Christmas Metal Fest, Day 2 @ Lichtenfels (GER)

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VENOM / IMMORTAL / SIX FEET UNDER / UNLEASHED / GORGOROTH / VADER / PRIMORDIAL / MAERZFELD / SÓLSTAFIR / DEBAUCHERY / WOLFCHANT / VALKYRJA / ENEMY OF DEATH

Date: 26th November, 2011
Venue: Stadthalle Lichtenfels
Ticket: €47.50 per day / 88.50 combi-ticket ($63 / 118)
Promoter: Rock In Concert
Photos: Maria Voutyriadou, Dimitris Kontogeorgakos


DimK: The first day of the festival was great, packed with very good performances for almost all the bands (I have to exclude SEPULTURA) but it was also an exhausting one due to the lack of sleep and the inevitable jetlag. So, there was no other option but to ‘sacrifice’ some band in order to get our batteries charged for another long day, full of extreme Metal this time.

DimK: Day two started saw the METAL KAOZ crew arriving at the venue while SÓLSTAFIR were already onstage. With a killer sound, the band from Iceland created a depressive atmosphere inside the half full venue with the down tempo and most expressional music. SÓLSTAFIR did amazingly well and despite the rather stationary onstage presence, established a connection with the audience who seemed to enjoy Tryggvason’s unique timbre and the almost Psychedelic breeze that covered every one after a while. “Þín Orð” sounded ultra heavy and groovy (great bass work), bringing to mind the prime THE GATHERING works, while “Fjara” was awesome, building the tension via the clean guitar melodies and the vintage echo effect. SÓLSTAFIR closed their set with the pretty atmospheric “Goddess Of The Ages” and the hearty guitar effects that for some reason took me on a dream trip at the frozen Icelandic landscapes. Thanks guys!

SÓLSTAFIR setlist:

01. “Náttfari”
02. “Köld”
03. “Þín Orð”
04. “Melrakkablús”
05. “Fjara”
06. “Goddess Of The Ages”

SÓLSTAFIR

Solstafir @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Solstafir @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Solstafir @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Solstafir @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Solstafir @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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MariaV: MAERZFELD stepped onstage right on time after SÓLSTAFIR’s breath-taking performance and I was pretty curious of how the audience would respond to the Germans’ industrial tunes. You see, the second day of ‘Christmas Metal Festival’ was dedicated mostly to the Black / Death Metal scene, having IMMORTAL and the mighty VENOM under the die-hard fans’ spotlight, so I don’t think that some RAMMSTEIN-esque served ‘dish’ would be an appropriate addition to the billing. However, it’s widely known that the Germans support their country’s bands, so I guess that the audience would greet them with the best way and that was exactly what they did. Of course, another reason for that was the extensive use of pyros and fireworks that usually we don’t see in bands in the lower positions of a festival’s billing. Since MAERZFELD spoke only German (the lyrics are also in their native language too), I wasn’t able to connect with the band’s philosophy, but I have to admit that I enjoyed a lot the whole show that was taking place onstage. The so-the-same look alike of Heli Reißenweber to Till Lindemann’s appearance and the visual and audio similarities with their compatriots RAMMSTEIN were more than obvious and I can’t tell why someone should check this band further than a festival’s set. Although it was quite amusing watching a RAMMSTEIN clone onstage in its motherland with all the pyros and the fascinating show, I still do not get their existence.

MAERZFELD setlist:

01. “Ich Flieg”
02. “Virus (Der Gast)”
03. “Vaterland”
04. “Schwarzer Mann”
05. “Vollkommen”
06. “Erleuchtung”
07. “Hübschlerin”
08. “Tief”
09. “Still”
10. “Lass Ab”

