Monday, 21 November 2011

Give The Dog A Bone

With November coming to an end shortly and the first of the summer festivals in Europe not happening for at least 6 months (I’m not sure if there is one in May or not), it makes perfect sense for me to post a blog about the topic. I am going to cover two specifically – Wacken and Download. I haven’t spoken much about Wacken since they announced the first 7 bands at the festival. The festival has been steadily announcing bands since then and we know a fair amount of the line up now. For sake of ease, I am going to go through each band that has been confirmed A-Z.

Amon Amarth – This is a band I’ve wanted to see for quite a long time. I’ve had a ticket to see them headline in London which I then couldn’t make. I also had a ticket to see them support Children of Bodom but I couldn’t make that gig either. They haven’t played a festival I have been to either but they were announced for Wacken 2009 which I had a ticket for but ended up selling it (on reflection, I really regret that decision). I am looking forward to seeing them.

Axel Rudi Pell – They were announced for Wacken 2008 but had to pull out. I remember thinking that was a bad thing. On reflection, they seem like they could be worth a watch (assuming they don’t pull out again).

Coroner – I don’t know much about Coroner but they seem like they are worth a watch. They appear to be a pretty decent thrash band.

Cradle of Filth – They are a band I’ve been aware of for some time now but never seen live (even when they played Portsmouth – dropped the ball on that one). Anyway, if there is no clash I will give them a watch.

Danko Jones (Spoken Word) – I would like to see Danko Jones at a festival some time, but I don’t see me watching him do spoken word for a number of reasons. The main one being it will likely be in German.

Dark Funeral – No ta. They, like Mayhem, are not for me. Granted, if there is nothing else on I may as well watch them, but as they will likely be on the Black stage, there will be something on the Party stage!

Dimmu Borgir – Well, I am massively in favour of seeing Dimmu Borgir at Wacken. They used pyro on the smallest stage at Rock AM Ring, so I can’t imagine what they will do on a big festival stage. Oh, and they will also have an orchestra with them, so that should be fun.

Endstille – See Dark Funeral entry.

Forbidden – They seem like they could be worth a watch. Another thrash band that seem pretty good but truth be told would likely lose a clash against another band I wanted to see.

Gamma Ray – Definitely got to see Gamma Ray. They seem really good. Thanks to Wacken I’m a lot more receptive to Power Metal, part of the reason why I must try and see Gamma Ray

HammerFall – See above really! I was really happy to see these as a part of the first announcement.

Henry Rollins – Every time I’ve seen Henry Rollins, it has been really good. I will do all I can to catch him, but I am concerned that he also will do his sets in German. I don’t even know if he can speak German, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he can.

In Extremo – These have to be seen! I don’t know much by them but what I’m listening to now has folk, metal and industrial elements. Sounds like it should be good!

Machine Head – I am actually looking forward to seeing Machine Head. I haven’t seen them since 2009 and since then they have released a new album so if nothing else, at least the set list will be different. The new album is alright as well, which helps matters.

Ministry – I had a ticket for the CuLatour which I thought would be the final chance to see them. I had a ticket for the last UK date on that tour as well. I couldn’t make the gig so I assumed that was it and I wouldn’t get to see them again. Al Jourgensen seemed fairly adamant at the time that Ministry were done. So to see them announced for Wacken is amazing. I will definitely have to watch them.

Moonspell – This band seem pretty good. Fairly gothic and doom-y (I accept that isn’t a word). Shall give them a watch

Napalm Death – I have to be honest, I couldn’t have given two shits about this band when they were announced for Wacken. However since I saw the vocalist appear with Volbeat on stage in London, I have been a lot more receptive to them. They shall have to be watched.

Opeth – The latest announcement for the festival and it is certainly a strong one. They played Sonisphere this year but I missed them due to a clash. I last saw them supporting Dream Theater and they were really good. I will give them a watch.

Paradise Lost – I really like this band and think the album Draconian Times is stunning. I saw them do a short set at Sonisphere 2009 which I enjoyed, so I am looking forward to seeing them do a full set at Wacken.

Saturnian – They are from the UK! That’s all I have on that one

Scorpions – This is going to be superb - Scorpions closing out Wacken 2012 with a best of set. I am really looking forward to see them

Sick Of It All – Epic announcement this is! Saw them at Sonisphere 2010 and rated them a 10. Definitely going to see them again.

Six Feet Under – I don’t know anything by them. All I know is the vocalist is the original one from Cannibal Corpse (the one who provided the vocals for such family favourites as I Cum Blood and Entrails Ripped from a Virgins Cunt). Might give them a watch.

U.D.O – The vocalist from U.D.O appeared during Skyline’s set at Wacken 2011. After that appearance I thought “I’d like to see them” and then they got announced for Wacken 2012. Strange how that happened really!

Volbeat – OH MY A GOD! That was pretty much my response when I saw they had been announced. At the tail end of my Volbeat in London review, I said: “They were outstanding live last night and left me hoping for another UK tour next year (and a Wacken appearance hopefully).” Well, this show is the only European show in 2012, so I get one of my wishes come true. Only European show of 2012 and I will be there, now that is cool!

