Hellflame festival 2007

Osnabrück/ Germany - September 8, 2007

report by Twilightheart

The Hellflame festival is a very nice and well attended festival in the north of Germany, in a city called Osnabrück. The location where the madness took place is called “N8”. This little club unfortunately could hardly take all the visitors that came to see this year’s line-up. Even fans from the neighbouring counties came there, for instance some guys from The Netherlands and Denmark to see Shining. 
For my friend Claudia and me it was not exactly a short way either. We drove 700 km to get there, mainly to see Shining for the 1st time. But of course bands like Naglfar are a fantastic choice as well for music-hedonists like me. 




The event started with Secrets of the moon, a Black Metal band from Germany, from Osnabrück where the Hellflame took place, to be exact. That’s why they of course had home advantage, growing up in this city and playing in front of their own people. So when they kicked off with “Ordinance” and “Ghost” from their new album the crowd became enthusiastic immediately. The heat in the venue didn’t stop people from headbanging and having a good time. The stage was almost too small for the band, vocalist Lars could hardly headbang properly with his ultra long hair. The sound was quite okay, but it was not loud enough to my opinion. You could stand in front of the speakers without feeling any vibration. Anyway the band delivered a fucking wild gig. The favourite songs of the fans followed in rapid succession, such as “Miasma” or “Seraphim is dead”. When Lars shouted “Lucifer” the whole crowd continued “Speaks”, followed by “Lucifer speaks”. Some heavy guitar solos put even more spice to the gig. Unfortuantely there was only “Versus” still to come before the gig was over too soon. Secrets of the moon indeed were a worthy opener of this festival.



The next band, Wolfbrigade, was neither my nor most visitors' taste, as they belonged to the Punk’n’Roll style. So I quickly took a photo for you guys and then I left and cannot tell you anything about their gig, sorry. For sure they have their fans (and quite a few people watched their gig, it seemed like some friends of the band came along to support them) and they have their right to exist in the music world, of course, but it was just the wrong choice to let them play at this particular festival. Mixing styles at festivals can be a nice thing, but not if you put a Punk band among Thrash-and Death-legends like Destruction, Grave or Benediction. 



As many of you know, Grave have already played a few gigs performing only their old legendary songs and absolutely no new material. Unfortunately I had missed that gig at last month’s Party San festival, so I was glad that I could see it at least once, here at the Hellflame festival. The Death Metal giants from Sweden entered the stage with incredible energy, starting with “You’ll never see” and “Deformed”. Immediately it was packed again within the venue, the little fights for the best places in the first rows had started. It seemed everyone wanted to see this gig. “Unknown” and „Christi(ns)anity“ followed and the die-hard-fans of Grave could growl and sing along to all the lyrics. The band granted themselves not a single break, so track by track was performed with much passion > „For your god“, „Turning black“, „Obsessed“, „And here I die... satisfied“. Whatever caused Grave’s decision to play those gigs with old songs only, it was the right decision. The fans just went totally crazy. After some encores such as “Into the grave” and “Soulless” the band left the stage and the ovations were overwhelming. 



Onslaught from the UK were up next. These Thrashers from Bristol are active since 1983 and here they showed up with Sy Keeler, who had been the ex-vocalist between 1986 and 1987 and returned to the band in 2005. You may now think, Thrash from the UK might not be well-received by the young fans in Germany, but Onslaught proved us all wrong. The very old Thrash-fans headbanged side by side with the young visitors. It was all like a big party including three generations. The band members of Onslaught are true posers, like in the good ol’times. The set was turned on with “Killing peace”, „Let there be death“, „Angels of death“ and „Metal forces“. If you know the band’s new DVD you might have noticed that they performed the songs almost in the same order like on this DVD. “Twisted Jesus” and “Fight with the beast” were up next and each body (on stage or off) within the venue was covered in sweat. Amongst others Onslaught provided us with “Demoniac”, “Burn” and “Power from hell” bevor they went off, leaving the audience in best mood.



It’s been a long time since my last Naglfar gig, so it urgently was about time for another one. Believe me, suddenly even the photopit was packed. And the venue was overcrowded. With superior ease the Swedes of Naglfar entered the stage and kicked off as aggressive as possible with “The darkest road”, followed by “Spoken words of venom”. If you know these two songs you can easily guess that these tracks pushed the raging emotions within the fan crowd to the maximum within a few seconds. I had a feeling that almost all fans within the first two rows could growl along to all the lyrics. And there was heaviest headbanging as well, I think I don’t need to mention it. Vocalist Kristoffer put on his grimmest face throughout the whole show, smashing those lyrics towards us: “I walk alone, I was born unknown, I die alone”. How could you not love it? I was glad to see the audience still totally freaking out at the Naglfar gigs, just like in their beginning days. I hope this great resonance inspires the band to go on for several more years. 
Surprisingly the next song was “Breathe through me”. I have never heared this one live before. But it was delivered in top quality as well. It fit perfectly into the setlist and there was this one die-hard Naglfar fan in the first row, he could even sing along to those lyrics as well. After the adrenalin-packed “The perpetual horrors” this fan mentioned above took care of a good laugh for everyone. Imagine the following:
Kris announced a song from the Sheol album. So this boy immediately reacted by screaming with much emphasis “ I….
am… vengeance!” So Kris looked down to him, right into his eyes, pointing with his finger towards his own chest, growling intensly (with accentuation on “I”) “ I … am… vengeance”. That will remain a classic!
“The Brimstone gate” was up next and Kris several times made quite clear how much he enjoys the reaction and devotion of the audience. When the melody of “Odium generis humanis” started, the applause would even increase, so I guess that’s the favourite track from the new album for most of the fans. Unfortunately nothing lasts forever and “A swarm of plagues” was the last song of this incredible, unforgettable gig. Thanks, Naglfar! You rule!



