Saturday, 20 April 2013

Download 2013 - Almost Full

Download Festival 2013

About a month ago, one of the last batches of bands to be announced for Download was revealed. This essentially means (as far as I can tell at least) the top 3 stages are very close to being full. I think there is a competition slot still open on the 3rd stage on the Saturday and possibly one more band to be added on the Sunday. It essentially depends if they will have the headlining band on the 3rd stage finish at 21.30 or not. If they do, the times are the same as last year (and the amount of bands playing). If there is one extra then they could be anywhere on that day. According to a Facebook group dedicated to The Wildhearts, they were offered the slot of 3rd stage headliner (or at least, playing while Rammstein were on) and they turned it down. That to me is a damn shame and a real shock they’d be offered that slot. I figured they’d be fairly high up on 2nd stage if they played. Still, could be a good indicator where The Wildhearts might play next year if they are still touring then. Anyway, there could be 1 or 2 more bands for the third stage for Download. The whole acoustic stage needs to be announced and there will likely be a few more added to the Red Bull stage so there will be another announcement (which I imagine will be in May). The latest announcement had 17 bands in it and they were:

Black Stone Cherry (2ND Stage Headliner) – BSC are a cracking announcement for Download as far as I am concerned. I think I am going to watch them and catch the end of Slipknot. I was very happy when I heard they were the 2nd stage headliner (as opposed to some of the rumours I heard).

Satyricon (3rd Stage Headliner) – Spotify says a similar artist to Satyricon is Mayhem, but that cannot be right as Mayhem are shite and Satyricon aren’t. Anyway, I quite like this choice of band for 3rd stage headliner – so much so that if I can see a bit of them and most of Rammstein, I will!

Chthonic – I quite like what I have heard of this band; however I think they will clash with Jimmy Eat World and QOTSA. Considering that is a nasty enough clash, they don’t stand a chance unfortunately.

Dragonforce – I’m very happy with this announcement. I sacked off their Portsmouth gig last year which I’ve since been told was a massive error as they were genius. Oh well – live and learn I guess. They are also not clashing with anyone important so I shall watch them I imagine.

Fearless Vampire Killers – I haven’t heard much by them but they don’t do a great deal for me.

Fidlar – They remind me of a more punky version of The Strokes actually with some of their material. They’re alright, but I probably won’t be watching them.

Ghost – 3rd year in a row for Ghost. They’re becoming the new Bullet For My Valentine. Unless they are going to be like Skyline for Wacken – Download’s house band. Anyway, Ghost are alright but I am yet to see them live. Might try and change that this year but depends who they clash with.

Hammer of the Gods – They are certainly interesting. I quite like the music but the vocals don’t do a whole lot for me. To be fair, it sounds as though the EP they have online could be produced better. It sounds like it has been recorded in a toilet cubicle.

Idiom – I have it in my memory banks somewhere that I’ve seen Idiom support Skindred before. Anyway, if it was Idiom, they were alright. If it wasn’t, then I have no idea about Idiom. I could do more research, but I’m not going to.

Krokodil – This band will be making their debut I think at Download. They are a super group made up of members of Sikth, Johnny Truant, Cry For Silence, Gallows and Hexes. Now, I don’t wish to be mean, but is that a super group? I’m not sure...

Little Caesar – Little Caesar have nothing on Spotify, and therefore I cannot tell you what they are like. Sure, I could go chase them down but chances are I’m not going to be able to see them anyway so you know - the hell with it!

Masters of Reality – Now this right here is a quality band. I like them quite a bit and will try to see them if there is not a nasty clash.

Palm Reader – See Little Caeser

Patent Pending – Sounds like this band were created to write songs for teenage comedies such as American Pie. In all seriousness, they are alright.

Red, White and Blues – Back again for I think their 3rd year in a row, but last year shouldn’t count as they had a super short set due to the weather issues with the arena. They also played to no fans at one point. That had to suck. They however do not suck. They are a pretty good band.

