This is a festival held in Frisia or Fryslân, located in the far north of The Netherlands (we, the people from Holland simply call it Friesland). You can compare Friesland and Holland with Scotland and England (see the movie Braveheart), but in reality I doubt any foreigner will notice the difference between us and the Frisians. And the tulips, wooden shoes and windmills look the same in both countries.
In the past things were different. In the year of our lord 1345 on the 26th of September, my granddaddy, the duke Holland (William #5) invaded Friesland without much success because the Frisian peasants destroyed his army and Bill himself were killed on the battlefield.
This year I hope to do what he could not do: to stay more than one day in Friesland.
This is the 22nd edition of Wâldrock. Technically it is a one day festival, but to make sure that the guests on the camping site would not get bored there was a pre-party Friday night. Booked were Napalm Death (this band shows up everywhere) Dragonforce, Legion of The Damned and local talent Existence Denied.
|Lead Guitar: Robert|
|Existence Denied - Myspace|
The openers Friday were Existence Denied. They did win an Idols styled competition for local bands and said, “The so called ‘Battle for Waldrock’ took place yesterday, and we are happy to inform you that the audience voted us as the best band! This means that we may perform on Friday the 12th of June to open the festival together with Blind Sight, Dragonforce, Napalm Death and Legion of the Damned! Thanks a lot for voting on us!”
The guitar player of Existence Denied, Ronald, or Wolve (his battle metal name) is also the guitar player of Elexorien, a female fronted battle metal band from Groningen. Elexorien also has one of the best female singers in the line up, Iné.
But Existence has nothing to do with Conan the Barbarian style music. Their melodic death metal was solid, but not really special. Existence still lacks their own “face” when it comes to song writing, but it is a young band and I would see much worse the next day.
|Legion Of The Damned|
|Vocals: Maurice Swinkels|
|Guitar: Richard Ebisch|
|Bass: Harold Gielen|
|Drums: Erik Fleuren|
This band hails from Venlo, a nice city close to the German border and home of our future illustrous leader and Führer mister Geert Wilders. However, Legion Of The Damned are very boring to photograph. Three ‘Cousin It’s and the invisible drummer. The singer is very static and the bass and guitar player have two modes: standing still vs. head banging & standing still. Clearly Legion Of The Damned must have it from their music. Although this is a band from the Netherlands, Legion Of The Damned barely does gigs in their own country. Only a few big festivals (because those pay better I guess), but never a headliner tour. The music is a cross between death and thrash metal and while done nicely it was also not really special. Still Legion Of The Damned is considered one of the more important bands in Holland.
|Vocals: Mark ‘Barney’ Greenway|
|Guitar: Mitch Harris|
|Bass: Shane Embury|
|Drums: Danny Herrera|
Napalm Death was entirely different. The grind core pioneers practically live in their tour bus (a little rental van) and moved from festival to festival this summer. All Napalm Death gigs are the same: one burst of energy that kicks you in the face like a sledgehammer. Moshpits are also mandatory at Napalm gigs. At Wâldrock things were not different. Mark Greenway is still crazy on stage, but his wise lessons about the political ideas behind the songs were lost to the audience. Metal heads wants to party and politics is for punkers after all.
Saturday started at my hotel (with the current credit crisis hotel prices have dropped drastically so I opted for a real bed this time) and I was not alone because the boys from Napalm Death also had rented some rooms next door.
|Vocals & Bass: Geert Kroes|
|Guitar: Tommie Bonajo|
|Guitars & Vocals: Dave van Loon|
|Drums: Emile Schoenmakers|
Blindsight is a Dutch metal & hardcore band. They were invited to do some gigs in China of all places! (That made them the first metal band from The Netherlands to do a gig in this country.) Are they that special? I don’t know. Originally they were supposed to be the openers on Friday, but were moved to Saturday instead, thus making room for Existence Denied. I did not see much of their gig, but what I saw was a solid performance.
A visibly happy Floor Jansen was our host between the bands. I had not seen her since the X Mass party at the 013 in 2007. After the demise of her band (After Forever) she has not been involved in any real bands or projects so it was nice to she her again.
|Vocals: Charlotte Wessels|
|Songwriter & Synths: Martijn Westerholt|
|Guitars & Backup Vocals: Ronald Landa|
|Bass: Rob van der Loo|
|Drums: Sander Zoer|
The next band was Delain, one of the two female fronted bands today. You might have expected Epica on the mainstage, but since Epica relies heavy on their special effects Delain had the chance to shine at the mainstage. And they did! Delain’s debut album was a gothic oriented album with lots of special guests from bands like Within Temptation or Nightwish, but their latest record is more rock oriented, like a Kelly Clarkson with a real band on overdrive. The last Delain gig I saw was a bit of a disappointment, but today, with sun and cold beer it was not so bad.
