Live Coverage || Wacken Open Air 2019

Wacken Open Air celebrated its 30th anniversary this year with a lineup that would spark the interest of fans from all metal subgenres. This was the second time we were representing Unraveled at the festival. Although last year we were met with a lot of heat, this year we braved the occasional thunderstorms and showers but it didn't affect our excitement in any way. 

Words by Sabrina Schiavinato
Pictures by Peterson Marti photography

Wednesday August 01

Burning Witches opened the 30th year anniversary edition of this Wacken festival. As many were expecting, these ladies from Switzerland delivered an exciting performance, covering some of the big hits, such as “Executed and "Metal demons”. With the new singer, Laura Guldemond, the band had a strong performance summoning demons and putting under spell the entire crowd with their enchanted presence. Another female act for the day, Slave To Sirens from Beirut, brought their thrash/death metal on the Wasteland Stage. These sirens have previously shared the scene with Destruction and Decapitated and are currently working on the new album, to follow 2018's EP "Terminal Leeches". The crowd felt welcoming and curious like us; I have to say, I was extremely exciting and stocked about these ladies and wasn't disappointed at all. Such a big energy, and fresh note coming out from this powerful band that literally trance the crowd.
With a thunderstorm approaching the holy land,the organisation decided to stop the performances on the Bullhead circus to let people get some shelter. Despite the interruption, the bands got back on track with a delay of 15-30 minutes.
Wednesday is the day of the metal battle; the organisation for this year resumed the very first stage from the 1990 and invited bands from all over the world to share their exciting music. We also had the chance to attend the performance of the Greek band Fall Of Order.
The legendary Rose Tattoo delivered a stunning performanice with a full house gig. These Australian rock'n'roll veterans performed the most incredible hits which brings you back on a warm stranger land with motorcycles and kangaroos. To close the evening, we headed to the pioneers of the dark wave, English band Sisters of Mercy, which brought the Wacken crowd back on the eightees. From "More" to "Temple Of Love" the pavilion transformed into a disco bringing the people back on the synth sounds of a club in a side road of Leeds.

Burning Witches

Chris Bowes and His Plate Of Beans

Fall Of Order

Thursday August 02

For the official first day of the festival, we started with The Wet stage get the shake with Bloodywood, an Indian band from New Delhi. Even if the band started their career as cover band for pop song, the self composed song "Ari Ari" had a way different effect to the masses then simply doing covers: that's exactly what happened on this day, people sing along, dance and enjoy every minute of this colourfull Punjabi performance. 
Gates to hell finally open! The first band to perform is Skyline, the band of Wacken Open Air organizer, Thomas Jensen. They open the infield stages with some of the big cover of the metal scene. Right after Krokus, we keep walking in a free world with the legendary trash metal band Testament, which show their presence on the Harder stage. The band dedicate their old classic "Practice What You Preach" to the 30 years of Wacken. From "Brotherhood Of The Snake" to "The Formation Of Damnation", Testament performed under their classic under the sun of this very first day. 
Hammer high! Here we go with Hammerfall, making their entrance on the Harder stage with the worldwide release of the new video, "Dominion" to then follow some of the classic like "Blood Bound", "Let The Hammer Fall" and the latest "(We make) Sweden Rock". 
While our photographer is breathing the vibes of the big stages, I was on the run for some of the exciting stuff happening on the Bullhead Circus. An afternoon dedicated to black metal on the WET and Headbanger stages; from an early afternoon performance of Wiedgedood, bringing the new releases to the Wacken crowd, then Nordjevel covering the WET stage with some classic Norwegian black metal , with the new band additions of guitarist Destructhor (ex-Zyklon/-Morbid Angel) and drummer Dominator (ex-Dark Funeral). 

Right after we got some more northern sound with the Scandinavian Necrophobic; the band, who was named after a Slayer song, has over 25 years experience on this blackened death metal, and slightly change the atmosphere of the evening to allow the entrance of Vltimas. What can I say, the the band is comprised of three legends of the metal scene: David Vincent of Morbid Angel on vocals; Rune “Blasphemer” Eriksen (ex-Mayhem, Aura Noir) on the guitars,and Flo Mounier of Cryptopsy. This is probably the most exciting super band of this 2019, bringing influences from all of the bands from which this talented trio awake. The presence of Mr Vincent on stage is almost comic; with his cowboy hat, looks like his making his way through a wild west saloon scenario. 
Sabaton, who earlier this year released "The Great War", took the cake however; their performance, celebrating the band's 20th anniversary, ended up spreading across both the Faster and Harder stages. The stage setting resembled a WW1 battle barricade, with the band taking full advantage of their stage production to further boost their performance; pyros and smoke machines went off as the band mercilessly pummeled the stage and fans reciprocated by singing at the top of their lungs and crowdsurfing. But the sirprises weren't over, no; the song "Fields Of Verdun" found Sabaton's former guitarist joining his friends. Then, a choir dressed in WW1 uniforms accompanied the band, until gloriously halfway through the set, old members of the band took over the Harder stage and performed side by side.
To close this stunning first day, Dark Funeral and Hellhammer brought the crowd on the deepest hell. First of all on the Headbanger stage, see the majestic Dark Funeral making their infernal entrance with their latest release,"Unchain my soul", shaking the leftover survivors. "Open The Gates" and "My Funeral" to follow, letting all the infernal demon raise from the stage and walk among us. The hit to come, "Where Shadows Forever Reign" close the astonishing performance with fire and light games, bringing all the demons back to hell. 
Hellhammer performed by Tom Warrior’s triumph of death, it's a legitimate tribute band of the itself Hellhammer. When I say so, I simply mean that Tom (Celtic Frost/Tryptikon), hasn't planned to revive the band itself but simply performed the tracks that belongs to those two years that anticipate Celtic Frost. 




