HOA Day 3 @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE)

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RAGE meets REFUGE / DENNER/SHERMANN / OLIVER/DAWSON SAXON / TRESPASS / VARDIS / DESOLATION ANGELS / AIR RAID / SALEM / THE DEEP

'Headbangers Open Air Festival, Day 3'

Date: 30th July, 2016
Venue: The Garden
Tickets: €54 (3-day) ($61)
Promoter: Headbangers-Open-Air.de
Photos: Erika Wallberg


So, the last day of 'Headbangers Open Air' started in a rather lazy way being tired from the night before but still looking forward to a really strong line-up starting with THE DEEP. Since I like DEEP MACHINE it was natural to check out THE DEEP too since the band consist of 2/3's ex-members of DEEP MACHINE. The record “Premonition” was a nice encounter but didn't strike too hard, nothing bad at all about it but it disappeared a bit among other bands. So, I was really surprised when they kicked off their set and it was like being hit on the head with a hammer. Such fantastic energy and great fun! The songs really came to life too and picking up the record again back home it all felt like another band, the same that hit the stage this lazy morning.

And THE DEEP shock the crowd good, really lured people in and once hooked you're stuck. It was a bit hard to focus on the music for the first three songs since all energy went to try to capture the guys with the camera. But “The Rider” went down really well and as I said, I can't for my life understand why this didn’t strike me when listening to the record initially. It's a fantastic song, so is “All I Want” which followed.

Guitarist Mick Feleppa kind of stole the show; damn, he was running and jumping around. It almost went bad on an occasion when misjudging the monitors, band-mates or whatever. It was great fun to watch at least and I'm sure that THE DEEP got a whole bunch of new fans with this gig.

It was also cool to hear the DEEP MACHINE song “Night-Stalker” live but for me THE DEEP can stand very well on their own songs, especially when performed like this. “You Take My Breath Away” is my favorite from the album and that one closed the set which felt it was over way too soon. Realizing THE DEEP played their full time made the show even more impressive. I was definitely awake by now and started to wonder if SALEM would have it hard after this.

THE DEEP setlist:

01. “Premonition”
02. “The Rider”
03. “All I Want”
04. “Night-Stalker” (DEEP MACHINE cover)
05. “Out Of Touch”
06. “When The Rains Came”
07. “Dead Man Walking”
08. “Prepare To Rock”
09. “You Take My Breath Away”

THE DEEP

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

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It's rare that a band strikes as hard as SALEM did when I started digging into “Dark Days”. I really liked “Forgotten Dreams” too but it didn't have the same impact; “Dark Days” has been spinning for weeks and that was the only thing I wanted to listen to when I got my hands on it. This was the second SALEM gig within a few weeks for me so I knew what to expect. They did great at 'Muskelrock', one of the best gigs of that festival but I'll be damned if they didn't manage to turn it up yet another notch here. Opening “Dark Days” sounded fantastic. It's just a shame that the title track along with heavy “Tormented” are the only ones from “Dark Days”. But I shouldn't be complaining, the rest sounded awesome too, “High Stakes” from “Forgotten Dreams” is another favorite. Again, Paul Macnamara and Mark Allison impressed. It's always good to see a guitar-duo as dynamic and tight as these two are. SALEM too, as THE DEEP radiated joy while playing. That a band has fun on stage sure means a lot for the whole experience. There's no extra ordinary stuff or massive show going on, it’s pure Rock 'n' Roll and when the band sounds good and have fun that is enough. “Ask The Lonely” was another favorite from this set. The mellow and dynamic track was just as dynamic and epic as it could be. It's great when a band can deliver a mellow song as this and keep the intensity up. SALEM managed with grace. Also “Forgotten Dreams” went down really well too and here it was even between THE DEEP and SALEM. Talk about a great start of the last day!

