FESTIVAL REVIEW: ROCK IM REVIER 2016 [Day 3]
Due to some organizational problems, the doors opened later than they were supposed to on the third and last day of Dortmund’s Rock Im Revier. Therefore, only a few metalheads made it to the front of the stage as The New Black started their hard rock set. The Germans from Würzburg showed no mercy and still delivered an explosive set, and their bass player Günter especially striked an amazing pose with his instrument. Some of the journalists in the festival were surprised to see a familiar face on stage: Ex-Metal Hammer editor-in-chief Christof Leim on on guitar.
Even when hardcore monsters Suicidal Tendencies poured their wild energy into the venue, the Westfalenhalle was almost empty with many fans apparently still laying in bed recovering from the massive Iron Maiden headline set the night before. But together with Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer) on drums, the Californians knew how to create a little earthquake and squeeze as many songs into their short stage time as possible, creating an intense mixture of speed and insanity with their bouncing vocal master Mike Muir.
Due to an interview with drum legend Dave Lombardo, I was only able to watch the beginning of Gojira‘s set, but catching the French groove machine before the release of their new brutal new hammer ‘Magma’ was a great pleasure. Mario Duplantier‘s bass drum almost caused a brain aneurysm, and the mosh pit opened up widely to the new single “Stranded” with its twisted guitar riff. Unfortunately, Anthrax didn’t seem at their best today. While Scott Ian usually bounces over the stage like a maniac, he appeared rather calm and concentrated today, while only bassist Frank Bello danced, jumped and yelled around, and seemed to enjoy every second of the show. With “Got The Time” and “Antisocial”, the Americans included two cover songs into their set of only seven tracks, and even though both songs were great live killers, many fans wished for more original Anthrax hits, as their discussions at the beer stall showed after the set.
Speaking of beer: Those who were still able to stand on their feet after the phenomenal performance of Iron Maiden yesterday, snuck to the Metal-And-Wine booth to get a sip or two of the original ‘Trooper Ale’ (only to complain afterwards that it didn’t taste like German beer… it’s hard to please us). There is something unbelievable about Apocalyptica. One may not be a fan of their songs, but watching them violate their cellos like axes, just makes you wonder how on Earth these three guys are able to create such a heavy sound with ordinary string instruments. Their interpretation of “Master Of Puppets” followed by a Metallica medley left the entire audience singing, and gave hope to all the little kids sent to clarinet class by their moms. Since it doesn’t matter what you play as long as your hair flies in every direction and you pose on stage like a real badass, you might as well just perform with a little flute. Apocalyptica are the living proof of this, and these crazy Finns deserve some massive respect for their exceptional talent.
In Extremo might not be well-known outside of Germany, but their medieval rock sound is easily accessible, and with their “Vollmond”, they cursed every single soul in the sweaty arena. Colourful, harsh and in a brilliant mood with bagpipes and other sorts of old instruments, the firestarters around Michael “Das Letzte Einhorn” Rhein proved that, with their 12th album ‘Quid Pro Quo’, they were once again out to climb the German billboard charts and leave the world dancing.
But then it was time for the most brutal guest in the line-up. With their opener “Repentless”, Slayer came to slice us all open and thrash around some guts. Although the loss of Jeff Hannemann was still present in every fan’s mind, Tom Araya and his butcher crew were back in their best shape, mixing their newest killers with some old classics. Hair, sweat and blood was flying through the venue, leaving nothing but a battlefield, and finally, the seats of the Westfalenhalle were also getting invaded by fans. A few courageous crowd-surfers sail over the heads of the audience as Slayer ended their one-hour-long show with the good old “Raining Blood” and “Angel Of Death”.
Although this evening was carried out under the flag of Thrash Metal, headliners Nightwish came to demonstrate the beauty of dreamy melodies and female vocals. The Symphonic legends have been touring the world with their latest masterpiece ‘Endless Forms Most Beautiful’ for more than a year now, but still carry magic in every single note. With a big bang in “Shudder Before The Beautiful”, their explosive set started and as expected, they brought pure perfection on-stage, the technical problems that Tuomas Holopainen seemed to face with his keyboard during the first songs notwithstanding. Flying Dutchwoman Floor Jansen combined strength and softness like no other lead vocalist, and with fire, wind and fog, they created their own spectacular world on the stage of the Westfalenhalle. Of course, the set was not without the epic “Ghost Love Score” (which is still one of the undisputed best songs in Symphonic Metal) and “Greatest Show On Earth” (that narrates the entire evolution of planet Earth in around 15 minutes), which left everyone speechless and reminded us humans to be thankful for every second that we can spend on this ground.
At midnight, and shortly before a thunderstorm is exploding over Nordrhein-Westfalen, the three-day-long mammoth festival came to an end. Even though the venue didn’t seem close to being sold out on the first and third day, the location in Dortmund appeared to be a good choice with great organization, short walking distances, and a roof over everyone’s head. The latter was an especially intelligent choice, considering that Rock Im Revier’s twin festival Rockavaria faced a weather disaster on its last day.
All in all, this was a great weekend with great lineup, and almost no victims getting eaten by Iron Maiden’s furious mascot Eddie. What more could you wish for?
You can also check out our Photo Gallery of the festival here!