Rival Sons – I saw this band support Black Stone Cherry. They were pretty good. That’s all I have on that one.

Voodoo Six – According to my list of bands that I’ve seen live, I’ve seen them before. I don’t remember when, which is awkward. They may have been the main support to Edguy. That’s a possible. Anyway, I’m sure they are good live and if I can catch them, I will.

So that is it for this Download announcement. It is a surprisingly good announcement considering how full the line up is. I’m very pleased with the 2nd stage headliner choice. I am now, much like with Wacken, awaiting stage times. Then I will really know exactly who I am seeing at Download.

Wacken Open Air 2013 - Preview

It transpires that I haven’t blogged about how the Wacken Open Air 2013 festival is shaping up since my early days preview from October. I had it in my mind that I wrote a blog with a small entry every day about the Christmas announcements but if I did, I didn’t post it. Anyway, this blog will preview every band announced thus far for Wacken 2013 excluding those that I previewed in the October blog. If you wish to read that blog, you can do by clicking the link above. The only thing worth noting about the October blog is that in the list of bands is Arch Enemy. Well, unfortunately they have had to pull out. I should stress with things like this, and with reviews, it is all my own opinion. I might dislike a band that thousands of others love (Job For A Cowboy for example) but when I say a band is bad, it is not because they can’t play a song, it is because they don’t do anything for me. Without further stalling for time (which is an odd concept for a blog), let’s look at the bands announced (in alphabetical order).

9MM – Their full name is Rock Rotten’s 9mm Assi Rock’n’Roll but on the festival website, they are first, so they will be first here. Anyway, I don’t know how to describe their sound other than hard rock/metal. I wouldn’t rush to put them in a sub-category of metal. I do like what I’ve heard of them and given the chance, I will see them.

AGNOSTIC FRONT – Punk rock at its finest. Well, perhaps not its finest but Agnostic Front are pretty damn good. I like this booking.

ALESTORM – I really like Alestorm and I think they are a superb live band. The second time I saw them live was at Wacken 2008 (I remember that set more for being kicked in the head admittedly, but they were good). Since that set I’ve seen them a couple of
 times and will likely see them again at Wacken if the time allows. I do think they should play their Wurzels cover “I Am A Cider Drinker” live though, as it is just brilliant.

ALICE COOPER – One of the big announcements during the Xmas calendar. Seen Alice Cooper twice and both times have been ace. I can’t imagine me not seeing him and his band again this time around.

ALPHA TIGER – I’ve seen this band described as a mixture of thrash and power metal. All I will say is that I think they are good. All so positive so far this blog...

AN APPLE A DAY – Ok well this is the first band on the list (that I haven’t already reviewed) that I don’t like. They are the Metal Battle winner from Luxembourg and frankly, Luxembourg has a lot to answer for! They are like a slightly better version of Job For A Cowboy. I don’t like JFAC, and I don’t like An Apple A Day if I’m honest.

AS I LAY DYING – And we’re back with another good band. Seen them twice out of the 3 Wacken’s I’ve been to and both sets have been excellent. I suspect they’ll get another hour set on one of the main stages again and I suspect that unless something else I must see is on, that I will watch them again.

BENIGHTED – Not really a fan of what I’ve heard from them. It took me a while to get to that stage (I waivered quite a bit on whether I like them or not). Having not listened for about 4 months and just going back to it, I would have to say no.

BLAAS OF GLORY – They seem to play every year now, and they walk around the grounds playing metal songs in the form of a marching band. It’s cool when you see it, but I won’t be going out of my way to look for them.

BLACK MESSIAH – Symphonic black metal is probably my favourite type of black metal (stuff like Mayhem just does not appeal to me). Throw in some Viking metal as well and you have Black Messiah. I really like what I’ve heard.

