By: Wouter van de Kamp
A very last minute idea led me and my friend to Summer Breeze 2007 in
the south of Germany (about 80 km southwest of Nurnberg). We both
hadn’t been there before but the line-up was very promising. Getting
there was a hell, but the weather was good and the atmosphere was
great. On Wednesday there was a sort of preparty with a competition for
unsigned bands to open the festival the next day. Since there were
hardly any bands we knew and were quite tired of the trip we decided to
skip the preparty and just have fun on the campsite.
At about 5.30 AM there was a big storm and lots of rain that woke us
both up. Fortunately the tent withstood the storm, although it
completely soaked the festival area. Hail to army boots. Gradually we
woke up and so did the sun, who would raise the temperature way above
what was comfortable for the 12.000 attendants. But it didn’t spoil the
At about 14.30 we decided it was about time to move our lazy asses to
the festivalterrain. I still don’t know the winner of the preparty, but
I had missed it just like Swallow the Sun and Fear My Thoughts. Missing
the latter wasn’t a big problem since I saw them before. The
festival had 2 stages: the Main Stage and the Pain Stage and at that
moment Immolation played the Main stage. Directly from the beginning it
was clear that this band has reached an enormous maturity. But that
isn’t wholly suprising since this death metal band already plays for
more than 20 years. Good set and many complex rithms. It was good to
have seen this band again. Last time must have been about 6 years ago.
After this pleasant mellifluous band there was this band that I had
never known about called Lacrimas Profundere. This German band couldn’t
really draw my attention with their gothic/rock music. So we decided it
was a good idea to get ourselves some lunch.
Next on was After Forever. A Dutch band on a German festival, one must
of course support that, and so we did. A pleasant surprise was that
George Oosthoek appeared onstage as a singer. As I read when I got back
home Sander Gommans had taken some time off from After Forever, but
what a replacement. George Oosthoek is one of the best live performers
that I know. Although the Germans tend to be quite nationalistic it was
very clear they knew this band quite well. Compared to Immolation there
were far more people here and they seemed to be far more enthousiastic.
I myself enjoyed it as well. Unfortunately they only played one oldie
“Monolith of Doubt”, but it was a great set anyhow. Floortje Janssen
was in good voice and, although the kick was a bit too loud (which
seemed to be every band’s problem) the sound was good. Once again a
good promotion abroad for this gothic metal band. Although for me
personally they could have skipped the guest performance of Doro.
We couldnt be bothered by the first chords of the german gothic
metallers of Krypteria and noticing the female singer produced quite
some false notes we decided to go to our tents to relax some what.
were both not interested in seeing Rage anways so we had some time for
giving our feet they were calling for: not having to continually
fulfill their task as support for the rest of our bodies.
After more than hour of rest they were pleased and moved us back to the
festivalterrain where The Black Dahlia Murder was about to play.
Hopefully this was going to be a more interesting performance than at
Wacken. And so it was. Good sound. Energizing performance.
Death/Metalcore as it should be and the crowd seemed to think alike.
Good interaction with the crowd as well although some people seemed to
think it was to chaotic which is one of the trademarks of The Black
Dahlia Murder. Singer Trevor Strnad alternates rancid death growls with
gruesome screams. Combine that in a complex polyrithmic way with
blastbeats and fast metalriffs and you got what my ear was conveying to
Next on was Doro and based on her guestperformance with After Forever
we decided it best to skip that band and from what we could hear from a
distance we had made an excellent choice. German female fronted heavy
metal is just not our style. But no worries, we spent our time at the
Suffocation was playing their last songs when we got back. As founders
of the brutal death genre this band plays in the exact same genre as
Immolation. Very technical rithm sections enormous speeds and great
death vocals. Yeah… this was something to just enjoy. Such a band
doesn’t need good interaction with the crowd. Their performance IS
their interaction. Very nice.
To my knowledge the next band was to be the only power/prog metal band
on the festival: Nevermore. They do incorporate many other styles, but
the falsetto singing is just not my thing. We went to eat something and
sit in the grass waiting for the next band that I was quite looking
forward to: Tanzwut.
Literally translated (from German) the band’s name means dancing mania.
