FESTIVAL REVIEW: SUMMER BREEZE OPEN AIR 2016 – Day 2 (Friday)
Well, if Day 1 set the tone for Summer Breeze then Day 2 was going to blow that ship out of the water. Being the melodic death metal fan that I am, there was so much on the cards for today that I could hardly contain myself, and from my pre-festival planning, this was going to be my busiest day and the one I enjoyed the most. Beginning early I managed to catch some of Grailknight’s performance. Now I say performance because the superhero-looking power metal-themed band put on an absolutely side-splitting performance with some of their songs and lyrical themes, all while doing it dressed in costume! Being my first introduction to the band, I was really surprised at how well they performed, and once their track “Superheromedley” hit, I fell in love instantly. Definitely a band I will be keeping on my radar from now on.
Next up was a band that my friend had told me stories about, named Feuerschwanz. This is a comedic folk metal band (the jokes begin even with their name — Google translate can shine some more light for you there), and I’m certain they were quite funny as the crowd kept erupting into laughter. The band captured a large crowd down at the main stage, and their medieval take on the folk metal sound is truly unique and really well done, with some of the tunes instantly sticking in my mind. Rushing up to the tent to catch Russia’s Arkona was something that absolutely blew me away. The tonal range of vocalist Masha Scream was simply astounding, transitioning from angelic cleans to ferocious growls at the drop of a pin. The pagan metal themes definitely stirred a whirring response from the crowd, and with the tent helping to improve the ambience of the performance, the band created something quite unique which was impressive to watch.
Parasite Inc. were next on my ‘to see’ list and played the small Camel Stage to a much larger crowd than I expected. The German band that I discovered through YouTube was everything live that I expected them to be – strong vocally, technically precise with their riffs, and energy-inducing to the crowd at their feet. It took the band two minutes to have a fan-started circle pit going, and at a Summer Festival on what could be considered the smallest stage, that’s no easy feat. Next up on the Pain stage were Soilwork, performing on the eve of release of their compilation album Death Resonance. The band played their staple setlist that they have been performing over the past few months in support of their latest album The Ride Majestic, but brought with them an energy befitting of a summer festival. Having caught them earlier in the year in my hometown of Brisbane, I can comfortably say that they were performing at the same level that they were in February (even with the notable absence of their long time drummer Dirk Verbeuren), and having Bastian Thusgaard on drums didn’t feel out of place at all for the band. There were a few circle pits, and a handful of crowd surfers, but all in all it was a pretty damn good performance and show by the Swedes. The astonishing Arch Enemy were next to tear up the main stage, and took little time in inducing a feeding frenzy of fans below them in the crowd. This band has moved from strength to strength over the past few years, and with the exception of some minor sound carry issue due to the wind, there was nothing to falter with their performance at Summer Breeze.
My first and only real problem with timetabling on this day occurred when Carcass and Moonsorrow clashed. Loving both bands this created a serious dilemma as knowing that Moonsorrow only had such a small amount of time (well 45 minutes is a short set for a band with songs as vast and epic as theirs) and that compromise would have to be made. I ended up picking Carcass, which I wasn’t entirely disappointed with as the eternal band never fails to disappoint. Having seen them on much smaller stages than this I must say that I prefer them in a more intimate setting, but that’s mainly because there is so much brilliant guitar work going on that I want to see it up closer. Without the pomp, grandeur and effects that most bands playing on the main stage have,Carcass still pulled a massive crowd, which is a true testament to their staying power as a band. For those wondering if the band is showing any signs of slowing down, they’re not. This show was easily the tightest I have seen of theirs.
Eisbrecher was next, and seeing them live is something I have wanted to do for some time now. After discovering them and loving their similarities with Rammstein, this was a band that I just had to see live – with Summer Breeze finally giving me that opportunity. The Neue Deutsche Harte band lived up to every expectation that I had of them and did not disappoint one bit. There was an absolutely smashing sound coming from the stage, which didn’t compromise any of the band’s heavy industrial elements or the finer techno infused areas, which when coupled up with the light show just instantly drew everyone in. It seems that every year I come to Summer Breeze there is thrash royalty playing, and this year it just happened to be Slayer. Now I’m never going to say no to seeing Slayer, having seen them so many times before because there is just something about their live shows which continually set them as a tier above the rest. While not as energetic as some of the youthful bands that had been on display throughout the day, the thrash metal titans amassed a sea of fans across the expansive field. It was an awesome experience to be a part of, and with the crowd absolutely going crazy for all of the usual tracks, you can just imagine how awesome this performance was.
With my body mentally and physically drained from being on my feet and absorbing all the music I could for 14 hours, I pulled the pin one song into Satyricon’s set. As much as I wanted to watch their set I just physically couldn’t – but if the first track was any frame of reference for their show then it would have been one hell of a performance. Day 3 was approaching, and with it was coming the end of the festival season.