Friday, 27 December 2013

Wacken 2013 Advent Calendar

It is December, and that means another blog that’ll take me 24 days to write as I go through every band that is announced via the Wacken advent calendar! Last year they announced some good stuff in this calendar but there was an awful lot of shite as well. I hope this year is better, but I am aware they also need to announce some more filler, so we shall see.


Skid Row were heavily promoted at the 2013 festival (well, one of their box sets was) so this isn’t really a huge shock. I’d say that Skid Row is a good first announcement. I missed their recent UK tour with Ugly Kid Joe, so if they don’t clash with anyone I’d rather see at Wacken, I will see them. The question I have is where will they play? In the UK they seemed to be playing rooms that hold about 600-1000 people in, but obviously this festival is in Germany. I’ve no idea how big they are there. My guess would be one of the bigger bands on the W.E.T/Headbangers stage or maybe on the Party Stage (like Ugly Kid Joe did last year).


I don’t really like Bring Me The Horizon, so not overly interested in this announcement. Oh well. You shouldn’t like every band on a festival line up or else the clashes would be terrible! I could still watch them though if there is nothing else on I want to see. Maybe seeing them live would change my mind. Maybe not. Probably not.


I do my level best not to judge a book by its cover, but in this instance I did. I genuinely expected to hate them. I was wrong though, they aren’t terrible. I’m not saying I’m a fan or owt, but they aren’t the worst thing I’ve ever listened to. What is the worst thing I’ve listened to? I think Job For A Cowboy have to be up there. Watch them get announced now! Anyway, I doubt I’ll make an effort to see this band, sorry! Also, they seem to have done a reworking of The Final Countdown called The Final Grinddown. That is terrible. Now, if Europe were to be announced, they could collaborate live and do...actually no. Please don’t. If that happens now...urgh


This band were announced for the 2013 edition of Wacken but pulled out. I’ve written about them before, and I said the following: “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.” Well, that solves that one then. 1 out of 4 then so far...sort of.


When I first saw this announcement, I was ok with it. They played in 2012 and they were pretty decent so I’m ok with that. I guess you could shout “repeat booking” but Wacken tend to do that a lot anyway. This announcement however appears to be for a one off show where Hammerfall will play their debut album as well as some other material. That makes things slightly different and makes me overall more positive to the announcement. I will likely watch if there is nothing else on.


Sneaky little double announcement there from Wacken. Bulent Ceylan is a German comedian. Given that he speaks German and I don’t, I suspect his act will be lost on me. I guess the booking of Steel Panther isn’t the worst thing in the world given that I’ve already booked my ticket. If there is no-one better on at the same time, I will watch them. Only seen them live once and that was just one song, Death To All But Metal and Corey Taylor joined them on vocals. It would be cool if that happened again. I suspect it won’t though.


A 4 band announcement and none of it is for me. Bah! The first 3 bands played last year and I think two of them are folk bands so they’ll be confined to the Wackinger stage; maybe the Beergarden stage. This announcement is essentially a waste of time. They could just do a news story one day with all the Wackinger bands in and save everyone a lot of time.


I had hoped after the somewhat lacklustre announcement the day before that Wacken might fire back with a big name or two. That didn’t happen but they did announce two very different bands. Starting with Fleshgod Apocalypse, that sure is some death metal right there. I’ve said before how I’m not massively fond of death metal but i do like some of the stuff I’ve heard. Well, I’ve not heard much of this band but I do think they’re alright. I am really interested in The Vintage Caravan though. Only listened to two songs as that is all that is on Spotify, but what I have heard I have liked. So no big names but two bands that if there is nothing I’d rather see on then I will watch.


Given the 2014 edition of Wacken is the 25th anniversary of the festival, it shouldn’t have been a shock that a Wacken favourite would be announced. I am surprised though that Saxon were announced as they played a pretty major slot in 2012. They were one of my favourite bands from 2012 though so I’m certainly not complaining. I will likely watch them again although since seeing them at Wacken, I have also seen them at one of their own headline shows so if there is someone else on I’d rather see then I’ll likely give Saxon a miss. Obviously, I won’t know that until the stage times are released but right now, I’m happy with the booking. I do wonder if they are rebooking the 2012 Night To Remember for the 2014 festival. I’ve no problem with Volbeat playing again!


I’d seen this bands name on other festival line ups before and I guess I had convinced myself that I’d previously listened and didn’t like them. Well, for the benefits of this blog I’m listening to every band that gets announced. I quite like what I’ve heard of August Burns Red. I suspect they’ll be a WET stage band, and as such they might get missed if they are clashing with someone else I’d like to see on the main stages. However, if they aren’t, I’ll give them a watch.