Oh well, unfortunately I missed Benediction. Too bad! But Claudia and me were supposed to have an interview with Shining exactly during the stage time of Benediction. To cap it all, the interview went wrong somehow and we haven’t made our final decision yet, if we should publish it. Just in case we will not print it, I don’t want to withhold the photo from you which was supposed to appear with the interview. Here’s the band (with the manager, but without the drummer) backstage at Hellflame:



When the German Thrash legends of Destruction entered the stage it was finally time to turn the speakers louder, to the limit, so to speak. Now it was impossible to stay right in front of the speakers without a lasting damage of your ability to hear. “Curse the gods” and “Nailed to the cross” were the opening songs and within a few moments all visitors tried to enter the club to have a look at Destruction. As I said before, the venue is too small for events with bands of such a level, and some fans just had no choice but to stay outside. Those who made it inside were standing on everything you can imagine: the speakers-tables, the barriers, the bar stools, the stairs and so on. There was not a single empty space left. And all of them were headbanging, screaming, worshipping their favourite band with shouts and screams, just having a great time. Destruction continued with “The defiance will remain” and lots of their classics such as “Death trap”, “Machinery of lies” and “Invincible force”. Schmier (the vocalist) several times pointed out to the fact how much he loves to see old and young fans celebrating Thrash Metal together. Built upon mad riffs and followed by a stunning drum solo the band kept on with “Metal discharge”. Towards the end of the gig Destruction had to play many encores, such as “Total desaster” (of course…), “Bestial invasion” and “The butcher strikes back”. So this gig found its ending after ringing cheers.



Before the Shining gig started I had a chat with one of the girls in the first row, who has attended quite many Shining gigs in the past. She assumed that there wouldn’t be any “special” action on stage this night as the festival was open for visitors younger than 18 years. Anyway I was curious about the upcoming show.
Meanwhile the delay in the playing-time schedule had risen up to more than 1 hour. This caused the effect that many visitors had to leave the festival to catch the last train home. Too bad.
Then finally the gig started and the stage was covered in darkness (only two spotlights were gleaming slightly) and you could see the shadows of the band members entering the stage to a very melodic intro. 



As soon as the band started out with „Eradiction of the condition“ the flashlights of the photographers’ cameras continued to lighten the stage throughout the whole gig. And of course all those die-hard Shining fans in the front rows had a hell of a good time and headbanged excessively.
The sound could have been better (at some times I had a feeling like the monitors are not working properly) but the fans didn’t care, of course, ‘cause what they saw and felt during the gig was a satisfying compensation. Each listener was immediately pulled into the undertow of Shinings staggering but at the same time fascinating music. You just have to experience this live, only then you have the full effect of the music. It’s far more superior than on CD. 



The band continued with „Låt oss ta allt från varandra“ from the latest album and then Niklas hellcomed the visitors with “We are Shining, spining, whining” before they continued with „Ytterligare ett steg närmare total jävla utfrysning“. Niklas continuously drank from his bottles with different liquids (some looking like Whisky or related stuff, the rest looking like blood) and spat lots of blood into the audience. That male photographer in front of me was not exactly happy when some drops hit his light-blue jeans. ;-) 
For Kvarforth’s musicians it was a rather good day, I suppose, because Niklas couldn’t get enough of hugging them and kissing them onto the forehead. Funny in a way, as the musicians all entered the stage looking completely normal, but leaving with bloody faces. 



After „Svart industriell olycka“ and hitting the bottles Niklas got into his stride and intensivied the contact to the Shining fans. He jumped down and shared his highproofs with the audience. And whenever he couldn’t hold back his “Fuck you”s to the crowd, most fans knew how to handle and just flipped him the bird and gave irreverent comments back. 
The next pieces of dismal propaganda were „Någonting är jävligt fel“, „Claws of perdition“, „Ännu ett steg närmare total utfrysning“ and „Längta bort från mitt hjärta“. With each song Niklas became more inflamed and with empty eyes but phenomenal growling and singing he threw his dark thoughts towards us with the lyrics. 



Later on he just poured the blood from the bottle over his body and covered a few fans with it as well. After the gig several guys and girls looked like actors from a horror-movie-massacre. Niklas also had some intense moments with a special girl in the audience, kissing her, licking her fingers and some other passionate things.
The final was near,
„Submit to self-destruction“ was the last song of the set. One more time the crowd went crazy and everyone was either headbanging or staring at the stage as if spellbound. All in all it was a first-rate gig, fierce, dark, brilliant, with an enormous after-effect. Looks like Claudia and me need more of these shows.



To summarise, the Hellflame festival has a great ambience, but bands like these need a bigger venue. Already last year I said I will not go there again, as it’s just too far away, but I don’t dare to give this prognosis for next year again, as the organizers of this event have this special talent to chose bands that I absolutely want to see (again). So I close this report by saying carefully: see you there next year, maybe.


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