Eisenwahn Festival 2011 - Obersinn, Germany, 29-30 July 2011

Event: Eisenwahn Festival
Written by: Promonex
Published: 15.09.2011

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Eisenwahn Festival 2011 - Obersinn, Germany, 29-30 July 2011 by Promonex (166)
Eisenwahn Festival 2011 - Obersinn, Germany, 29-30 July 2011



Table of Contents
1. Introduction

2. Friday, July 29
2.1 Cripper
2.2 Torture Squad
2.3 Benediction
2.4 The Crown
2.5 Sepultura

3. Saturday, July 30
3.1 Trinity Site
3.2 Jack Slater
3.3 Hour Of Penance
3.4 Negator
3.5 Big Ball
3.6 Debauchery
3.7 Onslaught
3.8 Tankard
3.9 Legion Of The Damned

4. Conclusion



1. Introduction
In 2004 some German teenagers living in the middle of nowhere decided to bring some metal to this nowhere. Back then they turned a trailer into a stage, put three bands on it, called this little festival of theirs "Eisenwahn an der Eisenbahn" ("Iron Fray at the Railway") and rocked out with 300 visitors.

Seven years later. The teenagers have grown to men, the festival's attendance has grown eight-fold and the lineup has grown to include the likes of Legion Of The Damned, Sepultura and Tankard. The location and the ambition however have stayed the same: the festival still takes place on a hillside above Obersinn, a village with 1,007 inhabitants, located in the picturesque landscape between two mountain ranges in Northwestern Bavaria, some 90 km east of Frankfurt, Germany. And the ambition? Still just rocking out with one's favorite bands and a bunch of like-minded metalheads. This has resulted in a rather imbalanced lineup in 2010, which overly reflected the band manager's love for death/grind, brutal death and slam death metal. Fortunately, this flaw was changed this year, so we got a varied yet still undoubtedly extreme lineup with old school thrash by Sepultura and Onslaught, death/thrash by Legion Of The Damned and The Crown, death metal by Benediction and Debauchery, brutal death by Hour Of Penance and Amagortis and for some extra variation black metal with Negator and hard rock with Big Ball. And so it was no surprise that 2,500 headbangers have found their way to Eisenwahn 2011 to turn this into the biggest installment this little festival has seen so far.




2. Friday, July 29
Regretfully, yours truly had to devote himself to other obligations before making his way to this festival. Combined with traffic jams, bad weather and traffic jams as a result of bad weather this means that you unfortunately won't get to read more about local grinders Clit$plit, German death/jazzers Die Grauen Herren, Turkish death metal band Heretic Soul, Norwegian slam deathers Kraanium and Swiss brutal death metal battalion Amagortis other than this honorary mention. Luckily, the weather in Obersinn was a lot better than on the roads leading there, so there wasn't anything in the way of some serious thrashing.

2.1 Cripper
And Cripper delivered the perfect soundtrack for some thrashing indeed! Charismatic vocalist Britta Görtz, nicknamed The Cow Moose, put up an outstanding performance that could easily compete with the likes of Angela Gossow and Sabina Classen while the rest of the band built a modern thrash framework with nods to the 80's Teutonic scene. A pity that the sound wasn't up to the same standard; especially the bass guitar could've done with some more emphasis. As a result the whole mix lacked some groove which made Cripper's otherwise flawless performance somewhat tedious after a while.




2.2 Torture Squad
The Brazilian thrashers of Torture Squad didn't have this problem. Actually, the opposite was the case: too much bass guitar, too much bass drum and too few guitars in the mix. The band members were giving it their all, but as the guitars were almost inaudible at times while the pounding bass drums were overpowering everything else it was hard to enjoy this show. Not even the guest appearance of Andreas Kisser (Sepultura) managed to rescue the performance and when the sound techs managed to fix the problems in the last ten minutes of the show I was already on my way back to the campground.




2.3 Benediction
Benediction was the first band to effectively benefit from the fixed sound. And the old school death metal legends from Birmingham absolutely delivered! Especially Nick Barker was drumming like a beast, while Darren Brookes didn't only impress with his guitar play, but also with his multitude of facial expressions. Naturally it was mostly the stuff from their early albums Subconscious Terror, Transcend the Rubicon and The Grand Leveller that had the crowd moving and resulted in several moshpits which received the rating "beautiful!" by vocalist Dave Hunt. Hunt was talking an awful lot actually. Talking about how they come from the birthplace of metal, talking about how they used to have Black Sabbath's "Symptom of the Universe" in the setlist, talking about how "beautiful" it is to play in Germany again and talking about how the security guards did a "beautiful" job by pulling the crowdsurfers over the railing without being aggressive. He probably would've kept that last sentence to himself, had he known that later on a totally plastered band colleague would get into trouble with the security guards, resulting in a pissed off band, pissed off festival organizers and a devastated hotel room. Oh well, I guess that's part of being old school…




