few days extra to enjoy the great countryside and lovely country.