MAERZFELD

Maerzfeld @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Maerzfeld @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Maerzfeld @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Maerzfeld @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Maerzfeld @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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MariaV: After the congenial intermission with MAERZFELD’s performance, it was time for PRIMORDIAL to take the baton and continue the atmospheric mission that SÓLSTAFIR have started a couple of hours ago. Having watched the Irish pagan Metal quintet a couple of times in the past (even though this was my first after the release of the latest “Redemption At The Puritan's Hand”), my expectations were already high and I knew that I was not going to be disappointed. The sincerity and the respect of Alan "Nemtheanga" Averill to the band’s fans is more than obvious every time he steps onstage and the fans seems to know that, wanting to pay it back with their warm applause. Since I hadn’t the chance to watch PRIMORDIAL’s invasion in a festival before, I didn’t know if in that case the audience’s response would be that good, but fortunately the German die-hard fans crushed pretty quick my doubts and when I entered the photo-pit, they already started to cheer up and shout the band’s name, pointing their horns up high, while the stage was almost covered with a white thick smoke, waiting for the band’s most tragic persona to step up and shake us up for good. God, how difficult is to headbang and take pictures at the same time! “No Grave Deep Enough” is one of the most compelling songs this band has ever written and I believe this is the perfect opener for a PRIMORDIAL show.

“Are you ready to sing for the slaves?” Nemtheanga asked and the first tunes of “As Rome Burns” hit merciless our necks. Simon did an excellent job on drums, giving the sign to commence massacre in the first rows and Alan stood as closer to the crowd as he could, with all the trademark poses and the emotional warlike looks on his face. Definitely one of the highlight moment of their 50-minutes show was the hair-rising “The Coffin Ships”, dedicated to SÓLSTAFIR, while an Irish flag was raised in the front rows. Every time this moment comes in a PRIMORDIAL set, I always bet who is going to cry first, me or Alan; the strong sentiment of the lyrics in combination with Alan’s reading is lethal and I’m always end up with tears in my eyes. One to go and the question “are you with us Germany? We are with you” was completely rhetorical when the first notes of “Empires Fall” started to fall like blood upon our heads. One of the amazing things with this band is that even though the music is guitar-based, the bass sound has an exceptional place and live is even more great (well, that’s how things go with a Rickenbacker bass, right?). PRIMORDIAL were totally one of the evening’s winners and I still can’t understand why they hadn’t a higher place in the CMF’s billing. But who cares after all, “Soon to be ruins, the ruins of my past”.

PRIMORDIAL setlist:

01. “No Grave Deep Enough”
02. “As Rome Burns”
03. “Bloodied Yet Unbowed
04. Lain With The Wolf”
05. “The Coffin Ships”
06. “Empire Falls”

PRIMORDIAL

Primordial @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Maria Voutyriadou) Primordial @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Maria Voutyriadou) Primordial @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Maria Voutyriadou) Primordial @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Maria Voutyriadou) Primordial @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Maria Voutyriadou)

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DimK: The second day of the festival was a tribute to the extreme sound and it seemed that the billing was organized in terms of aggression. So, after the killer performance by PRIMORDIAL, it was time for some Polish Death/Black Metal served in the VADER way. It is amazing how solid all the Polish bands from this genre look and sound onstage. As the band entered the stage with “Return To The Morbid Reich”, there was literally no room to breathe. The aggressive vocals and the excellent guitar leads took the venue by storm and the audience responded with violent headbanging while the first crowd surfers made the security guys’ life pretty difficult. There was no time to waste in talking so VADER hit the selist like a machine gun, only stopping when it was necessary. Music-wise this was good since VADER packed as many songs as possible to the time given, but at the same time made them look kind of disconnected with their fans. Come And See My Sacrifice” was granite solid with the trademark guitar distortion and the mid tempo intro and the growls from Hades by Peter who made me think of the early DEATH albums. During this “slower” track, I got the chance to watch the way Spider, on the right side of the stage, was delivering the guitar leads with ease giving the impression that he has been with VADER for a long time. This was ‘Christmass Metal Festival’ so “Helleluyah!!! (God Is Dead)” was the fitting song to celebrate the occasion and an extremely violent way to put the end to the VADER regular set. This track sounded brutal and blasphemous as it should paying respect to the Polish Death / Black tradition who keeps feeding the scene with great bands. Of course, the band returned and blasted our ears with the fast and brutal (love the drum pedaling here) “This Is The War” and literally there was war inside the venue. VADER closed their show with the killer cover on SLAYER’s "Raining Blood" that depleted most of our energy preserves.