SALEM setlist:

01. “Dark Days”
02. “Fool's Gold”
03. “High Stakes”
04. “Rock Fever”
05. “The Other Side Of Hell”
06. “Tormented”
07. “The Answer”
08. “Break The Chains”
09. “Ask The Lonely”
10. “Forgotten Dreams”

SALEM

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

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It's tough with these New Wave of Old School Heavy Metal bands. I love the music they pay tribute but at the same time I miss some originality and personality of these bands. AIR RAID is one of the best coming from Sweden though and they are fun to watch. They have great energy and do a lot of poses, very classic ones.

And by all means, anyone into classic Heavy Metal should enjoy this show and the crowd certainly did. Just as for NIGHT on Friday the people showed up and supported AIR RAID. RUNNING WILD styled “Bound To Destroy” worked well as up-tempo Heavy Metal tracks normally do at 'Headbangers Open Air'. It feels though as AIR RAID's sound is coming together on the newer songs, take (even if I really like that one) “A Blade In The Dark” the Heavy Metal clichés are lined up in the song. It is a good song but it's not very original. And then take “Wildfire” which feels more genuine, worked though and unique.

It was a while since I had last seen AIR RAID but it seems like they have revolving doors when it comes to vocalists. Fantastic Michael Rinakakis left his spot and enter Arthur W Andersson instead. He did a very good job but taking in consideration how damn good Michael is he was one step behind. So I was a bit surprised when AIR RAID kicked off the Yngwie Malmsteen classic “I'll See The Light Tonight” which is crazy high-pitched when it comes to the vocal line. But it worked and the crowd liked it. Then it was time for a break for me so I missed the last few songs in the AIR RAID set as there was no chance for any break for the rest of the night. It never feels good to leave an enjoyable show so I guess AIR RAID did over my expectations this afternoon.

AIR RAID setlist:

01. “Hell And Back”
02. “Bound To Destroy”
03. “Victim Of The Night”
04. “A Blade In The Dark”
05. “Flying Fortress”
06. “Wildfire”
07. “I'll See The Light Tonight” (Yngwie J. Malmsteen cover)
08. “Night Of The Axe”
09. “Madness”
10. “Midnight”

AIR RAID

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

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After, the Grim Reaper had tossed a few t-shirts to the crowd DESOLATION ANGELS took off. And I realized I'd completely forgotten that Paul Taylor (ex-ELIXIR, MIDNIGHT MESSIAH) had taken over the microphone for this band. So this was a very nice surprise, I really like what he's done with his other bands and it definitely felt like a perfect match this one. What I did realize here though was that Paul's voice is a lot dryer when compared to Ian “Curly” Davies. It still worked as Paul is great at what he's doing but it sure sounded different.

I really enjoy the new DESOLATION ANGELS material released on “Sweeter Than Meat” so “Medusa” went down really well in comparison to the speedy “Fury” just before it in the set. I could definitely have taken a few more new ones from DESOLATION ANGELS though, their set felt very short. But there's no complaining about getting a few of the old ones, “Evil Possessor” is great and I especially like “Dance Of The Demons”, the beat and drive in the latter of the two really appeal to me and to get to hear it live was fantastic. And it was fun to watch DESOLATION ANGELS too, they had great energy and there was a whole lot of frenzy going on onstage. This can be signed bass-player Clive Pearson. I think he managed to get himself into 80% of the pictures taken during the show (and there were quite a lot of them), all the time with a different facial expression or a new pose; hysteric for sure but fun.

“Only Time Will Tell” is not a favorite on record and it also works perfect live. Again the speed and drive is prominent and it's easy to scream a long to. But as said, after “Valhalla” closed the DESOLATION ANGELS set it felt cut short. I was definitely not fed properly with the music but I guess that's a good grade for the show.

