Wacken Open Air 2023 – When The Metal Gods Decide To Piss On Your Parade, Metalheads Fight Back And Embrace The Mud – Thursday Highlights August 3rd, 2023

Course who can forget the giant Pumpkin under the Drum Kit of drummer Daniel Löble is always a sight to behold. The lengthy set here features such great cuts...

 

All Photos: Wacken Press Pool

 

 

Thursday morning came and with new hope and dreams not fully realized yet, the hard-working grounds crew at Wacken started early dumping mulch on the holy grounds. For the most part, it looked like most of the early challenges would taper off and the Metal gods had decided that it was enough. The rest of the weather at the festival stayed in decent shape (occasional light rain and showers at various times of the day) beating the flooding, the festival readdies and continues without a hitch. My hats off to all the Wacken attendees, the toughest people around. Danke schön

Things get started early with American Hardcore band Terror, early bruisings are in order here, with classics such as “Pain Into Power” and “Hard Lessons” delivering blows to the still hungover early Wacken crowd at the Louder stage. We hang about on the Louder stage to catch one of Sweden’s fathers of the Gothenburg Melodic Death scene in Dark Tranquility. The veteran bunch always put on a great show, with classics “Atoma”, “Hours Passed in Exile” and “Misery’s Crown” bearing down on still an early crowd. Some other notables from Louder came with Imminence, a strong set from the Metalcore young outfit. A nice touch by their vocalist Eddie Berg with a violin in hand, Metalcore with a violin flare, not bad at all. The punk legends Pennywise always put on a fun show to represend the genre, and later that evening Amorphis the Finnish Prog/Metal/Doom masters put on a surreal show, one of those bands that truly has to be experienced live, a massive back catalog of great music. So good to see them here at the Holy Grounds. 

We trek over to the Faster stage to catch Vixen, yea Vixen the famed 80’s all women Hard Rock outfit that had success late 80’s to early 90’s. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect here, the only members I was familiar with now are drummer Roxy Petrucci and of course guitar shredder Britt Lightning aka Brittany Denaro. I have to admit the ladies put on a great show, the nonstop feeling here totally indulged the audience as if they were rocking in that era. Britt Denaro is an excellent guitar player and total shredder, her guitar was on fire, and vocalist ex Femme Fatale vocalist Lorraine Lewis was a bundle of energy, getting the crowd going and even crowd surfing at one point. Perhaps the most surprising thing to me is finding out that Julia Lage, bassist for Vixen, is Ritchie Kotzen’s wife who plays on his other project with Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden), she was terrific as well. The whole set was fire, with such notables as “Waiting for the Big One”, “Crying” and “Love Made Me” to name a few. One of the best sets of the day I have to say.

Another note-worthy set came with the British Rockers, Uriah Heep, celebrating 50 years of Rock. The proud veterans rocked out and delivered a sensational show live. What is it about iconic bands from that era that still got it? After so many years they can still bring the feels, sound, and bridge that all-time classic sound. Mick Box and Bernie Shaw sure don’t act like guys that are close to retiring, they put on another strong set at Wacken Day 2. Some of their classics get some love in “Rainbow Demon”, Lady in Black” and of course “Gypsy”. Now to go check out their back catalog. Did we even discuss Hammerfall? Power Metal is always well represented and the Swedes are one of the kings of Power Metal, have been for along time. Great set as usual. Axeman Oscar Dronjak with his slender 6″6 frame raising his Hammer Guitar to the skies never gets old. 

After a massive warm-up via neck-breaking and mandatory pits, the German Thrash metal legends Kreator delivered a lively and fiery set. Mille Petrozza always brings it and these guys mean business. The headliners however were the Power Metal Legends Helloween. Having reunited with Michael Kiske a few years back, Kai Hansen coming back into the fold full time and keeping Andi Deris on the stack, has been a truly great decision. Pumpkins United World Tour in 2016 was announced and the guys have been touring the world relentlessly ever since. Even a new album came out of it with the duo vocalist, raised with positive feedback, their back catalog of hits in the genre and being so influential to so many, has only made their music even more grandiose. What a way to headline Wacken Day 2. Kiske and Deris are great live, both guys can still hit the high notes, and they complement each other very well. The chemistry between Hansen and Michael Weikath is always there, they sound great on this night and Kai can flat out sing always has even on his other bands for instance with Gamma Ray. Course who can forget the giant Pumpkin under the Drum Kit of drummer Daniel Löble is always a sight to behold. The lengthy set here features such great cuts the likes of “Eagle Fly Free”, the classic “Future World”, with “Dr. Stein” and “Keeper of the Seven Keys” Of course they end things with “I Want Out’. Except for this night, nobody wanted out of the sacred grounds, every fan left more than satisfied having defeated the wrath of heaven and the Metal gods and endured, what a true metalhead does. We move.

 

 

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