Dessau – a small town located in East Germany with a festival site situated on an old airfield. This is Metalfest, and here you’ll find thousands of drunken German metal heads wandering around the area in search of yet another Pilsner whilst singing any tune that pops into their heads at any desired time, whatever time of day it is, at full volume. With a Wurst in one hand, beer in the other and in search of metal, we bring you Metalfest 2012!
WEDNESDAY: Wednesday night’s proceedings kick off with the unique sounding fellow that is Cashley, the German Johnny Cash as it were, tinged with a little Chris Issac and Glen Danzig. Covering the likes of Nirvana, Motorhead and AC/DC, this guy goes down a drunken storm. A great start to the weekend and the party has begun!
THURSDAY: Swedish stoner rockers Graveyard get Thursday rolling with a set of pure groove. With the arena already full, the band gets a deserved seal of approval and from their performance, you’d be silly not to keep an eye out for UK dates in future. Think Kyuss meets Corrosion of Conformity and you’ll get the drift. Sadly their set is too short due to their time slot, but an impact was made for sure on the many watching eyes and listening ears.
With the rain clouds drifting in, taunting the people below, Scotland’s Alestorm set sail with their tales of the seven seas and pirates. If there is any band to get a festival going then these guys are your men. With songs about wenches and mead and chopping up midgets, what’s not to like? Some of the natives were in awe having never seen the likes before, but everyone was a convert and everyone forgot about the dreaded rainclouds. Cracking stuff.
Next up is gothic metallers Moonspell. It’s always a struggle for bands such as these – ones who prefer a darkened venue to enhance their stage presence but are forced to come out in good light. But Moonspell actually pull it off. With their larger following in central Europe, there were enough fans to help their set flow, though maybe a Download slot in the UK or similar type size festival would have been a stretch too far.
Legion Of The Damned hit the stage next, pounding us with their brand of death thrash. The Dutch act go down a storm, playing favourites such as ‘Bleed For Me’ ‘Werewolf Corpse’ and ‘Cult Of The Dead’ , they pummel the stage and the audience watching. Great stuff!
With the rain falling, it doesn’t dampen the spirits of the crazy German crowd. In fact, it actually heightens the atmosphere as people shrug it off and decide the only option is to drink more. It’s helped along by the fact that the main arena is built upon the old runway which is concrete, so no wellies needed and no mud building up. Result!
L.A rock legends W.A.S.P come to the fore, no longer the force they once were and living on past glories. But there’s nothing wrong with that when you have a back-catalogue as solid as theirs. Playing classics such as ‘I Wanna Be Somebody’ ‘Wild Child’ and ‘Love Machine’ along with their acclaimed ‘Crimson Idol’ material, they own the stage. Blackie Lawless owns the crowd and they lap it up. It’s classic stuff and a proper festival set list.
The crowd become excited as it dawns that thrash legends Megadeth are soon to hit the stage. Mustaine and the boys kick off with ‘Never Dead’ taken from their acclaimed ‘TH1RT3EN’ album, and the crowd love it. ‘Headcrusher’ ‘In My Darkest Hour’ and ‘Hanger 18’ are next up and by this time the band are in full flow. With the rain still falling pretty heavy, it seems to have an effect on the band more than the crowd, though Mustaine says otherwise. The band’s set seems to ponder along after the initial energetic openers. Maybe it’s the jet lag or maybe they just couldn’t be arsed. They play some great tunes ‘Sweating Bullets’ ‘Holy Wars….’ And ‘Peace Sells’ but there’s something missing. It’s a rare case for Megadeth, but it’s lacklustre and simply plodding along for the rest of their set. They don’t let down those who want to hear their favourite tunes consistently played – after all, the playing is spot on and tight as usual. But maybe it’s just ‘one of those days’ because the energy initially expulsed from the American act is significantly smothered by the end of their performance.