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Contents: "Bang Your Head!!!"-Festival 2001-''Living Underground''-Artikel
Date: 19.07.2001 (created), 30.09.2023 (revisited), 02.10.2023 (updated)
Origin: ROCK STATION
Task: from paper to screen
Der Start für diesen Artikel waren meine acht Einzelreviews, die ich fürs UNDERGROUND EMPIRE verfaßt hatte. Da ich alle Bands beim Festival gesehen hatte, war es kein Problem, den kompletten Text zu verfassen. Im schlimmsten Fall konnte ich in den Reviews spicken, die die HEAVY, ODER WAS!?-Schreiber geschrieben hatten; auf alle Fälle hatte ich mir dort einige Songtitel abgeschaut.
So sah das Resultat dann in gedruckter Form im ROCK STATION aus, das insgesamt sechs Seiten füllte:
Supervisor: Stefan Glas
"Bang Your Head!!!"-Festival 2001
Balingen, Messegelände & WOM
Like in the years before metalheads from all over the world travelled to the "Bang Your Head!!!"-festival in Balingen, Germany to have a great metal party together. And everything was perfectly prepared for them: 22 excellent bands at the open air-stage and another five performances in the club nearby the festival site. Also the Weather-God showed that he is into metal and did a great job: The weather was simply perfect for hours and hours of Heavy Metal!
Clubshow, Thursday 28. June 2001
Before the action broke loose at the festival-area there was a warm up-show in the "WOM"-club. Due to the fact, that many metalfans already arrived during Thursday the club was well-filled for the unofficial start of the "Bang Your Head!!!" 2001.
MAJESTY gained position three in this year's unsigned band-competition of the "Rockfabrik« Ludwigsburg and so they were invited to kick off the evening. The band presented the perfect metal-cliché and can well be entitled as the German answer to MANOWAR. Songs like ›Strong As Steel‹ (which was featured on the current "Metal Crusade«-CD of the German HEAVY, ODER WAS!?-magazine) as well as the new tracks ›Fist Of Steel‹ and ›Metal To The Metalheads‹ were accepted very well by the audience and so they all helped proclaiming "Hail to Majesty!"
I really wasn't sure what to expect of PARADOX, because the band played their second show after their restart in 1999. But on the other hand the charismatic singer and guitarist Charly Steinhauer had the best German rhythm-group in his back: The brothers Oliver and Alex Holzwarth, who became well-known for their outstanding work in SIEGES EVEN. And PARADOX came and crushed the stage! With an incredible intensity they fired songs from the old albums »Product Of Imagination« and »Heresy« as well as from the latest »Collision Course« at the audience that turned into a wild banging and crowd-surfing mob. PARADOX was a highlight of the festival, no doubt! Fortunately there was a longer changeover after the gig so the exhausted fans had the chance to regain their strength - which was absolutely necessary, because the next act, VICIOUS RUMORS, was also hot to play in front of a German crowd after the RAGE-tour, where they were booked as special guest, was cancelled.
But there was a big questionmark behind VICIOUS RUMORS. Not only because the last albums received not too euphoric reviews but also because singer Morgan Thorn left the band short before the trip to Germany. He was replaced by Brian O'Connor who already sung on the »Cyberchrist«-album. But the band came from the airport, directly entered the stage and were able to wipe away any negative expectations. Opening up with ›Digital Dictator‹ VICIOUS RUMORS played the best show I saw since Carl Albert's tragic death: 70 minutes packed with classics like ›On The Edge‹, ›Down To The Temple‹, ›You Only Live Twice‹, ›Abandoned‹ or ›March Or Die‹ and an aggressive stageacting proved that VICIOUS RUMORS are definitely not dead yet!
Festival, Friday 29. June 2001
After an warm up-show that had gone far beyond expectations the regular festival started on Friday morning, 10 o'clock.
In their home-country Spain this band is very popular but at the BYH they were forced to play as an opener. For half an hour they presented mainly songs from their last album »Legendario«. So there was enough high-class music, but there were two problems for TIERRA SANTA: First of all the musicians are not able to speak English and so there was no communication with the audience and above all the musicians were standing almost motionless on stage. Before TIERRA SANTA will be able to conquer the rest of the world they surely have to improve these two things.