2.4 The Crown
Why The Crown got to play as co-headliners after Benediction is beyond me, considering that the death metal legends from Birmingham are a much bigger name and as a consequence pulled more people in front of the stage. Probably this was once again a reflection of the personal tastes of the band manager who might hold the Swedes in higher regards, a bias which probably hasn't changed at all after Benediction's hotel antics. Performance-wise however The Crown were in no way inferior to Benediction. And despite of their reunion album Doomsday King sounding somewhat bland, Jonas Stålhammar proved quite well why he was chosen as successor of original vocalist Johan Lindstrand, a position he enjoyed here at Eisenwahn for the second to last time due to Lindstrand's recent return to the band. But the last impression I got of him as part of The Crown certainly was a great one. The band's thrash-infused death metal - or death-infused thrash metal, who really cares anyway? - had everyone lashing their hair from side to side and kept the pit in motion quite nicely. Which isn't that surprising really, seeing how their magnum opus, Deathrace King from 2000, contributed most songs to the setlist. After a while the music started sounding a bit samey though, partly due to the sound quality dragging a bit once again. So while the avid followers of the band had an awesome time with the likes of "Under the Whip", "Deathexplosion" and the obligatory "Total Satan", casual onlookers probably had trouble understanding the hype about the band's performance.
Setlist:Blitzkrieg Witchcraft, Under the Whip, Back from the Grave, The Tempter and the Bible Black, Soul Slasher, Deathexplosion, Executioner, At the End, Crowned in Terror, Zombiefied!, Doomsday King, Angels Die, Total Satan




2.5 Sepultura
Time for the headliners of the night. The Brazilian thrash legend Sepultura has an impressive back catalogue, of which the works with band founder Max Cavalera, who has left the band in 1997, are of particularly seminal character. As every other band Sepultura mostly plays gigs in support of their latest album, in this particular case the album Kairos which has been released in June of this year. On this very night of the Eisenwahn Festival though it might have been unfortunate for the band, but extremely fortunate for the fans that drummer Jean Dolabella suffered from tendonitis and that Amilcar Christófaro of fellow Brazilian thrashers Torture Squad was around to fill in. And being drummer of a Brazilian thrash metal band it was quite natural that Amilcar knew all the Sepultura classics by heart. The result was a setlist that had every fan wetting his panties: four songs of Arise, four songs of Chaos A.D. and then some! All in all there were two songs from the band's latest album, namely the title track "Kairos" and their rendition of Ministry's "Just One Fix", and for the rest of the night you only got pre-1997 material. And if the setlist didn't convince you, Derrick Green for sure did. The vocalist was in great shape, took the time for some jests and hypnotized the crowd with his piercing stare, a stare which yelled "Obey Me!" at the people he gazed upon. And they did as the black man's voice in their head told them to by moshing all over the place and flaying the night air with their hair. A brilliant headliner performance indeed and every true fan will hate not having been able to be part of this show.
Setlist: Arise, Refuse/Resist, Kairos, Dead Embryonic Cells, Desperate Cry, Troops of Doom, Just One Fix, Septic Schizo / Escape to the Void, Infected Voice, Biotech Is Godzilla, Slave New World, Territory, Inner Self
Encore: Roots Bloody Roots






3. Saturday, July 30
While the festival was spared from bad weather on Friday, the situation changed on the second day. Clouds were closing in, eclipsed the sun and cooled down the air. The festival goers didn't let this dampen their mood though, and with performances by Tankard, Debauchery and Legion Of The Damned there were enough bands playing to keep the spirits high.

3.1 Trinity Site
The local heroes of Trinity Site had the honor to open the second day. Meandering between modern death metal and melodic death metal with interesting twin leads, some Siebenbürgen-esque melodies and a lot of Dark Tranquillity worship, they offered quite a bit of variety, but failed to take a clear-cut course. These guys seem to have a lot of potential, but the songwriting might need a bit refining. The multitude of fans however had a great time.
Setlist: Farherion, Similar to Nothing, Deniar, Rope of Sand, Thoughts, Forlorn Hope, Shadow Aspect




3.2 Jack Slater
Jack Slater, the brutal death metal band from Cologne, has played this festival with biannual regularity since 2005. As the band has announced they will split-up later this year this tradition has come to an end with Eisenwahn 2011. And the band couldn't wait to perform their great finale, skipped the soundcheck and started with their set right away, "and by the end of the set we hopefully have a proper sound". Overall, they stuck to the formula "less talk, more blastbeats", churned out one salvo after another of their sophisticated death metal and if it wasn't for drummer Simon ruining the start of one song it would've been a flawless performance. But as the proverb goes: the laugh is always on the loser. And singer Horn didn't hold back with that, scoffing Simon for the rest of the set: "Do you at least know how to play this next one?" So all in all it's been your typical Jack Slater show: loads of sarcasm, loads of brutality and LOADS of bass-driven groove. Truly a pity to know that these guys will soon cease to exist.