Dark Funeral

Hellhammer Performed by Tom Warrior

Friday August 03

The second day of the festival starts with the shared presence of Equilibrium on the Faster stage and Jinjer on the Louder one. Our photographer jumped from one stage to the other to cover those two exciting main act who open this day; the German folk band, performed some of the latest tune, which reveals the beginning of a shift on the band music towards new sounds and losing about that "Wintersun" effect. On the other side, Jinjer and the attractive presence of the singer Tatiana, bring this early crowd into some of the biggest hits that this extraordinary band has delivered through the years, opening the act with "Word of Wisdom". Another double performance for those two stages, Eluveitie and Gloryhammer, a band came out from one of the brilliant ideas of Chris Bowes (Alestorm). The nasty power metal and colourful costumes which looks like came out from Dungeons & Dragons. Both bands didn't manage to finish their performance due to an upcoming thunderstorms, which paused the festival for over an hour. The bands to come had to shorten the setlist, like Black Stone Cherry, or postpone their performance till later afternoon to allowed the daily schedule to delay of only half an hour. Good one for the organization!!
Two of the strongest political band are about to make their presence in the main stages: fucking Body Count is in the house man! The Californian band lead by Ice-T, delivered some of their historical hits with attitude, as you were probably expected. From the opening tribute to Motorhead "Ace Of Spades" to the most notorious "There Goes The Neighbourhood". In typical Ice-T fshion, the artist challenged the German crowd with some political and historical jokes, which didn't reach the attention expected.
Right after that, Anthrax and their 30-year thrash experience opene the stage with "Caught in a Mosh" introduced by "Cowboys from Hell". The presence of Joey Belladonna brought so much excitement on the Faster stage; he jumped and laughed like a teenager, entertaining the public with his big smile. The performance is highlighted with the presence of one of the amazing member of the Wacken sign language squad. The both of them is such a sparkle in the eye to watch, running around the stage and with a bit of role play. Covering "Got The Time" and "Antisocial", Anthrax conclude this amazing act with "Indians", were all the crowd was singing along and raise their fist against the power.
Due to the storm, Cradle Of Filth's performance was moved later on to the WET stage, introducing the majestic presence of Danny Filth opening the set with "Thirteen And A Widow". 
Time had finally arrived for the last act for this second day of festival: the mighty Slayer
The infield is entirely cover with people, from the Faster to the Louder stage; if it wasn't for the fact that was night time, it looked like a field of grass. The first song from this final tour is "Repentless", followed by "Evil Has No Boundaries" and "World Painted Blood". Right after a small break, Slayer serve in a silver plate, one after the other, "Born Of Fire", "Hell Awaits", "South Of Heaven" and the awaited "Raining Blood".  Slayer have performed for over 38 years and it's pretty understandable how much emotion are going through on  stage, and it is quite hard to say goodbye. At this point I have to admit I got emotional too.


Body Count ft. Ice T


Cradle Of Filth

Saturday August 04

And there is it the final day of this amazing edition of this festival. Kvelertak opened the louder stage with their tunes from Norway. The party metal act was vivid, despite the early slot, performing fan favorite tracks, as the almost erratic Ivar Nicolaisen also jumped off the stage and into the crowd at some point. Then the supergroup Prophets Of Rage was on! As you probably will expect, the mash up of Rage Against The Machine, Cypress Hill and Public Enemy bring to the Faster stage all the classical hits from the nineties and some of the old school hip hop with a medley of "Hand on the Pump / Can't Truss It / Insane in the Brain / Jump Around". Uriah Heep, on the other hand, took over the Louder stage bringing their British old school rock opening the show with "Grazed by Heaven", "Too Scared to Run" and the classic "Lady In Black". Even if the long hair days are over, these guys still rock the stage like time hasn't passed at all. It was time for Septicflesh to show their presence in the Headbanger stage, opening with the powerfull "Portrait Of A Headless Man". The Greek band with their orchestral sound, brought an intense atmosphere, displaying grandiosity and darkness with every note.
It is time to visit the Wackinger Stage just before the main acts of this final day; as you probably remember, this stage always guest the most characteristic and folk act of the festival. The forces of the Scottish Highlands get their presence in the Wasteland thanks to Saor, the atmospheric folk metal merge with the most powerful black metal influences, underlined by the deep growling vocals of the creator Andy Marshall. Their unique sound  almost echoed like notes across mountains. "Forgotten Paths" marks the fourth release for the band and feature some female act such as, Sophie Rogers on the song "Brón" and the harp playing of Glorya Lyr on "Exile".
The wolves are back for this Wacken edition, and by that we mean none other than Powerwolf! This guys have quite a lot to be forgiven for! "Fire And Forgive" and "Army of the Night" opened the exciting pyrotechnical show that see vocalist Attila Dorn shooting fire from two big guns. Of course the band could not close the show without "We Drink Your Blood" and everyone start singing along this epic hit. It was about time to see the closing act of the day and unfortunately the festival, but before that, the organizer have in store a small surprise which include Matt Heafy of Trivium showing up on stage with a stargazed guitar to preannounce the band for the 2020 Edition.
The eagle was flying, and Saxon wished a very happy birthday to Wacken with some of their most famous songs, "Motorcycle Man", "Wheel of Steel" and of course "Denim And Leather". The pioneers of heavy metal are celebrating as well a big anniversary, 40 years of insane British metal! No matter who is birthday boy, in the end denim and leather, brought us all together! 


Septic Flesh




That's all from this extraordinary edition of this festival. Thank you Wacken for the amazing hospitality and see you next year, rain or shine!

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