Live report ROCK HARD FESTIVAL 2018 – Day 2

After a furious first metal party yesterday, it was Swabian rising stars Traitor who kick-started a new hot RHF day. Their Swabian thrash metal blew away any tiredness and got everybody‘s metal heart to work again after a long day on Friday. The quintet is one of the recent rising stars and being the opener of Day 2 strengthened their status with a great appearance.

Swedish Nocturnal Rites picked it up right where Traitor left, although things shifted from thrash metal to something more melodic. Nocturnal Rites melodic power metal was very well received at the Gelsenkirchen Amphitheater and the quintet gave thanks to everybody with a powerful show and great stage acting. With the outside temperature also the metal intensity rose with every hour.

The New Roses is a band I follow very much since from the beginning and you can actually read a very early interview I did with Timmy Rough on the blog. Anyhow, since the guys never played in Holland I couldn‘t witness one of their live shows so far. If you have the same, I just can recommend to see them live wherever you can. Their records are good but what Timmy Rough and band performs live on stage is far better. It‘s pure rock power that filled the Amphitheater and it was Rough himself being an excellent singer and a great entertainer too – including a nice ‚happy birthday’ wish to a fan. Stunning rock music on a summerly day in May, that’s what The New Roses offered, received by a grateful audience in a party mode.

Leatherwolf don‘t make it too often to Europe. So you better watch one of their shows when possible. I was very excited to see their show at RHF and I can tell you, it was a great one. Leatherwolf these days founding members Michael Olivieri (v/g) and drummer Dean Roberts. In addition the band consists of Patrick Guyton (b), Rob Math (g) and Luke Man (g), with the last two completing the triple axe attack. The ‘Leatherwolf’ and ‘Street Ready’ album where the core of this day’s setlist with songs that were very much appreciated by fans. Leatherwolf has a rock solid fan base in Germany who loudly joined in for the chorus of songs like ‘Cry Out’. Last but not least Michael Olivieri could score some extra points by an attempt to speak a few words in German. Leatherwolf is currently on the ‘Triple Axe Attack Europe 2018’-tour, thankfully with a stop at RHF.

Cirith Ungol is a legend and wit them it’s a bit like with Leatherwolf; if they are on the road you better catch one of their shows. The five-piece celebrated epic metal with a focus on the legendary ‘King of the Dead’ album. To pick out any song or band member doesn’t make sense since they were all terrific; music as well as musicians. What added additional firepower was the support of Jarvis Leatherby (b) and Armand Anthony (g). Like with Diamond Head the day before it’s the mixture of metal veterans and the power of youth that creates the magic. Cirith Ungol performed an unforgettable show at RHF, proving that epic metal is a timeless genre that convinces by its musical intensity.

After these epic moments, performed by true metal veterans, it was already the music played during the stage rebuilt that didn‘t announce any kind of party music. It was a metal storm from Sweden that blustered Gelsenkirchen. Swedish Marduk ignited a black metal inferno and I don‘t think it was a coincidence that for the first and only time that day some clouds passed the Amphitheater and  hit the sun. Marduk didn‘t come to take prisoners and fans rewarded it with wild headbanging and horns up. I guess some guys in the first row might wake up tomorrow with some sour neck muscles. Marduk was the hellish and pitch black highlight of this RHF edition.

The contrast couldn‘t have been much bigger. Local guitar hero Axel Rudi Pell followed this Scandinavian storm. He and his band brought melody back to Gelsenkirchen. An Axel Rudi Pell show stands for excellent classic rock inspired metal songs with a bandleader who’s one of the most important axemen hailing from Germany. Also for Pell the RHF was a kind of home-game. Bochum, his hometown, is just around the corner and therefor the Amphitheater was even more on fire during this excellently performed concert. On a beautiful sunset the band started their show with ‘The Wild and the Young’. Axel Rudi Pell, as a band, is far more than the guitar hero only. Many years ago he found with Johnny Gioeli a great singer, who’s an excellent frontman and entertainer too. This guy is blessed with an excellent voice and a dynamic, some other can only dream about. But at the end it’s the entire band that all together belong to the winners of this year’s RHF. The show marked the end of a 16 concerts tour, the band did this spring and it was a Grand Finale with Pell even performing in the pit in front of the stage. Wow.

Overkill was the headliner of Day 2 at RHF. What should I say? Almost on release day of their live new DVD ‘Live at Overhausen’ that band returned to the Ruhrgebiet. Already the long queue in front of the signing session booth showed that many fans came for Blitz Ellswoth and Co.. What you get offered by the DVD for enjoying at home not even half as intense as a live show in real. The quintet from the East Coast focussed, as on the DVD, on the ‘Horrorscope’ and ‘Feel the Fire’ album without playing the songs in a chronological order. By doing this things became even better since fans got all the hits (excluding ‘Evil Never Dies’) offered. It added even more dynamic to an anyhow very powerful metal show. Overkill is great musicianship, pure metal, agility and aggressiveness and this is what fans got served that night by this iconic quintet from New Jersey. ‘ Fuck You’ was the final song that filled the Amphitheater that night, releasing fans back to the camping side for a prolonged metal party or some rest for the final Day 3.

You’re interested in the setlists? HERE they are.

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