3.3 Hour Of Penance
We continued with sophisticated death metal. Compared to their predecessors, Hour Of Penance remained on the same high brutality level, augmented the technical aspect, reduced the catchiness and - unfortunately - reduced the fun factor, too. The Italians surely were extremely proficient music-wise and unlike on the previous day the sound didn't leave much to be desired. But for some reason Hour Of Penance didn't quite captivate the audience the same way the other bands of the day managed to. A great performance nonetheless and one or the other spectator seemed to be blown away by the band's technicality after all.




3.4 Negator
Negator were somewhat like the odd band out. These guys, fronted by Dark Funeral's new vocalist Nachtgarm, brought some variety into the lineup with their black metal onslaught. And Nachtgarm displayed quite well why the Swedish black metal battalion accepted him into their ranks: his shrieks gave chills down your spine and his expressive performance easily hypnotized the death metal-focused crowd. Dark Funeral are actually quite a good point of reference as Negator's music is similarly fast and brutal, but seems to carry more Norwegian influences adding some coldness to their soundscapes. And as most black metal bands, Negator have an aspect you just can't take seriously. In this case it's the band's affection for tanks, signified by the last album Panzer Metal. And whenever Nachtgarm asked the audience: "Are you up for Panzer?!", one just couldn't get rid of the impression that this affection is far too similar to a young boy's interest in dinosaurs and fire trucks.




3.5 Big Ball
Ever since the German death metal band Debauchery released Rockers & War in 2009, it was apparent that these guys wanted to play hard rock as well. As a consequence the side-project Big Ball came into existence. Big Ball is nothing more than an Aussie hard rock worship band. There's nothing original about this band; all they offer are recycled AC/DC riffs. And a damn lot of enthusiasm. Actually it doesn't really matter how unoriginal they are because their enthusiasm will infect you, there's no escape and you'll just have to rock along! Even as an AC/DC hater one couldn't help but be thunderstruck by the fun and energy these three guys emanated. And singer/guitarist Olli Grbavac even added some Angus Young impersonations for good measure. This performance showed quite impressively how much fun the Debauchery guys can have if you just let them play what they feel like.




3.6 Debauchery
Soon after Big Ball had finished their set the backdrop was exchanged, some banners reading "Germany's Next Death Metal" were brought on stage and the same guys re-appeared, this time covered in blood, the singer/guitarist turned into the bassist and vice versa, the size of the audience doubled and the soundtrack turned into death metal. And while the band seemed to have more fun than the audience during their Big Ball gig, the opposite seemed to be the case with Debauchery. The fans had a great time, some of them covered in blood as well (which prompted frontman Thomas Gurrath to dedicate the song "Cuntkiller" to a particularly bloody yet beautiful female in the crowd) and growled along to tunes like "Blood for the Blood God" and "Death Metal Warmachine". The guys on stage however only seemed to play this gig as a means to an end, namely to be able to get Big Ball on the same billing and totally rock out themselves. But let's be honest: how many long-running bands only perform their new stuff because that's what they want to play while the fans are craving for the old stuff? Almost all of them, right? And so the same guys/different bands approach by Debauchery AKA Big Ball sounds like the perfect solution for both the musicians and the fans. And measured by the crowd response they truly deserved those 2x 40 minutes set lengths which gave them some kind of mid-day headliner status.




3.7 Onslaught
"Spitting blood in the face of Goooooooooood!" When Sy Keeler yells these words at the beginning of each Onslaught show, you know that you are in for some serious thrashing. The band was in a great mood and ferociously flogged the audience with one thrash metal hymn after another. And as a fan you certainly couldn't complain: every album with original vocalist Keeler (i.e. all of them save for In Search of Truth 1989) was represented by two songs or more in the setlist. As a non-fan you still couldn't help but be impressed by the band's sheer energy and Keeler's overwhelming charisma. Onslaught might just be one of the best live bands out there and this show, topped by the Motörhead classic "Bomber", proved this once again.
Setlist: Killing Peace, Born for War, Let There Be Death, Angels of Death, Sound of Violence, Planting Seeds of Hate, Metal Forces, Burn, Rest in Pieces, Power From Hell
Encore: Bomber





3.8 Tankard
Named like the beer vessel and singing about just that and nothing else, that's Tankard alright. This quartet was the secret headliner of the festival, which is not much of a surprise considering that they hail from the city of Frankfurt, less than an hour away from the festival. But even if they weren't, their show absolutely justified the crowd response they received. Singer Gerre kept running around on stage, was interacting a whole lot with the audience and with everybody else as well. Their beer-themed thrash metal, which included old classics like "Rectifier" and "Zombie Attack", modern classics like "Die with a Beer in Your Hand" and "The Beauty and the Beer" and the Gang Green cover "Alcohol", was great fun to listen to, but there was just so damn much going on that you almost forgot about the music.



