Maximum metal and maximum comfort? Hell yeah, I´ll take that combination. Metal anno 2013 is not just the youth thrashing around at concerts ending in nosebleeds, or denim and leather types rocking out with heroic poses. Metal speaks to so many different segments of fans, that concepts around metal festivals are being updated frequently.
Over twenty-five quality bands within two days. Over thirty hours of live metal music. Three stages with very short distance in between. Restaurants, swimming hall, babysitter service, the list of luxuries goes on, and everything´s indoor and located at a vacation park in Weissenhauserstrand in the north of Oldenburg, Germany. These are the fine frameworks which Metal Hammer Paradise is constructed around. Metal Hammer magazine has teamed up with German festival promoter FKP Scorpio to make a different kind of festival in main Europe and with stellar band lineup to kick off the concept. I visited the first edition of said festival and it was wunderschön.
Upon arrival at the reception early afternoon, there were already plenty of metalheads standing in line to get their wristbands. After getting checked in at our hotel, it struck me just how different the environment was; “here I was, sitting in my fancy room sipping a espresso, watching a James Bond movie on the telly, a James Bond talking in German, with a nice, comfortable bathroom at my disposal, before I was going to see the brutal Death/Viking Metal sound marches of Sweden´s Unleashed”. That´s a first.
Like said, three stages within 5 minutes walking distance, and such epic lineup, it felt like paradise. First up on Maximum Metal Stage was Unleashed. A veteran band by now, they played a good set of traditional Death Metal with their Viking and historical themes.
After the show, I craved something to eat, so I tried a Pizza Calzone at one of the restaurants before returning to see Paradise Lost. The Forefathers of Gothic Metal celebrated 25 years of existence on stage, bringing at very special setlist to the audience. Even “Rotting Misery” from the band´s first album was played with utter doomy delivery and a Nick Holmes proclaiming “we used to be Death Metal man” after the last chords of the song.
Another special event at Metal Hammer Paradise was Switzerland´s Samael playing their breakthrough album “Passage” from start to finish. Maybe it was more backwards since they ended with the opening and also the most memorable track from the album “Rain”. It was a good performance and an exclusive for the people at Metal Hammer Paradise.
Saxon have a long history and such endurance. I always thought they were one of the bands from the NWOBHM who didn´t get enough recognition, but nevertheless they have a strong fanbase worldwide, especially in Germany. They fired all the classic from the Maximum Metal stage with crowd all fired up.
Sweden´s Tiamat rarely play live these days, which also made Metal Hammer Paradise seem like a bag of exclusives goodies more or less. The band took the Baltic Ballroom stage with ease and played a varied set of old and new classics.
Aftershow party and headbanging contests closed an epic Friday at Metal Hammer Paradise.
First day of waking up in a deluxe hotelroom at a festival. What an incredible feeling. Maximum comfort. I don´t mind the roughness of outdoor festivals, but this was nice for a change, I can only recommend it. There were some exciting things on the program. Herman Li of Dragonforce had a showcase as did Ludwig Witt from Grand Magus, local yet first on my mind was to go bathing and “schwimming” at the vacation resort, just to get that extra paradise factor into an already more than comfortable stay at Metal Hammer Paradise.
First band I caught was Poland´s Death Metal squad Vader, who vigilantly stepped in for Death Angel, who had to cancel their appearance at the last minute. There´s nothing like Death Metal in the early hours, if you´re hungover from last night. The quickest cure is having a bear and watching a Death Metal concert, and Vader fulfilled that purpose going all guns blazing on stage. Maximum metal.
I walked around in the Galeria centre for awhile, just looking and feeling the atmosphere before going to see Lacuna Coil. It was quite interesting seeing the mixing of traditional metalheads and more family types who´d brought their kids to the festival, very easy going atmosphere. Lacuna Coil have worked up a routine on stage, and delivered an energetic set with emphasis on their latest album Dark Adrenaline.
German old school metal was very much kept alive this evening with performances from both Grave Digger and Sodom, who both have shown total uncompromising approaches to their music throughout their long lasting careers, was nice to both bands as I didn´t see them before. One could even go and bowling with (or against) the guys from Sodom later that evening, which is quite cool and another way of interaction between the fans and the band, instead of the usual autograph sessions.
Another exclusive show at Metal Hammer Paradise was the one from Extreme Metal giants Behemoth. These guys make such extreme and black art on stage with a sense of forgotten enlightenment. Definitely the highlight at the festival for me. The band played a new track from the upcoming album, which sounded more diverse but still true to the Behemoth fashion of Death/black Metal extremity.
Contrasts is also a fine keyword for Metal Hammer Paradise. You had first UK legends My Dying Bride playing their inspiring brand of Doom Metal, followed by the “Happy Metal” of Helloween and Sabaton closing the Saturday in admirable style. Of course there was plenty of Metal-karaoke to finish off the evening in old school metal tradition.
This was something else. The slogan “Maximum Metal – Maximum Comfort” fits perfectly into the Metal Hammer Paradise concept, and I honestly felt that I was in some form of paradise, in november, it´s possible I tell you. Sales have started for the 2014 edition with the first bands being announced in the near future.
Gästskribent: Fróði Tórálvsson Stenberg