Watain – I missed them at Sonisphere due to my headache. I was annoyed about this. However, they are at Wacken so that should be good.

Winterfylleth – Nah, not for me.

So that is the round up of all the bands that have been announced so far. I like quite a lot of them and want to see most of them. That’s always a good thing until times are announced and then it is an utter cunt. Oh well, crossing bridges when they arrive and all. Graspop just announced their first lot of bands and aside from Black Sabbath, the announcement is pretty good (BS making it awesome). Aside from the bands that played the last Wacken festival and the ones who are booked for the next one, I hope Lamb of God, Sacred Reich and Obituary get announced for Wacken.

Changing countries and festivals now, let’s head back to the UK to Donington Park, where a purple looking dog brings music occasionally. There was rumbling about Download getting ready to announce a headliner for their 2012 festival recently and I was excited as I always am. I haven’t spent the weekend at Download since 2007 but I always look at their line up before deciding my summer plans. Anyways, they not only announced one headliner, but over the space of a week, they announced all 3.

My word! That is a good set of headliners! Let’s deal with the major one as far as I am concerned. Metallica at Download is awesome. They are heading back to Donington for the first time since 2006 and like last time, they are playing an album in full. Last time it was Master of Puppets, this time it is Metallica (The Black Album). That is awesome for me as it was that album which got me into Metallica (much like a lot of their fan base I am sure). The main difference though between the two albums is that Master of Puppets has 8 songs on it, while the Black Album has 12. Generally speaking a Metallica set list is 18 songs long, which only leaves 6 songs to cover 8 albums (9 if you include St Anger, but does anyone include St Anger?) Anyway, this is my realistic guess at the set list, assuming of course that they stick to the 18 song set formula and play the album in order, like they did Master of Puppets:

Creeping Death
For Whom The Bell Tolls
Enter Sandman
Sad But True
Holier Than Thou
The Unforgiven
Wherever I May Roam
Don't Tread On Me
Through The Never
Nothing Else Matters
Of Wolf and Man
The God That Failed
My Friend of Misery
The Struggle Within
Master of Puppets
Seek and Destroy

Seek and Destroy seems to be the go-to set closer for the last few years. Despite the fact on the 2011 Big Four tour, whenever they played a Sonisphere festival they didn’t do it that way; I think for this summer vacation tour, it will be that way around. Breadfan is just my guess at the cover song they will do. It could be anything in that spot truth be told. As for the rest of my guesses, the only one which may get cut is For Whom The Bell Tolls but I couldn’t possibly guess what they would swap it with. One thing I love about Metallica is that they aren’t afraid to mix up the set lists and even though this could be the 9th time of seeing them, I would always have seen something I’d never seen live before. Metallica would once again be a must see.

Black Sabbath is one that honestly I can’t decide how excited I am about seeing. The name value makes the announcement genius and it would be impossible for me to say that the original four members of the (arguably) first ever heavy metal band getting back together after a tour is important. But I saw Ozzy Osbourne at Wacken this year who played War Pigs, Iron Man and Paranoid (Black Sabbath wise anyway) which are my favourite songs of theirs. I’ve also seen Heaven and Hell, which was Dio-era Black Sabbath and saw them play the best of the Black Sabbath material they released. I flit between Ozzy-era and Dio-era as my favourite era of Black Sabbath but I believe I’ve seen the best of both worlds. I wouldn’t object to seeing more Black Sabbath material but I feel it would be more of a nostalgia trip seeing Ozzy-led Black Sabbath rather than going to see a band I need to see. I’m not saying that is a bad thing at all.

The Prodigy is an interesting choice of main stage headliner for Download. While I’ve not read any of the stuff, I understand there has been a complete shit storm on the Download Festival Facebook page from people who are desperately trying to cling onto the idea that Download is a metal festival (which is odd as it’s never been a metal festival – rock festival yes). They’ve played Download twice before (2006 and 2009) so it is not as if they or even this genre of music is new to Download. They have also played prominent spots at the festival (headlining the 2nd stage both times they played if memory serves). Them playing again, 3 years after they last played is fair enough. Headlining the main stage is something else. Are they right to headline? In my opinion, yes they are. They have headlined and more recently sub headlined the Reading/Leeds festivals (which I’d say are bigger festivals than Download). They have played high up the bill at Glastonbury and generally attract a fairly high position wherever they play. They are obviously a big enough band to headline Download. People are saying they are not suitable which is obviously nonsense. If they weren’t suitable, then they wouldn’t be playing the festival at all. I for one look forward to seeing them (again, assuming I go) and hope they can recreate something like their set at MK Bowl (I wasn’t there, but I’ve seen videos of it and they looked epic).

So, Download is off to a strong start. I hope to be there for the weekend but will definitely be there for at least one day. And truthfully, if I had to pick one day, it would be Metallica. To see them play The Black Album in full would be amazing. All I know is that festival season is starting to kick into gear and I love it when that happens.

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