SUMMER BREEZE 2014 – Pre-fest day – Dinkelsbühl – Germany

SUMMER BREEZE 2014 – Pre-fest day – Dinkelsbühl – Germany

Arrival/Pre-Fest Day

Last year, MetalDays was the festival of choice for this guy’s yearly journey into Europe. And what a great time it was! This year, however, a repeat of 2012 was in the cards. My mighty, triumphant return to the middle of nowhere Germany to engage in around two of Summer Breeze! Yes, yes, a little dramatic. There was no triumph, nor much mightiness. But there was a return! A return to one of the biggest and best festivals the world has to offer.

After the flight to Frankfurt, a day was spent in said city with a super cool friend of my girlfriend, who gave us a tour of the city. Some really neat old architecture and a really tasty lunch. Germany is known for good grub, which would be a concurrent theme throughout this trip.

Then it was off to a train ride to Paris for some pre-festival shenanigans. Most of which involved a little placed called Disneyland Paris (DLP to those in the know). Yours truly is a massive Disney freak, and this was a pilgrimage long coming. DLP was totally worth checking out, as it was a blast and had many very unique features not present in the U.S. parks. I could write an entire gushing review of this (wearing a Phantom Manor shirt as we speak, actually), but the amount of Disney connoisseurs here are likely sparse (lame). The Notre Dame cathedral was another spot that was taken in, which was absolutely incredible.




Shut up with the non-metal stuff? Ok, done! Onto the festival itself!

After returning to Frankfurt for a lovely and often silly car ride with some bad ass Scandinavians, and checking into our hotel – yes, no camping for this pansy – it was off to the festival site for the pre-fest day.

There was a little bit of trouble finding the location of the shuttle bus that takes you from the town of Dinkelsbuhl to the festival site. Add that with the time to get our festival wristbands, and the first band on the list to check out – Carnal Ghoul – was missed. The word on the street is that they put on a nice performance, so good on them.

(Photo: Dan Barkasi)

With that miss in mind, the festival merchandise was scoped out, and the line was ridiculously long. Yeah, waiting on that. It was time for some Bodyfarm, anyways. Solid Dutch death metal was the subject, and they did a solid job of purveying it. Good start!

Death/doom from the Faroe Islands was next in the form of Hamferd. Decked out in suits, an equally melancholic and intense show was what the crowd got. They were a standout for the night, and a band that deserves of a lot more notoriety. Opener "Vráin" came off especially well.

(Photo: Dan Barkasi)

Classic heavy metal champions Grand Magus followed immediately on the larger tent stage, dubbed the "T Stage" as a tribute to Michael ‘Mr. T’ Trengert, one of the original creators of the festival who tragically passed last September. A huge, touching salute to him would follow later in the festival, but more on that when it actually went down.

Having seen Grand Magus once in 2009, it was a long time coming for a repeat performance. There was no let down whatsoever, as they killed it from start to finish. They do classic heavy metal right, with a punchy, no frills approach that suits them perfectly. A wide range of their material was played, and the crowd ate up every bit of it. "Steel Versus Steel" ripped really hard.

(Photo: Dan Barkasi)

Keeping the non-stop awesome going, Ereb Altor tore into their all too brief set after Grand Magus had concluded. The combination of doom, black and non-crappy Viking metal was a fantastic combination that shined brightly in the live arena. The band’s huge riffs and complex song structures drew people in, and never let them go. They began with "Fire Meets Ice" and never looked back. Superb job from a band I was somewhat unfamiliar with before their addition to the fest.  Good discoveries like this are always welcome, and end up being a big part of a festival such as this.

After the extreme tiredness from the long journey getting there, and the unruly weather getting worse, it was time to head back to the hotel. Unleashed and Decapitated were playing later, but having seen both many times before and not being an overly big deal, it was time to crash. The first official day was going to be a marathon, so some needed rest was the best option. Either that, or collapsing in the mud. Yeah, screw that.


More pictures from SUMMER BREEZE 2014 here