Party San Open Air 2014

7-9 / 08 2014
Schlotheim, Germany

Review by: Wouter and Ingrid
Pictures by: Ingrid

Near the end of the festival season, a legion of black-, death- and thrash metal fans gather around on an airstrip near Schlotheim for Party San Open Air annually. We are all welcomed at the entrance by a big sign that says “Welcome to Hell”. When we arrive on the airstrip, we’re appointed on the field next to it where to park our car and built our tent. It’s very well organized here so everyone is able to leave if necessary. The campsite filled up quite quick during the day. But because there are only approximately 8,000 people at this festival, it’s not a race to arrive there as early as possible for a decent spot at the campsite. On Wednesday there are no bands playing though, but the metal disco will satisfy with a lot of metal classics during the night. (W)

Day 1
At Thursday, the festival ground always opens rather late. Time to have some more fun at the campsite and enjoy the beautiful weather. At around 15:00 a large group waited at the entrance to the festival ground nonetheless because the booklet said it would be opened at that time. After more than a half hour later, the gates finally opened. Still one hour before the first band starts though, so still plenty of time to explore the metal market and have something to eat. During these days I’ve had cold pizza and fries that weren’t even done, but thumbs up for the Asian food and the chicken! Those were delicious! (W)

The band to start off Party San 2014 was Necrowretch from France. They play an old school style of death metal with a lot of echoes over the evil growls. There are always quite a lot of people at Party San who really enjoy this stuff and there was quite a large crowd watching. The band members were enthusiastic and it was a good show to start the festival, though a smaller stage would fit better for a band like this. (W)

After a short break the second band hit the stage. God Macabre from Sweden, which also is death metal. It was a very static show compared to the first band and I think the crowd was decreasing. They also didn’t really have a unique sound. This makes it a show I guess we’ve all have seen before.(W)

And then it was time for the Thrash lovers to start moshing because Skeletonwitch was on stage. If you didn’t feel like moshing, all you need to do was watch singer Chance Garnette move around on stage and you would find your energy back, because his energetic performance was very addicting. The rest of the band also put on a nice show and we had a great time. (I)

The next band I’ve been watching somewhere in the back. This was Atlantean Kodex, a heavy metal band. Not the most popular style at a festival like this, but still a good thing to have a band like this here. I think the vocalist tried too hard to sound like Bruce Dickinson, which he didn’t succeed at. It wasn’t that bad though and there still was a crowd enjoying their heavy metal. (W)

Death Metal veterans Grave played next. They always manage to deliver a strong show because they always seem very thrilled to play their songs. And because they have so many albums that are so consistent, they really never can go wrong with their setlist either. This show wasn’t that much different and it was as it should have been. (W)

Time for Entombed AD to hit the stage. The name of this band might have changed, the music hasn’t. The band seemed to really enjoy themselves and mainly played the old Entombed songs, which now officially should be called ‘Entombed covers’. Of course the band also played a few songs of their just released album Back To The Front. (I)

Icelandic band Solstafir has gained quite some fame the past few years, and with good reason, because they’re great artists. Their show on Party San this year is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen in my life. The band played a flawless set which consisted of some of their older songs, as well as a sneak preview into their yet to be released album Ótta. A very fitting lightshow made this an epic remembrance. Even though they weren’t headliner, you heard everyone say that they should have been and they were the highlight of the festival. (I)

Headliner of the first day was Swedish black metal band Watain. With this band you never know what to expect; I’ve seen extremely good shows, and lesser ones. Today unfortunately was a disaster. Beside the fact that singer Erik Danielsson seemed to be pretty drunk, or stoned, or both, or whatever, the band also couldn’t get in tune, and it sounded like one big mess. A pity, because this band can do much better!( I)

Day 2
The second day of Party San was kicked off by Czech Republic’s Jig-Ai, eventually. They had technical problems the first two times they wanted to start but got the show going eventually. These goregrinders just want to have fun and it’s contagious. It’s very amusing to see them running around on the stage and play blast beats at one moment and then some danceable polka. With heavy distortion of course. Nice wakeup call! (W)

Next to watch was two man black metal band Inquisition. First of all I have to say that I was happy that they were playing at all because the ever going discussion about the band being Nazis or not lit up again not long ago ( and Party San is known to be very sensitive for this kind of stuff. That being said, all I have to add is that Inquisition played a good show, though it was kind of funny to see them in bright day light. (I)

Aborted from Belgium played a strong show. These deathgrinders hardly ever slow down, and when they do, it’s still fast. They also have a new cd in their pocket and they played some of that release too. Those songs were very intense, just like from the older albums. (W)