BULL-RIFF STAMPEDE – I honestly don’t remember this band being announced. They are the Metal Battle winners from the United Kingdom. I’ve just gone back to it and they seem to be a reasonable thrash band. I can hear all sorts of vocal styles to go along with the thrash though which is quite interesting. As they are the local lands (in context), I may have to try and watch them. I did that with Achren and somewhat enjoyed them!

BULLET – According to their bio, they are a one hit wonder rock band from the USA. I like what I’ve heard of their stuff including what I assume is their hit, Bite The Bullet. They could be worth a watch.

CALLEJON – Spotify is an odd program at times. They have in the related artists list a bunch of bands that are all very different from one another. Maybe this is all the ground Callejon cover? Anyway, they are pretty damn good.

CHROME MOLLY – Nothing wrong with a bit of hard rock/glam rock up in the mix. Actually this band is quite good. A similar artist to them according to Spotify is Crashdiet, who I don’t really care for, but this band is good.

COPPELIUS – A metal band with a twist, the band is made up of a drummer, someone who plays double bass, someone who plays cello and someone who plays clarinet. While this is a unique twist on the concept of a band, I doubt I’ll be watching them.

CORVUS CORAX – This is the band that I thought were so bad in 2008, that I left the arena and missed Avantasia. So frankly, I’m still a tad bitter with them. Also, I won’t be watching them as I’m not a fan. I see them as a late night band for all the German’s that want to stay up and watch folk metal. This band does nothing for me, and just brings up bad memories to be honest.  

CREMATORY – I guess the best way to describe this band (other than a touch boring) is a goth band. There seems to be some black metal up in there but I’m not sure. I know I’m not a fan of it, regardless.

DANZIG – Danzig is doing a Misfits set. I guess this could be a lot of fun. I don’t know a lot by the Misfits and apparently live Danzig can be hit or miss (although apparently even when it’s a bad night at the office for Danzig, he is still miles better than the current incarnation of The Misfits). I’ll likely watch him I imagine.

DEVILDRIVER – Excellent booking as far as I am concerned. I really like their stuff and it has been a long time since I’ve seen them live. I think this is a must see band if I’m honest. I don’t think I’ve seen them since 2007, which is quite shocking for me really considering how much I do like them. I guess part of that has to do with them giving an interview saying they love doing long tours of small clubs, and then becoming more popular and abandoning the long tours of small clubs. Ah well.

DEW-SCENTED – I haven’t heard a great deal by this band, but I do like what I’ve heard. They remind me a fair bit of Trivium actually.

DEZPERADOZ – German Western-Metal at its finest. That is a bit of a backwards compliment as I know of no other band that does that. Anyway, they seem pretty good. Much prefer the material with Tom Angelripper on vocals, but oh well! Maybe as its Wacken, he might make an appearance.

DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER – I like what I’ve heard of this band. Nothing wrong with a bit of German heavy metal every now and then!

DR LIVING DEAD – This band strike me as a good thrash metal band. I’d happily watch them.

DUNDERBIEST – This band are a Norwegian heavy metal band that seem to be pretty good. Spotify suggests they are similar to Animal Alpha. I disagree as they aren’t a bad band.

EAT THE GUN – Another band that I couldn’t remember being announced but they are a fairly enjoyable heavy rock band.

EISBRECHER – They remind me a fair bit of Oomph (and that is no bad thing). Quite like what I’ve heard.

EMERGENCY GATE – Power metal and death metal mixed together shouldn’t work, yet somehow it does and this band seems to pull it off well.  

FAUN – If memory serves, they were announced in the same batch as Corvus Corax. I was not impressed then, and I’m not impressed now.

FEAR FACTORY – Absolutely cracking announcement. Really enjoyed their set at Download last year and I imagine I will watch them again.

FEJD – See Faun.

FEUERSCHWANZ – A slightly more upbeat medieval band, I’m still not sure why medieval bands get booked at Wacken. Oh well.

