Also Thursday starts warm, hot, and sunny, so that any kind of refreshment is gladly taken. Today the two main stages are in operation for the first time and with Cirth Ungol starts a band that has the status of a legend. The quintet from California picked up speed after their restart in 2015 and released with ‘Forever Black’ an album which seamlessly follows the old classics. So, it’s no surprise that today a few of the new songs are blasting the infield. The veterans know how to get the metalheads on their side, especially since the band has Javis Leatherby (Night Demon) in their lines, a bass player who provides an enormous groove and doesn’t stand still for a minute. Cirith Ungol rock Wacken and pull a lot of fans towards the Faster’-stage.
In the meantime German rocker Hämatom prepare their set on the ‘Louder’ stage. It is the so called ‘Berlin Show’ they perform today afternoon. The quartet takes their usual sounds and give them a new appeal. In a 1920th reminding stage set the NDH-band delivers a really good and also unusual performance that for sure is something special for fans of the band.
Grave Digger provide the big show. The German metal institution doesn’t miss the chance to perform with the big orchestra. The guys start their triumphal concert with ‘The Brave’, supported by Baul Pipes & Drums and friends. Grave Digger show that heavy metal is no question of age. It’s the attitude and Grave Digger have something ahead of many other bands. In addition, there are the classics in the setlist, such as ‘ Excalibur’ and the closing ‘Heavy Metal Breakdown’ which bring the Scottish Highlands to Wacken.
Rose Tattoo took the long way from Australia to the northern German province. Angry Anderson and band mates play the ‘Louder’ stage and are frenetically celebrated by the audience. A lot of experience, authenticity and great songs bring the fans from 0 to 100 in no time. Rose Tattoo show that rock and metal doesn’t need much more. The stage is kept simple so that nothing distracts from the music and that is also a good thing. This music doesn’t need any extra to shine and spreads its party vibe, regardless of day or night time.
Slowly dark clouds move towards Wacken, and the wind freshens up. All this can’t stop Udo Dirkschneider from starting his show. This time it’s the Dirkschneider set-up who plays and so the signs are set for Accept Song. Well, you can’t expect surprises here, but it’s the timeless classics of German heavy metal that brings the fans in ecstasy. And who wouldn’t want to sing along to songs like ‘Breaker’, ‘Restless and Wild’ (in medley with ‘Son of a Bitch’) and ‘Balls to the Wall’ at a festival like Wacken. Dirkschneider plays that loud, that the dark rain clouds cleared up again. With ingenious riffs and a smoky voice, you can thus banish not only bad vibes, but also bad weather.
Dutch death metal veterans Pestilence enter the ‘W.E.T’ stage and founding member Patrizio Mameli doesn’t leave a doubt that Pestilence is committed to rock Wacken at full power. The four-piece a band unfolds their raw and relentless death metal from the moment they enter the stage. The band decided to go for an oldschool set which is much appreciated by fans. Eight songs from the legendary third album ‘Testimony of the Ancients’ are performed today while ‘Deifcvs’ and Morbvs Propagationem’ are the ambassadors of the current era of the band.
Overkill is always a safe bet. The thrash metal legends from New Jersey deliver solid concerts with incredible consistency and the appearance at W:O:A 2022 is no exception. Germany is a stronghold for the band, with many fans in the land of beer and schnitzel. Like Rose Tattoo, Overkill’s stage is kept very simple. However, obligatory is color green which always prevails at Overkill, this time by the lighting. The five-piece impresses with a hard-hitting set in which songs like ‘Rotten to the Core’, ‘Wrecking Crew’ and the closing ‘Fuck You’ put the fans in a good mood and headbanging rules.
Whoever goes for Overkill must really be a fan of the band, as Mercyful Fate approach the ‘Harder’ stage. There is a little surprise though before the show. Between ‘Harder’ and ‘Faster’ stage is a small podium, which probably nobody noticed until this very moment. When the first sounds of Amon Amarth started and Johan Hegg could be seen on the screens, it dawned on one or the other that something unexpected is happening here. Amon Amarth play five songs and the “Heathen Army”, which stood in line at the edge of the stage, made it clear that the five Swedes want to use the opportunity to promote their new album. What is better than to present two new songs in front of more than 80.000 metal fans.
After that the stage is ready for Mercyful Fate. It was in 1999 when the band was on the Holy Ground for the last time and so everybody is curious what Mercyful Fate has to offer. King Diamond, Hank Sherman, Bjarne T. Holm, Mike Wead and the newly added Joey Vera make it clear why the band deserves its cult status. Songs like ‘Melissa’ are timeless classics and have influenced generations of bands. Visually framed by a gigantic stage set-up, Mercyful Fate deliver an impressive show and satisfy all expectations.
The only band that can top that are Judas Priest. The crowd density shifts a few meters to the left before the Metal God calls for the service. What to write about a band that is not already written. The moment the glowing icon of Judas Priest rises, hell breaks loose. Standing close to each other, fans experience metal history up closely. Frontman Rob Halford is like a good wine, which gets better and better with age. Judas Priest are headliners on day two and absolutely rightly so. Wacken experiences many metal bands these days, but none has shaped heavy metal as much as Judas Priest did and still does.
In the meantime, the night has come over Wacken and musically it gets darker too. Rotting Christ from sunny Greece provide the musical soundtrack for the dawn. Sakis, Themis and band deliver a dark black metal spectacle and manage to attract many fans in front of the W:E:T stage, despite Mercyful Fate and Judas Priest rocking the big stages.
Nervousness of the security staff is spreading before the performance of Belphegor. However, the reason is not security-related but rather the fact that flesh and blood will be involved in the show. Rain ponchos are hastily distributed before Herman and his guys burn down a diabolic inferno. Light and fire create visually a very own netherworld and Belphegor’s music underlines this mood in perfection. Evil and madness is what fascinates fans during these 60 minutes.
Location: Wacken, Germany
Date: August 4th, 2022
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