UDR [Release date 04.08.14]
For the last 24 years a small village in Northern Germany has become the centre of the heavy metal universe for one weekend of drunken antics, sloppy mud and loud music. Welcome to Wacken Open Air!
The festival has gone from strength to strength over the years and is on most metal fans ‘must do’ lists, but if you can’t make it across to Germany then this 3 DVD set may just be what you need.
Over the course of the 3 discs you get 101 tracks by 43 bands to give you a real flavour of the festival. This, coupled with two bonus features, including a rather po-faced documentary, give you a real sense of why Wacken has become one of the biggest annual events on the metal calendar.
Disc 1 features the big names from the weekend, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Anthrax and Motorhead amongst others. You get a real mix of rock styles from the power metal of Sabaton to the full-on hardcore of Soilworks which rub shoulders with the singalong anthems of Thunder.
Like any festival you may not like all that’s featured but there most definitely is something for everyone. The disc is rounded off with two over the top, epic performances by the Lingua Mortis Orchestra featuring Rage and Nightwish, complete with huge flames.
Disc two features a few main stage performances by the likes of Ugly Kid Joe, Alestorm (who only get one track unfortunately) and Sonata Arctica before the focus shifts to the lesser stages.
The bands on the smaller stages are a real mixed bag, the stand outs for me on this disc being Heaven’s Basement, Black Messiah and Secret Sphere, the latter pairing being new names to me who are worth further investigation.
We do return to the main stage however for Corvus Corax who, again, were unknown to me. Corvus Corax fill the stage with a large array of drums, bagpipes and other traditional instruments playing what they refer to as ‘neo-medieval music’. The heavy, pounding rhythms and haunting sound may not be traditional metal but it goes down a storm!
On to disc 3 and you really hit the outer realms of Wacken. Again there are some real finds here especially Null DB who again I will be looking into further. Highlight for me though are Brit rock stalwarts Chrome Molly who put in a polished performance, including ‘Corporation Fear’ from the band’s latest album.
Satirical German punk band Die Kassierer are also worth a mention, if just to serve as a warning to any sensitive souls, as frontman Wolfgang Wendland goes topless and he has a beer gut of large proportions.
So there will be something for everyone here but it will take a very broad minded soul to love all 101 tracks. Part of the beauty of a DVD like this, just like being at the festival, is that you will stumble upon something you haven’t heard before which makes you sit up and listen then hit the internet for more information.
At around £20 you get a lot of music for your cash and, even if you skip a few bands, it is still good value for money. What could provide costly however is the fact that the content will leave you wishing you had been there, I feel a road trip coming on… ****
Review by David Wilson
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