And yeah this band produces quite danceable music. Their extensive use
of bagpipes is quite refreshing after a whole day of only drums, keys,
and guitars. But not only do they use bagpipes they also have a big
drum and they play the shawm and the marine trumpet. It is clear that
this band is very popular in Germany. But after I found out that this
band already released 12 singles this is no big suprise. A lot of
people were singing along and a lot of movement in the crowd. No need
for crowd encouragement for Tanzwut. I hadn’t seen this band since
Lowlands 2001 when they were still a relatively small band. They have
definitely grown to a mature band. They lost their too coordinated
dance steps. They feel much more at home on stage and they have changed
their industrial somewhat to a more metalllike sound with harsher
vocals. But still all the medieval elements are present in their
clothing and their sound. Only drawback with this band is that they
continually repeat their riffs, which by the way are brilliant riffs
and are quite long. But a bit more variation would be welcome.
After this genrewise sidestep it was time for some melodic death metal
in the form of one of the leading bands in their genre: Amon Amarth.
Having their name derived from Lord of the Rings one would expect
viking or folk metal and indeed they do have some of these influences.
But let’s not bicker about genres. The band was anounced as going to
perform a special show because of the festival’s tenth anniversary
coinciding with Amon Amarth’s tenth birthday. Their was a cloth hanging
from the lighttrusts and so we were very curious. And all of a sudden
there was this big bang and the cloth was gone (somehow). In the center
of the stage there was the fronthalf of a vikingship on which the
singer stood. On the side of that were two castlewalls. This was going
to be a great show. Very good sound and the crowd went wild on this
headliner of the first day. I am not a real Amon Amarth connoisseur,
but they played a lot of songs that I know. If I recall correctly they
played Masters of War, Valhall Awaits Me, Pursuit of Vikings, Cry of
the Black Birds As Long as the Raven Flies, With Oden on our side,
without Fear and they ended with Death in Fire. A lot of fireworks and
other pyrotechnical lighting made their performance even stronger. They
also had swordfighting Vikings on stage. The anouncement was completely
right. This was a brilliant show.
With the temperature dropping quite fast and a rather severe wind it
was getting quite cold. But I wanted to see the last band of the day:
Dornenreich. I decided to go quite to the front to stand inbetween as
much people as possible to benefit from eachother’s warmth. And that
had been quite a good idea. Not only did it help well, I also wouldn’t
want to have missed this show. There was this classical intro as we are
sort of used to by black metal bands and that slowly faded away while
the members came onstage. They stood there for about a minute I think,
just staring. And then… all of a sudden the singer moved, screamed
the name of the first song and they burst into a very heavy song. Their
latest 2006 release Durch Den Traum is more of an ambient album, but
they played lot’s of their old melodic black, which for me was the
correct choice. The classic singer and the violin give a whole new
dimension to what black metal is like. If you are into discovering new
sounds and ever are able to see this band, do not hesitate!
Back to the campsite I met up with the German friends I made on the
road to Summer Breeze. We drank some beers and decided it best to go to
the supermarket (which was on the campsite) to get us some more beer
and after that going to the partytent (on the campsite as well) to
watch some bands. When we went in Nightrage was playing. I hadn’t heard
anything from or about this band but was just in for partying. And so
the crowd seemed to feel as well. They played a nice dosis of melodic
death metal with quite some sidesteps to the metalcore genre. Perfect
for me to have fun in the moshpit. I don’t know about the rest of the
crowd but just any metalband would have been fine with me at that
moment. Unfortunately it was very warm in the tent. After Nightrage
finished I really had to go outside. I made new friends on the
campsite, which was very easy anyways. Very good atmosphere on the
The second day started out very warm. I woke up because of the heat at
seven o’clock already. Of course I hadn’t had enough sleep so that
would imply missing some bands, that started way to early anyways.
First bands at 11.00 each day. After fixing my hangover, me and my
friend went to the festival terrain. We saw Koldbrann (Norwegian for
gangrene) playing there last song. Sad to have missed the rest, because
I was sort of looking forward to this black metal band. But alas,
better luck next time. 12.40 is way to early for me to start a normal
The rest of the afternoon we just sort of hung around on the
festivalterrain. When a new band started playing we would stand up to
watch some of it. And if it wasn’t really special we would go back to
sit on our lazy behinds. Therefore the following reviews are rather
short, but I put them in to just give an impression.
