Blog || 10 Bands You Shouldn't Miss At Wacken Open Air

Taking place every August for over 27 years now, Wacken Open Air is one of the highlights of the summer for many metalheads. Not that it should come as a surprise; featuring the creme de la creme of the contemporary heavy alternative music, W:O:A: has grown into a successful international brand.

Photo by Ashley Kalinoski

The last decade saw its billings expanding to genres that strayed far from the stereotypical bands one would expect to grace the stages of the ultimate metal festival -enter hardcore punk, metalcore and deathcore acts. The expansion in genres eventually led to the addition of new stages in order to accommodate the ever-growing roster of the festival -a move I can only assume brings project managers to the verge of tears every year.

Boasting a diverse abundance of bands (aBANDance?), the 2018 edition of W:O:A: takes place on August 02-04. In this piece, we will attempt to suggest 10 acts in no particular order, that no attendee should miss. The task was difficult but I've reached a conclusion. Grab your beer, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

01. Dimmu Borgir
We've said it before, we'll gladly say it again. The Norwegians have finally put their shit together and released a beautiful album worthy of their legacy. Their appearance at W:O:A: 2018 will seal their return to their former glory -and for the part of the team that's staying behind, we sure hope there will be a live stream.
When: Saturday, 00:15-01:30
Where: Faster stage

I would like to point out that the fact that all the bands in the first positions have recently or will be releasing albums is completely coincidental. Earlier this year, Ghost announced their new album, "Prequelle", which also meant the eventual death of the papal bloodline, as Papa Nihil was considered too old to lead Ghost, and therefore new blood was brought in from the clergy; Cardinal Copia.
When: Friday, 01:45-03:00
Where: Harder stage

03. Nightwish
It would be impossible for Nightwish not to be included in this list -besides, the band has a very special relationship with Wacken Open Air. It was on that very stage that they performed a mesmerizing show, the first W:O:A: appearance with Floor Jansen on vocals, which was later released as a live DVD. The band returned in 2015 and will be heading back this year, after a short break, while on the "Decades: World Tour".
When: Friday, 21:00-22:15
Where: Faster stage

04. Walking Dead On Broadway
The German deathcore outfit has built a great reputation around their live shows. Having already performed on numerous big festivals all over Europe, they are considered the next big thing in the European heavy scene.
When: Friday, 14:50-15:35
Where: Headbangers Stage

05. DORO
The absolute queen of heavy metal. With a career expanding over 30 years, the well-respected singer has survived the test of time as an artist and has never left the spotlight. This year, Doro will be releasing her long-awaited new album, "Forever Warriors, Forever United", (August 17th, mark your calendars) and what better way to celebrate than with thousands of fans singing along?
When: Friday, 19:15-20:45
Where: Harder stage

06. Converge
Jacob Bannon and co. are a force to be reckoned with. With their critically acclaimed ninth studio album, "The Dusk In Us", granting them the title of post hardcore behemoths, the band played a string of sold out shows and Roadburn festival in Europe this spring. We can imagine that it would be more challenging to win over a more demanding crowd but then again, Converge has never been afraid of a challenge.
When: Thursday, 19:25-20:10
Where: WET stage

07. Ensiferum
There is a tendency for fandoms to complain that "folk bands don't care about their sound anymore", whether that means that they don't sound like they did 20 years ago or that they play it safe and do in fact sound like they did 20 years ago. When it comes to Ensiferum, I beg to differ. Although their last album, "Two Paths", received mixed reviews upon its release, it is a pure Ensiferum work and that's all we need to keep in this case -plus their live shows are insanely good. And between us, if folk metal doesn't make you want to get on your white horse and go to battle, it's not done properly.
When: Saturday, 20:00-21:15
Where: Louder stage

08. Judas Priest

Yes, I even surprised myself with this. With the classic heavy metal bands retiring one after the other, we never know when will be the last time to see them perform.
When: Thursday, 22:00-00:00
Where: Harder stage


09. Behemoth
Because. Behemoth. No other band in recent history has caused so much controversy and produced heaps of good music at the same time. 
When: Thursday, 18:45-20:00
Where: Harder stage

Honorable mentions:
Dust Bolt: Not to sound romantic, but these lovely Germans are the epitome of what happens when you're driven, talented and passionate about your art. A breath of fresh air is necessary in most genres and thrash metal is no exception.
The Charm The Fury: Speaking of passion and fresh air, those Dutchies made a name for themselves due to their exceptional sound and outstanding live performances. I wouldn't miss them.
Steel Panther: Spandex, big hair, questionable morals. Need I say more?

10. Hatebreed
The band that redefined an entire genre and is responsible for modern metallic hardcore as we know it is no stranger to incendiary shows and we are confident this is exactly what they will deliver.
When: Thursday, 20:15-21:30
Where: Louder stage


Sounds tempting, doesn't it?
Tickets are selling fast, so make sure to grab yours on Metaltix
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