VADER setlist:

01. “Return To The Morbid Reich”
02. “Sothis”
03. “Devilizer”
04. “Never Say My Name”
05. “Come And See My Sacrifice”
06. “Black Velvet And Skulls Of Steel”
07. “Wings”
08. “Carnal”
09. “I Am Who Feasts Upon Your Soul”
10. “The Wrath”
11. “Decapitated Saints”
12. “Kingdom”
13. “Silent Empire”
14. “Cold Demons”
15. “Helleluyah!!! (God Is Dead)”
16. “This Is The War”
17. “Lead Us”
18. “Raining Blood” (SLAYER cover)

VADER

Vader @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vader @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vader @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vader @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Vader @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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MariaV: Lots of thick smoke covered the big stage of CMF when the obscure tunes of “Bergtrollets Hevn” violated Stadthalle who seemed to be well-prepared for some unholy Black Metal ala the traditional (Norwegian) way. And then, they were in front of us, the white-corpse-painted GORGOROTH, that the icy white lights made even colder the atmosphere inside the hall and the tons of nails they were wearing made things more dynamic. The first blast beats didn’t take too long to put the entire venue on fire which seemed to be thirsty for some unholy melodies, praising with every way the Satan Himself. I haven’t watched a GORGOROTH show in the past, so I have to admit that it was quite an impressive experience, watching these guys going up and down the stage (especially Pest who literally spit the lyrics), while the rest of the band kept the original positions onstage, making some trademark Black Metal oriented grimaces.

“I have a question for you”, said Pest before “Prayer”; “are there any Satanists here tonight?”, and the entire Stadthalle screamed “yeah”. Hmm, that’s why the second day of CMF was dedicated to Black Metal, serving us some of the crème de la crème of this scene. So, GORGOROTH did no discounts to their show and treated us with some old school songs that everyone seemed to know the lyrics. The following blue lights gave a more avant-garde tone in the already icy atmosphere and “Katharinas Bortgang” slaughtered our necks, while the vocals fell like rain of nails in our ears. “Revelation Of Doom” and “Satan-Prometheus” were some of the highlight moments of the GORGOROTH set that became more and more difficult to watch because of the too much artificial smoke, following the Black Metal tradition to the letter. A decent performance for one of the historical bands of this scene. I only wished they’d play more old stuff...

GORGOROTH setlist:

01. “Bergtrollets Hevn”
02. “Aneuthanasia”
03. “Prayer”
04. “Katharinas Bortgang”
05. “Revelation Of Doom”
06. “Forces Of Satan Storms”
07. “The Rite Of Infernal Invocation”
08. “Odeleggelse Og Undergang” / “Blood Stains The Circle”
09. “Satan-Prometheus”
10. “Destroyer” / “Incipit Satan”
11. “Krig”
12. “Profetens Åpenbaring”
13. “Unchain My Heart!!!”

GORGOROTH

Gorgoroth @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Gorgoroth @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Gorgoroth @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Gorgoroth @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Gorgoroth @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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DimK: There was no time to rest that night in Lichtenfels and after the Black Metal assault by GORGOROTH, it was time to go north and meet some Vikings under the sounds of UNLEASHED and their Death Metal. After the nice intro, the Swedes showed up onstage and kicked in with the fast and obviously brutal “Blood Of Lies”. There was mayhem in the front rows and it seemed that nothing changed after the chaos created by GORGOROTH. “Are you ready Lichtenfels?” rhetorically asked Johnny Hedlund just before “This Is Our World Now” and the amazing almost Thrash headbanging galloping rhythm. It is true that the band looked rather stationery onstage but I guess playing that aggressive its toll. On the other hand, no one seemed to care about the visual aspect of UNLEASHED since there was a lot of commotion and pretty soon there were bodies “flying”, following the crowd surfing tradition. I have to comment on the stage lights that seemed rather out of focus, leaving the band members in the dark and making the photographers duty rather heavy, but who cared? One thing that I did not like in the Swedes’ set was the longer than usual breaks between songs that took out some of the momentum built. And to make things worse an amp problem caused an awkward break during which Johnny Hedlund did know what to do to fill the gap. Come on, you should be prepared for shit like that...

Nevertheless, the setlist was solid and to satisfy the old-school fans (there are always older fans who like the first albums) the band threw into the mix “Into Glory Ride” and “Before The Creation Of Time” from the debut full length album, giving a grand ending to a very good but stationary show.