Disillusion is a German band that mixes up a lot of different styles
from the metal genre. You can hear black and death as well as prog,
thrash and some symphonic stuff. Nice band for background music. I
would probably have watched the whole gig if I weren’t that cooked.
Ill Disposed is a Danish death metal band signed at Roadrunner, that
just did their thing. Worth mentioning is one of the singer’s bad jokes
(he had a lot). He had a pick in his hand (don’t whose it was) and he
said (en German): “look at this pick… It is worth 1 euro”. Then he
rubbed it against his genitals (inside his trousers yes) and shouted:
“Now it’s worth 5 euro’s”. It wasn’t as funny as he himself thought I
guess. To me this was just another death band. Nothing special to it.
Eisbrecher is a German band who plays industrial rock/metal. If you ask
me this is just another Rammstein clone of which there are so many. If
you like the style it must be great. But I feel like: “guys don’t you
realise this has already been done over and over again?” But the crowd
seemed to feel fine with them on stage.
Hevein was a big suprise for me. I had only heard about them from my
colleagues. Not wholly unexpectedly because Max from Apocalyptica plays
in the band. I was just looking up the meaning of the bandname
expecting it to be a Finnish word, but none of this. Guitarist and
founder of the band claims: “The guitarist once heard a song, covered
by Blackstar ”The Girl That Lived On Heaven Hill”. Hereupon, the words
“Heaven Hill” were changed into “Heven Hill” and were altered again
until the final band name “Hevein” was born.” I didn’t really know what
to expect from this band, but it surpassed all my expectations that I
dared to make. What a brilliant band. Thrash metal with a lot of
symphonic pieces. These were mainly taken care of by the cellist and
violin player. Once in every while it sounded like Apocalyptica with
guitars. But in general it was complex polyrithmic thrash and I really
enjoyed it. And the band enjoyed themselves very much as well. I had my
main attention at Max and he went completely wild. I want to see them
live again but then with knowing their albums.
Sirenia was once again a skippable band for us. Norwegian gothic metal.
With a former Tristania member in the ranks you’d expect something. I
honestly confess I cannot hear if someone sings in tune very easily.
But trust me, this was out of tune. Good reason to go away. If your
main focus as a band is your singer… and she sings false… Ahwell.
There seemed to be enough people enjoying it.
Next up was a band that I really wanted to see: Necrophobic. Ever since
they moved a bit more from death to black metal I like this band. And
that is quite a while right now. I had the shivers when their intro The
Slaughter of Baby Jesus started. Their seemed to be not many fans
amongst the crowd but I liked what they were doing. Very technical
stuff, very fast and lots of twists. I am not much into their
songtitles but they played many of the song they also played the last
time I saw them, which was on Arnhem Metal Meeting. From what I recall
they played Mourning Soul, Hellfire, I Strike With Wrath, Taste of
Black, Blinded by Light, Enlighted by Darkness and Dreams Shall Flesh.
To those who don’t know the band it perhaps sounded as though the songs
are quite similar. But I think that is mainly due to the complexity one
just doesn’t discover upon hearing them live one time. So my advice
would be to get their latest album Hrimthursum (Icelandic word for
something like monarchgiants) and give them a shot.
L’ame Immortelle was a band I was really curious about. Had heard
rumours about them, but didn’t know exactly what kind of music they
were making. As it turned out they are quite in the electrogothic
corner. I don’t know, but somehow German lyrics did not fit their
music. This Austrian band also has some English songs, but it just
didn’t do it for me.
Crematory was supposed to be next, but as I read later on their
keyboardplayer was unable to play due to health problems. Their was a
band playing though, which we could figure out to be named End of Green
through their enormous banner. Musically they can be said to be a
mixture of Placebo and HIM. They were quite ok. To me it was nice
background music. My friend was really enthousiastic about them.
Then it was time for some good old folk/polka metal by Finntroll.
Anyone who has the slightest interest in metal must have seen this
band. And if you haven’t… You should go. Whoever said that metallers
are depressed people with an authorityproblem… Just check out these
guys. From the beginning to the end it is one big party. Metal can be
party music yes! They played their classics like Jaktens Tid and
Rifvader, but the new stuff wasn’t unfamiliar with the crowd at all.