DESOLATION ANGELS setlist:

01. “Doomsday”
02. “Fury”
03. “Medusa”
04. “Evil Possessor”
05. “Dance Of The Demons”
06. “Only Time Will Tell”
07. “Valhalla”

DESOLATION ANGELS

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

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Something did happen for me with VARDIS when they played 'Up The Hammers' some months before 'Headbangers Open Air'. I've never denied the skills and how damn good a guitarist Steve Zodiac is but VARDIS’ music has never really gotten to me before. Not until that sweaty night at the Kyttaro Club that is, that was the doze I needed to get it to sink in. After that I've been looking forward to seeing them. Of course in this occasion too. Both “The Lion's Share” and “Radio Rockers” got stuck since the Athenian show and it was very nice to get a second doze of these now too. But what I was looking forward to even more was the new material released a few months before 'HOA', “Red Eye” is a Blues-y smoker, very potent and I'm actually surprised that I like it so much. Normally, I need more Heavy Metal to get going. So both the title track, “Red Eye” and “Jolly Roger” went down very well. Again, I don't know what the guys from the NWOBHM scene has been eating or drinking these last few years since all have done amazing performances and released very vibrant records. VARDIS can absolutely jump in with that bunch too.

One of the biggest differences as compared to the earlier shows, also referring to the 'Muskelrock' one, was that the band felt tighter here. Especially Joe Clancy had a much better punch and dynamics in his playing. And with that, the rhythm section including him and bass-player Martin Connolly performed with perfection. Old School “Let's Go” was another good one from the set and again I enjoyed the new “Back To School” which closed the set. There's not much to add that to say that VARDIS too really rocked hard this day.

VARDIS setlist:

01. “Move Along”
02. “The Lion's Share”
03. “Radio Rockers”
04. “Red Eye”
05. “Jolly Roger”
06. “Dirty Money”
07. “Where There's Mods There's Rockers”
08. “The Loser”
09. “Let's Go”
10. “If I Were King”
11. “Out Of The Way”
12. “Situation Negative”
13. “Back To School”

VARDIS

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

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I was a bit surprised to see TRESPASS this high up on the bill. Prior to them being announced to play the festival I've virtually only heard the name... Ok, digging in to the band a few of the songs were actually familiar but that's all. Mentioning this to people more educated than me they didn't seem surprised at all with TRESPASS position on the billing.

And it was clear that TRESPASS were right for the spot as soon as the show started. Opening “Jealousy” sounded great; a good live-sound really brought these songs to life. They are good on record too but a bit more power and volume did them good. Also “The Duel” worked fine. Mark Sutcliffe seemed to enjoy himself on stage too but looking at TRESPASS compared to VARDIS and perhaps even more DESOLATION ANGELS' frenzy the show itself left a little more to wish for.

It is the music that counts though and TRESPASS sounded great. The “Bright Lights” EP is a lot softer than its predecessors, all dressed up in the live sound it fitted in perfectly with the rest and sounded awesome. Catchy “Live It Up” was another favorite but it was clear that the set closer “One Of These Days” was the song most people knew and the support for the band rose towards the end of their set.

I can just admit I didn't have full knowledge about TRESPASS and their capacity as a band, they surprised me in a very good way and after seeing them there's no doubt they've deserved their position on the billing.

TRESPASS setlist:

01. “Jealousy”
02. “Be Brave”
03. “The Duel”
04. “Beowulf”
05. “Visionary”
06. “Dragons In The Mist”
07. “Light Smith”
08. “Bright Lights”
09. “Footprints In The Rock”
10. “Live It Up”
11. “Stormchild”
12. “One Of These Days”

TRESPASS

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

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I was quite surprised to see OLIVER/DAWSON SAXON back on the bill. But why not, it worked great the last time and it doesn't matter how many times I hear the SAXON classics live, I never get tired of them. But, last time I had no expectations whatsoever. I was almost expecting something dull and forced but got a complete smack in the face of the band's performance.

And it's not possible to fail when kicking off the set with “Heavy Metal Thunder” followed by “Rock 'n' Roll Gypsy” which was really cool to hear. But I don't know if it was due to my expectations being so high that time or if the band didn't deliver the goods in the same way. It wasn't the same thrill seeing OLIVER/DAWSON SAXON. One should perhaps also consider that last time they played at the best time on the first day, now they were the second to last on the whole festival. It might be so that I was tired at this point and that impacted how I experienced the whole thing.