Benediction is one of those bands that never got really big even though they’ve been playing death metal forever, And it’s actually pretty good too. They’re not really active in making new records so maybe that’s why people might forget about this band, but the shows are very enjoyable. (W)

One of the pioneers of grindcore also played here. Repulsion only released one full-length in 1989, but they’ve been doing these shows for a few years now with only very old songs obviously. Maybe a good thing because they started as one of the early grindcore bands and that’s what people want to hear when they’re going to see Repulsion. And they did exactly what we’d expect them to do. Great old school stuff. (W)

The Haunted is a bit of a weird add to the Party San line-up, because they don’t really fit into the billing. That they weren’t exactly the most popular band on this festival was noticeable when looking at the amount of people that was watching their show, because the festival field was rather empty. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of them myself either, I have to admit that they are a steady band and their performance stands as a rock. (I)

The godfathers of brutal death metal entered the stage next; Suffocation! Including vocalist Frank Mullen again. (he’s not able to make it to all the tours all over the world because of his actual work) It actually was one of the best shows I’ve seen of them. They played two songs of the new album ‘Pinnacle of Bedlam’ and furthermore songs from every other release like ‘Liege of Inveracity’, ‘Pierced from Within’ and ‘Funeral Inception’. One of my personal highlights! (W)

While it was getting dark, the atmosphere became perfect for the next act; Swedish black metal band Marduk. The band did a good show and was most certainly one of the best bands of the day (Watain could learn a lesson from them ;) ) The energy on stage was addicting and the huge crowd that was watching them seemed to have a great time! (I)
Headliner of the second day, and my personal favorite band of the festival was Norwegian band Satyricon. Even though they are my number one band I have to say that their show today wasn’t exactly the best one I’ve seen. There were quite some flaws in their performance, which is a shame because I know they’re capable of much much more, than that what they showed today. Nevertheless the men kept standing strong on stage and I was happy to see older songs like To The Mountains, Mother North and Fuel For Hatred, as well as new songs such as Our World, It Rumbles Tonight and Tro Og Kraft, performed live again. (I)

Day 3
The last day of Party San started with a lot of wind. But it was not that bad though. No real damage for anyone who built their tents decently. One of the first bands to play on this windy day was Mumakil from Switzerland. It even started to rain a little during their rather complex grindcore show unfortunately, but the fans held their ground in front of the stage. No rain will scare these rather grindcore maniacs. (W)

Later the old school thrash metal band Protector played. They’ve been active again since a few years like many other old bands from the 80s. Nice to be in a time machine back to the 80s, although it would have been better to see them in a small and dark venue. (W)

In the meantime the weather got a bit better again and it was time for the Germans of Imperium Dekadenz to hit the stage. Most of the band seemed to really enjoy themselves on stage and most of the audience seemed to enjoy the band as well. They played a nice show with way too happy looking faces for a black metal band ;) (I)

More Norwegian black metal in the sun. This time it was Kampfar their turn to blow us away. Singer Dolk always knows how to make an impression on stage. He was armed with his usual flags, torn apart his shirt, came back on stage wearing a black cape. The rest of the band also shared their enthusiasm on stage; and despite a few flaws here and there the band made a good impression today. (I)

Another death metal band that’s been around here for ages is Malevolent Creation. They played a convincing show with a setlist containing pretty much all the albums from the latest “Invidious Dominion” to the very first classic album “The Ten Commandments”. Especially those classics were great. Headbangers everywhere. (W)

The grindcore and death metal maniacs headed towards the stage again for Napalm Death. Barney always give such long introductions for the songs, but the performance is strong. I always enjoy the part where they play all their grindcore classics from the album “scum”. Overall it was a great show. (W)

One of the last headliners for the festival is Obituary. I’ve already seen them a couple of times this festival season and this was a rather good show compared to the others. The crowd went nuts when they played their classic “Slowly We Rot”. (W)

The big headliner for this year is Kreator. The band brought some cool decorations with them from the artwork of “Phantom Antichrist”. And of course they played songs from that album too. They also had microphones on a smaller stage next to the drums so they could walk around. More variations and thus more exciting to watch. And they proved to be a worthy headliner, even though it wasn’t exactly a special headliner because they play on a lot of festivals. (W)

And so the festival had almost come to its end already. For the diehard metalfans there was still the metaldisco afterparty, and because it was the last night, we could enjoy more than just metal; Queen, Abba and a lot more classics all passed by.
As always we had a blast, and were happy that the weather was on our side! Next year’s line up already looks very promising. Metal-Exposure will be back!

Party San online

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