Spontaneous mosh pits and jumping everywhere. Great Atmosphere.
Personally I have seen them enough and it doesn’t strike me that much.
I like their music more on cd than live. But the crowd went wild and
that is what is important.
Somehow Finntroll made me feel kind of turned down. I couldn’t relate to
Volbeat was next and they make this sort of happy metal n roll
music which I really couldn’t handle at that moment. My friend and many
people with her liked it but I couldn’t relate to the atmosphere so I
went off to the cd stands to take some time for myself inbetween all
the masses. That turned out to be a good move. Since it really made me
feel better afterwards. Me and my friend went to see the next band.
After some sidesteps through the outskirts of metalland it was time for
some real metal again. Celebrating their twentieth birthday this death
metal band from Coventry England showed us how to perform like a pro.
And that was actually all there was to it. I am talking about Bolt
Thrower. Admittedly the lighting was great. But the sound was not what
I had hoped it to be. And beyond that. It just did not have that
special thing to it. What they were doing was great. But the vibe
wasn’t there. Perhaps for the hardcore fans it was a great show. I do
hope so. But since the volume was turned up quite some scales we went
to our tent to give our legs some rest.
Since my friend really liked Tanzwut but didn’t know them I found it
quite necessary to introduce her to In Extremo. I had seen them in 2000
but hadn’t heard anything about this band ever since. As it turned out
this band got itself quite some fame in Germany. The crowd sang along
with almost all of the songs. Musically as well as visually they are in
the same corner as Tanzwut. They are just a bit more mainstream and
obviously a bit more at home with big stages and big crowds. Good show,
but for me personally it shouldn’t have lasted that long. But
undoubtedly one has a different opinion if one knows the band and their
songs. The crowd couldn’t get enough of them. But alas, as with every
festival, there’s no time for “zugabe” (German for gift).
Last band to perform that evening was Dark Funeral. This band has
earned its marks in the black metal scene and that was clear from the
beginning. The singer was ultimately relaxed and knew how to play the
audience. The lighting, the sound, the atmosphere…. It was as if
Satan could just arrive any second. Lots of hair swinging all around,
all blackies moving their heads along with classics like Teach Children
to Worship Satan, The Secrets of the Black Arts, An Apprentice of
Satan, Open the Gates and The Arrival of Satan’s Empire. There’s this
few bands you want to check out because you know their music for a long
time and that, when you see them, makes their music even better. Dark
Funeral just had that particular effect on me. How can I describe that
feeling. It is like, you know that headbanging will cost you next day
but you don’t care because you cannot withhold yourself from doing so.
Good choice of Summer Breeze to have them.
After such a long day I wanted to drink beer and have fun on the
campsite. But the temperature had dropped to quite uncomfortable
degrees and it was very windy. We decided just to go to bed in time,
which, on hindsight, I didn’t regret at all. It made me wake up quite
happy, not regretting my behaviour of yesternight and all. And prepared
for another day of bands.
Since we went to bed relatively early we woke up quite clear. I could
have slept much more if it weren’t for the sun waking us up, or rather
burning us out of our tent. It gave me some time to wake up properly.
The first band would be starting 4 hours later and it would start
The band to hurt the hangovers of those who didn’t go to bed (early)
was Sycronomica. Melodic black metal comparable with Dimmu Borgir and
Katatonia. A lot of bombast and very prominent keys. Although they are
not really original I did like watching them. A surprisingly large
number of people were awake enough to prevent me from feeling lonely in
watching this band. I even saw quite some hair flying around because of
people that tried to get themselves a whiplash. It was clear that this
band was quite close to their hometown. Being from Munich which is
about 200 kilometers from Summer Breeze they got quite some people
amongst the crowd that knew the band and their songs.
If Sycronomica hadn’t woken you up blackly (enough) yet you had a rerun
with the second band: Helrunar. This was once again a band that the
crowd knew. If you can let your audience finish your songtitles in your
anouncement then you know that you will have a blast. And so they did.