But definitely, OLIVER/DAWSON SAXON sound great. Vocalist Bri Shaughnessy has the Biff Byford nasal tone in his voice and it works perfectly. He's a great performer also which make the whole thing fun to watch. On the other hand, both Graham Oliver and Steve Dawson fought for their time in the spotlight, not seldom cutting in front of Bri which boosted the crowd. And the garden was boiling at this point, packed out and it's awesome to hear people scream a long to “Motorcycle Man”, “20.000 Ft.” and perhaps most of all “Crusader” which has become a SAXON anthem over the years. One thing that is fascinating though, Paul Quinn is hardly listed anywhere as a guitar-virtuoso but there's actually few that manages to nail “Princess Of The Night” and make it sound right. Here it was more correct and tight I assume but with that it sounded off instead. At least until it kicked off for real, then it worked. So doing it perfect is not always right...

And definitely OLIVER/DAWSON SAXON worked this time too, they are fun to watch and this was an enjoyable hour or so. But, even if they were in and made this history and the songs are immortal, doing the same thing over and over again will reduce them to a cover/tribute band. That would be a shame so I hope they will pick up a few of their own originals moving forward.

OLIVER/DAWSON SAXON setlist:

01. “Heavy Metal Thunder”
02. “Rock 'n' Roll Gypsy”
03. “Strong Arm Of The Law”
04. “747 (Strangers In The Night)”
05. “And The Bands Played On”
06. “Motorcycle Man”
07. “20.000 Ft.”
08. “Crusader”
09. “Denim And Leather”
10. “Wheels Of Steel”
11. “Princess Of The Night”

OLIVER/DAWSON SAXON

Oliver/Dawson Saxon @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Oliver/Dawson Saxon @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Oliver/Dawson Saxon @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Oliver/Dawson Saxon @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Oliver/Dawson Saxon @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Oliver/Dawson Saxon @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Oliver/Dawson Saxon @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Oliver/Dawson Saxon @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Oliver/Dawson Saxon @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Oliver/Dawson Saxon @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Oliver/Dawson Saxon @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Oliver/Dawson Saxon @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Oliver/Dawson Saxon @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Oliver/Dawson Saxon @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Oliver/Dawson Saxon @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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And then there were lights... lots of them though but again the same issue as in the earlier nights. A lot of blue and magenta which basically makes the camera blind... What's wrong with a little white light from the front for the first three songs to allow a few decent pictures at least? Anyway, the DENNER/SHERMANN show was definitely something I was looking forward to even though, it was a bit of a turn-off at 'Metal Magic Festival' a few weeks before 'Headbangers Open Air'. I love the “Satan's Tomb” EP and also the full length “Masters Of Evil” and as a combination this is one of the coolest things that has happened in the Metal world. What's the problem then? I'm used to Sean Peck really killing it, both from a vocal perspective and a show. He sounded fantastic here too but it wasn't the same in-your-face performance that can convince even the most hesitant Metal fan. Also, the last few rounds with MERCYFUL FATE was so tight and intense, much like the record so of course the expectations was set high on Michel Denner and Hank Shermann too. They didn't happen at 'Metal Magic'. It was much better here though but still a bit to go to the perfection I was expecting.

“Angel's Blood”, opening track from the LP sounded very good though, it felt like things fell into place here and then it was good for the rest of the set. “Satan's Tomb” also sounded very good but it was the MERCYFUL FATE tracks people were waiting for. “Black Funeral” worked fine but I prefer “Curse Of The Pharaohs” and “Desecration Of Souls”.

Two more favorites from the album were served in the second half of the set; fantastic and easy to sing along to “Pentagram And The Cross” and the absolute favorite “Escape From Hell”. I love Sean's vocals in this latter; the power he possesses and the tone are just fantastic. So this show was definitely a few steps up from the 'Metal Magic' one but still a bit away from what I expected from the band.