There won’t be much to write in this entry as both bands are completely new to me. I’ve listened to some of Crimes of Passion and it is alright. I would say of the two bands in this announcement, I prefer Godsized. Only listened to two of their songs but I really like what I am hearing. One thing this announcement has got me thinking though is that I wish Wacken would do away with the advent calendar and say “Xmas eve, huge band announcement!” and announce the lot in one go. They could even do the competitions if they like and draw people’s names out of a hat to win the various prizes on offer. I suspect what with 13 more days and 13 more announcements, this won’t be the last time I feel this way.

Much like most bands from this series of announcements, I haven’t listened to much. However, what I have heard is alright. Chances are though I won’t be seeing them. That’s just the facts!


That is some good noise right there. Good call Wacken, good call. I will hope to watch this band. Pretty certain they played before in 2012 but I missed them. I would like to rectify that for 2014.


2014 will be my 5th Wacken, and Saltatio Mortis will have been at 3 of them. Wacken sure do love booking some of their favourite bands a lot. Just wish they liked AC/DC that much. Ho hum... Anyway, Saltatio Mortis are about as entertaining as stubbing your toe. I mean, you find it funny for like a second, then realise it’s your toe you stubbed and then you get annoyed. I’m not sure I should write these posts after a couple of beers, but yeah! I get the feeling Bembers are a comedy band. This is purely due to them being called Bembers and the Masserfaggers on Spotify. Anyway, as I have expressed previously, comedy bands at a foreign festival are generally lost on me. They say a punch line in German and everyone around me laughs and I’m thinking “I hope that wasn’t aimed at me. Even if it was, I’ll never know”. Maybe that says more about me than you wanted to know. Don’t judge me!


I would say this band sound a lot like a combination of In Flames and Bullet For My Valentine, which is not a bad thing. I didn’t listen to much of their stuff but what I heard was alright.


Lacrimas Profundere seem to be alright from what little I’ve heard of them. I suspect they will be appearing in the Bullhead City tent rather than on one of the open air stages over the course of the weekend which means watching them is unlikely, but who knows. Nachtgeschrei sound like they will play on the Wackinger stage, ideally at a time where I am over the other side of the arena. I really don’t understand the logic of booking pagan/folk music for a metal festival. I will say pagan/folk metal is excluded from that thought because it is at least metal. Firkin are much the same but they do have some cover versions on Spotify which are interesting. Whether or not they play them live is a different matter. Omnia have covered Tenacious D’s Fuck Her Gently but aside from that appear to be another folk band on the line up. That said, it would make as much sense to book another artist who uses the name Omnia on Spotify (dance/trance music – I won’t claim to know exactly what it counts as. Although whatever it is does seem to be fairly decent in a sort of “I’d dance to this after 6 VKs” kinda way). Dunkelschon aren’t on Spotify but a quick Google of their name tells me they are a Celtic Medieval Folk Rock kinda band. I can’t say that description has inspired me to open Youtube so I actually have no idea what they sound like. They could be the best band ever, and I’d never know. Well, let’s be honest with each other, just you and me. They aren’t the best band ever. I probably wouldn’t include them in a top 5,000 bands of all time list. That is saying something given that I can’t think of 5,000 bands.

With 9 announcements left, I am thinking for my personal tastes, the December announcements last year were far better than what we have been offered so far. Saxon has so far been the best announcement and that is really saying something when it is a band that seems to play this festival more than others. I have fading hopes that any of the announcements before the Xmas eve one will be any good – but I’m happy to be proven wrong. On the Facebook post to go with this announcement they added “and yes: We will announce some big bands soon”. At least they’re aware these announcements have been a bit shite.  


All I can find out about ICS Vortex is that he used to be the bass player in Dimmu Borgir as well as several other bands and playing Wacken is his solo project. The album they have on Spotify seems to be fairly decent. So much so in fact that I wouldn’t mind seeing this band play. I suspect they’ll be on in the Bullhead City tent, but still, it would be good to see them.


Nightmare appear to have two different eras according to the quick bit of research I’ve just done. They were a heavy metal band until they split up, and after their 1999 reunion became a power metal band. They seem to be fairly decent at the power metal side of things. The earlier stuff seemed to be influenced heavily by NWOBHM and is also quite good. The band is on the main stage at Hellfest this year, so I wonder if they’ll have an open air slot at Wacken. Santiano are fast becoming another Wacken “house band”. They played in 2012 and 2013 so when they play 2014, that’ll make 3 years in a row. I walked past them playing the Wackinger stage this year and thought they sounded alright, They are yet another folk band though who will take up a few slots at the festival no doubt. A waste of a booking if you ask me given this will be the 3rd year in a row for them. Give some other folk band the chance to play the biggest metal festival in the world....wait.