"What do you do here that early, we are not that good!" That's how SOLITUDE AETURNUS-guitarist John Perez hailed the fans in Balingen. But he was completely wrong! The doomers played an excellent show and especially the performance of (now short-haired) singer Rob Lowe as always left an everlasting impression. Unfortunately there were many classics missing but at least we got offered such doom-masterworks like ›Hourglass‹ or ›Days Of Prayer‹.
It was close to high-noon when the German group BRAINSTORM entered the stage with the song ›Crush Depth‹. Especially the new vocalist Andy B. Franck (who also sings for the prog-metal-outfit SYMPHORCE) offered a good performance by communicating very much with the audience which directly responded positively. Besides songs from their three albums BRAINSTORM also played a song from the upcoming CD »Metus Mortis« for the first time which was called ›Blind Suffering‹. Thumbs up for BRAINSTORM!
In Balingen KAMELOT once again had to face their main live-problem: Just one guitar is not able to fill the holes in the sound in such epic pieces like ›Forever‹, ›Karma‹ or ›The Forth Legacy‹. Besides that singer Khan seemed to have some problems with his voice as he didn't always reach the correct tone. So KAMELOT for sure didn't offer the best show possible, but the fans didn't care and were enjoying themselves very much. But for the future KAMELOT should really think about hiring a second guitarist at least for the live-shows.
After the mind-blasting show last night it was impossible for VICIOUS RUMORS to reach the same excessive heights on the big stage - especially because they played only 45 minutes and therefore had to kick several songs out of the setlist. But VICIOUS RUMORS played another good show and proved that they are on the best way to regain their old strength.
After the lousy »Endorama«-album Mille had promised us to go back to the roots. And he kept that promise in Balingen: The setlist was full of the old blasters like ›Terror Zone‹, ›Phobia‹, ›Extreme Aggression‹, ›Renewal‹, ›Lost‹, ›Leave The World Behind‹, ›Pleasure To Kill‹, ›People Of The Lie‹, ›Terrible Certainty‹ as well as a medley of ›Flag Of Hate‹ and ›Tormentor‹. Also there was a preview to the upcoming album: ›Servant In Heaven, King In Hell‹. KREATOR as the most extreme band of the first festival-day had no problem to convince the crowd of their killer-capacity and blew the stage with coloured fog-bombs.
If there is one band in the world on which you can always count on it surely is ARMORED SAINT. No matter if they appear in a small rotten club or on a big stage like in Balingen - this band always kicks ass! The standard-opener ›March Of The Saint‹ had just begun and the metalfans were going nuts. But ARMORED SAINT also had some specials in their setlist compared to last year's European tour: They played ›Real Swagger‹ from the new »Nod To The Old School«-disc, performed ›Den Of Thieves‹ for the first time ever live and the oldtimer ›On The Way‹ that they had not played for years. Singer John Bush proudly presented the new version of his legendary »Fuck Bush«-shirt and made clear that he still is one of the best frontmen of today's metal scene.
The most dirty Rock'n'Roll-band in the world played an grandiose show: ›Bad Boy For Love‹, ›Rock'n'Roll Outlaw‹, ›Out Of This Place‹, ›Rock'n'Roll Is King‹, ›Astra Walley‹, ›Butcher And Fast Eddie‹, ›Nice Boys Don't Play Rock'n'Roll‹ and ›Scarred For Life‹ made the audience boil. The highlight of the show was when a fan climbed the stage, fell on his knees and started praying to ROSE TATTOO. Singer Angry Anderson reacted promptly, kneeing down to the fan, putting his arms around him and starting to dance with him while they where still on their knees. What an glorious end the ROSE TATTOO-set!
All together the musicians of URIAH HEEP are for sure 250 years old, but they proved that age doesn't matter when you know how to rock and roll. This band is a phenomenon: I never saw a band that has such a positive flair on stage - not only because guitar-player Mick Box is permanently grinning... URIAH HEEP were playing a collection of their classics, minus the ballads, which was too bad, because many people were waiting for ›Lady In Black‹. Probably HEEP were afraid to present their cosy side to so many metalfreaks...
