A day at the sea with UNDERTOW

Undertow have been one of the most respected bands in the German metal underground over the last 30 years. With great albums, the guys have rightly brought themselves into the limelight again and again, gaining a very solid fan base. Many of these fans are located in the north of Germany, a region where the band doesn’t come too often to present their doom-based metal songs on stage. So it is more than great that Undertow got a slot at this year’s Metal Hammer Paradise festival, which should become a highlight for the band and surely also does the festival’s billing good.

Compared to the guys, I had a relatively short travel time and when the Undertow mobile arrived shortly before 16:00 at the festival site, there was first of all an extensive ‘hello’ with the dudes. We hadn’t seen each other for a long time.

After everything was settled administratively and the dressing room was taken over, a visit to the beach is on the list, which is rather short and ‘refreshing’ at temperatures around freezing point. Nevertheless, the North German sunset provides a good backdrop for a short photo shoot.

There is not too much time anyway, because a signing session is scheduled at 18:00, before a little time is left for watching the Crowbar show. This is quite a special moment considering that Joschi and Kirk Windstein already sang ‘Planets Collide’ together live back in 2000.

There is not too much space to reminisce, because Undertow have to prepare their own gig at the Riff Alm. Here Cobra Spell had just made the place shake and it seemed as many metalheads were standing outside in front of the monitors in the cold as in the smallest of the three stages of this year’s festival.

After a short soundcheck the doors open and also for Undertow the Riff Alm is crowded. This is all the more astonishing when you consider that Sacred Reich are playing at the Baltic Ballroom at the same time and Sepultura will enter the main stage half an hour later. However, everyone who decided to go to Riff Alm will not regret doing so.

Undertow barely fit on the extremely small stage, but that doesn’t do any harm to the show. The guys have packed a total of 11 songs on the setlist this time and it all starts with ‘File Under: Unexpected’ from the 2010 album ‘Don’t Pray to the Ashes’. The choice of the song turns out to be very good and directly creates a stellar vibe at Riff Alm. This spirit gets even stronger with the furious ‘On Fire’. Within two songs, band and fans are an enthusiastic unit. No matter if the new songs like ‘Call of the Sin’ or the old crowd-pleasers like ‘Crawler’ blast out of the speakers, here a metal feast is solidly celebrated and enjoyed.

After an hour the end of the show comes closer with the chords of ‘In Deepest Silence’ where the band gives everything they still have in the tank, followed by an enthusiastic final applause.

Undertow surely gained many new fans this evening, while others finally got to see the band live on stage after 15 years. We can only hope that Undertow will quickly return to the north of Germany and who knows, maybe there will be a chance to see them perform at the Bambi Galore or Logo.

Exhausted and satisfied, everybody has a beer or two before the Heidenheimers leave for the hotel and the writer of these lines heads home too. What remains is a great day, an excellent metal show and a day at the sea.

Setlist Undertow

  1. File Under: Unexpected
  2. On Fire
  3. Still Waiting
  4. Shadows
  5. Smoke Graden
  6. Threedouble Chime
  7. Call oft he Sin
  8. Burdened
  9. Crawler
  10. I Turn to You
  11. In Deepest Silence

Location: Metal Hammer Paradise 2022, Weissenhäuser Strand, Germany

Date: November 18th, 2022

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