FOZZY – The worst kept secret in terms of festival announcements. Fozzy teased they would be playing a couple of months before they were announced. I am happy with this announcement and I hope they are on one of the open air stages. Even if they are not, I will do my best to see them.

GRAVE DIGGER – One of the only bands from my October wish list that have confirmed for the festival, so I am pleased to see them on the bill for the festival. I remember listening to them for the first time just after Wacken 2010 (when I was preparing to go to Wacken 2011) and thinking it was a shame I missed out on the 2010 festival. They were one of the reasons I came to that conclusion (I won’t lie, Iron Maiden were the main reason!)

HARDCORE SUPERSTAR – This band are pop-metal/hard glam rock and they are good at what they do. When typing this short blurb about them, I was smacked in the face by the riff in Wild Boys - true story. If I don’t watch them at Download, I will watch them at Wacken.  

HARPYIE – Now this strikes me as folk metal. I like a bit of folk metal so I’m in favour. The female vocals make it stand out in my head against other folk metal bands.

HEAVENS BASEMENT – Seen this band a couple of times and I think they are a damn good young band. I like what I’ve heard. I’m not sure if I’ll get to see them at Wacken, but if I do, I know it’ll be a good set.

HELLRIDE – They are an acoustic metal band by the sounds of things. Remember when Motorhead did Ace of Spades acoustically for that beer advert? Well, if not, they did. That was cool because it was something different. This could be an interesting watch if they don’t clash with anyone.

HENRY ROLLINS – What can I say now that I haven’t said before about Henry Rollins? I personally think the man is a genius. He did two slots at Wacken 2012 so I imagine he’ll do two again for 2013. I will be there to see him.

IMPIUS MUNDI – Medieval/folk metal. They seem alright but the problem with some of this type of music is after a while, I find myself getting bored. There also seems to be a lot more medieval/folk metal at this year’s festival than in years past. I’m not going to try and find out if that is right, it just seems that way.

KAMIKAZE KINGS – They have 90 second previews of two songs up on their Facebook page and it seems alright. Fairly similar to Heaven’s Basement actually.

KARBHOLZ – I am getting a lot of ska-punk vibes from this band and that is no bad thing!

KRYPTOS – Really struggled to remember if I’d ever listened to this band before, I’m guessing not as I don’t remember them being this ace! I am really enjoying the material of theirs I have heard.

LAMB OF GOD – Another absolutely superb announcement as far as I am concerned. Seen them a few times now and they have not disappointed at all. Wasn’t sure if this set would go ahead what with the legal troubles Randy Blythe was facing at the time of the announcement, but they all seem to be in the past now, which is good news for him, for Lamb of God and for this year’s Wacken festival.

LAST IN LINE – Last In Line are the members of Dio that were in the band to record the album Last In Line. Following Dio’s passing, his former band members have created a number of tributes to him, and this is the latest one. They will be performing the album Last In Line in full for their set which I think could be cool. I have concerns because Dio’s voice is somewhat iconic and I don’t see someone being able to do the album justice. I’d love to be wrong though.

LEGION OF THE DAMNED – Another superb sounding thrash band this time hailing from the Netherlands. I would definitely like to catch them if I could.

MAMBO KURT – Mambo plays every year, usually about 4 or 5 times over the course of the weekend. I went to watch some in 2011 and it did nothing for me. Will I give it another go? Probably not.

MANDOWAR – It would be impossible for me to hate this band. They are very similar to Hayseed Dixie in some respects (More acoustic than bluegrass perhaps). I imagine they will be on the beer garden stage, and I imagine they will be a lot of fun.

MESHUGGAH – For the longest time, I confused this band with Dillinger Escape Plan and right now, I really don’t know why. Meshuggah are really good. I was introduced to them via Songpop actually (a game on Facebook) and have looked more into them since then. Based on what I have heard, they are a must see for me.