UNLEASHED setlist:

01. “Blood Of Lies”
02. “This Is Our World Now”
03. “Your Children Will Burn”
04. “This Time We Fight”
05. “Wir Kapitulieren Niemals”
06. “Shadows In The Deep”
07. In Victory Or Defeat”
08. “Into Glory Ride”
09. Midvinterblot
10. “Hammer Battalion”
11. “Execute Them All”
12. “Before The Creation Of Time”

UNLEASHED

Unleashed @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Unleashed @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Unleashed @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Unleashed @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Unleashed @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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DimK: There was no time to rest since SIX FEET UNDER were next on the billing and I am sure no one had planned to take a break. The front rows looked packed and absolutely ready to welcome the US Death / Grind masters who I have to say they have disappointed me with their last covers album. So, without further ado SFU (as the crowd was calling them) entered the stage with “Silent Violence” and there was panic in the front rows almost immediately. The US band did not hold back in terms of aggression with Barnes in the leading role waiving his rasta-hair whipping the floor like there was no tomorrow. The crowd-surfing commenced during the second song and there were people ‘flying’ all around as SIX FEET UNDER took no prisoners backed up with a solid sound. I am sure many lost some hearing decibels during the high pitched Grindcore screams by Mr Barnes who deployed his full vocal arsenal. In one of the short in-between songs pauses he added “It’s really great being here seeing you crazy motherfuckers since back in my country things do not look good” and I couldn’t agree more, since nowadays metalheads in the US should be considered as threatened species.

SIX FEET UNDER setlist:

01. “Silent Violence”
02. “Human Target”
03. “The Enemy Inside”
04. “The Day The Dead Walked”
05. “Victim Of The Paranoid”
06. “Suffering In Ecstasy”
07. “Animal Instinct”
08. “Murdered In The Basement”
09. “Shadow Of The Reaper”
10. “Deathklaat”
11. “Torn To The Bone”
12. “Hammer Smashed Face”

SIX FEET UNDER

Six Feet Under @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Six Feet Under @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Six Feet Under @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Six Feet Under @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Six Feet Under @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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MariaV: Almost 12 years have passed since the last time I watched IMMORTAL live and I was quite excited about watching this unholy trio on the German ground and especially in an indoor show. Norway’s pride, IMMORTAL are a bit of an anomaly in the Black Metal scene for many reasons, but the biggest separating factor from their counterparts is IMMORTAL’s injection of fun into an otherwise quite literally deadly serious genre. So, a couple of minutes after 10:30pm, the three warlike Black metallers stepped onstage ready to give some fun to the die-hard Blackheads, bringing lots of goods, while the thick smoke covered everything, making the thirsty crowd’s life difficult, since the visibility has been reduced enough. After few seconds things got clearer and Abbath’s known figure appeared in front of almost 2500 faces that were prepared for an energetic with lots of theatrics onstage set.

Geared up in full armor and corpse paint, Abbath, Apollyon and Horgh have a real dynamic and baronial stage presence, a really crystal clear sound as their ally and put on an immensely entertaining show with lots of pyros and fireworks that the Black metallers inside the venue enjoyed a lot. You see, the warmness of the pyros made the perfect conflict with the band’s icy-cold character, while Abbath provoked thousands times the crowd to be active and ready to get the heads banging. The thing I really don’t get in shows like IMMORTAL’s since today is why the heck the female fans are more active and ‘fighting’ than the male ones. Well, nature’s secrets that apparently I’ll never be able to understand...

Abbath continued to communicate and be interactive with the front rows during their entire 90-minutes set and his trademark Black Metal poses plus his grim smile while the photographers were going to take a picture of him spoke by itself. Since good riffs are the bread and butter for this band, the highlights are simply too numerous to be mentioned in full, but a number of songs stood out, including “Sons Of Northern Darkness”, “In My Kingdom Cold”, “Norden On Fire” and the closing “The Sun No Longer Rises” that left the audience way happy and exhausted. Surely, IMMORTAL did not disappoint anyone that night, serving their frosty atmosphere way successfully and demonstrated why they are considered to be one of the foremost Norwegian Black Metal acts till nowadays. It was a highly entertaining show and the only unfair thing was that the audience couldn’t physically afford VENOM’s ‘wrath’ that was about to come right afterwards.