Musically the pace was a single step faster than Sycronomica but other
than that they were quite in the same corner. And as I happen to like
this style I didn’t have any problems with it. I even recall songtitles
which is quite unusual for me: Dreifach Dorn (Three Times Thorn) and
Rauch Wird Sturm (Smoke Becomes Storm). I hadn’t planned on going to
this band but I heard from German friends that I made that they were
black metal and so I went to see them. Thanks, German friends, for
pointing me at this breakfast.
Then we began to feel the lack of sleep. We went back to our tent to
give our bodies some rest. From the description in the festivalbooklet
we were not really interested in Justice and Machinemade God. There
were not many bands I wanted to see this day anyways. But the next one
was a must see for me.
Secrets of the Moon. German black metal again. But this time something
different. The atmosphere and builtup of the songs are quite unique.
Secrets of the Moon has created it’s own style and gaining more fame
every day. Very complex structures and many changes without falling
into chaos. The first time listening might be a heavy task, but after a
few times one realises that their latest album “Antithesis” is one of
the few black metal releases that has the potential of becoming a
classical one. Genrewise they can be put in the same spot as bands like
Satyricon and Shining, but they have their own style. Ok, enough
background information. The show is what I was supposed to talk about.
And what a show it was. Very good sound and proper vocals. Of course it
didn’t sound as dry as the album. That’s impossible on an open air
festival. But damn this was good. Playing all my favorites like
Seraphim is Dead, Lucifer Speaks and Ordinance. I saw them live already
twice and still they know how to treat my ears well. Far too short if
you ask me. But there are more bands that wish to try to entise the
I knew that Maroon was to play the other stage after Secrets of the
Moon and I also knew that I wasn’t going to see the show entirely, just
because of musical interests. And when I saw the singer coming on stage
I knew directly that it was a good choice. He was bare-chested and all
covered with mud. After the first measures I had the unstoppable
tendency to want to run away. Unfortunately my physical state by then
wouldn’t let me. No, hardcore is definitely not my style and add to
that all the vegan straight edge stuff and you got me bored. I hope the
fans liked it.
So I was on the campsite again. Trying to sleep somewhat in the sun. I
was starting to feel the consequences of unhealthy food, beer, warmth
and lack of (proper) sleep. Fortunately no bands of interest to me up
until Die Apokalyptischen Reiter whom my friend wanted to see. After
some rest and probably some sleep I dragged myself up to go to Die
Apokalyptischen Reiter. We could hear the last song of Xandria: doomy
symphonic gothic metal with a nowadays almost almost obligatory female
classical opera singer. Nice sound, but too short to judge properly. I
think I would have walked away after two or three songs, but that’s
Anyways, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter. I heard a lot about this German band whose name translates to Horsemen of the Apocalypse. This of course is a reference to the four horsemen in the Revelation of John in the bible. Though the name is very sinister, the sound of the band is actually quite cheerful. For a metalband of course that is. Because it is still metal we’re talking here. But how to define a band like this. black, death, thrash… folk, rock, power… growls, clean, screams… they’re all in there. Technically advanced, but not entertaining for me. Perhaps if I knew the lyrics it would be more interesting, but my German is not THAT good that I can understand lyrics properly. They certainly knew how to play with the audience and they seemed to love it. Many sing-a-long parts and all. But for me it wasn’t worth my sore legs. Back to the tent again because Tankard didn’t have our interest.
When we went back to see Moonsorrow, Dark Tranquility was still playing. There are these bands that you know the name of for years and you have a slight idea of what kind of music they’re making, but you never checked out. To me Dark Tranquility is such a band. And I actually was quite correct about what I thought they would sound. And I really liked it. Since my friend absolutely needed to be in the first row with Pain we stood already quite in the front of the Pain stage. But from there one could see part of the Main Stage, so that was ok. Dark Tranquility is definitely a band I need to check out properly in the coming days. Gothenburg metal is what they do, but there’s more to this band than just that. You can hear thrash influences as well, but beyond genrenitpicking stuff their performance is actually the thing that draws attention. Of course one expects something from a band that has been around ever since 1989, but I really enjoyed it.