MOTORHEAD – A solid, reliable booking. They are a decent live band though they are far better at a headline show than at a festival. I’ll likely watch them though. They will have one of the top spots at the festival so it really depends what time they are on.

MUSTASCH – No sub-genre needed, Mustasch are Swedish heavy metal and they are good at what they do. If memory serves, they were the very first band I saw at Wacken 2008 (which was my first one) and I really enjoyed them. I will give them another watch if there is no clash.

NACHTBLUT – The upside down T in their band logo may have been a giveaway to what genre this band is. To put you out of your misery, they are a black metal band. They also seem somewhat good.

NAGLFAR – From what I’ve heard, they are a fairly decent black metal band. Not sure if I will see them as I picture them being in Bullhead City late at night, but we’ll see!

NEAERA – I sometimes struggle with death metal. There are bands I can get into straight away, and there are some I really struggle with. This is one of those that I’m just not sure on. I listened to a song which I didn’t much care for, but then another song was fairly decent.

NULLDB – Really didn’t know what to expect here but they are a really good heavy rock band from Germany. Really like the material I’ve heard from their Endzeit album.

PAMPATUT – I’m struggling to see how this band is on the bill for Wacken. Also, I don’t like them.

POWERWOLF – According to a biography of the band they are power metal. I can see that in certain songs but not in others. Anyway they seem alright.

PRETTY MAIDS – They are a pretty decent hard rock band. They could be worth watching.

RABENSCHREY – There is a video on their website which has a song playing in the background. I’m guessing it is their song, and if so they are pretty good. They have samples of the new album available for download but I’m not all that interested in doing that.

RAGNAROK – Another one of those bands that I’m just not sure on. Listened to the song Murder and thought it was good. Listened to another song Spotify suggested and it sounds fairly similar to Mayhem (not a good thing). I doubt I’ll watch them.

REBATTERED – Another band I can’t make my mind up on and as such will likely not watch them. I am surprised now I’ve found them on Facebook that they managed to make the line up. I’m sure Wacken has a whole host of people that help to book the festival but this band have 292 likes on Facebook. How did a band with seemingly such a small following make it to Wacken? Crazy. Also, what is Wupper-Thrash (as they call it)?

ROTTEN SOULS – If I’m honest, they are not for me. They are the Metal Battle winners from Central America.

RUSSKAJA – Played in 2012. They are Russian ska by the sounds of things. I doubt I will see them.

SECRET SPHERE – Pretty inoffensive power-metal band. I like me some power metal and I quite like what I’m hearing here.

SERUM 114 – Nothing wrong with a bit of German punk-rock! They don’t have a great deal of material online, but the stuff they have is quite good.

SIC – They are the Metal Battle winners from the Faroe Islands. I actually really like what I’m hearing here. A nice mix of hardcore and thrash metal. They could be well worth checking out!

SKYLINE – The house band. Played 2011 and 2012 (don’t remember them being there in 08). The two sets I’ve seen them do are enjoyable. If it works out that I have the chance to see them again, I will. It is always fun to see what special guests they will bring out with them for their one gig of the year.

SOULLESS – Not sure what to make of Soulless. I’ll stick with “not bad” but to be honest, I probably won’t bother watching them.

SPITFIRE – I honestly can’t tell you anything about this band, as I can’t find them online.

STAHLMANN – Stahlmann reminds me of Rammstein if I’m honest. I mean, I have no idea what he’s singing about. I meant in music style alone. It is very enjoyable

THUNDER – Ah the classic rock band that have retired about 6 times in recent memory. I was never able to make it to one of the retirement shows so I’ll do my best to see them here. I suspect they will have an open air slot which could be a lot of fun if the sun is shining.

TRISTANIA – They are described as goth metal. I’m not sure what that means but I like what I’m hearing with this band.

TRIVIUM – One of the best sets of the 2011 weekend if you ask me. They really seem to be a tight live band again and I like that. The latest album was pretty darn good and I will enjoy watching them again.