IMMORTAL setlist:

01. “Triumph”
02. “Sons Of Northern Darkness”
03. “Call Of The Wintermoon”
04. “In My Kingdom Cold”
05. “Tyrants”
06. “The Rise Of Darkness”
07. “Damned In Black”
08. “Norden On Fire”
00. “One By One”
10. “Against The Tide (In The…)”
11. “Withstand The Fall Of Time”
12. “The Sun No Longer Rises”

IMMORTAL

Immortal @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Immortal @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Immortal @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Immortal @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Immortal @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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DimK: The accumulated fatigue was at the verge to knock us down but thanks Satan, it was VENOM’s turn. It was time to watch onstage the reason METAL KAOZ took the decision to spend the Thanksgiving holidays many miles away from base camp. So, without hesitating a bit we made our way to the front rows, getting ready to open all the gates Hell!

The additional 20 minutes we had to wait became right history as soon as the lights were turned off and the trademark intro filled the arena: “Ladies and Gentlemen from the very depths of Hell, VENOMand boom, the British legends showed up as the hair-raising intro of “Black Metal” froze the moment and took my mind more than 15 years ago when I first watched VENOM onstage back in Greece. Cronos looked ageless and served us with his trademark poses that have been part of his onstage ritual from the very beginning. The sound was loud and pretty raw, being the perfect match to the legendary VENOM who were fueled by the amount of energy many young bands don’t even dream of having. Ok, this was not the original lineup, but on the other hand how original VENOM felt without Cronos behind the mic? It is also kind of strange watching him past his prime days being that energetic onstage. On top of that, his performance on the bass was stellar and I think this show should be part of an instructional DVD to show to future (and maybe to some old ones who think they know what they are doing) bassists how the work is done! It is not an exaggeration to say that only Cronos and Lemmy treat the bass like a guitar.

But that was not all; Rage managed to overcome his initial stage-fright and nailed all the guitar parts by also adding some moves of his own. Dante was great behind the drums and I should say that VENOM have found the perfect (or even better) replacement for Abaddon mainly due to his classic background and performing technique.

After the ultra heavy and fast (this is how Thrash / Speed Metal was born) “Black Metal”, VENOM continued with a medley from Hell. Taking into account the long festival billing and the time that was past 01:00am, there were no much time to do a full blown setlist, so that choice seemed the best one. But don’t think for a moment that doing these medleys felt like holding back; on the contrary, it was a powerful blow in the face with many surprises. I mean “Calm Before The Storm” and “Krakin' Up”? Come on, I didn’t see those coming and so I was blown away. VENOM is not a band that likes playing it safe and sticking to the hit songs. So, they pretty much covered all the Cronos fronted albums for the delight of all the die-hard fans. “Evil One” was absolutely amazing with the granite heavy groove and the trademark screams and growls coming from a great album (featuring the original lineup). This was a long day and the German audience had not done their economics when it came to the non-stop beer drinking or to the moshing during the previous sets (SIX FEET UNDER and the GORGOROTH / VADER package), so their less energetic response than it should looked kind of expected. On the other hand, the fans should keep a drinking / resting schedule in long festivals like this one and not losing the headliners by lying unconscious on the ground.

“Have you bootlegged the new album yet?” asked Cronos with his hands crossed in front of his chest in his most characteristic onstage pose as VENOM were about to give a taste from the upcoming album. So, a short drum intro opened for “Hammerhead” during which Rage looked more confident and relaxed. After another grunt by Cronos the song exploded with a mid tempo headbanging groove and a addictive chorus “a race towards your goal Black Metal’s in your soul Hammerheaaaaaaaaaaaad”. It is true that IMMORTAL did put a great pyro show and I was expecting something more from my favorite band, but after the first 15 minutes I realized that a couple of fires or some artificial smoke cannot make a great show. And in this part VENOM did absolutely fantastic regardless of the tired reaction of the drunken and exhausted Germans. The next two medleys were even greater and were embedded in “Possessed” and “At War With Satan”. Using those two tracks in the beginning and the end, the British band delivered heart collection of songs from the first four albums. No one stood still during the massive guitar melody of “Countess Bathory” while I am sure that Hell woke up with “7th Gates Of Hell”. But the hair-rising moment was the intro of “At War With Satan”. The spotlights were focused on Pazuzu’s figure (coming from the new VENOM single) as the spoken words filled the arena and made Satan shit himself as the bass driving doodle and the accompanying guitar chords commenced the war with him. Absolutely fantastic! And then it was time for one of the greatest Thrash riffs in the history of Metal; yep, it was time for “Rip Ride” which marked the time for ferocious headbanging and scream-your-lungs-out singing: “The master switch is set, and we must guard the only key, Rip Ride”.

