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
In heavy music the most prevalent trend of the past decade has been a return to the time of psychedelic rock. Arguably of all of the acts to come out of this new wave, Finland’s Jess and The Ancient Ones seem to have garnered the most attention internationally. With their memorable 70s grooves, occult-laden lyrics, and powerful female vocals they found acclaim for their self-titled debut album in 2012.
They recently completed their first North American tour as personally-selected support of legendary Danish metaller King Diamond. I sat down with guitarist and co-songwriter Tuomas Karhunen (aka Thomas Fiend) before the band’s Toronto show to talk about their deep connection to the occult and how their future music will be bereft of all heavy metal influence.
Jess and the Ancient Ones’ new 10” release ‘Castaneda’ is available on Svart Records.
This past summer at the Toronto edition of Riot Fest I had a chance to sit down with the Iranian-American act Nostalghia, a collaborative group that combines avant-garde ambient music with classical and gothic undertones along with bit of a heavy metal aesthetic.
I spoke with the trio after a relaxed early-afternoon set to talk about how they arrived at their unique sound, and how they feel about being presented to the metal and punk audiences.
Shot and edited by Chris Tung
Find out more about Nostalghia at www.nostalghiamusic.com.
Interview with the frontman Andy LaPlegua of the Norwegian industrial outfit Combichrist.