When the fans demanded Gerre to undress, he turned the tables and asked for someone from the audience to join him and take over the stripping part while the band would go on performing "Slipping from Reality". Of course it was no surprise that a beer-loving fan found his way onto the stage to let his clothes slip from his body. And he even did a decent job at it, teasing the audience, interacting with the band and not going for the full monty before the song was over.



Later on Gerre spotted a good-looking photographer in the photo pit and with gestures he asked her to join him on stage for a dance, to which she declined. He kept teasing her and posing for her, but she kept turning him down, so between two songs he eventually announced: "For the next song I want that blonde girl up here on stage! Security guards, to aid!" And with the security guards breathing down her neck she didn't have much of a choice but laying down her tools and joining Gerre for a dance (and a beer) for the duration of a song before she was allowed to get back to her work again.



And of course there were the fans that just had to remind Gerre of his short stint in the German soap-opera "Sturm der Liebe" ("Storm of Love") with a banner and by throwing original "Sturm der Liebe" chocolates on stage. All in all Gerre, who was constantly in motion, was the centerpiece of the show and kept the crowd entertained and amused, either with words ("The next song is our most serious song. It's about beer."), by joining them at the barrier or by having them join him on stage. His colleagues on stage were having an equally great time and went up to the front to shake hands with the fans at the end of the show. And with a performance like this nobody was really bothered that Tankard played 20 minutes longer than they were supposed to.




3.9 Legion Of The Damned
As the official headliners of the night Legion Of The Damned had a damn hard stand to surpass the show of their co-headliners. And most people didn't even bother to stick around to see if they'll manage. The damned legionnaires gave it their all nonetheless and offered the most impressive show of the fest in terms of special effects: pillars of fire lined the edge of the stage at several times throughout their performance, which didn't only look nice, but were more than welcome considering the dropping temperatures. Whoever decided to heat up in the pit and in the warm aura of the flame projectors got subjected to 90 minutes of finest death/thrash. But while the music itself and its execution were top-notch, the band's performance appeared to be somewhat lackluster which turned out to be fatal after Tankard's highly entertaining show. And so LotD's gig wasn't really the mind-blowing headliner show one could have expected, despite the flames and the confetti cannon at the very end, but rather a passable conclusion of the festival night, a night which was clearly owned by the German drunkards of Tankard.




4. Conclusion
After the monotonous lineup of Eisenwahn 2010, the concerns associated with the overdone emphasis on death metal and the short-lived rumors of an end of the festival series, Eisenwahn has managed to get back on track with a varied lineup which doesn't negate its preference for extreme metal and which attracted more visitors than ever before. The fest still impresses with its friendly and familial atmosphere, decent catering and fair prices, and seeing how regional TV channels started paying attention to the fest and considering that some visitors have come from as far as New Zealand, it seems to be on a good way to become a fixed institution in the German and European metal festival calendar again.



Photos by Daniel "Promonex" Pereira of Metal Storm.
All rights reserved, do not use without permission.



 



Written on 15.09.2011 by
Promonex
Daniel "Promonex" Pereira loves to enthuse people with stuff he's enthusiastic about; as writer, photographer, promoter and DJ. Metal Storm staff since 2005.
More articles by Promonex ››




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Darkside Momo - 15.09.2011 at 20:52  
Nice report!
Quote:
"The next song is our most serious song. It's about beer."
Valentin B - 16.09.2011 at 12:04  
I need more Tankard in my life.
Promonex - 16.09.2011 at 13:26  
Written by Valentin B on 16.09.2011 at 12:04

I need more Tankard in my life.

Everybody does. Except for Legion of the Damned. And the blonde chick. At first I was annoyed because I had organized the Eisenwahn warm-up party where we had Gerre as DJ, but he didn't seem to recognize me in the pit. Then she arrived late to the pit and he kept posing for her which pissed me off quite a lot, even more so as we are good friends and keep competing for the best photos. And finally I got my retaliation when Gerre got her on stage which she just hated doing. And she'll probably hate me for upping those pics of her
Sulac - 17.09.2011 at 15:30  
Nice review! Loved the bit about Negator's obsession with tanks. I adore the band, but I have to agree, they are like children obsessed with war.

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