Tension was rising: How would SAVATAGE sound with the new guys, vocalist Damond Jiniya and Jack Frost on guitar? The band had a perfect start with ›City Beneath The Surface‹, ›Strange Wings‹ and ›Sirens‹. During these songs Damond was more or less without a job and was just joining Jon Oliva during the chorus. His time had come when SAVATAGE played songs of the Zak Stevens-era and he did a good job. The band showed a vivid performance on stage and made clear that they have a solid base to continue their metal-mission. It was a pleasure to watch these guys on stage and - do you know how long I have been waiting for Jon to sing ›Gutter Ballet‹ again live!?
Their last albums »Demolition« and »Jugulator« were not accepted by all metalfans, but JUDAS PRIEST still rule on stage and so everybody was looking forward to the metal-gods. Ripper was showing up in a shiny, metal-plated coat, performing absolutely relaxed, compared to the last tour, when you noticed that he was very nervous... But the rest of the band was a little too relaxed: We all know that Ian Hill prefers his place in a dark corner of the stage, but from K.K. and Glenn I was expecting a bit more of action. JUDAS PRIEST mainly played old material (›Metal Gods‹, ›Electric Eye‹, ›United‹, ›Living After Midnight‹, ›Hell Bent For Leather‹, ›Heading Out To The Highway‹, ›A Touch Of Evil‹, ›Ripper‹, ›Breaking The Law'‹ ›Green Manalishi‹ and the surprising acoustic version of ›Diamonds And Rust') while from the last two albums there were only ›One On One‹, ›Machine Man‹ and ›Blood Stained‹. Combined with an exclusive light-show it was not the perfect headlining-show but a great metal-party for sure.
Clubshow, Friday 29. June 2001
Half an hour after JUDAS PRIEST finished the day one on the big open air-stage there was the next shot of metal - once again happening at the "WOM"-club.
At the festival there was a guy wearing a self-made »James Rivera is God«-shirt and he was absolutely right! Even I never would have imagined that God is a small, black-haired guy of Mexican origin... But he and his newly formed HELSTAR gave us everything that we wanted: ›Benediction‹, ›The King Is Dead‹, ›Evil Reign‹, ›Winds Of War‹, ›Angel Of Death‹, ›Burning Star‹, ›Baptized In Blood‹, ›Dracula's Castle‹, ›Shadows Of Iga‹ and ›Run With The Pack‹. After WATCHTOWERs genius show at the "Bang Your Head!!!" 2000 this was another glorious highlight in metal-history, that left the spectators exhausted through and through. Hopefully there will be more from HELSTAR in the future than a few reunion-shows but a real comeback!
RETURN TO THE SABBAT
It was not the perfect moment for the live-debut in Germany of RETURN TO THE SABBAT. The new/old band of the former SKYCLAD-singer Martin Walkyier climbed the stage of the "WOM" facing an crowd that already had consumed many hours of metal. But the band was able to overcome the tiredness of the audience with breakers like ›Hosianna in excelsis‹. And Martin made it as easy as possible for everybody because he was talking in German to the fans. But after this fine performance which was finished around 3 o'clock in the morning everybody was happy to be able to dive into his bed.
Festival, Saturday 30. June 2001
But there was no long sleep because at 10 o'clock there was already the first band on the festival-stage.
It was surely not the most convenient place in the running-order because the people were exhausted from the burning sun of the last day. But COURAGOUS from Frankfurt, as the winners of this years unsigned bands-contest of the "Rockfabrik" in Ludwigsburg, took their chance: Especially singer Chris Staubach was approaching the front of the stage as often as possible to grab the people directly. Even COURAGOUS had only a playing-time of 25 minutes they did a good job at their "show-case".
Even though EIDOLON are very popular in Europe it was the first time they ever played over here. To be more precise: It was the second gig the band ever played and it was the last they played with their singer Brian Soulard, who left the band after the European-trip. But that lack of live-experience was not obvious, because the band played their complex material perfectly. EIDOLON offered songs ranging from the title-track of the new album »Nightmare World« to a medley of the old tracks ›Zero Hour‹ and ›In Visions Past‹ and we hope that the band will be back in Europe as soon as they have a new vocalist!
