HOA Day 1 @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE)

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ARMORED SAINT / ANGEL WITCH / BONFIRE / ANGELUS APATRIDA / TYTAN / KRYPTOS

'Headbangers Open Air Festival, Day 1'

Date: 28th July, 2016
Venue: The Garden
Tickets: €54 (3-day) ($61)
Promoter: Headbangers-Open-Air.de
Photos: Erika Wallberg


Every year I think, “THIS year I know the way into the festival”. Still, I always end up going to the junction towards Elmshorn and turn around before I have the car on the tiny little road leading up to the 'Headbangers Open Air Festival'. It's always a joy to see the area and even more convenient. This year, we had some friends reserving a spot for us at the campsite and there are many benefits with this of course; first of all, it was definite MODERN TALKING free and it's great to hang out with friends.

After a BBQ breakfast, it was time to take on the festival and first out was KRYPTOS. I'm not sure if it was coincidence or some Google recommendation thing as I found out about the band about the same time they were announced to play the festival. It's hard to know these days. But the reason for them catching my interest was that they were from India, and listening to their music, it was good I was definitely hooked.

And they started the 2016 edition of 'Headbangers Open Air' in a fantastic way. KRYPTOS are perhaps not innovative in any way; it's traditional Heavy Metal we're talking about. But as a start of a festival day that's all what's needed. And a couple of good songs too of course. After the fast “Blackstar Horizon” came the ACCEPT mid-tempo “One Shot To Kill” and it's fascinating how the impression can differ so much between two songs. The latter is definitely plain Heavy Metal while the former feels much rawer and leans more over Speed Metal. The same can be said about “Full Throttle” that ended their set too. Not that it matters, it was all good.

To my surprise, the band had been around for almost two decades so there's no wonder that they could deliver a cool set. It's a shame though that they haven't reached a broader crowd in the European scene because they're definitely good enough to deserve it. Just listen to the quality of a song as “The Mask Of Anubis”, cool and dynamic, catchy. So, hell yes, KRYPTOS started off in a great way, really boosted the party mood and there was nothing more to do that pick up whatever merchandise they had with them after the show. I found it very odd though (and quite disrespectful) that one of the merchants in the Festival area had a sale of the KRYPTOS album. They could have waited until the next day at least... Anyway, it seemed that most people wanted to support the band and bought directly from them despite the price difference which is a good thing.

KRYPTOS setlist:

01. “Blackstar Horizon”
02. “One Shot To Kill”
03. “The Mask Of Anubis”
04. “Serpent Mage”
05. “The Summoning”
06. “Wave Rider”
07. “The Coils Of Apollyon”
08. “Full Throttle”

KRYPTOS

Kryptos @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Kryptos @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Kryptos @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Kryptos @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Kryptos @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Kryptos @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Kryptos @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Kryptos @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Kryptos @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Kryptos @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Kryptos @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Kryptos @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Kryptos @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Kryptos @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Kryptos @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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UK legends TYTAN were up next and they continued to impress. I knew what was coming though, since I've seen them before but that doesn't take away the excitement about the band. It's only Kevin “Skids” Riddles left from the original band and I know there's an ongoing debate if bands in such situations should keep their name or not. I couldn't care less about this. Keep the name, then people know what this is all about.

The first two, as the majority of the set were from only album released, “Rough Justice”, “Cold Bitch” and “Money For Love” and it sure sounded good. Vocalist / guitarist Tom Barna really impressed. The overall sound was quite dry and very unforgiving but it all sounded fantastic. And what a voice he possesses!

One of the new songs played really struck me; “Reap The Whirlwind” was an epic and Heavy piece with great melodies and really catchy chorus-line. This shows that TYTAN is on to something really good these days too. I mean, they rocked in the mid '80s and they definitely still got it today. Another favorite from the set was “Forever Gone”, the phrasing really make the song interesting and very catchy. With Tom's flawless vocals on top, it becomes fantastic.

Towards the end of the TYTAN set, they served a few from their debut EP “Blind Men And Fools”. The title track was first and the set closed with “Ballad Of Edward Case”, another fantastic track, a fast smoker which of course also is a part of the “Rough Justice” record. Everything sounded fantastic, so TYTAN really took it up yet another notch after KRYPTOS.