Delain left and made room for Voivod, a legendary band from the eighties. Maybe it should have stayed in that era because the Wâldrock gig was a bit of a disappointment. I had expected more from them. Same goes for Voivod. Without Piggy (RIP) or Newstead (too lazy to appear live) this is the poor man’s Voivod.
After Voivod it was time to move to the tent for Epica, but before Epica a band called Bring Me the Horizon would do a gig. I’m not going to review this because the music this band makes is absolutely nothing for me, but if mommy and daddy wanted to do some adult things this gig was a good opportunity to dump the children for an hour or so.
|Vocals: Simone Simons|
|Grunts, Screams, Guitars: Mark Jansen|
|Guitars: Ad Sluijter|
|Bass: Yves Huts|
|Synths and Piano: Coen Janssen|
|Drums: Ariën van Weesenbeek|
Epica is one of the few bands from Holland that can actually do a tour in North America on their own. Unlike something as Lacuna Coil, they have become more metal with each album and their current line up has two ex-members from the black metal band God Dethroned. We all know they are only in Epica for the money, but they also give Epica some much needed energy live. The main attraction is singer Simone who is one of the best front women in the word of metal. In 2007 Epica discovered the art of pyro & special effects. Since then most of their gigs have lots of flames, explosions and confetti canons. That is also the reason why their gig was at the marquee and not at the main stage.
Epica left, leaving a lot of rubble. At the main stage Killswitch Engine did their thing. It was not my thing and that is all I have to say about them. Besides, it was time to grap some food and prepare myself for Motörhead!
|Vocals & Bass: Lemmy Kilmister|
|Guitar: Phil Campbell|
|Drums: Mikkey Dee|
Motörhead. Motörhead. Metal! Metal! Metal! But a lot of songs today sounded like blues and rock and or roll! Did this matter? With a hot afternoon sun and a cold beer? No! But many people complained that the band did too many new songs. Maybe a good idea with your own headliner tour, but not at a festival.
This has nothing to do with metal, but for some reasons Jägermeister wants us to think that their brand of liquor is cool. In Holland, Jägermeister is something grandpa would drink so this company goes to extreme measures to convince us otherwise by sponsoring Epica, Delain and a lot of festivals. This brings me to the Jägermeister girls who were completely misplaced today. Do we have problems with good looking girls dancing? Not in a strip tent, but here really nobody was interested. I overheard a conversation between two gals about all those scary men with tattoos. Hello!!
A small detail: it is forbidden to sell booze stronger than beer at festivals in the Netherlands so the Jägermeister shots were little Jäger and lots of cheap cola.
|Vocals, Guitars: Bill Steer|
|Vocals, Bass: Jeff Walker|
|Guitars: Michael Amott|
|Drums: Daniel Erlandsson|
Bad management left us with Motörhead and Carcass at almost the same time. Last time I saw Carcass on stage was somewhere during the last century. So the big question was: how will this be? Yes, we all know they have some guys from Arch Enemy in the line up, but that is hardly a seal of quality these days. And my fear was correct. I saw a nice heavy metal band working for their living. All the magic of the old Carcass was gone. Basically somebody dug up the old Carcass to make some money out of it.
|Heaven and Hell|
|Ronnie James Dio|
|If you do not know what those legends do, then you are not supposed to read this review.|
Some people think that Heaven & Hell is a Black Sabbath without Ozzy. In reality Heaven & Hell is a good metal band without Sharon Osbourne! With 238 years of combined experience you can expect a good show from Dio, Tony, Geezer and (and the invisible man Scott Warren off stage on keys) Two years ago I saw Heaven & Hell at Fields of Rock just before Slayer in daylight, but here, in the dark, the Heaven and Hell show and stage is much better suited. The only thing that was a little misplaced was the video screen that kept repeating some dull computer animated graphics. This band does not really need those cheap things. Heaven & Hell was by far also the loudest band today. According to ear witnesses you could follow the Heaven & Hell gig from some 5 miles away without trouble. Not bad!
Conclusion: this year’s line up was not the most impressive of the Wâldrock history but the same goes for the other metal oriented festivals this year. We all missed Iron Maiden this year!Buy me a shot! [CLICK HERE]