UGLY KID JOE – Really enjoyed them when I watched them support Alice Cooper last October. They were good and I expect them to be good again at Wacken. A perfect party stage band if you ask me.

VERSENGOLD – Another medieval/folk metal kind of band. I can’t say I like them too much. I also can’t say I care for the fact they wouldn’t let me listen to any of their music without liking their Facebook page. That is not cool Versengold!

WOA FIREFIGHTERS – I honestly couldn’t tell you anything about the fire-fighters band. I’ve never watched them at the festival. They tend to stick to the beer garden stage which is fine by me. ’

WHITECHAPEL – Not really my thing at all if I’m honest.

All in, there are 97 bands announced for Wacken 2013. I suspect there will still be at least one big name announced for the festival to replace Arch Enemy (they were replaced by Napalm Death at Hellfest I believe). I would be ok with Napalm Death playing again but I hope for someone different. If I could pick anyone that is touring, I would pick Twisted Sister, Carcass or At The Gates. ATG are playing two other festivals in Germany so chances are they won’t. Twisted Sister could be available but at this stage I sense they are probably too big for the slot that is available. Carcass are amazing live and were genius at Wacken 2008, so why not! Death Angel if they are free could appear (they haven’t been on the line up since 2004 so now would be a good time to bring them back). Cannibal Corpse isn’t in Europe this summer so I would guess they are out. Korpiklaani are at another German festival so I’d have to rule them as unlikely. King Diamond and Slayer are headlining Bloodstock, so one of those bands could be a possibility. I have no idea who will replace Arch Enemy truth be told, but I am hopeful for one of the above names.

With 97 names announced for this year’s festival thus far, I’d say there is another 30-40 to go. There are I’d guess 25-28 bands from the various Metal Battle competitions still to come but we’ll likely know for sure when the running order is released. I’m guessing that is coming soon. I think there are less than 5 acts that aren’t from Metal Battle competitions to be announced, including the Arch Enemy replacement. With that in mind, this is how things are for me so far:

Must See – Alice Cooper; Candlemass; Deep Purple; Devildriver; Doro; Grave Digger; Henry Rollins;  Ihsahn; Lamb of God; Meshuggah; Nightwish; Rammstein; Sabaton; Soilwork; Sonata Arctica; Trivium; Ugly Kid Joe (17)

Would Like To See – 9mm; Agnostic Front; Alestorm; Alpha Tiger; Amorphis; Anthrax; As I Lay Dying; ASP; Callejon; Danzig; Dew-Scented; Die Apokalyptischen Reiter; Dr Living Dead; Fear Factory; Fozzy; Haggard; Hardcore Superstar; Kryptos; Legion Of The Damned; Motorhead; Mustasch; NullDB; Secret Sphere; Sic; Skyline; Stahlmann; Thunder (27)

Don’t Mind Seeing – Benighted; Blaas of Glory; Black Messiah; Bull-Riff Stampede; Bullet; Chrome Molly; Dezperadoz; Dunderbeist; Eat The Gun; Eisbrecher; Emergency Gate; Harpyie; Hate Squad; Heaven’s Basement; Hellride; Kamikaze Kings; Karbholz; Last In Line; Leprous; Lingua Mortis Orchestra feat Rage; Mandowar; Nachtblut; Naglfar; Neaera; Powerwolf; Pretty Maids; Rabenschrey; Scott Ian; Serum 114; Subway To Sally; Tristania (31)

Won’t See – An Apple A Day; Bob Wayne; Coppelius; Corvus Corax; Crematory; Die Kassierer; Eskimo Cowboy; Faun; Fejd; Feuerschwanz; Impius Mundi; Mambo Kurt; Pampatut; Ragnarok; Rebattered; Rotten Souls; Russkaja; Soulless; Spitfire; Versengold; WOA Firefighters; Whitechapel (22)

Bring on the running order!