TYTAN setlist:

01. “Cold Bitch”
02. “Money For Love”
03. “Fight The Fight”
04. “Women On The Frontline”
05. “The Watcher”
06. “Reap The Whirlwind”
07. “Billy Who”
08. “Forever Gone”
09. “Blind Men And Fools”
10. “Far Side Of Destiny”
11. “Ballad Of Edward Case”

TYΤAN

Tytan @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Tytan @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Tytan @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Tytan @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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Then it was full speed ahead with ANGELUS APATRIDA. Another band I've just briefly seen as a name prior to the festival. On occasion, it's actually nice to go in without any expectations or prior knowledge about a band at all and just let the show get to you. And this was really much fun to watch; the energy level coming out from stage was set to max and that, plus the music really boosted everything. It's always cool when a band manages to mix old school with a more modern sound. I like the mix of speed and melodies and ANGELUS APATRIDA sure mastered that. Opening “Immortal” from latest “Hidden Evolution” hit hard from first note and it's a good sign when that feeling of joy and well-being roll-along immediately. I know it should be brutal words to describe this type of music but I'm sorry, I get very happy and cheerful of good Heavy / Speed Metal... Live with it!

The older songs like “Vomitive” or “Give 'em War” held a slightly more rough and brutal character, but even if this was the case it felt like the new ones suited my taste better. Some of the PANTERA-type riffs have been washed off in more recent albums to give room for more melodies and I liked that. Take “Of Men And Tyrants” for example; fantastic track, very catchy but still a rather complex structure.

“Serpents On Parade” really stood out since it's an extremely fast and tight song - it really sounded awesome. And that ANGELUS APATRIDA managed to keep that kind of energy up throughout the set was really impressive and I started to wonder how I would last through the night with performances like the ones starting off the festival.

ANGELUS APATRIDA setlist:

01. “Immortal”
02. “Violent Dawn”
03. “Vomitive”
04. “Of Men And Tyrants”
05. “Give 'em War”
06. “End Man”
07. “Fresh Pleasure”
08. “Serpents On Parade”
09. “You Are Next”

ANGELUS APATRIDA

Angelus Apatrida @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angelus Apatrida @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angelus Apatrida @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angelus Apatrida @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angelus Apatrida @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Angelus Apatrida @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angelus Apatrida @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angelus Apatrida @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angelus Apatrida @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angelus Apatrida @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Angelus Apatrida @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angelus Apatrida @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angelus Apatrida @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angelus Apatrida @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angelus Apatrida @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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Could BONFIRE really match the frenzy presented on stage before them? Without the speed, you need to work a lot harder to get things going and when I've seen BONFIRE earlier, they didn't really impress much. Here too it's also just one original member left in Hans Ziller and even if this is also old school, I've never ever reflected over it. It's strange really; if it's not about NWOBHM, I don't know...

But it surely was an inspired band who took on the 'Headbangers Open Air' stage this early Thursday evening and it didn't take long for them to convince me at least that this was going to be one hell of a ride. I can't say that I'm utterly familiar with BONFIRE's music; I did listen to their '90s stuff and it was a lot of fun to stand there on the lawn in front of the stage and scream along to “Never Mind” and “Don't Touch The Light”. And the rest too actually, even if I didn't know the rest of the songs at all.

It's always surprising when you end up seeing the full show even if that wasn't the plan to start with. My idea was to watch a bit, go and grab something to eat to boost a little energy for the remainder of the evening. THAT didn't happen which affected the really late hours but nothing I regret.

Much of the fun and cheerful atmosphere was due to Alexx Stahl (ROXXCALIBUR, MASTERS OF DISGUISE etc.), he's both a fantastic singer and entertainer. One wouldn't expect crowd surfing on a show like this you know... He sounded amazing to these songs (too) and managed to capture some of the character of Claus Lessmann, at least in the songs from the first two albums.

Then “S.D.I.” and last one out, “Champion” really tipped me over, it was great to hear these songs from THIS band, I've seen BONFIRE before but never like this. It was a surprise and I love it when I'm floored like this so I really hope that this wasn't the last chance to see BONFIRE.

BONFIRE setlist:

01. “Strike Back”
02. “Never Mind”
03. “Don't Touch The Light”
04. “Hard On Me”
05. “Under Blue Skies”
06. “Remember”
07. “Sword And Stone”
08. “You All”
09. “Nothin' At All”
10. “American Nights”
11. “Can't Break Away”
12. “S.D.I.”
13. “Sweet Obsession”
14. “Ready 4 Reaction”
15. “Champion”

BONFIRE

Bonfire @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Bonfire @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Bonfire @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Bonfire @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Bonfire @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Bonfire @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Bonfire @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Bonfire @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Bonfire @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Bonfire @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Bonfire @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Bonfire @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Bonfire @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Bonfire @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Bonfire @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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That ANGEL WITCH would deliver, I had no doubt about. And by all means, they sounded as fantastic as they always do, but it still felt a little dull after the fury that had been going on onstage before them this evening. Or, this was perhaps my punishment for not sticking to my food plan and I started to get tired.

