Though I didn't end up picking up any merch for export, this was still a killer show and a first-class personal sendoff before what is shaping up to be about the biggest and best Wacken ever. More on that, of course, when I get back from said fest.
For this one, I got in a little early, despite a bit of traffic and having to do the two-mile march in wearing my normal jacket; it had been raining earlier, and I also needed to get into festival shape of wearing the full-weight kutte despite the heat. It wasn't so bad, and though I was probably about the first paying entrant, it gave me time to sit and rest up before the bands started.
Probably more due to bad luck than anything else, I hadn't seen this band yet -- and based on this set, not seeing them is something that metalheads ought to generally avoid. Drawing from old Metallica, mid-period Testament, and classic Iron Maiden, this was a ripping set of old-school thrash that, if it didn't exactly provide much new (or, admittedly "noticeably different from Warbringer or, say, Fastkill"), still definitely rocked. Very few of the thrash revival (or, to kill a meme flat dead, the NWOHSTM -- new wave of high school thrash metal) bands do melodics the way these guys borrow from Maiden and Ride The Lightning, which will help set them apart to the point where they find more of their own voice instead of the echoes of yesteryear.
I love thrash metal, and I think that people playing it in the old style in the present day is awesome, even when they're significantly younger than me and weren't alive when Reign In Blood was released. I'm not sure why old thrash has come back; hopefully, this isn't just a trend, and these bands will continue and develop, and maybe take their later direction in a different, but just as interesting path, than the way that thrash evolved at the turn of the '90s.
Since Razormaze had patches, in addition to more normal merch, I had to pick one up; unfortunately, I don't have the time before I hit the road tonight to figure out where the hell I can fit it on one or the other of my jackets, let alone do the requisite sewing. If you buy kutte parts, people will make more of them.
Wow. I hadn't seen Zircon in nearly a year, since their gig with Wolven Ancestry at Ralph's last year, which was the first show after Wacken 07, with this being the last one before the 2008 iteration. In that time, they'd been pretty quiet, mostly known for members being out on loan to bigger bands. Anthony may be with Belphegor near-full-time, and out of Zircon now, but Scott is back, and the time spent as the voice of Vital Remains definitely shows. The band had amazing presence, putting up large-hall force in a dive bar, and the music was viciously awesome, covering, if I heard it right, mostly new stuff since their last split, as well as some older stuff. The tone may be reminiscent of Immortal in some places, but that's seldom a bad thing, and the music is Zircon alone. Looking ahead at the show calendar, it looks like these guys are going to be active again, and, like Revocation (get well soon Anthony) extended activity at this level is going to lead to interest from good labels if any kind of justice prevails.
Witch Tomb [6/7]
Zircon set the bar damn high, but Witch Tomb nearly equalled them, putting forth a top-class set of raw, dirty black metal. As either a concession to the heat, or an assertion that the music dominates over the visual, they weren't blacked up, not even Cody, which is interesting considering how their more usual visuals meshed with the music, and was probably the one implementation of corpsepaint that actually worked in an American underground context. It, of course, didn't have any negative effect on the music, but the one significant takeaway from this set was that it felt too damned short. Though I eventually appreciated getting home earlier, another 10 minutes from Witch Tomb (and also from Deathamphetamine, later) would have made the later time worthwhile.
At their last last show, back before the Skybar closed, Deathamphetamine was a five-piece; they're down to four now, more thrashy with less death and hardcore, and looking for a new name to distinguish the new era of the band from the old. It's tough picking a name that's both good and original, but in point of fact the band has a bit of freedom in this regard given how good their fusion of thrash, death, and hardcore is. Again, as with Witch Tomb, it was a little surprising and disappointing when they closed up; I really thought they were good for another couple songs. Abstractly, it's better to leave the audience wanting more than to leave them glad you finally stopped, but the way these guys were going on this show, it's difficult to think of someone who could get bored with them, and more difficult to consider this hypothetical wet blanket coming out to O'B's in the first place. There will be other shows, though, and this one certainly didn't lack for awesome.
Afterwards I hung about talking with some of Summoning Hate's crew -- and apologizing because I'm gonna miss them at the Midway on account of At The Gates opening for Carcass opening for Kreator 4000 miles away -- and then stumped back across the bridges to go home. Good show, and my gear is packed; barring luggage loss, injury, or other accidents, I'll have notice of how Wacken went up in about a week, and pictures and a full writeup after.