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Headbangers Open Air


Brander-Horner kirchen ( - Germany)
HOA 2010

Amulance (USA), Angel Dust (D), Anvil Chorus (USA), Battleaxe (UK), Bloodfeast (USA), Culprit (USA), Demon (UK), Der Kaiser (F), Destruction (D), Grand Magus (SWE), Jameson Raid (UK), Mekong Delta (D), Not Fragile (D), Omen (USA), Raven (UK), Roxxcalibur (D), Shok Paris (USA), Solitude Aeturnus (USA), Steel Horse (E), Stormwarrior (D), Stormzone (IRL), Trench Hell (AUS), Tygers of Pan Tang (UK), Virgin Steele (USA),
The biggest garden party in the world: Headbangers Open Air 2010. This time the weather was much better than last year and again this edition was sold out. I heard there were fewer tickets available for HOA so at least it seemed less crowded. Also the food stands were better organized so all in all better circumstances for a great party. But let the metal to the talking because thats why we went in the first place to HOA 2010.

Arriving on thursday a little late we missed Steel Horse but were on time for Killing Machine but unfortunately they didnít play. Therefore the other bands were allowed to play longer sets. The latest album from Grand Magus is a good metal album but I didnít like their older more stoner material. So the new songs were good but the older songs were boring for me. Professional attitude and enthusiasm compensated the lesser material.
Shok Paris played an extra long set and most of their songs were played. Their singer is the weakest link in the band and although the songs and performance were very good he made the gig a little boring.
Destruction is one of the biggest German thrash acts and tonight they proved that again. With a special old school set they ruled the stage. Unconscious Ruins, Reject Emotions, Life Without Sense, Invincible Force and ancient Tormentor among others were played. Unfortunately the headlights in front of the stage didnít work so it was kinda weird to see only silouets but nevertheless it was again a good show from Destruction.

On Friday Jameson Raid opened the first real festival day and it was nice to see and hear them but thats all. Second was Stormzone and the band played very well. Powerfull and energetic their heavy metal was injected into the metal crowd. Good band, good sound and a good singer. When you like heavy metal try to catch this band live somewhere.
Next was Roxxcalibur, the band who plays on a lot of underground festivals. This NWOBHM tribute band covers only songs from that period and prefer the obscure stuff. JJís powerhouse, Trident, Bleak House, Dark Star and Radium to name a few. During Running for the line from JJ Powerhouse the orginal singer and guitarist jumped on stage to have a good time. Roxxcalibur is a good band and play the songs probably better than the originals.

After this nostalgic trip to the past the fun continued with Tigers of Pan Tang. With their new singer the band is becoming very popular and why not? Good execution and very good singer, maybe even too good for TOPT. With songs like: Raised on rock, Never Satisfied, Slave to freedom, Gangland, Hellbound, Wild Cats the band did very well. Good show.

US metal band Amulance were next. I expected a lot from this band but its was a little disappointing. The band played good but the sound wasnít great so some of the more complex passages got lost in the soundmix. Their singer was hitting the high notes so no complains there. For some reason they found time to put a drumsolo in their setlist. What a waste of time to do this on a festival. Good performance but it could have been better.

Mekong Delta is a progressive metal band so it was kinda weird to see them on HOA. Some of the more progressive acts Iíve seen on HOA werenít received very well but Mekong Delta was greeted with enthusiasm from the bangers. Probably because its a German band and were popular in the past but it says something how narrow minded some bangers are. But Mekong Delta deserved all the cheers they received. Great performance and suprisingly they played a lot of new songs. The musicians were very good and also their singer was great. Check them out.

I expected a lot from Angel Dust but their gig was a little disappointing. They played mostly their more recent material. Border of Reality, Nightmare and Bleed were a few songs they played but the other material wasnít that strong. They didnít even play a song from the first two albums. The sound was average and although the band played good it wasnít the comeback gig I had hoped for.

Demon ruled the festival ground. I never was a fan of this band but this gig was very good. A very good sound, well played and a very sympathetic attitude was enough to convince friend and foe. Very good performance from these British guys.

After this British demon is was time to close the first day with American Culprit. Iíve seen them on Wacken 10 years ago and they were good then. This time with another drummer and singer I was curious what to expect. The first thing I noticed and last thing and everything in between is that their bassplayer is Culprit. What a beast on stage and although he looked like he slept a few years under a solar device he was star of the show. Every bass line you remember from the Guitly as Charged album came out of his bass while jumping, crawling, running, kicking and throwing his bass around. His action radius must have been a least 10 meters so the other members had to watch out and get out of his way. Great drummer too and the only lesser element was their singer. He was okay a few songs but in the end I couldnít hear him anymore but it all was well compensated by the acrobatic stage act of the bass player. Culprit was also the only band who played a tribute song dedicated to the recently passed away Ronnie James Dio and with Heaven and Hell stuck into our minds we could lay our tired bodies to rest.

Saterday openers were Trench Hell but we missed them. Not Fragile was nice to hear but nothing more and a cover from Sweet Savage and the Sweet couldnít change that. Also Battleaxe with their mix of AC/DC, Accept was swinging and Der Kaiser was boring so nothing spectacular happened.
Blood Feast was the first band to catch my attention again. Their releases revealed, probably due to the bad production, some kind of chaos thrash but live this was an intense tight playing thrash machine. They got the crowd going and they deserved all the praises. Good gig.

Omen was never my favorite band but in time the band gained a little more respect from me because there singers got better and better. This time Aska singer George Call took charge and with some humor he got the job done. Omen was okay but the next day in the Headbangers Ballroom the band was much better.

Anvil Chorus was one of the hightlights of the day. Unfortunately during their gig we got the only shower of the festival so the crowd attendance was lesser than they deserved. But the band had a great sound and performed better than I expected. Very good progressive metal and I think the band is better live because of the power that is lacking on cd.

Raven is always a pleasure to see. These guys were, are and always will be crazy on stage whenever or wherever they play. So no suprises there. And that is also the problem of Raven. You know exactly what you will get for the last 10 years or so. You name the setlist from 10 years ago and apart from the occasional new/other song it will be the same. So we got again among others: Mind over matter, All for one, Live at the inferno, Speed of the reflex, Faster than, Lambs to the slaughter and suprisingly for the future. A medley of some well known classic metal songs and off course a boring extra long version of Break the chain.
For some reason Raven chooses this recycling routine and its their choice but some more thought to what the crowd wants to hear should reflect well on Raven in the long run. Despite this, Raven as usual puts dow a top notch performance worth checking out.

After Solitude Aeturnus which I liked because of the stand-up comedian Rob Lowe we got to the headliner Virgin Steele. I have seen them in the past but they never really delivered the goods live. So I had doubts before they entered the stage. But to my suprise they were very good. David Defeis didnít use his keyboard on stage so he was more vertile. With two good guitarists and a drummer Virgin Steele was better than ever. Great show from these Americans and a rightfull closing act of this years Headbangers Open Air.


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