There have been a few rain showers overnight and it is also noticeably chillier in Germany’s smallest/biggest heavy metal community. After the last little rain showers have disappeared, and with them, temporarily, the dust of the previous days, everyone is prepared for day three, which holds another highlight with Iowa’s metal export number one, Slipknot. But before that, there’s plenty else to see and listen to.
For example, there is Sascha Paeth, who already performed on Wednesday with Avantasia. Friday means for the guitarist to be on stage with his Masters Of Ceremony. The quintet has with ‘Signs of Wings’ only one album in the stores so far and manages to create a good atmosphere with well-made power metal.
Melodic and with positive power it goes on. Stratovarius enter the ‘Louder’ stage and are in a good mood. Timo Kotipello, Jens Johansson and friends have with ‘Survive’ a new album in the starting blocks, which will be released in September. To give fans a taste of what’s to come, ‘Firefly’, ‘Survive’ and ‘World on Fire’ are three new songs being presented – a gift that fans gratefully accept. The Stratovarius set starts and ends with ‘Phoenix’ and ‘Hunting High and Low’, both classics from the ‘Infinite’ album, and gives a good overview of the bands achievements so far.
We stay in Scandinavia, but head a bit west. Lucifer have made their way to Wacken to present their dark heavy rock in bright sunshine. It might be that Lucifer’s music is more effective in a smaller and darker club. However, Johanna Sadonis, Nicke Andersson, Martin Nordin, Linus Björklund and Harald Göthblad deliver an excellent show. Andersson as a beat-setter must be mentioned as well as the great vocal performance of Sadonis. And not only that she has a great voice. It is her stage presence that impresses too. Music is more than just notes strung together. Here music is lived and felt.
Now it becomes martial. Wind Rose announce themselves to conquer the heart of the Wacken fans and if you look at the masses in front of the ‘Wackinger’ stage, you know that the five Italians already have a larger fan base. With a total of five albums, the guys have a good selection of songs to choose from when creating a setlist and of course the tunes from the just released ‘Warfront’ album get special attention. How much the guys sweated in their fur costumes is not submitted. But it must have been a lot. This is irrelevant for fans anyhow since it is the energy Wind Rose spreads and that infects the crowd.
With Hypocricy a band comes onto the ‘Faster’ stage that is one of the winners of the day. For a long time, it was rather quiet about the band before in 2021, and after a long wait, a new album was released with ‘Worship’. It is the title song to open the set and from the first moment it is evident that a metal storm is to be expected here. As if it would have been planned, the wind also freshens up in Wacken, which gives this show an extra kick. Peter Tägtgren is a veteran when it comes to death metal, and it is this aplomb and commitment that makes a 60 minute show a highlight.
After this it continues no less impressive. Behemoth enter the ‘Louder’ stage. Supported by an impressive stage scenery Nergal and Co. show why they belong to the top acts of these days. Bombastic and furious, that’s Behemoth on this late afternoon. Behemoth was announced relatively late to W:O:A 22 and it was a good decision. The band fascinates metalheads in front of the stage and it’s not noticeable that Nergal was already on stage with Me And That Man earlier that day. That’s passion and professionalism.
Sticking with the harder stuff, we come to Venom. Well, the band definitely has a cult status, even if the untamedness of the early days is of course long gone. Nevertheless, Cronos remains a pioneer in heavy metal and the one who writes songs that establish a completely new genre, ‘Black Metal’, is one of the greats. Even if the diabolic shine of the old days has faded a bit and the next generation is playing the main stage these days, it is Venom who laid the foundation and deliver a very solid show in Wacken.
Tribulation also deliver a very good performance. The Swedes are certainly one of the rising bands of recent years and have delivered four great albums. Wrapped in the light of the setting sun, the four succeed in creating a gloomy atmosphere with their songs and even though they have to play against In Extremo on the main stage, quite a few fans show up in front of the ‘W:E:T’ stage and get rewarded by a cool show.
In Extremo played the main stage and set off a firework, not only musically. This can be taken literally in this context, because the cult band from Berlin ends their set with fire and fireworks. In Extremo have enormous success especially in the German-speaking countries and are therefore rightly one of the two main acts on this day. The infield is filled to bursting. Even in the area behind the infield fans can be found listening to the spectacle, because that’s what In Extremo deliver with their medieval-based hard rock. The band skillfully combines the lyricism of the Middle Ages with instruments of the time and hard sounds. Impressive and rousing.
We are slowly approaching the absolute climax – Slipknot. You can feel the tension and it increases when the sounds of ‘For Those About to Rock’ and ‘Get Behind Me Satan and Push’ are heard. When the curtain falls there is nothing can stop the madness, and you feel like you are standing between 80,000 Maggots. Slipknot spark a primeval power with their show like only a few bands can do. Circle pits wherever you look. Slipknot, and this becomes obvious on this day, are not only excellent musicians but deliver a complete masterpiece. Music and stage show belong irrevocably together. In addition, the band has with frontman Corey Taylor not only an excellent singer, but also an entertainer who knows how to electrify the masses. Slipknot play two hours and tear down Wacken by every trick in the book.
An ungrateful slot in the running order has Moonspell. Portugal’s metal institution number one has to start on the ‘Wackinger’ stage at the same time as Slipknot tears down the Harder’ stage and still there are enough fans who appropriately cheer the band. Even if the great atmosphere doesn’t want to arise, there are great songs like ‘Extinct’ that are always worth to be listened to.
The ones that need it a bit more bizarre than what Slipknot offer wanders towards the ‘Wasteland’ stage. The Rise Of Mictlan start their ritual on Friday evening, a spectacle that is special. Aztec/Maya-based black metal is what the guys from Mexico have in their offer and there are quite some fans und curious festival folks in front of the stage to witness a bizarre and mystic concert with people starring spellbound towards the stage.
Slowly the day comes to an end and the freshness of the night takes hold. Tomorrow is a new day and also filled with special moments.
Location: Wacken, Germany
Date: August 5th, 2022
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