Review by Jordan Quinn with photography by Chris Bowley.

The second part of  Gig Junkies  journey across Europe to Dinkelsbühl in Germany for the immense four-day metal fest that is the delectably titled Summer Breeze 2017 to see some of the biggest names in metal including Korn, Amon Amarth, Kreator, Megadeth and many more….


Day 3 – Friday

It was Friday at Summer Breeze and we knew that this is where the real fun began, we were in for a busy day with an absolutely beautiful line-up ahead of us. The main stage was made up of bands signed up to Nuclear Blast Records in honour of their 30th birthday and it really was a treat! We started early with Cellar Darling (Switzerland), three former members of Eluveitie (and joined by guest violinist, bassist and keyboardist), for a modern take on folk metal.  Anna Murphy possessed the audience with her eerie melodies, both vocally and on the hurdy-gurdy. Their intricately layered tracks just surround you while you listen to them, each song telling its own story.  The combination of traditional instruments with metal guitar and drums only make it more enchanting.

Cellar Darling

Cellar Darling-135

Next up, we had Battle Beast and we knew that we were in for a good show. Their 80s pop synth-infused-power metal tells often tells a dark story but the music itself just makes you want to jump. They played crowd favourites such as: “Let It Roar”, “Black Ninja” and “Touch in the Night” as well as new releases: “Bringer of Pain”, “King for a Day” and “Lost in Wars”. One of my favourite things about power metal is the cheese and Battle Beast brought it all. Despite a highly energetic and enticing performance, we had to head off early to catch Eluveitie’s acoustic show and official launch for new album Evocation II: Pantheon in the campsite circus.

Battle Beast

Battle Beast-206

Being able to witness Eluveitie‘s folk album launch was truly a spectacle. Despite being in a large, hot tent with no ventilation, their acoustic set was a joy to behold. They unveiled many new tracks, playing most live for the first time “Lvgvs”, “Catvrix” and “Ogmios”, which appears to be an acoustic homage to old track “Inis Mona”. The set was captivating and seemed suitable of a solstice celebration, perfect for dancing around a fire under the night sky.  As we headed back to the main stage, we caught a snippet of Infected Rain’s set and they are heavy as hell! The crowd is screaming, as is powerhouse vocalist, Lena. If you like your metal brutal and to the point, Infected Rain are for you.

Eluveite
Eluveite- tent-59

Our next main stage band were epic by nature and Epica by name. Metal riffage building up to massive classical crescendos filled the air. Playing a lot of their new material, they manage to sustain their unique sound yet and combine it with catchy pop-esque choruses. Simone’s soprano voice soars high above the rest of the track while the rest of the band, who were clearly having fun, ran around the stage in between head banging. The stage then rotated (Yes, they had a revolving stage) resulting in a 10 minute break between bands and then it was time for Eluveitie’s METAL set!

Eipca

Epica (2)

Starting with classic track “King”, they warmed the crowd up to the new line-up of Eluveitie since the major line-up change last year before moving on to some of the new material. The crowd responded by dancing in circles, creating actually circle pits and sending many crowd surfers. Halfway through the set, as the forecast warned, the heavens opened which, weirdly enough, only accentuated the experience. They proved that they weren’t going anywhere anytime soon and, despite the dramatic member shuffle, they’ve managed to hold onto the sound that, in essence, makes them Eluveitie.

Eluveitie

Eluveite (2)

Crowd (2)

The rainstorm delayed Children of Bodom‘s set somewhat but they made up for it with a true show of Finnish Extreme Metal. Filled to the brim with cheesy keyboard synth and heavy distortion, Children of Bodom pulled the crowd back to the main stage to party Finnish metal style before Friday’s headliners: Kreator.

Children of Bodom
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Crowd (4)

Kreator – These German thrash metallers certainly knew how to put on a show and that they did. After releasing new album Gods of Violence this year, a must-have for any thrash metal fan’s collection, they’ve been doing the rounds of European festivals, including our very own Bloodstock Open Air!

Kreator

Kreator (4)

Kreator (3)


Day 4 – Saturday

It was Saturday, the fourth and final day of bands at Summer Breeze Open Air and despite missing my bed and easy access to toilet paper, I definitely wasn’t ready to leave. Our first band of the day was none other than German Power Metal powerhouse, Primal Fear.  A band you wouldn’t often get to see in the UK, if ever. Playing favourites such as “Angel of Mercy”, “In Metal We Trust” and “King for a Day”, Primal Fear brought the cheese that we desperately wanted, picking up where Battle Beast had left off the day before.

Primal Fear
Primal Fear

Primal Fear (1)

Almost immediately after, we had the pleasure of watching Delain, hot off the release of their most recent album “Moonbathers”. All members of the band came bounding onstage, clearly enjoying themselves from the first beat. Reflecting the passion of the crowd, Delain were all smiles as the audience sang in unison to every track.

Delain
Delain (5)

Later in the day, Emil Bulls took to the main stage; I got to see my largest and last wall of death of the weekend and it was a sight to behold.  The security did a brilliant job to keep up with the barrage of crowd surfers that came flooding over as they had all weekend. Having never listened to Emil Bulls properly before, they did a very good job of making a fan out of me. They were one of the lighter bands on the line-up of the festival but they were by no means lesser and only since getting back, did I find out that they were also German as they spoke English for a lot of the set.

Emil Bulls

Emil Bulls (4)

Knorkator were a real surprise for us, coming across as a quirky German response to System of a Down and Tenacious D. After getting over the initial shock of their vocalist coming onstage in a ghillie suit (which he eventually stripped off to his pink shorts), he then insisted (in German) that all of the press in the photo pit get onstage to take photos from there which was also surreal. He then headed straight to the crowd, which was overflowing with crowd surfers once again, singing into the faces of those in the front row. If you ever get the chance to see Knorkator live, take it. It’s a weird and brilliant experience.

Knorkator

Knorkator (2)

Knorkator

Owning the Camel Stage were Austrian horror-punk band Kitty in a Casket who were a complete change from the rest of the line-up and added a little extra flavour to Summer Breeze Open Air. The rebel child of Sum 41 and Paramore, Kitty in a Casket are a combination of punky guitar riffs and catchy vocal hooks. And every member of the band jumped around so much throughout the set that I thought they were playing “the floor is lava”. Given the chance, they’d probably get a very good reception if they were to play any shows in the UK.

Kitty in a Casket

Kitty In a Casket (3)

The headliners of the festival were one of the bands that we had been thoroughly looking forward to and they delivered! The mighty Korn made their entrance with track from new album The Serenity of Suffering, “Rotting in Vain”. I always forget how amazing the ‘scatting’ part of “Freak on a Leash” is until I hear it again and it must take some stamina and skill to change between those different vocal styles. The bagpipe solo was also a nice touch before they jumped into “Shoots and Ladders”.  Korn are one of those bands that don’t only play, but also perform to the highest and same standard at every show and their headline slot at Summer Breeze was no exception.

Korn

Korn (13)

Korn (8)

Korn (11)

Korn (2)

UK festivals could definitely learn a few things from Summer Breeze Open Air – the diversity of bands for one thing. The variations of metal present at this festival was unbelievable and, at least this year, the line-up was unbeatable for me. I’d definitely love to see the revolving stage at Download or Bloodstock next year (mainly because it looked ace).

Summer Breeze Open Air, we miss you already.


For more great pic from the festival check out our Flickr page.

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