Five Finger Death Punch are an alright announcement I guess. They are one of those bands who when I hear them on Rock Radio, I don’t immediately change over. That said, if I was listening to something else and someone said “hey, FFDP are on the other station”, I wouldn’t change over to listen to them. They have some good songs, they also have songs that do nothing for me. They seem to have praise thrown at them and I wouldn’t be shocked if in 4-5 years time, they are headlining arenas and festivals, but they don’t do a lot for me overall. I’ve not seen them live so if there is no clash at Wacken I’ll probably give them a go. I am encouraged by this announcement though as this is the biggest band to be announced since Saxon. Maybe the announcements will all be bigger bands now? We’ll see!


I saw Hellyeah at Download 2007 and once I’d gotten over the fact that I was seeing another original member of Pantera playing live (having seen Down the year before), they were alright but a tad boring. Listening again and they have some good material. They could be worth seeing, maybe. WASP are a classic rock band and I hope to be able to see them as I haven’t yet. They have some great material. I remember when they headlined Bloodstock not that long ago, heh. Playing? No problem. Headlining? Alright then...


Der W seem to be alright. I don’t have an awful lot to say about them other than that. Hatebreed are pretty decent live. If there is nothing else on, I’ll give them a watch.


I wondered if this announcement would happen after what happened at Wacken 2013. For those not in the know, Motorhead cancelled all their summer dates but one due to Lemmy being in poor health. Nothing was said until the last minute by Wacken when they confirmed Motorhead would be playing. During the set, Lemmy had to leave the stage, leaving Phil Campbell to improvise. After one more song, Lemmy left again and didn’t return. He was too ill to continue. This meant there was a lot of time to wait for the next band, subjecting everyone in the arena to Corvus Corax. Motorhead then cancelled their winter European tour and rescheduled for 2014. Motorhead are a quality band and their latest album Aftershock is pretty damn good. I’ll give them a watch I’m sure. I can only imagine they’ll have a 75min slot like they were due to have this year. With any luck, they will put someone decent on against them in case it doesn’t work out again. Putting Corvus Corax on against them was a further kick in the teeth to the fans when Motorhead finished early. In fact, I think this would be easily resolved by not booking Corvus Corax. That one is a better idea.


NOW THAT IS MORE LIKE IT! And...breathe! Carcass are fucking ace – by far the best announcement of this advent calendar. Dead happy they are playing Wacken and they will be a must see. Just don’t clash them with A Pale Horse Named Death....please! I saw Carcass earlier this year in a small club in London and they were just superb live. They then went and released one of the metal albums of the year – Surgical Steel. It will be good to see some stuff off of that album. All ready for Black Sabbath tomorrow then (no insider knowledge while writing this, just rumours).


First things first, I don’t mind me some Megadeth. Not seen them live since 2011 so yeah...I’m alright with that announcement. I really thought the way things were going with this series of announcements that they might announce the Night To Remember band today. This leads me to think one of 3 things. 1) The announcement is coming soon. 2) The announcement has already happened but the band who will be the Night To Remember headliner haven’t been publicised as such. 3) It’s Megadeth. Now, if 3 is right, that would be an underwhelming festival headliner. They have never played Wacken before if my knowledge of previous Wacken festivals is correct, but I’m not 100% on that. Could it be that a reasonable sized name plays for the first time and gets Night To Remember? I guess. I heard rumours about Black Sabbath (no insider knowledge, just rumours) and I guess they could still be announced. Hell, the festival is sold out; they don’t have to announce it until a week before. That would be a dick move though. In fact, Wacken people, if you are reading this – don’t get any fucking ideas!

Well, that is the advent calendar done for another year. I am of the opinion that they should do away with it and just make December announcements and do a Christmas competition at the end if they really want to give prizes away. Living in the UK, we were able to see the announcements at 11pm our time and it was almost a disappointing end to a day if the band was shit or it wasn’t anything good. I am aware that my opinion here is somewhat irrelevant as Wacken 2014 will be my last Wacken for at least a year. The Rugby World Cup is on in 2015 with tickets on sale in 2014 so that is my financial priority ahead of any festival. In terms of the quality of the announcements, there were some good names announced as ever, the best by a country mile being Carcass. I didn’t listen to a great deal of the bands I didn’t know unless they really caught my attention but I give everything a re-listen if needs be when the stage orders/times are announced so I can make plans for what I plan to see over the weekend.

Still, the line up is a bit nearer completion now. 64 acts have been announced. When you consider that there are between 20-30 acts to be added from the Metal Battle competition - that would put the figure around the 90-95 mark. You can probably increase that figure to around about 100 when they announce all the regular acts that play most/all years (Mambo Kurt, Masters of Comedy, and Skyline etc). Wacken 2013 had 134 acts on its line up (not including Karaoke All Stars). With that in mind, I’d say there are still at least 30 acts to be announced for the festival including the Night To Remember headliner, assuming of course that it hasn’t already been announced. It will be interesting for sure to see what happens when the next announcement is made. 

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