DENNER/SHERMANN setlist:

01. “War Witch”
02. “Angel's Blood”
03. “The Wolf Feeds At Night”
04. “Satan's Tomb”
05. “Black Funeral” (MERCYFUL FATE cover)
06. “Curse Of The Pharaohs” (MERCYFUL FATE cover)
07. “Desecration Of Souls” (MERCYFUL FATE cover)
08. “Pentagram And The Cross”
09. “Son Of Satan”
10. “New Gods”
11. “Escape From Hell”
12. “Evil” (MERCYFUL FATE cover)

DENNER/SHERMANN

Denner/Shermann @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Denner/Shermann @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Denner/Shermann @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Denner/Shermann @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Denner/Shermann @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Denner/Shermann @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Denner/Shermann @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Denner/Shermann @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Denner/Shermann @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Denner/Shermann @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Denner/Shermann @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Denner/Shermann @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Denner/Shermann @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Denner/Shermann @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Denner/Shermann @ The Garden, Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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I think this was the best solution ever really. I love the old school RAGE stuff and it feels like they've found new inspiration after Victor Smolski left and started to play real Heavy Metal again and with that I don't want to see the new version of the band go. So this, a combination of new and old, under different monikers must be the best solution ever. Everyone knows what they get, no confusion and RAGE can focus on new stuff while REFUGE dig up the old gold.

RAGE was first out and as I said, I'm really happy with the new version of the band. Peavey Wagner looks very satisfied to have the energized bunny Marcos Rodríguez running around on stage. His playing is flawless too but in comparison with Victor, at least towards the end of his time in RAGE, he seems to have so much fun doing this and is doing it with a true Heavy Metal attitude. Brand new “The Devil Strikes Again” opened the set and it sounded awesome and then the hits took over. Fantastic “Until I Die” from “Black In Mind” followed by even more awesome “End Of All Days” and “Days Of December”. I love the melancholy and desperation in the latter of the two. Peavey's characteristic voice works so well with the more emotional stuff.

It all sounded awesome and I was rather surprised that I wasn't tired at all halfway through the RAGE set so it must have been really good.

RAGE setlist:

01. “The Devil Strikes Again”
02. “Until I Die”
03. “End Of All Days”
04. “Days Of December”
05. “Back In Time”
06. “Spirit Of The Night”

RAGE

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

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The REFUGE set took everything up a notch and it's fun when all can join in, Marcos stayed on guitar and Vassilios “Lucky” Maniatopoulos got some percussion drums to play with when leaving the drumsticks to Christos Efthimiadis and then it took off. I actually didn't think I would enjoy hearing these songs as much as I did. I love it and have followed RAGE since I bought “Perfect Man” back in the late 80's and it's certainly many of these I haven't heard live before. “The Missing Link” crushed everything. RAGE had a good crowd but now it was furious and it got even worse when REFUGE kicked off “Solitary Man”. Two of my absolute favorites were “Power And Greed” and “Enough Is Enough”, easy to sing along to, one rather mean and the other very happy. It worked perfectly. It was also great to see Manni Schmidt again, he's a fantastic guitarist and seemed to have a lot of fun together with Marcos, making faces and posing together.

That it would be a massive choir at “Don't Fear The Winter” there was no doubt about, another fantastic track that I never get tired of. And that was the end of the main set. The traditional singing to “Higher Than The Sky” worked out great too. I guess more people felt the same as me after this awesome show; I could have taken another hour of it even if I was dead tired before it all started. It was awesome to hear people singing which made this a perfect ending of an amazing festival. It felt a bit sad it was over actually but as a comfort the tickets for next year were purchased to make sure I won't miss it.

There were a lot of good bands playing, BONFIRE was the biggest surprise. I never expected to enjoy it as much as I did. Another very pleasant surprise was THE DEEP that rocked very hard. And of course, the REFUGE show was a killer but my favorites this year was still SALEM.

REFUGE setlist:

01. “Shame On You”
02. “The Missing Link”
03. “The Body Talks”
04. “Solitary Man”
05. “Nevermore”
06. “Power And Greed”
07. “Enough Is Enough”
08. “Firestorm”
09. “Invisible Horizons”
10. “Refuge”
11. “Don’t Fear The Winter”
12. “Higher Than The Sky”

REFUGE

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

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