"Hello, Wacken!" That's how SQUEALER-singer Henner sent his greetings to the audience in Balingen. But he transformed his little mistake into the running-gag of the day and kept asking the people "Wacken, are you ready?" or "I can't hear you, Wacken. Louder!" Except from that SQUEALER played a best of-set from their last two albums with songs like ›The Eternity Of A Day‹, ›Nowhere To Hide‹, ›Friends For Life‹, ›The Final Daylight‹ and they surprised with the uncommon coverversion of DEPECHE MODEs ›Enjoy The Silence‹. During the last time there was Mike Terrana behind the drums for SQUEALER, but at the »Bang Your Head!!!«-festival Felix Bohnke from EDGUY was hammering the anvil. "Thanks for coming to our show, Wacken!"
It is a nice tradition of the BYH that there must be a slash of perfect canadian steel. While last year EXCITER were attacking our ears, this year it was Lips and his ANVIL-boys. All in all you always know what to expect from ANVIL - no surprises. But every time it is good to see these guys and to hear classics like ›Forged In Fire‹, ›March Of The Crabs‹ and ›Metal On Metal‹. And after Lips brought his vibrator on stage and was teasing his guitar with this toy everybody was happy. ANVIL is one of the bands that never disappoints anybody on stage!
Then it was the second turn for James Rivera, the old HELSTAR-members Jerry Abarca (b) and Russel DeLeon (d), DESTINY'S END-guitarist Eric Halpern and Joel Gregoire, the new guy on guitar, who also plays in James' JUDAS PRIEST-coverband. And they played another good show, which was of course not as intense as in the crowed, smoke-filled club the night before. But it was fascinating to see James acting on the big stage: While he was singing his complicated parts he was running around like a long-distance runner. The Metal scene needs more charismatic guys like him.
THE COMPANY OF SNAKES
Last year the good old rockers of KROKUS were one of the winners of the festival and this year it was just the same for COMPANY OF SNAKES - even there were some people saying that they don't need WHITESNAKE without David Coverdale. But with Micky Moody, Bernie Marsden and Neil Murray there are more original-WHITESNAKE-members than in David's last band. And except from that everybody must agree on the fact that COMPANY OF SNAKES-singer Stefan Bergren on the one hand almost perfectly sounds like Coverdale and on the other is a good entertainer who communicates very well with the audience. With songs like the opener ›Come On‹, the number 1-hit ›Don't Break My Heart Again‹, ›Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City‹ and the undying ›Here I Go Again‹ COMPANY OF SNAKES conquered Balingen and even Black Metal-fans were singing along.
SIX FEET UNDER
Now the time had come for the first Death Metal-band to play at the "Bang Your Head!!!"-festival. KREATOR already made clear on Friday that the people are open for more extreme bands on the festival-billing. SIX FEET UNDER didn't take the easy way and did not play a single song from last years cover-album ›Graveyard Classics‹, but were just presenting original material: ›Victim Of The Paranoid‹, ›Feasting On The Blood Of The Insane‹, ›War Is Coming‹, ›No Warning Shot‹, ›Sufferin' In Exstacy‹, ›Beneath A Black Sky‹, ›Human Target‹, ›Hacked To Pieces‹, ›Torture Killer‹, ›Lycanthropy‹ and another two songs (›The Murderers‹ and ›Knife, Gun, Axe‹) from their upcoming album »True Carnage«. The band received an euphoric response from the audience and the people were banging their heads off just like Mister Grunt himself, Chris Barnes, was doing on stage.
Axel Rudi Pell
Last year Axel Rudi Pell was unfortunately forced to cancel the show at the "Bang Your Head!!!" but this year he kept his promise to give Balingen a real slap in the face. With such an excellent backing band Axel has, this was surely no problem to do: Mike Terrana nailed down his drumset like only a master of the sticks can do. Bass-player Volker Krawczak, Axels companion since STEELER-days, was giving us the perfect groove and surely everybody knows that Ferdi Doernberg is one of the best keyboarders in today's metal-scene. And Axel's current singer Johnny Gioeli might not have the same well-known name like the singers before (Charly Huhn, Rob Rock and Jeff Scott Soto) but in Balingen he proved that he is able to perform properly on such a big stage. And the audience was happy to hear songs like ›Tear Down The Walls‹, ›Fool Fool‹, ›Carousel‹, the medley ›The Masquerade Ball/Casbah‹, ›Warrior‹, ›Snake Eyes‹ and the STEELER-traditional ›Call Her Princess‹.
