I had dealt with a variety of weather conditions at Wacken Open Air over the years. In 2007 heavy rains leading up to the festival almost caused a cancellation, which was averted at the last minute when the rains let up and the grounds had some time to recover. There was the deluge in 2012 that turned the ground into liquid and rubber (depending on where you stood), and didn’t even let up on the final night.

But this year the legendary German metal festival experienced a particularly wretched case of bad weather. In fact a good portion of Northern Germany and the Netherlands was dealing with some unseasonably cold conditions due to a large low pressure system that hovered over us like a haze of doom. The area had already been battered mercilessly when campers started to arrive. Wednesday evening saw non-stop rain that carried through until the next day, and although it slowly began to clear up, the grounds were completely massacred. What was first a cold-as-hell lake of dirty water became a mire of sticky mud that devoured boots and shoes of all kinds. 

By Friday a number of my interviews were cancelled as flooding had messed up the roads going in and out of the Wacken village. Even getting around the festival grounds was logistically far more difficult than usual. Luckily I clumped across the field of mud traps just in time to interview Esa Holopainen, guitarist and founding member of Finland’s Amorphis.

Photo by Ville Juurikkala

Despite a new release full of ultra-melodic death metal on the way, the band was there to play their 1994 album Tales from the Thousand Lakes in its entirety. We spoke about playing the album with their modern line-up, how their sound still reflects their musical origins, and whether Amorphis can still be considered a death metal band.


The brand new Amorphis album Under The Red Cloud was just released by Nuclear Blast Records. Check out the video for “Sacrifice” here.

Coming soon: An interview with Cannibal Corpse backstage at Wacken 2015