Bastard opens to an empty venue with a performance of generic death metal. Had the band competed in tonight’s battle of metal bands, they would not have been in the running.
The behemoth front man of Memoir has hands down the most impressive set of pipes of the night. Too bad the glam rock on display is not the audience’s cup of tea. Their shit is definitely different than the other items on the menu, but perhaps a bad kind of different.
Moldun are a monotonous, muddled mid-tempo, mosh miscarriage. No pit ensues and no “songs” materialize. The crowd is still sparse.
With Angist some competitive steps are finally taken. Edda Tegeder commands the stage like some kind of possessed Angela Gossow and leads the massing crowd with her cavernous, inhuman death growls. The tempo switches to blast beat infused galloping and actual songs fight, and sometimes succeed, in clawing their way through the miasma. A contender emerges.
Rank professionalism issues from the perfectly honed quartet Gone Postal, who appear tonight in their fourth straight finals of the Wacken Metal Battle. Two guitarists stroke violin bows to the strings of their guitars as an opening to their premier song. The band apparently tuned their axes down to win, because the entire performance oozes of straight-up victory. For the first time there is actually some clue as to what is being played, as opposed to the wall of noise issued by the preceding bands. And what glorious songs they are. An aura of imminent destruction hovers over the entire set and each growl channels the deepest pits of hell. You might as well call it a day and award the band on the spot.
Gruesome Glory, despite its horrible name, is not going down without a fight. These northern Icelanders bring the night’s first pit and wallow in breakdowns and guitar solos. This is probably the most fun brought by any band thus far, which shows in the aforementioned pit formation. Although these guys are strong contenders, they don’t bring the sheer conviction and force that GP did, and thus fail to garner the votes needed from the eight man strong panel of local and international judges. However talented a promoter Þorsteinn Kolbeinsson might be, the MC duo commanding the mic between bands is horrendously inept and lacking in stage presence. They show up every year for this battle and should be promptly fired (who are they?). A blight on an otherwise spot free arrangement.
Blood Feud is also fun and has a cool name. But its thrash is a bit inane and the performance could definitely be tighter. I haven’t much else to say on the matter as my attention was rather waning by this point, and the would-be winners were already waiting in the wings to receive their crowns.
After the competitive proceedings draw to a halt, last year’s winners Atrum seize the stage for a set I’m unable to report on as I headed over to Gaukur á Stöng to watch Muck’s release show.
When I get back to Nasa, Gone Postal have already been announced winners, with Blood Feud trailing and Gruesome Glory picking up the bronze medal. GP will therefore be heading over to Deutschland to play for the biggest audience in their history, while Sólstafir bring the night to a close, playing to what was undoubtedly a much smaller crowd than when they last played on this stage.
Have a look at more photos from the battle here.