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ScreamerISCREAMER: Dejan & Christoffer – Courtesy of Andreas Schulz

Word-of-mouth and online promotion was really big with the very first edition of HELL OVER HAMMABURG Festival, taking place on first saturday in march at Markthalle, Hamburg. It was even big enough to bring quite a number of metalheads from the Ruhrarea, among others a delegation from Rock Hard Magazine and the Rhineland all the way up to the north, bumping into each other as if it was any other weekend settled between Dortmund and greater Cologne-area. Turning out anything BUT usual, HOH is crowded with visitors from all corners of Germany and beyond. Several hundreds of people would even cause a bit of a jam in between sets, as the two halls of the venue has bands playing at the same time and the smoking area is placed right in the midst of them, thus delivering a true “Sold Out”-atmosphere.

ScreamerIISCREAMER: Anton & Henrik – Courtesy of Andreas Schulz

Initializing the festival at its more spacious part of the venue, Swedish Metalheads SCREAMER prove to be just the best choice for an opener at this hour. Young and sparkling full of energy the four musicians from Ljungby and Malmö easily get the entire audience going along with their forceful action. With their latest record “Phoenix” just out for about a month and a handful of well-known tracks from the previous one “Adrenaline Distractions”, choruses echo through a few dozens of spectators, spreading even more joy between band and fans. SCREAMER are able to live up to their reputation as one of the most frequently touring bands, as well as a guarantee of full power and a damn good time. An extended review on the SCREAMER shows in Hamburg and Cologne can be found here!

Up next at the big venue are the highly acclaimed ATTIC, that apparently like to raise a lot of tension with their endlessly long intro. One word about ATTIC from my personal point of view: I have never been much into KING DIAMOND and/or MERCYFUL FATE, hence my slighty awkward feeling when it comes to ATTIC and their vocalist in particular. Their show is at least consequent with make-up and a seemingly sacral stage decor. But this won’t keep me lingering for the entire act.

GoldGOLD Vocalist Milena Eva – Courtesy of Andreas Schulz

Leaving early from the ATTIC show gives me the chance to make my way to the front row of the other venue hall called “Marx”, which has a capacity of about 300 and reminds me of some of the local clubs from the Ruhrarea, specially concerning the amount of oxygen available in the cause of a night…Breathtaking is an attribute one might use to describe dutch newcomers GOLD or rather their singer Milena Eva. If it’s not her hair or her nose that gets the audience’ attention, it is for sure her wiggling ass in those glitters pants! The colour perfectly matches with that of the drumset, turning the lower part of her body into an interactive lava-lamp, so to speak. Those who won’t get mesmerized by her siren-like voice will so by her loose pelvis. But enough about visual aids, GOLD are a great live band, which they demonstrate really well tonight in Hamburg. Former THE DEVIL’S BLOOD guitarist Thomas Sciarone, drummer Igor Wouters and bassist Harm Haverman as a reliable rhythm section and the latest addition, second guitarist Nick Polak totally jam the small stage. Their debut “Interbellum”, which was Recorded in the summer of 2012 by Igor Wouters and VANDERBUYST fronter Willem Verbuyst at Amsterdam Recording Company and Mastered by Pieter Kloos at The Void Eindhoven, was released via german label Ván Records, on December 7th 2012.

JATAOIIJESS AND THE ANCIENT ONES – Courtesy of Andreas Schulz

After a much-needed break during the sets of ESSENZ and DENIAL OF GOD it is time for a little more Swedish flair in the allegedly most beautiful city of germany: Stockholm based quintette SLINGBLADE plays straight forward Heavy Rock led by the raw vocals of their leather loving female fronter Kristina Karlsson. Besides SCREAMER yet another protegé of german label High Roller Records to perform at HELL OVER HAMMABURG. Together with lead guitarist Johan Berg, bassist Niclas Svensson, drummer Peter Henriksson and a stand-in for the unavailable second guitarist Tobias Ander, who is currently touring Spain with THE SCAMS, SLINGBLADE truly manage to entertain the crowded that squeezes itself inside the Marx.

Headlining a new festival might be enough of a challenge or probably even burden itself, with no one knowing how well the all over spirit will be at the final show of one long day. Filling the most important position with just a debut album out and a follow-up EP recently published  – both available on Svart Records – could be called a risk organiser Wolf Mühlmann of Sure Shot Worx & Rock Hard Magazine and his team take. Having a band, that has never played in germany before concluding an event is verging on insane. JESS AND THE ANCIENT ONES has become one of the most promising acts of the moment and expectations are above the roof as the finnish musicians enter stages this night. Even more so, they do combine all the factors named before and as good as their sound is, their stage acting is an edgy outbreak at best. After waiting to see JATAO for months, I am sorry to say that they could not fulfill the self-created rumors about rituals that have been spreading online in advance of HELL OVER HAMMABURG.

JATAOJESS AND THE ANCIENT ONES – Courtesy of Andreas Schulz

Altogether a successful start of a new event, going on sometime until 2am, when DJ Krugi (“Die Burg”) shut down his modern-day turntables.
A major thanks to everyone working this day! Second edition of HELL OVER HAMMABURG will take place march 15th, 2014 at Markthalle, Hamburg. All information available at the festival homepage.

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