Meanwhile we had gotten ourselves standing on the second row while Moonsorrow’s intro started. I had seen them already twice (once on Arnhem Metal Meeting 2006 and once on Wâldrock Festival 2007) and both times they failed to really entertain me, so here was their third chance. I must say that I liked their pagan/folk metal more than the two previous times. But I where comes the need for all the fakeblood on their bodies. I never really understood that, and this didn’t add to their show either. It is true that people remember them for it. The band with the fakeblood all over. The question is of course wether you want to be remembered for that. But enough of this. From what I could gather they played a different set than the previous two times and I spoke to a diehard fan who told me that they play a different set each time. That’s of course very cool. One extra point for Moonsorrow!
On the other stage there was Oomph!. An electro industrial band I had seen them on Wacken 2005 on the Wednesday preparty and back then I was not impressed. But in Germany they’re really famous. It was enormously crowded. I think that if they withheld from German lyrics they’d be making real money. But undoubtedly they’re happy with what they are doing now. Or at least, so it seemed when they were on stage. They’re around for over 15 years now and that can be seen. A very solid natural stage performance and good interaction with the crowd. Although that shouldn’t be too hard since they loved the band for everything they did anyways. It seemed to me that this band must have had lots of singles in the charts, because so many people sang along. I still couldn’t be impressed but I understand why people like them. The compositions are very simple and they have a very positive look since they are totally dressed up in white. They have lots of stuff they repeat so it is easy to learn. Good choice of the programmer to have them. This is the sort of band that makes a festival good for many visitors.
Apparently there were a lot of people that didn’t agree with them being on Summer Breeze since from where we were standing a lot of people were shouting stuff like “Oomph! ist Scheiße” (Oomph sucks). Most of them probably wanted to see the next band on the Pain Stage which was Caliban. And I was sooo right, because when the first notes of this German metalcore band sounded the crowd went completely nuts. I personally like metalcore a lot, but didn’t think Caliban was THAT special. But the crowd thought differently. There was very little space but that didn’t withhold the singer from anouncing that he wanted a wall of death to accompany the song Nowhere to Run, No Place to Hide. Meanwhile I had gotten myself a first row place and could comfortably lean to the fence with my back to stand on my toes and observe what was happening. And a huge wall of death happened just a few feet away from me. The crowd was even more nuts than I gathered from the pushing I felt in front. And the pit continued the whole performance. I think there must have been at least 200 people in that mosh. Good thing!
The headliner of the day and of the festival was Soulfly. Anyone with the slightest interest in metal knows about the band of former Sepultura singer Max Cavalera. A real metal icon. But what the heck did he do to his hair?!?!?! He cut it!!! Wh00t!?!?!?! He also dropped quite some weight. The spectators liked the nu-metal/thrash metal with Brasilian rithms not one piece less. From back to the front there was jumping moshing and all sorts of other violent dancing. Furthermore a lot of crowdsurfers and people going wild. Though Max stepped out of Sepultura he never forgets these roots. Literally, by playing the song “Roots, Bloody Roots” live. Other songs I recall them playing are: Eye for an Eye, Bleed, No Hope = No Fear, Tribe and Back to the Primitive. Undoubtedly they also played songs from their latest three albums 3, Prophecy and Dark Ages, but I don’t know these albums. The crowd did though. Many people sang/screamed along. Very good performance and a very good headliner.
Then, finally, it was time for what my friend had been waiting for and I as well actually because standing at the same spot for so long is not making your legs feel happy. I had not heard about the band before and my friend warned me that I’d probably not like it, because it is quite poppy. She was right about the latter but not about the former. What a stage performance. With the bassplayer of In Flames and the singer of Hypocrisy one knows that they will not stand still but this was just too cool. Also their electro industrial metal was very much after my taste. I banged my head on several of their songs. Peter Tägtgren certainly knows how to use his voice. His vocals are so versatile and he doesn’t seem to cost him any effort. Although the music is very easy to follow it is certainly not easy to play it. There’s something in it for everyone. Yes, this band has gotten themselves a new fan. Brilliant ending of a brilliant festival.
Everlasting fire official
Lacrimas profundere official
After Forever official
Amon amarth Official
Ill disposed official
L ame immortelle official
In extremo official
Dark Funeral official
Secrets of the Moon official
Dark Tranquillity official
Summer Breeze festival