The beginning of this set really is killer with “Gorgon”, “Confused” and the amazing “Dead Sea Scrolls”. ANGEL WITCH is another band from the '80s that has managed to put out a fantastic album nowadays too. In their case, “As Above, So Below” which the last of the three comes from and was released in 2012. It all really sounded awesome and it's great to see that new songs work just as good as the classics when performed live. But for sure, the crowd was boosted a little more with “White Witch”, no doubt about this. As I really like the latest release from ANGEL WITCH it's always a pleasure to hear the songs live. “Into The Dark” and “Guillotine” were also featured in the set.

And ANGEL WITCH sounded good, definitely. But I'm not sure if I was set off due to the very tough lights which made it hard to get good shots, or if the bands on before them, outplayed them. Because I wasn't as boosted by this performance as the earlier ANGEL WITCH gigs I've seen. I can't really say what didn't happen here. Band owner Kevin Heybourne sounded as good as he usually does, it's actually fantastic that he still nails these very high pitched notes, he sounded fantastic and so did the band backing him up. And of course, the last trio of the set can't really fail; fantastic “Angel Of Death” and even better “Baphomet” picked up in pace. And of course, the band's trademark track “Angel Witch” got a massive choir basically throughout the song. It's always great to hear a crowd this loud so perhaps it was just me getting tired here - since it seemed everyone else enjoyed the ANGEL WITCH show very much.

ANGEL WITCH setlist:

01. “Gorgon”
02. “Confused”
03. “Dead Sea Scrolls”
04. “White Witch”
05. “Into The Dark”
06. “Atlantis”
07. “Sorcerers”
08. “Guillotine”
09. “Dr. Phibes”
10. “Angel Of Death”
11. “Baphomet”
12. “Angel Witch”

ANGEL WITCH

Angel Witch @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angel Witch @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angel Witch @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angel Witch @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angel Witch @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Angel Witch @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angel Witch @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angel Witch @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angel Witch @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Angel Witch @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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I was really looking forward to seeing ARMORED SAINT play the 'Headbangers Open Air' stage. It's not the biggest and the best place in the scene, but when used right, it becomes very intense and intimate. DEATH ANGEL, who also are an amazing live-act, managed to do this last year and that was what I was hoping for.

The intensity was there at least, right from start in “Win Hands Down” from latest release with the same title followed by the classic “March Of The Saint” and the garden was burning, definitely. ARMORED SAINT have a special style in their music which work perfectly live. The groove becomes fantastic and everyone was on their toes to support and it was an immense pressure in the front row. It's always good to see this happen. Of course, it's been good support for the bands throughout the day but there's no doubt who the headliners were, it was really crazy at this point. It didn't calm down, rather went up for “Long Before I Die”. I love the rockier “Last Train Home” so that one boosted me and it was good to hear the sing along to it. John Bush has a fantastic voice and really manages everything. He together with bassist Joey Vera makes the stage boil also, their energy is fantastic.

Also “Chemical Euphoria” from the fantastic “Raising Fear” worked really well and another favorite of mine, “After Me, The Flood”, sounded amazing. It perhaps wasn't received as well as the one prior to it but I liked it.

What made ARMORED SAINT stand out from the rest of the bands on the bill was the attitude. You need to have it on stage but what I really enjoyed with the bands earlier on was the cheerfulness and joyful attitudes, it was really much fun to watch. ARMORED SAINT sounded flawless but I missed that party attitude a bit. It was getting late and some boosting was very much needed. I decided to call it a night after “Left Hook From Right Field” but changed my mind when “Reign Of Fire” was kicked off; both sounded fantastic. And of course I regret I left when I did as the notes of “Mad House” echoed out over the field at the last of the encores but it was too late to get back in then.

It sure was a great start of this fantastic festival. Some surprises and it definitely didn't go the way I expected it. Who could have guessed I should hold BONFIRE as best of the day I mean...

ARMORED SAINT setlist:

01. “Win Hands Down”
02. “March Of The Saint”
03. “Tribal Dance”
04. “An Exercise In Debauchery”
05. “Long Before I Die”
06. “Last Train Home”
07. “Chemical Euphoria”
08. “After Me, The Flood”
09. “That Was Then, Way Back When”
10. “Symbol Of Salvation”
11. “Aftermath”
12. “Left Hook From Right Field”
13. “Reign Of Fire”
14. “Can U Deliver”
15. “Mad House”

ΑRMORED SAINT

Armored Saint @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Armored Saint @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Armored Saint @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Armored Saint @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Armored Saint @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Armored Saint @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Armored Saint @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Armored Saint @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Armored Saint @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Armored Saint @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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