“If you don’t know the next one then you might as well get the fuck out” added Cronos and the trademark drum intro of “Warhead” was next. I really loved the short pause just before the chorus line and it was great listening to the audience screaming “Warhead” waking all of those who had more beer than blood running in their veins. “Maybe there are some in the back complaining about not hearing “Bloodlust” or other old songs but the truth is that we do have a new album” added Cronos addressing to all those true metalheads who are saying “I like their first albums” whining about every new album... so, “Pedal To The Metal” blew the socks out of our feet, giving them a fitting answer: “don’t need no provocation, my instincts high on fire, the final destination will be the place where I’ll die, Pedal to the Metal”, hell yeah, this one is for you!

Without even understanding how the time was well past 2:00am as the band returned for the second encore (the first was with “Pedal To The Metal”) and served us with “In League With Satan” and “Witching Hour”. That was an amazing outro with two personal favorites of mine. In fact, the latter one is the definition of Thrash and it’s surprise that many bands have recorded cover versions. Cronos ripped his shirt off and pushed the energy levels a little more, proving that if you love what you are doing, then the age does not really matter. While driving straight to the airport, Cronos’ last words echoed inside my mind: “We will return” and made me think without hesitating “And we will be at the front rows again”.

Kings of Metal... my ass... These are the Kings Of Hell!

VENOM selist:

01. “Black Metal”
02. “Straight To Hell” / “Welcome To Hell” / “Calm Before The Storm” / “Krakin' Up” / “Resurrection” / “Evil One”
03. “Hammerhead”
04. “Possessed” / “Countess Bathory” / “7th Gates Of Hell” / “Possessed”
05. “At War With Satan” / “Too Loud For The Crowd” / “Nightmare” / “Rip Ride” / “At War With Satan”
06. “Warhead”
07. “Metal Black”
08. “Pedal To The Metal”
09. “In League With Satan”
10. “Witching Hour”

VENOM

Venom @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Venom @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Venom @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Venom @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Venom @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Venom @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Venom @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Venom @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Venom @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Venom @ Stadthalle Lichtenfels (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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This was a well organized festival (following the German tradition), so there is not much to complain about; well, maybe a little complain about the strobe lights that were placed way close to the front rows, making it a kind of torture when they were on. Nevertheless, the timetable was followed, the sound and the stage lights were great, while the amenities offered (drink/eat/toilets) were at the level they should be in a festival that hosts more than 1000 people. It will sound strange but maybe a shorted billing would be more appropriate, giving the chance to the audience to enjoy the headliners as it should. Since getting onstage in the am hours can be tough for the fans left with no energy (have in mind that a really brave amount of alcohol is consumed from the am hours), but also for the bands that do not get the expected response. Also, as a non-smoking team we would like to mention it is about time for metalheads to show some respect to all the non-smoking ones who don’t have to deal with their air pollution.

Regarding the bands’ appearance, we would say that VENOM have absolutely justified the title of the fest’s headliners and among with IMMORTAL and PRIMORDIAL were some of the best shows of this year’s CMF. On the other hand, we weren’t that satisfied from HAMMERFALL’s and SEPULTURA’s sets that seemed to leave quite happy the majority of the German fest’s attendees. Well, it’s all about taste after all...

The conclusion is that ‘Christmas Metal Festival’ met and even more our expectations; METAL KAOZ had an absolutely great time in Lichtenfels and no matter the fatigue and the hour difference between Europe and the States where the headquarters of our webzine are, we’ll definitely do it again. So, ‘Christmas Metal Festival’, see you next year! Happy Metal holidays to all the metalheads out there!