It was clear that MEGADETH would meet diverse reactions. But objectively you have to say that MEGADETH had a good day at the BYH. They played tight and showed a lot of action on stage. And who really cares about the fact that Mustaine's vocals were - as almost every time - not very good. With standards like ›Holy Wars‹, ›Reckoning Day‹, ›Symphony Of Destruction‹, ›Peace Sells‹, ›In My Darkest Hour‹, ›Trust‹, ›Tornado Of Souls‹ and the new songs ›Moto Psycho‹ and ›Return To Hangar‹ MEGADETH were able to convince most of the metalheads in front of the stage. Congratulations are also going out to the new guitarist Al Pitrelli who came from SAVATAGE to MEGADETH: He was absolutely able to play all of Marty Friedman-solos.
For the BYH-gig STRATOVARIUS were cancelling their creative break they started some time ago. Also it was the first show on Saturday with pyros. And fortunately this time there were no accidents (You might remember that last year in Wacken STRATOVARIUS-singer Timo burned his hand because of a pyro-bomb and drummer Jörg Michael was announcing in an interview that the band will try to blow him completely up in Balingen...). While the band was playing a best of-set on stage in the photo-pit strange things were going on: All the photographers had to wear red clown-noses if they wanted to take pictures of STRATOVARIUS. So there was plenty of laughter everywhere! The position as co-headliner fitted STRATOVARIUS very well, because there were countless arms in the air and the fans were singing along each song.
It was without doubt a brillant festival but the highlight was still to come. Mister Dee Fuckin' Snider came and blew the crowd away! But first of all it wasn't really sure if he would be able to play: The flight-company messed up the transport of Dee's luggage and so all the instruments of the band remained at the airport in Brussels. But other bands proved that in metal everybody belongs to a big family: Musicians from ARMORED SAINT, VICIOUS RUMORS and the local band PSYCHOTRON as well as Al Pitrelli were lending their instruments to Dee's musicians and so the band was ready to go! ›What You Don't Know‹, ›The Kids Are Back‹, ›Stay Hungry‹, ›Under The Blade‹, ›I Am (I'm Me)‹, ›Leader Of The Pack‹, ›Burn In Hell‹ or the final song ›SMF‹ were some of the perfect TWISTED SISTER-smashers firing off the best metalparty everybody had for years. Dee acted like a whirlwind on stage, was singing as if the last 20 years were just an illusion and was entertaining the "sick motherfuckers" in Balingen with his grandiose monologues. This man was born to perform on stage! This man is an undying metal-icon! The only thing that was not perfect were Dee's abilities as a high-priest of the Weather-God: As black clouds appeared he was shouting together with the audience at the sky "Not now! We don't want to get wet!" But it was useless: Minutes later the sky opened its gates and it was raining like hell. But it seemed like nobody really cared: Nobody left the festival area but was continuing to celebrate together with Dee. And even after the show was over and a big fireworks was lighting up the sky there were still hundreds of people in front of the stage, dancing in the rain and singing "We're not gonna take it."
Photos: Stefan Glas
››››› weitere Artikel über ANVIL (CDN) ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über ARMORED SAINT ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über BRAINSTORM (D, Stuttgart) ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über COURAGOUS ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über EIDOLON (CDN) ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über HELSTAR ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über JUDAS PRIEST ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über KAMELOT ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über KREATOR ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über MAJESTY (D, Lauda) ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über MEGADETH ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über PARADOX (D) ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über Axel Rudi Pell ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über RETURN TO THE SABBAT ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über ROSE TATTOO ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über SAVATAGE ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über SIX FEET UNDER (US, FL) ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über Dee Snider ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über SOLITUDE AETURNUS ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über SQUEALER (D, Schwalmstadt) ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über STRATOVARIUS ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über THE COMPANY OF SNAKES ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über TIERRA SANTA ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über URIAH HEEP ›››››
››››› weitere Artikel über VICIOUS RUMORS ›››››