Live Words and Photos: Markus Wiedenmann
Where have the days gone? Day 4 Wacken here it comes!!!. All joints are aching a bit, getting up is more difficult and it takes longer to get going. That’s why it’s very welcome that Life Of Agony pushes the tiredness out of your bones with a proper punch.
The four New Yorkers start their set with ‘My Eyes’ and get everyone jumping. Standing still is simply not possible with songs like ‘River Runs Red’ and ‘Underground’ and so the tired body slowly comes to life. And on it goes. “The Kings of Rock” announce themselves on the ‘Louder’ stage – Gluecifer. The band, which started as an unsuccessful Misfits cover band, turned into a rock force over all these years, even if the release of the last album is already 18 years ago. With a dark shirt and white pants, singer Biff Malibu differs a little from the prevailing black, which does not detract from the energy of the five-piece from Norway. The place in front of the stage is well packed and at the same time, you realize that Gluecifer might not be known to the younger audience, because there are still some spaces with a good stage view. Gluecifer rock powerfully through their set and none of the fans would regret it if the gentlemen from Oslo should decide to release a new album. Gluecifer starts the party.
Those who missed Mercyful Fate but still like falsetto vocals will get their kicks with Attic. The quintet from Germany belongs to the underground stars of the last years and two superb albums provide the songs for outstanding performance. Attic makes the most of their 45 minutes of playing time and can surely win new fans.
On the ‘Faster’ stage the next musical wrecking ball is being prepared. As I Lay Dying is ready to heat the festival audience, which they also succeed with bravura. The band flexes its muscles and that is to be taken literally. Guitarist Ken Susi doesn’t miss the chance to do some push-ups during songs and it’s this incredible power that the band packs into their songs. Many of today’s songs come from the ‘An Ocean Between Us’ and ‘Shaped by Fire’ albums and this show is one of the most brutal ones W:O:A 22 has to offer.
In the meantime, Hate is getting ready to mesmerize its fans in front of the ‘Headbanger’ stage with their ferocious death metal. Hate hit the ground running and fans raise their fists in the air. Here is where metal is made out of passion.
Yesterday it was In Extremo and today it’s Hämatom another German-speaking band playing the main stage. The guys had already played the so-called “Berlin Show” on Wednesday in which they put their songs in a 1920’s setting. This time it is the usual setup in which the four guys present their Neue Deutsche Härte songs. Due to the German lyrics, Hämatom is especially well known in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, which brings loud sing-along moments to Wacken. Musically Hämatom doesn’t deliver much new and also bands with masks we have seen earlier. However, since the songs provide good catchy melodies combined with a strong beat, they are made for a festival and are very well received. Moreover, it is rare to see the drummer ‘surfing’ on a small platform above the heads of the fans. Towards the end, the Ukrainian flag is waved while the band ends their show with ‘Wir sind keine Band’ in front of cheering fans.
Many are excited to see Arch Enemy, as the band is back on the road in Europe for the first time in three long years. And not only that. What could be a better way to get a new album promoted than to perform a few tracks live at such a festival? Well, Arch Enemy took the opportunity and played five songs from the upcoming ‘Deceivers’ album. With ‘Deceiver, Deceiver’ a new song is already positioned on the second spot of the setlist and thrills fans. In general, you have to say that Arch Enemy plays a superb show. Everything is just right here. Aggressive music, an extremely good sound, and a stage action/interaction that embodies the full power of the songs. Even if everything would seem as if Arch Enemy leaves nothing to chance, the whole set is dynamic, spontaneous, and super agile. No matter if it’s the new songs or classics like ‘My Apocalypse’ or ‘Nemesis’, the audience loves to hear their favorites. And that the band scores with ‘No Gods, No Masters’ is no surprise. Next to Slipknot, Arch Enemy belongs to the absolute highlights of W:O:A 2022.
Now it’s time to make an announcement. After the two hosts, Thomas Jensen and Holger Hübner said a few words of appreciation to the audience, it was time to announce the first confirmed bands for 2023. The first name that appeared on the screens was Megadeth, which caused enthusiasm. When at the end the name of Iron Maiden also appeared on the screens, the excitement had no limits. But wait, we are still in 2022.
An even bigger audience than in 2019 is what Powerwolf face when they come on stage. Although anchored in a different genre, the show and music of Powerwolf belong closely together. The wolves offer all imaginable. Changing digital backdrops form the scenery for the different songs. Fire and flames are not spared either, the organ comes on stage and it was not only these gimmicks that make Powerwolf’s performance so hot. After Powerwolf was already one of the winners in 2019, it is this year that they go one step further and awake the last bit of energy that fans still have in reserve. These guys deliver a big-time show.
Exciting thrash metal fans show up a few hundred meters away from the ‘Harder’ stage. None other than Death Angel are on the schedule and enter the ‘Louder’ stage at 23:00 sharp. The five Californians start their set with ‘The Ultra-Violence / Mistress of Pain’ in old-school fashion. The song was not in the live program of the Angels of Death for many years and finds great popularity again in 2022. As with most thrash metal bands of the late 80s you can be sure to get what you expect. Death Angel, like Overkill on Thursday, gives it all they have. It’s the authenticity and unconditional dedication to the music that drives these guys, and they haven’t lost any of that over the years.
Slowly the W:O:A is coming to an end and what remains are many positive impressions. W:O:A, that is a festival which spreads a special charm. Often the harmonious coexistence of community, inhabitants, bands, and metal fans has been reported. It is this acceptance and appreciation of diversity, the mutual tolerance, which makes this festival something special. Here everyone is allowed to be the way they are. W:O:A., besides the many bands and shows, is a place for tolerance, which brings people from all over the world together to have a good time. And what people take on can best be described by the example of a photographer who took the long way from Tokyo to Wacken, a journey that was certainly rewarded. Now, peace and calmness are returning to Wacken. For twelve months, the fields and meadows will be given over to the cows before the spectacle starts a new round on August 2, 2023.