Iced Earth, Suicidal Tendencies, At The Gates, Psychoke Choke, Black Hat Bones  // Terra Vibe Park, Malakassa, Greece // 08.07.13

Early Monday noon at Terravibe Park for Rockwave festival. The third day of Rockwave festival started at Vibe Stage with a newcomer band called Black Hat Bones. Even though there were only a group of 20 people beneath them, that didn’t affect the band’s mood at all and the audience responded really well. Musicwise, Black Hat Bones play dirty Hard Rock inspired by Motorhead and some stoner elements here and there making them the ideal opener for such a hot summers’ day. They didn’t forget to thank the audience for attending early on.

Next came one of the most promising Greek modern metal bands with one album in their back catalogue called Psycho Choke. Being really energetic and with a sound reminiscent of Slipknot and Machine Head they made the crowd headbang even harder and caused some small pits of 3-5 people. With a really good mood on their side, Psycho Choke did their best and put on a great show under the burning sun leaving promises for a new album till the end of 2013. We’ll surely looking forward to it.

A 3 hour break followed for most metalheads to get some rest, drinks or food. The writer couldn’t help but notice the consequences of the stage separation according to genres (Vibe Stage = stage for metal and Terra Stage = stage for alternative/reggae/pop/rock etc bands and fans). It might have shown that in the end we are all music fans and there are no borders in enjoying music but bringing down the rock/metal bands of the festival in terms of time schedule definitely shows discrimination.

And then at 4:30 in the afternoon in came At The Gates, the melodic Death metal legends from Sweden for an hour of madness. In comes the well-known riff of “Slaughter Of The Soul” and the crowd goes nuts under the sun. The band despite the hotness was in great shape (Tomas Lindberg said it was something unfamiliar for them being Swedish) and went on like that with “Cold“, “The Swarm” and “Terminal Spirit Disease“. Back to the second At The Gates record “With Fear I Kiss The Burning Darkness” and the song “Raped By The Light Of Christ” bringing down the pace a bit. Back to the fast paced songs with “Suicide Nation” and “Under A Serpent Sun” (dedicated to those in the frontline headbanging), but the bass drum broke in the middle of “Under A Serpent Sun“. The band replaced the bass drum in a matter of minutes with the crowd cheering loudly “At The Gates! At The Gates!” and replayed the song. A dedication to the fallen Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman (“Without him Death metal probably wouldn’t even exist” Tomas Lindberg) followed with the Slayer classic “Captor Of Sin” opening a big circle pit behind the first 2 rows. “Windows” off “The Red In The Sky Is Ours” came up next to keep the crowd headbanging. “World Of Lies” and “Unto Others” (the writers’ favorite off “Slaughter Of The Soul“!) brought the speed back to the set. “Need” “Blinded By Fear” and “Nausea” completed the mayhem from the “Slaughter Of The Soul” record putting a smile on every headbangers’ face. The band ended the setlist with “Kingdom Gone” and a round of applause followed their leaving the stage.

Next came the cycos from Long Beach California, Suicidal Tendencies. With the intro of “You Can’t Bring Me Down” a sand tornado was raised and by the time Mike Muir said “Athens what the fuck is going on in here?” the circle of death began. Suicidal were in a mood to party with all of us and went on like that with “Institutionalized“. After that Mike started to encourage people in their lives to be strong and believe in themselves (as well as in many other points of their set) not giving a shit about people bringing them down and went on with the song “Freedumb“. Another Suicidal classic followed with “War Inside My Head” and the pit went non stop! “Subliminal” and “I Saw Your Mommy” left some room for headbanging and showed the bands’ sense of humor. “Possessed To Skate” and “Cyco Vision” on the other hand set the pit on fire once more showing what a Thrashers’ paradise feels and looks like with many people crowd surfing. The band loved it and invited on “Pledge Your Allegiance” the crowd on stage to sing and most with them to end a Thrash party to be remembered. We just hope to see them headlining in our country again so that we can enjoy them full set. Kudos to the amazing funk/jazz drummer and his fills during the soundcheck.

And last but not least one of Greek metalheads’ favorite bands, Iced Earth. Back to form with their amazing album “Dystopia” 2 years ago and debut album with Stu Block ideally replacing Matt Barlow. The band kicked in with “Dystopia” and the crowd as 2 years ago seemed to fully enjoy the latest material and Iced Earth showed that this would be a show to remember. The classic “Dark Saga” came up next making the crowd bounce up and down and sing along with Block. “Pure Evil” caused a big moshpit behind the first rows as crowd surfers did their piece. Moving on to “Burning Times” that kept the crowd singing being part of the classic “Something Wicked This Way Comes” record that made them big in Greece. Stu Block is simply an exceptional performer and proved it once more! And then things slowed down for a heartbreaking ballad “I Died For You” sang with passion by the crowd as in “A Question Of Heaven” one of the fullest Iced Earth epics and in between “V” dedicated to the Greeks for the rough sociopolitical situation they’re going through. Back to the past of the band with “Dracula” and “Prophecy” whipping the crowd into a frenzy. “Anthem” is the new anthem of the band sang volumes by everybody on Vibe Stage as well as the favorite for the ones in the pit “Boiling Point“. The show ended with “Watching Over Me” (the writer couldn’t help his tears on this one) and “Iced Earth” closing one hour and 10 minutes of pure metal madness. We bid them farewell until January when they’ll revisit us for “Plagues Of Babylon” and hope it’ll be as good as “Dystopia“.

Report:  John Savvidis