Friday, July 28, 2006

Wacken 2005 Part V - Bandratings (Metal Hammer 7-point scale)

The next-to-last repost from last year's Wacken.


Below follow rough ratings and explanations for the 30 bands that I caught a nontrivial portion of at Wacken this year. These ratings use the Metal Hammer 7 point scale, because this allows for more freedom than 4- or 5-star systems, and doesn't get people stuck in the grade-mentality that 5/10 is unmitigated suck. This is sort of a continuation of the prior 4 Wacken report posts, so you should probably read those first.

Tristania - 3
Not too much to technically complain about, but kind of boring, and ultimately derivative. Snore.

Candlemass - 6.5
Awesome set, and this might really be a 7, but doom metal isn't really my cup of tea.

Oomph! - 6
It's not so much the "gay" aspect as the inability to get out from under the "pretend Rammstein" label; they were great, but not quite super.

Naglfar - 6
True, cult, dark, ceaselessly impressive.

Morgana Lefay - 2
It's not so much that they can't play their instruments as it is that they're boring, boring and absolutely uninteresting, and that by being on the True Metal stage (instead of the parking lot, where they belong), they were taking time away from bands that were NOT boring.

Ildisposed - 6
Vey nice, tight, thrash set; a little short, but worthy all the way through.

Sonata Arctica - 4
They played some songs that rocked, and some that sucked. The ones that rocked came off very well, but there was just too much sucky material in their set.

Ensiferum - 7
Score includes adjustments for injury -- this performance was fucking insane, and the crowd doubly so.

Duschen ist kein Heavy Metal - 3
Yeah, it's below average, but this was an amateur cover band performing in the campground. The actual performance was closer to 2.5, but when you spit a loogie onto the back of your guitar and then hold it up over your head to let it drop back into your mouth, and follow it by saying "Maennerwelt Wacken" (Wacken - it's a man's world), you earn yourself an extra 0.5 points right there. And they're still better than Lefay.

Metal Church - 6
Amazing stuff, but I wasn't out of earshot too long, and should have instantly recognized "Fake Healer" if they did it.

Obituary - 6
For a comeback performance, this was really tight and full of their trademark neck-snapping grooves.

Edguy - 5.5
If you're going to show up late, don't show up late in a helicopter with your logo on the side. These guys need to cut back on the rockstarring and kick up the rocking.

Within Temptation - 6
I don't much like this genre, but this set was very well-performed and well-delivered.

Machine Head - 5
Good, but not impressive, though I was sitting a fair ways back.

Zyklon - 5
This was a good performance, but at times the chaotic and multilayered nature of the music made it difficult to get into and bang to.

Dragonforce - 5
This should have been higher, but the perpetual criticisms of this band are still in evidence. They are too loose, especially out of the gate, and ZP's voice is not strong enough to make it through a full set. The current policy of "let him rest while we play guitar solos for 3 minutes" is not sustainable in the long run, and he needs to get some proper vocal coaching. The technical issues are similarly inexcusable. This band, which made it largely on the strength of the most successful demo in the history of the internet, is like a first-round rookie star in the NFL, so convinced of their own greatness that they're not willing to do the work to get to the next level.

Suffocation - 4
It's good death metal, but generic, and Frank really needs to learn to occasionally shut up.

Overkill - 3
Two songs do not a set make. It's the same as when I originally heard their WFO album, thinking "everybody talks this band up, so why do they suck so bad?"

Dissection - 7
Dies irae, dies igna! The Soulreapers are back, and this set was ungodly awesome.

Axel Rudi Pell - 3
It's not a good sign when your music is best enjoyed not-really-listened to.

Marduk - 5
This was a good set, but maybe a little too true for the main stages; it's difficult for me to think of extreme true black metal being performed in the open air to a crowd of over 10,000 people.

HammerFall - 4
I don't like them, and Joachim Cans killed the set by talking to the crowd in his unnaturally high-pitched voice (eierlos????), but when they were actually playing music, they were fairly entertaining.

Kreator - 7
ENEMY OF GOD!!!!!!!! UNTHINKABLE BRUTALITY!!!!!!!!! IT'S TIME TO RAISE THE FLAG OF HATE!!!!!!!! (Is it communicating that I love old brutal thrash metal?)

Endhammer - 4
Good stuff, but not particularly distinctive or original.

Primordial - 7
Awesome set, awesome band, awesome environment, about 800 people packed in like sardines, all screaming their heads off.

Accept - 5.5
Some of their material may be dumb, nearly all of it may be dated, but it's a fun time, and Udo and Wolf definitely still have it.

Sentenced - 6.5
There was a brief shortfall in mood when Sami broke his bass at the start of "May Today Become The Day" (where he, you know, plays the solo that sets up the whole band), but other than that, this was everything a Sentenced fan could have wished for from a farewell gig (well, except for more stuff off Amok, but what the hell).

Torfrock - 5
Again, not really metal, but fun and a breath of fresh air.

Doomfoxx - 3
Uninteresting, unoriginal, but at least the execution was good.

The Sputniks - 4
Not metal at all, but there's something bizarrely awesome about a bunch of old, gray-haired German men covering Motorhead in a formation evocative of American Bandstand.

Onkel Tom (feat Wacken Firefighters' Band) - 5
Again, not exactly metal, but there's no better music to walk out of a metal festival to at three in the morning.

total scores:
Thursday: 15.5
Friday: 56.5
Saturday: 83

average scores:
Thursday: 5.16/7
Friday: 5.14/7
Saturday: 5.19/7

Three-day ticket to Wacken Open Air - 85 euro.
Camping equipment - 110 euro.
Train and bus transportation to and from Schleswig-Holstein - 180 euro.
Three days and 30 bands of mud, rain, and pure metal awesomeness - fucking priceless.

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