Stormy rain clouds and some sun have been the weather conditions of the second day of Rock Hard Festival and is Sunday that live up to one’s name. Sun rays make the scenery again to a bright place and it’s The Spirit that brings everybody into the right mood for another day full of exciting Metal bands.
The Obsessed was originally planned for Day 3 but had to cancel on short notice. Luckily Muenster, Germany isn’t too far away from Gelsenkirchen and it’s Zodiac that had some time available to fill the gap. It’s the second appearance of the quartet at Rock Hard Festival after having premiered in 2014. Zodiac and their Classic Rock influenced music are a perfect match with the summerly atmosphere and fans appreciated the ease of the show that helps everybody to get into the right groove for the rest of the day. ‘Coming Home’, literally a ‘coming home’ to the festival, is rounds off 40 exciting minutes with Zodiac and hands over to the next band.
Visigoth, hailing from Salt Lake City, Utah plays their last show of their current tour at Rock Hard Festival. The band belongs to rising stars that won over a lot of new friends and fans in the last two years. Many of these fans came to Gelsenkirchen, some even equipped with plastic swords that are held high the moment the band starts into their show. Fans of Epic Metal enjoy every second of the show that was rock solid.
The show of the next band could become the header of ‘Münster, part two’. After Zodiak played already earlier today it is Long Distance Calling with their post-rock bringing a new genre to the table. Usually instrumental music is something made for smaller venues but Long Distance Calling rocks Gelsenkirchen and the 7.500 metalheads at Amphitheater. Contrary to the recent ‚Sounds and Seats‘-tour it‘s today the special festival atmosphere being the scenery for an hour of excellent Rock music. Loud guitars, an excellent groove and great sound make this hour to one of the highlights and it was loudly cheering fans that gave this set the vibe Long Distance Calling and their music deserves.
Next to Heir Apparent, the author of these lines was very much looking forward to Fifth Angel‘s show. The revitalized ‘80s metal pioneers delivered with ‚The Third Secret‘ a superb third longplayer and the hope is that they can bring this musical excellence on stage. They can. With a huge backdrop, showing the artwork of the latest release, the band starts into their set with two classics – ‘The Night’ and ‘Cathedral’. The songs are timeless US Metal anthems and it is obvious right away, Fifth Angel is back with full force.. Even some technical issues with John Macko’s bass can’t stop the guys. Songs like ‘Fifth Angel’ and a racing version of ‘Fallout’ are the highlights of a set that doesn’t know a weak song or a dull moment. Furthermore it’s Ken Mary’s drum solo that follows ‘Fifth Angel’ and the set can’t have a better ending than ‘We Rule’. That’s indeed what the quintet does, they rule. Although their might be some younger metalheads that missed the band in the ‘80s it’s the older generation that appreciates the show even more and maybe the youngsters discovered a new/old band they like.. Welcome back Fifth Angel.
Magnum is always a safe bet. The band is that long in business that you know pretty well what you can expected – great Hard Rock songs with excellent melodies and a good vibe. Magnum is a stable factor in any line-up. Fans are dancing in front of the stage during the entire show, clap along and are a choir for the chorus parts. Magnum has a strong fan base in Germany, supporters that appreciate songs like ‚Vigilante‘, ‚How Far Jerusalem‘ and ‚All England‘s Eyes‘ a lot. These older Melodic Rock hymns go together extremely well with newer material like ‚Crazy Old Mothers‘ and it‘s one of the masterpieces that closes the set. ‚Sacred Hour‘ ends a professional show of a band that still belongs to the Premiere League of Rock.
Already earlier this afternoon, when Possessed frontman Jeff Becerra did a round through the Amphitheater, it was obvious how many fans came out to see the band. Therefore it‘s not a too big surprise that the venue was pretty full when Possessed started their show. ‚No More Room in Hell‘, from the latest release, is the perfect opener and turns the venue into a madhouse. The energy level of both, fans and band, is extremely high from start to end and it‘s legendary songs like ‚Pentagram‘, ‚Tribulation‘ and the masterpiece ‚Pentagram‘, that makes fans go wild. Frontman and founding member Jeff Becerra is in good voice. You could get the idea that all his energy goes into his vocals which makes smashers like ‘Death Metal’ even heavier than on LP/CD. Possessed defined a whole new genre and although they have been absent for many years (dramatic reasons are known I guess), fans didn’t forget this band that is at least as strong today as they were in the ‘80s. This show was a real highlight of the entire festival.
After such a show it is up to Anthrax to bring the festival closer to its finishing line, being the Grande Finale of the 2019 edition of Rock Hard Festival. The guys just started their current festival tour and at least frontman Joey Belladonna is still a bit jet-lagged, introducing ‚Be All, End All‘ as Speed Metal, which he immediately corrected into Thrash Metal. Anyhow, the show of the New York City mosh kings gets out of the boxes very well with ‚Caught in a Mosh‘. ‚Got the Time‘ is next, followed by ‚Madhouse‘. It‘s these songs that activate last energy reserves of fans at the end of a festival. Although some metalheads started their hometrip already, Anthrax wins over the remaining fans immediately with crowd surfing activities and solid mosh pit happening all over the place. The quintet plays an oldschool set tonight and that‘s what fans want to hear. The focus of the 90 minutes show was on ‚Spreading the Disease‘ and ‚Among the Living‘, both milestones in Thrash Metal. A few fans, wearing Indian hair dresses, are waiting for one song in specific, ‚Indians’. After a long day it is a smashing version of this smasher that ends a great 2019 edition of Rock Hard Festival and releases fans into the summerly darkness of Gelsenkirchen. With the last note fading away in the rounds of Amphitheater only one conclusion is relevant: Let’s do it again next year