Backstage Club, Munich, Germany 17.12.2016

I am currently living in Germany and although I am from Greece, I wouldn’t be able to see such a strong line up touring in my home country. As fortunate I am, I drove about to see four great bands in one night playing live at Backstage club in Munich. I was really enthusiastic I could cover this event and report it to you. The name of the tour – Mtv’s Headbanger’s Ball Tour – could only cause some nostalgia to me and to a lot of metalheads in their mid thirties. This was the third concert before this tour came to an end; after all you cannot hold such a touring mini festival for more than a month.

The time had come and the first band hit the stage. This band called UNEARTH is one of the first that have the tag of metalcore on them. And they are one of the bands, though not a big fan of this sub genre, which I truly love to listen to. The Massachusetts quintet performed a great show with nothing more than precision and great energy. Without any excesses that are almost usual in those type of bands like weird dancing moves, they deliver a powerful show that made our headbang. Songs like “Giles”, “My Will Be Done”, “The Great Dividers” and “The Lying World” have blown the speakers in the club. And I mean literally the sound was so loud, but at the same time unbelievably clear. They left the stage while Trevor Phillips (the singer of the band) introduced their session drummer, who was no one else than the great Jordan Mancino of Wovenwar.

After a quick break next on line were the Canadians death metallers KATAKLYSM; a band well known and a favourite for the German audience. At this point I have to say that I saw a lot of people from France and elsewhere, which came to watch this beautiful event. I‘ve also met some guys from Greece. It would be nice to see such line up of bands touring a bit longer. But as I said above this couldn’t be easy.

After a short epic intro, “Breaching The Asylum” echoed from the speakers of Backstage and the lights started to dance to the rhythms of Kataklysm. Song after song the Canadian band seemed to enoy every moment playing for all of us. Jean-François Dagenais and Stéphane Barbe, the guitarist and the bassist respectively, kept on headbanging (paying their “respects” to the tour’s name) while Olivier Beaudoin smashing its drum kit on the back. The setlist was a journey through their hits songs like “As I Slither”, “Taking The World By Storm” and “At The Edge Of The World” were sounded next and the audience hailed along with each great rhythm of Kataklysm. Maurizio Iacono paid also his respect to the infamous Weihnachtsmarkt (a tradition of Christmas in Germany) that he possible visited earlier, saying that he loved and drunk so much of this Glühwein. Something I tend to believe because when he spoke the word it sounded more like bluewein. Of course he thanked in every chance given the Bavarian crowd and the love they show to the band. “Blood In Heaven” and “Crippled & Broken” were next and the closure was given by another song from their latest album, “The World Is A Dying Insect”.

After a serious metal setlilst – if I can say it so – there was time to drink some beers and have fun with the heroic fun metal, as Sami Hinkka would call it, ENSIFERUM was about to offer us. As the last epic folk minute of “By The Dividing Stream” sounded as an intro, the audience already was getting in the mood and cheered the moment the Finnish band appeared on stage. The energy that the band had on stage was definitely passed through to us. Everyone was headbanging and singing along. And there was no time to catch your breath, as when we went silent the bassist, Sami Hinkka, would raise his enormous hands and urged us for more. “From Afar” and “Warrior Without War” were the first two songs and as Petri Lindroos introduced the next song all the club screamed that “In Our Swords We Trust”. Again the singing along on the chorus and the headbanging as the vibes were damn good and Ensiferum were performing an excellent show. Markus Toivonen and Sammi Hinkka were changing places all the time, while Mrs. Netta Skog was trying to dance with her accordion hunged in front of her. I bet this must be a challenge to do. “Two Of Spades” and “Twilight Tavern” continued to enhance the atmospheric evening and as a “Heathen Horde” we sung “Lai Lai Hei” along with Markus to give the show of Ensiferum an end.

Another necessary break while the stage was prepared for the so called headliners of the night. As far as I am concerned anyone of these bands could have a headlining tour itself. In addition some may feel that their band didn’t have enough play time and in this case how could this happen? Each band played approximately an hour and that was fair to do so.

Anyway it was quite a while since I saw these guys live and I was excited to watch them headlining such a tremendous tour. I do mean obviously ICED EARTH, a band that is more than loved in my home country; they did after all publish a live from the city of Athens. Again an intro played on the speakers and the band made its appearance. The first riffs were shaking the club up but I couldn’t make out which song the band was playing. Later on the evening Stu Block would reveal that it was a brand new track called “The Great Heathen Army”. “Burning Times” and “Plagues Of Babylon” followed right after and the recognizable riffs of Jon Schaffer were shredding our ears, in the most positive way that is.

Then we heard “Dystopia” and then some old good stuff like “I Died For You” and “Vengeance Is Mine”; on those two mr. Block proved one more time that he deserves his place on the band. The show continued with Iced Earth trying to raise our spirits, but I believe we were quite tired from the previous bands. Stu tried to make fun of how sweaty metal is and the evening was about to end. “Pure Evil” brought me a lot of beautiful memories and “Watching Over Me” left us with a bitter sweet after taste.

The working hours in Germany are strictly adhered and again this show ended right on time. It was couple of minutes after eleven and we had watched four absolute great bands playing for us for more than four hours metal music. I think I was full from all the experience although no one played encore.


Photos by: TK Metalshots